Soapside: Advocate's Guide to Daytime

By Michael Fairman

Originally published on Advocate.com July 15 2009 11:00 PM ET

Martsolf on Shirtless SoapEtiquette

Days of our Lives' talented soap heartthrob Eric Martsolf (Brady) and I recently sat down for an interview for an upcoming feature in Australia's TV Soap magazine. ( Days,Y&R, and B&B are the three U.S. soaps that air Down Under.) During our chat I could not resist discussing the situation of this star -- who is married with two children -- that more often than not, he appears shirtless on the soaps he is on. Many recall that Eric remained mostly shirtless for years playing Ethan on the now-defunct Passions. I told Eric that I felt they certainly objectified the men on that show, and asked him if Days is following suit?

"There have been more and more shirtless situations. Recently on-air I played strip poker with Mark Hafka [Nathan] while two girls looked on. Why were we doing this? Who cares? [ Laughs ] Then on another episode I walked into Victor's living room soaking wet because… I forgot my towel! And apparently, Brady has taken up swimming. It's great. [ Laughs ] John Aniston [Victor, and real life pop to Jennifer Aniston] is like, Brady, what are you doing getting water all over my couch? And I am like, Sorry, I forgot a towel , and then we start having a discussion while I am naked. It's awesome and hilarious!

"Oh excuse me for interrupting our interview, Michael; this is wardrobe knocking at my door coming in to take what's left of my clothing now… one shoe and a sock! [ Laughs ]

Then Martsolf and I discussed how his wife, Lisa, has dealt with all the shirtless sex romps he has had with multiple women during his times on the soaps.

"My wife Lisa did Soap Talk with Lisa Rinna and Ty Treadway a few years back. They had Cameron Mathison's [Ryan, AMC ] wife on with her as well. Lisa Rinna asked 'How do you feel about your man rolling around with all these women?' Cameron's wife is like, 'It's his job and I know how he feels about me. At the end of the day, I am OK with it.' And she asks my wife, and she is like, 'Hell no. Are you kidding me? Would you like your significant other rolling around with some other hot girl in the morning?' Lisa Rinna went, 'Thank God that someone said it like it is.' It's not easy, even eight years later. I think my wife likes to meet the ladies I romantically am paired with on-screen, and get to know them. That seems to make all the difference. You see, my wife gets shoes with the money I make. So as long as she gets those, we're cool [ laughs ]."

But what's next for Brady? He apparently had a severe drug addiction while the character was off-screen for a few years, and Eric would love to see him go to the darker side.

"I had played such a 'Dudley Do-Right' character on Passions that I was looking forward to playing a guy who had some bad history to him. Brady has some addiction issues, whether it's drugs or women, and he tells people how it is. He has become pretty aggressive. He has done some good deeds for some guys, as well as damsels in distress. He is kind of like the Dr. Phil of the community right now! [ Laughs ]"

Fried Fish

On One Life to Live , Oliver Fish (Scott Evans) has been trying valiantly to make out with the lovely Layla and make it work with his roomie in the romance department, but Layla senses something is off. Next week, Cristian, who is also Fish's and Layla's roomie, is on to an ominous message muttered by Kyle that Things aren't what they seem. Now, Cris is about to find a letter written by Fish to Kyle, where he tells his frat buddy to back off and that he wants his relationship with Layla to work.

Posturing as the macho cop, Layla blasts Fish for announcing to the entire police department that they're dating. Yes, as mentioned in my last column, the lovely Layla got a job there as well. When Layla tries for some more lovin' on Fish, this time he pulls back and Layla comes to the conclusion that… yup, he's gay! So, the news this week from Llanview is good as the show is moving full steam ahead with getting to the truth of Fish's tortured soul and his history with his frat boy lover, Mr. Kyle Lewis. Stay tuned and mark you soap viewing calendars for August 6 -- that's when Kyle and Fish share their first on-screen kiss!

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Coming Home

Today is the first airdate of John Driscoll as "Chance" -- or Phillip Chancellor IV -- on The Young and the Restless . Chance comes home from the war -- in fatigues no less -- and reunites with mom Nina, grandma Jill, Katherine Chancellor, and his presumed dead father, Phillip "I'm Gay" III (played by Thom Bierdz). Gay fans are thrilled to have "hottie" Driscoll back on-screen after his touching performances as Coop earlier this year on Guiding Light , where they killed off the character to advance a major story. But all those online reports that Chance may be gay obviously are washed away when he gets one look at his uncle's wife and they hit it off.

And what of the bizarre and twisted relationship between Adam and Rafe? Rafe has realized that Adam is still sleeping with DA Heather Stevens! Adam breaks Rafe's heart by telling the legal eagle that he has genuine affection for the gal. However, young Rafe thinks that Adam just won't come out of the closet. Later it's time for a father and son chat. Enter Victor, who asks Adam if he is gay! Adam in turns wants to set his dad straight on his heterosexuality, but if seems to fall on deaf ears! What a juicy mess!!

The Bottom Three

Shocking! B&B 's Brandon Beemer (Owen), Y&R 's Daniel Goddard (Cane), and OLTL 's John-Paul Lavoisier (Rex) all ended up in last week's bottom three of the 2009 Adonis competition, and it was Lavoisier who got the boot! Now with eight finalists left, voting for week five of soaps' hottest hunk contest runs today through July 21. Joining Goddard and Beemer are Steve Burton ( GH ), Shawn Christian and James Scott ( Days ), Van Hansis and Jake Silbermann ( ATWT ), and Mark Lawson ( OLTL) . You can only vote once per day !

