Thursday, September 30, 2010

Report Card: One Life to Live

Hey soap fans! In the second of our report card series we take a look at One Life to Live. Read to see what Lee thinks of Bennett Thompson, the army of new characters and the exits of longtime fan favorites.

One Life To Live

The story so far: After spending the greater part of the year watching Eli 'Bennett Thompson' Clarke terrorize half of Llanview, the show seems to finally be moving into new, more interesting territory. Clint seems to be plotting against everyone who's ever wronged him, manipulating Matthew into a mini-Asa, romancing humble and beautiful Inez, kidnapping David and ruining Dorian's life. Elsewhere, the teens have gone to college, Tea's still alive and being nursed back to health by Greg, and Todd is once again feuding with Ross.

What works: We're finally onto the next, hopefully less redundant chapter in the Eli Clarke saga and for that I'm grateful. Hopefully the town will find out that Tea is alive soon so the story can finally end. The 'veteran' set finally seems to have a real story, with Clint coming back with a vengeance and Kim Zimmer returning to the show to tussle with Viki and Dorian. Tea being alive is genuinely suspenseful, giving her inevitable return some great emotional weight.

What needs work: While 2009 saw the introduction of several new characters, they were for the most part connected to the canvas in dynamic and interesting ways. This year, on the other hand, has seen the introduction of a host of characters that are not only not connected to the rest of the canvas in any interesting or meaningful way, but we've also seen the exits of extremely likable and interesting characters. The beginning of this year started with so much promise; Kyle and Oliver, Kim, and Schuyler had fascinating and compelling stories and yet were all written off by April (Amanda Setton left on her accord but the role could have been recast). The show has tonally shifted from heartfelt and emotional to too-cool and (I use this term loosely) hip, with the introduction of the Ford/Salinger family, unrealistically headed by Inez, played by the talented but too-young Jessica Leccia. Jessica and Natalie have a shockingly trite paternity story brewing, while Christian and Layla have withered immensely from their promising romance last year thanks to the departures of costars Brett Claywell and Scott Evans and an atrocious and tasteless attempt at reuniting Chris with a brain damaged Jessica, who thought she was still in high school. Lastly, smarmy, slight Billy Warlock is totally miscast as Ross Rayburn, formerly a big, muscular hunk with anger issues played with much charisma by Michael Lowry.

Suggestions: Reign in the Fords, bring back the warmth and pathos the show has been lacking since the birth of Sierra Rose, and bring back the great payoffs the show has done so adeptly since Ron Carlivati began his tenure in 2007. Doom and gloom is okay, so long that the end result is the beauty and elegance this show was once known for.

Grade: C

Lee and Lauren

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Primetime Spotlight: Desperate Housewives

The fall 2010 television season is in full swing, and over the next few weeks we’re going to be giving our opinions on some of the soapier shows on during primetime! We kick off our coverage today with a spotlight on returning favorite Desperate Housewives!

I have always been a fan of Desperate Housewives. It had a sterling first season, proving that the nighttime soap was far from dead. The mystery of why Mary Alice Young committed suicide captivated audiences and tied the entire cast together, while the trials and tribulations of the four central housewives were both relatable and over-the-top. Unfortunately, the show endured a rather upsetting sophomore slump and though it recovered in successive seasons, it never captured the magic of that incredible first season - until last Sunday, when its seventh season premiered.

Beginning with the surprising return of villainous Paul Young and kooky Felicia Tillman, the season premiere wisely kicked off several juicy and compelling stories that could carry us through the entire season. Finding good stories and mysteries has always been a struggle for the show - too often the season-long mystery has not involved enough of the central characters, and too often the four housewives have not had much to do. Sunday’s episode showed Bree once again without companionship, Gabrielle and Carlos lying to each other about two explosive secrets, Lynette scrambling to impress college friend Renee Perry, and Susan resorting to desperate measures to make some money. The final scene revelation that someone on Wisteria Lane was working with Felicia set up a fabulous twist - this season’s mystery isn’t a whodunnit but a “who will do it?”

The season premiere wasn’t perfect. Vanessa Williams’ new character Renee Perry has a little too much in common with her Ugly Betty character Wilhelmina Slater, while Susan and Mike’s romance has completely withered with their money problems to the point where I’m actually rooting for them to break up. All in all, though, this looks to be the season to beat for Desperate Housewives. Tune in Sunday nights for the best soap primetime has to offer!


Lee and Lauren

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Report Card: All My Children

School is back in session, the soaps' fall story lines are in full swing and it's time for their grades! In the first of our Report Card series, you'll hear our thoughts and evaluations for All My Children. Find out which actors are doing A+ work, which stories need a change of attitude and which character needs a sweater.

All My Children

The story so far: In a surprising turn of events, Pine Valley's dastardly Dr. David Hayward was murdered at Caleb's fundraiser in front of the entire town. Whodunnit? Was it Ryan, our favorite anger-prone do-gooder? Was it Greenlee, the tortured and blackmailed wife? Was it someone else entirely? Time will tell, but in the meantime much of AMC is focused on its latest murder mystery.

What works: Compelling performances by Michael Nouri, Bobbie Eakes, Melissa Claire Egan and many other actors have elevated the decidedly generic material to a much more watchable final product. Nouri and Eakes have a very easy chemistry, one that I hope will be explored further in the coming months. Egan's Annie is a joy to watch, even when she's stuck in a story with three costars who aren't quite up to snuff. The quieter, more character driven stories are a hit as well; Debbie Morgan is doing the work of her career as the suddenly blind Angie, and the entire Hubbard clan continues to shine. Christina Bennett Lind is a find as Bianca, stepping into an enormous role with grace and elegance. I hope this sparkling newcomer gets a chance to shine on the front burner very soon.

What needs work: Enough with the murder mysteries already! It's quite clear that the writers have no idea who killed David and honestly, it is hard to care when there are so many other, more compelling characters without a story who are much more interesting than the forever tortured Ryan, Greenlee and Kendall. Speaking of things that aren't interesting, the Chandler family melodrama needs a big change, and soon. JR, Scott and Marissa are three very unlikeable characters for three very different reasons - JR is portrayed by Jacob Young as a wannabe tycoon without any redeeming qualities. Marissa, an ill-conceived character from the start, has become more milquetoast than ever, with quirky actress Brittany Allen not standing a chance against the extremely likable and fun portrayal of Annie by Melissa Claire Egan. Scott may as well be wearing argyle sweaters and picking flowers, because I don't buy Adam Mayfield's performance one bit as a smart, competent businessman.

Suggestions: Focus on the more relatable and interesting characters - Tad, Angie, Jesse, Damon, even Liza - and stop propping Ryan and Greenlee five days a week. Wrap up the murder quickly, cut the dead weight and bring the show back to basics with family and romance.

Grade: B-

Lee and Lauren

Friday, September 17, 2010

Crystal Chappell on Dayplayer Dish!

Hey soap fans! Make sure to listen to Dayplayer Dish this Sunday, September 18 at 6pm EST for an exciting interview with the fabulous Crystal Chappell! We're very excited to chat with Crystal about her extensive soap resume, Venice, and tons more! Be sure to listen at and join us in the chatroom!

Lee and Lauren

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Colleen Zenk Stops by Dayplayerdish

Hello Soap fans! Be sure to tune in today at a special time(4PM EST/1PM PST) as we talk with As The World Turns star Collen Zenk.Hear her thoughts on ATWT ending, classic ATWT stories, favorite storylines, James Stenbeck memories, and her favorite Barbara moments. Only at

Lee and Lauren