Baby I love your way

I don’t think it’s a surprise to anyone that I love soap opera babies. And while I’ve definitely been more vocal about it in the past year, I’ve always enjoyed watching cute kids steal scenes. So, in mostly chronological order, here are ten of my favorite daytime darlings. This is by no means a definitive list, because I could go on and on…

GH’s Lucas. Check him out in 1990, with Tony and Sean, starting around the 4:40 mark. That little face! This story was 20 years ago now, and I still remember this kid. I think he went on to guest star on several sitcoms after his stint on GH.

AMC’s Miranda. Little boys played Bianca’s daughter for as long as the show could justify her not having much hair. They’re definitely on my top five “cutest of all time,” list and I was bereft when AMC recast!

GH’s Cameron. A few babies played Elizabeth’s tyke, including one many viewers fondly referred to as “Bighead Baby Cam,” but Ashwyn Bagga’s “Desi Cam” was my favorite. (I could build a whole post around how half-Asian babies are the most representation we get on daytime, LOL.) Love his little eyebrows!

ATWT’s Johnny. I only seem to be able to find clips of this kid sleeping, but I swear he did more than that! This footie pajama-clad cutie made a heartbreaking baby switch storyline a little easier to bear.
GL’s Sarah. Not only was she full of personality, but Sarah absolutely looked like Tom Pelphrey (Jonathan) could be her father, and they had a beautiful rapport.

GH’s Emma, with bonus Cameron and Jake. The hair clip! The total chillin’ on Patrick’s lap! The girls who play Emma are just beautiful. I mean, there’s just a whole lotta cute in this scene.

Days’ Sydney. There’s a reason they built an entire story arc around the Sinnema twins. They are total stars. LOL. I also think Sydney has the best suspicious expression in all of daytime. Just look at how she gives new big bro Johnny the stink-eye.

Y&R’s Delia. Genoa City’s littlest fashionista can wrap playboy daddy Billy —and everyone else — around her finger. And, oh my gosh, someone has actually done Delia fan vids. Here is a birthday tribute to the triplets who play her.

Y&R’s Faith. Faith has these big ol’ expressive eyes, and she’s such a talker. Here, she plays with Nick’s tie and his cuffs, while babbling away. I choose to believe she was telling him and Sharon she’d rather watch soaps than baseball.

OLTL’s Sierra Rose. Soda Pop, Sierra Mist, the Guppy…she’s got all kinds of names, and Oliver’s daughter is a total scene stealer, even when she’s sleepy.I love her playing with Fish’s fingers in this clip and how obviously comfortable she is with both guys.

Feel free to share some of your own favorite babies in the comments!


Soap Opera Weekly: Blogging With Mala

You know what frequently drives me crazy on soaps? The concept of what defines a “real” parent. Often, daytime television tells us that only DNA matters. Just look at GH’s Sonny, who thinks that learning Dante is his biological son automatically means they have a bond and a relationship… despite the fact that he pumped a bullet in him because he was an undercover cop. The audacity of him stammering “Tell my son I love him,” as the police dragged him away was pretty astounding. Hours before, you hated him for betraying you and were willing to turn him into worm food. Now, you love him? Because you found out you were a glorified sperm donor? I don’t get it!

Soaps are so WEIRD about this! And not even consistent. Because Sonny’s second son, Michael, is biologically AJ’s, but the show has worked overtime over the past decade to tell us AJ’s genes don’t matter, the Quartermaines aren’t Michael’s family, etc. How does Sonny have a right to be Dante’s father when AJ was denied that same right?

At least on Y&R, Neil is emphatically Lily’s father and Malcolm is the uncle. Whose sperm fertilized Drucilla’s egg is irrelevant beyond the Who’s the Daddy drama it created and the secret that was kept for most of Lily’s life. When it comes to day-to-day fatherly operations, no one ever tries to deny that Neil is Lily’s dad and, so far, I don’t see Malcolm trying to usurp Neil’s place in Lily’s life just because he has the stronger biological link.

But then over on OLTL, the DNA issue again gets bizarre. Rex, who’d never before questioned his genetic makeup impacting him or his children, suddenly began wondering if having Mitch for a bio dad would warp him and his son, Shane. Dude, your mother is Roxy. If you haven’t worried about turning into an alcoholic flake with a creative vocabulary, I don’t think being the son of a psycho will be an issue. Though, hey, maybe Shane should start worrying if blinding stupidity is a hereditary trait?

