Soap Opera Weekly: Blogging With Mala

So, thanks to a winter break where I was totally indoctrinated into the Cult of Eddie Matos (you would not believe how many State Farm Insurance commercials air in a given day), I came back to work ready to tune back into AMC. (Strangely, I’ve also been itching to buy insurance…) And I gotta say, all cult jokes aside, I kinda like Matos’ recurring Rev. Ricky. He and Kendall have a nice connection (and not in the Thorn Birds way). Losing Zach has absolutely wrecked the poor woman, and it’s great that she has somebody to talk to.

But you know who I’m not sold on just yet…? Pine Valley Hospital’s new hot doc, Griffin Castillo. Maybe it’s just my bad luck, but every time I flip from Y&R or B&B over to AMC, Griffin’s being snarly! He just doesn’t seem very accessible. And, yes, I know that it’s an old story trope: snarliness eventually melts into warm fuzziness, but I’m not buying it. Similar to how Caleb was a crabby asshat to Erica and is now unbelievable as this guy getting all moony over her, I don’t want to see Griffin getting all soppy over Kendall. Part and parcel of this, of course, is Zendall, and the fact that Zach is such a huge, huge part of Kendall’s life, and her sons’ lives. The powers-that-be at AMC have promised that Kendall will be grieving Zach for a long time, and I hope that a “long time” doesn’t translate to “she’ll be kissing Griffin in March.” Kendall is a chip off Erica’s block, but I’m crossing my fingers that she doesn’t follow in her mother’s footsteps and become engaged in a nonsensical attraction to a guy not suitable for her.

Let’s face it, creating a successful pairing is hard. You may strike gold with a formula once or twice and then the third time, it goes over like a lead balloon. The thing about Zendall is that they were a fluke! I remember fans on the message boards going, “Hey, Kendall should hook up with Zach Slater” long before it was even hinted at on air. Viewers saw something there and between the actors and the writing, you had something that, magically, worked! That’s hard to replicate! I know Kendall has to move on eventually, and Griffin is AMC’s new “It” guy, but I don’t quite see him pulling a rabbit out of a hat yet.

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Soap Opera Weekly: Blogging With Mala

“Is it bad that I assume everyone gets killed on GH?” I asked my Twitter followers today. So, with major apologies to Edward Gorey and his famous Gashlycrumb Tinies, I simply cannot resist a tongue-in-cheek send-up of the show’s death toll in recent years.

A is for AJ, who caught so much flack
B stands for Brian, shot in the back
C is for Cooper, strung up as a lie
D is for Diego, who was hung out to dry
E is for Emily, who went “gurgle, thump”
F is for Faith, erased by Durant’s chump
G is for Georgie, who choked out her last breath
H is for Hernando, whom Sonny gifted with death
I is for Ian, whom Jason put down.
J is for Jesse, taken out by a clown.
K is for Kiefer, slayed by a former D.A.
L is for Luis, who died in a similar way
M is for Manny, who fell off a roof
N is for Nico — don’t ask me for proof
O is for Ronan O’Reilly, crushed on the pitch
P heralds Port Charles, where life’s always a bitch
Q is for Quartermaines, whittled to bone
R is for Reese, who died all alone
S is for Stefan and Stavros, who Cassa-died
T is for Tony, thanks to antiviruses untried
U celebrates Useless Dayplayers left to expire
V is for Violence, which GH should retire!
W is for Warren, brought down by Mac
X marks the spot for Mister John Jacks
Y Claudia got whacked was Michael’s big fail
Z is for Zander, cut down in a hail!

 

originally posted on soapoperaweekly.com

Soap Opera Weekly: Blogging With Mala

I had quit railing at the soap gods and achieved a resigned state of zen over OLTL’s Ford invasion — my Nov. 5 post highlighted that — but, this week, when Bobby was revealed to have a connection to Joey’s fiancée Aubrey, my ire returned in full force. Is it too much to ask to have one or two stories on OLTL that don’t involve the Fords? Please?

