Tag Archives: soap-operas

notes on the young and the restless: august 2, 2010 (a.c.e.)

“it’s exhausting . . . but that’s what you get for living in a fairy tale.”

the music at the beginning of this episode is amazing.  dark partial objects, thunder.

sharon (whispered): i shot him.  i shot him.  oh god, what have i done.

to be fair: sharon was in a cabin alone and someone starts jiggling the door handle.  she pulls out a gun.  “tell me who it is or i’ll shoot.”  no answer.  the door opens.  she shuts her eyes and pulls the trigger shooting adam in the arm.  her eyes were closed; she can’t be held responsible.

“you’re the victim in this case: the babe . . . left on a door step.”

and i thought he was hitting on her.

(side note: ever seen that maybe carry grant movie about this single women gets a baby (or babe) on her doorstep?  she tries to take it to the orphanage, but everyone is convinced she’s abandoning it.)

(another side note: even clorox is into electronic music.)

some back-story: so adam framed patty for murdering hightower.  she’s waiting for trial in the mental hospital.  but last week, adam broke into the mental hospital, pretending to be the devil, and convinced patty to become a nun and head to canada because she was about to recant on her testimony that she killed hightower and most likely implicate adam in the murder.  now emily, her doppelganger and therapist (who, earlier, patty managed to switch places with so that emily was locked up in the mental hospital trying to convince everyone that she wasn’t crazy), is trying to locate patty.

but is emily a workaholic?  her husband thinks so, but his maybe ex-girlfriend or wife just showed up at their house.  sharon is waiting at the hospital and adam’s wife, sky lockhart, shows up pissed.  understandably, since sharon shot sky’s husband.  but worse, the entire confrontation is playing out on the local tv news (there’s a camera and reporter and everything).

vincent kicks the camera crew out.  but luckily, there’s another event for the tv to cover: jill is going to give a press conference at a cemetery announcing that she’s a fenmore.  she only recently learned that this dead fenmore was her real father.  lauren fenmore shows up: “i’m here to make sure they (the television crew and, i guess, the audience) hear the truth.  they’re having a hard time coming to terms that they’re sisters.  jill, “you won’t even show me photographs of our father”; lauren, “cold, hard cash is all the fenmore name means to you” (jill is suing the fenmore family for more than her portion of the estate).  jill, “ i just want to feel closer to daddy”; lauren, “you want to be closer to daddy”,   shoving jill into an open grave, “is that close enough for you?”  and it all happened live on tv.

sky, with a scowl: “you [sharon] cared so much that you put a bullet in him [adam].”

adam is coming too . . . everything is in tunnel vision . . . “you are waking up” . . . adam starts to look around (still with tunnel vision) . . . “in the room is your dad, your wife, your ex-wife and her husband” . . . “who shot you?” . . . “sharon” . . . now they’re gonna arrest her . . . but adam flashes-back to his true feelings . . . “wait, i take full responsibility.  she didn’t know it was me.  it’s all my fault.”

sky lockhart isn’t gonna like this.

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notes on the young and the restless june 9 2010 (ace)

“i want to take a long vacation somewhere where they don’t have cell phones or the internet,” she says holding her new baby.

“does a place like that even exist?”

that’s a good question.  is there a splace — a position in space — inside of the young and the restless that is outside of the reach of cell phones and the internet?  is there a splace away from all those cameras?  a splace that allows the characters in the young and the restless to act in secret without revealing their actions to the viewing audience?  one of the things that makes soaps interesting is that there doesn’t seem to be any splaces like this.  there’s not any action, any scheming and side-plotting that doesn’t escape the gaze of the camera and the eyes of the viewer.  as long as you put in the time of watching every episode, there’s not an important aspect of any of the characters life you can’t view.  it’s like being god — except a suffering god, one who can only watch, cannot help, and can only suffer along with those suffering.

remember last post and the side-plot about using fetal stem-cells to save the life of a mother-to-be that would pose a risk for the babies-to-be?  well, it turns out that this other girl is surrogating the twins  and they seem to be headed towards a court battle pitting husband vs wife on the use of those fetal stem cells.  right now, the wife is in france in a clinical trial using adult stem cells to cure her cancer or whatever the disease she has (they’re never clear about what precisely the disease is), but the husband doesn’t trust adult stem cells and is now suing (who?  his wife?  the surrogate?) to bring her back to america and use the fetal stem cells from their future children, the twins being carried by the surrogate.  everyone one is pissed he’s going against his wife’s wishes, but it turns out the french clinical study using adult stem cells is no longer working which is why the husband is pushing forward with the law suit to save his wife’s life.  so everyone is re-evaulating their position and everybody must take sides.