AMC’s Skye, who was raised a Chandler, almost instantly gave up thinking of Adam as her dad when the GH writers penned Alan Quartermaine as her potential pop. Amazing how 30+ years can just be shrugged away, huh? More recently, DAYS’ Carly seems to think that Melanie being her long-lost daughter means she has a free pass to turn into her stalker. And, yet, this is the same show that told us that Shawn Brady was definitively Bo and Max’s beloved Pop and that Victor and Trent provided the genetic material is pretty much a moot point.

Why is that sometimes it’s who raised you that matters and, then, in other cases, it’s who got busy in the backseat of a ’67 Chevy? It’s just such a mixed message!

Originally posted on

Soap Opera Weekly: Blogging With Mala

I’m having one of those days where I have a ton of scattered (and slightly insane) soap thoughts. So, let me present them to you in bullet point form!

•Every time DAYS’s Stefano calls EJ “Elvis,” I want to go, “Elvis! Elvis! Let me be! Keep that pelvis faaar from me!” I blame entirely too many viewings of Grease. But you have to admit that, considering my long-standing hatred of EJ, it’s also a pretty apropos lyric.

•The ABC promo dubbing AMC’s Ryan the love of Greenlee’s life is…problematic. Not that I was a huge Leo/Greenlee fan (in fact, if I can admit this without getting flamed, I really liked Laura before she went nutso), but there’s no doubt in my mind that Leo is THE pivotal guy in Greenlee’s life. Similarly, as much as the show has talked up Ryan/Kendall and Ryan/Greenlee in recent years, Gillian’s always going to be “the one” for him in my eyes.

•As thrilling and vindicating as it was to see GH’s Lucky and Lulu each tear a strip off Elizabeth and Nikolas for their smarmy romps, GH’s love affair with words like “slut,” “tramp,” and “whore,” makes me uncomfortable. Yes, even when the shoe fits. Because there’s a certain salacious eroticism to how the terms are used on the show, and I hate how gratuitous it is. There are so many phrases in the English language that can properly convey disgust, that can cut somebody to the bone. Why go for the cheapest possible word porn? Shell out the big bucks, writers, instead of using the 25-cent video booth equivalent.

•I usually don’t like arrogant asshats, but ATWT’s Dr. Reid Oliver is seriously tickling my funny bone. First, although I love Luke, watching him get knocked off his high horse repeatedly is hysterical. I love that he’s finally encountered someone more entitled than he is. Watching them snipe at each other is priceless. But even more priceless is Dr. Bob wrangling Reid. Bob is the awesomest man in Oakdale, possibly in the entire CBS daytime lineup, and I love that he is getting a chance to teach the spoiled hotshot a few much-needed lessons.

•Y&R’s Delia wore an adorable flowered hat yesterday. It rendered me incoherent with glee. I am unofficially dubbing her daytime’s answer to Aretha and wait with bated breath for the Delia uberhat that will rival La Franklin’s inauguration chapeau.

Originally posted on

Soap Opera Weekly: Blogging With Mala

When it comes to my critical pieces in the magazine lately, I’ve been, well, critical. There’s a lot to go off on when it comes to soaps these days and finding things that make me all warm and fuzzy proves to be a harder task than finding something that makes me all fork-stabby. But fear not! For this blog entry is completely devoted to things soap-related that make me smile. (And I promise the only time I’m mentioning cute men holding babies is right now. See? Done!)

First off, there’s today’s DAYS OF OUR LIVES. I heart John Aniston. Sure, Victor’s a misogynistic old grouch, but damn he’s funny. I love Philip (and we all know I love Philip), but watching his cantankerous father cut a few strips from his emo “wah, I gave up Stephanie” hide was priceless.

Then there’s Mick Hazen. The AS THE WORLD TURNS teen made me smile this week when he was previewing some of Parker’s upcoming story (check out the March 17 issue, hitting stands next Friday!). He’s so on-the-ball. He makes me wish I was that together when I was not-quite-16. He’s a good egg!

But, wait, let’s move from smiles to straight-up belly laughs. ATWT’s Trent Dawson(Henry), who shares my penchant for total geekdom, dished the recent New York Comic Con with me and we eventually did get to the subject of Henry and Vienna, but only after we discussed broadswords, people in costumes, and Watchmen. Then there’s Alley Mills, (Pam, BOLD AND BEAUTIFUL), who is a total treat when setting up her character’s latest wacky antics. When she takes in-character swipes at Rick and Donna, it’s hysterical. Last, but not least, I got to chat with Bryan Genesse, who returns on March 12 as B&B’s Rocco Carner. A lot of our conversation made it intoWeekly‘s March 17 issue, and there’s plenty more fodder where that came from. He was a hoot, telling tales about B&B in the ’80s and co-star Ronn Moss (Ridge).

