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Racism and racial representation on soaps


Faulkner

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17 minutes ago, KMan101 said:

 

I have to agree on this. Watching some of that timeframe again and it's not nearly as bad. I think we tend to watch things at the time through a certain negative lens and then years later, rewatching, I feel differently about a lot of things I didn't like when I watched originally, lol.

 

They even had a good conversation between Denise and Lily about race. It wasn't major or groundbreaking but I stopped and it caught my attention. 

 

Considering what came later, it's crazy that 1999-2001 ATWT to me is much better than I gave it credit for. For me though it's a lot of little things, not necessarily the storylines.

 

Ha, I just watched that one too (unless there was more than one) where Denise brought up that Hope was biracial. I was floored. That would have been very unusual for the time.

 

I had the same thought. It was better than I gave it credit for at the time.

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10 hours ago, Faulkner said:

Good question about how much airtime they got. I suppose that Another World fansite might have their episode counts.
 

A bit of Morgan Freeman as Roy with Petronia Palsy’s Quinn and David Canary’s Steve. Again, it’s an abomination that no soap gave PP the role she deserved, because Vivian Grant, as great as she was in the role, wasn’t it:

 

 

When Paley was interviewed in '96 she praised Rauch for his bringing talented black people into AW (of course he would go on to write her out at GL, aside from some brief returns for the David/Vicky story, but the story with Gilly and Griffin was so terrible I'm not surprised everyone was written out). 

 

Someone at the show must have seen that Quinn had potential, as she lasted for 6 years. It's unfortunate she had to die so violently for such a gross storyline. An SOD after her murder had a negative fan letter, and a response from SOD that, in so many words, the producers had not realized she had any fans. That's just pretty [!@#$%^&*] pathetic.

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4 hours ago, DRW50 said:

 

When Paley was interviewed in '96 she praised Rauch for his bringing talented black people into AW (of course he would go on to write her out at GL, aside from some brief returns for the David/Vicky story, but the story with Gilly and Griffin was so terrible I'm not surprised everyone was written out). 

 

Someone at the show must have seen that Quinn had potential, as she lasted for 6 years. It's unfortunate she had to die so violently for such a gross storyline. An SOD after her murder had a negative fan letter, and a response from SOD that, in so many words, the producers had not realized she had any fans. That's just pretty [!@#$%^&*] pathetic.

Wow, that’s disgusting. It always a shame how many poor decisions have been made on soaps because they didn’t understand their audience or underestimated their connections to characters. We certainly saw it most prominently with Maureen Bauer, but I always wonder how many black/brown/Asian characters have been let go because producers thought they weren’t broadly embraced enough.

 

Funny how Petronia said that about Rauch given what he did to OLTL shortly thereafter. I suppose he did have some black presence in Llanview, and perhaps some black actors at the time felt some gratitude for any representation beyond a mere token.

 

Did you or any DAYS watchers remember Dr. Marcus Hunter (played by the late Richard Biggs)? I wasn’t watching at the time (late ‘80s/early ‘90s), but I saw he had a couple of interracial flirtations/relationships, and I wonder how they were received.

Edited by Faulkner
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5 hours ago, DRW50 said:

 

 I think they could have and should have handled Denise's early material differently, and if they had then the whole story might not have been such a bust.

 

Oh I don't disagree on this. At all. I felt a lot of the same way at the time you did. The tone set was: "Denise is awful and Lily should be raising her daughter instead" and it left a bad taste in my mouth. I loved Denise but I know she wasn't well liked and it was likely done on purpose. I feel like Hillary on Y&R suffered a lot from this type of writing as well, in a slightly different way. Other examples exist of course too. 

4 hours ago, juppiter said:

 

Ha, I just watched that one too (unless there was more than one) where Denise brought up that Hope was biracial. I was floored. That would have been very unusual for the time.

 

I had the same thought. It was better than I gave it credit for at the time.

 

Yeah it did surprise me. I still don't think they handled Denise well like Carl has said but I do think they hit on beats we didn't necessarily give them credit for. But there was also an insulting tone to some of it, like I said above to Carl.

 

To be fair though, 1998 was hot garbage and 1999 had Lorraine Broderick (I believe, right?). Denise was introduced in 1998 (I believe) and she definitely had lesser writing. Broderick is very underrated, even though most of us here appreciate her.

