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    • I think that font change is much too small. I prefer the current, new font…perhaps a little smaller. And again, I think the skyline is fine. Overall, the new open is a success in my eyes.
    • 1988/89 the writer’s strike delayed season. NBC sitcoms still dominating, taking 5 of the Top 10 spots. The Cosby Show fourth consecutive #1 season but it wasn’t as dominant as the previous three seasons. 12 out 25 episodes finished #1 in the week of their original broadcast, 10 episodes finished 2nd, two episodes finished 3rd, and one episode finished in the Top 10. This season The Cosby Show saw its dominance threatened by the breakout success of Roseanne. On a win-loss basis, new episodes of The Cosby Show were 14-5 vs. new episodes of Roseanne. Roseanne was the breakout hit of the season and the first show to threaten The Cosby Show’s dominance. Six out of 23 episodes finished #1 in the week of their original broadcast. Roseanne came along at a time when the popular family sitcoms embodied mid-1980s Reagan era ideals and Roseanne was the anti-Reagan era ideal family sitcom. The breakout success of Roseanne was a sign that times and tastes were changing. No change to the network rankings from the previous season: NBC #1, ABC 2nd, CBS 3rd. 1988/89 was another season w/ not a lot of hit dramas. CBS: Murder, She Wrote was still a Top 10 hit but Knots Landing, Dallas, and Falcon Crest were aging, and Beauty and the Beast, Jake and the Fatman, Tour of Duty, and Wiseguy were not showing growth. Spring 1989 saw the end of Simon & Simon and The Equalizer. The new drama from 1988/89 that would return was Paradise. ABC: MacGyver, Thirtysomething, and China Beach were not showing growth. Spring 1989 saw the end of Moonlighting, Dynasty, and HeartBeat. The new drama from 1988/89 that would return was Mission: Impossible. NBC: Matlock, L.A. Law, In the Heat of the Night, and Hunter were Top 20 hits. Spring 1989 saw the end of Miami Vice, Highway to Heaven, and Sonny Spoon. The new dramas from 1988/89 that would return were Midnight Caller and Quantum Leap. On the whole 1988/89 wasn’t a very good season. The combination of after effects of the writer’s strike and changing times caused so many shows to feel off.
    • Nita Talbot GENERAL HOSPITAL             "Madame" Delfina the designer          1981-82, occasional visits later, 1991   Bennett Guillory GENERAL HOSPITAL         Judge Enright     11/1991   Erik Howell GENERAL HOSPITAL       W. S. B. Voice    11/1991 Robert Gorrie ALL MY CHILDREN      Clerk    Unknown Year   Connor Paolo ALL MY CHILDREN       Boy     Unknown Year   Shawn Elliott ALL MY CHILDREN   Dr. Tom Rodriguez   Unknown Year   Will start soon.   Also on my radar: Jana Taylor Neil Hamilton Allison Hayes Carolyn Craig and updates for John Beradino Emily MacLaughlin Jack Betts Roy Thinnes for GH's 60th
    • Episode 22-23 (A Piece of the Pie/The Forest for the Trees): Ruth: So that's Abby Ewing. She's a pretty little thing. She ever been an actress or something? Laura: In what sense? Madison Mason just keeps saying "eeeeverybody" over and over when Greg asks who all is in on Empire Valley. Okay then. The many elements of this story I like so far aside, this guy is really a bit much. LOL at Laura lugging toddler Daniel around with her house up for sale as she prepares to move with Greg to D.C., while forever young Jason is embarrassed to get kissed in front of the school carpool. I love Constance McCashin clowning with what is presumably still her IRL kid in her arms, with some banter which can't be scripted: "You are so heavy I cannot believe it." She tells Daniel to "tell [Jason] to put his seatbelt on," and the little guy does! Even more cul-de-sac arena stuff: Cathy and Val jogging, followed by Joshua jogging with Ben as new celebrity Joshua is accosted by teen girls in a car. I always love this stuff. A nice beat this episode: Abby going to Sumner's office to visit him and finding Laura. Abby sneers about Greg and Laura's romance - the first time in ages she has referenced what must've been a deep humiliation for her last season. After Coblenz tells Greg everything about the Valley project we cut to Greg on horseback in a wilderness reverie, apparently accepting the mantle of his father, finally putting on the Galveston signet ring. Is his expression behind his opaque black sunglasses vaguely smiling, satisfied or simply resigned? Devane leaves it at least partly opaque. Do I totally buy Greg's acceptance after so much resistance to taking on the family business earlier? I'm not sure how I feel, but I do understand it and it's a point about total power - and his desire for it, superseding that of the courts or bureaucracy - that is illuminated more in later episodes I've viewed. There's a great scene where Greg tends the fire on the ranch as Ruth watches, monologuing about his youthful idealism and naïveté, his past choice to discard some of his ideals and move forward towards success instead: "Some people are really good at living that double-standard life," he broods. "The dishonesty of it never even dawns on them." But it does for Greg, for better or worse. He burns his hopes for a long future in the Senate in the fire and accepts the future, Paul Galveston controlling him from beyond the grave.  