And as long as I’m in flashback mode, here’s the #1 thing that made me happy this week: I found GENERAL HOSPITAL’s Decker and Dawn clips on YouTube! Decker and Dawn were my Nuke, my Zendall, my LL2, etc. Their love story was the first one on soaps I really remember being suckered in by. And from 1989-’91 Decker (Michael Watson) was SO my guy. I think I’ve mentioned before that I used to cut the fingers off my gloves, right? And up until recently, the only clip that existed of D&D was this one, where Dawn runs off after her wedding to Ned:

Now, there’s more! Yay! Here are a few choice examples…

Decker and Dawn on the run, wearing atrocious outfits:

Decker pouring his heart out to a hospitalized Dawn:

The obligatory montage:


originally posted on

Soap Opera Weekly: Blogging With Mala

Some might say I have a bit of a preoccupation with DAYS OF OUR LIVES’ Philip. What’s not to like? He’s a complex, well-written guy, and he has dimples! But I’m also fixated on him because I’m impressed that DAYS “went there” with the character’s war injuries and gave him a prosthetic leg. Since that initial storyline, which Kyle Brandt played out, Jay Kenneth Johnson has done a great job of remembering to limp on the correct foot. But what DAYS itself sometimes forgets is that an artificial limb isn’t just about a limp and experiences in Afghanistan and Iraq aren’t just footnotes and dogtags worn on a chain. 

In real life, people live with disability every day and it impacts them in myriad ways. Why haven’t we seen Phil sit down Stephanie, and talk about what his entails? I don’t recall him mentioning it to Morgan either. He’s practically blasé about it. Wouldn’t it be nice for viewers dealing with similar conditions to see him actively acknowledging his issues and overcoming obstacles on a weekly basis? Back during the February 2008 plane crash arc, Philip and Chloe joked about how it was lucky his prosthetic leg got trapped under wreckage and not his real one, and then he asked her if it was okay if he detached it. With wreckage and snow carefully hiding the fact that Jay Johnson has two working limbs, Philip took off the prosthetic and commenced to fixing it. I appreciated that. It made sense and it reminded viewers of a key part of who he is. 

But since then, aside from the limp, we get nary a hint that this is an ongoing issue for Philip. As a viewer, I get that he’s smokin’ hot and rich and charming, but when it comes down to the mechanics of say, SEX, don’t you think a conversation with a ladyfriend about how not all of Philip is as prettily sculpted as his chest is warranted? And it’s something that Stephanie would probably be able to relate to and connect with him over, as her own father is missing an eye and she’s seen what a non-issue that is for Kayla. 

I had to laugh at yesterday and today’s episodes, where Philip pulled back from Steph because of his track record with women, because he didn’t want to hurt her, and not because he might have some lingering insecurities about how she’d react to his prosthetic. Even funnier? When Philip vaulted over the footboard of the bed with absolutely no problem. 

It would feel so much more organic if the show put aside the “emotionally wounded bad boy” thing for a second and remembered that he lost both his leg and his face in service to his country. And didn’t he also work for the ISA for a bit? There is so much that could be mined from those aspects of his past and so much that those experiences could explain about who he is and why he acts the way he does when it comes to matters of the heart. I’d find that a much more compelling story than the poor little rich boy.


originally posted on

Soap Opera Weekly: Blogging With Mala

I guess it’s fitting that on a day so resonant in American history, I’m all giddy over soaps nodding to their history. Daniel and Chelsea on DAYS OF OUR LIVES may skeeve me out, but their union can be lauded this week, because of the hilarious conversation between Doug, Bo, Julie and Hope about how Bo and Hope’s relationship didn’t exactly warm the cockles of Doug’s heart. How funny was Bo trying to trump up excuses for why Daniel is bad for Chelsea and Doug countering with Daniel being adoctor as opposed to how Bo was just a shiftless no account? LOL! And, okay, I admit that Daniel and Chelsea were cute for a few seconds when they arrived at the Fourth of July bash together and Daniel got hauled off for a lecture by Victor. But I am NOT surrendering! Nuh-uh. I remain strong in my anti-Chan stance. (Y’all are giving me about two weeks before I cave, aren’t you?)

