General disinterest.

I watch soap operas the way other people watch sporting events. Yes, you hope for an engaging performance when you sit down in front of the ol’ set, but there’s also the drive to root for a player or a team, the need to align your hopes with those of another. And occasionally, or frequently, if you are lucky, you are rewarded with that moment of mutual celebration that comes with a win.

In sports, you cheer when your favorite player dunks on an opponent. In soaps, you revel in the satisfaction that comes when your favorite character gets the upper hand—which brings us to the reason why I no longer watch soap operas. I’ve endured poorly written and poorly acted episodes, but I simply can’t abide the fact that my favorite characters never seem to win. How do you root for a perpetual loser? How do you continue to follow the exploits of one who you know will never succeed? You don’t. You stop watching. One Live to Live lost me the minute it jettisoned perpetual third wheel Evangeline Williamson. And General Hospital has now lost me with its treatment of Jasper Jacks.

There are only so many times you can watch a man get cheated on by his wife, be browbeaten by his ex, or lose an argument to his enemy. This character never saves the day, is treated as a joke by his peers, and is merely an afterthought to his loved ones. While I don’t expect to be treated to an idyllic world where my favorite character does everything right and nothing bad ever happens to him (which would be rather boring, no?), I do want to see some checkmarks in the win column. It’s the uncertainty that keeps one excited, and the “wins” provide the pleasure. Without both? You’ve lost your audience.

The ratings prove it.

I wanted this to be a comics-free post, but one or two of you might be wondering how I can be fond of a character like Empowered if I won’t follow characters who are losers. Simply put, Empowered will save the day just often enough to keep me interested—and keep me rooting for the character’s future success. Plus, though she is massively unsuccessful in her professional life, Empowered’s personal life is firing on all cylinders.

Funny. The only good soap operas left are comic books! Perhaps comic book companies should start courting women who are pretty unhappy with the status of their soaps right now, and soon won’t have any soaps at all to watch.

Those ladies will have to get their fantasy and romance from somewhere. How many times will Marvel and DC watch other genres muscle in on an audience that should rightfully be theirs? If I worked at Marvel or DC, I’d be annoyed each time I heard a woman mention Game of Thrones or True Blood. I’d also have my interns hijacking soap opera message boards to post the more romantic elements of my best comics. I’ve seen women who started watching new shows when fellow posters started regularly posting YouTube clips of romantic scenes of a certain couple on message boards. I’ve started watching new shows due to this. Why couldn’t this tactic work for books? Why aren’t these companies locking on a method of advertising that is free?

It’s so frustrating to see these wasted opportunities, I swear.


My! Oh, Maya!

Here there be spoilers. General Hospital spoilers.

So, Annie Ilonzeh is gone, off to play the straight-laced, no-nonsense Kate (obviously a nod to Kate Jackson’s character, Sabrina) for the upcoming Charlie’s Angels reboot. Perfect casting, I must say. But what happens to Maya Ward? While I never thought that the character clicked well romantically with Ethan, I still think that Maya is a great addition to the canvas. I enjoy her friendships with Ethan and Johnny, and I was looking forward to her forming family bonds with Brook and Michael. But if the actress is on her way out, what can you do?

Recast.

Simply put, I think that the character has too much potential to just jettison. I want a big soapy disease of the week where damn near every blood relation has to be tested. I want a surprise paternity story—Maya is the secret lovechild of A.J. and Keesha? You don’t say! I want heart-to-heart talks with Monica and Edward. I want tense confrontations with her birth mother. And then? I want a miraculous recovery.

But you need the right actress to carry that story—perhaps one that has a little soap cred, but not too much cred to be beyond GH’s price range. Bam! Davetta Sherwood. One, The Young and the Restless fans still think of the actress fondly. Two, she’s youthful enough to be compatible with Nathan Parsons. (After all, Annie looks at least a decade older than him.) Three, she’s a decent actress. It just might work.

And might I ask something of the General Hospital writing staff? If you do bring Keesha back, can she steal Jax away from Carly? And then get into a love triangle with Jax and Shawn? Thanks in advance!


An open letter to Bob Guza Jr.

Y’know what General Hospital needs? What-if weeks. What’s that? Let me explain. A what-if week would be a week where General Hospital would tell a radically different story based on something that had been altered in the past.

  • What if Jason Quartermaine had never suffered brain damage?
  • What if Carly had stayed with A.J.?
  • What if Brenda had married Jax?
  • What if Jason Morgan had given up the mob for Liz and Jake?
  • What if Ethan had been a Scorpio?
  • What if Luke had bedded a Cassadine and sired a child?

The alternate story would wrap up within five days and then General Hospital could go back to its regular story. The show could put out one to three what-if weeks a year as a way to keep writers from suffering from burnout and to test new couples and potential storylines without angering the core audience.

What could it hurt?


Drive-by Blogging!

Generally hopeless. I cannot watch General Hospital any longer because the mere sight of Carly and Jax makes me want to vomit. Aside from the way the character looks, there is nothing appealing about Carly—and I can’t watch the show when all I see are rewards and accolades being heaped upon such a horrible creature. Carly gets the fabulous job. Carly gets to marry the handsome multi-millionaire. Carly cheats on her husband and he apologizes. Carly nearly destroys her cousin’s romantic relationship and keeps on truckin’. Aren’t villains supposed to eventually pay when they do villainous things? Isn’t that the point of a soap opera? Ugh. She’s the Emma Frost of Port Charles. I can’t watch. I find the character that distasteful.

Fresh outta luck. Do people seriously want Von Allan’s nomination revoked? ‘Cause that’s not right, y’all. Was it annoying to see white guys getting nominated for Glyphs Awards when black women couldn’t even get a chance to pitch at the companies those individuals were working for? Yes! Did that make the work of those men any less deserving of a nomination? No! Let Von Allan keep his nomination and use that nomination to (1) shine a spotlight on his work and (2) shine a spotlight on the fact that things are still not equal when it comes to gender in comics.

However, good work is good work—regardless of whether there’s a Y chromosome involved or not. And strong female characters are always needed, no matter whose head they originate in.