If I Were a Soap Writer…
Posted Jan 9, 2009 @ 4:19 PM
I'll start with AMC and the Zach/Reese/Binks stupidity. If I were a soap writer I would have either made Reese openly bisexual so that there's no question of sexual identity confusion and Binanca's jealousy might make some sort of sense or I would have given Reese an ex-girlfriend for Bianca to be jealous of instead of Zach. I'd make this ex someone who broke up with Reese because Reese wouldn't come out of the closet. Now this ex is an employee of Zach's and is surprised to run into Reese who is now openly gay. Bianca's jealous because the main reason Reese and her ex broke up isn't an issue anymore. Zach would still be part of the story since the ex works for him, and he's close to Bianca and Reese. Erica can get involved by claiming that Reese's friendship with Zach is just her using him to find excuses to run into her ex-girlfriend.
Posted Jan 10, 2009 @ 12:22 AM
Posted Jan 10, 2009 @ 11:49 AM
I would not have put Claudia into a marriage with Sonny, but would have a full-on romance/partnership with Ric. I'd have them work together to take down their respective fathers.
Going further back, I would not have killed off Logan, and I would have handled the Lulu/Logan romance completely differently. I would have introduced Johnny as a romantic possibility for Maxie, not Lulu.
I also would not have killed off Emily or Georgie. I can think of a lot of story for both of them.
Posted Jan 10, 2009 @ 12:08 PM
Posted Jan 10, 2009 @ 1:18 PM
I would have had Luke and Noah having sex like bunnies months ago too.
If I were a soap writer for ATWT, I would find a way to make Dusty less obnoxious by having him not bully people to get his way all the time or at least have people call him on his crap instead of joining his side. I would also slow the pace of stories for the audience has a chance to get invested.
Posted Jan 10, 2009 @ 1:58 PM
I'll start with AMC and the Zach/Reese/Binks stupidity. If I were a soap writer I would have either made Reese openly bisexual so that there's no question of sexual identity confusion and Binanca's jealousy might make some sort of sense or I would have given Reese an ex-girlfriend for Bianca to be jealous of instead of Zach.
I agree. There is enough potential for drama in this story that they don't even need a third party. But if they are going to have a third party in this storyline than, as you suggested, bring on a woman or make Reese clearly bisexual. It's awful that Bianca has another sexually ambiguous girlfriend. AMC should hve moved on from that a long time ago. They could have had plently of conflict over Zach's role in Gabrielle's life, with Reese becoming bothered by Zach's over involvement with Gabby and Bianca encouraging it. There seemed to be some hints in the beginning of the story it would go that way but it seems to have been dropped in favor of Zach and Reese's relationship.
I also would not have killed off Emily or Georgie. I can think of a lot of story for both of them.
I hated that they killed off Georgie. GH needs characters like her. It was such a short-sighted move. They should have just let her go to Europe instead of killing her. And while I'm no Emily fan the Quartermaines are a well loved family and TPTB insistance on marginalizing them has hurt the show.
Edited by oreo8704, Jan 10, 2009 @ 2:02 PM.
Posted Jan 10, 2009 @ 2:16 PM
Posted Jan 10, 2009 @ 4:28 PM
Going back years, I haaated it when GL killed off Nadine. I was in a minority in that I loved Nadine with Buzz and wanted Jenna to go find someone else. I did not love the Buzz/Jenna romance and I thought killing off Nadine was a terrible waste.
Posted Jan 10, 2009 @ 5:46 PM
I would have never made Jill and Katherine mother and daughter. Totally messed up their dynamic.
I also would have never killed off John Abbott - which nearly obliterated this core family (well, after the Brooks and Fosters were pretty much removed). John was the glue that held that family together - they are splintered (in spite them joining forces to regain control of Jabot) because of it.
In addition, I would not have killed off Cassie Newman. If Camryn Grimes wanted to focus on school, good for her, but I think killing off ingenues, especially those from core families, is pointless on a soap since they (characters, not so much the actors playing them) can become future leads (looking at you Bradley Bell - see Phoebe Forrester). Cassie could have been sent off to boarding school to be SORASed a couple of years and played by a slightly older actress - I think LML made a big mistake by pushing her teacher's pet, Michelle Stafford, into a leading lady role by the creation of Phick. Cassie's death is what lead to the Nick/Phyllis coupling.
I'm basing this comment on Y&R specifically, but this is a general comment for all soaps. Don't make minority characters stuck in their own little marginalized orbit. Integrate them into the fabric of the show - otherwise it's an insult to soap viewers. Although a soap cannot air every storyline on a given episode, don't make the "minority orbit" look like "Negro Day" when their major story arc are aired as completely separate plot points from the rest of the show. Also, let the minorities have some range. Not every minority needs to be "urban" or poor, nor do they need to be the Cosbys either. I think as long as the stories are good, most people won't pick apart minor characterizations or details. This is soap opera, not an afterschool special.And when I say minorities, I'm not just talking African Americans. I also mean Mexicans/hispanics/latinos, Asians (of all ethnicities because Asian is quite a broad term), Meditterians/Middle Easterns, Africans, etc.
