Daytime’s Connection to The Primetime Emmys
The Primetime Emmy nominations came out Thursday. Numerous acting nominees previously played roles on soaps, including ‘Glee’s‘ ‘Matthew Morrison who was one of the several actors to play ‘As The World Turns‘ Adam back in 2006 before becoming Mr.Shue. He also gets bonus real life soap opera points for his prior romantic relationship to Chrishelle Stause (Amanda ‘All My Children‘) that ended when she accused him of cheating on her with his fellow Emmy nominated ‘Glee’ co-star Lea Michele. One of ‘Breaking Bad’s‘ Bryan Cranston’s first acting roles was as Doug Donovan on ‘Loving.’ I had the pleasure of speaking to ‘Breaking Bad’s’ creator Vince Gilligan at an event at the Paley Center several months ago. He said Cranston credits ‘Loving’ for teaching him invaluable lessons about acting for television.
In fact, several of the A-list, usual suspects nominees including ‘30 Rock’s‘ Alec Baldwin (ex-Billy Aldrich ‘The Doctors‘) and ‘The Closer’s‘ Kyra Sedgwick (ex-Julia Shearer ‘Another World‘) got their big breaks in contract roles in daytime. Other nominees paid their bills by taking dayplayer roles including ‘Breaking Bad’s’ Aaron Paul, who played a character named Adrian Pascal on ‘Guiding Light‘ back in 2003, who apparently was interested in buying Marah’s designer purses. ‘Modern Family’s‘ Julie Bowen played a role on ‘Loving’ that was small enough not to be named on IMDB, but was big enough to give her a complex. She told the Philadelphia Inquirer, “It was good because you learn all the stuff you don’t learn in acting class. They don’t teach you how to get over your fear of cameras swirling around you. What was horrible, was that everyone was so tiny and skinny. One wardrobe woman called me a cow. Soap people are the littlest people in the world. They are tiny, tiny people.”
Even the movie stars who dominated the Made For Television Movies category (keeping it real, I would love to see some crazy Lifetime MOW to sneak in there) have soap pasts. Susan freaking Sarandon was on ‘Search For Tomorrow‘ back in the 1970s. Kathy Bates played someone named Belle Bodelle on ‘All My Children’ back in 1984. She has the second most awesome primetime nominee soap character name. The same year, also on AMC, Christine Baranski played Jewel Maniscalo. I hope Jewel and Belle were friends, and wish AMC were still as much fun as it obviously was back then.
Other nominated daytime alums include ‘Lost’s‘ Terry O’Quinn (‘The Doctors’ Dr. Jerry Dancy) and Elizabeth Mitchell (Dinah, ‘Loving’), ’30 Rock’s’ Jane Krakowski (Tanya, ‘Another World’, Rebecca, ‘Search For Tomorrow’), and ‘Two and a Half Men’s‘ Holland Taylor (‘Love Is A Many Splendored Thing‘, ‘Somerset‘, ‘Edge of Night‘, ‘All My Children’). I bring this up because there have been so many articles about film and primetime stars appearing on soaps. There is no such thing as a primetime actor or a soap actor or a film actor. There are just actors. They go on a lot of auditions. They take the role that they are offered. Sometimes the first major role is on daytime, sometimes it’s on primetime. Sometimes people go from daytime to primetime. Sometimes it’s the other way around. Most of these talented performers are not associated with soaps because they were either in daytime for too short a time or the role was not as suited to their talents as their primetime one is. So let’s end this artificial division. Good actors are good actors, regardless of the genre. The next time someone you know says something disdainful about soap acting, point out how many of the performers they admire are also soap actors.
‘One Life To Live’ Actually Pulls Off A Surprise Twist
I have to hand it to ‘One Life To Live.’ I was truly shocked that Eli (Matt Walton ) is the one who pushed Marty (Susan Haskell) down the stairs and beat Ford (David Gregory ) half to death. Now it looks like he is also responsible for Melinda’s death. Way to pull off a surprise twist. I am reserving judgment about whether it is a good surprise twist. I am not sure how the pieces are going to fit together or what his motivation is, unless he is working for Mitch, the only person I can think of with reason to hate both the Cramer women and John (Michael Easton), and Marty. His real name cannot be Bennett Thompson because he is Ross’s brother. As a diehard Blair (Kassie DePaiva) fan, I hate that the sweet, sexy lawyer who was treating her like a goddess is actually a scheming killer. I am not sure if this is a way to wrap up a couple of storylines that were originally intended to end differently, especially since it seems like Kelly’s recently departed British beau Reid was intended for something longer term. But it was the increasingly rare oh-my-God Friday cliffhanger. I had managed to avoid spoilers about it. ABC was kind enough not to give it away in the promos. I was frustrated that Monday’s episode was a rerun and I had to wait three full days to find out what happened next. That’s the mark of an effective surprise. More of this OLTL, and less of the teens please.