Soap Opera Weekly: Blogging With Mala

Is the Daytime Emmy Awards broadcast already upon us Gasp! That means it’s time for my 3rd Annual Mala’s Made-Up Awards. For those just tuning in to my blog, this is where I totally punk out of making Emmy predictions, because I have no ability to pick winners! Making up awards instead is much more up my alley! (Check Aug. 28, 2009, for last year’s, and June 20 for 2008’s!) 

Most Entertaining Show: B&B and DAYS.
Best Surprise Couple: ATWT’s Barbara and Henry, B&B’s Stephen and Pam, and DAYS’ Victor and Maggie.
Best Couple That The Show Reaaaally Wants Us To Like: GH’s Dante and Lulu.
Best New Character: ATWT’s Reid Oliver (like I was going to say anything else?).
Best New Character Played By a Soap Vet: Dahlia Salem as GH’s Claire.
Best Recast:Marcy Rylan as Y&R’s nuAbby.
Guest Appearance I Will Never Get Tired Of: Snoop Dogg being on OLTL.
You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby: GH’s Ethan. Yes, I actually like him now. Don’t die of shock!
I Think I’m a Clone Now: ATWT’s Gabriel and AMC’s Damon. Seriously, they’re the same character…with the same hair!
Best Love Scene: OLTL’s Kyle and Fish’s New Year’s Eve fireworks!
Most Trauma-inducing Love Scene: B&B’s Oliver and Brooke.
Most Memorable Line of the Year: B&B’s Stephanie and, “Say hello to Beth for me!”
Biggest Jerkface: OLTL’s Ford.
The Miranda Montgomery Cutest Baby Award: DAYS’ Sydney.
Biggest Waste of Potential: OLTL’s Schuyler being made Roxy’s son and then being shipped off canvas!
Best Realization of Potential:Lexi Ainsworth as GH’s Kristina. She has really come into her own.
Most Froth-inducing Storyline: GH’s Sonny shooting an unarmed Dante in the chest, GH’s Michael getting maybe-or-maybe-not-raped in prison.
Best Social Issue Storyline: B&B’s Sandy/Aggie’s rape reveal.
The Paging-Clone-Reva WTH?! Award: ATWT’s Mick Dante.
I Would Watch It On a Loop: OLTL’s Kyle or Fish holding baby Sierra Mist.
Most Missed Veteran: AMC’s David Canary (Adam).
The Chester-the-Molester Skeevy Pairing Award: OLTL’s Langston and Ford.
The Dorian Gray Portrait-in-the-Attic Award: GH’s Jonathan Jackson (Lucky).
The I Want To Give Brody Lovett An Award Award: OLTL’s Brody.
Best Use of History: ATWT’s Bob and Kim’s non-iversary/remarriage, DAYS’ Alice’s death arc and all the family returns during it.
Worst Rewrite of History: ATWT’s Lily, Lucinda and Sierra keeping Craig’s illegitimate son, Gabriel, from him.
Best Death: B&B’s Ann. It was Betty White, dude. Come on.
Worst Death: AS THE WORLD TURNS. Duh.
Best Return: ATWT’s Simon coming back to comfort Katie. (Come baaaaaack, Simon!)
Most Unsurprising Return: Y&R’s Adam.
Worst Return: OLTL’s Mitch Laurence.
Biggest Unsolved Mysteries: Why no one runs into OLTL’s Kyle or Fish at Llanview’s hospital or police station, where ATWT’s Jade has disappeared to and why B&B’s Brooke doesn’t know Ridge’s body intimately after all this time.

originally posted on soapoperaweekly.com

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Soap Opera Weekly: Blogging With Mala

After our managing editor, Gabby, interviewed Kevin G. Schmidt (Noah, Y&R) about his new Cartoon Network show, UNNATURAL HISTORY, I was so intrigued I had to tune in for Sunday night’s premiere! Guess what? I’m already hooked!

Schmidt plays headstrong teen Henry, who has been packed off to Smithson High School in Washington DC by his globe-trotting anthropologist parents. Henry’s life lessons have been learned all over the world, and he’s not technologically plugged in or hip to the latest teen lingo. Fortunately, his Indiana Jones-esque smarts and fighting skill are a perfect fit for the weird goings-on at Smithson, affiliated with the Smithsonian museum right next door! As the central character, Schmidt has to carry the show, and he does it with wit and charm. Henry is just so engaging and adorkable. I love that he’s socially awkward, but incredibly savvy in other ways.

Joining Schmidt are Jordan Gavaris as Henry’s cousin, Jasper, Italia Ricci as Maggie (she’s the Hermione Granger to their Harry Potter and Ron Weasley) and Martin Donovan as the school principal and Jasper’s father, Bryan. Together, they make up a fun little ensemble.

It’s not a deep show, it’s a fun, Sunday night indulgence, and I love how it sort of blends elements from other texts. If you like BONES, you might like this. If you like the Harry Potter books, you might like this. If you totally watched YOUNG INDIANA JONES CHRONICLES, starring Sean Patrick Flanery, in the ’90s you might like this. And this Sunday’s episode deals with a mystery surrounding the Pony Express so, as someone who watched THE YOUNG RIDERS, I’m thinkin’ I definitely might like it…

originally posted on soapoperaweekly.com

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!