 

I also think when I rewatch certain stuff from when I was watching and the shows were on a decline, I just appreciate more what I didn't then. Maybe it's just seeing a set that got forgotten about or the use of veterans, or maybe it was a scene between characters that was just so well done. IDK if that makes any sense ... lol.

 

Anyway, sorry for slightly derailing the thread a bit ...

Edited by KMan101
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9 hours ago, Faulkner said:

Just found this: the 1979 wedding of Carla and Jack Scott on OLTL, with Lillian Hayman singing.

 

 

 

Clearly this is a reflection of what was happening BTS and the views of TPTB at the time. Perhaps a fear that focusing too heavily on black characters might push away certain audiences, therefore having Vicki in those long shots behind Carla. 

 

I read on Wiki that Southern affiliates began to boycott the show when it was revealed that Carla was actually a light-skinned black woman passing as a white woman and not actually white. Which is funny because it was fine as long as they believed she was white, but once she wasn't it became an issue as if there weren't more scandalous stories on soaps before this. It also shows what a flimsy construct race really is and such a great storyline that OLTL decided to tackle. I'm not giving them a pass on those wedding scenes, but the race storyline seems progressive for the time and the fact that it causes uproar from affiliates proves that. Soaps wouldn't dare upset their affiliates nowadays.

Edited by GLATWT88
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33 minutes ago, KMan101 said:

 

Oh I don't disagree on this. At all. I felt a lot of the same way at the time you did. The tone set was: "Denise is awful and Lily should be raising her daughter instead" and it left a bad taste in my mouth. I loved Denise but I know she wasn't well liked and it was likely done on purpose. I feel like Hillary on Y&R suffered a lot from this type of writing as well, in a slightly different way. Other examples exist of course too. 

 

Yeah it did surprise me. I still don't think they handled Denise well like Carl has said but I do think they hit on beats we didn't necessarily give them credit for. But there was also an insulting tone to some of it, like I said above to Carl.

 

To be fair though, 1998 was hot garbage and 1999 had Lorraine Broderick (I believe, right?). Denise was introduced in 1998 (I believe) and she definitely had lesser writing. Broderick is very underrated, even though most of us here appreciate her.

 

I also think when I rewatch certain stuff from when I was watching and the shows were on a decline, I just appreciate more what I didn't then. Maybe it's just seeing a set that got forgotten about or the use of veterans, or maybe it was a scene between characters that was just so well done. IDK if that makes any sense ... lol.

I also liked Denise. But like many posters have point out the writing was rough. To put it nicely. Ben was beyond BLAND. I liked Camille better with a roguish original recipe Brad. I enjoyed Camille and Brad's short lived interracial affair. The writing may have been #[email protected]&%*!  But Cassandra Creech had a real spark to her. Denise would've gone far with solid proper writing. I so wanted Denise and Andy to be a couple. But the writers had Denise love bland Big Ben. And poor sweet Andy had to be a loser in love.

 

Edited by victoria foxton
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Judging by those shots you would have thought that Jack, Carla and Viki were getting married.

The bride and groom did not get any close up/intimate shots that you would expect to see in a soap wedding.

I wonder if Ellen Holly's dislike of Arthur Burghart came into play with this?

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Thank you so much for sharing that @Faulkner

 

Julius as an ADOS mentioning the Great Migration would NOT have been a stereotype, it would have been SPECIFICITY. It would explain his psychology so much better than anything else they shat out. They had a real opportunity to delve into how the black church plays such a large part in how huge swathes of the black community feel about trans people or homosexuality. I'm so upset!

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3 minutes ago, Darn said:

Thank you so much for sharing that @Faulkner

 

Julius as an ADOS mentioning the Great Migration would NOT have been a stereotype, it would have been SPECIFICITY. It would explain his psychology so much better than anything else they shat out. They had a real opportunity to delve into how the black church plays such a large part in how huge swathes of the black community feel about trans people or homosexuality. I'm so upset!

To really tackle that and dive deep into the issues in black communities regarding queer identifies would have been incredible. No other format gives you the time and space to really portray social issues as in depth as soaps. 

 

Thank you for sharing this, @Faulkner Patrick really highlighted some major issues in dealing with diversity in daytime. Not surprising that it's even more challenging now with the state of soaps.

