Stop Me If You Think That You’ve Heard This One Before…..

That’s the name of a Smiths song, and now also the name of this post.

(I was going to title this post You’ve Absolutely Got To Be F$%&*ng Kidding Me, but that seemed rather harsh, even if it is appropriate.)

And yes, I did say that very phrase when I saw this on the racks at Target today.

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I can’t even pretend to pose the question “Is Ken Corday trolling us?” because it’s super clear that he IS, in fact, trolling us with this.

More on the actual article once I read it…….

Almost paradise, indeed

I can only tell you what I know: Grant Aleksander was on the DAYS set, and Vincent Irizarry (GL’s Lujack and Nick, now DAYS’ Deimos) posted the receipts on that visit on Twitter.

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That warms the hearts of many Guiding Light fans, I’m sure. If we squint our eyes, we can pretend that Phillip, Beth and Lujack are enjoying a moment on the front porch of Company, right?

But then the question becomes – who, exactly, is Beth with? Phillip? Lujack? The plot thickens….

It appears that Grant may also be appearing on DAYS, though we haven’t heard official confirmation yet. Since DAYS films a hundred billion years in advance it’s unlikely to air until early 2017.

Just about perfect

I was looking at We Love Soaps and the This Day In Soaps feature, and saw this As The World Turns episode from 1986 – yes, 30 years ago.

This was somewhere in the first few months or so that I’d started watching the show. It’s the episode where Chris Hughes (the senior Chris, the patriarch) dies in his sleep, following the death of Don McLaughlin, the actor that portrayed Chris, a few months earlier.

I didn’t have a strong memory of this from the first time around, but it’s so perfect – so many faces we loved, the wonderful ripple effects that Douglas Marland played so well, a balance between young love and mature characters, intrigue and family – well, I could go on.

I wouldn’t change a think. Well, okay, maybe that weird pajama/housedress thing Kim was wearing there. But really, not a thing.

Political overload

We’re in what seems like the longest presidential race ever. And all this after a decade of American politics that is far more crazy — and over the top — than any soap opera could be.

It’s times like this when I’m nostalgic for a certain candidate for Senate…..if only some of our politicians would break out in cases of humanity like Ross Marler did.

I did post about Ross’ dream before here, but I have to say, I’m not sure it seems so ridiculous these days. Bread and circuses surround us in this one, I’m afraid.

Time on the clock?

A tale of two executives - Jill Farren Phelps (left) and Steve Mosko (right)

A tale of two executives – Jill Farren Phelps (left) and Steve Mosko (right)

There’s been a lot of soap news in the last few weeks.

The big attention getting announcement, of course, was that Jill Farren Phelps’ contract at The Young and The Restless was not renewed.

This was a bit of a surprise to me, since Phelps and Chuck Pratt had increased ratings at Y&R. It wasn’t my cup of tea, though recent Y&R has seldom been my cup of tea, anyway. But ratings, such as they are, were up.

Phelps has a colorful record at several soaps, and a contingent of fans have very negative feelings about her work. They cite the killing of Frankie Frame at Another World (a story that Phelps denies was her call) and the loss of Beverlee McKinsey at Guiding Light.

And – of course – the dismissal of Ellen Parker as GL’s Maureen Bauer. The death of that character was compelling on screen, but came to be seen as a symbol, in some way, of the loss of “our shows,” of those narratives of humanity.

Phelps’ style has long been high drama, low lighting and a noirish presentation. Her arrival at GL kicked the show into high gear in 1992. It had never looked better. Unfortunately, the second half of her tenure at GL went off the rails, mostly because her production tricks couldn’t mask the loss of several key performers and writers.

The reaction on social media has been…..well, vivid. Along the lines of “Bye, Felicia.” (Perhaps one of the kinder things I can repeat here.)

So that was the big news of the week, right?

Not quite.

For my money, kids, the FAR bigger news is that Steve Mosko is out at Sony.

Who? Whaaa?

You may not recognize the name, but Mosko, along with Steve Kent, was the leader at Sony TV that oversaw its TV shows. Of the remaining soaps, Sony is the production arm behind two of them – Y&R and Days.

