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Article: All About Hogan


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More proof that Hogan is incompetent:

All About Hogan

written by Tom Smith, April 5, 2004

This week I’ll be examining recent quotes by ATWT Head Writer Hogan Sheffer on his plans for the show, and how those plans have been translated on-screen.

SHEFFER’S SPEED ZONE

In an interview with Carolyn Hinsey that appeared in the 12/26/03 New York Daily News, "As the World Turns" Head Writer Hogan Sheffer announced: “We threw out all the rules. We're telling stories forward and backward. We're using flashbacks. You will see an Act I where Paul will be in three different places in a row. We won't wait for another act to take him someplace new."

HOGAN SHEFFER IN 2001

In an interview with Carolyn Hinsey that appeared in the 12/26/03 New York Daily News, "As the World Turns" Head Writer Hogan Sheffer announced: “We threw out all the rules. We're telling stories forward and backward. We're using flashbacks. You will see an Act I where Paul will be in three different places in a row. We won't wait for another act to take him someplace new."

Why? Sheffer says: "Six acts broken down into a certain number of pages, it's all linear. I want people to say, 'Yeah, I'd watch the show if it weren't six boring scenes in a row of two people sitting in a pizza place talking about exactly the same thing they talked about for six scenes in a barbershop yesterday.'"

The generally slow pace of daytime is a love it/hate it type of thing. Some people think it’s a marvelous opportunity to wallow in human emotion and personal psychology; others think it ruins stories by having people endlessly talk about things that aren’t central to the plot, and just wastes time. Both perceptions, of course, are true, depending on the storyline and who is doing the writing. Most American soap producers are trying to fill forty minutes a day (I’m subtracting commercials, of course), five days a week; the shows can’t afford to move at the speed of primetime. They’d never be able to create enough story to keep up daytime pace on a primetime schedule. So, a certain amount of stalling is necessary.

Sheffer, however, is engaging in a tactic that creates the illusion of speed, without really giving it to us. In the “new” ATWT, a block of scenes might go like this:

Aaron and Curtis meet with Allison at the diner. They tell her that they need her help to catch Clark the drug-dropping rapist. Allison agrees to put on her finest hootchie wear, and arrange to bump into Clark at the bar, hopefully getting Clark interested enough to drug her drink, which Curtis will capture on a secret video camera aimed at the barstool.

(Look, I’m not arguing plot this month.)

In the VERY NEXT SCENE, Allison is preparing to leave the house, in full hootchie gear, when she’s spotted by Kim. Allison says she’s off to meet friends, and bluffs her way out of the house, while Kim looks suitably appalled. (God bless you, Kathryn Hays.)

In the VERY NEXT SCENE, Allison has now arrived at the bar, and begins hootching up to Clark, who just saw his girlfriend walk out on him because she doesn’t want to be victim no. 3.

All of these scenes put together might go four or five minutes. And there’ll still be scenes dealing with other storylines before the commercial break.

Wow! It sounds like ATWT moves pretty fast, doesn’t it? Not really. The speed treatment is only utilized once or twice a week, and even then, it’s only applied to one of the day’s featured storylines. So, a segment can feature Lily and Holden arguing in their living room, cut to Craig and Lucy arguing in their living room, and end with Paul inviting Carly into his hotel room, and telling her he has an interesting business proposition for her. The next segment will open up with the aforementioned Allison whirlwind tour, then cut to--Lily and Holden still arguing , Craig and Lucy still arguing, and Carly saying, “For god’s sake, Paul, tell me what your business proposal is before I explode!” While Allison is doing Oakdale, nobody else on the show moves, which does nothing but rip holes in the viewer’s little time/space continuum.

In a way, Sheffer and his crew are following in the footsteps of Gloria Monty, who revolutionized daytime with, among other things of course, introducing prime-time editing techniques to General Hospital. Monty changed the pattern from having one long scene followed by another long scene, into having each act consist of three or four short scenes. But, this only created the illusion of movement. Often, the shows are just splitting the long scenes over several acts. What the audience learned was not that “Wow, daytime moves really fast now”, but, “Wow, I never know when they’re going to cut back to my favorite characters, so I better stay tuned.”

