Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A Sign Of The Times

Several Y&R cast members were asked their opinions about the recent turn of events involving Eric Braeden, and resulting in his walking away from the pivotal role of Victor Newman. The comments were posted yesterday on soap website Daytime Confidential. For the most part, there were few surprises: long time cast member (and constant gentleman) Kristoff St. John exhibiting a fair balance of class and diplomacy, respectful newbie Daniel Goddard walking on eggshells so as not to rock the boat, fan favorite Sharon Chase providing a sane, rational assessment of the situation, recognizing that budget cuts do, indeed, need to be made, but stressing that they should be made wisely. The one truly shocking statement came from the most unlikely source, the cast member who is quite possibly the least qualified to pass judgement on another actor: Adrienne Frantz, who plays the role of Amber.

Here is what Frantz has to say:
"They are cutting contracts all around. I mean everybody has to bite the bullet. It’s not like anyone gets special treatment. If you don’t want to play fair with everyone, then don’t play. If you want to step out…. everybody is dealing with the same stuff. So if anybody thinks they are better than anyone else, then they should leave if they want to. It’s a cast. We are all working together. We are all working our hardest to make it go, and if you don’t want to work with everyone than you are not helping."
Really, Adrienne? Really?

Paying Your Dues

It's clear that Frantz has, in a fit of misplaced hubris, imagined herself on par with Eric Braeden. She clearly sees herself as his equal in terms of the effort she has put in to make Y&R a success, and overall importance in the show's #1 status. Someone give this self-important, delusional idiot a bang on the head with the Reality Stick. Better yet, sit her down and make her watch a few clips of Eric Braeden in action, followed by a few clips of her own "work", as she awkwardly stumbles over lines, muddles through ridiculous story lines that no one cares about, and generally ruins the landscape of Genoa City.

Even if Adrienne Frantz were the finest of young actors - say, an Elizabeth Hendrickson (Chloe) - comments such as these would be way out of line. In most work places seniority carries a certain amount of significance, and it's not because of age, but because of experience. The new guy on the assembly line would be remiss to try and tell the veteran how to do his job or how to talk to the foreman. The rookie cop, if he has any sense and decorum, doesn't walk into the squad room and criticize his commanding officer's attitude. The young soap actor - even the best young actor - does not walk onto the set of the #1 show and pass judgement on the veteran cast member who has fairly carried the show for over 20 years, and imply that she is his equal. Even the best young actor hasn't paid her dues and earned to right to pass such judgement in so public a fashion. If Jeanne Cooper wanted to make such a comment about Eric Braeden? Fair enough. Of course, fans of Cooper know that she is too much of a class act, too much of a professional, to even go there. But she could, if she wanted to. She's more than paid her dues and put in her time. Jeanne Cooper truly is Eric Braeden's peer.

Adrienne Frantz is no Jeanne Cooper. Adrienne Frantz is no Elizabeth Hendrickson. Adrienne Frantz is no Sharon Chase or Kristoff St. John. Adrienne Frantz isn't even a Daniel Goddard. Adrienne Frantz isn't much of anything. She's daytime's answer to Pia Zadora. Adrienne Frantz is a talentless, boring, annoying woman who has the screen presence of a test pattern and is about as compelling to watch as a PSA from The Emergency Broadcasting System. In fact, her voice and mannerisms are about as grating on the ears and eyes as the high-pitched EBS hum. Frantz' character on Y&R is an insult to women - a blonde bimbo throwback to the days when such stereotypes were acceptable. Her audacious comments about Eric Braeden shed light on how she even landed the role: she's clearly not acting like a crass, dopey, immature fool, she is one.

Grow the fuck up, Adrienne Frantz. What Eric Braeden expects and asks for isn't "special treatment." He wants and expects to be treated in a way anyone who has put in his dues deserves to be treated. If you think he's acting like a star, you're mistaken: he's not acting. He is a star. People tune in to watch Victor Newman - to find out what he'll do next. How many tune in and wait with bated breath to find out what Amber has up her sleeve? How many years have you lead Y&R to the number one ratings spot? And, if you think you win because you're still on the cast, while Braeden has walked away, you're an even bigger fool than I'd imagined. You're still around because you're cheap labor, and Sony has clearly decided to do away with the hand-crafted model of production, and move towards the unskilled-labor-in-a-sweatshop model of production. Eric Braeden is a skilled journeyman. You're some guy they picked up at a Home Depot parking lot who's working under the table.

For your viewing pleasure - the woman who will carry CBS' The Young and the Restless, once Eric Braeden is gone. Soak it in, and remind yourself that she's "working her hardest to make it go..."


Robert said...

I'd be very curious to know how much of a paycut they were forcing onto Braeden. From what I gather, he made a counter-offer which was rebuffed by CBS/Sony/some combination of the two.

I know Jess Walton and Melody Thomas Scott took paycuts in past months, and wonder how much of a percentage less they're making now.

And how are all these paycuts being spread across the board? Are they making executives, producers, and other staff take paycuts as well? I'm sure Braeden was making a fine salary. I get the impression he probably would have been willing to negotiate if the situation had been handled in a professional manner rather than through a curt email.

I still think getting rid of some superfluous cast members who add nothing to the show and spreading that money around to important cast members makes more sense. No one sees Adrienne Frantz in some other project and says, "OMG! That's Amber! I love her!" But people do see Eric Braeden in other projects and say, "Hey, there's Victor Newman!" (I'm betting anyone who saw "Titanic" in theaters heard this outburst from fellow moviegoers upon Braeden's cameo as John Jacob Astor!)

Snapper said...

That would have been me, Robert. I remember going to see Titanic the weekend it opened and being one of several people in the packed theater to say "Victor Newman!" and "Doctor Bombay!"

Anonymous said...

Thanks for another great item. Lots of people are applauding Frantz, which seems so crazy to me.

I know that the clause in EB's (and, I guess, everyone's) contract is legal. However, I would be willing to bet that if had asked for a raise at given point during the past 29 years he would have been told to wait until the end of the contract term to open negotiations...


Anonymous said...

I don't get the Adrienne Frantz love either. She's godawful and was one among many reasons I bailed on Y&R during the Lynn Marie Latham era.