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Film and Television Discussion
: Soap Operas; Two Time Emmy Winner Michelle Stafford Leaves YR
Soap Operas; Two Time Emmy Winner Michelle Stafford Leaves YR
5 years ago
(August 03, 2013 01:26 PM)
Member since April 2008
I know they're cheesy. I know the plots are outrageous. I know the acting isn't as high quality as you'd find in any feature film released in December. But Soap Operas don't get enough credit. They are really hard-working people, they produce an hour show every single day of the week. Compare that to taking eight days to film one show per week or months to complete a feature film. One thing that can never be said about the world of Daytime is that they're lazy, they're always on the move. I've been a rabid Soap fan for the past thirteen years and I have them to thank for my interest in film, art, and human emotions. Daytime fans can agree that characters on a Soap Opera become a part of your friends and family, you see them live their lives every day as you live yours. Soap Opera is a special genre that hopefully it cherished by the watchers the rest of their lives.
Unfortunately, in the last five years the world of Daytime television has evolved from Soap-oriented to talk/reality/game show-orientented. Soap Operas were targeted at women when they first began and were ideal for stay-home moms. Now that women have utilized the workplace just as much as men, Soaps don't really have an audience anymore. To add to that growing problem, there's also the poor financial state our country is meddled in. Budget cuts are required for the studios to stay afloat, and Soaps have to be the first to go. One by one we've said goodbye to our favorite towns, characters, and shows, with only four Soap Operas remaining on the air. Climates at the sets of these shows are different than they used to be. New people are brought on board, stories have become redundant, and everyone knows in their heart that it's just not the same.
DAYS OF OUR LIVES: I watched Days from 2002-2009. Though, I was a fan of Guiding Light before it, Days will be the show that really hooked me into this alternate universe. My favorite plot, and the storyline that solidified these shows in my life was the Salem Stalker. I love a murder mystery (I'm a Scream trilogy fan), I was never more taken aback that a show would a) kill off ten of the most popular characters b) make the masked killer the heroine of the show and c) show that none of the characters were ever really dead and killer never did the deed. So many risks involved and the twists were more frequent than if you were playing with a hulahoop. The MVP for me was Allison Sweeney playing Sami Brady. She was spunky, flawed, and lovable through every wrong thing she did.
GUIDING LIGHT: My favorite Soap, where it all began for me, and where it all began to end , unwilling. I watched from 2000-2009, '09 the show was axed from the air. Guiding Light was paced faster than lightening, that's why it's so hard to narrow down one favorite, defining storyline. The storyline which introduced me to the show was Blake and Eden locking one another in a cage in a church basement, fighting over the love of Blake's husband, Russ. A second memorable story is Harley and Gus being established as a super-couple and Harley fighting with Phillip over the custody their son. Reva pulling the plug on her sister's husband, Richard was also a highlight, which lead to Reva's trial and her eventual stalker. The big mystery over Phillip's murder was also a storyline that is now legend.
The show's prime was 2006-2007, beginning with Reva's heart-wrenching cancer storyline, followed by the death of Tammy and Jonathan's exit from Springfield, which concluded with "Who Shot Alan Spaulding?" Those three story lines are what defines the show for me, besides the eventual conclusion. Fans got word that Guiding Light would be the first Soap Opera to be struck down from the air, after 72 years, Springfield would be abandoned. The last months of the show were magnificent. We felt the eventual demise of the show as the hero, Phillip, was diagnosed with a fatal disease. As he lived the final days, we knew we were living ours. Guiding Light even tackled a lesbian-romance in this time period, between Olivia and Natalia. The final show is something to be treasured. The day ended 2/3 of the way through the hour, then brilliantly fast-frowared a year to see where the characters ended up and to see the iconic couple, Josh and Reva, riding past the lighthouse, finally together. Though it was hard to move on, we left everyone we loved in the best places they could've been in. My favorite performance from Guiding Light is obviously, the queen of daytime: Kim Zimmer as the sassy, charming, and dramatically intense Reva Shayne, the slut of springfield.
YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS: Already being associated with two popular Daytime shows, I wasn't looking to get hooked on any others. One day I was home from school for the summer, eating lunch, looking for something to watch. I settled on the CBS channel, and starting watching Young and the Restless. I watched Young and the Restless since that day in 2007 until yesterday, 2013. Young and the Restless has a maturity and grace, GL & DOOL, didn't quite have. I became a fan, easily. My favorite storyline is awarded to three months of last summer: July, August, and September, told in two story lines. The first: The hit and run trial which lead into the darkly hilarious body dumping tale featuring Phyllis and Kevin. The second: Victor married Sharon, then disappeared from town lost his memory and was even assumed dead. Sharon rose to power of Newman enterprises and held an inappropriately brief funeral for him. That show, the funeral show was hands down the best hour Y&R ever broadcasted. The characters were either comedic gold or in heartbreaking crisis. Melody Thomas Scott crying at the gravesite, looking up to see Eric Braden will forever be engraved in my memory. The MVP here is quite obvious too: Michelle Stafford as Phyllis Summers, who made every minute of every show engrossing, fun, and dramatic.
BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL: A nice little, frisky time-passer that proved to be quite entertaining. Watching from 2007-2011, Bold and the Beautiful was the most frustrating to watch because of the story lines living on the repeat button and the amount of time B&B developed a story in a year is what YR or GL could've summed up in a month. I still loved the hip approach to the show, but I mostly watched for Katherine Kelly Lang's heroine in Brooke. She always drew to me and no matter what the storyline was, all eyes were on her. My favorite storyline was the gripping tale of Brooke being raped by Andy. My eyes were plastered to the screen, jaw-dropped, in fear of what was coming next. Lang did an remarkable job acting through those shows and was cheated out of an Emmy nomination and win for that time.
As I said earlier, Michelle Stafford's portrayal of Phyllis was the strongest asset Young and the Restless had on its side. The character was always so catchy, mixed with Stafford's energy and beauty, no wonder she was the fan favorite since her arrival. Stafford in my opinion gave the defining performance in Daytime history in the summer of 2010 as Phyllis struggled through Nick's loyalty to Sharon and their collapsing marriage. The next year when the envelope was opened for Lead Actress at the Emmys and Stafford's name wasn't called, it was a slap in the face to anything of a reputation the Daytime Emmys held prior to that moment. The Soap World has been slipping through my fingers since the epic peak of Y&R's Victor "dead" storyline in the fall, but sadly a new head writer took hold of the reigns at Y&R and destroyed the quality show it had been for years. This past May Michelle Stafford announced she was leaving the show, which meant for me that the final nail in the coffin was about to be pounded into my Soap Opera career.
Losing Stafford is going to be a huge dent in the show's success if you ask me. Phyllis became one of the most memorable characters in Daytime history and Stafford was everyone's favorite actress. I really loved the storyline in which her character sailed out of Geona City, however (the Phyllis/Sharon scene in the stairwell was phenomenal), except for the disappointment I feel Satfford will never get to say goodbye to everyone as Phyllis, since the character has been in a coma for the past two weeks. Phyllis left Geona City for good yesterday, August 2nd. Stafford reported to Soap Opera Digest she will never be returning to the show or character. Though there's a possibility of recasting the character in the future, I'm not looking back either. Michelle Stafford has left the building, so has Ryan C. Showers. Congratulations to Michelle Stafford on her exceptional career, creating an unforgettable character, and good luck with the new webshow "The Stafford Project". I'll be watching.
Soaps are a great way to start out in the world of entertainment, for actors, fans, directors, writers, and media journalists. My favorite actress, Sarah Michelle Gellar, began her career on a Soap Opera, All My Children. But, it's not a medium that is going to live on forever. Soap Operas aren't as well made as motion pictures or primetime TVs, they have cheap photography, sometimes sloppy directing, frequently rushed and unrealistic writing, and acting that doesn't compare to that in other forms of entertainment. Soap Operas are practically un-rewatchable. The way you can sit and rewatch your favorite shows and movies isn't the same with Soaps; you notice the obvious flaws on repeated viewings. It's funny that we don't notice them the first time through, I guess we're just so involved in the story and the characters, we look at them with our heart and not our brains. With so much disappointment, my career watching Soaps has now dwindled to goodbye. It's bittersweet because I've been involved in this aspect of entertainment for such a big portion of my life, but I know what's coming next will be wonderful.
My grandma used to subscribe to Soap Opera Digest for me, I got the Weekly issue as a birthday present from her. My Grandma watched Days of our Lives, passed that onto my mother. My mother watched Days of our Lives and Guiding Light, she passed those both onto me. I opened myself up to Guiding Light, Days of our Lives, Young and the Restless, Bold and the Beautiful, As the World Turns, Passions, Soap Opera Digest, CBS Soaps in Depth, and a became faithful follower of the Daytime Emmys. I'll never forget the twists, the story lines, the suspense, the mystery, the heartbreak, the colorful characters, and the huge imprint it left on my life. Goodbye, everyone, I will miss you so, but you'll live forever in my creative mind and soul.
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