Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Soaps Recognized For Tackling ‘Elephant In The Room’ of Substance Abuse and Mental Health

On March 13, nominees for the 11th Annual PRISM Awards were announced in Burbank, CA. The PRISM Awards, presented by the Entertainment Industries Council (in partnership with Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration/SAMHSA), recognize productions and performances that feature accurate depictions of drug, alcohol and tobacco use and addiction. In two new awards this year, recognition will also be given to accurate depictions of struggles related to mental health and bi-polar disorder.

In addition to the five competitors in the Daytime Drama-specific category, GENERAL HOSPITAL received a nod alongside primetime specials and episodic television in the new category honoring portrayals of bi-polar disorder.

The nominees announced today include:

TV Daytime Drama Series Multi-Episode Storyline

  • "JR's Alcoholism," ALL MY CHILDREN (protagonist "JR Chandler" is portrayed by Jacob Young)
  • "Luke's Alcohol Abuse," AS THE WORLD TURNS (protagonist "Luke Snyder" is portrayed by Van Hansis)
  • "Hunters (sic) Battle with Alcoholism," BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL (protagonist "Taylor Hayes Forrester" is portrayed by Hunter Tylo, pictured)
  • "Lucky's Drug Addiction," GENERAL HOSPITAL (protagonist "Lucas 'Lucky' Spencer" is portrayed by Greg Vaughan)
  • "Gus's Addiction," GUIDING LIGHT (protagonist "Gus Aituro" is portrayed by Ricky Paull Goldin)
Bipolar Disorder Award
  • Crazy for Life
  • GENERAL HOSPITAL - Sonny's Bipolar Disorder (protagonist "Sonny Corinthos" is portrayed by Maurice Benard)
  • Jelly Smoke
  • Law and Order - "Heart of Darkness"
  • Law and Order: Special Victims Unit - "Influence"
Recipients will be announced at a ceremony to be held at the Beverly Hills Hotel on April 24th and which will air in November on the FX Network. (The network will also air the previous year’s awards show April 22nd as part of the promotion of the PRISM awards ceremony on the 24th.)

(Read more here.)


Anonymous said...

Substance abuse is such a soap staple, but it's been a real treat to see the storylines and performances take on the kind of realism that allowed them to be educational without being preachy, while still driving great story, in the last 10-15 years or so. It's good too, for there to be an award to incentivise the industry to take the extra time to make the story good.

CaveyLoLo said...

I think where too many soaps drop the ball is in the recovery and "afterwards" periods, where the addict has to live with the consequences of their actions, relationships strained or destroyed, and the guilt with who they were, as well as the daily temptations (they are particularly hard in the beginning) that come along with the life-long choice to abstain. Taylor on B&B was a great drunk, but once she killed Darla, the story shifted and her alcoholism has really turned out to be a tired plot-device, re-tread.

Anonymous said...

I know what you mean!!! Look at Luke on ATWT, the story reached full poignancy when we realized the reason he was drinking was because he was ashamed to be gay...but ATWT really played up his alcoholic best friend (the one who got him drinking), who Luke supposedly loved madly, only to leave that story dangling. Presumably, that friend is still drunk somewhere, urinating on himself in an alley, after playing, at one point, nearly 3-4 days per week. Luke getting his friend the help he needs would have been a great teen story, and more powerful than watching both of those kids get drunk over and over again, and then have Luke's drinking cured with his coming out. Set up, check. Lots of scenes of actors hamming it up with bottles of apple juice in their hands, check. Follow-through? Who needs it?

k/lennox said...

I think ABC deserves a LOT of credit in this arena. Skye Chandler Quartermaine's alcoholism has been a constant in her life as the character has traveled from ALL MY CHILDREN, through ONE LIFE TO LIVE, to GENERAL HOSPITAL. She has struggled with it, sometimes won, sometimes lost, but you get how, even after all these years the bottle calls to the character in moments of stress, and that the disease is life-long. Do I love watching Robin Christopher rip-roar it up in "drunk-hurt" mode, yes, she's a deft actress and your heart breaks. But there's a greater power in the scenes that ABC is good enough to write (and not dismiss as filler material irrelevant to whatever the day's hot story is) where Skye just works to manage her illness. They've gotten off to a good start with Sonny's bi-polar disorder, but they need to remember to show his pills on the counter in the bathroom or on the desk, and in scenes in the morning or evening at his home, having him continue to take his pills. They did that story well, playing out in real time, but they're shaky on the follow-through.

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