I want to wish all of you a Happy New Year. 2013 is gone and 2014 is finally here.
I wanted to do a 2013 roundup of my likes and dislikes of Black images on daytime television, soap operas, and web series/soaps. 2013 was an interesting year for soaps because all four of the current national soaps blew ratings out of the box and gave the naysayers, haters, and doubtful who felt the soaps were done A RENEWED look at the relevancy of soap operas in our world. I am proud of GENERAL HOSPITAL for showing ABC why it needed to exist during its 50th anniversary with their highest ratings in years under Frank Valentini and Ron Carlivati as respectively Executive Producer and Head Writer. THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS disappointed me with the installation of Executive Producer Jill Farren Phelps, the resigning of Head Writer Josh Griffith, the boring, yawning and uninteresting storylines, and mass firings of actors and actresses who were wasted despite stellar daytime television and soap opera fame and notoriety. THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL had to figure out what to do after the retirement of legendary Daytime Emmy winner Susan Flannery from her role as fashion matriarch Stephanie Douglas Forrester yet bored me and many of the tiresome Steffy/Liam/Hope love triangle. DAYS OF OUR LIVES made me watch due to Eileen Davidson returning to her juicy role as Kristen Blake DiMera but she got let go and went back to THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS to her famous role as Ashley Abbott on a recurring basis. I don’t feel she should had went back because they never treat Ashley and Eileen with respect at all but I guess she has to eat like everyone else. I was so excited for the return of my iconic and favorite lifelong soaps, ALL MY CHILDREN and ONE LIFE TO LIVE, on an online format via The Online Network, courtesy of Prospect Park and Hulu. I watched the premieres on April 29, 2013 with much amazement and fanfare to see my favorite characters from Pine Valley and Llanview. However, Prospect Park had too many issues and isms with itself and they all dwindled down to the shows and caused the fans to give up hope that these shows could actually change the landscape of soaps. I was disappointed when the show airings were scaled back from four times a week to twice a week and finally one new episode on Mondays. There was then legal issues Prospect Park had with ABC regarding the usage of Roger Howarth, Kristen Alderson, and Michael Easton’s OLTL characters as Todd Manning, Starr Manning, and John McBain on GENERAL HOSPITAL. There was another issue with labor unions and the Connecticut filming not being secured and confirmed. Prospect Park was a mess from the beginning as it proved it did not know anything about the behind the scenes production of soaps and therefore yanked the shows off without giving the fans and viewers a proper announcement. I loved Season One of ALL MY CHILDREN and it was better than ONE LIFE TO LIVE in my opinion. Too bad they are not coming back for Season 2 at least on The Online Network. We are all still wondering if ABC would bring them back but we have to leave all of this to God. We have to stay tuned like they say in the soap industry. I finally got the chance to watch both shows last and this week.
When it comes to African Americans on daytime television in 2013, I had my likes and dislikes. I will go down the soaps and give it to you raw and organic like you all know I do as host and blogger of CHOCOLATE SUDS.
THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS: I was NOT feeling the storyline in which Neil Winters was being stalked. I hoped that Sony finally lifted its blacklisting of Victoria Rowell and have her return to THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS to reprise her iconic role as Drucilla Winters. Many of our hopes were dashed when Drucilla was NOT the stalker. It ended up being newcomer Hillary Curtis, whom I swore was going to be Neil’s unknown daughter. I was not watching soaps during the summer and early fall to see the story unwrap but I did read on social media how Hillary was the biracial daughter of a White woman named Rose Turner, who was the drinking buddy of both the late Gus Rogan and Neil Winters. I really wanted Hillary to totally bitch it up as a Biracial version of Kendall Hart from ALL MY CHILDREN and make Lily Ashby’s life a living hell. I really thought Hillary was going to tear the Winters family with lots of drama and hate but she was tamed and redeemed so far. I got disappointed when Lily did not give her cookies to Tyler and I guess that made the Lane (Lily/Cane) fans happy that a Black man did not break up an interracial couple’s marriage and family up. Tyler ended up with Abby Newman on the rebound. Actually, I am not surprised at all because Abby should have been in a hot romance with Devon while he was in the recurring relationship with Roxanne. I am convinced that Victoria Rowell was right about Christel Khalil not wanting Lily to be paired with a Black man. Oh well! There are some Black and Biracial people who do not want to date nor marry other Blacks and even Biracials. Devon inherited the fortune of his White grandmother, Katherine Chancellor, who passed away, and found himself breaking up with Roxanne, at odds with phoney/fake friend Mason Wilder, and hating yet having a slight feeling for Hillary. I was shocked when Mason and Hillary were sleeping together. I was always convinced Mason was one of those DL guys but I guess he is not. Leslie and Neil were still together and now engaged, despite her not liking children which includes his son Moses, whom I feel will be aged into a little badass soon. Overall, THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS remained the top soap opera with a huge African-American audience and the only soap with the most African-American and Biracial cast members, consisting of Kristoff St. John, Christel Khalil, Bryton James, Redaric Williams, Lamon Archey, Angell Conwell, and Mishael Morgan.
THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL reunited GUIDING LIGHT and WED-LOCKED on-screen marrieds Lawrence Saint-Victor and Karla Mosley as new characters Carter Walton and Maya Avant. This was refreshing to have a little bit more color on this show which has famously not known what to do with their characters who happened to have been Black, Latino/a, and LGBT. I was NOT expecting Karla to become a LEADING LADY on the show at all. I got shocked when Maya became the new love interest of Rick Forrester because I did not think he was into Black women. Who knew! I knew somewhere down the line Carter and Maya were going to hook up eventually, given Lawrence and Karla’s chemistry. There are people still weighing in on Lawrence’s acting but hey, he is considered one of the hunks of B&B. While it was great to have had Lawrence and Karla join the cast, B&B relegated Texas Battle and Kristolyn Lloyd to recurring status as Marcus and Dayzee Forrester. It would have been great to have Dayzee being blackmailed by Maya because of their past and risking her marriage because of it. It would have been delicious to have had Maya go after Marcus and scheming with Carter to ensure Marcus and Dayzee’s marriage would have broken up. Unfortunately, Maya became wrapped up in a love triangle with newly-written spoiled bitch Caroline Spencer for the affections of Rick. She was thrown together with Carter, thanks to Caroline’s schemes of creating a reality show for Maya so she could break up with Rick. Maya and Caroline became Bridezillas, racing to see who would get married at the altar first, and becoming unlikely friends. It looks like now Maya is with Carter for the time being. 2013 was definitely Karla Mosley’s year and I am happy for her. Unfortunately, colorism dampened on Kristolyn Lloyd’s parade as Dayzee was fazed out due to her dark skin in my opinion. Kristolyn is supposedly on break to perform in an upcoming play in New York but I feel she knew what time it was when Karla received more airtime, partly due to her safe fair brown skin for Caucasian and even African-American fans and viewers. Colorism still happens in daytime television even though no one wants to admit it. I am still waiting for B&B to hire Othello Clark full-time as Othello but I do not think daytime wants a dark-skinned African-American man sporting locks like Timothy D. Stickney did as R.J. Gannon on ONE LIFE TO LIVE.
Redaric Williams, Lamon Archey, and Lawrence Saint-Victor was profiled in the online edition of EBONY as the newest Black male hunks on daytime television. I was proud of them but the writer of the article, Karu F. Daniels, seemed partial to CBS soaps and liked them because they were and are “BROTHERMAN” types. Karu did NOT feature Texas Battle and other African-American male actors such as Kristoff St. John, Bryton James, James Reynolds, Nathan Owens, Sean Blakemore, Tequan Richmond, and Marc Anthony Samuel. I have a feeling the EBONY article was a plug to get straight African-American women to tune in to THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS and THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL.
