In this month's Busted to Blissful, Soapdom's Lesleyann Coker is fed up with the winter wardrobe and more on most soaps, but she couldn't be more delighted with the relationship aspects of As the World Turns. What is it about the goings on in soapdom that busted her bubble and what's so wonderful in Oakdale that has put her in bubblicious bubble bliss? Read on!
Three Things That Bug Me on Soaps
1. It’s February now, and that means winter-time unless you live in the southern hemisphere. To my knowledge, none of the nine soaps airing on American television take place in Australia or New Zealand. Winter means cold weather, and if you live on the East coast or in the Midwest, that means snow.
I suppose a town like Passions’ Harmony (though they have been described as a New England town not far from the ocean) can get away with seasonal oddities, but shows like All My Children and One Life to Live are set in fictional towns in the state of Pennsylvania. I’ve been to Pennsylvania this time of year, and I know that if you were to wear open-toed shoes now, you would get frost bite! I am sick of seeing women on these shows in strapless or sleeveless dresses and open-toed shoes in the middle of winter.
Even The Bold and the Beautiful, which is set in Los Angeles, isn’t exempt. I had to turn up my heater, I got so cold watching the Forrester women gather around the pool in bikinis and sarongs over Christmas. In reality, LA was in the middle of one of the coldest winters in years with rain and mudslides and high winds.
If the writers want us to accept their shows as being somewhat realistic, then the characters need to dress appropriately for their surroundings. Throwing a jacket over a sleeveless dress just doesn’t cut it. Designers make cute sweaters and boots so let’s see the characters on our favorite shows in them.
2. I am frustrated with soaps forgetting their history. Two shows in particular are offending me right now. The first is All My Children. While the show has been excellent for the most part recently, I cringe every time I hear Erica talk about Babe keeping Bianca’s baby from her and letting her think the baby was dead. Erica rants and raves about what a heinous crime this was and how could anyone be so cruel as to keep a mother from her child.
Hold on there, Erica. Didn’t you do the same thing to Maria about eight years ago? In fact, Erica deliberately kept Maria’s baby from her (because Erica was under the assumption that the father of the baby was her ex-husband Dimitri) and passed it off as her own adopted child, Sonya, from Russia. Maria was left to think her baby plunged off the bridge in a car accident and drowned. Sound familiar? Albeit, Erica eventually confessed and gave the baby (now Maddie, who was later proven as Edmund’s daughter) back to Maria, but does that make Erica any better than Babe? I suggest Erica rethink her past before she tars and feathers Babe.
The second show that is virtually repeating itself is Passions. Gwen has just stabbed Theresa in the back with scissors after learning that the baby Theresa was carrying wasn’t hers. Flashback four or five years ago to when Theresa was giving birth to Little Ethan. She was supposedly suffering from pre-eclampsia which caused her to momentarily lose her mind, and, yep, you got it, stab Gwen in the back with scissors.
While Gwen quickly recovered from her injury by Theresa’s hand, Theresa is paralyzed from Gwen’s recent attack. I suggest though, that when Theresa whines about how horrible it was of Gwen to do this to her, and that Gwen should rot in jail, she reflect on her own past actions, and recall that Gwen let her off the hook back then.
3. Adult men being raped (or threatened to be raped) by adult women has become a popular plot device on soaps in the last few years. On Y&R, there was Victor by Tricia, on ATWT, there was Jack by Julia, and one could argue on Passions, there was Ethan by Theresa. Now on OLTL, Margaret has Todd tied to a bed, and is threatening him because she wants to be impregnated with his baby.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, in 2001 (the most recent number I could find available) there were 300 women in prison for rape, compared to 30,600 men. If we look at those numbers and assume that half the female rapists raped adult men and half raped women or children, then it’s still safe to conclude that men rape women at least two thousand times more often than women rape men. In other words, the soaps have gone off the deep end in their fascination with an obscure and uncommon form of rape.
Rape of either sex is not entertainment. Soaps usually think carefully before having a female character raped and handle it with sensitivity, so they should do no less with men.