One of the arguments for jettisoning Kyle and Fish earlier this year was that they weren’t tied to core families. Well, the Fords aren’t a core family, are they? And having them on five days a week will not magically Make It So. They’re all still newbies! And when you tell me that newbie Bobby and newbie Aubrey have a past…why am I supposed to care? Reconciling that Joey has returned with a globe-trotting girlfriend he met five seconds ago is tough enough. He’s always been earnest, but this level of naiveté is pretty hard to take! And Kelly scrambling to cover her tracks with him and Aubrey has been pretty excruciating. Poor gal! The story didn’t need the added complication of Bobby knowing Aubrey…especially as he is still very present in the teen story, with Langston, the Jessica baby daddy quagmire, and, of course, his own family’s front burner drama. Why shoehorn Bobby into another plot? Joey’s return arc doesn’t need a “Ford Seal of Approval.” Joey is a legacy character, for crying out loud! I guess I should count myself lucky that they haven’t found a way to involve a Ford with Echo, Charlie and Viki…yet.

Look, I get it. The Fords are not going anywhere. Every SOAPnet promo about the show features them. The boys are dating three young female leads, the parents are tormenting Bo and Nora. It’s a done deal. But does that mean they have to be involved in every aspect of the show? I’ve been watching OLTL since Megan was starring on FRATERNITY ROW, and I don’t know that I’ve seen a brand-new family eat up airtime like this since the Rappaports and the Santis! And we all know how those stories went…

 

originally posted at soapoperaweekly.com

Soap Opera Weekly: Blogging With Mala

I am hopelessly addicted to 90210 this season, and I’m pretty sure it’s Trevor Donovan‘s fault. Or at least that of Teddy Montgomery, the character Donovan plays.

Without OLTL’s Kish and ATWT’s Luke, Reid and Noah, there has been a giant hole where gay storylines on soaps used to be. AMC’s Bianca is a supporting player, Y&R’s Rafe even more so; and because they don’t have any significant story of their own, they just can’t fill that void. But 90210’s Teddy, and his slow progression to accepting that he’s gay or bi, just might do the trick.

I began catching up on this season in preparation for an interview with Donovan that ran in our Nov. 16 issue. Soon after we chatted, Teddy’s story really began to pick up, with him watching Ian, while simultaneously trying to push him away and also tamp down his own conflict. This week saw Teddy being entranced by Ian throughout the entire episode… and going totally unresponsive when ex-girlfriend Silver planted a kiss on him. When she asked him if there was someone else, his gaze cut to Ian and he admitted there was. That was almost better than what happened a few moments later. Teddy helped Ian put away some tiki torches and then surprised him with an enthusiastic kiss that was the flip side to his lukewarm reaction to Silver. For Teddy to be able to admit to himself that he has feelings for a man is huge! Up until this point, it’s been a whole lot of “deny, deny, deny.” Even earlier in the episode, he tried to convince Ian (and himself) that whatever was between them was a fluke. Well, it’s not a fluke, and certainly worth tuning in for. And so is the rest of the show!

Watching the first season, I was disappointed with how they tried to tie it to the original recipe 90210 (Dylan McKay would NOT be a deadbeat dad, people!) and I found Annie, the “new” Brenda Walsh, really unlikable. So, I eventually gave up. Now, I’ve come back for Teddy’s story, but I’m sticking around because this season has much more to offer. There seems to be more of an ensemble feel.

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Soap Opera Weekly: Blogging With Mala

Okay, OLTL, I give up. Uncle. I surrender. Resistance is futile. I’m on board with the Ford brothers.

I know what you’re all thinking: “Wait, WHAT?! Mala, you were doing so well with your seething hatred!” But, dude, it’s been like fighting a war of attrition day in and day out. Just like how, every day, Ford is a little less clothed…every day, a little of my wall crumbles. I am tired of building it back up again with “I miss Kish and Schuyler” bricks, tired of fighting the inevitable. Because you just know when abusive Ford Daddy, Eddie, hits town, the “feel sorry for the Fords, love the Fords” indoctrination will be in overdrive. So, I’m throwing in the towel in advance. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. Just call this post “Dr. Strangelove: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Fords.”

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Soap Opera Weekly: Blogging With Mala

BOLD AND BEAUTIFUL is in the midst of a big story involving Stephanie and the plight of the homeless community on L.A.’s Skid Row, and I’d like to discuss the pluses and minuses. I was actually thinking of doing it in print, but I have so much going on in my head that I don’t think it would all fit on one page. So buckle up (or bail out!) as I get myself in gear!

