Tuesday, March 02, 2004
WEEKLY editor Carolyn Hinsey doesn't shrink from a challenge, and luckily neither does Talent Manager
Michael Bruno, who represents Ricky Paull Goldin (Gus. GL), Marc Menard (Boyd, AMC) and Julie Pinson (Shiloh, Y&R) among many others.
Carolyn: In 2004, what makes a good soap?
Michael: What all powers that be pray for is a great umbrella story that encompasses the entire cast and gets everyone talkuig. It's filled with surprises. twists and turns, and hopefully a rise in the demos. Several shows have been doing this lately: Days of our Lives with "Marlena, the Serial Killer," Guiding Light with "The Maryanne Caruthers Mystery," As the World Turns with "Susan Married a Murderer" and "Rose's Murder," All My Children with the endless "Who Killed Michael Cambias?" mystery, One Life to Live with "The Music Box Killer" and General Hospital with "The Towering Inferno." Some of these worked better than others.
Carolyn: GL. AMC and OLTL dragged their stories out too long and involved too many people we didn't know in the story: so they didn't work for me. But Days, ATWT and GH did a good job showcasing front-burner people, and using the story to propel other stories.
Michael: Lets take one at a time here, mon petite chou chou. First off. we saw the same story on GL 15 years ago with one of the Reardon brothers and that girl who ended up on Santa Barbara with the "C" falling on her head.
Carolyn: That was Harley KoZak (ex-Mary, SB) who played Annabelle Sims Reardon on GL 20 years ago, darling. Continue.
Michael: So, why are we telling it again with different people? The only reason tell a story like this AGAIN - and I will give credit for the beautiful black-and-white sequences of the backstory action - is to propel story FORWARD. That means something has to come out of it. Will Billy kill himself? Will Ed start drinking again and leave town? Will we find out that Maryanne really did sleep with one of the boys in the circus tent and ended up producing a child? Say, Jeffrey, which would make him a main family member?
Carolyn: Oooh, that's good, That would be a reason to retell the same story. But you know full well that when a new writing regime comes in, they usually ignore everything that came before them on that show and start over. And, not for nothing, bow many of GL's current viewers were around 20 years ago? It would be nice, though, if someone referred to that long-ago, story, like "This is just like that time 20 years ago when one of the Reardon brothers was with that girl who ended up on Santa Barbara with the ' C' falling on her head"
Michael: You just made me laugh. I knew you had a sense of humor, contranty to belief. Okay, on to Michael Cambias on AMC. First off, um, who cares? Here's what vou need to do as a head writer when pitching a murder story. You need to say, "Okay, I have this idea. Let's make so-and-so a real bastard and have him killed but we need nine months to figure it out" That's when the Network says,''Do it in six months or YOU'RE out! Next!"
Carolyn: Like ATWT did with Rose. They played her murder for a month with all from-burner people and then solved it. The problem with AMC's murder mystery was that no one cared that Cambias was killed, so why should we invest time in finding his murderer? Whereas Rose was a pivotal character whose death actually impacted many lives. What about The Music Box Killer? Dumb, right?
Michael: Dumb and it really pissed me off that the murderer ended up being Jack Deveraux. The audience is WAY too smart. Everyone knew Ty Treadwav and Matt Ashford signed on for three months. So bad writing is, "Ooh, it's the crazy Troy/Colin or it's the seemingly normal sex- ed teacher, Drew Ralston" It should have been anybody BUT them. Surprise me! Antonio... Bo... 1 would have even taken STARR MANNING!
Carolyn: Yeah. that story went out with a whimper. I think, you're spoiled by Days having made Marlena the killer.
Michael: You're right, Days is nothing short of brilliant - a roller coaster out of control. Not only is the star of the show the murderer, she is supposedly not Hattie, not Samantha, not Stefano, it's not a brain chip and it's not a dream. I can't wait to find out why. Is Marlena just having a bad day? And the topper is bringing back Doug just to kill him! Does it get better than that?