ATWT’s innovation, doesn’t work, because it’s obviously artificial. They spend a few minutes trying to make you think things are moving fast, but the rest of the show proves they’re not. If ATWT really wants to quicken the pace, without burning themselves out, perhaps they should take noted from popular BBC soap "EastEnders". A typical episode of EE focuses on two or three plotlines, and uses short scenes to get the point across. The characters are also constantly on the move--from their jobs to their homes to their friends homes’ to the local pub, etc, etc. Now the characters may be discussing the same things as they move from place to place, but the show has that feeling of movement, that ATWT apparently wants, but isn’t getting across.

More baffling is Sheffer’s trumpeting that he’s using flashbacks. Does he think that’s new? Whether it’s showing stuff the audience saw firsthand (like Craig putting on his idiot disguised voice to lure Paul to the mausoleum, which it felt like they showed every day, six times a day, for three months) or having characters remember events the audience didn’t know about, flashbacks have been a time-honored time waster for years. I mean, if you edited out all the flashbacks from the past ten years of DAYS, you’d have about twelve hours of footage.

SHEFFER BARES ALL

As for Sheffer, when he says he wants you to see more in an hour of ATWT, he’s not just talking about the number of scenes. From the 12/26/03 article: “Daytime needs more sex. And nudity.” To that end, a recent episode of ATWT featured a shot of Mike’s rear through the fog of a shower. Kind of makes CBS’ outrage over Janet Jackson’s breast seem suspect, doesn’t it?

So, a male rear-end gets shown. Did the World come to an end? No. (Well, I guess it depends on what kind of end.) But, let’s look at where we are. In a time where viewers consistently talk about inferior, lazy writing and lack of romance, what do we have? We have half the men on NBC daytime running around shirtless, and the drama of watching the women on Y&R keep their cleavage in their clothes. (Which is often as interesting as Y&R itself.) Now ATWT’s Head Writer is proclaiming we need more sex and nudity on daytime. Why? Because soaps have to keep up with primetime, movies, cable, the internet, certain magazines, etc?

Soaps already use their share of poorly constructed and embarrassingly acted sex scenes as a crutch to fill airtime. If they’re allowed to go further with sexual situations, it won’t be for realism or to illuminate the human condition--it will belong totally to the realm of stunts and plot devices. “Move over, serial killers and baby switches--here comes genitalia!” Look at how much mileage AMC got from the lesbian kiss. What will they do if there are no more taboos?

FORMER AMC VIEWER: Anything good coming up on AMC this week?

CURRENT AMC VIEWER: No, but I can tell you what’s coming off--Ryan’s undies!

FORMER AMC VIEWER: What?

CURRENT AMC VIEWER: I said full frontal Ryan this week!

FORMER AMC VIEWER: Um--yeah. I-I actually was asking if there was anything good coming up this week story wise.

CURRENT AMC VIEWER: Who wise?

FORMER AMC VIEWER: Story wise?

CURRENT AMC VIEWER: Huh? Who did what to who now?

FORMER AMC VIEWER: Never mind.

CURRENT AMC VIEWER: Okay. Yeah. Yeah, Greenlee, rip it off him!

Well, at least my way, AMC empowers women. The truth is that soaps are never going to go very far in the sexual area, because the risk of offending viewers is too great. Meanwhile, the ever-elusive younger demo can get their dose of media sex from a variety of different places without having to settle for a foggy butt, a breast, or a vocal orgasm. Does Sheffer, the network execs., et all, think viewers are going to sit through months and years of watching a couple fight the odds, just to see an occasional few minutes of hardcore?

SHEFFER SENDS IN THE VETS

Sheffer isn’t completely obsessed with breaking new ground however. Earlier this year, Sheffer told Soap Opera Weekly: “You’re going to see a resurgence of the veterans after the first of the year. Kim and bob are going to be very embroiled in the Chris/Allison story. Lucinda is going to be very involved with Lily’s transformation after Rose’s death and with Lucy’s continuing problems.”