Flipping channels to CBS, I got a ginormous kick out of Tom and Margo’s 25th anniversary party on AS THE WORLD TURNS. It was just like watching a real family get-together, complete with bickering and that one relative that always gets inappropriately drunk (Hi, Chris!). When Lisa chided Casey for interrupting her already distracted toast with a “Quiet, Casey, or I’m gonna shoot you!” I fell out. Anyone else think that wasn’t just Lisa talking to Casey but Eileen Fulton talking to Billy Magnussen? The whole Hughes clan just has such a natural, believable vibe. Scott Holmes (Tom) and Ellen Dolan (Margo) really seem like a snarky married couple, and it’s a shame that new viewers like myself missed their heyday. Luckily, we got flashbacks! Yay! I’m a self-proclaimed flashback junkie. I can never get enough of them. And it was namecheck central, too! Cricket, John, Andy, Sabrina, Lien, all of Lisa’s husbands…I almost cried, I was so giddy.

The one sour note was that these beautiful scenes of family togetherness were juxtaposed with Paul wrapping up Sofie’s body and burying it. Was that reallynecessary? Are we really supposed to think Paul is a hero for covering up a pregnant girl’s murder? It’s despicable. Sofie may have become unhinged, but she was, at the core, a sweet girl and a loving mother. Dumping her in a hole like a dog burying a bone in the backyard was a terrible indignity.

Another show engaging in a terrible indignity this week…? GENERAL HOSPITAL, by having a war veteran attack two young women. Epic fail, guys. I would say more on the über-sore subject, but I’m saving my full Logan rant for print. Check out a future issue for my ire. Until then, Happy 4th of July!


originally posted on

Soap Opera Weekly: Blogging With Mala

I’ve been watching DAYS OF OUR LIVES every morning for the last two weeks, and I’m happy to report that the results are already visible: I’m happier, more cheerful, and generally ready to tackle the day. It’s like a cross between crack and brain bleach! The former because the hilarity of Nicole antagonizing just about everybody (and giving off major sparks with Philip) just sets me rolling … and the latter because after the past two weeks of “my” show, AS THE WORLD TURNS, I sorely need something to dissipate the steam building between my ears. 

See, I tend to get a little overinvolved in my soaps. Fortunately, this is seen as a plus in my current profession. Unfortunately, this means that my habits of yelling at the TV, squeeing over hunks and babies, and totally ‘shipping my favorite couples has accompanied me to the office. When I’m “on the job,” interviewing and writing, I’m as evenhanded as I can possibly be. But when you plunk me in front of the TV (which is easy to do considering there’s one on my desk), I get tunnel vision. I get sucked in. I get passionate. And what am I most passionate about? The issue of diversity on soaps. Which means, yes, it’s ATWT’s Ameera who has me about to burst a blood vessel. 

I know a lot of viewers are furious about Ameera coming between Noah and Luke, but it’s a hallmark of every root-worthy couple on daytime that somebody is going to try and break them up somehow. Power to Nuke. It’s their turn. Unfortunately, it’s at Ameera’s expense. She’s a plot device who makes fellow noob Sofie look like a character who has been in Oakdale for decades. Ameera has no dreams, no motivation. She isn’t just played as foreign, she’s played as naive, and that’s ridiculous. I’m sorry, but any Muslim girl whose mother was liberal enough to befriend an American soldier isn’t going to act like some twit who just fell off the falafel truck and doesn’t understand when Noah says, “I like boys.” The sheer fact that Noah had to marry her to solve her immigration issues for her is so mind-boggling that I still haven’t stopped seeing red over it. Allah forbid anyone follow Holden’s sensible advice of hiring a lawyer. No, the Snyders must save the little foreign woman by wedding her to a strong, American man…whom she will, of course, fall in love with even if he’s gay! If that’s not staggeringly insensitive enough, then we have today, where Ameera kissed said American man. Come on, we all know she’s going to get shot down by Noah like he’s wielding an anti-aircraft missile. Is making her SO moony really necessary? Speaking of which, Casey got it with both barrels, too, considering that Ameera dashed his hopes rather cruelly. Why she would turn down a heterosexual cutie pie who was actually interested, I have no idea. 

I understand that ATWT is trying. I do get that. But it’s not enough when Islam is a religion that’s still a mystery to many Christian Americans and the war in Iraq is such a hot-button issue. Portraying this girl as a cross between moron and man-stealer does cultural understanding no favors. Similarly, actress Tala Ashe is done no favors. She is lovely and has a definite spark. She could do so much. ATWT could have made Ameera a good example of the immigrant experience; someone who could be a strong, positive role model for young girls growing up watching soaps and desperately wanting someone to connect with. Instead, the dialogue she has to spout rings hollow, and the spinelessness of Ameera must be Hell on her back. I hope Ashe has a good deal with a chiropractor. 

At least I have DAYS to numb the pain.

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