The State of the Soaps

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Fan gripes, SOD awards and NBC cheerleaders

Hi Suds Buds!

As Editor-in-Chief of Turtle-Run Online, I am privy to fan concerns in regard to all the soaps. What's of interest is that you share similar sentiments, but about different shows. Some of the major recurring concerns that we receive in email, or posted on the message boards include the concentration on and proliferation of newbie characters, recycling of story plots, over use of gimmicks and plot devices, the dismissal of favorite veteran characters, and the lack of stories about ethnic characters. For those who do not lurk or participate in our message board community, here is a sample of some of the common challenges TRO posters and emailers feel face the writers of today's daytime.

JJ posts: "The genre has lost its heart and soul. I feel the majority of the shows (with the exception of maybe Y&R) seem to be on a trend that, IMO, will kill the genre. They all seem to be trying gimmicks to outdo each other in shock value. And of course, their "youth and beauty" trend is overboard. Characters are interesting and appealing because of writing and acting. And yet, TPTB seem to think cardboard characters will do as long as they have cleavage or bulging pecs. One has to wonder if in this atmosphere any of the fine and popular actors who have created (along with their past writers) interesting characters who fans can never forget (like Luke Spencer, Bo Brady, Reva Shayne, Dorian Lord, Palmer Cortland just to name a few) would ever have been hired. I am not saying these are not attractive actors...they are. BUT they are not models, they never needed to display their "assets" to hook fans. The characters pulled us in...we cared about them because of how they were written."

JJ continues: "Sadly now, due to whatever reasons, not only are the current crop of writers failing to create new and interesting characters of all ages, they are trashing the work of their predecessors. And this trend of plot driven, gimmicky stories is turning many away."

In regard to some of the popular characters on GH, Tobias7 writes: "Despite the press' love of Luke (Anthony Geary), he has not given us true redemption of a character. Geary consistently plays a character who is warped, thinks mainly of himself, is consistently hypocritical and never really acknowledges the pain he inflicts on others. His character acts like it is his due to murder, to insult and frame others, but should anyone do likewise to him, they are monsters. I am really turned off by this character and this type of writing."

But Tobias7 feels GH is doing something right with Stefan (Stephen Nichols). They are just not giving him enough airtime, and continues: "I do like the fact that Stephen Nichols endows his characters with a vulnerability that others would not, given the same character to play. He makes the character human. I don't find the same quality in Luke. Luke is a cartoon character spouting ego centrism and pretending his is superman at all times. Luke is a character that never reaches maturity, despite the actor's obvious seniority in terms of age amongst the cast. It isn't cute seeing a man who looks 60 acting like a juvenile delinquent."

On what he'd like to see happen on soaps in the 21st century, 2dave2 posts: "Our country is a melting pot; different ingredients in one recipe. Let our daytime serials mirror that and create more ethnic and diverse characters. Remember Luan and her family on Y&R?"

Laura112 agrees: "Passions is a good example. They have brought (together) different cultures today and it works for me." She would also love to see Sonny reunite with Hannah on GH.

NYminit posts: "I would like to see some fresh new storylines. The recycling of stories is getting sooo boring. ABC tells the same stories on all four soaps with different actors."

For VeroniqueLopez-Fitzgerald, Passions, with all it's devices and gimmicks, is still doing something refreshing. She posts: "...(Passions) has really earned it's stripes as great daytime entertainment that has not only bucked the trend in what are acceptable plot devices, but it also has reestablished a strangely innocent and simplistic attitude towards its approach to romance. I haven't been this excited about a soap in a long time."

In regard to AMC, Claudine posts: "...they seem to be on a mission to destroy all the core characters so they can concentrate on their rehashed NEW characters. It's hysterical. The new characters aren't new at all. They're the old characters with different names. Even the storylines aren't new. They're the same ones from decades ago. This group of writers shows no imagination, no originality. All they are doing is making the cast younger so that their key demo can remain in the teenybopper range. What they don't realize is it's us old fogies who stick with their soap through thick and thin. The newer viewers switch soaps as often as underwear. ATWT is bugging them, they tune to AMC. Then DOOL. The writers find history a bit daunting, yet they rehash it."

Claudine continues: "It seems they are catering to their new audience and don't really care what their core audience does. Hey, I'm not dead yet! I'm in their key demo! Don't I count for anything?"