Conceptually and stylistically, B&B’s location scenes have been beautiful. The Angels Flight sequence last Wednesday, intercut with Stephanie, Brooke and Taylor all having flashbacks, was gorgeous. You really got the bittersweet sense that Stephanie was looking forward to ascending to another plane. And I love the following episodes being a callback to Stephanie’s time wandering the streets in 1991. I thought it was incredibly haunting and on point when she observed, “This is my town. I live 20 minutes away, yet it seems a thousand miles away. I promised I’d make a difference. Instead, when I see them, I turn away.” By the time “Lean on Me” cued up, I was sniffling. And the last shot of Friday’s air show, of Ann’s scarf floating off on the breeze, was breathtaking. (I was “off duty,” on vacation with extended family that day, and still watched. That’s how much I love this show!)

I think the idea of Stephanie deciding to fight her cancer so she can do some good is wonderful. It’s a great message to put out there: that those with privilege and power should give back to the less-fortunate. “What have I done with my life? What is my burden compared to theirs?” Stephanie mused. Those are questions more people should ask themselves! We live in a very materialistic world, where it’s all about lining up for the unveiling of the iPad and filling your Hummer’s gas tank. Punk kids from the Jersey Shore become rich and famous simply for being punk kids from the Jersey Shore while teachers get laid off and schools get shut down. So I like that B&B is shedding light on such an important, still relevant, topic. I remember when Phil Collins’ Grammy-winning “Another Day in Paradise” came out in 1989. I was 11 and it was my first real exposure to the issue of homelessness. I was floored by the power of the song and the message — as many others were. That our society and our government hasn’t really improved the homeless situation in this country since that song’s release, and since Stephanie’s initial journey, is a sad state of affairs. So, kudos to B&B for reminding us that there is still much to do.

Aaaand now for the more delicate and critical part of my entry. If you don’t want to read a lot of pontificating about racial dynamics, you can hit your ‘Back’ button now.

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Soap Opera Weekly: Blogging With Mala

On Sunday, I had the chance to sit in on the New York Comic Con press panels for NIKITA and THE VAMPIRE DIARIES. It was really cool. The cast and powers-that-be of both shows were incredibly fun and knowledgeable, and gave some great teases for what’s ahead. (Check upcoming issues of Weekly for the dish!)

I’ve been wary of the NIKITA reboot so far — I was really into the 1997-2001 series — but listening to executive producer Craig Silverstein, Shane West (Michael), Lyndsy Fonseca (Alex; ex-Colleen, Y&R) and Maggie Q (Nikita) has persuaded me to keep watching with an open mind. Anyone following my Twitter knows that I’ve been particularly tough on nuMichael, so getting insight into West’s approach to the character was nice. I found my resistance to Michael totally wavering as West talked about trying to inject Michael with a little more emotion than past incarnations but also balance that with the times the character needs to rein it in. (I’m also not so hard-hearted that I can sit next to someone and keep being grouchy about their character. LOL!) Lyndsy Fonseca is absolutely luminous, and she gave big props to her soap training ground. Also handing out props was Maggie Q, who praised her years working in film in Asia for giving her the tools to handle the frenetic pace of NIKITA. And what’s the actress and action star’s big secret for kicking ass in all those fight scenes? Yoga.

THE VAMPIRE DIARIES contingent consisted of executive producers Kevin Williamson and Julie Plec, Steven R. McQueen (Jeremy), Katerina Graham (Bonnie), Sara Canning (Jenna) and Zach Roerig (Matt; ex-Casey, ATWT). And, yes, you can bet it was great to see one of my former ATWT people. Zach and I traded hugs and commiserated over the New York soap scene being down to one show. He also revealed that he would’ve loved to have come back for the ATWT finale, even if it was just in a walk-on role. Aw! Going back a little further than ATWT was my moment of “Whoa” realizing I was in a Q&A with Kevin Williamson. I’m from the SCREAM and DAWSON’S CREEK generation, okay? It was surreal, and I had to struggle not to fangirl a little. (Okay, okay, there may have been a tiny instance of “every episode is awesome!”) And Williamson’s co-pilot, Julie Plec, is just a riot. I think I want to be her if I ever grow up. Steven R. McQueen was a total charmer as he talked about Jeremy’s evolution. Katerina Graham and Sara Canning were lovely, and while Jenna’s probably not going to learn about the craziness under her own roof anytime soon, Bonnie’s exploration of her mystical side will continue.

It was a great set of sessions, and I think fans of The CW’s Thursday line-up have a lot of juicy stuff to look forward to this season! I’m one, and I’m certainly psyched!

Originally posted on soapoperaweekly.com