Lastly, I would push the envelop a little more. I know TPTB (meaning EPs and other bean counters) would try to temper this, but I would bring some sexy back to Daytime drama. Be creative! Do like the pop/rock and R&B performers of the 1950s and 60s did, and master the fine art of the subtle innuendo, double entendre, and visually clever ways to get the point across. I know this will sound a little underhanded, but I would use the fact that the economy is bad to test the waters with some provocative dialogue, for starters. Sometimes when times get bad, people start caring a little less about social or "moral" concerns and start worrying more about things like jobs, gas prices and health care. I'm not saying morality isn't important, but the thought police have gotten people too concerned about things they cannot always control. I think that's one of the reasons soaps got more risque in the late 1980s and early 1990s - there was a recession and people were willing to let things like catfights and suggestive (and at times, downright explicit) love scenes slide.
Edited by WitsNSass, Jan 10, 2009 @ 5:50 PM.
Posted Jan 10, 2009 @ 10:45 PM
Posted Jan 12, 2009 @ 1:20 PM
Posted Jan 12, 2009 @ 1:57 PM
I'd do the story so that Bad Girl plots and schemes and lands Dim Guy - but then, because she is so happy about getting what she wanted in life, she redeems herself and wins Dim Guys love for real! (Or maybe Dim Guy wasn't so dim after all and decided that Bad Girl's plotting/scheming abilities were a feature, not a bug). It would never in a million years be allowed to happen on a soap, but it would be fun to try.
There are so few real triangles where you could root for both sides depending on the day. There is always one clearly horrible person in the triangle and the person being fought over ends up looking dumber than a box of hammers because if he/she wasn't, there would be no triangle because you wouldn't put up with the horrible person. Finally the "good" person (if it is a woman) generally comes across as a pathetic doormat for putting up with Dim Guy's waffling.
So, since real triangles are few and far between, I'd like to see Dim Guy chose Bad Girl and have Good Girl just tell him "you are an idiot to trust someone who does the things that she does to get what she wants, so you get what you deserve" and go on with her own life and not moon over Dim Guy. I would like to see Bad Girl realize once she has him that Dim Guy really isn't so awesome - he's kind of stupid for falling for all the manipulations - and dump him. And Dim Guy ends up alone for being an idiot.
Edited by Mrs. Stanwyck, Jan 12, 2009 @ 2:50 PM.
Posted Jan 12, 2009 @ 3:41 PM
And Dim Guy ends up alone for being an idiot.
AMEN! to that one! Or at least let Dim Guy own the fact that he really likes two women fighting over him as opposed to the, "I'm so torn ... " crapola.
Posted Jan 12, 2009 @ 4:51 PM
The big thing, though, was the terrible timing in Babe's discovery of the truth. It destroyed her character, and made the story damn near unwatchable when it could have been riveting and heartbreaking.
Posted Jan 13, 2009 @ 7:01 PM
Posted Jan 16, 2009 @ 11:40 PM
What I mean:
1) More diversity in daily activities. Most people under 35 grew up with friends who might have been 1st generation American citizens. See Disney channel for examples. Our peers may be hispanic, African, Carribean, Persian, Russian, etc by birth, but American by citizenship and identification. Please show that. You can even show the parental/homeland conflict. That would be fresh. See the Persian family on 90210 for inspiration (the only good part of that show).
2) We stress out about jobs and family life. 1950s is not reality anymore. Many moms are semi-stay at home, but work part time remotely. Single moms exist. they might catch the show on Soapnet. There are few good role models or at least relational models (those we might relate to, but not follow their lead.....would you follow Sami Brady's lead as a single mom???)
3) What are the real problems of people in their 20s-40s? Exes, kids, fertility, money, the Jones', jobs, illness. I've never encountered the mob. Give us "examples" of how our peers might react.
4) Keep the stories moving. We do not care as much as past viewers about following storylines if we miss a few months. In the new economy/highspeed interconnectivity, we require fast paced stories. If the story and characters are/is good we will follow.
5) Standard soap stories are trite. We know these stories and dislike them. Give us something fresh, you can make a "boring" conflict (ie. infertility/job loss) interesting if done right with originality. Please no rape-redemption, kidnapped/switched babies, brought back from the dead stories.
Posted Jan 17, 2009 @ 12:03 AM
Posted Jan 17, 2009 @ 11:21 PM
Wouldn't it be neat to have a female character who doesn't have Baby Rabies? I realize soaps are mostly about families and stuff, but having just one single female character who is more interested in ANYTHING than getting pregnant would be a nice change. GH, I'm mostly looking at you.
