Over the past few weeks the online soap world has been abuzz at the hilarious satire called Pratt Falls, which offers a parody on the much maligned head writer of All My Children, Chuck Pratt. The series details Pratt’s fumbles and stumbles with the same sex storyline of fan favorite Bianca (played by Eden Riegel), and her new gal pal, Reese (played by Tamara Braun). In Pratt Falls the virtual animated Pratt has behind close doors chats with his alleged co-conspirator, “AMC’s” executive producer, Julie Hanan Carruthers, who at times during the webisodes (or clips) is the voice of reason against Pratt’s mishandling of “AMC” storylines.
In a very recent TV Guide Interview that added more fuel to the fire for the already disgruntled fans of the Reese/Bianca story, Chuck Pratt blamed the mess on Eden Riegel’s exit for pilot season. “I was led to believe we had her for longer than we really did — suddenly I got word that Eden is leaving now. We got to play everything we wanted to with Bianca and Reese, but not in the time we’d hoped for — in my mind, it was a two-year story,” Pratt continues. “I guess I could have rushed to the wedding earlier so that they’d have had more time together as a married couple and then had them break up, but I think the fans would have been even more unsatisfied with that.”
Regarding Tamara Braun, Pratt said, “If Tamara decided to stay, keeping her on the show as an angry lesbian — with no other lesbian characters on the canvas — would be kind of insane. So we thought about making Reese bisexual — kind of an Anne Heche who bounces back and forth.”
Through the use of the Xtranormal animated application, the creators of this satire have been able to keep in stitches, both soap pundits and fans, (especially fans of Bianca and Reese) and “AMC”, with their snarky observations. After much public fanfare on You Tube, the creators decided to come forth (a few weeks ago) only as their virtual selves, named Ellen and Portia, and give a face to their popular series.
When I approached Ellen and Portia for an interview, I was asked to take part in their virtual world and I happily agreed. I mean, how else could I get into their space? I wanted to chat with the very clever gals, who are now an online sensation. But there was one stipulation that they were adamant about; protecting their true identities, that seem to be akin to the Cape Crusader and his sidekick, Robin! On all accounts, Ellen and Portia seem to speak for many fellow soapers, who through their sharp wit and tongues only want what’s best for their favorite characters on their soaps.
So, I present to you my very special interview with Pratt Falls creators, Portia and Ellen!
View the video on YouTube:
How did you two get the idea to start Pratt Falls? How did you come about the Xtranormal animations?
PORTIA: After reading Pratt’s TV GUIDE interview where he throws Eden Riegel under a bus, we simultaneously experienced the urge to slap Pratt. And that resulted in the satirical smack down now known as PRATT FALLS.
ELLEN: I am quite passive by nature, but Pratt’s blatant lies about Eden Riegel’s contract had me seeing red. If I remember correctly, I posted a ten line mock script on the Bianca/Reese message board. Portia emailed me, asking if she could play around with it and animate it. I said yes. Next thing we know: BAM! (No pun intended).
How long have you been Bianca fans and fans of Eden Riegel?
PORTIA: Always and forever.
ELLEN: Perhaps I shouldn’t admit this, but I followed Eden to “AMC” from Imaginary Bitches. So I’m quite new to Pine Valley. It took me about a month to catch up on a decade’s worth of Bianca storyline on youtube. But now I’m a fan for life. And I will never leave Erica Kane. Ever.
Was there ever a Bianca story you liked, and if so, what was it? She had so many great stories from “coming out” to Erica, to the baby switch and getting back Miranda, etc?
PORTIA: Any story with Bianca in it, I like. Even if the story is abysmal, and the writing is wretched, Eden seems to rise above. And when the writing is good, she soars! I especially enjoyed the days when Bianca and Kendall hated each other. Their relationship right now is so fractured and damaged, it’s sad to watch.
ELLEN: As Portia has said, anything with Bianca in it, no matter how poorly written, I’ll watch. I love the relationship between Kendall and Bianca. And I could watch Bianca bitch slap Babe over and over again.
Do the two of you have a background in comedy writing?
PORTIA: We do now.
ELLEN: Not at all (until last week, that is). I have spent years sitting in front of “SNL” and telling people how I would rewrite certain scenes. But no one ever listens.
How did you meet to collaborate on Pratt Falls?
PORTIA: We “met” as members of the Bianca/Reese Forum. But we’ve never met in person.
ELLEN: We met in a private message inbox. We’ve now moved into an email inbox.
