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What did Hogan Sheffer do to ATWT?


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Having never been an ATWT fan( I watched more of GL and Y&R) I am actually intested in what actually happened to ATWT under Hogan Sheffer. I have read so many conflicting opinions and I have seen what kind of a writer Sheffer is since then on Days and now on Y&R, but I am kind of curious, I know for example during at least part of his tenure the show "prospered" that is it seemed to get critical acclaim and won a lot of awards over that time. So what happened and what went wrong?

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Pretty much the same thing he does at every soap he works at.

- Parade sociopathic studs and their overwritten one-liners around day in and day out. Make sure anyone who crosses their path is made to look pathetic and inferior. We were supposed to get hot over Craig betraying every friend and family member, killing people, and terrorizing his teenage daughter to the point of hiring a man to stalk her everywhere she went. He was just a "man with balls." He sipped his drink, licked his perpetually dry lips, and out came the "wit." Rinse and repeat.

- Diminish or destroy any friendships or family relationships

- Rewrite history in order to tell half-written stories mostly about propping pets (such as Susan suddenly being a drunken mess throughout Allison's childhood, even though she had been sober through Allison's entire childhood)

- Tell oh-so-fun-and-hot stories about rape

- Random, hysterical psychos

- Coldness

- Laughable inability to ever finish a storyline

- Bad couples who start and stop in the blink of an eye

- Meaningless, boring sexual encounters

- Slaughter of animals to try to get a reaction out of viewers

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The first year or so was interesting, because it wasn't classic ATWT, but it was oddly interesting. Then it all collapsed into a pile of streaming hot trash.

ATWT needed some type of boost and excitement when Sheffer got there, so for that reason alone, Sheffer was hyped up more than he should have been. Never mind that he had such a recycled bag of gimmicks that he would later repeat over and over again, and take with him to DAYS and Y&R.

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Lol

So why is it he was given so much praise?

Slaughter of animals - yikes.

Yes. A race horse was introduced solely so it would be murdered. Katie was given a rabbit as a pet, and sure enough, the rabbit's throat was slit. Sheffer did the same at Y&R. We're supposed to be thrilled and amazed at how brave he is, I guess.

Some of Hogan's very early material, which I would credit to other people, based on his work since, was OK. The press also LOVED him because he would say shocking things and he looked down on soaps. This made him hip and fun. It was all about him, not about his work.

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The sad thing is, I will willing to give Sheffer the benefit of the doubt when he burnt out at ATWT after a year or so, but then he bought with him the same horrid bag of recycled tricks to both DAYS and Y&R, which rendered both shows so unbelievably unwatchable.

Sheffer neuters the hell out of almost every single female character, that's probably his most notable and disgusting trait. All of his shows ultimately become a blackhole of void emotions.

Sheffer is no better than Megan McTavish, IMO. At least she unlike him has shown a tendency to write some variety once in a while though...whistling.jpg

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McTavish when under proper control isn't a bad writer - some of her work can be very good. I don't think Sheffer has ever risen above somewhat decent, and that was for a year or less.

Most annoying is that he thinks he's so clever. I hate the "special" episodes he always has to write, over and over with a corpse narrating their death. I think he must have submitted a script to Tales of the Crypt and they didn't return his call.

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Katie was given a rabbit as a pet, and sure enough, the rabbit's throat was slit.

THEY DID NOT SLIT SNICKERS THROAT! Please tell me that isn't true! I loved Snickers. Especially how Henry and Katie shared custody after their divorce. I hate that they could no longer afford to feature him.

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THEY DID NOT SLIT SNICKERS THROAT! Please tell me that isn't true! I loved Snickers. Especially how Henry and Katie shared custody after their divorce. I hate that they could no longer afford to feature him.

Well if the rabbit was there by then maybe I was thinking of something else. DIdn't Pilar return and kill Katie's pet?

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Yes. A race horse was introduced solely so it would be murdered. Katie was given a rabbit as a pet, and sure enough, the rabbit's throat was slit. Sheffer did the same at Y&R. We're supposed to be thrilled and amazed at how brave he is, I guess.

Some of Hogan's very early material, which I would credit to other people, based on his work since, was OK. The press also LOVED him because he would say shocking things and he looked down on soaps. This made him hip and fun. It was all about him, not about his work.