What would be even cooler is a female character who doesn't really want to have kids, or feels deeply conflicted/ambivalent about having children.
On a similar note, I am utterly sick of young male characters who, upon discovering that their one night stand is knocked up, immediately say, "I'll be a father to the child." Trust me, I used to work for a Friend of the Court office*, that is most definitely not the way it works in real life! But in soaps, even when it is clear that the mother-to-be got pregnant in order to ensnare the young man, they always immediately renounce their True Love and decide to marry whoever they got preggers or otherwise Be A Father To the Baby.
Just once, I'd like to see a male character, upon being informed of the upcoming birth, say, "My lawyer will contact your lawyer about setting up the child support payments. Good luck with the pregnancy." Or even, "Are you sure? I mean, are you sure it's mine?" Something a little bit more realistic than the usual malarkey.
* - For those who don't know what a Friend of the Court agency is, their job is to enforce child support, alimony, and custody orders.
Edited by tam1MI, Feb 21, 2009 @ 4:16 PM.
Posted Jan 18, 2009 @ 12:40 AM
Posted Jan 18, 2009 @ 12:25 PM
I'd love to see Audrey again with a story so the Alsheimer's seems like a great idea. Plus, the writers have written Liz into a wall and need to do something new with her out of the mob orbit.
Posted Jan 18, 2009 @ 6:12 PM
I'm not saying it is a great storyline to explore (ATWT did it with Nancy's husband Dan? McCloskey), but there will be a contingent of viewers who will react against the reality of a disease that doesn't give one a chance of having that miracle recovery that Sweeps months are made for.
Posted Jan 18, 2009 @ 7:50 PM
Posted Jan 18, 2009 @ 11:05 PM
I'd like to see an Alzheimer's or dementia storyline. If I were writing it, it'd be Audrey Hardy with her granddaughter Liz having to eventually take care of her. It's timely, it's medical, and I don't think it's ever been done. I'd start slowly with Audrey having memory lapses and really explore all the issues of a senior citizen slowly losing the ability to take care of herself. As the disease progress, I'd have Liz struggling with the decision on whether or not to put her grandmother into a nursing home. I'd also use this storyline to reintroduce at least one member of Liz's family, maybe Steven Lars.
This would be great, as it's one of the few medical stories soaps haven't tackled.
BTW, the GH writers were considering this, but John Beradino (Steve Hardy) died and the storyline was nixed.
Posted Jan 19, 2009 @ 12:56 AM
We need more "reality" in little snippets of day-to-day life. The only time we get beds on daytime is sex scenes (if we're lucky enough to get our couples off the living room couch!) I'm not asking for huge set budgets- but a few rooms to establish the homes of our characters would be stellar. We can't have EVERYONE on Y&R dining at the health club, and homes should tell us a little something about our characters. I remember being in school and seeing that a teen character on Santa Barbara had the same posters on her wall that I did; it sort of helped anchor the character for me, made me identify with her on some level. I remember watching Maeve do actual HOUSEWORK on Ryan's Hope; when's the last time we saw THAT on soap these days? (I don't could GH's Liz's Folding Laundry- because it was somehow supposed to communicate her anger, not establish that she, you know- has children and washes clothes. We saw it maybe twice and it was so novel that it became memorable.) Characters don't need to have their conversations over fake food (that no one touches) or while pouring another endless drink from the weird liquor/water displays everyone on tv seems to have in their living room. Let's see friends talking over an actual meal, eaten in someone's actual kitchen. Or folks stopping by and interrupting someone running the vacuum. This is the way life actually unfolds. Male bonding doesn't always happen across a pool table; let's see a few guys borrowing leaf blowers and rakes occasionally. The fact that we don't get these kind of scenes is why it's so damn hard to round up groomsmen who aren't coworkers or blood relatives for daytime weddings: soap characters just don't have any friends.
I'm also not averse to the standard plotlines of soap: fiction needs it's long-lost children, DID, evil twins and newly undead spouses, too. But I miss the human interactions that used to define good soap. I miss the family dynamics (good and bad alike) of Capwells, Abbots, Chandlers, Quartermaines, etc. Family comes with its own storyline potentials- eliminate the families and there goes most of the plot. You have random unaffiliated people floating around loosely onscreen, wasting potential, so you have to contrive superficial relationships to prop them up. Step one to a better daytime is stronger families. Newcomers to GH could go weeks without finding out that Sam, Alexis, Nick, Lucky, Lulu, and Luke are actually related to each other. Not once have we ever seen Sam wondering who the hell her father is, either.
