Stupid choices (and the shows that make them)

Maybe I’m just being more grumpy than usual. (Yes, I know – you’re asking: Is that even possible?) But it seems to me that several shows are making very stupid choices – ones that, in some cases, will be hard (if not impossible) to undo.

My list of who’s been naughty and not-so-nice (and yes, I checked it twice):

All the Young Dudes, One Life to Live: Nash Brennan and Jared Banks were incredibly sexy, dynamic romantic leads. Forbes March and John Brotherton are great actors – and gorgeous men. This is pretty much the triple payout jackpot in soap opera land.

But OLTL seems to be at a loss as to how to utilize sexy, smart, funny men. They back-burnered Nash and then Jared. And ultimately, they killed off both characters.

I know Nash’s demise was a while back, but I see it as a bookend to Jared’s death. And perhaps OLTL has plenty of leading men to go around – they have the exciting new Kish story and a very promising slow burn romance between Cristian and Layla.

But OLTL definitely seems to favor the darkness. Sexy, funny and lighthearted doesn’t stand a chance against the Dukes of Darkness (Todd and John) or the negative-ion cesspool that is the Rex/Schuyler/Stacy/Kim/Gigi mess.

Speaking of smart, funny and sexy, a memo to Scott Clifton (Schuyler): Love your work, love your YouTube videos. But funny/smart/sexy guys don’t have a long shelf life in Llanview, so dude, you might want to call your agent…..

Bad Brad, As The World Turns: I say this with incredibly mixed feelings, because Brad’s death on ATWT has been a launchpad for really solid story.

But Brad was also a member of the Funny and Sexy club. (Maybe not so smart – but two out of three ain’t bad.) Austin Peck was, in my opinion, king of the dullards as Austin on Days of Our Lives, so it was great to watch him come to life as Brad. Brad and Katie’s pairing was inspired and had great chemistry.

ATWT does still have Henry Coleman, er, Stenbeck to play out stories with humor and campy action. But Brad was, quite literally, a ray of light. He was a great balance to some of the other Oakdale men: tormented Jack, snarly Dusty and slightly psychotic Paul. He will be missed.

The Challenging Chancellor Boys, The Young and the Restless: Y&R has been hit or miss lately – more often miss than hit, I’m afraid.

Chloe and Chance seem to be headed for the front-burner, but Y&R hasn’t done a great job of developing Chance as more than a Dudley Do-Right, or a nice big teddy bear for Chloe. We know John Driscoll can play the good guy. I remember meeting John last year, and he’s such a naturally warm, friendly person. You can understand why writers and producers would want to put that warmth and light on screen (see above).

But he’s also capable of so much more, as we saw at the end of his days on Guiding Light. Chance initially seemed like a ball of tension that was being wound up by all the stress in his life – the stress of the war, of his father coming back from the dead, of his mother’s disapproval of Chloe. I want to see that tension eventually explode, and see the living, breathing human being behind the brick wall. Right now, Y&R is showing us a whole lotta brick wall. (A very handsome, chiseled brick wall, but a wall all the same.)

I’m also disappointed that the show chose to end the Phillip-is-back story, though at the end of the day it was clearly not a success. Much has been written in the press about Thom Bierdz, who returned to play Phillip after a 20-year absence.

It’s true that Bierdz may have been a little rusty, but I don’t think the failure of that storyline lies with him, or the fact that Phillip came out as a gay man.

And audiences may have been able to buy part of the explanatory story – one that cleared up the awful Cane-is-Phillip twist from a few years back. But the failure point, I believe, is this: It was challenging, if not impossible, to believe that Phillip was SO afraid of Jill and Katherine’s reaction, or so convinced they would reject him, that he would fake his own death.

I know from experience that coming out, especially to family, can be incredibly scary. And certainly, it was even harder 20 years ago (a fact I also know from experience, since I came out to my family and friends in 1989 and 1990). But it went against everything we knew about these two women. Years of Y&R story were dedicated to how much Katherine loved her grandson. Katherine may have judged Jill for stealing her husband, but she was (to everyone else) warm and loving.

And Jill? Jill was also defined by her love for “little” Phillip. (A big part of her relationship with son Billy is his resentment of what was Phillip’s ghost – and how he could never compete with him.) It was, after all, Jill and Kay who teamed up to foil Nina’s plan to land Phillip. And Jill was a hairdresser, for crying out loud. She’d have crossed paths with a gay man somewhere along the line!

He’s Not Hunky, He’s My Brother, As The World Turns: Sorry, ATWT, I don’t mean to single you out twice (I also have some positive things to say about Oakdale, coming up). But I have to say, the story twist where Lily and Damian adopt Noah – their son’s boyfriend – is the strangest story I have seen in ages.

Y’all DO realize this makes Noah and Luke brothers, right? Someone signed off on this? Thought it was a good idea? Because to me, it just seems like the clearest exhibit thus far that ATWT has absolutely no idea how to handle the asset they have in “Nuke.”

Then again, Luke’s mother did marry her biological mother’s adoptive brother. And the show is being written in part by a head writer who wrote a star-crossed romance between two cousins (half cousins! HALF COUSINS!) so perhaps I shouldn’t have been so surprised……

All My Children: I’d love to pick out just one AMC story, but there’s a virtual buffet of WTF moments happening in Pine Valley.

  • It was bad enough that Stuart was murdered, but Adam did it? How will Adam – or AMC – ever recover?
  • Is anyone finding the creepy Amanda/David story, and its twists and turns, even remotely entertaining? I feel like I have to take a “full Silkwood” shower after watching their scenes.
  • I hope that AMC is going to tell us Aiden had a chip implanted in his head by Stefano DiMera. That’s the only thing that would explain his complete personality change.
  • Speaking of Aiden – Zach and Kendall are coming to an end soon, and Kendall is spending all of her time with…..Aiden? Huh?

Lorraine Broderick has a HUGE mess to clean up. I don’t envy her one bit.

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One thought on “Stupid choices (and the shows that make them)

  1. Brilliant Brilliant Brilliant! ABC does love to kill the fun and sexy in favor of the darkness. I’m starting to need antidepressants to watch this show in the daytime. Loved the comment about Nuke, too… I’ve given up. ATWT will do with them what GL did with Otalia… run out the clock.

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