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Characters you think writers struggled to write for


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8 hours ago, Soaplovers said:

No wonder Cady kept leaving...because the show seemed unwilling to write Dixie as anything except Tad's plus 1.  It's why it was nice not having Tad on the Hulu show because it gave the writers a chance to rediscover Dixie as a character.

Bingo! That’s exactly why she left. Dixie would have outgrown him a long time ago.

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15 hours ago, amybrickwallace said:

Carrie DID come back as a lawyer at one point, right?

She did, and I felt it suited her.  And the show is so full of criminals she would be busy if she was still being used!

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Just now, titan1978 said:

She did, and I felt it suited her.  And the show is so full of criminals she would be busy if she was still being used!

I buy Carrie as a lawyer more than I do with Belle. I always thought Belle should've been a fashion designer running Basic Black instead. 

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On the Carrie note, I always thought every writer pretty much struggled with Belle/Shawn once they became adults.  They have all the history, supercouple parents, interesting family, but..they have awful stories or are written off the show.  They gave Shawn/Belle a kid way too early and the only interesting thing they have done is Belle/Shawn/Phillip.  Belle should not be a lawyer.  She should run Basic Black or be a nurse/doctor or something.  It's weird none of Marlena's children ever showed an interest in medicine.  Shawn is okay as a cop, but I see Shawn as someone more rebellious than that.  I always want Belle/Shawn to be more exciting than they are.  Belle is not even a good rival for Carrie, even though Belle/Carrie are practically the same character.  It's a bummer Jarlena/Bope's kids are so lame.

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28 minutes ago, carolineg said:

On the Carrie note, I always thought every writer pretty much struggled with Belle/Shawn once they became adults.  They have all the history, supercouple parents, interesting family, but..they have awful stories or are written off the show.  They gave Shawn/Belle a kid way too early and the only interesting thing they have done is Belle/Shawn/Phillip.  Belle should not be a lawyer.  She should run Basic Black or be a nurse/doctor or something.  It's weird none of Marlena's children ever showed an interest in medicine.  Shawn is okay as a cop, but I see Shawn as someone more rebellious than that.  I always want Belle/Shawn to be more exciting than they are.  Belle is not even a good rival for Carrie, even though Belle/Carrie are practically the same character.  It's a bummer Jarlena/Bope's kids are so lame.

I think they are both terribly cast, so no story is going to make them watchable as leads in their age range.  Add to that the starts and stops with them as characters, premature aging with their kids, and it’s like a lost generation on the show.  Chloe and Phillip suffer from the same starts and stops, even if their performers are better.

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1 minute ago, titan1978 said:

I think they are both terribly cast, so no story is going to make them watchable as leads in their age range.  Add to that the starts and stops with them as characters, premature aging with their kids, and it’s like a lost generation on the show.  Chloe and Phillip suffer from the same starts and stops, even if their performers are better.

 

The recasts aren't the strongest.  And obviously the trajectory from 20 year old college students to wanting marriage/children immediately aged them a lot.  Again, ID, looks about the same age as her parents as well. 

Chloe/Phillip struggled a lot too.  Chloe has been everything from good girl, heroine, vixen, bad girl, and prostitute. Every writer over the last 20 years has had a different idea about her.  I don't even know what her career is now.  Manager at Doug's?  Opera singer?  She's also struggled with a lot of odd/bad love interests.

Phillip changed a lot through recasts, but I think he is the adult version of what JKJ's Phillip would have been as a teen.  The weird KB years where he was a marine and lost his leg?  Not so much lol.

I also think the show made a mistake by getting rid of Mimi, Rex, and Cassie.  I know none of them were popular, but Mimi/Shawn/Phillip/Belle needed that 4th person to make it viable.  And the show spent so much time introducing Rex/Cassie for them to do absolutely nothing with them...a mistake.

 

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Posted (edited)

DAYS Phillip brings to mind a type of character that soap writers in general struggle to write; the rich nice guy/prince charming type. Loving’s Jack, AMC’s Chuck, (as well as Greg and Cliff)  Capital’s Tyler, and to some degree GH’s Jax were all good guys that were in triangles with either a good girl and a bad girl, or a poor girl and guy from her old neighborhood. But what they all lacked was a personality. I don’t think it was just their portrayals, I think the writing for those characters lacked humor or well-rounded sensibility. When Lujack wooed Beth always from Phillip on GL there was no question that he was the more interesting guy. Tyler and Jack went missing and nobody noticed for weeks because of how little charisma they brought to a scene. In hindsight there’s always the question of what did people see in these guys to begin with, other than their inheritance? The female versions of these characters are often written with more depth, think of OLTL Viki or AMC’s Anne. It just seems like a nice rich guy is always just a hero and never given anything more to play. 