Many want to know if you are life-partners or just friends.
PORTIA: We are just friends for life.
ELLEN: I prefer “friendly partners in crime.” It has a nice ring to it.
When the first episode of Pratt Falls made its way to the internet and you saw the amazing feedback, because it was spot on to what many fans of Rianca and “AMC” felt, what was you reaction?
PORTIA: My reaction was: “Jumpin’ Johosephat!”
ELLEN: I believe my exact words were “By the Hammer of Thor! What the hell is going on?” And then I let loose with some expletives that would make the Imaginary Bitches crew blush.
View the video on YouTube:
What would you like to see happen with Pratt Falls and animated Ellen and Portia, next?
PORTIA: I suppose Pratt Falls will continue as long as we have satirical things to say about the state of AMC. Which means, potentially forever…. I’d like to see Ellen and Portia address other absurdities currently rampaging through the world. I am endlessly fascinated by people’s ability to live with cognitive dissonance. And Silvio Berlusconi, — how is his existence even possible in the 21st century? Wouldn’t you love to hear us discuss that?
ELLEN: I think as long as we have something funny to say, we’ll keep putting episodes together. And the way “AMC” is going right now, that shouldn’t be very difficult. Plus, with Eden Riegel on the loose, who knows how many other storylines she will destroy? We’re on guard, protecting those who can’t protect themselves.
If you were writing “AMC” right now…..
PORTIA: Oh, please, from your lips to God’s ears.
ELLEN: I’d have to buy Susan Lucci’s pilates machine.
What changes or makeover would you give to Pine Valley in terms of story?
PORTIA: If I were writing AMC, I would institute a few basic rules: 1) Only Jesse gets to carry a gun. 2) Only one coma per character per decade. 3) Only one kidnapping, life threatening disease, and/or disappearance, per family per year. 4) Take all the minutes that Erica is scripted each episode and triple it. 5) No more blaming actors for crappy writing. 6) Casinos and hospitals are really not all that interesting, let’s stop going there. 7) No more misogyny. It’s offensive and not entertaining for our core audience. If a character dies, they are dead. And they stay dead. Forever. 9) If you have Tamara Braun on contract, you use her more than 3 minutes a week. (See #4, it applies here too). 10) Bianca has suffered enough. Let the poor girl have (and keep) her happy ending already!
ELLEN: Here I go: 1) No more sex in mental institutions, hospital beds or Ryan Lavery’s penthouse. 2) The characters should move the plot, not the other way around. 3) Erica Kane is the queen of daytime and she should remain front and centre. 4) Strong women. I am so tired of watching strong women makes fools of themselves in front of the men folk. Kendall is a Kane woman. She doesn’t need Zach or Ryan to survive. 5) Use the vets. Young and the Restless is heading into sweeps featuring a wedding between two eighty year olds, and it’s wonderful. 6) David needs to stop drugging people and twirling his imaginary mustache. 7) Jackson? Anyone? Jackson? Less violence, more love in the afternoon (but not love between David and Krystal or Kendall and Ryan) 9) Where have all the sets gone? Long time passing. Where have all the sets gone? Long time ago. Where have all the sets gone? Gone to scrap heaps, everyone. When will they ever learn? When will they ever learn? 10) I agree with Portia. Bianca will now have a life of overwhelming joy. They can start heaping pain and sorrow on Miranda and Gabrielle in a few years, but lay off Binks.
How long have you been watching the soaps?
PORTIA: Since I was knee high to a grasshopper. But I don’t watch consistently. I check in every 4 or 5 years…. And I’ve never had a problem keeping up!
ELLEN: Since birth. A soap character inspired my first name. And my first crush was on Bo Brady (back when he was with Carly Manning).
How do you feel the portrayal of gays on the soaps has been, in general?
PORTIA: Mixed. Certainly some things have been done quite thoughtfully and with real sensitivity. But TBTB can’t quite seem to sustain that.
ELLEN: I feel like soaps haven’t quite figured out how to integrate gay characters into the general storylines. This is part of the reason the Bianca/Reese story went so off track. The writers obviously wanted to create some drama, but because there were only two gay characters on canvas, they went the Zach route. And it obviously came off as ridiculously offensive.
What are you expecting from the Reese/Bianca wrap-up this week?
PORTIA: I was hoping their reunion would be as intense and dramatic as their break up. But I know that’s not likely to happen. So sadly, I expect to be disappointed.
