Deep Soap: Missed Opportunties

by | April 9, 2010 at 7:33 AM | Deep Soap

Michael Nouri (Jason Kempin/Getty Images)

Michael Nouri (Jason Kempin/Getty Images)

Michael Nouri Joins ‘All My Children’

Michael Nouri is the latest “primetime” actor to join daytime.  Nouri, who recently played a recurring role on the prestige cable drama ‘Damages,’ is well known to primetime soap fans as Summer’s Dad on ‘The O.C.’ He is also remembered for his role as Jennifer Beals love interest in the 80s classic ‘Flashdance.’ Nouri will play Erica Kane’s (Susan Lucci’s) new love interest on ‘All My Children’ starting May 24th.  According to ABC’s press release, Nouri’s character Caleb McGraw is a “reclusive mountain man” who is irritated when Erica’s plane crashes into his house.  Nouri is no stranger to daytime.  He played Elliot Hampton on ‘The Young & The Restless’ in 2004, where he failed to make much of an impression.  This is not the first time that a big name has been brought in to star opposite Lucci.  ‘Dallas’s Jack Scalia played Chris Stamp. Mario Van Peebles’ short-lived character Samuel Woods was also rumored to be slated to become romantically involved with Erica.   Neither character engaged the audience the way Erica and Jack’s (Walt Willey) decades long on and off again relationship has.  In fact, many of the recent actors who were touted as being big-time primetime stars taking on daytime roles, including Y&R’s Clementine Ford (Mac), Darius McCraryy (Malcolm) and William Russ (Tucker #1) have been a hit with audience.  Although several actors who debuted with little fanfare but happened to have significant primetime experience including ‘General Hospital’s Dominic Zamprogna (Dante, formerly of ‘Battlestar Gallactica‘) and ‘One Life To Live’s Amanda Setton (ex-Kim, formerly of ‘Gossip Girl’) immediately proved popular. I hope that Nouri will actually live up to the hype.

Watch Nouri in ‘The O.C.’:

Failure of Imagination

There are so many interesting ways that the teen dating violence storyline on ‘General Hospital’ could have developed. After enduring a second beating by Kiefer (Christian Alexander), Kristina (Lexi Ainsworth) could have mustered up the courage to testify against him at his trial only to have him get acquitted because her initial claim that Ethan was the one who abused her.  He could then turn around and sue her for defamation, and for getting his admission to Harvard revoked.  (Getting accused of a violent crime is an even better way of losing you spot at a prestigious college than screwing around second semester of senior year.)  Or Kiefer could have actually gotten help and attempted to change his ways, only to realize that he has wrecked his chances for a bright future.  Kristina could have gotten in touch with her Cassadine roots and concocted an elaborate yet non-violent revenge scheme that would have had the audience cheering.

Instead, GH decided to recycle a storyline from last summer — Kiefer dies when Alexis (Nancy Lee Grahn) accidentally hits him with her car and decides not to stop and help him.  Ethan is wrongly arrested.  Not only is this a carbon copy of the car accident that resulted in Claudia’s miscarriage, only that time Alexis ended up falsely confessing to the accident that Kristina caused, it’s similar to Alexis killing Lorenzo Alcazar several years ago.  It also takes the story further away from a laudable attempt to dramatize an important issue into a routine crime story.  It continues to make the story of Kristina’s beating about everyone but Kristina.   Instead of watching Kristina attempt to heal her emotional wounds, the focus will be on Alexis attempting to avoid prison.  What a wasted opportunity. Now that Kiefer is dead all of the interesting points that were raised about how Sonny’s abusive language and violent lifestyle desensitized Kristina and how even an attentive mother like Alexis could be snowed by a guy like Kiefer, will be forgotten.  How disappointing that GH chose to go down the road it always travels instead of actually finishing the intriguing story that it spent months developing.

Another Wasted Opportunity

‘One Life To Live’s Ilene Kristen (Roxie) could end global warming and being peace to the Middle East.  In a single episode she managed to craft a compelling mother-child dynamic with the soon to depart Schuyler (Scott Clifton.)   While I do not buy any the retcons that Rex (John Paul Lavoisier) and Schuyler were switched as babies, I found myself wishing that Schuyler would be sticking around just so I could see their relationship develop.

Roxie has always had a soft spot for social outcasts.  Since Llanview is not Port Charles, when Schuyler shot the police commissioner he became the most hated man in town.  Kristen made me believe that Roxie was able to open her heart to this extremely troubled man who, thanks to some warp speed character butchering, went from sympathetic underdog to violent kidnapper in the space of a few episodes. The fierce, defiant love she showed her former enemy was exciting to watch.  Kristen sold me on the heretofore unnoticed similarities between Roxie and Schuyler.  Both have a propensity for substance abuse and impulsive behavior/  Both always seem to get the short end if the stick.  Kristen brought out the best in Clifton, who has frequently gone over the top as his character spun out of control. He was subtle and surprisingly likable as a man who has realized that his life is functionally over.    I believed that Roxie would have Schuyler’s back from now on.  Sadly, thanks to the gutting of OLTL’s cast, I will not get to see Roxie bring Schuyler back from the brink.