Thanks for the kind words, Safe and DrW. For anyone who is interested, the Ryan's Bar Online site is now back up — http://ryansbaronline.tripod.com — hopefully for good? The content is still unchanged, and the aesthetics even more antiquated, but I'll leave it up for as long as Tripod/Lycos does the same.
When your posts alerted me to the fact that the site was gone, I figured it was worth a shot at least submitting a ticket to tech support. I got a response earlier today saying that their "systems" had "detected" the "site as a violation," and they were "working to correct the issue." I still have no idea what that means — and I wrote back to ask, but I don't know that I will hear from them again — and by the time I read the e-mail, the site was back online.
I started the "Ryan's Bar Online" website many moons ago (with the help of a lot of other people, of course, who created/contributed the vast majority of the content).
I was as surprised as anyone else to learn, from these posts, that the site is no more. At first, I figured the (free, turn-of-the-century, DIY) web hosting platform that I used to "build" the site itself must have folded. I discovered that the company still exists, though, and some of those other freebie sites from close to two decades ago are still there. When I attempted to log in to my old account, after I had to reset the password, I received a notification that it had been deleted for "suspicious activity." I have absolutely no idea what that means - it kind of freaked me out to read it, as you can imagine - and I received no notification when the site was taken down.
As anyone who has visited the site in a decade or more no doubt noticed, I have not updated it in a long time (if memory serves, I ran out of free storage space and couldn't even save updated versions of existing pages, let alone upload new content). Over the years, I had actually toyed with the idea of salvaging some content that was still useful/technologically relevant and moving the site to some sort of new platform. With each passing year, though, the site "design" (such as it was) and the types of materials I had posted grew more and more obsolete. I have no current web development experience or knowledge, and never got around to buying software that would have allowed me to put something up that was no longer embarrassingly anachronistic without any of that technical know-how. I also haven't really have the time or energy for an undertaking like that.
However, I had every intention of leaving the site intact for anyone who still found enjoyment in it. For what it's worth, I'm sorry that it disappeared so abruptly, for anyone who is disappointed. I had a lot of fun discovering Ryan's Hope when SoapNet came to be and getting to know some great people through this classic show. If anyone is ever looking for specific information about the show, I check in on this site and a few others every now and then and I'm always happy to chat/answer questions, but I'm afraid that's the extent of it for the immediate future.
Labine preferred the half hour format, yes. But I think she did great work at GH for a couple of years or more, and especially after a year off to rest up, she could have had an equally good run at OLTL.
She also told just about every type of story successfully at one point. But the climax of any of her best stories almost always had more to do with the characters and relationships than it did with the trappings of the plot. When she started at a show, she could be adept at utilizing existing history to create that kind of drama, but one way or the other, the characters had to hold their own for it to work.
That's why I think she was especially vulnerable to the kind of micromanaging that Disney ushered in at ABC. I have no doubt that just about everything they thought was boring or expendable and forced her to cut or change was building to something or explained something else. Labine never really adapted to writing a show that just treaded water in between gimmicky events that may or may not have had anything to do with each other.
I for one would take the kind of storytelling she was capable of when she was empowered to do her own thing in a heartbeat, though.
Yes, Pat was Delia's first love, to the extent that she was capable of love, especially at that point. He was her *first* at any rate, but he broke up with her when he started college or med school because he didn't want to be trapped in a relationship, and she set her sights on Frank. Pat always took Delia's side when she had problems with Frank, and it was implied that on some level he married her against all reason because he wanted to succeed where his brother had failed.
I don't know what that was, but how disappointing...
It was nice to see Ilene again, and her scenes would have been touching and meaty had she been playing just about any other character. Contrary to anyone who dismisses her performance these past few days as Roxy with a different name, to me she was actually playing a completely different character than the time(s) she was given virtually the same script on OLTL. But while I actually think Ilene did everything in her power to make this character seem like Delia, it was really hard to believe when she was being written as the antithesis of Delia: unable to manipulate anyone successfully, selfless maternal instinct...who was this woman? I'm not sure that Delia could have fit into any soap that wasn't RH, but she certainly could not be shoehorned into any soap today. The real Delia would be at least five times savvier than any current soap character, and RH made it very clear that being a mother did not magically cure the type of personality disorder that Delia was consistently portrayed as having, like most soap "vixens" are redeemed by having children - it just made her more dangerous, because she had a helpless child to neglect.
And now that I've seen all of this, I'll go out on a limb and say that this doesn't fit the RH timeline, at all. I tried to make up potential explanations in my mind for why Delia would hook up with this man: She was on the rebound from Pat, and maybe the timing didn't quite work to pass the kid off as his... But then I looked up the guy who had played Victor Jerome originally:
So, when Delia was barely out of that Catholic schoolgirl uniform she wore in all of those flashbacks they showed, she was having a clandestine affair with a 40+ year-old man (with mob ties)? Why would she pick him, and why on earth would she have been doing it under Maeve and Johnny's noses at Ryan's?
