"We're very topical on 'Dynasty'. I think it's very important that 'Dynasty' brings up social issues people have to face. Let's put it this way – we don't make it a point to stay away from issues that would indeed happen to a family," Elaine Rich remarked. In 1985, 'Soap Opera Digest' credited 'Dynasty' for stepping out on the proverbial limb when it confronted the taboo subject of interracial relationships. Considered daring for its time, Diahann Carroll was casted as John Forsythe's on-screen half-sister.
Leonard Katzman told Nerissa Radell, "From what I've heard, daytime touches things nighttime could never come near. At least on CBS, we're very careful about certain subjects, like religion. We've always avoided like the plague anything remotely resembling an incestuous relationship. In controversial areas such as these, it's very difficult in the time we have, to take a particular point of view."
Ted Shackelford observed, "The nature of daytime is very expository. You spend most of the scene imparting all this information, and then by the time you get to the meat of the scene, it's over with! It's very difficult to act and bring any kind of truth and believability to daytime … The fact that anything comes across amazes me." Leonard Katzman added, "I think part of the problem with daytime is they have so much time to fill (5 days a week).
"There's just not that much happening all the time in any of our lives, so daytime has to rely on somewhat repetitious conversation occasionally. Our 'time pressure' (once a week, between 22 and 30 weeks a year) helps us a great deal, because we don't have to fill all that emptiness. But on nighttime, our pacing is such that we can't linger on any one story for too long. So on 'Dallas', we try to have one long range story – like the battle for Ewing Oil – and along with that, we have sub-stories which run 6 to 8 episodes (about 2 months)."
Wayne Northrop noted, "On crucial scenes, nighttime will go on forever. Daytime has its own problems. Sometimes you're in 5 shows a week, and if that goes on for 3 or 4 weeks, you can become a zombie! Or, if you're up at the last part of the day's schedule and they're running late, the director will say, 'Thank you very much, that was very good,' after your first take."
Susan Sullivan acknowledged, "When you have to cover a scene 10-15 times, it's very difficult to get the emotional value you may have had the first time but when you're doing off-camera lines for someone else, it's not fair to give them the same kind of value you gave in the master shot of the scene. Playing the same character over and over has certain pitfalls. It's easy to get into bad habits, into tricks, into going for the easy choices as opposed to finding more unique choices for your character to play."
Douglas Sheehan argued, "On daytime shows, you're taping 2 weeks away from air date and if your character does a buildup of popularity, they can improve the scripts as they go along … that's power. On 'Knots Landing', we tape halfway through the season before the show even airs, so prime time dramas don't have the power to orchestrate the audience and the actors."
Leonard Katzman maintained, "There's no way to really determine who the audience is going to respond to so far in advance. Since we don't have the luxury of viewer response on nighttime, we have to go on our instincts. There are other variables, too." Elaine Rich expressed, "I think in nighttime shows, people are looking for entertainment and to get out of their problems and into a world of fantasy and excitement. There's something exciting about looking at beautiful, wealthy people. And if there's one thing that contributes to 'Dynasty's' success it's that 'Dynasty' is larger than life – the stories, the characters, and the actors. Characters like Alexis are a bit of everyone's fantasies, so you can more or less predict their appeal."
Leonard Katzman reasoned, "Because of our budget, we have a certain luxury daytime doesn't. We go down to Dallas to shoot for 48-50 days (close to 2-month long), which gives us a terrific look!" Elaine Rich believed, "Our budget affects our show in a very real way. There's a direct correlation between what we can do on the production end of our budget. Our sets, our costuming, our writers and the caliber of acting we have are directly tied into it."
Characters such as J.R. Ewing and Abby Fairgate were interesting characters because as John Kelly Genovese reported, "A catalyst is something or someone that makes things happen, a force which kicks off the action. Of all the types of catalysts in soaps, none have been as prevalent, as fascinating, or as much fun as the bitch goddess and the ambivalent villain.
"It must be stressed that these types are much different from the straight villain or villainess who are more one-dimensional, less vulnerable and less prone to living a long life. Real villains usually do something so bad, so irredeemable, that they must eventually be disposed of. The bitch or the ambivalent villain, on the other hand, is too valuable to be written into a corner. These folks are as much a part of the overall, continuing story thread as the major family, and often part of that family.
"They must constantly straddle the fence between good and bad, or otherwise maintain a certain level of rottenness without actually becoming evil. They can lie, cheat, manipulate, instigate conflict, and spread nasty rumors. They can even rape, if they sufficiently repent for this animalistic action. But they cannot intentionally kill – that is the province of the straight 'heavy'. And above all else, they must have a dramatic enough background to motivate their questionable actions, and to justify these actions in their own minds.
"The most common motivation of an ambivalent villain was a financially deprived childhood. This element easily explains why 'Another World's' Rachel clawed her way into the financially secure Matthews house as a teenager through her marriage to successful doctor Russ Matthews; why Jill on 'The Young and the Restless' stepped on her family and friends to nab filthy rich Phillip Chancellor and leading publisher Stuart Brooks and why 'General Hospital's' Bobbie Spencer fought Laura tooth and nail for Scotty.
"Of course, as with many such ambivalent types, most of these characters have since redeemed themselves and become downright heroic in their actions. While these folks carved out their dubious paths when they were young, other lower-class characters didn't shoot for the top until discovering that marrying within their station (same age) was a losing proposition.
"The self-made man is sometimes depicted as a negative force, due to his overwhelming preoccupation (and underlying discomfort) with his new social station. In time, however, circumstances generally mellow him, make him more comfortable with his wealth, and less abusive of his power. But too much money can just as easily produce a bad apple as not enough of it.
"Some people are just plain spoiled rotten by riches, and grow up expecting human relations to be as instantly rewarding to them as the acquisition of a Renoir at an art auction. 'General Hospital's' Tracey Quartermaine and 'Another World's' Iris were all born with shiny silver spoons in their bassinets. Yet in the above case, other more complex reasons produced the indecencies these people committed.
"Tracey idolized her father, Edward, but was torn apart by his refusal to see she could match his savvy in the business world and become more than an aging brat drifting from husband to husband. Incestuous leanings have darkened many a personage in serial land. Much as Iris set up a plethora of roadblocks to Mac's happiness with a loving, reformed Rachel.
"Most bitches and ambivalent villains act out of a sense of being robbed of something or someone. Erica on 'All My Children' was deserted by her movie-mogul father as a tot, and has always sought a strong, loving male figure in her life. The bitches and the ambivalent villains act, therefore, out of a crying want. Some achieve their goals nobly and honestly after comeuppance teaches them a few basic truths. But if they don't attain that which they want, need or even crave – if they are halted, diverted or crossed in any way – watch out!"