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Daytime's Master Headwriters: Their Strongest and Weakest Work

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I tend to wonder how I would have felt about Taggart at GL with a different producer. Other than Ed's return and Alex's return, I actually had a hard time watching most of her stories (the trite Reva/Cassie court case after the umpteenth "BJ's heart" homage with Richard and Rick, the "rape me" scenes with Tony and Marah, shrewish and unbearable Michelle, the annoying Philip/Harley custody battle that made her look like a complete idiot). It was only toward the end of her run that I started to feel more invested. 

 

With the Grants, was it Marcus who wrote them out or did network and fan pressure do it?

After DAYS showed David and Valerie kissing on Doug and Julie's wedding day, there was a huge backlash from racists in the audience. In a later interview, Pat Falken Smith claimed that the network got very nervous about the audience's fury, but snarked that SHE had wanted to take more time in gently leading the viewers up to David and Valerie's first kiss, so that they would be ready for it, and WANTING it. I don't know for sure, but I think the network caved into the audience's negativity about this story and demanded it be cut short.

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Megan McTavish

Best: 1st AMC stint and her GL stint. I'm sure some didnt like her GL. Maybe it was crazy but it was crazy good and exciting.

Worst: 3rd AMC run of course

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I tend to wonder how I would have felt about Taggart at GL with a different producer. Other than Ed's return and Alex's return, I actually had a hard time watching most of her stories (the trite Reva/Cassie court case after the umpteenth "BJ's heart" homage with Richard and Rick, the "rape me" scenes with Tony and Marah, shrewish and unbearable Michelle, the annoying Philip/Harley custody battle that made her look like a complete idiot). It was only toward the end of her run that I started to feel more invested. 

 

With the Grants, was it Marcus who wrote them out or did network and fan pressure do it?

I wasn't thrilled with all of Taggart's material on TGL, either, but I figured that a lot of the worst stuff was due to network and/or P&G interference. Still, some good moments shone through, and if left to her own devices, I think she would have handled the show's final weeks better than it was handled. Someone who did not know anything of the show's history would have thought TGL only existed from 1983. :(

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Jean Passanante

Her Best Work: Current GH/YR: Jean has really risen since let's talk about that super Gem Shelly Altman. These two are the dream duo. Shelly is modern edgy writer combined with Jeans sensabilities. They created smarttv. There YR was closest thing to Bill Bell thst had been seen in a decade. Their GH so far is so character driven and emotional.

Worst Work: Her co head writing with Leah Laiman and Peggy Sloane. It was her first promotion to head writer in 1996. She was very new to the genre. Best thing was creating Tea. It's crazy though thinking Jean has been head writing soaps for 20 years.

I could have sworn Claire Labine created Tea as she was HW then in Feb 1997

Edited by John

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Megan McTavish

Best: 1st AMC stint and her GL stint. I'm sure some didnt like her GL. Maybe it was crazy but it was crazy good and exciting.

Worst: 3rd AMC run of course

Should her 2nd stint of AMC, her OLTL and GH stints get honorable mentions or not.

 

I think with her first stint, she did well because Agnes was overlooking the show

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Jean Passanante

Her Best Work: Current GH/YR: Jean has really risen since let's talk about that super Gem Shelly Altman. These two are the dream duo. Shelly is modern edgy writer combined with Jeans sensabilities. They created smarttv. There YR was closest thing to Bill Bell thst had been seen in a decade. Their GH so far is so character driven and emotional.

Worst Work: Her co head writing with Leah Laiman and Peggy Sloane. It was her first promotion to head writer in 1996. She was very new to the genre. Best thing was creating Tea. It's crazy though thinking Jean has been head writing soaps for 20 years.

She didnt create Tea, Claire Labine did.

Tea was created 5-6 months before Labine's work began. 

I tend to wonder how I would have felt about Taggart at GL with a different producer. Other than Ed's return and Alex's return, I actually had a hard time watching most of her stories (the trite Reva/Cassie court case after the umpteenth "BJ's heart" homage with Richard and Rick, the "rape me" scenes with Tony and Marah, shrewish and unbearable Michelle, the annoying Philip/Harley custody battle that made her look like a complete idiot). It was only toward the end of her run that I started to feel more invested. 

 

With the Grants, was it Marcus who wrote them out or did network and fan pressure do it?

I wasn't thrilled with all of Taggart's material on TGL, either, but I figured that a lot of the worst stuff was due to network and/or P&G interference. Still, some good moments shone through, and if left to her own devices, I think she would have handled the show's final weeks better than it was handled. Someone who did not know anything of the show's history would have thought TGL only existed from 1983. :(

I thought GL's wrapup was good by modern soap standards (not that that's saying a lot), but I see what you mean.

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Megan McTavish

Best: 1st AMC stint and her GL stint. I'm sure some didnt like her GL. Maybe it was crazy but it was crazy good and exciting.

Worst: 3rd AMC run of course

Should her 2nd stint of AMC, her OLTL and GH stints get honorable mentions or not.

 

I think with her first stint, she did well because Agnes was overlooking the show

I'd say her second stint on AMC is an honerable mention. I liked it for the most part.

Her GH prolly can go into the worst category. Ive never seen her Oltl but im sure its nothing to write home about with JFP

 

Jean Passanante

Her Best Work: Current GH/YR: Jean has really risen since let's talk about that super Gem Shelly Altman. These two are the dream duo. Shelly is modern edgy writer combined with Jeans sensabilities. They created smarttv. There YR was closest thing to Bill Bell thst had been seen in a decade. Their GH so far is so character driven and emotional.

Worst Work: Her co head writing with Leah Laiman and Peggy Sloane. It was her first promotion to head writer in 1996. She was very new to the genre. Best thing was creating Tea. It's crazy though thinking Jean has been head writing soaps for 20 years.