Also, no explanation for how/where Delia carried the pregnancy to term without anyone finding out. So much of who Delia was at that time was shaped by having never really seen the world beyond her neighborhood. Realistically, there was nobody in Delia's life at that point who had anything remotely resembling the resources to send her "away" except Maeve and Johnny. And while I could see them helping ship her off to Ireland to work in a Magdalene laundry or something - they could be extremely harsh when their fragile sense of morals were flouted - there's certainly no way they would have kept quiet about it while she trapped both of her sons into marriage.
But even beyond writing Delia out of character and doing damage to RH's carefully constructed history, the worst part for me may have been that it was really depressing to see what became of Ryan's Bar. They could have done a lot worse in coming up with miserable outcomes for Delia and others who were not seen. I can't help but remember, though, how the Ryans - while not perfect and arguably completely dysfunctional in their own right - were so welcoming and joyful and exuberant that they made customers want to come into that bar in order to feel like they were having the kind of fun they only wished they had with their own families None of that was on display in the set that was being called Ryan's Bar. The one "Ryan" (by marriage) who was working there greeted customers with her tales of woe, and it's been reduced to a sleazy bar where mobsters took their jailbait molls. In some ways, that's more disheartening to me than if we were told Ryan's went out of business and became a Starbuck's.
Delia is "a bad liar," who would make "the worst poker player"? Ugh... Delia could outsmart Sam and whatever character Michael Easton is supposed to be playing now (someone tied to the Port Charles vampire storyline, or a new character or?) any day.
Beyond that, I'll reserve judgment on the overall wisdom of this concept until I see the resolution of the cliffhanger tomorrow. I'm clinging to the hope that if they're going to the trouble of delviing into the parentage of a character in Maura West's age range, it's to tie her permanently to central GH characters. A 40-ish character having a Lily Walsh-esque tantrum because she finds out she was lied to about who her parents were is not something I would imagine any soap today wanting to showcase...probably for different reasons than what my objections would be, but still I don't see it. If it's a nice little nod to RH fans, that doesn't leave any number characters who mostly got some very nice, thoughtful resolution 25 years ago, in limbo, then fine.
I think Ilene did admirably with the material, and FWIW I didn't see Roxy today, at all. I saw the characters reacting to her in much the same way OLTL characters typically reacted to Roxy, but that's just the way "hot, young" (ish) ABC daytime characters have treated most women past 50 for a while now. I think Ilene interjected a lot of underlying sadness and ambiguity about what Delia was really doing working in that bar again that broke my heart for Delia all over again. Unfortunately, the character's underlying cleverness did not fit into the purpose she was being called upon to serve, but...
PS: In answer to the question posed earlier, no, Delia was not like Roxy...Delia presented herself as being innocent and helpless; only when she felt threatened did she show her claws, but even then it seemed more like a child having a tantrum. As the years went on and her misdeeds piled up, more and more characters started to see through her, but she was not overtly outrageous like Roxy. Also, Delia was not an alcoholic. In short, having lots of forgotten children as the plot dictated would not have been her MO, and a teen pregnancy would have been a big deal for this character -- and probably would have sent her desperately searching for a Ryan boy to seduce and claim to be the father.
Wow...well, Delia was the best soap character ever, AFAIC, so I'll be watching and hoping for the best. I do hope that Delia being Maura West's character's mother is just a rumor; as has been mentioned, I don't see a daughter that age fitting into the character's back story, and even to the extent that it could be explained, I wouldn't want to see a revelation like that handled in two days, without any of the RH characters that were central to Delia's life. Honestly, I don't see these two shows' histories "melding" at all. I'd rather Delia be someone who knows who this characters' parents are, but isn't directly involved. If that's all it is, then I guess it could be a fun bit.
On the other hand, if she is going to be shoehorned into some convoluted parentage story and they wanted to make some in-joke that likely a fraction of the people watching would even be in on, then I wish they would have just unearthed Ilene's "Loving" character.
Wow, what a find! Thanks for posting. I don't think I've ever seen such an in-depth look at this show at this time - details about what worked as well as some insight into what didn't work as well. And I love how Reed said a paternity story would have been "hackneyed even in the 1950s." Where are the soap "journalists" who are willing to say that nearly 40 years later?
I wonder if Claire Labine actually knew about the backstory of Luke raping Laura when she took the job as head writer of GH (after it had been announced that Luke and Laura were returning). I wonder if she would have accepted the position, if she had. Between SoapNet and YouTube, I've seen much of Ryan's Hope's run and nearly all of the material Labine wrote, and I don't think any character was ever raped. Certainly the rapist never would have "gotten the girl."
