Soap Opera Weekly: Read at Joe’s 8/4/09

It’s such a shame that GUIDING LIGHT is going off the air next month. Then what will my colleague Mala and I trade IMs about at 10 o’clock in the morning?

Joe: I don’t care how bad the cell connection is, I don’t like Ed accidentally telling Alan about Phillip’s condition.
Mala: Oh, come on, what’s a little HIPAA violation between not-friends?
Joe: Did Dinah actually get married in that hat?
Mala: Yes, she did. And no one objected, even with due cause.
Joe: She looks like a villain the Flash would fight!
Mala: I think she looks like the starship Enterprise is on her head.
Joe: LOL. Was it a wedding or the Kentucky Derby? Wait…Dinah’s confession is nuts: There was somebody who looked exactly like Edmund and knew that a secretly adopted Bosnian baby was secretly the child of a woman killed in a mine field, who was secretly the daughter of Edmund?
Mala: Stranger things have happened in Springfield. Just ask Amish Reva. LOL. Now watch Matt strike out with Beth. At this rate, he should become a monk.
Joe: I love the “no cell phones” sign behind Ed. And if Bill and Lizzie are hot without A/C, they should go to the other side of town, where it always snows during remotes.
Mala: Why the heck is Frank just standing there, eavesdropping on Mallet and Dinah?
Joe: It’s called police work.
Mala: Can’t Dinah just run off with Mallet and Shayne and Henry while Marina just…goes away somewhere?
Joe: Marina may just give herself a stroke, the way she’s freaking out.
Mala: Any minute now, Dinah’s hat is going to take off into the skies, and Shayne will feel an urge to make a mashed-potato mountain.
Joe: LOL! And it’s good to see Bill and Lizzie’s house lacks a front door lock, just like every other place in town.
Mala: That’s the one thing they won’t actually add while fixing the house. Uh, Mallet, you only believe in Marina now because Dinah confessed. He and GH’s Sonny should start a Disingenuous Husbands club.
Joe: Heh, Dinah had to take off the hat when Shayne picked her up or she would have soared away like the Flying Nun!
Mala: But, wait, I thought Mary Poppins only left town when the wind changed…and Alan just told us Phillip’s 40!
Joe: After Sept. 18, there will be no more SORASing, so why not attach dates?
Mala: True. Except that that makes Shayne and Dinah incredibly creepy. As Dinah and Harley are the same age, and Harley babysat infant Shayne in 1990.
Joe: The Kamikaze GL we love would have her say something like, “I remember changing your diaper, and now we’re married.” Oh, look, it’s a leak at the Lewises. Somebody actually wants Matt now!
Mala: Only for his “contracting” skills. *wink, wink*
Joe: “When we say we want you to come over and ‘nail’ something, we mean with a hammer.”
Mala: Oh, man. I kind of want to bawl. And not at Matt’s love life.
Joe: Alan/Charlie? Yeah, that was touching.
Mala: More brilliant police work, with Frank admitting to Mallet he stood there eavesdropping on him for 10 minutes.
Joe: Frank should have said, “Dinah’s a flight risk. Especially in that hat!”
Mala: Oh, watch it, she’s about to go into orbit!

Originally published on SoapOperaWeekly.com

Soap Opera Weekly: Read at Joe’s 7/29/09

One might say TORCHWOOD creator Russell T Davies took the name of his show literally when he essentially burned the sci-fi series to the ground with the just-completed five-part CHILDREN OF EARTH miniseries. CoE saw and alien race called the 456 descend on London to demand that 10 percent of the planet’s children be surrendered to them or they will unleash a global virus that kills in minutes. I really loved this story because, unlike series that promise “nothing will ever be the same” only to revert to the status quo almost instantly, TORCHWOOD can never go back to the way it was. With the tragic death of Ianto (Gareth David-Lloyd) and Captain Jack’s self-exile to space, only a pregnant Gwen (Eve Myles) is left to carry on the institute’s name. Davies has completely the deconstruction of the team that began with last season’s slaughter of Owen and Tosh (who also died in Jack’s arms). The loss of Ianto was a dramatic necessity. Viewers had to understand that the stakes really were high; that the 456 were playing for keeps — and so was Jack (John Barrowman). Ianto was a key team member and a vividly drawn character. And, oh yeah, he happened to be gay. (Let’s not forget that both Tosh and Owen were bisexual.) And Ianto was Jack’s lover. I thought the most poignant thing about Ianto’s death was his fear that the immortal, voraciously omnisexual Jack would forget him in a thousand years or so. But Jack promised he never would, and I almost believed him.

