Wednesday, August 24, 2016

SOAP TREK


The original Lieutenant Uhura herself, actress Nichelle Nichols, will appear on the 11,000th episode of The Young & the Restless, September 1, 2016.

But turnabout (intruder; bonus points if you get the ultra-geeky reference) is fair play. Go to EW Community for a list of our top 5 favorite original Star Trek guest-starts who went on to play meaningful roles on soaps - plus classic video clips!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

SOAP OPERAS & THE OLYMPICS


The thrill of victory, the agony of defeat….

No, that’s not the Olympic motto (they’re all about their Faster, Higher, Stronger…). But it is the tagline that ABC’s Wild World of Sports came up with for turning athletic competition into, well, a soap opera.

Faster, higher, stronger is awesome, but it’s the personal stories that keep viewers in front of the tube, cheering for athletes who don’t have a shot at a medal… as long as the story is a good one. Quick, name the folks who actually beat Eddie the Eagle in skiing, or the Jamaican bobsledding team. There. See?

But turnabout is fair play. If the Olympics are now just a multi-week soap-opera (that, ironically, is preempting an actual soap-opera, Days of Our Lives) with periodic bursts of running, swimming and tumbling to break up the tear-jerking but ultimately uplifting tales, why shouldn’t Olympians get the chance to periodically pop up amidst the tear-jerking but ultimately uplifting tales on soaps?

Check out our Top 5 favorite appearances at Entertainment Weekly!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

SOAP OPERA JUSTICE


On The Young & the Restless, Victor is out of prison. Well, that was a stressful ten minutes. OK, fine, it was a couple of weeks… months, tops. Definitely not the decade-long sentence he was originally saddled with.

We all know that, in the real world, justice is rarely blind – or fair. Some people get the book thrown at them, while others escape with a slap on the wrist for the same crime. In the real world, your race, gender, religion, and socio-economic class play a big part in how Lady Justice feels like treating you. This would be true on soaps, too, if there were enough racial and/or religious diversity to accumulate multiple data points. As for social-class, when even the so-called “poor people” can jet off to Europe at a moment’s notice, one starts to suspect “I do not think (that word) means what you think it means.”

Still, different people do get treated differently when it comes to crime and time-served. Check out the most grievous examples from the four soap-operas still left on the air at Entertainment Weekly!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

SOAP OPERA BAD BOYS REFORMED BY LOVE OF A GOOD WOMAN

“I thought I could change him,” whimpered pretty much every woman on daytime over the past few weeks, be it General Hospital’s Sabrina about her low-level mobster baby-daddy or Alexis over her high-level mobster one-night stand/baby-daddy turned husband. It also applied to The Young & the Restless’s Meredith who, as a prison doctor, should have known that maybe inmates are sometimes not the most straight-and-narrow of citizens, and The Bold & the Beautiful’s Katie, who’d seen Bill cheat on a multitude of women, but was shocked — shocked! - when he did it to her.

You can’t really blame the ladies. Soap operas are chock full of tales of very evil, kind of evil, and vaguely evil men reformed by the love of a good woman. If it happened once, it can happen again, right? Check out our top three favorite examples of when it worked … and when it didn’t at Entertainment Weekly!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

SOAP SISTER V. SOAP SISTER!

Remember when The Bold & the Beautiful’s Bill had that awesome idea where he and Brooke would have an affair so that Bill could be a better husband to Brooke’s sister, Katie?

Well, that didn’t work out so well. Now Katie knows, and though Bill tried to pin the blame on Katie’s recent fling with alcoholism, she preferred to hold him and her sister responsible.

B&B’s Katie and Brooke aren’t the first pair of sisters to fight over the same man. (Though is it truly fighting if neither is particularly sure they want him anymore?) Heck, Bill isn’t even the first man Brooke and Katie have in common. There was Ridge. There was Nick. (To be somewhat fair, B&B is a half-hour show with a smaller-than-average cast.)

A sister versus sister love triangle is a soap-opera staple. Read some of our favorites, past and present, at Entertainment Weekly!

