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Oakdale Confidential:
An As The World Turns Novel

Thursday, December 28, 2006


While the producers of ATWT and GL are always listening to fan feedback about their shows -- they read their mail, monitor message boards and regularly hold focus groups -- recently, a group of viewers seem to have overestimated their immediate influence on the goings-on in the town of Oakdale.

On December 15, Broadway World.com ran an interview with several young stars of the musical, How the Grinch Stole Christmas! One of the actors, Daniel Manche, the recently SORASed JJ, was quoted as saying that he had just filmed a scene where JJ killed his on-screen brother, Parker.

The ATWT message boards lit up with outrage and fury about the upcoming plot twist. Which turned out not to be true. Within days, the story was amended to read that "Daniel said he'd just filmed a scene where he beats up his on-screen brother."

While a majority of posters understood that a mistake had been made by a reporter unfamiliar with the show, a small group decided that the revised story was merely P&G spin and that, in response to their vocal uprising, the story of JJ killing Parker had been quickly scrapped.

This may -- may -- have been a possibility if the plot were still in long story stage. Less likely if it was in the breakdown stage.

But, if the scene had already been filmed, that meant it was, at most, six weeks from airing. (I'm not even factoring in the time that must have passed from the interview being conducted to it being posted; let's be generous and say it was a one day turn-around on the writer's part).

To kill the story based on fan uproar, ATWT would have had to mutilate a good chunk of an episode that was ready to air. They would then need to film new scenes to fill the gap.

Furthermore, since a story like JJ killing Parker would hardly have played for one day and never been mentioned again, that meant they would have had to rewrite weeks of scripts already in the can, not to mention possibly cut and reshoot several more episodes (all during the holiday season, with its multitude of vacation days, to boot).

ATWT loves their fans. They care what their fans think about their show and its direction.

But no way would they -- frankly, no way could they -- kabosh a major story in a few weeks under the above circumstances. No matter how loud an outcry.

Monday, December 18, 2006


Tis time again for The Battle Over Christmas, as airports take down their decorations and put them up again, and carolers are hushed to protect a figure skater with a Jewish last name who doesn't mind in the slightest (Sasha Cohen, by Jewish law, isn't even technically Jewish, since it's her father who is the Jew, not her mother).

As part of an interracial/interfaith family, I tend to look upon this annual hysteria with exasperated amusement.

If my three year old knows that, "some people believe in Santa and some people don't," you'd think it wouldn't be that hard of a concept to grok.

Also, as someone who has often been chastised for marrying a non-Jew, I tend to be rather intolerant of intolerance. (I also have trouble with dairy products).

Amusingly, the majority of people who judge my life choices are unmarried, Jewish women.

It is at this point that I like to smile pleasantly, nod, and, in my head, sing a few bars from The Music Man:

When a woman's got a husband, and you've got none
Why should she take advice from you?
Even if you can quote Balzac and Shakespeare
And all them other high-falutin' Greeks.

Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 14, 2006


Over on the Amazon.com site, four readers are upset that Oakdale Confidential: Secrets Revealed turned out to feature the original text of Oakdale Confidential, with only a new prologue, epilogue and photo insert.

While I am sorry that people feel they were misled, I'm not sure how the additions could have been made any clearer.

Besides what I wrote on this blog, there is the book's cover, which says: Now expanded for the new season/Contains new epilogue and photos," and the Amazon website itself, which says: "Now expanded with a note from the author, 16 pages of photos, and a startling new epilogue that everyone in Oakdale is talking about!"

On the show itself, Lucinda kept asking Katie for new pages, saying how the books was an expanded edition for the holidays.

Was there more we could have done to make it clear?

Thursday, December 07, 2006


As Y&R's new Executive Producer, Lynn Marie Latham, and Co-Executive Producer, Josh Griffith, get settled in nice and cozy to Genoa City, I have but one small hope:

That neither one of them has off-spring.

Because while I have many quibbles with The Young & Restless in general (if the show moved any slower it would come to a dead standstill, for instance), one specific, multi-year objection of mine is how the producing and writing regime seems to feel entitled, nay, obligated, to foist their untalented progeny onto our television screens.