Color me sad

2009 was a shaky year for soap diversity, and with OLTL back-burnering the Evanses, and writing off Kyle, Fish and Rachel, 2010 is off to a rocky start. Sure, GH is about to start featuring Maya and Zoe, tenuous Quartermaines by way of the Wards, but I’m not necessarily holding out any hope for major story. Heck, despite my investing in OLTL last year, the only soap that really gave me hope in terms of reflecting the increasingly diverse makeup of the U.S. was General Hospital: Night Shift. And I still don’t understand why the parent show couldn’t have absorbed those characters after a third season was a no-go.

Kyle and Eric were a great gay love story…and bringing them back in the wake of no Bianca on AMC and a Kish-less Llanview would be a great step. And who’s to say Kyle couldn’t be involved with Lucas, a legacy character? Leo and his jealousy issues were compelling, no matter which Rains brother was playing him. And I couldn’t Robin use a pal like Saira Batra on her side while Lisa is making eyes at Patrick? Azita Ghanizada is beautiful, talented, and I’d even put up with Saira being paired with Sonny just to have someone of my ethnic background represented on my soap! And as for Leyla, Lainey and Kelly, who were part of the parent show…well, Leyla was killed off, and Lainey and Kelly are never on. Maybe they’re off in a supply closet somewhere with Matt Hunter?

I don’t get it.

There are dozens of ways to fit more people of color into soaps. I mean, I’ve said this before, but if you have to go the tokenizing and stereotypical route because it’s the easiest way to diversify, every soap has a hospital. Hospitals = Indian doctors. And Port Charles General Hospital in particular has diversity in its very roots: Steve and Audrey Hardy’s biracial grandson, Tommy. Wouldn’t he be a hot twenty-something by now and a great option for Maxie? And what if B&B’s Prince Omar of Morocco (Kabir Bedi), had a rebellious runaway daughter who fled to L.A. in search of his former wife, Taylor/Princess Leila? And she fell in love with Thomas? Or what if a new hot stranger in Genoa City just happened to be a dashing Latin-American or Indian business rival of Tucker’s? Remember when Y&R brought on Eric Steinberg‘s Ji Min? Alas, Ji Min, we hardly knew ye! He was daytime’s only contract Asian actor and he barely last a year!

Man, now I’m all nostalgic. I’m going to have to bust out my GH: NS season one DVD and scour YouTube for season two clips.

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 soapoperaweekly.com

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 soapoperaweekly.com

Soap Opera Weekly: Blogging With Mala

So, GH has James Franco for sweeps, and Y&R, which has been teasing a recast of Malcolm Winters for months, brings in…Darius McCrary?! (Better known to most people as Eddie, the not-so-bright son on the ’90s sitcom FAMILY MATTERS.) I’m looking forward to seeing what he does with the role, but still…huh

This is hardly the first time the show has pulled from that era’s sitcom lineup for its talent. There’s THE FRESH PRINCE OF BEL AIR’s Tatyana M. Ali as the woefully underused Roxanne (give this fabulous woman a real story!), McCrary’s fellow FAMILY MATTERS alum Bryton McClure as the equally underused but at least critically acclaimed Devon, and BOY MEETS WORLD’s William Russ as new character Tucker. I’d also almost count Yvonne Zima (Daisy) because her sister Madeline was Grace on THE NANNY and they look startlingly similar. And speaking of sisters, Y&R’s sister soap B&B does boast the totally awesome Patrick Duffy (of STEP BY STEP fame) as Stephen — but he has soap background as well, having been on DALLAS. 

So, color me confused. Why the influx of notable sitcom actors? I know Y&R has gotten all loony in recent months, but does this mean it is going to start filming in front of a live studio audience and adding a laugh track? 

I’m not trying to knock the actors; I just think the association is so different. Stacy Haiduk (Patty/Emily) did AMC before this and has a huge backlist of prime-time drama experience.Wilson Bethel (Ryder) came from the lauded mini-series GENERATION KILL. And powerhouse Ted Shackelford (Jeffrey, ex-Will), of course, hails from KNOTS LANDING and DALLAS. Plus, and this is a big one, they all came in with roles that are tied to the canvas but still essentially new! We didn’t learn MJ was Patty until long after the character had been on the scene, so we didn’t have a preconceived notion of how Haiduk should have played her. 

I don’t know how McCrary tracks as Malcolm, of all characters! Shemar Moore made an impact in that role, as both a “hunk” and Lily’s biological father. And with this casting note, all I can think is that Steve Urkel’s going to burst in any second asking Malcolm and Lily if they have any cheese! 

That’s not to say that I don’t think familiar prime-time actors can make the crossover to soaps. Of course they can. McClure did, Ali did, ditto for Duffy. And Joseph C. Phillips went from being Denise’s husband on THE COSBY SHOW to playing GH’s Justus! It just has to make sense

For instance, if we’re doing wishful ’90s sitcom casting…how about Jasmine Guy as Drucilla? (I’m going to ignore the fact that she’s playing Bonnie’s grandmother on THE VAMPIRE DIARIES. Oh my God, I feel so old.) She’s gorgeous, she’s a great actress, and she has enough distance from A DIFFERENT WORLD’s Whitley Gilbert that no one would expect her to look at Neil and bust out with “Dwaaaaaynnnne” in Whit’s trademark nasal whine. And how has Nicholle Tom (THE NANNY) not landed on the same soap that both her brother, David, and sister, Heather, cut their teeth on? 

I think bringing in new actors from unexpected places is admirable and applaud Y&R for trying, but they might want to look back at some of the choices they made this year and ask Urkel’s favorite question: “Did I do that?”

originally posted on soapoperaweekly.com