Deep Soap: Vanessa Marcil Giovinazzo’s Return Not A Blockbuster

Vanessa Marcil Giovinazzo (Photo: ABC)

Vanessa Marcil Giovinazzo (Photo: ABC)

So Much for the Brenda Bump

Last week’s Nielsen ratings are in. After months of hype, and ABC giving up all of their Tuesday programming to a celebration of All Things Brenda, Vanessa Marcil Giovinazzo’s return to ‘General Hospital‘ on August 11th had absolutely no impact on the show’s ratings.

While Brenda’s first episodes have been underwhelming, I was surprised that there was not any increase in the ratings. There seemed to be real excitement about her return. There are two possible conclusions that can be drawn from these numbers. 1) The return of even the most popular daytime actors has no impact on the ratings. Soaps are doomed. 2) It’s all about the story.

How the Ratings Shake Out:

Week of 8/2/2010
Women 18-34: 0.8/5
Women 18-49: 1.2/8
Women 25-54: 1.6/10

Week of 8/9/2010
Women 18-34: 0.8/5
Women 18-49: 1.2./7
Women 25-54: 1.6/9

In 1999 people tuned in to Brenda’s return because it was an exciting, fun storyline. If the writers had started off Brenda’s storyline with a bang, the viewers would have come. If Brenda’s story, along with the rest of the show,picks up than viewers will return. I suspect the latter theory is the accurate scenario. ‘GH‘ has been dull for the past month.  People want to see Brenda turn Port Charles on its ear, not ruminating about her life with a stranger.

‘Y&R’s Nick and Christine: Make the Lambs Stop Screaming

I always thought of myself as an open minded person. I believed that  two consenting adults have the right to do whatever they want. That all changed during today’s episode of ‘The Young & The Restless‘ when I was subjected to the horror of Nick (Joshua Morrow) and Christine (Lauralee Bell) making out. The courts need to declare their actions illegal and obscene, perhaps due to more combined smugness than the law allows. This out of nowhere plot development was foreshadowed from the moment the two of them ran into each other at a bar. The forced banter about baseball between two characters who had not interacted in years, and never had a single hint of sexual tension, was a slow motion train wreck. Christine was eager to forget about nearly having sex with her ex-husband Paul (Doug Davidson). Nick’s ego was bruised because right now neither Phyllis (Michelle Stafford) or Sharon (Sharon Case) wants him.  They had a few drinks. ‘Y&R‘ was not really going to go there, was it? Yes. It was. A kiss progressed to full on making out. Viewers across America lost their appetites.

It was so very, very wrong, like watching scientists breed two different species to create a hybrid animal. Some characters just should not ever be in a romantic scene together. I cannot even articulate why they struck me as so wrong for each other. Christine has always been self-righteous and confident that she is qualified to decide how everybody on earth should be living their lives. When she was younger, that translated to lecturing people about social issues.  This summer, she has crossed the line into playing God. Sure, if her best friend Nina (Tricia Cast) found out that Ronan (Jeff Branson) is her son, it could complicate a crime investigation. But Christine knows that Nina is desperate to find her child, and chooses to keep silent. Christine has also decided to talk out of both sides of her mouth about Paul, professing to support his relationship with Nina, while spending enough time alone with Paul to ensure maximum temptation and break them up. Making out with Nick was just one more unsympathetic action.

Nick, for his part, went from a fickle man who switched his allegiance from Sharon to Phyllis every time the weather changed, to a general horn dog. The disgusting make out session had a pay off: Phyllis saw the two of them. Phyllis seeing her ex-husband canoodling with her original nemesis should have made for an epic showdown that would truly have marked the return of the old Phyllis. Instead, she saw the blonde hair and wrongly concluded that Nick was hooking up with Sharon again. Yawn. Let us never speak of this abomination again.

Things I Learned From Watching Soaps This Week

  • Google searches are so complicated that only a hacker can perform them. On Thursday’s ‘General Hospital’ Sonny (Maurice Benard) actually summoned Spinelli (Bradford Anderson) to his penthouse and ordered him to do a “media search” for information about Brenda.  I know Sonny is not the brightest guy on earth, but I think he is capable of typing Brenda’s name into a search engine.  Spinelli always seems to be using his legendary hacking skills to do everyday activities that require no specialized knowledge, but this was particularly ridiculous.  Perhaps the reason Sonny has yet to phone Brenda is that he has not yet figured out how to place a call on his smart phone.
  • Victor Newman is an asshat.  Also you can say asshat in daytime now.  I learned this lesson from Billy (Billy Miller) on ‘The Young & The Restless,’ who used the word to accurately sum up Victor’s personality in Thursday’s episode.
  • There is no daytime scene that could not be improved with a little slapping. The highlight of ‘General Hospital’ this week was Lulu(Julie Berman) slapping the hell out of Brooklyn (Adrianna Leon) when she caught her attempting to seduce a drugged Dante (Dominic Zamprogna) and Brooklyn backhanding her back.  On the ‘Young & The Restless,’ when Paul admitted to Nina that he would have slept with Christine if she hadn’t put on the brakes, she gave him a thoroughly justified smack across the face. In real life, I do not condone violence.  But I fantasize about laying the smackdown on irritating people on a regular basis.  Watching soap characters do it is cathartic. I would watch a show called ‘Bitch Slap’ about Nina, Lulu, Brooklyn and Sami “double slap” Brady of ‘Days of Our Lives‘ traveling the world to mete out well deserved slaps in the face.
  • The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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