Unhappy with AMC's failure to negotiate acceptable contracts with some of it's popular veteran actors, fans of James Kiberd (Trevor, AMC) have mounted the Ties for Trevor campaign, headed by Genie, and though the email and posting has decreased considerably, we still hear from the fans of Michael Nader (AMC's ex Dimitri). Michelle reminds us this campaign has been going strong for nine months! Darlene recently called upon the Nader Campaign to rally yet again and send the network Valentine's for Dimitri.

In regard to ATWT, LLATWFT posts: "I thought the whole Chris/Molly revelation to Chris' family went really well! I loved the way Kim & Bob switched sides regarding the issue. I can't wait to see Andy's reaction..."

GHLifers, a fan of the Sonny/Hannah coupling is optimistic about GH and encourages other Sonny/Hannah fans by posting: "I think the greatest conflicts bring us the most intriguing and captivating drama. The soaps have it all sooner or later. It will be interesting to find out what Sonny really does. He isn't too happy about (Carly's) pregnancy, but he does feel an obligation to the baby. It's kind of sad in a way. Poor guy may have always longed to be a Daddy, but not this way. Now it is an obligation that he has to honor. We may not get Sonny and Hannah back together for some time...but you just never know. Keep might miss it."

If you'd like to share your feelings about your favorite show, please do so on the TRO Message Boards. Next week we'll address some of these concerns and discuss my feelings about the state of soaps.

Soap Opera Digest Awards

Daytime stars shine bright in prime-time at the 16th Annual Soap Opera Digest Awards, Friday, March 10, 2000, live on NBC. Broadcast from the Palladium in Hollywood, CA at 9 PM ET, stars from NBC, CBS and ABC soaps will be on hand to honor the winners of the coveted awards which have been chosen by the readers of Soap Opera Digest magazine! In other words -- by YOU! :o) "We are delighted to once again broadcast The Soap Opera Digest Awards," said Susan Lee, Senior Vice President, NBC Daytime. "This awards show gives us the opportunity to honor not only the actors and actresses from daytime dramas, but also to recognize this unique community as a whole -- and all in a prime time forum." According to SOD Editor-in-Chief, Lynn Leahey, "We're thrilled to partner again with NBC and dick clark productions to celebrate the outstanding work of these talented nominees, and to be gathering stars from both coasts to announce the winners chosen by over 50,000 Digest readers." Categories range from Outstanding Lead Actor, Actress, and Scene Stealer, and include this year's new additions; Favorite Actor/Actress and Favorite Teen Star. The telecast will also feature a special 25th Anniversary salute to Soap Opera Digest. The names of Presenters have not yet been released, so stay tuned to TRO for further information.

Meanwhile, to get in the mood for the show, chat live online with Passions SOD Awards nominees Josh Ryan Evans (Timmy), Lindsay Korman (Theresa), Jesse Metcalf (Miguel), Juliet Mills (Tabitha) and Donn Swaby (Chad) on Tuesday, February 22 at 5:00 PM PST. This is a Yahoo chat hosted by SOD. For more info go to

Soap Notes

Speaking of Passions, Jesse Metcalf (Miguel) and Taylor Anne Mountz (Kay) will chat live online about live in Harmony on Wednesday, February 23 at 6 PM PST. This is a TalkCity chat. Go to for more information.

Some Passions cast members are also into cheerleading! Yup. You heard right. Gimme an N! Gimme a B! Gimme a C! LOL They will participate in the Twentieth Annual Six Flags Magic Mountain California State Cheerleading Championships, at Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, CA. On Saturday, 2/26; Travis Schuldt (Ethan) and Donn Swaby (Chad.) On Sunday, 2/27; Galen Gering (Luis). On Saturday, 3/4; James Hyde (Sam) and on Sunday, 3/5; Jesse Metcalf (Miguel), Bruce Michael Hall (Reese), Taylor Anne Mountz (Kay) and Molly Stanton (Charity). Sisss boom bah! :o)

In casting news, AW fans sit back and get ready for a treat. Henry Simmons (former Tyrone Montgomery) will be joining the ranks of NY's finest when he debuts on NYPD Blue this week. His character will cover the void left by Det. James Martinez (Nicholas Turtorro).

And GH fans, keep your fingers crossed for Jonathan Jackson (ex Lucky Spencer) . Jackson will be meeting this week with George Lucas to audition for the role of Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars II. His competition is Fox's Get Real's Eric Christian. Best of luck to both actors. May the force be with them. :o) Sorry, couldn't resist!