The Death Of Daytime -- Part Five
When I first started watching soap operas they had some of the best actors around on them. There wasn't one bad actor. Acting-wise it is one of the hardest jobs around. Unfortunately, like everything else in daytime, that is no longer the case.
Cookie Cutter Casting
Currently on One Life To Live, which I just started watching again, after years of not, there are four actors [they play James, Ford, Jack and Matthew] and I have a hard time telling them apart as they all look alike. I almost posted on a message board asking if this was the new type that was popular. In the case of Ford and James, who are supposed to be brothers, they actually look like it. Same hair, same height, same facial features. That's why its called cookie cutter casting. It's like they have a mold of what's considered the popular type and they press the mold into cookie dough and make a bunch of copies. The blonde blue-eyed hunk used to be the popular type. It seems that type has been replaced by the dark hair and dark-eyed hunk.
Currently, fans of One Life To Live are calling for the recasting of the recently recasted role of Jack Manning because the actor playing the role can't act. He's one of the other cookie cutter characters I mentioned that look alike. The bad thing is the character of Jack is featured in a big story about school bullying and his bad acting is ruining the story. Unfortunately, the show has put him on contract, so it seems he's going nowhere.
Send In The Clone
There are also bad actors cast because they look like a popular actor who has left the show. I remember when Lisa Vultaggio was hired to play the role of Hannah on General Hospital. because she looked like Vanessa Marcil. The woman spoke in a monotone and one time when a fellow actor was delivering an emotional scene, you could hear her sighing during it like she was bored. I think Ms. Vultaggio was cast on the belief she resembled Vanessa Marcil they could pair her with Maurice Benard and have the new Sonny and Brenda, who were one of the show's post popular pairings.
Years earlier on the same show when GH's signature heroine, Laura, disappeared one foggy night, when Genie Francis left the show to pursue prime time acting opportunities, a bunch of Laura clones were brought in to fill the gap she'd left behind. One of them was even named Laura played by Janine Turner. I didn't find Ms. Turner to be a very good actress [although I thought she was very good on Northern Exposure] and it was obvious the only reason she was cast was because she resembled Genie Francis.
Phoning It In
That's the term fans have coined for good actors who just read the lines they're given but don't put anything into it. This generally happens with actors who can act, but choose not to. I don't know if it's because the writing their being given is so bad or another character is being favored or you or they're just bored, but for whatever reason they stop caring and just show up to read their lines and collect a paycheck. I've seen a lot of actors, who I once thought were good actors, do it. It's sad, because not only are they selling themselves short, they're doing the same to the fans that are loyal to them and are tuning in to watch them and their characters.
Recently, when I turned into General Hospital, I saw Tyler Christopher, who plays Nikolas in a scene, and it was like watching a corpse acting. He used to be one of the better actors on the show and his delivery was so dead and monotone it was shocking. I wondered what happened to him. Why was he just phoning it in.
Whether an actor doesn't have the ability to act or they choose not to, it can negatively affect a show. An actor's ability to make a character real is what makes viewers become fans of a character and become emotionally invested in that character. It's what keep a fan tuning in to see what the character is up to next. But if you're not delivering the goods, fans will lose interest in your character and stop watching. No one cares about a character if the actor playing the part simply just reads the lines and puts nothing into the part. There's just nothing to interest a fan and keep him tuning in.