DAYS OF OUR LIVES has always been a Middle American soap opera and deserves a big-fat F because Dr. Cameron Davis did not get the chance to deflower and flourish in his relationship with virginal Abigail Deveraux. The writers did not know what to do with him after the death of Cameron’s half-sister, Lexie Carver. Nathan Owens eventually got let go. I really believe many of the DAYS audiences did NOT want a Horton/Deveraux losing her virginity to a Biracial man with an African-American mama like Celeste Perrault. I had been waiting to see if Abe Carver would move on from grieving Lexie’s death and getting with Dr. Kayla Brady and that remains to be seen. I do not think DAYS OF OUR LIVES is going to pair them up before trying to convince Stephen Nichols to return as Kayla’s soulmate, Steve “Patch” Johnson. I am still pissed at how DAYS OF OUR LIVES does NOT have an African-American leading actress at all. It is as if they do not want any African-American/Black women on the canvas at all on contract. Actress/Singer Dawnn Lewis REALLY needs a full-time job as Dr. Knapp but it looks like Sony, Executive Producer Ken Corday, and NBC is not thinking about Black women right now. This is why it is my least favorite soap opera on air currently.
GENERAL HOSPITAL had three Black males in top storylines. Shawn Butler taking the place as the hired killing enforcer for Sonny Corinthos after Jason Morgan’s presumed death while breaking up with legal eagle Alexis Davis over his working for Sonny and the accidental shooting of Olivia Falconeri when Franco was the intended target. He also held Kelly’s down as resident cook and all-around-help. T.J. Ashford found himself in a teeny-boppy interracial love quadrangle between him, Molly, Taylor Dubois, and Rafe Kovich Jr. He gave it up to Taylor on prom night which ended up being cancelled and upset at seeing Molly kissing Rafe. Taylor’s brother Felix has mellowed down from over the top gay Black stereotype to devoted best friend to Sabrina, fashion expert, and pursued by creepy lab director Brad. While I was glad GENERAL HOSPITAL hired Samantha Logan as Taylor as a contract Black female, I am still pissed at how Sonya Eddy was and is still recurring and unappreciated as Nurse Epiphany Johnson although she showcased her singing talents during the Nurses Ball as the lead singer of Epiphany and the Revelations (Monica and Tracy). As for Samantha, she was let go and replaced by Pepi Sonuga, who is NOT getting airtime and play because she is dark-skinned and I dare anyone to tell and convince me otherwise. Daytime is still a place where dark-skinned Black actresses are not given much airtime due to colorism by mostly Caucasian casting directors and writers who have their own standards of beauty when it comes to African-Americans/Blacks. It was great to hear how GREY’S ANATOMY actress Chandra Wilson is guest-starring on GENERAL HOSPITAL and we are wondering who she will be playing, whether her GREY’S ANATOMY character Dr. Miranda Bailey or another character. It looks like whichever character she will play will be one of Dr. Kevin Collins’s patients. Shawn and T.J. ended up being in the middle of the Port Charles mob war between Sonny and the resurrected Julian Jerome/Derek Wells.
GENERAL HOSPITAL actor Todd Davis passed away at the age of 61. I advocated for the media announcement of his death. I gave a shout-out and thanks to We Love Soaps and Roger Newcomb for having the courage and the balls to give him a proper tribute. He was best-known for his role as Brian Phillips from 1978 to 1987 and the legendary Brian and Claudia love story. R.I.P. Todd Davis. I wished that Frank Valentini and Ron Carlivati would have invited Todd and Bianca Ferguson for the 50th anniversary but they did not. It would have been great to have seen whatever happened to Brian, Claudia, and their twins.