I could see her delving into the GH story history and having no idea what to do with Luke, l and I can't say I blame her. I think it's even harder to suspend disbelief as far as a rapist hero who saves the world from a mad scientist with a weather machine with his victim by his side than to accept merely the mad scientist with a weather machine part.
If Tony Geary and his "writing partner" actually wrote the first year or so or whatever of Luke and Laura's return, then I'll give them credit - it was the best material I've seen of the characters/couple, and I really liked them at the time. Unlike 90% of soaps in the 20 years since then, though, the story didn't exist in a vacuum...it resonated for a lot of other characters. I highlight doubt Geary helped create Mary Mae Ward or came up with the idea of "redeeming" Sonny or deserves credit for Bobbie questioning her own domesticated life (which indirectly led into BJ's death and all of that).
I would argue that the Luke of that era also wasn't any truer to the "real" Luke than anything else. I don't have any recollection of the rape being acknowledged until that Guza story in which it was revisited. It was completely glossed over.
I'll also go so far as to say that whatever credit Geary may or may not deserve for the story itself, Luke's return didn't win him a lot of critical acclaim for his performances. Not to say that he was panned, just that he didn't get a lot of attention. I think Luke and Laura returned in the same Emmy eligibility period in which both Michael Zaslow and Roger Howarth took home statues (for playing rapists). Daytime had "evolved" on the issue of rape by the early '90s at least to the extent that the rapist was considered the villain and, if he was presented in a sympathetic light, it was because of his frowing awareness and remorse over the horror he had committed. I can't help but think on some level Geary saw that and had a bit of a bruised ego and was jealous that he didn't get to play that type of material with Luke. In any event, if Geary did have a hand in how Luke was initially written when he returned, he's certainly changed his mind on a lot of that from the things he said since.
I'll also go as far as to wonder if Geary himself is somewhat conflicted about his "legacy." He became a pop cultural icon playing a glorified rapist, whom young women ambushed in public appearances screaming "rape me, Luke!" at a time when there was a strong backlash against the women's movement and all other kinds of rights. The ERA died on the vine, Phyllis Schlafly and the Moral Majority blamed women's gains (among other things) for all of society's ills, and Geary's greatest success as an actor was very much of that era. I don't blame him for wanting to believe that Luke was always presented as a flawed, downright loathsome character, but I don't think that's true.
Eric, it's fine and believe me, I wasn't offended. I just didn't want to seem like the voice of negativity, or like I was pushing any sort of agenda. I'd like (both of) these shows to succeed.
Vee, believe me, I'm not waiting for these writers to be gone - I'm waiting for them to stay for a while, and to be empowered to do good work for more than a nanosecond. What you said about OLTL is actually kind of ironic, because that was the show I was most looking forward to seeing again, but that's been 99% absence from this back and forth. The length of time that I watched AMC on Hulu was probably the longest time I ever watched the show, ever. But the Nixon shows were the remaining shows, at the time they went off, that were closest to what I would like to see in soaps, so again I'm hoping for the best across the board.
OK, so the new writers' work hasn't even begun airing. Even if the previous writers did find their groove - after I stopped watching, it sounds like you're saying - they are now gone. What head writer change in the history of soaps have ever proceeded seamlessly? That's my problem. I kept watching network soaps for too long through revolving doors of writers, hoping the next one would be an improvement, and in hindsight the turnover was itself a big portion of the problem.
Actually, I was looking for excuses TO watch. There were flaws from the beginning, which was to be expected - frankly, a lot less than I would have thought, given how quickly it all came together - and I kept an open mind through some stories that weren't even necessarily my cup of tea.
I did watch a couple of episodes surrounding Cassandra's abortion. Yeah, I don't know the context, but after all of these months, I have to say the Celia character still came across to me as a complete drip and, outside of the writer who created her, I don't think anyone stepping up to a position in which their predecessor lasted less than three months would decide to keep showcasing this character at their own peril. I found myself hoping that the new team will cut their losses on that front, not that the character/story would surprise me and I'd understand what somebody saw in her. I think that's a cynical way to watch a continuing drama, especially in a format where we still spend a great deal of time with these characters compared to other shows; looking back, I regret spending as much time as I did watching in that way on the networks.
That's not an excuse, and I'm not telling anyone else not to enjoy the shows now. I'm not posting responses to commentary on the day-to-day episodes criticizing material that I haven't seen (in fact, I prefaced what I wrote by acknowledging that I haven't watched in two months or so). I'm glad others are enjoying, and I truly hope they continue to despite the behind-the-scenes changes. If these new writers turn out to be great and are empowered to turn out good material for a long time to come, then I'll be very happy, and again I'll probably watch again at some point.