WHEN NY SCHOOLS GENTRIFY

I am quoted in an article about NY schools and gentrification:

Alina Adams, the author of Getting Into NYC Kindergarten, works with many parents of color who are trying to get their children into New York City-area elementary schools; she also helps parents adjust to the schools once they’re there. According to Adams, many parents of color express concern that they won’t be listened to at the school. “[Reluctance to speak up] gets magnified when it’s someone of a different race than you or different ethnicity or different economic background,” she said. “Maybe you don’t speak English so well and you feel intimidated by that. How do I challenge this person on this issue when I know that she’s a lawyer and I [just] have a high-school diploma?”

The data bears out some of Adams’s points about disadvantaged parents’ lack of involvement. Lower educational levels are a factor in their limited engagement, as is having a lower socioeconomic status and being an underrepresented minority, a 2013 study on Parental Readiness Empowerment Programs shows. Meanwhile, a 2014 paper that analyzed black parents at an urban middle school found that perceptions of racism and hostile parent-teacher interactions were significant barriers to their engagement at school.

Read more at The Atlantichttp://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2016/07/how-marginalized-families-are-pushed-out-of-ptas/491036/

And to hear more from NYC parents about all aspects of NYC schools, listen to Secrets of NYC Schools podcast.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: DOES VICTORIA ROWELL HAVE A CASE AGAINST Y&R?


Updated 6/28/16: The lawsuit is back on!

Updated 11/12/15: A judge has dismissed Victoria Rowell's retaliation suit against The Young & the Restless, CBS and Sony.

Here is what I wrote for Entertainment Weekly when she first filed....

Originally published 2/25/15

On February 11, 2015, actress Victoria Rowell announced that she was suing her former employer, The Young & the Restless, and its parent company, Sony. Rowell contends that the show won’t rehire her to play the role of Drucilla, a part that Rowell vacated in 2007, due to Rowell’s outspoken activism regarding Y&R’s dearth of African-American actors, writers and directors. The suit also alleges that Rowell faced racial discrimination during her 14 years of starring on the soap, and that she was never offered the opportunity to either write or direct the program. Rowell is seeking back pay, and a return to playing Dru.

CBS and Sony have denied all charges, insisted that the lawsuit has no merit, and that Rowell is attempting to “rewrite history.”

Does the actress have a case?

It would seem that the easiest charge to dispute would be Rowell’s claim that racial discrimination kept her from getting the chance to write or direct her show.

True, some actors, like Days of Our Lives Alison Sweeney have directed. Pamela Long went from an actor on Texas to its Headwriter, before assuming the same position at Guiding Light and One Life to Live, among others. And Ellen Wheeler and Christopher Goutman were able to transition from actors to directors to Executive Producers of GL and As the World Turns, respectively. But that’s literally only a handful of people among the tens of thousands of actors who’ve passed through the daytime drama world. It can hardly be considered a common opportunity offered to all, save Rowell.

When I interviewed her for my book, “Soap Opera 451: A TimeCapsule of Daytime Drama’s Greatest Moments,” Rowell asserted, “You don’t stay in a storyline if you’re not selling a story, and if you’re not selling the story, you don’t stay employed.  At the end of the day, this is about keeping a show on the air, and a show that’s selling soap.  You’re selling products.  I understood the business dynamics.”

This is presumably why Rowell’s lawsuit also charges that, by refusing her entreaties to reprise Dru, CBS and Sony are undermining their own financial interests for purely personal reasons. Rowell believes that she is a fan favorite whose return will help raise Y&R’s ratings.

Rowell, however, is not the first actor in daytime history to be fired (or, in her case, not be rehired) despite vocal fan support and to the show’s apparent detriment.

To get the inside story on examples from DOOL, GH, ATWT and more, go to: http://community.ew.com/2015/02/24/victoria-rowell-lawsuit-the-young-and-the-restless/

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

THE KINDS OF DECISIONS MADE ONLY ON SOAPS....

My good friend, the novelist Kyra Davis, once explained, “You know it’s a soap opera if whatever choice a normal person would make, they make the opposite.”

Nothing illustrates her observation better than the goings-on on all four of the remaining network daytime dramas last week.

Find out what they were at Entertainment Weekly: http://community.ew.com/2016/06/21/only-on-a-soap-decisions/