It all started, I suspect, with Lauralee Bell. Creator Bill Bell's daughter came on the show in the 1980s as a teen model named Chicklet (sorry, sorry, I know it's Cricket), and proceeded to stand around waiting for all the young (and not so young) male characters to fall in love with her. Eventually, she went by her real name, Christine, and became a lawyer, but the standing around and waiting to be worshipped never really ceased.

Then we had the Alden children. Headwriter Kay Alden's son, John, played a pre-teen, nasal Nicholas Newman for many years, while Alden's daughter, Conci, thankfully walked through a much shorter stint as Paul's whiny little girl, Heather.

Supervising Producer Ed Scott's daughter, Jennifer, played a recurring baby sitter named... Jennifer. While Jack Smith's daughter, Asia Ray, was Sierra.

Lest anyone think I'm a child hater in general, I would be happy to provide a list of pint-sized actors I've adored over the years.

Jonathan Jackson (Lucky; GH), Ashley Peldon (Marah; GL), Rachel Miner (Michelle; GL), Jason Biggs (Pete; ATWT), Trevor Richard (Kevin; AW), Jason Zimbler (Jamey; EON), Omri Katz (John Ross) and Joshua Harris (Christopher) of DALLAS, I could go on and on.

But not one of them is the offspring of their shows' production team.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


From NBC:

In another history making interactive first for NBC Daytime, beginning today through December 31, fans of NBC'’s hit daytime drama Days of our Lives” (1 p.m. in most markets) can vote online at NBC.com to name Hope's (Kristian Alfonso) baby girl.

Daytime viewers have been voting on storylines -- albeit, at first, by phone -- since Guiding Light fans decided an on-trial-for-murder Meta's fate in 1951. 75,000 votes were cast, with a margin of 100 to 1 to declare her innocent.

In 1984, GL watchers also voted on what to name Nola and Quint's baby. The winner was Anthony James, though the tot kept losing syllables, as he was first called A.J. and then merely J.

Santa Barbara
followed suit in 1989 with Cruz and Eden's baby, whom viewers named Adrianna.

GL fans, this time using the Internet in lieu of a phone, named Rick and Mel's baby girl Leah in 2004. (It's a good thing they didn't take too long to decide. The young lady is currently a teen).

Even DOOL itself offered viewers the chance to vote on who should be the father of Hope's last baby -- John or Stefano. (Of course then they changed it to Bo anyway, and eventually killed little Zack off).

So I'm not really sure where NBC is getting their "another history making interactive first" designation from.

ABC is on slightly firmer ground with their announced:

...Plans for a groundbreaking storyline on All My Children involving a character coming to terms with her transgender identity. This marks the first time any daytime drama has chronicled a transgender coming out story.

Arguably, the story was already told on their very own network in 1996 with the character of Azure on The City, played by Carlotta Chang. More from GLAAD on the groundbreaking tale, here. Since Azure had technically already completed her surgery prior to being featured, you could say that AMC's story is unique in that it will follow their character, Zarf (anyone else thinking of Spaceballs and John Candy when they hear the name?), through the process. But that seems to be splitting a very fine hair. (Fun soap opera trivia fact: Ms. Chang is currently married to ATWT's Paolo Seganti, who plays Damian).

The above situation sounds a lot like what happened in 1984, when ABC proudly trumpeted their primetime television movie, Something About Amelia, by boasting that it was the first time father/daughter incest was being dealt with on television.

Except for the fact that Loving (forerunner to The City) had been playing the same story in daytime for almost six months.

ABC solved the little conflict of honesty by telling Loving to kill their version.

Something About Amelia
won a bunch of Emmys.

Monday, December 04, 2006


An overview of how books have played a role in P&G soap opera storylines over the years, at the PGP Classic Soaps Blog.

Other soap opera tie-in novels not mentioned include OLTL's The Killing Club, General Hospital's Robin's Diary, Guiding Light's Lorelei's Diary and Passions' Hidden Passions.

What's interesting is that, aside from the GL title penned by the actress who played Lorelie/Beth, all of the books above made the NYT bestseller list. (And the majority of them outperformed Bad Twin, the Lost tie-in novel).

The power of daytime!