Shifting Couple Loyalties on ATWT
I admit it. I was a huge Matie fan (Mike and Katie) on As the World Turns. Their portrayers, Mark Collier and Teri Colombino, exude amazing chemistry, and since the characters originally started out as friends, viewers were able to watch them fall in love before our very eyes.
After Katie’s husband Simon left her, Katie hovered on the periphery without much of a storyline until she began having scenes with Mike. All of a sudden, there was light in Katie’s eyes again and a spring to her step. Since Katie was well matched with Simon, I, like so many other fans, had a hard time picturing her with anyone else. But Mike made me forget about Simon and when Simon came back, I couldn’t wait for him to leave again so Mike and Katie could continue building their relationship.
A roadblock was encountered when Colombino became pregnant in real life and the writers had to accommodate her maternity leave. Mike and Katie broke up when she left town to reunite with Simon, and the door was open to pair Mike with someone new. At first, he too floundered and wasn’t given much airtime except as a shoulder to cry on for a grieving Carly. But as time passed, he struck up a friendship with Jennifer. Like his relationship with Katie, Mike and Jennifer also started slowly as friends and tentatively inched their way into a romance.
Of course when Colombino returned from her maternity leave, a newly divorced Katie hit Oakdale with her sights set on reuniting with her ex-fiancee Mike, and was too late. Mike was in love with Jennifer. The first time Mike saw Katie again (after she barged into his house when he and Jennifer were fresh out of the bath and in towels) the sparks instantly flew between them, even as a dripping Jennifer stood by. I was excited to see that the two actors still had palpable chemistry and was eager for Matie to pick up where they left off.
As the months passed however, Mike and Jennifer have grown on me. This is mostly due to the exquisite Jennifer Ferrin who plays Jennifer. Ferrin looks like she should be in a china cabinet thanks to her porcelain white skin and fire red hair. She reminds me a lot of three-time-Emmy-winner Jennifer Finnigan (ex-Bridget Forrester on B&B) who has gone on to a primetime career.
In Jennifer’s previous relationship with Jordan, she didn’t register much on my radar screen. But once that dud of a pairing came to a merciful end, Jennifer began to interact with Mike when she hired him as a model for her jean company. Their banter was light, fresh and fun, and Ferrin blossomed in the role. She is equally adept at playing comedy as she is at playing the poignant insecurities that are a result of Jennifer’s tumultuous family life and past failed relationships.
Once Katie realized that Jennifer wasn’t just a substitute body to keep Mike warm in her absence, but that Mike genuinely had feelings for her, the fun began. Katie turned to her old buddy Henry (the divine Trent Dawson) for help, and as usual he had a plan. Even though Henry has always been somewhat of a sexually ambiguous character, it made sense when he revealed to Jennifer that he has been in love with his “best buddy” Katie for years. So, naturally, Henry proposed marriage to Katie and convinced her that if Mike really wants her, his jealously would get the best of him, and he would likely stop the wedding.
This has made for some interesting scenes for all four actors. Colombino and Dawson go way back, and are a great comedic duo. It’s nice to see them have airtime and an actual storyline together again. The real revelation has been Collier and Ferrin as Mike grapples with his lingering feelings for Katie, and his new found love for Jennifer. Jennifer has taken the mature high road, by encouraging Mike to spend time with his ex so they can all figure out where they stand. This is an interesting and rare choice for a female soap opera character, where tricks and schemes to hold onto a man at any cost (see Katie as exhibit A) are the norm.
In a surprise change of heart, I am rooting for Mike and Jennifer this go around, and for Henry to finally get the girl.
Lesleyann Coker is a contributing columnist for Soapdom.com, and co-author of Boob Tube, a satirical novel currently being shopped to publishers that examines what really goes on behind the scenes of the soap opera industry. She is a former reporter for Soap Opera Weekly magazine, and has interviewed over 200 daytime and primetime actors during her career. Lesleyann graduated from USC with a degree in political science with an emphasis in journalism, and every few weeks, she will share her thoughts right here at Soadpom.com on what’s right and wrong with today’s soaps. Do you agree with Lesleyann? Contact us!