There was a fascinating profile of him at the time in the New Yorker. The online summary of the article tells you a lot:

ABSTRACT: ANNALS OF SHOW BUSINESS about soap opera writer Hogan Sheffer, 43, and "As the World Turns"... Writer describes Sheffer as a friendly yet floridly sadistic man... Sheffer torments his fictional town of Oakdale, but Oakdale also torments Sheffer: he spends his days urging his brain to create ever more ghastly fates for the characters in his charge-bitter and complicated misunderstandings that will take months to resolve, evil conspiracies, appalling streaks of terrible luck-and at night he walks the streets of Oakdale in his dreams. He has five blank hours of programming to fill every week, fifty-one weeks a year, and if ever the thought arises that he may at last have plumbed the very deepest well of human misery he must push that thought aside and create misery anew... "As the World Turns" has been on the air continuously since Eisenhower was President and television was just a few years old. It premièred in 1956, and Helen Wagner, who spoke the show’s first line-"Good morning"-is still in the cast. The show has been sponsored from the start by Procter & Gamble, and is produced in a big old studio in Midwood, Brooklyn, an Orthodox Jewish neighborhood halfway between Brooklyn Heights and Coney Island... Many of the program’s fans have been watching it for all forty-six years of its history. Novels, plays, movies, and other TV shows come and go, beginning and ending, suturing stories into shapes, but "As the World Turns" goes on forever-as melancholy and inconclusive and inscrutably fascinating as watching neighbors through a window... Tells about Sheffer’s early life in New York... Sheffer worked as a billing clerk in a leather-goods sweatshop in the garment district, then in a bank in the Bronx, and finally he got a job as a script analyst in a production company. Meanwhile, he met people in theatre, and he helped found the acting troupe Naked Angels... He moved to L.A. for a time... Sheffer hated L.A., but he got another job reading scripts and wrote his own stuff on the side. He wrote an action-adventure script called "Fool’s Gold," he wrote a kind of James Bond movie set during the American Revolution called "The Black Rose," and he wrote "The Passion of Paul," a drama about a young girl who could heal people and a reporter who thought she was a fraud. He sold several scripts and a TV pilot, but none were made, and finally he got tired of earning a hundred and fifty thousand dollars one year and eleven thousand the next... Tells about getting a job with Procter & Gamble on “As the World Turns”... In the end, Sheffer decided, soaps were all about plot. Endless, frustrating, complicated, gripping plot... Sheffer soon discovered that there were rules that weren’t apparent until you broke them. He learned, for instance, that it was a curious convention of soaps that nothing of any importance could happen offscreen, because it would not seem real... Sheffer learned, too, that Procter & Gamble, as personified by Mary Alice Dwyer-Dobbin, had opinions, including opinions of the opinions of the fans, which it garnered from the Internet, phone calls to the network, mail, and CBS’s new focus-group facility, in Las Vegas... "As the World Turns" became famous for being excruciatingly slow. Whole weeks would pass when absolutely nothing happened. Nothing happening became refined into a new art. For decades, with the exception of a brief slump in the early seventies, "As the World Turns" was the top-rated show in daytime. Soap opera, like psychoanalysis, traces its origins, through generations of training and the passing on of wisdom, to a great founder, and Irna Phillips is that founder. As late as 1977, fifty million people watched at least one soap opera a week. At its height, according to William Bell, "As the World Turns" had a sixty-four share, which means that sixty-four per cent of all the people watching television at the time it aired were watching the show. (The top-rated show now, "Friends," has a twenty-two share.) These days, the soap audience is twenty million, and the rumor circulates that daytime is dying. These days, several generations removed from the founder, many soap writers come from the theatre. It’s a well-paid job (ordinary writers earn in the low-to-mid six figures), and steady work, because once you’ve proved yourself competent, no matter how many times you’re fired (and you will be fired often-daytime-writing contracts, like late-night-comedy contracts, but unlike prime-time contracts, come up for renewal every thirteen weeks), the chances are you’ll be hired again soon, by another show, because the business is reluctant to take a risk on an outsider. Sheffer has a good life. He loves his work. He makes good money. (He won’t specify the current figure, but he made just under a million a year in his first contract.)...

Read more http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2002/04/15/020415fa_fact_macfarquhar#ixzz1XghM96Il

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