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10 minutes ago, Darn said:

Thank you so much for sharing that @Faulkner

 

Julius as an ADOS mentioning the Great Migration would NOT have been a stereotype, it would have been SPECIFICITY. It would explain his psychology so much better than anything else they shat out. They had a real opportunity to delve into how the black church plays such a large part in how huge swathes of the black community feel about trans people or homosexuality. I'm so upset!

 

Just now, GLATWT88 said:

To really tackle that and dive deep into the issues in black communities regarding queer identifies would have been incredible. No other format gives you the time and space to really portray social issues as in depth as soaps. 

 

Thank you for sharing this, @Faulkner Patrick really highlighted some major issues in dealing with diversity in daytime. Not surprising that it's even more challenging now with the state of soaps.

All credit to @Forever8 for digging up. Some of the replies are also great and insightful.

 

 

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I'm black and I have no idea what "ADOS" stands for me. Pls halp.

I hate that any attempt at making a black character "real" runs the risk of being deemed stereotypical by either TPTB or segments of the audience. I btched about it a month or two ago, but if you want to write real black characters, they're not going to all fit a mold that will be relatable to all black people. Some black people are "The Cosby Show," and others are "Sanford and Son," and obviously there are those who are everything in and between those two depictions.

I think the bigger problem, though, is that daytime does not write real people at all anymore. No characters seem to have any type of cultural background or heritage nor does any character fit into any kind of historical context. Real world events that affect real people don't exist in soaps and don't affect the characters. It's pitiful when you consider that 50 years ago, the Vietnam War factored into three years' worth of All My Children.

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1 minute ago, Faulkner said:

 

All credit to @Forever8 for digging up. Some of the replies are also great and insightful.

 

 

 

Thanks you @Forever8

 

You have to give Chadwick Boseman props for jumping ship as soon as he saw what he his character was becoming.

 

4 minutes ago, All My Shadows said:


I think the bigger problem, though, is that daytime does not write real people at all anymore. No characters seem to have any type of cultural background or heritage nor does any character fit into any kind of historical context. Real world events that affect real people don't exist in soaps and don't affect the characters. It's pitiful when you consider that 50 years ago, the Vietnam War factored into three years' worth of All My Children.

 

That is also very true. Soap characters don't mention the real world anymore, they also have no hobbies or interests or beliefs. The most they do is generically celebrate Christmas like they're in a coffee commercial.

 

It just baffles me because these shows have 200+ episodes to produce yet won't spare the time to address something that could be impactful. What would Julius talking about real lived experiences have done exactly? Was a quarter of your viewership going to turn the channel because a black man says one sentence? 

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15 minutes ago, All My Shadows said:

I'm black and I have no idea what "ADOS" stands for me. Pls halp.

I hate that any attempt at making a black character "real" runs the risk of being deemed stereotypical by either TPTB or segments of the audience. I btched about it a month or two ago, but if you want to write real black characters, they're not going to all fit a mold that will be relatable to all black people. Some black people are "The Cosby Show," and others are "Sanford and Son," and obviously there are those who are everything in and between those two depictions.

I think the bigger problem, though, is that daytime does not write real people at all anymore. No characters seem to have any type of cultural background or heritage nor does any character fit into any kind of historical context. Real world events that affect real people don't exist in soaps and don't affect the characters. It's pitiful when you consider that 50 years ago, the Vietnam War factored into three years' worth of All My Children.

All true. I think, even beyond race, Mulcahey speaks to ideas of what networks feel like daytime’s “conservative” viewers will accept, which has stifled the growth of the medium. They’ve dumbed down soaps with the stereotype of some white, older, poorly educated, bible-thumping viewer in mind. And some point, a lot of holdout viewers who didn’t fit that mold just said, y’all can have this sh!t because it’s not doing it for me anymore.

 

I know we all love soaps, but even at their best, they failed us consistently in terms of showcasing America in all of its exciting variety. The soaps stayed stuck or even regressed to cater to a dwindling, dying audience; hundreds of other options are available to people who want more; and perhaps it was all inevitable given how the world has changed so dramatically. But it’s just sad that we never saw the Harding Lemays of daytime portray the world as we know it to be, with the same depth of character they were known for.

Edited by Faulkner
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