But especially if that turns out to be the case, looking back at what I did see of the original material, I do think PP would have been better off delaying ongoing production until they had the more permanent team in place. That's why I responded to this topic, because the "what if" was interesting to me.
I don't have any agenda, but I have been very busy this summer and it's been a number of years since I've been in the habit of watching a soap (way before the ABC versions of these shows gasped their last breaths). At first it was comforting to have these shows back in my life at a stressful time and I was fairly positive about them at first. But when all of this upheaval happened, it seemed like deja vu and not something I needed to be devoting time to on a daily basis. I'm not up to date on the latest plot developments (clearly), but I don't feel that that means I don't have a leg to stand on.
I gave these shows a chance to turn over a new leaf when PP relaunched them, and as far as I'm concerned, the goodwill was squandered with all of the chaos that ensued. Replacing the head writing teams at both shows, cutting the amount of episodes in half, blaming me (and all the other viewers) for not watching when we were supposed to watch...all within the first two months on air? Regardless of the outcome of one particular storyline, I still don't see myself giving them another chance long-term until there has been some stability for at least a few months.
That was my initial point, and that was why I weighed in on this particular topic, about whether PP could have fulfilled their contractual obligation by testing the waters with something like a movie in time for the deadline, while being more methodical about working out the finer points of a long-term business model. I still think that would have been preferable - even if these writers manage to retroactively make the audience understand why day after day of Celia talking about her guardian was crucial, in addition to explaining every other writing choice that the previous PTB made.
Now, as far as the particulars of the stories that I have admittedly not been watching for two months, I actually didn't know Cassandra had the abortion. I'm glad to hear that whoever is/was in charge at the time did not pursue some ludicrous scenario of Cassandra carrying this baby to term and it being presented as a miracle, which I have no doubt would have been the outcome on a network soap. I'll try to seek that episode out. I'm sure the acting was great with the cast members involved, and that's great that the script apparently did them justice. Again, I do hope it is indicative of good things to come.
I did watch up until Cassandra was brought back and I did follow the plot points that led up to it, I just don't think it was very plausible and it seemed like complete deus ex machina. I still believe that. Again, I'm glad to hear that the show isn't necessarily shying away from controversial, reality-based storytelling now, which was what I initially assumed was the reasoning for getting Cassandra out of that predicament so abruptly. But I do think there was, for whatever reason, a change in direction mid-stream. And I don't think the heroine of a story that's fundamentally about women being in one of the most powerless situations imaginable should have been unconscious during the climax - that seems wrong to me on so many levels, in terms of the implications, the pacing, and just basic storytelling.
I actually don't think Ryan's Hope was terrible at the beginning. It was flawed, and even correcting some of those flaws - e.g., the first months were spent telling the audience how wonderful a character who was slowly dying was, and with a few weeks they came to the conclusion that they couldn't kill him off - led to other flaws, (like the fact that virtually every story had to be rewritten and the day player they hired for that role was not a good actor and had to be replaced, by which point most viewers were probably wishing the character had been killed to begin with). But the writers who came up with those characters and believed in the overall direction of the story were still there to right the ship, and a year (and a half dozen or so recasts) later, the show was much improved…with a lot of the same character development that appeared to have been planned from the beginning. There would have been no point in anyone having watched, otherwise.
Yes, every new soap has kinks to work out, but what network soaps had head writer changes so soon out of the gate? Port Charles has been mentioned…and we see how that turned out. Texas? I think even the Corringtons lasted a lot longer there than either of these shows' teams? The only daytime soap that went on to be successful in the long-term that comes to mind is Another World. Agnes Nixon, ironically, was the one who stepped in and turned it around after it foundered for the first year or two amidst the backstage turmoil, but has anyone suggested that at this point she's really the driving force behind either of these shows? Didn't she say in print the last time she stepped in as head writer for AMC, circa the '90s, that she no longer had the energy to head write a show long-term?
And even with established soaps, when has an entire production company making behind-the-scenes overhauls across the board ever turned out well? P&G circa 1981 or 1995? ABC circa 2002? Not that most/all of the shows involved were stellar to begin with at the times, but sweeping change for the sake of change has rarely been a good thing for soaps. Proper planning and hiring good people and giving them breathing room to tell good stories has usually been better, although it's been so long since anyone running these shows tried it.
Maybe the next Agnes Nixon is out there, and maybe he/she is now head writing one of these shows and will be around long enough to prove him/herself. I hope so, and if one of these writing regimes is still around and people are actually excited about where the stories are going months from now, I'll give it another shot. But I went through too much behind-the-scenes musical chairs in the last decade or so of network shows to wait around and watch repeated stops and starts again.