ELLEN: I have very low expectations. I know that Tamara Braun and Eden Riegel will take what they’re given and do fantastic work, but I have no faith in Pratt (shocker, I know). Maybe we’ll get a grief glance, followed by a grief high five and then a grief flight back to Paris.
View the video on YouTube:
How do you feel Tamara Braun did in this messed up role?
PORTIA: I think Tamara Braun deserves a soap opera version of the Congressional Medal of Honor for distinguishing herself “conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of her life above and beyond the call of duty” while engaged in a storyline penned by Pratt & Co. Seriously, my Fake Internet Girlfriend has had a rough time in Pine Valley, and I feel sorry for her. She spun straw into gold for “AMC”. Plus she had to put up with the scorn of BAM and Zendall fans! She must be made of steel. The more convoluted and nonsensical they made Reese’s story, the more I fell in love with Tamara, because even though she was getting screwed over, she always gave a 100% of herself. I truly felt sorry for her. Much in the same way I feel sorry for Alicia Minshew right now…..
ELLEN: Don’t forget the Purple Heart, Portia! I can’t even begin to imagine how she went to work everyday and managed to portray this character with integrity and depth. Reese is an interesting character with an interesting back-story. But her feelings and motivations changed daily, and somehow, Tamara had to make the audience believe. Pratt & Co. did her no favors when they threw her between Zendall. I am actually a fan of the Zach and Kendall pairing, but the Zendall fans are armed and dangerous. I really hope Tamara avoids soap message boards because things can get vicious. Yet, no matter what they threw at her (both on and off screen), Tamara gave her all and so I have great respect and admiration for her. And I agree with Portia in regards to Alicia Minshew. I’m very tired of hearing characters refer to women as “whores, sluts and bitches.” Enough.
When the same-sex wedding day occurred on AMC, what did you think when it was over? A landmark or milestone? Botched opportunity?
PORTIA: It was all of that. It was a landmark and a milestone and they managed to botch it. I will admit to oohing and ahhhing over the dresses, and I thought the vows were beautifully written, and, yes, I cried. But I could not for the life of me understand why it all had to be intercut with the other stories. Really, how can you enjoy the wedding when Greenlee, in her wedding dress is on a motorcycle, flying off a cliff? I think Bianca and Reese deserved better than that. Actually, I think Greenlee deserved better than that too.
ELLEN: I have such mixed feelings about the wedding. On one hand, it was beautiful and everyone looked smashing. On the other hand, the constant juxtaposition of crazy Annie and biker Greenlee destroyed what could have been a beautiful, memorable event. Even the fact that Kendall was not present upset me. The wedding was not about Bianca and Reese; it was about Annie’s gun wielding, Kendall’s anger and Rebecca Budig’s exit. I wanted to concentrate on the vows and the love, but all I could think about was the absurdity of Greenlee riding that bike wearing her wedding dress. The whole thing was over the top and preposterous. And on top of all that, the Reese and Zach kiss hung over the event like a dark cloud. Bianca is the daughter of Erica Kane. The wedding should have been all about Bianca. Instead, it was about everyone else.
Why is the anonymity important to you? Why did you choose Ellen and Portia??
PORTIA: We just enjoy being a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma, rendered in a cartoon.
ELLEN: We’re both comic book fans and I think the idea of a secret identity appealed to our nerdy sense of humor. We also want to live. And Pratt has connections with Sonny Corinthos.
Has anyone at ABC Daytime or any of the top brass from “AMC” contacted you regarding your parody and satire?
PORTIA: Not yet.
ELLEN: No. Although lately, I can’t shake the feeling that I’m being watched.
What can we preview for your new online fans to look forward to in upcoming episodes of Pratt Falls or Ellen and Portia?
PORTIA: We just don’t know until we start venting…. Probably more pirate jokes.
ELLEN: Definitely more pirate jokes. We will continue to fight for truth and justice.
PORTIA: We’d like to encourage everyone to visit our virtual store at http://www.cafepress.com/breesenation You can purchase authentic Pratt Falls merchandise! 100% of all sales go to “Invalidate Prop 8.” And, of course, a great big THANK YOU, Michael for your interest in our little show. We’ve enjoyed “talking” with you.
ELLEN: A huge thanks for your interest and a thank you to all the people who watch and support our little show! And before we go, just a reminder that in these dark times, we all must take extra precautious for our safety. Remember,
Eden Riegel walks among us.
PORTIA: Oh, I heard bells, did you hear the bells?