“say goodbye to who you tried to be and hello to who you are.”

(are most of the commercials on daytime tv commercials for different perscription drugs?)

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notes on the young and the restless, may 19 2010 (a.c.e.)

(since today’s movies are unwatchable, i’m watching soap operas instead)

but first, previously on the young and the restless:

the camera is hidden in a bag.  so the reality is hidden.

(by this i mean that the machinery used to capture reality —
reality that is not consciously altered by the presence of
a camera — is hidden hiding the reality of this reality tv)
so this blond girl (who is now being played by a different
actor) is staging public spectacles — nude animal testing
protests on television — as a way of gather footage for her
future reality show.  now she’s secretly video-taping her
parents as they deny her access to her inheritance.  all of
this goes viral.  her friends at the bar: “we watched it like
5 times and passed it along to all our friends.”  her reason
for this kind of guerilla reality show: “i dont want any suits
making the decisions; i’m making the decisions.”

side plot: “getting those stem cells may hurt the baby”
“if he gets the stem cells, he’ll get stronger.”
“what are the chances i’d get ovarian cancer at my age?”

in other words, she has cancer and her husband wants to
take stem cells from their soon to be baby to stop the
cancer, i guess.

back to hidden reality:
“i can capitalize on the public’s appetite for glamour”
“what’s the show about?”
“me.  or a character of me.  it’s aspirational entertainment.
(because she’s rich).  it’s all about controlling the message
— i have a social consciousness, including animal rights.  i’m
generating interest in me.”

her (rich(er)) parents aren’t buying it.  little do they know
that they are already being filmed.

what makes all of this so interesting is that the filming is
double — the fake filming of the hidden reality show and the
real filming of the tv show one life to live.

“there’s a reason famous people don’t want their children
photographed.”  but that reason is left unexplained.
“listen to how you’re talking about yourself . . . like you’re
a commodity.”  which is true, but if anyone is to blame, it’s
her parents who are so singularly focused on the creation and
circulation of capital (her dad’s business is a little unclear
— purposefully, since he doesn’t want cameras around to see
what precisely the business consists of).

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how can this be considered art (again)?

or maybe:

again, how can this be considered art?

or better:

continuing from before . . .

“that’s for me to know and jason to find out”

this is only the second episode of genH i’ve watched in my life, but it seems like this guy jason (blond spikey hair, muscles, always strapped), who is maybe like a body-guard for this shady mobster, is hunting franco.  and franco’s not just an artist, he also a criminal.  possibly even a murderer.  or maybe just a soon to be murderer.  franco is now forcing jason to choose between the two women jason loves most in the (genH) world: lulu (his lover and possibly his true love(r)) and this other blond maybe named amy (who i think is the same publicist that was trying to talk franco into modeling for some designer jean spread in some high-fashion magazine in the last episode i watched).  one of the women jason can save; the other will end up as franco’s next “death-art” piece.

“the internet is so unreliable,”  franco says to lulu (who he has kidnapped and strapped to a time-bomb) while eating a sandwich. later jason hears a bomb go off and genH cut to a commercial.  is lulu dead?  was it a different explosion?  possibly a car back-firing?  i’ll have to wait until after the commercials.  but then the commercials cut to president obama’s speech explaining how we’ll stop the next terrorist attack.  the talk lasts a couple minutes and focuses on unspecific managerial fixes.  rather than cut back to the exciting conclusion of genH, i’ve got to listen to di-sawyer and george-steph react to the president’s talk.

side plot: “the role of lisa miles will now be played by brianna brown”

turns out franco’s appearance on genH isn’t so ground-breaking: plenty of other celebrities have appeared on soaps in the past, including (but not limited to) rosie o’donnell, jerry springer and snoop dogg.  but the biggest soap opera cameo by a celebrity happened nearly thirty years ago (1981) when elizabeth taylor appeared as helena cassadine, the widow of mikkos cassadine, for 5 episodes of genH.  (interestingly, the character of mikkos cassadine was killed a few months prior when luke and laura thwarted cassadine’s attempt to freeze the world.  i’m guessing he had access to a device similar to k. vonnegut’s ice-9. )

taylor’s 5 episode appearance on genH culminated in the supercouple wedding of  luke and laura.  from a ratings standpoint, the wedding of luke and laura is the pinnacle of american day-time soap opera episodes: 30 million people watched this episode.  taking a cue from franco’s wsj piece, can you even imagine the disrupted suspension of belief those 30 million viewers experienced when they saw elizabeth taylor  (“i real person in a made-up world”)?

i’m recording today’s episode of genH.  it may be franco’s last episode for a bit.  i think he’s gonna blow-up a building.  blowing up buildings — that’s what i call art.