Prospect Park’s retool of ALL MY CHILDREN had the African-American supercouple Jesse and Angie Hubbard in one of the TOP if not the TOP storyline with Angie’s adopted daughter Cassandra Foster getting kidnapped and forced into sexual trafficking under the Koslovs. It was painful to watch Cassandra experience this but it really proved that Sal Stowers was much more than an AMERICA NEXT TOP MODEL winner. I cried during much of the scenes between Darnell Williams, Debbi Morgan, and Sal Stowers. I was happy to have seen Darnell and Debbi back working after THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS wasted their fame and soap opera legend as Sarge and Yolanda “Harmony” Hamilton and got rid of them after Jill Farren Phelps took reign of the soap and cleaned house. Debbi PUT HER FEET IN IT as always but surprised the soap world by deciding not to submit her scenes for a Daytime Emmy nomination after ALL MY CHILDREN getting cancelled. Debbi was supposed to have WON in 2012 but Heather Tom won Lead Actress instead so she could break Daytime Emmy awards and to slight and cheat Debbi. She knew the deal and it is a shame how no Black actresses ever received the Lead Actress award ever. Debbi is back working now and she will play in the upcoming 50 Cent-produced STARZ series POWER as Naturi Naughton’s mother. I am waiting for her memoir to get published. Too bad ALL MY CHILDREN got cancelled because I was growing into the amazing on-screen chemistry between Debbi and Vincent Irizarry, who played the dastardly Dr. David Hayward. Many people clamored for Angie and David to get together. Oh well!
ONE LIFE TO LIVE was OKAY with their new recast of Destiny Evans with model/actress Laura Harrier, but it did not really translate well to many fans and viewers. Destiny’s spunk and determination was watered down from when she was portrayed by darker, younger, and chubbier Shanell Edmonds. She had ZERO chemistry with both Robert Gorrie, who played Matthew Buchanan, the father of their Biracial son, Drew, and with former Disney teen Corbin Bleu, who played the mysterious Jeffrey King, an investigative writer who came on board onto The Banner to help Viki out. It was a relief how Destiny did not get into the rumored prostitution storyline originally proposed during the early stages. She ended up working at The Banner in the ads department and having selfish pride in raising Drew as a single mother while she could have asked Bo and Nora for money and gotten help from her suddenly missing grandparents, Richard and Phylicia, and her uncle Shaun, who made his return towards the middle. Something was missing with Destiny and I did not fall for her newfound friendship with Natalie. It did not make any sense because Destiny was really best friends with Danielle on the original ABC version and yet became a stranger to her while Danielle was wiling out on drugs and conflicted with her feelings for Matthew. I really and truly wished that Jeffrey could have been the great-great grandson of Sadie Gray and great-grandson of Carla and Ed Hall and that would have been great for OLTL to reach back to its original core Black family. It would have been juicy for Jeffrey to befriend Viki while getting revenge for Great-Grandma Carla. I did not expect him to have been working with Carl Petersen to bring down the Lords and the Buchanans over that mysterious tattoo mess. It looked like Corbin was NOT feeling his scenes with Laura Harrier. It was great to have had Sean Ringgold return as Shaun Evans and see him in scenes with his Des but it was so short-lived while Shaun had to protect teen asshole Jack Manning from any possible danger. You know OLTL had to have their favorite hip-hop legend Snoop Dogg appear there under his short-lived moniker Snoop Lion to pay Bo and Nora a visit and to give Matthew advice about fatherhood. After all, Snoop Lion was the songwriter of the new OLTL theme song “Brand New Start” which featured White singer IZA as lead vocalist. Snoop Lion’s REINCARNATED album poster was on the wall at Matthew, Dani, and Jeffrey’s Three Company-type apartment. ONE LIFE TO LIVE was okay but not as exciting as ALL MY CHILDREN. It would have been interesting if Destiny did have that original storyline as a single mother who became a call-girl and risked losing custody of Drew. I even noticed how the first dark-skinned Black child actor playing Drew was replaced with a browner-skinned older child I guess as a way for the show to age him into what a Biracial Buchanan had to look like.
I hope 2014 will be better to my African-American/Black and Biracial brothers and sisters on daytime television and soap operas. I will be doing much much as host of the CHOCOLATE SUDS show on YouTube and blogger of the accompanying blog here on WordPress. I am planning on creating Facebook and Twitter pages for CHOCOLATE SUDS so this can go to the next level.
The YouTube show will resume in February during Black History Month. It will be bigger, better and Blacker than ever in 2014.
Happy New Year on the behalf of CHOCOLATE SUDS.
Host and Blogger of CHOCOLATE SUDS
Thursday, January 9, 2014