Edited by j swift
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On 4/2/2021 at 4:07 PM, carolineg said:

They gave Shawn/Belle a kid way too early and the only interesting thing they have done is Belle/Shawn/Phillip...Belle is not even a good rival for Carrie, even though Belle/Carrie are practically the same character. 

 

I agree that they graduated and matriculated Belle and Shawn too early into domestic super couple status. But I also think a portion of that comes from the Shelle fanbase who wanted Belle and Shawn shacked up with a house and two kids immediately, once they established that Kristen Storms and Jason Cook had a following that NBC was all too willing to capitalize on. Days own preoccupation with their summer stories and demo's only escalated this. They skipped out on Shawn and Belle's character progression, but they've always been willing to do that if they got a super couple out of it.  

 

In an alternate reality I could see Belle having Sami's 2011-2012 story when she inherited Countess Wilemina, while seeing Shawn as something like Pacey was in the final seasons of Dawson's Creek. I could also see him as a sort of Private Investigator. 

 

+1 on Belle and Carrie being the same character, which could still work if they played in their own generational cohorts.  

 

On 4/2/2021 at 4:50 PM, carolineg said:

 

Chloe/Phillip struggled a lot too.  Chloe has been everything from good girl, heroine, vixen, bad girl, and prostitute. Every writer over the last 20 years has had a different idea about her.  I don't even know what her career is now.  Manager at Doug's?  Opera singer?  She's also struggled with a lot of odd/bad love interests.

 

Phillip changed a lot through recasts, but I think he is the adult version of what JKJ's Phillip would have been as a teen. The weird KB years where he was a marine and lost his leg?  

 

I also think the show made a mistake by getting rid of Mimi, Rex, and Cassie.  I know none of them were popular, but Mimi/Shawn/Phillip/Belle needed that 4th person to make it viable.  And the show spent so much time introducing Rex/Cassie for them to do absolutely nothing with them...a mistake.

 

I think this presents another issue with a lot of Days characters. They aren't able to mature or progress well past their initial story vision archetypes. Chole's character still feels steeped into what she initially was, this Phantom of the Opera ingenue who Brady fell in love with. Her other subsequent characterizations feel so far divorced from that, that I no longer really see her as Chole but someone completely different from what she was created as, but also no where near as poignant. Phillip feel much the same way, as does Shawn, Belle, Austin, Carrie and a number of Days characters. It's like they are frozen in time, cast into different roles but never living up to what they were initially designed for. Someone with vision is needed to mature these characters, but without the investment they are just old husks of what they once were.  

 

I also agree a thousand percent that Patrick, Rex, Cassie, Mimi, the Lockharts, etc.  worked well overall from a story perspective to add some heft to the generational groupings that existed for the youngest cohort on Days. It gave them some dimensions to play and exist in a way that didn't before. Even Jan Spears could have been better utilized to bring out some different view points and colors to those groups to make things feel a bit different, and open up some some storylines. 

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1 hour ago, Skin said:

 

I agree that they graduated and matriculated Belle and Shawn too early into domestic super couple status. But I also think a portion of that comes from the Shelle fanbase who wanted Belle and Shawn shacked up with a house and two kids immediately, once they established that Kristen Storms and Jason Cook had a following that NBC was all too willing to capitalize on. Days own preoccupation with their summer stories and demo's only escalated this. They skipped out on Shawn and Belle's character progression, but they've always been willing to do that if they got a super couple out of it.  

 

In an alternate reality I could see Belle having Sami's 2011-2012 story when she inherited Countess Wilemina, while seeing Shawn as something like Pacey was in the final seasons of Dawson's Creek. I could also see him as a sort of Private Investigator. 

 

+1 on Belle and Carrie being the same character, which could still work if they played in their own generational cohorts.  

 

 

I think this presents another issue with a lot of Days characters. They aren't able to mature or progress well past their initial story vision archetypes. Chole's character still feels steeped into what she initially was, this Phantom of the Opera ingenue who Brady fell in love with. Her other subsequent characterizations feel so far divorced from that, that I no longer really see her as Chole but someone completely different from what she was created as, but also no where near as poignant. Phillip feel much the same way, as does Shawn, Belle, Austin, Carrie and a number of Days characters. It's like they are frozen in time, cast into different roles but never living up to what they were initially designed for. Someone with vision is needed to mature these characters, but without the investment they are just old husks of what they once were.  