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how can this be considered art?

new years eve, 2009.  i only work a half-day and return home to find the house all to myself.  this is when i realize i should quit my day job and become a soap-opera addict.

flipping through TV, i run across general hospital.  but something is wrong; i recognize one of the actors (and not in a i’ve-seen-this-guy-on-the-cover-of-those-soap-opera-magazines-you-see-at-grocery-stores kind of way, but in a i’ve-seen-this-dude-in-movies kind of way).  i search my memory database for some recognition of this actor.  no luck.  it’s only after everyone keeps calling the familiar actor “franco” that it comes to me: it’s that (james) franco dude — you know, the one that was like the hottest up and coming actor last year; the only thing good about pineapple express and the heart-throb from milk.  (2008.  it seems like forever ago, but it was only last year.)

is franco now a regular on general hospital (genH)?  is this a cameo?  and what’s with everyone calling him franco?  is he playing himself?

as james franco himself explains, in a piece he wrote for the wall street journal, he sought out this gig on genH as a kind of performance art piece as he charts a kind of history of performance art:

i disrupted the audience’s suspension of disbelief, because no matter how far i got into the character, i was going to be perceived as something that doesn’t belong to the incredibly stylized world of soap operas. everyone watching would see an actor they recognized, a real person in a made-up world.

one of the reoccurring features of the “incredibly stylized world of soap operas” are those fixed glances characters give each other (usually before the show cuts to a different scene or commercial) — the music hits a dramatic note and the two characters stare at each other as the camera slowly zooms in on each of their faces.  while this is precisely the sense of boredom experienced by any new-comer to a specific soap opera, this slowing down is a necessary for any real fan of a given soap.  it is in this slowed down space that the viewer can reconstruct the relationship of the two characters through their past interactions as well as their relationships with all the other characters on the show (who slept with/back-stabbed/tried to murder/stolen a lover of/dreamed about in a coma/faked the death of who(m) — the longer the running of a show, the more complicated and incestuous these relationships become).

the rupture franco refers to in his piece happens here: those glances involving franco are not shot through with traces of franco’s past genH deeds; it’s rather the other franco, the one that exists outside of genH, that fills in the spaces in those long stares.

it’s hear that franco’s description of “a real person in a made-up world” becomes interesting.  presumably, every character on genH is also “a real person in a made-up world” (they all have lives separate from their appearances on genH where they eat food, have pets, go shopping, breathe), what makes franco different is that he also has a “reality” in other made-up worlds.  the context shot through in those stares involving franco are his other roles — from pineapple express and freaks and geeks to his interviews on entertainment tonight and appearances at movie award shows.  it’s precisely his other television persona infringing on the world of genH that cause this disruption.

in genH, franco is a famous artist who works in multiple media.  he’s also at an art show — his art show.  franco re-creates(?) crime-scenes (from crime photography to turning rooms in the art studio into actual murder scenes complete with police tape, graffiti, blood and dead bodies).  he uncovers the obscene underside of genH to wealthy elites so they can then view it at a critical distance.

but can they?  some of the re-creations bear an uncanny resemblance to some murders featured on previous genH episodes.  a few of the regular genH-ers attending the art show appear to have had something to do with the orignal murders.  and franoc is aware of their involvement.  there’s an interesting exchange between franco and this one shady looking dude (black leather jacket, slicked black hair) about how realistic the re-creations look (paraphrasing):

franco: how do you know they look so real?
shady dude: i read a lot.
(beat)
shady dude: you must have done quite a bit of research to get these to appear so real.
franco: i read a lot.
shady dude: you gotta be careful of that — reading too much. you’re mind begins to blur what’s real and what’s not.

i would take that a step further and say that blurring caused by reading makes it so you’re no longer sure if what you’re saying are your words or ones you’ve read.

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