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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Waking from One Nightmare, Heading into Another

For a brief moment last night, all was right with the world.

The streets were packed with people, Flatbush Avenue was filled with horns blasting, and people hugging, and (literally) dancing in the streets. Lying in bed, listening to the revelers, re-playing moving words from a speech long overdue... everything seemed perfect. I try not to get too political in these blogs - I know much of the soap-viewing audience are conservatives, and I have nothing but respect for them. I have patience and an open mind for conservatism, but I have little for ignorance, something that ran rampant for so long in the White House these last few years... and for myself and many, I feel like I'm waking from an eight-year nightmare.

Which is why waking up this morning, it was such a crash-and-burn to see this.

So all the major networks have passed on the Daytime Emmys. Soapnet... the channel launched FOR SOAP FANS... wants nothing to do with it. (I really wish they'd just change their name already. I love them over there, but just stop misrepresenting yourselves.)

This is such a wake-up call, for the fans and for the casts and crews of these shows. As far as I'm concerned, this is the pronouncement that the networks just don't care anymore - they don't care to honor the best daytime has to offer, and they're just biding their time until the inevitable.

It makes me wonder - whether you're an Obama-fan or not, you can't deny for a second he isn't a great inspirational speaker, who moves his audience to be better people. How he is as a president remains to be seen, but he makes everybody sit up and face their day stronger... more determined... better. Where is Daytime's Obama? Where is that Executive Producer or Head Writer, or hell, even the Network Executive... who is going to stand tall, and talk to the fans like they're not a bunch of morons, and be honest and upfront and look the people they represent in the eye... the leader who is going to make us turn on the soap we grew up with, and believe again.

Believe we're not investing two hundred and fifty hours a year in something that's just going to be pulled out from under us with little or no integrity... something that will just wither away slowly and painfully, limping into non-existence. Where is that Power That Be that's going to stand up and say "We have everything against us, I know we have little money and little support, but I promise you, as long as I am here, we will work hard to deliver you a quality project... we will forego ego and backstage politics and shame and negativity, and band this cast and crew together to go out with our heads held high, with stories that move you, and choices that inspire you, and a belief that we should not be ashamed to be fans of this genre."

Okay, so maybe I've taken the analogy too far. Maybe I'm still so swept up in the enthusiasm and hope of last night. Maybe I'm just delirious.

If we're going down, we shouldn't go down like this. And if somebody can make me believe in American politics again after the last eight years, then why the hell can't somebody make me feel the same about an industry I've devoted so much of myself to over the last decade... that so many of us both in front of the cameras, behind the cameras, in front of our TV screens have devoted ourselves to over the last century?

We are a small little microcosm in the American Entertainment Industry, but we are important nonetheless. We have Hope for Change now everywhere else... I would love to find a little piece of it in our corner of the world as well.

The Powers That Be have been saying "You're doing a heckuva job, Brownie" in daytime for far too long, while viewers are turning out in droves. Indeed, it is time for change.

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