Sunday, April 26, 2015

Jack Abbott takes a turn on 'The Young and the Restless'; He has a doppelganger

A few weeks back on The Young and the Restless, viewers learned that businessman Jack Abbott (Peter Bergman) has a doppelganger, found by the one and only Victor (Eric Braeden). It seems that Victor must have a correspondant in the National Registry of Lookalikes. First was Patty Williams and Dr. Emily (Stacy Haiduk, although if I correctly recall that involved some plastic surgery). Then came the girl he convienently ran into that looked remarkably like his late granddaughter Cassie (Camryn Grimes), whom he paid to torture Cassie's mentally ill mother Sharon (Sharon Case). The girl in question turned out to be Mariah Copeland, Cassie's previously unknown identical twin sister who was stolen at birth. Of course, Lauren Fenmore (Tracey Bregman) also had a doppelganger in 2010, Sarah Smythe, who was somehow involved in her long-standing feud with Sheila (Kimberlin Brown). Now, Victor has come up with a Jack lookalike, which he apparently found in a Peruvian prison, to help him in his plot to merge long-feuding conglomerates Newman Enterprises and Jabot Cosmetics. The catch? The Abbotts think this lookalike is in fact the real Jack, when the real Jack is being held hostage in a shack by a beach by (you guessed it!) Kelly Andrews (Cady McClain), who is most definitely mentally unstable since Jack broke up with her.

The general consensus of the latest doppelganger storyline is, to say the least, mixed. It is of course just another recycled plot (as you can infer from above), yet, it's hard to tell the direction of where this story could be going. It's hard to tell where any story on Y&R is going these days, especially since Chuck Pratt, Jr. took over as head writer. Pratt, notoriously pinned by daytime legend Susan Lucci for destroying All My Children while he was head writer of the ABC soap, was hired to head write the top CBS soap last September. His material finally commenced airing in February, during which viewers saw a plane crash, a roof collapse and a murder all on Valentine's Day. Since then, Jack has a doppelganger, and Sharon is being accused of said murder that happened on Valentine's (because, according to Pratt, "Sharon is much more interesting when she is crazy!" Lemme not comment on that.)

Of course, viewers have had certain doubts of the story direction of The Young and the Restless since Pratt took over. In a recent interview with Michael Fairman's On-Air On-Soaps, Pratt basically said that while he has to please viewers, viewers also have to understand that we have to like the story directions he chooses. Terrific logic. Not to mention he thinks Sharon Newman is much more interesting when she is crazy, which is the biggest load of crap since Maria Arena Bell wrote for the show. Lord help us and give us strength. Catch Y&R weekdays on CBS.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

The Influence of Soap Operas on Everyone's Taste

It's no secret that the soap opera is pop culture's bastard genre. When someone tells you they watch soaps, you either get a judgy look from said person or the subject is immediately changed. Because, unfortunately, the soap opera has gotten a bad reputation throughout the years: they're campy, ridiculously outlandish stories told on TV during the daytime for housewives. Which is definitely how they started, but in the years since, things have definitely changed.

Yes, soaps are legendary for plot twists; characters coming back from the dead 25 years later and people plummeting to their death off cliffs. But people who don't watch daytime soaps fail to realize that a lot of the storylines with said plot twists stripped down to basics are what many people call "top notch TV". There's been several primetime soaps over the years, some of which people don't even realize are essentially soap operas. And a lot of the plotlines people find edge-of-your-seat entertainment are really plot twists once originated on soaps.

Gone Girl, a bestselling thriller novel and later a major motion picture, essentially tells the story of a couple; the man is having an affair and the woman fakes her death to implicate her cheating husband. Critics called it "sinister" and "original"... Nope. It's really not. I can't tell you how many times I've seen that happen on assorted soaps. Yet people who most probably don't watch daytime soaps read the book and see the movie and call it top notch entertainment. So, do said people really reserve the right to hate on daytime soaps? I should say not. (I almost regret using Gone Girl as an example because I hate it with every sense of its being.)

Of course, obviously some people have made this connection I'm making and just don't like soap operas in general; daytime or primetime. But my point is... Viewers and critics today seem to love thrillers and dramas with plot twists left and right yet they give soap operas a bad name (or just don't give them the time of day, frankly.) So for soap fans, like myself, to see thrillers and dramas with plots already done on soaps is sometimes aggravating. But there are also original pieces that makes it better. Yet today people must realize the influence of soap opera's on everyone's taste.