It’s important to remember that Jack is not a noble guy; he never was. He was liar, a thief and a con man when he first met the Ninth Doctor in the parent series, DOCTOR WHO. And Jack is no Doctor. While Jack stepped up and made a decision when no one else would (just like the Doctor does), the Time Lord would have made a different decision. The Doctor would have insisted on somehow using himself as the resonator for the constructive wave. And the story made me wonder: How was Jack different from Prime Minister Green? They both used children as pawns to deal with the 456. The difference is, Jack was fighting the aliens, no trying to appease them. And while Green made a point to exploit other people’s children, Jack paid dearly for his choice; he sentenced his own grandchild to death.

And I kept wondering: What about the “children of Earth”? What if the aliens had not demanded children? What if they merely asked for 10 percent of Earth’s total population? I could imagine an almost-eager rush to empty the world’s prisons and foist off other assorted undesireables on the 456. It simply would not be as dramatic without the hot-button issue of kids. And Davies did not back down from suggesting that some kids may be, if not “expendable,” then certainly not as equal as others. The capper had to be the twisted use the 456 planned for the kids: children are like narcotics to the aliens, who wanted to milk them alive for intoxicating chemicals. The idea that the children would be used for recreational purposes was the most perverted twist possible. While the 456 at first appeared to be an intergalactic protection racket, they were, in fact, interstellar drug dealers. And let’s hope they never come back.

Originally published on SoapOperaWeekly.com

Soap Opera Weekly: Read at Joe’s 7/27/09

MERLIN touched upon that old question, “Would you kill Hitler as a child?” when Merlin and Morgana sheltered a druid child. Uther wanted to execute the kid as a magic user; while the Dragon advised Merlin to let the child die otherwise he would grow up to murder Arthur. Those familiar with the mythos immediately realized they were talking about a reimagining of Mordred, but the youngster’s name was withheld until the last moment. I most enjoyed finally getting to see some flirting between Morgana and Arthur, and then the way Merlin and Morgana were each suspicious of the other’s motives for helping Mordred. Merlin even got a little insight into his own legend, when he learned the druids call him “Emrys” (which means “immortal”).

Steven Bauer (Wiseguy) appeared on MENTAL as Diego, an actor who has spent so long portraying a doctor on a soap (“22 seasons” according to him — whatever “seasons” are on a soap) that he has picked up a lot of medical savvy. The problem: He’s Arturo’s estranged father, and his diagnoses are getting under his son’s skin. Turned out Dad was disappointed because Arturo never watches his show (“It’s a soap opera,” Arturo whined) and doesn’t think his father is a “real” actor. In return, Arturo thinks Dad is doling out medical advice because he doesn’t think Arturo is a “real” doctor. This issue was not solved, but Dad did come up with a correct call on a very rare disease. He recognized a woman suffering from Mad Hatter disease due to mercury in her fillings. (Yes, this is a real affliction; I looked it up so you won’t have to.) His character once treated someone with Hatter disease. Score 1 for the soap docs!

Lingering question: Where did Dr. Gallagher get all those candles? And why was he canoodling with Jaime Ray Newman‘s (ex-Kristina, GENERAL HOSPITAL; Tess, EUREKA) Zan on a couch instead of in a bed? Does he think MENTAL is a soap opera?

Originally published on SoapOperaWeekly.com

Soap Opera Weekly: Read at Joe’s 7/24/09

“If something seems too good to be true, it’s best to shoot it, just to be sure.” — Fiona, BURN NOTICE

No one who saw this week’s episode of ROYAL PAINS will ever look at breast implants the same way again. Roselyn Sanchez (ex-Pilar, AS THE WORLD TURNS; ex-Elena, WITHOUT A TRACE) played Sofia, whose insanely jealous husband had a GPS tracker implanted inside her body when she underwent breast-augmentation. When she underwent an MRI, the powerful magnet (50,000 times stronger than the Earth’s magnetic field, FYI) nearly ripped the metal device out of her chest! A huge, deformed lump appear in Sofia’s cleavage; it looked so painful! Hank swooped into action and removed the device, but it ruptured, giving Sofia radiation poisoning. The twisted kicker to it all? Sofia interpreted the implant in her implants as a sign of how devoted hubby Javier was to her.

Sofia wasn’t the only person afflicted with an unconventional malady. The enigmatic Boris (played by Campbell Scott) appears to have a secret disease he won’t talk about. Based on his interest in Katie’s research with sharks, I’m going to guess some type of cancer. Oh, the fact that Boris keeps a shark in his basement inspired one of the best lines of the night (from Hank): “I feel like I’m living on a Bond villain’s property.” We also got to see a few more of Divya’s secrets. Hank’s super-hot physician’s assistant met Raj, the fiancé her mother lined up for an arranged…I mean, “strategic” marriage. Sadly, there appeared to be no chemistry between them. Which must have been the case with Jill and Charlie, her ex. Did we already know Jill used to be married? Considering how mercenary Evan is, it’s no wonder he name-checked Grey Goose, Facebook and even HE-MAN AND THE MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE! (Only the vodka brand bought an actual commercial, though.)