 

I also agree a thousand percent that Patrick, Rex, Cassie, Mimi, the Lockharts, etc.  worked well overall from a story perspective to add some heft to the generational groupings that existed for the youngest cohort on Days. It gave them some dimensions to play and exist in a way that didn't before. Even Jan Spears could have been better utilized to bring out some different view points and colors to those groups to make things feel a bit different, and open up some some storylines. 

 

I am fine with Belle/Shawn being endgame, but I think NBC/Days was short sighted in not playing off Belle/Phillip's chemistry.  Roman/Marlena were endgame, but eventually the story was adjusted to John/Marlena when the stronger story and chemistry was there.  

Belle needed to be a hybrid of Carrie/Sami.  Not evil, but more of a vixen or a mild schemer or even a spoiled brat. When KS started playing Belle she was briefly like that.  She's too much like the perfect John/Marlena spawn.  There is no drama or conflict there.  Carrie vs. Sami still works.  Belle vs. Sami does not.  They never fought over romantic rivals, they didn't grow up together, they don't really have any conflict outside of Belle's parentage and Sami trying to sell her, which is great conflict, but Belle doesn't seem to care about that.

I feel like the non stop drive by visits or firing/hirings get in the way of Belle, Shawn, Chloe, Phillip, Carrie, Lucas, etc. stop the growth and maturity.  Everytime Carrie or Chloe come back they have a new career or new issue, but we don't see it on screen.  Carrie/Belle consistently cheat on their spouses, but we just hear about it later.  Where's the story in that?   Brady is the only character of that generation that spent a consistent amount of time on the canvas and he's one of the least interesting of that group. 

It's disappointing to me because the Sami/Austin/Carrie/Lucas and Belle/Shawn/Chloe/Phillip generations carried so much story and then were fired and/or left.  If you told me in 1997 that Carrie would not be the lead heroine on Days in 2021 I would have thought you were crazy.  Same with Belle in the early 2000's.

 

 

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On 3/26/2021 at 5:53 PM, DramatistDreamer said:

Y&R seems to struggle with just about every AA character. They did a bit better at the beginning of the Barber/Winters stories and had a decent run before completely dropping down. Let's not get into the writing for Mamie, Tyrone, Jazz and Kong.

 

Funny how you're the only person that mentioned any Black characters except for the one person who mentioned Jessie on AMC when daytime seems to be in a perpetual struggle with it's Black characters. Instead all I'm seeing are white characters these shows had out front and center in story after story who just so happened to get a bad one.  LoL

 

 

With respect to Lauren, Y&R has seemed to put the entire Baldwin crew out to pasture. Everytime she gets a story, she's pushed aside or just disappears. Not sure what's happening there. I've been waiting for her pairing with Jack for about 4 years now. 

 

Edited by ajsp35801
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1 hour ago, ajsp35801 said:

 

Funny how you're the only person that mentioned any Black characters except for the one person who mentioned Jessie on AMC when daytime seems to be in a perpetual struggle with it's Black characters. Instead all I'm seeing are white characters these shows had out front and center in story after story who just so happened to get a bad one. 

 

Maybe because it was the absence of diverse characters (not just based on the lack of characters of color, but also lack of diversity of ethnicity, country of origin, socio-economic standing, etc. that inspired me to become a writer. When you are a writer, as well as a "double minority" (Black, woman), it is impossible for these things to escape your attention, from a creative P.O.V. 

 

Other soaps have had and still have, obvious issues with writing for Black characters but I pointed out Y&R because it not only has many examples in which to draw from (some of which were praiseworthy, and some disappointing, as I have stated) but Y&R was also an "auteur" created/driven soap for much of it's run. What I mean by that, is that, unlike many other soaps, which, at various times in their runs, had a cycle of various HW and show-runners who were not directly connected to the show's creator. Y&R and AMC were like this and only recently has Y&R become a soap in which the headwriter is not directly connected to W.J. Bell, or the Bell family. Y&R stood out, in that respect, as a daytime soap that had a particular autonomy from network "interference" in decision-making that perhaps, other daytime soaps may not have had. It's like that phrase, "Heavy lies the head that wears the crown" and has the number one daytime soap for decades, Y&R has held that crown/responsibility. 

That's why I specifically cited them.