Step two would be to establish and revere show history, because history ALSO generates story. I would hire oldschool fans to serve as continuity fairies: Adam Chandler would never testify for Tad Martin in a custody trial, because Tad Martin has systematically stolen his children over the years. Adam and Tad are lifelong rivals, nemeses; they do not cooperate willingly with each other, and they each would gladly see the other in hell. Pay attention to character histories and you won't have to come up with convoluted plotlines- the stories write themselves.
Step three would involve firing people who cannot write, and people who cannot act. It's all very well and good if your ingenue is pretty, but it's useless if we don't identify with her and empathise with her goals. A good actor can make the audience empathise with the most amoral character onscreen, but a bad actor kills any interest the audience might have in the story no matter how good it is. We're all too busy wincing at the performance to care about the plot at that point. By the same token, a great actor can sometimes sell bad writing, but it only works for so long. Give a good actor good writing and people will talk about that scene for years, sometimes for decades. There's a reason that Karen Wolek's OLTL confession twenty years ago is a classic; good writing and good acting can always find its audience. Thousands have gone in search of that one scene alone, online.
Additionally, I'd eliminate focus groups. Apparently the only folks they can get to participate in them are too stupid to actually turn on their television sets. Besides- what insights can people who have never watched a show possibly provide about the kind of people that do, about what they are going to enjoy?
Posted Jan 19, 2009 @ 2:26 AM
If I were a soap writer (cue Tevye), I would approach the task with a sense of humility. I would watch every episode of my show with a critical eye. I would watch the other soaps on my network, and (if time allotted) watched the other soaps (especially anything garnering good buzz). I would run all my characters through the Mary Sue test, to make sure I am not subjecting the fans to the likes of Ryan Lavery or Jason Morgan. I would not waste money on special effects or sweeps stunts because (1) that never pays off with long-term spikes and (2) prime-time does it so much better, it looks like a joke anyway. I would acknowledge the real world, with some stories about Iraq vets, the faltering economy, etc. I would make diversity a priority because soaps should look like America. In just 28 hours, we will have a president with a white mother, a black father, and an Asian sister. Why not have a soap character with family ties like that? And by diversity I don't just mean race (though that is extremely important), but also sexual orientation, religion, abilities, age, etc. The breakout popularity of Bianca (AMC) and Luke (ATWT) demonstrate that America is more than ready for gay characters, and every soap should have at least one gay character from a core family. Religious diversity is welcome (yeah to Nora & Matthew on OLTL) but there should also be diversity of expression within depictions on shows. Some characters clearly go to church every week, and that should be acknowledged. And some characters are atheist and that should be acknowledged, too. Church (or temple) is also a very good place to have characters who might not get along run into each other. And it's okay for characters to be political, too. I'm a liberal but I certainly don't expect everyone to share my POV. Bo on OLTL is one of my fave characters, but if he's not a lifelong Republican, I cry foul. I don't mean that characters should preach their politics. Rather, Bo's take on events (like Matthew's experimenting with pot), should absolutely be conservative. And I could totally seeing Bo & Nora disagreeing on whether or not Bo should teach Matthew how to hunt, etc. Let characters be 3-dimensional and as diverse as the people we know in real life.
Edited by rue bee, Jan 19, 2009 @ 2:29 AM.
Posted Jan 19, 2009 @ 3:20 PM
Posted Jan 19, 2009 @ 5:09 PM
I've always felt OLTL would also be smart to take a page from both Ryan's Hope and the British soaps, particularly vintage Eastenders, to look at how to do this stuff today with no BS or exaggeration. OTT drama has its place on soaps and always will, but realism is still very powerful if in short supply. I remember when they tried to rebrand OLTL into being "the cop soap" for a couple years a while back, but it didn't fly; oddly enough, I actually think the Llanview PD scenes today come off much more real (as much as soaps can, that is); the way Bo, Nora, and Antonio and Talia toss off the jargon about their cases is as close as soaps today get to something resembling vague plausibility, IMO. I'm not saying OLTL is anywhere in the galaxy of something primetime or serious-minded like, say, The Wire, but at least I actually believe those four characters on OLTL are in law enforcement unlike, say, Roman Brady, Jack Snyder, etc. Still, making it "the cop show" as opposed to allowing them to be one law element doesn't work, so I am glad it is not wholly dominant.
Edited by jase-bot, Jan 19, 2009 @ 5:13 PM.
Posted Jan 21, 2009 @ 3:03 PM
Posted Feb 19, 2009 @ 12:46 PM
this time in vain.
Stephanie and prince charming would get involved in another battle over FC fighting Eric because as always Steph has had enough of the Logan skanks sleeping their way through the family and at the same time seizing powerful positions. So Steph and her Romeo battle the Logans which leaves a lot room for some delicious Steph/Brooke catfights.
I want some justice for Stephanie Forrester.
Posted Feb 19, 2009 @ 1:24 PM