Not only have both these things come to pass, but even the Lisa embargo seems to have been lifted--she actually gets lines now. The most inspired use of veterans however, has clearly been the interaction of Kim and Susan as their children’s bizarre romance has opened up old wounds between the two ladies, who trade verbal barbs in grand fashion. The troubled Kim leans on her mother-in-law for advice, which allows us to see more of the great Nancy Hughes. With many of Nancy’s contemporaries perpetually off-camera in their bedrooms or choked to death on their own doughnuts, it’s nice to see a show that will still take same time to let an older lady get comfort and advice from an even older lady. The storyline does seem lacking in airtime for Bob. But, if current events had my wife and former mistress at each other’s throats again, I’d probably lay low myself.

Lucinda is definitely being used in more scenes, but it’s not as effective. While Bob, et al, lend themselves to the quieter pace of worrying about their kids, Lucinda is larger than life, and begs for attention every time she’s on. Telling Lily to get over Rose, and Lucy that her father’s not so bad is way too boring to be the only thing Lucinda is involved in these days. Instead of holding Lucy’s hand, shouldn’t Lucinda be seeking sweet, sweet revenge against Craig for his poisoning scheme? Sheffer should at least recall that story.

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Aside from the very brief cancer and Brian stories, Lucinda has been poorly used for a long time now. Sometimes I'm surprised Liz Hubbard never quit, as she did in 1999, but either she understandably wants to keep employed as long as she can or Goutman is just much better at being nice to her than FMB apparently was.

This is the typical Sheffer crap. I remember when he was on DAYS and he would say all these grand pronouncements to the press which would then turn into very strange creatures onscreen. Like his insistence Max would no longer date his nieces. That lasted for about three or four months.

He also liked to brag about how much sex he wanted on ATWT and how he was turned down. His trashy ideas were loud and clear in the story about Jen suddenly being hot for the very gay Billy. You can see them on Y&R too -- the stuff like the Billy romps and Sharon's bedhopping. This just looks desperate on a soap, and hypocritical with Sharon, since they want us to get off on what she's doing yet they also want us to think she's mentally damaged. Sheffer would have been better off writing porn, or Skinemax "thrillers".

I never felt that he cared for the vets, especially those who could not be made into camp. Susan was lucky because they could use her to give her daughters story, but the Hughes weren't so lucky. Kim and Nancy came across as very cold to me during long stretches of his time as headwriter, especially Kim. I always wondered if a woman like Kim intimidated Sheffer.

Hogan Sheffer is the male equivalent to Megan McTavish.

Same disastrous bag of recycled tricks from show to show, weak women, piss poor pacing of stories, history rewrites, and character assassination.

When McTavish is good, she can be very good. I haven't really seen that with Sheffer.

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FORMER AMC VIEWER: Anything good coming up on AMC this week?

CURRENT AMC VIEWER: No, but I can tell you what’s coming off--Ryan’s undies!

FORMER AMC VIEWER: What?

CURRENT AMC VIEWER: I said full frontal Ryan this week!

Not gonna lie, no matter how bad the show is i would tune in. not even gonna lie.

Oh, and Hogan is awful and almost killed Days of Our Lives. Did more damage than JER ever did. I feel for ya Y&R fans..

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Jack you should have seen the bachelor party they threw at SOS about ten years ago and Ryan was in drag. They apparently didn't bother to cover up much down there and it was as close to full frontal as he's going to get :lol:

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Jack you should have seen the bachelor party they threw at SOS about ten years ago and Ryan was in drag. They apparently didn't bother to cover up much down there and it was as close to full frontal as he's going to get :lol:

OH EM GEE! Youtube.. here i come.

Also, i will say this about Hogan at Days, his men were full characters with layers, most of the time. I liked that because on Days the men had always just been whatever, but with him i cared about a lot of them. Too bad he trashed the women.

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