 

When a show cites how many NAACP Image awards they have received, I don't think it's unreasonable to take a granular level look at how they present their characterizations of their characters of color.

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4 hours ago, ajsp35801 said:

Funny how you're the only person that mentioned any Black characters except for the one person who mentioned Jessie on AMC when daytime seems to be in a perpetual struggle with it's Black characters. Instead all I'm seeing are white characters these shows had out front and center in story after story who just so happened to get a bad one.  LoL

 

It’s pretty telling of the genre and although it occurred to me when I made earlier posts, it’s just so rare they are crafted with care at all.  For me, the instances of Black characters being given material at all, let alone good material is pretty sparse.  Even people like Bell and Nixon (although she didn’t HW all the stories Angie, Jessie, Livia, Derek, Terrance, Taylor, Noah, etc were in) who did have integral Black characters struggled at times and or played into stereotypes.

 

It seemed like every writer who at least got that diversity was important and wrote decently for these characters was replaced by someone that didn’t get them.  Labine’s community oriented Ward family was decimated by Guza.  Characters like Gilly, Hamp and David were treated awfully after Curlee/Demorest left.  For all the love Reilly and DAYS showed Lexie, they neglected the rest of their Black cast.  And Y&R just should be ashamed of themselves.  Because characters like Neil, Olivia, and Dru were important and should have always had a prominent place on the show.  For all her faults, Latham knew Drucilla was a lead.

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On 4/1/2021 at 5:04 AM, Forever8 said:

It's sad but I wouldn't be upset if Kevin gets a job in Silicon Valley, and he, Chloe, and the kids move to California. SSM had the right idea to write them out. I mean what is the point of bringing them back if you're not going to use them consistently? 

Kevin, Chloe, and Chelsea all ran their course as characters and never should have been brought back. I would prefer someone like Mac to be brought back rather than dusty Chloe. Add in Michael Baldwin who is now a glorified day player and even Lauren is useless. I’m tempted to also throw in Phyllis into the pile. 

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No one except Bill Bell knew how to write for Jill Foster Abbott. Kay Alden got a lot right, but by the mid-2000s, Jill was a shell of her former self. The same can be said for Ashley Abbott and Victor Newman. I give the actors who played all three roles with knowing their characters so well that they rose above dubious writing.

 

This may be an unpopular opinion, but I never felt a lot of the writers from the mid-90s onward really understood Erica Kane. Agnes Nixon, Wisner Washam, and Lorraine Broderick were the only three who seemed to be clued into what made Erica tick, cry, and rage. Again, Lucci knew her character so well, she was ALWAYS Erica no matter where the writers took the character. 

 

I think not knowing how to write for legacy characters is endemic of a lot of soap operas. In general, the writing team can change with the head writer, so all of the institutional knowledge about how to write said characters goes out the window. Recently, it seems that head writers come and go, but the dialogue and breakdown writers can be stable. We can't forget that head writers get paid a royalty every time they create a new character. Lastly, I think the reason some characters stay around long past their prime is because they're popular with executives, producers, and the audience. If you have that golden triangle, you're set. Unless you're Genie Francis and JFP has been hired to produce the show you're on...

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, mikelyons said:

No one except Bill Bell knew how to write for Jill Foster Abbott.

Your post inspired me to read up on Jill's history, as well as Billy, Cane, and Chance.

 

In retrospect Jill is kind of like Y&R's version of DAYS John Black, her backstory has become so convoluted that it is hard to determine her motivation.  Jill started out as social climber who wanted more from life than her mother experienced.  So, she kept trading up until she married John, but then learned that money and status could not satisfy her cravings for lust and sexual attention.  However, once she was in her late 40s and found out that she was either a Chancellor or a Fenmore all of her earlier motivations no longer made any sense, but Jill never changed or became multifaceted.

 

Also, much like John Black who is often the moral compass of Salem despite his history as a jewel thief and an assassin, it is difficult to sympathize with Jill about the lost opportunities of her youth when she has a history as a horrible mother to Billy and Phillip.  She sent both boys away to school as soon as they could walk.  She was barely present during their adolescence.  And, she rarely interacts with Billy or his children.  So, maybe Neal Fenmore didn't care for Jill like he did for Lauren?  Well, cry me a river because she seems to have never atoned for her own misgivings as a mother.

 

I agree that most of it comes down to writers who have each taken their own stab at creating a story for Jill without understanding her true nature or fleshing out her current motives.  However, at this point, there seems to be very little redeeming qualities to the character beyond her place in the Y&R cannon.

Edited by j swift
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