Sunday, March 27, 2016

Character Assault


Soap Operas are often viewed a great training ground for young actors. I know many actors who have made their career in daytime might find that insulting, but some of the industries best actors got their start emoting on soap opera sound stages.   I think this is especially true for women. Sarah Michelle Gellar, Meg Ryan, Anne Heche and Julianne Moore all cut their teeth playing strong female heroine's on daytime.


Maybe because soaps were traditionally seen as viewed mainly by women, male characters are not always as well developed.  Soap Opera producers seem comfortable hiring 'mediocre' actors who look good with their shirts off, but don't always know what to do with actors whose talent is bigger than their biceps.

Below: Next 3 incredible images by Brad Everett Young for Dream Loud Official

One of the things soap opera writers frequently do is write talented actors into corners.  They do this in many ways, the worst of which is writing a rape story.  Soaps have literally dozens of male characters who have committed rape only to be written as sympathetic, even heroic after the violent act.  Some male characters go on to survive their deed to remain on the show, others are written off after the writers have gotten all they want from the storyline.


I am not sure where Days of our Lives Chase is going to end up, but I hope actor Jonathon McClendon ends up with an EMMY and tons of future acting work.  Chase was an 11 year old kid a year ago, but after the show aged many of it's younger characters last fall, Chase became a troubled teen played with skill and complexity by McClendon.


The show unwisely decided to go down the clich├ęd path of ruining one of it's most talented actor by having him rape their new heroine.  McClendon acts circles around his scene partner, and the show ruined a character they could have used in story lines for many years to come. McClendon is a unique talent, and hopefully will find another venue for the 19 year old actor's complex expression of drama.


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