Meanwhile, Karen is still on the baby case as this story prepares to hit a roadblock hinging, bizarrely, on national bridge tournaments for several episodes straight. We are not told that not one but two doctors were mysteriously sent away to a convention, presumably to put the creepy Dr. Ackerman in play for Val’s delivery. This begs the question of how far up does the entire baby scheme go if, as we were led to believe before, Scott Easton was in it alone at Galveston? I could swear I remember and wrote about a scene where Galveston discovered the late Easton's papers outlining the baby caper. So how did this come about and why? We still don't quite know. I'm not sure if we will. It is encouraging to see Val getting back to her writing, though we know a few eps later that she hits some major stumbling blocks. "I know they're gone," she tells her therapist, but that's not quite true. There is a very cute scene with Val and Lilimae perming Lilimae's hair. I love the return of a lot of these neighborhood scenes, they always keep the show in the right orbit. "Contains no lye," Lilimae says about her hair treatment. "Well, I should hope not! Ask me no questions, I'll tell you no lye!" Thank you, Lilimae. Suited Eric is still at it in the bubbling KL Motors subplot! He looks nice, but the one notable moment of it in the first of these two eps goes to Mack about his suddenly yuppie stepson: "He's gonna be 46 years old. Let him go out." Joshua is still demanding Cathy sing on his damn show and not at Isadora's. Once again he tries to use sex to silence her and make her submit, with Cathy pulling away crying "no!" But ultimately the ep ends with Cathy looking severely pressed in conservative white, singing pop-infused hymns on TV exhorting her love for Jehovah. The seductively catchy power of pop-rock religiosity aesthetics in Joshua's new empire echoes the rise of 'hip' megachurches like Hillsong today, and makes this story another one that is still relevant - especially with masterful, newly stylish Svengali Joshua watching his bride-to-be perform in a well-fitted suit, a far cry from his former humble garments. Cathy is of course visibly shocked as Joshua announces their "engagement" on live TV.  Cathy has become such a doormat this season, but while I would like better for the character I also think it's likely part of her background and nature, going back to her husband Ray who we know groomed and abused her from adolescence. A newly-permed Lilimae is thrilled about the engagement back at Val's, while Cathy quietly seethes to Ben. This carries over to Episode 23 and Joshua and Cathy's engagement party at Westfork, where Laura very clearly has zero time for Joshua forbidding Cathy from singing and walks off without a word because she just won't be a party to it. Ben and Mack are still a fabulous Ambiguously Gay Crime-Fighting Duo. They pick the Fisher house from a random name on a list they found at Galveston Industries - again, I am gonna need to review the crucial Galveston/Easton papers scene. Did Galveston investigate himself and find out about them? How and why was Scott Easton trafficking Val's babies independently? Just to get future leverage on Abby and therefore Gary Ewing to please his corporate master? I almost didn't remember the significance of the Fisher name at first, until I heard a baby crying upstairs in the home. The show cloaks this reveal beautifully: Ben and Mack, along with Laura and Greg's staff and then Gary, Karen and Abby at Lotus Point are all once again grouped together for a unifying event, bushwhacked by Sumner's TV press conference where he acknowledges Galveston's death and his place as his father's son, then resigns his Senate and becoming chairman of the Galveston board. The show has done Big Moments on TV like this before to bring the entire canvas together in one reaction, and so far it always works. Meanwhile, nobody watching live in 1984(?) is likely seeing the real ace in the hole plot-wise: Mrs. Fisher holding one of Valene's stolen babies in the background of her house. The Fishers are dismissed as an afterthought as a shellshocked Mack and Ben leave. Then the show begins to slyly tip its hand by going back to the Fishers alone and showing that Mrs. Fisher has not one but two babies! A fantastic, quiet reveal. Mack gives us some curious background on him and Greg in these two episodes, when he says that in their youth Greg spent so much time with his family that he knew Mack's family better than Mack did, and knew Mack's mother better than Ruth. How and why? Was the Sumner household that cold and isolated? Following the surprise press conference, Laura searches for Sumner who's moved out of his hotel to the Galveston ranch, only for her to get curved by a strapping young man who I swear to God is Don Diamont from Y&R and B&B though it's not credited anywhere, I've checked. Anyway: Laura is livid, having already put her house on the market for the move to D.C. Greg shows up at the house to try to turn on the charm, only to hides behind Laura's freezer door. Oh, William Devane. Greg drags Laura out to the ranch to meet Ruth, only for Abby to immediately cruise up and have Greg walk off with her! Ruth is clearly already taken with Abby, not Laura Avery.  Nice to see Gary and Val still on point about their mutual love for Olivia at Joshua and Cathy's engagement party in Episode 23. Those bonds are still well-serviced, as is Olivia holding a grudge about Cathy an Gary's affair, then confiding in Val who wants to pull her out of doldrums. It's character building that isn't all plot, and that's what matters. Michael in short shorts handing all the men beers at Ben's swinging bachelor pad: No comment.  It is nice to see Abby consistently overstepping her field of play again, just as she did with Wolfbridge, when she tries to work John Coblenz re: the FCC licenses for Pacific World in Empire Valley. She does not know who she's dealing with, and that (and her efforts on behalf of the babies, both before and later on) help to ground and humanize the character. I don't have too much to say about Ep 23 tbh, other than to say Karen and Lilimae's outre ensembles at the party are incredible. One more thing: The unexpected end credits freeze-frame of the babies on Episode 22 is very deliberate and surprising (c/o the defunct but never forgotten Knots Blogging):

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