First up: Fun nighttime soaps! I recently started watching Nashville, because true story, Connie Britton is amazing. She and her fabulous hair went on all the talk shows to talk about how she left the show and she was so charming and pretty that I watched the episode where she left and I cried a ton over a show I had never seen before. I don't think the point of her press tour was 'start watching this show I just left!' but here we are. Let's discuss Nashville by first watching this video:
A) HOT. They look like they might stop singing and start making out right there on stage.
B) AWKWARD. They look like they might stop singing and start making out right there on stage. Is anyone in the audience like, "Hold up, what's happening now? Should we leave? This song is 100% about their weird issues right?" Maybe take your sad sex eyes and personal drama elsewhere? Just a thought.
C) I love how all the characters on this show, but especially these two, are super committed to singing sad ballads about their personal relationships - that they just wrote and arranged 5 minutes ago - in public venues. The height of this is when Rayna sings a depressing song about her and Deacon's current relationship status (relationship status: not together; staring intensely at each other 24/7) at Deacon's birthday party. Super weird, Rayna! Get a grip the both of you and take everything down a thousand notches. Dan Auerbach and Vince Gill were in attendance (never change, Nashville) and Dan Auerbach probably turned to Vince Gill like, "It's a birthday party, not a funeral?" and Vince Gill probably rolled his eyes and was like, "This is their THING. It happens constantly."
D) The songs on this show are fantastic, I've been listening to the season 1 and 2 soundtracks non-stop. There are great songs that are supposed to be great and they also do great bad songs, like there are some fantastic early-season 1 Juliette Barnes songs that are clearly supposed to be Carrie Underwood rejects. Though Carrie Underwood must be bitter a fictional singer sang Boys and Buses first, because that is better than anything she's ever done. Country music superstar Luke Wheeler (BEST NAME!) also has some great generic white dude country songs, though I don't know if those are purposefully not great or if I just don't like the real-life Luke Bryan-esque country music of the world. I'm more of a Sturgill Simpson country music fan.
E) I tried listening to the local country radio station this week and it was dire. They didn't play any classic Rayna Jaymes hits for one! Though while Rayna is great fun, her songs tend to be slightly boring and I still think the best song that's ever been done on this show is Nothing in This World Will Ever Break My Heart Again. Hayden Panettiere crushes it (she's so fantastic) and again, it's better than anything on current country radio. One of the songs on country radio is called 'Body like a Back Road' and I only know the title because it was so off-putting I needed to know as much about it as possible. No man on Nashville would ever sing lines like 'The way she fit in them blue jeans, she don't need no belt/But I can turn 'em inside out, I don't need no help' because they are all very sensitive and sad and I appreciate that. Like seriously, Will Lexington would never, not even when he was pretending to be straight, because he is a gem who deserves to be happy.
F) If I'm mostly focusing on season 1, it's because I'm several episodes into season 4 and while I still enjoy the show, the first season was the best. Connie Britton and her hair remain perfect. I love the characters and the acting is great, but the plots are wildy frustrating. From postpartum depression to homophobia in the country music industry to domestic violence, its become almost relentlessly depressing. Similarly, while I enjoy Deacon's Saddest Man in Nashville thing, it feels like Chip Esten has been crying since mid-way through season 3 and while he gives great, heartbreaking performances that have legit made me cry, I would be fine with Deacon being like 75% less weepy or you know, happy. And yes, I find that entire last sentence strange because I only know Chip Esten from Whose Line is it Anyway? where he seemed like a blandly pleasant, not very serious dude and now he's on a nighttime soap opera acting all tortured and broody (he's maybe the best crier on a show that also features Jonathan Jackson!) and making sad sex eyes at Connie Britton (maybe that's not hard though, I might be able to do it!). Seriously, this guy! I mostly linked to that so you too can fall down a Whose Line is it Anyway? youtube hole - so many good Colin Mochrie and Ryan Stiles compilations! I loved that show when it was originally on and I always forget it's back due to our need to resurrect everything ever. I haven't watched it since it returned, it would probably make me feel old.
Next up: Comparatively less fun daytime soaps! I'm currently semi-watching three of the four daytime soap operas. All four must be good though, since they were all nominated for Daytime Emmy Awards. I mostly watch The Young & The Restless for Jason Thompson, like if it's not a Jason Thompson-as-Billy plot, then I have no clue what's happening on that show. It's about competing multi-national fashion conglomerates headquartered in a small Wisconsin town? And they have a TMZ-like tabloid that reports on the lives of local citizens of said small Wisconsin town? And there's a 70-year-old German man who wears a leather jacket which doesn't strike me as young or restless?
Days of Our Lives has the opposite problem from Nashville in that it has terrible characters who do boring things. The plots are also bad, so maybe not the opposite problem from Nashville, just problems in general. Like Hope murdered Stefano for no reason other than that he was a villain (but also like 80 and in a wheelchair) and then when she went to jail for the crime she totally, 100%, not in self-defense, for no reason committed, everyone was kind of like, "The judicial system is broken and Lady Justice weeps in the face of such a travesty!" It was a smug nightmare. Then Stefano turned out to be alive - or maybe not! Who knows or cares! - and she got out of jail. Crisis averted (boringly). Look, I've been watching this show since I was born basically and I want it to be good. I like liking it! I like Patch and Kayla! They don't do much, but I like them!
But, joy of joys, Ron Carlivati is going to be the new head writer of the show and he did amazing things with One Life to Live and made General Hospital fun before he was unceremoniously fired. I'm pretty sure this scene from his General Hospital tenure where Anna finds out Duke is really Faison in a Duke mask is one of the best soap opera scenes in recent history. I don't think Days has the level of talent that General Hospital does, like I mean obviously that scene is partly amazing because it's bonkers, but it's partly amazing because Finola Hughes is the greatest, and I think making General Hospital a better show maybe didn't require too many radical changes. I don't know how you make Days of Our Lives less boring and I'm not sure what I want from the show in general, but the best scene in the last year involved Caroline, who's 80-something and runs a full-service restaurant, walking all the way across town to yell at Deimos, Victor's evil brother, about how she was going to run him out of town. And Deimos, who was drinking champagne in another room while Caroline yelled threats at him and then left to walk back across town and re-open her restaurant, muttered evily to himself, "Dream on, bitch." It was glorious and I wanted to stand up and clap. Do I want people muttering 'dream on, bitch' to old ladies every day? No, but ocasionally it might be nice. Get on it, Ron Carlivati.
I'm also not sure how you make terrible characters more interesting or not-so-great actors better and Days is losing some of their best actors/characters before his writing will even start - namely, Vincent Irizarry and Arianne Zucker who play Deimos and Nicole and are both absolutely great. Arianne Zucker who, by the way, you might recall from that leaked Access Hollywood video where the President talked about grabbing women by the pussy and then hugged her like a disgusting creep. You know, the video that doomed his presidential campaign because talking about assaulting women is morally unacceptable behavior? THAT VIDEO? Wait, Livejournal, you were supposed to distract me from this. Why did I even come here?! Ugh, everything is the worst. SHUT IT DOWN.