Rating The Young Uns: Why Soaps Could Use More Actors Like Blake Berris And Less Hair Models
Okay you knew it was coming. Now that the Idiots In Charge of The-Soap-Opera-Formerly-Known-as-Days-of-Our-Lives have let the phenomenal Blake Berris go, I decided to start out doing a Wishful Casting about where Berris should end up, but it turned into more of an analysis of which soaps are managing to set things up for their next generation the right way, and which ones are getting it wrong, dead wrong.
Much of the daytime industry is experiencing a serious drought in terms of talented, young stars who can actually, you know, act. Save for The Young and the Restless, One Life to Live and General Hospital, the under 30 set at most soaps is pretty much comprised of rejects from the Pamela Anderson School of Acting and Pantomime. I'll start with the soaps in most need of help and work my way up.
While GL is surprisingly getting better with each passing day, the younger cast is still, for the most part, absolutely abyssmal. Save for future superstar Marcy Rylan (Lizzie) and promising, but not-yet stand outs like Mandy Bruno (Marina) and John Driscoll (Coop), GL is hair model central.
EJ Bonilla (Rafe) and Lawrence St. Victor (Remy) are botrh growing on me, but with the overly-loud and (sorry) overrated Caitlin Van Zandt screaming onto the scene at any given second and that poor child Bonnie Dennison (Daisy) somewhere starring blankly, it makes it hard to concentrate on what's right about the young Springfielders.
An actor of Berris's caliber would help balance things out. What if GL cast Berris as Zack, the son of Phillip Spaulding and Harley Cooper? With Grant Aleksander on his way back, now would be the perfect time for his son with Harley to be SORAS'ed. If not Zack, Berris could play Phillip's other son James, the one he sired with Beth atop a snowy mountain, during a plane crash on the tropical principality of San Cristobel.
Berris and Rylan would have amazing brother/sister chemistry and if the soap found a suitable actress (read: one whose resume doesn't say "strikes a mean pose") to star opposite Berris as Vanessa's daughter Maureen, the show could have a promising young adult couple on its hands.
As The World Turns
As The World Turns actually has an amazing younger set, which is why this show frustrates me to no end. They put the brakes on the smoking hot Emily and Casey May/December romance featuring one of the best young adult newcomers in years (Billy Magnussen), that brought up 10 years of history with Emily, Tom and Margo, so they could put Emily back into the same old tired orbit with soap opera kill joys Paul and Meg. Meanwhile, Magnussen's fire is being wasted on perhaps the most boring recast in the last decade, Marnie Schulenberg as Alison Stewart.
Former hair model-turned-decent younger leading man Agim Kaba (Aaron) has grown leaps and bounds since first appearing on the show. Now that he is finally ready to anchor the show's 20-something set, what do they do? Put him on recurring to bring on new hair models with their training wheels still on.
Don't even get me started on how ATWT has wasted the opportunity to lure in the affluent cable audiences that watch Logo and Bravo, by refusing to pen anything even seemingly resembling a decent storyline for their groundbreaking gay teen couple Luke and Noah (Van Hansis and Jake Silbermann).
After seeing all of these examples in print, I'm almost reluctant to suggest Berris for any role on this soap, since ATWT has proven it doesn't know what to do with the amazing young talent it already has. That being said, I think it would be awesome if a fed up Noah finds comfort in a new coed at at the university. While Drunk Luke is busy tongue wrestling his Paw-Paw, maybe Noah and a new character played by Berris can actually do more than jump up and down on the bed when they have a moment to themselves?
The Bold and the Beautiful
Sigh. B&B, often times my guiltiest daytime pleasure, is another soap that doesn't have a clue how to write for hot, interesting younger characters. This show has had in its employment Mario Lopez, Antonio Sabato Jr. (okay they aren't young, but they still look it. Latino and Italian respectively don't crack) and currently Texas Battle and Brandon Beemer, yet have failed to utilize them. Maybe if Berris joined the soap as core family member Thomas Forrester that could change things? If not Thomas, what about a young lover for Lesli Kay's underused Felicia? Did you see those Obama-on-my-drawers photo shoots featuring Kay and Berris? Talk about chemistry!