BURN NOTICE has been conspicuously stingy with the “How to Spy” tips lately, which makes me wonder if some watchdog group has been complaining. If anyone is concerned about terrorist groups learning any new tricks of the trade, I’ll remind you that the show always leaves out a key ingredient or step, so that unsupervised children cannot replicate the feats of Michael Westen and co. That being said, the Spy Tricks returned this week, and the tutorial on how to take out street lights with a cell phone was pretty cool. But that bit about making blood squibs with C4 and bottle caps sounded a bit too dangerous to even dare trying at home. (Yeah, like you have access to C4, anyway…) I was disappointed to see Nicholas Lea, who was so wonderfully evil as Krychek, the “rat boy” traitor of THE X-FILES, wasted in an essentially generic part. Lea should be reserved for a Big Bad role.

Originally published on SoapOperaWeekly.com

Soap Opera Weekly: Read at Joe’s 7/22/09

July 22, 2009
RESCUE ME’s Tommy Gavin has turned the corner from being merely a self-destructive guy who causes a lot of collateral damage to a self-destructive guy who takes others down with him. This week’s episode culminated in Tommy leading (most of) his family back to drinking. The extended clan had gathered to stage an intervention to make Tommy stop drinking, but he turned the tables in a big way. But the intervention was probably doomed from the moment it was decided to conduct it in a bar. (Good thinking, Maggie!) Defrocked Mickey was able to keep the faith and resist the lure of the demon booze, but Tommy’s siren song got to everyone else. This episodes deft mix of the deadly serious and seriously childish — the subplot about Needles’ mail-order Russian bride was a juvenile as it was funny — just makes last week’s Emmy snubs all the more difficult to take. RESCUE ME totally deserved an outstanding drama nod, and Denis Leary should have been nominated in the lead actor category. At least Michael J. Fox landed his richly deserved guest-actor nomination. So it wasn’t a total washout.

It’s not in the same league, dramatically speaking, but I am liking Syfy’s new WAREHOUSE 13 more and more each week. Eddie McClintock and Joanne Kelly are fleshing out their characters with some fun quirks (ice skating helps Myka think; Pete is obsessed with cookies) and Saul Rubinek is getting a grip on exactly what kind of lovable eccentric Artie will be. I am especially impressed with the way Myka is proving to be a very vulnerable character, rather than the “tougher-than-any-man” stereotype of a fed. Her mixture of guilt and barely suppressed hostility dovetail nicely with Pete’s boyish enthusiasm.

Originally published on SoapOperaWeekly.com

Soap Opera Weekly: Read at Joe’s 7/16/09

I find it very intriguing that GENERAL HOSPITAL’s Olivia chose to tell Dante that she did not know who his father is. She could easily have told him his father died, but she didn’t. It feels to me like Liv deliberately left the door open in case she ever decided, at some future point, to let Dante in on the secret. If she had told her son that his father was dead, then she could not introduce him later without looking like a terrible liar. Of course, pretending to be clueless was a lie, as well, but Liv must have felt it was a lesser deception. Perhaps she simply could not bring herself to deny Sonny utterly — implying that she still carried a tiny torch for him. And what if that little spark gets fanned back to life?

It is entertaining to see Dante, masquerading as “Dominic,” interacting with Sonny, because we can see the similarities — Dante obviously inherited his big stones from daddy. And Sonny recognizes…something in Dom, but he just can’t place it. It will be fun to watch GH tease the revelation — will Olivia slip up? Will Dante need a blood transfusion for which Sonny is the only match? (Don’t laugh, that sort of thing happens to soap kids like clockwork!) Or will they never find out?

Originally published on SoapOperaWeekly.com

Soap Opera Weekly: Read at Joe’s 7/14/09

The farther it goes off the rails, the more I have been enjoying YOUNG AND RESTLESS. Currently, the major stories hinge on a guy who poked needles into his eyes to fake blindness and now is pretending to be gay; a guy who impersonated someone else for years; a fellow who faked his own death so he wouldn’t have to tell anyone he’s gay; and a hysterical pregnancy. Toss in that stuffed cat, and I have to wonder if anything is real on Y&R? Yesterday even gave us a phony OB-GYN packing a prerecorded ultrasound to help the not-pregnancy conspiracy along.

I like how recast Michael Muhney is playing Adam, especially the way he sometimes doesn’t look at people he’s speaking to, as if he lost sight of them. That’s a nice, subtle touch. And that little bit of business where he spotted Kitty had me laughing out loud. At least everybody on the show seems to be having fun with it. Y&R is just pretext piled upon pretense, and I’m loving it.

Originally published on SoapOperaWeekly.com