She didnt create Tea, Claire Labine did.

 

Tea was created 5-6 months before Labine's work began. 

I tend to wonder how I would have felt about Taggart at GL with a different producer. Other than Ed's return and Alex's return, I actually had a hard time watching most of her stories (the trite Reva/Cassie court case after the umpteenth "BJ's heart" homage with Richard and Rick, the "rape me" scenes with Tony and Marah, shrewish and unbearable Michelle, the annoying Philip/Harley custody battle that made her look like a complete idiot). It was only toward the end of her run that I started to feel more invested. 

 

With the Grants, was it Marcus who wrote them out or did network and fan pressure do it?

I wasn't thrilled with all of Taggart's material on TGL, either, but I figured that a lot of the worst stuff was due to network and/or P&G interference. Still, some good moments shone through, and if left to her own devices, I think she would have handled the show's final weeks better than it was handled. Someone who did not know anything of the show's history would have thought TGL only existed from 1983. :(

 

I thought GL's wrapup was good by modern soap standards (not that that's saying a lot), but I see what you mean.

I really do think that with the atrocious state that GL was in, their wrap up was def the best out of the 4 that recently went off the air.

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I meant to say that as I haven't seen all the stints of most of the headwriters I admire, I don't think I could give an answer, but thank you for creating the thread and giving more of your soap history. Most who had a lot of knowledge of the soap past have stopped posting here, for various reasons, so it's appreciated.

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Hogan Sheffer

Best work: First year of ATWT with CC co head writing with him.

Worst work: The rest of his run on ATWT with the hack JP co head writing with him

 

The Dobsons

Best work: Guiding LIght and ATWT

Worst work: Santa Barbara

 

Pam K. Long

Best work: Guiding LIght and Santa Barbara

Worst work: OLTL

 

Henry Stern and Stephen Black

Best work: Falcon Crest

Worst work: ATWT

 

Jean Passanante:

Best work: Birds chirping…………and then dead silence

Worst work: Everywhere she has been…you name it….she has stunk the place

 

Claire Labine:

Best work: GH

Worst work: Guiding Light

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I meant to say that as I haven't seen all the stints of most of the headwriters I admire, I don't think I could give an answer, but thank you for creating the thread and giving more of your soap history. Most who had a lot of knowledge of the soap past have stopped posting here, for various reasons, so it's appreciated.

+1

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Megan McTavish

Best: 1st AMC stint and her GL stint. I'm sure some didnt like her GL. Maybe it was crazy but it was crazy good and exciting.

Worst: 3rd AMC run of course

McTavish could produce great material when she didn't get stupid. 

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Megan McTavish

Best: 1st AMC stint and her GL stint. I'm sure some didnt like her GL. Maybe it was crazy but it was crazy good and exciting.

Worst: 3rd AMC run of course

McTavish could produce great material when she didn't get stupid. 

I really like a lot of her work. When she is good she is great but when she is bad she is awful

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People need to update their definition of "Master Headwriter." 

I have checked the Soap Opera Digest synopses for 1977, and Sharon's declaration of love for Julie on DAYS took place in August, months after Pat Falken Smith's departure in April. Ann Marcus had taken over as headwriter during the third week of April, 1977, so the bulk of the Duvall material played out under her supervision.

 

1977-08-DAYS-2.jpg

Look at you researching like a ninja! :lol: Amazingness.

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I meant to say that as I haven't seen all the stints of most of the headwriters I admire, I don't think I could give an answer, but thank you for creating the thread and giving more of your soap history. Most who had a lot of knowledge of the soap past have stopped posting here, for various reasons, so it's appreciated.

So far, the ONE advantage I have found to being sooooooo old, is that I was around to witness, first-hand, the glory days of the American soap operas, as written by the cream of the crop. I was so used to the shows being well written, I did not even appreciate at the time how good we, the audience, had it. I had the good fortune of watching the work of Irna Phillips, Agnes Nixon, William J. Bell, Roy Winsor, Claire Labine, Pat Falken Smith, Harding Lemay, Henry Slesar, Rick Edelstein (an unsung soap opera hero who produced great material), etc., for which I am so grateful. Knowing what daytime CAN BE makes me quite critical of the dreck we have had to deal with during the last few decades. Irna Phillips or Jean Passanante? William J. Bell or Charles Pratt? Agnes Nixon or Robert Guza? Pat Falken Smith or Ron Carlivati? AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACK! No wonder longtime, die-hard fans of the genre have drifted away.

 

Regarding your own viewing history, no one has seen EVERYTHING; you could still give your opinion of the best material you have personally gotten to see. I would be very interested in hearing what you had to say. :)

Edited by vetsoapfan

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I started watching soaps at the age of 12 almost 13 in the fall of 1987.  Next week i turn 41 my late mother got me hooked on her soaps. I became hooked by all the scandalous goings on in Pine Valley, Lianview, Port Charles never was into Loving. I soon started watching Days, AW, ATWT and GL. I loved the supercouple era of Days. I got to watch the tail end of Pam Long's second GL run and Nancy Curlee's amazing run. I started watching ATWT in 1989 the late Douglas Marland was a master storyteller. ATWT wouldn't completely recover after Mr. Marland's untimely death. I loved the late Paul Rauch's outlandish and over the top run on OLTL which lead to Malone's/ Griffith's/Gottieb's social relevant OLTL. Soaps back in the day were so much fun if forgot to record them on my VCR i would be so pissed now if forget to DVR them i don't really care.Soaps took a downhill turn in the mid to late 90's. To me GH has been unwatchable for the last 15 years. Days has a major reboot every couple of years which starts out strong than fizzles.

Edited by victoria foxton

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