Wednesday, June 20, 2012


Monday: Julia Barr (Brooke; All My Children)

Tuesday: Linda Dano (Felicia; Another World)

Day Three of our Daytime Emmy spotlight features One Life to Live Headwriter Michael Malone, and the story that brought the show much acclaim, and multiple awards, in 1994.

Michael Malone: Remembering the story, people call it “Marty’s Rape” or “Marty and Todd.” It was a graphic, honest, intensely emotional, extensively researched portrayal of the too-often unreported crime of college rape, in this case a gang rape by three fraternity men. The victim was Marty, a fellow student who already knew them, who had previously had sex with one of them, and who was intoxicated at the time of the rape. The “message” of the story was that none of these circumstances mitigate against the fact that rape is rape and rape is a major crime. The story has had a strong effect both on its creators and on its audience.

The rape was instigated by Todd Manning, a character who had first arrived in story notes as “Frat Boy #1.” Just like Marty, Todd was spoiled, rich, needy and recklessly self-destructive, with a veneer of cynicism over a troubled core. Like her, Todd was a liar. But Marty was known to have lied about Andrew Carpenter and Billy Douglas. So when she cried rape, no one believed her, including Nora Gannon (Hillary B. Smith), the attorney who was defending the accused rapists because she believed them to be innocent.

Susan Haskell, Roger Howarth and Hillary Smith went on to win Emmys for their searing performances in this story. The writers were honored with an Emmy. But our Emmy belongs to the whole company. The community of serial drama is another pleasure of the genre to me. It takes a village of artists to create a soap opera. It’s a daily collaboration among actors, designers, technicians, directors like Jill Mitwell, who so powerfully envisioned the rape episode, producers like Linda Gottlieb, who fought so hard for the integrity of the story. It is also a collaboration with the audience. Soap opera viewers care passionately about story and they don’t hesitate to let you know what they think. (Neither did the readers of Dickens’ novels, also serialized.)

Read more from Michael, Julia, Linda and dozens of other actors, writers, producers, experts and fans in Soap Opera 451: A Time Capsule of Daytime Drama's Greatest Moments enhanced ebook, available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

And for fans of serialized drama ala Dickens, check out this review of Counterpoint: An Interactive Family Saga on Amazon:

I *love* family sagas. I love Dickens. I love soap operas. I love giving my opinions on anything and everything.  Counterpoint has ALL of this. It is, quite simply, the latest iteration of what Charles Dickens used to do in a serial form in the British newsjournals of the late 19th Century. What makes it even more fun is that now it's electronic and readers get to weigh in on what happens next.  I love cliffhangers and wondering where a story will go-- what is marvelous about Counterpoint is that Alina Adams' fans have a voice in those story decisions.  I, for one, can't WAIT for the next installment! 

1 comment: said...

American soaps need a return to melodrama, real emotion. I'm often stunned how devoid of feeling characters can be in today's effort to always stay "cool".
I want to write serial drama but see it as an anytime as opposed to daytime genre in 2017. Also, due to daytime's more conservative audience I see time shifting as a blessing.