Venice : Crystal Chappell brings new same-sex love story to the web

I was waiting to officially announce the big news to get some more nitty gritty details, but as many of you have heard it is confirmed that Crystal Chappell (Olivia, GL ) has created and is launching and starring in a new web-based lesbian themed soap series called Venice . She will be playing the character of Gina. In her latest tweet, Chappell confirms that her current Guiding Light on-screen partner and co-star Jessica Leccia (Natalia) will be joining her as her character's love interest! "The lovely Jessica Leccia is the newest cast member of Venice . "She'll be playing the role of 'Ani', a photographer. Jess is very excited about doing the series, and we're so thrilled to have her! Who could resist those beautiful brown eyes? Prob not Gina."

 

Big Purple Dreams Turned to Nightmares?

Thanks to the amazing April of the Big Purple Dreams message board, the hottest soap board on the planet, I had the opportunity to address "Otalia" fans' concerns and fears over the recent developments in the story, where Natalia goes off to a retreat presuming she's pregnant, leaving poor Olivia in despair. This to facilitate Jessica Leccia's real-life maternity leave. You can listen to my comments here . I feel your pain, BPD fans!

"Otalia" Watch

Next Week's Preview

Olivia is hitting the bottle again, swiggin' down some wine. Then the poor gal runs after a woman she thinks is Natalia, but it's not. And then the pièce de résistance -- Olivia confronts one of Natalia's old bosses and handcuffs herself to the bar, demanding to know where she is. That's not all. Then she gets herself arrested. How long will we get to see the great Chappell hitting rock bottom? Calling Natalia to the rescue!

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Daytime Emmys and the Guiding Light Tribute

I am taking this opportunity to tell Advocate.com soap fans and readers that I am now on the production team for this year's Daytime Emmy Telecast, to be aired August 30 on the CW. My big news is that I will be producing the Guiding Light tribute package that will be one of the centerpieces of the show. And while I am currently culling through reels of footage from the shows 57 years on broadcast television, rest assured, I will not forget about Otalia! We have a big emotional moment in the works for this segment of the show. I can tell you that the following will be making their way to Los Angeles to take part in Guiding Light 's last Daytime Emmys and to be a part of this tribute: Grant Aleksander, Murray Bartlett, Jeff Branson, Robert Bogue, E.J. Bonilla, Mandy Bruno, Orlagh Cassidy, Beth Chamberlin, Crystal Chappell, Jordan Clarke, Bradley Cole, Zack Conroy, Daniel Cosgrove, Bonnie Dennison, Frank Dicopoulos, Marj Dusay, Elizabeth Keifer, Maeve Kinkead, Jessica Leccia, Kurt McKinney, Karla Mosley, Robert Newman, Michael O'Leary, Ron Raines, Marcy Rylan, Tina Sloan, Lawrence Saint-Victor, Gina Tognoni, Caitlin Van Zandt, Yvonna Kopacz Wright, and Kim Zimmer!

In addition, we had a phone call earlier this week with host Vanessa Williams to discuss some options for musical numbers for the Ugly Betty star during the telecast. Vanessa was just getting ready to start that day shooting the next season of the hit ABC series. I can't divulge the opening, but let me just say there may be a cute way to integrate some footage of Otalia in there as well. We shall see. I found Vanessa to be charming, organized, and an experienced industry veteran who knows what she wants. We love our Wilhelmina.

And finally, keeping my eye on the gay year in soaps, when asked by the Daytime Emmy talent booker who should present from As the World Turns , I piped up, "Well, Van and Jake, of course. They are known as 'Nuke.' They are one of the most popular couples on daytime." Voilà. I am happy to announce that representing As the World Turns as presenters on the telecast will be Van and Jake!

Scene Stealer of the Week

This week my vote goes to one of daytime's greatest performers, The Young and the Restless 's Michelle Stafford (Phyllis). In one of the most upsetting and twisted plot points, Phyllis's daughter Summer went into anaphylactic shock and then a coma after being kissed on the lips with remnants of peanut butter cookies by whacko Mary Jane Benson. Mary Jane did the deed to bring Phyllis and her estranged husband Nick back together, because she saw Phyllis as a threat to her obsession with Jack Abbott.

Fast forward. Phyllis's vigil by Summer's bedside was interrupted when she was taken to the police station for questioning and kept from her comatose daughter -- all because Mary Jane implicated the tot's mom to deflect attention from herself. All the beats of the story were magnificently played by Stafford. This week, in one more touching turn, Summer, who is now awake, has some brain impairment. Phyllis learns this and is devastated for her daughter. When the girl tried to say the word "daddy" she couldn't. Hankies! Kudos Michelle for making this whole scenario real and riveting.

Coming Up

It's that time of year again. I will be at the General Hospital Fan Club event this weekend. The main event is sold out on Saturday, but individual stars are having their own smaller gatherings throughout the weekend as well. For more check out the official site . I will have a full report in two weeks.

Also, I will be bringing you the news from the L.A. DVD release party for Manhattanites, the film starring soap faves ATWT 's Forbes March (Mason), who plays gay in the film, AMC 's Jill Larson (Opal) and Aiden Turner (Aidan), and OLTL 's Ilene Kristen (Roxy) and David Fumero (Cristian).