I’m not the blogger with the backstage connections, so I couldn’t tell you if Mosko’s departure had an impact on Phelps’ freedom to pursue other career opportunities.

But I believe it’s a bigger impact because it may mean other shifts within Sony. Days is on its shakiest ratings ground ever. Network broadcast shows continue to shrink, and more shows are being produced for streaming networks.

The parallel I drew when I read about Mosko’s firing was the dismissal of Mary Alice Dwyer Dobbin from P&G in 2004.

Dobbin, like Phelps, was a figure that was not always liked (for a long list of reasons, many of which I co-sign). But she WAS a protector, of sorts, for P&G and a figure who was another voice advocating for the shows at the network. I don’t think it’s a surprise that the ends of both GL and ATWT came a few years after Dobbin left (and the position was eliminated).

It remains to be seen what impact the departures of both of these execs will have on Y&R (and what impact Mosko’s departure will have on Days), but it makes me wonder how much time remains for both of these shows.

DAYS: Letting obvious sand slip through the hourglass

I don’t write often about DAYS, as you all know.

I’ve never been a fan of the action/adventure mix DAYS and GH adopted in the 80s and, with mixed results, have returned to every so often in the years since.

(Someday, Lynn Liccardo and I will have to have a podcast about that very topic. There will be pillows and at least one intermission, maybe two.)

The show has been more like DAYS OF OUR DEATHS for months, and in the rare moments I catch it, I can’t find anyone I like, or want to root for, or any couples that have even the dimmest spark.

Yeah, I know. Tell us how you really feel, right?

The latest thing to make me scratch my head is a story with Nicole, Kate and Deimos, who, despite Vincent Irizarry’s vast talents, still seems to be more of an idea than an actual character.

I caught bits of the show on two different days where a past love of Deimos was being discussed. Apparently, Nicole looks a whole lot like a woman in Deimos’ life from 30 years ago.

Nicole. Okay…..but Nicole?

GOSH. IF ONLY THERE WAS SOME WAY DAYS COULD GO BACK IN TIME TO CAPTURE VINCENT IRIZARRY 30 YEARS AGO WITH ANOTHER ACTIVE DAYS FEMALE CAST MEMBER.

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I MEAN, IT WOULD BE COOL IF PICTURES EXISTED. AND THE CHEMISTRY EXISTED. AND, YOU KNOW, IT WOULD BE ALL RIGHT THERE.

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I MEAN, HOW COOL WOULD THAT BE IF THAT PERSON WAS, LIKE, ALREADY PART OF THE DAYS CAST?

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I can’t be the only person who, when Helena and Deimos’ past was mentioned, went “Huh?”

Was there no one at DAYS who thought of this? C’mon, folks. Is there even a Telenext to complain about the photo usage? Can we not break a twenty and pay them to show it for a day?

I just have to figure one of two things is true.

(1) Judi and Vincent don’t care much for working with each other. I’ve heard nothing of the sort, and I know about as much as the next viewer re: backstage gossip, but hey, it’s possible.

(2) DAYS missed a giant opportunity to capitalize on existing talent/chemistry. There’s been a lot of change backstage as well as in front of the camera.

#1 is a possibility, but based on everything else I see with this show (“Kassie DePaiva is driving a rare interesting story on the show? Let’s write her out!”) you’ll forgive me if I tend to believe #2.

Those sands keep slipping through the hourglass, sadly……..

Remembering Morley Safer

It was sad to hear the news yesterday that, barely a week after CBS announced his retirement, Morley Safer died at the age of 84.

As a writer, journalist and news nerd, Safer was a pillar of achievement for all of his work with 60 Minutes.

And as a soap opera nerd, I think my third or fourth thought after hearing the news? Was, “Oh, yeah. He did that piece on the end of Guiding Light.”

Though the segment still leaned a bit too heavily on some of the weirdness of soaps and the things that, out of context, always seem so absurd about soaps, I think Safer’s piece captured the significance of GL, and the reasons why people loved it so.

Safer’s passing is, like the end of GL, the end of an era. Safer was the last of a storied group of journalists who made such an initial impression on 60 Minutes – Mike Wallace, Ed Bradley, Dan Rather and Harry Reasoner among them. And as with GL, while others will take his place, we are unlikely to see the likes of Safer again.