After viewing the first three episodes, I think it's safe to say I'm in love with Tainted Dreams. The new web soap showcases the behind-the scenes-action of a fictional long-running televised soap titled Painted Dreams. If I'm anything like the characters on the show, my love could be fickle. Heavens, I could be in Vegas, marrying some other web soap by tomorrow evening. But, for now, I'm going to enjoy the honeymoon.
Haven't seen it yet? Go ahead. We've got the first three episodes for you right here, and I'll be waiting to discuss them with you as soon as you're done. If you've already watched, skip past the videos to read my thoughts and share your own in the comments section at the bottom of this column.
The first three episodes will load in the player below. They will play consecutively.
Fair warning if you've not watched Tainted Dreams yet, you should certainly do so, but you may not want to watch it in the waiting room of an auto repair shop like I did. Two receptionists, a mechanic, plus several fellow customers now think I'm a pervert who enjoys watching pornographic content in public waiting rooms thanks to the seriously sexy love scenes in episode one. (In truth, the love scenes are not anywhere near pornographic. They're tastefully done yet hot.) Although, there was one lady knitting a potholder who was obviously totally jealous she wasn't having as much fun as me. Don't think I didn't see you peeking, pot-holder lady. I hope you Googled it later. Everyone deserves a little sexy in their viewing!
And not just sexy, we've also got dramatic slapping, name-calling, infidelity, cattiness, hidden feelings -- all those familiar soap staples we love so much. Painted Dreams, the fictional soap at the center of Tainted Dreams, has nothing on its actors as far as scandalous behavior. I loved that in the first episode alone, someone ended up in jail, a couple got caught cheating, and a couple got drunken married. The series cannot be accused of starting off slow.
With short episodes, a lot of action helps to pull people in and help those five to ten minutes feel like a story all its own. Unfortunately, the show lost a little bit of momentum in episode two, where not much happened.
However, things picked right back up with episode three, where viewers finally got a glimpse of the characters filming Painted Dreams, the soap within the soap. The contrast between the characters in Tainted Dreams and the characters they play on Painted Dreams is a lot of fun and a great setup for all sorts of amazing scenes.
Take, for instance, our first tease of Painted Dreams: a scene that could have been simple was suddenly filled with delicious drama -- and humor for the viewer, though the characters were understandably not amused -- because of the complications in the actors' lives.
You're telling me that Gregory is cheating on his wife, who also plays his wife on Painted Dreams, with Liza who plays his stepdaughter on the show? And the two of them had to act like a loving mother and daughter who were ecstatic to see him awaken from his coma for the cameras just moments after all the off-stage cheating had been discovered? That right there is soapy goodness -- times two! -- at its very best. And it led to one of my absolute favorite scenes of the first three episodes: Veronica playing the loving mother and wife until the director yelled cut and then slapping both Gregory and Liza in quick succession. I cackled with delight and then rewound it and watched it again.
I look forward to more situations where backstage drama leads to awkward moments in front of the camera as well as behind the scenes. I also liked the nod to typical soap opera tropes with Gregory's character, Jason, having been in a coma for four years and then being found in a Peruvian village. You can tell the folks behind the series both love and have a sense of humor about soap operas.
Courtney I know we've not seen a lot of Bobbie Eakes's Courtney yet, but I'm already smitten. There was just something about the way she acted so sweet and offered Veronica a sympathetic hug only to use the opportunity to whisper, "Karma's a bitch, isn't it?" in Veronica's ear. She looked ever so satisfied with herself afterwards. That's the kind of lady I want to get to know better.
Gregory I got a kick out of seeing Walt Wiley as a philandering scoundrel when I'm so used to him as good guy Jackson Montgomery on All My Children. His character may be a jerk, but I have a feeling I'm going to continue to enjoy watching him stir up trouble. The bad boy thing is working for him.
Angelica Likewise, it was interesting to see Alicia Minshew as the calm in the center of everyone else's crazy when typically, as Kendall on All My Children, she was the one stirring up all the trouble. I enjoyed her voiceovers opening and closing out this batch of episodes and feeling like we were seeing the events of the show through her eyes.
However, I'm going to agree with Ethan, who indicated maybe Angelica was just a little too nice. I'm hoping the upcoming episodes show things getting messier for her and maybe her having to step out of her comfort zone both in the romance department and by becoming more assertive as a boss. I feel she might be the character we see a lot of growth out of this season. I'm looking forward to seeing how things develop for her.
Do Angelica and Jordan have a past? I'm guessing they do and thinking perhaps he was the one in Angelica's sexy flashback or daydream. I want to know more. If they really were together at one point, why did they end, and what's keeping them apart now? Mostly I just want to see them make out.
Liza and Adam I can't say I'm rooting for it yet because we've not actually seen them on-screen together. However, I'm so intrigued by Liza's devastated reaction upon overhearing Angelica talk about Adam's marriage. In true messy soap opera romance fashion, Liza seems to actually be in love with Adam, though she's sleeping with the ever-so-married Gregory as we discussed above and Adam just drunk-married another woman. This is going to be fun, y'all! Well, fun for us viewers anyway. Those people I just mentioned are probably going to be miserable, what with all the terrible life choices they seem to be making.
Angelica and Anthony I love good solid friendships in my shows, and this has the makings of a great one. I dug how loyal Anthony seemed to Angelica and how much Angelica leaned on him, especially in contrast to all the backstabbing and fighting that seems to be going on with pretty much everyone else behind the scenes. I adored the shot of the two of them walking out of the building with their arms around each other at the end of episode three. I picture these two relying on each other more as things on set and in their personal lives get more out of control. It could provide some great scenes.
I thought the production values were great. It was obvious a good deal of care and talent went into every aspect of the show, from writing to filming. My only minor complaint is that they didn't publish to YouTube in HD. Maybe that will happen in the future, since these are just sneak peak episodes. I hope it's in the works because, while these looked good in the small YouTube player, 480 px being the highest resolution available meant it did not look good in full-screen and I think that does an otherwise stellar show a disservice.
But that's a minor complaint. As you may be able to tell from the above, I'm already quite smitten with the show. I'll be tuning in the minute new episodes are released. How else will I find out what the heck happened to Miguel and whether Angelica and Jordan will eventually find a supply closet or empty office on the Painted Dreams set and work out all that sexual tension?
Degrees of Crystal Chappell: If you read my previous article on web soaps, you know I like to play this little game in which we look at how far removed a web soap is from web soap queen Crystal Chappell. Tainted Dreams is one degree away and could be linked to Crystal in several ways, but I'm going to go with the fact that Alicia Minshew is set to star in the upcoming web soap Beacon Hill, which Crystal Chappell will produce and costar in.
What are your thoughts on Tainted Dreams, readers? Did you watch all three episodes? Will you be tuning in next time? Tell me in the comments what and who you loved and hated!