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About DeliaIrisFan

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  1. I remember when these episodes first aired on SoapNet that I also thought this was an interesting subject matter — one which couldn't have realistically taken place on just about any other soap. Unfortunately, I had absolutely no interest in Kim, and couldn't really take seriously a story that featured a parade of day players going on about what a great actress she was... On a related note, I have often thought over the years about how RH might have successfully managed to branch out beyond 1-2 core families by tapping into the theatre and other aspects of the show's New York setting. Reading in the interview above that Eleanor Labine-Mancusi's life inspired some of Ryan's stories in the show's later years was interesting, because I always thought Ryan should have foundered between the kinds of careers that Eleanor mentioned she had worked in before going back to the family business, as it were. An art gallery would have been an obvious choice, perhaps leading to various characters getting involved in an adventure involving a theft of a famous painting or some such thing, although a karate studio would have been so hilariously '80s (but that probably would have led to accusations that RH was borrowing from popular movies again, in the era of The Karate Kid). I'm not sure if Ryan as a conduit to more escapist stories on the "other" side of town would have ultimately worked much better than it did with Kim, but it was a thought.
  2. How lovely. Thank you for posting. I hadn't realized that Eleanor was quite so young when she started writing for Ryan's Hope, or that it was public knowledge at the time that Claire was consulting before returning full-time as head writer. I still wonder how that arrangement came about, given how far off the show was from her and Paul Mayer's vision at the time, from what I've seen. I don't understand why ABC bothered — kind of like when Harding Lemay consulted at Another World for a nanosecond a decade or so later, with virtually no evidence onscreen of his involvement. (Ah, the days when even the lowest-rated soaps had consulting budgets that would seemingly have rivaled the total set design budgets for today's shows.) Then again, maybe the network actually thought RH was returning to its roots after the Pat Falken Smith regime — which I suppose it was, comparatively speaking, but... Would it be ghoulish to speculate as to whether the "Terry the Tumor" story was the byproduct of Claire and Paul and the oxygen tank's writing session? She did say they were struggling to come up with a story for Pat and Faith in that situation, after all...
  3. It's so bizarre how soaps keep cropping up in the coverage of this surreal election: "Linda Gottlieb, a resident who started the petition, was elated. 'We won,' Ms. Gottlieb, a film and television producer, said. 'We used the power of protest to say that we don’t have to accept the spread of the man’s influence into our very homes. To me, it feels like a cleansing of the place where I live.'” I'm glad to see Trump's "brand" already becoming a liability in business (not that it matters, as he's now guaranteed a pension that will be even further above and beyond the resources that most of us will have in our golden years, after he and the congressional Republicans get through with Social Security and Medicare). But I couldn't imagine wanting to live in a Trump building at any point since he started slapping his name on things, based on the reputation he's had for decades, and I think a lot of people are going to have to deal with a lot worse under a Trump presidency. We all have to come to grieve/protest in our own way, though. Per my earlier post, the obit said that Claire Labine passed away on Election Day, not a few days later as was earlier reported. I choose to believe that she went to the polls and voted for a female president, came home to take a nap, and passed peacefully in her sleep before any returns came in.
  4. I didn't know that she had divorced...or, most surprisingly of all, left NY/Brooklyn. She and her ex-husband were evidently still together when the Times ran this article, years after she last worked in the industry: I hope her final years were happy, whatever happened there. I know Michele Val Jean wrote the script, but I always associated that "every moment of my life, whether born of pain or sorrow, has the potential for grace realized" quote with Claire as well — I choose to believe she continued to find the joy that always shone through in her writing, until the end.
  5. Pardon the intrusion, as I'm not sure where else I could possibly express this that anyone would begin to understand the connection...and I gather that this post would be deleted anywhere else on this site. Reading news today that former head writer Claire Labine has passed — after not thinking about our old soaps in days — was kind of the exclamation point (at least, I sure hope it wasn't another comma) at the end of a truly miserable week. My 16 year-old self would be crying out in horror, "Sweet jesus, not Claire!" upon learning that the writer who brought us the stories and characters that she did is no longer with us just after Donald Trump was elected president. My allegedly grown-up self isn't taking all of this too much better. Watching Ryan's Hope in reruns on SoapNet as a young adult after I'd all but given up on the soaps that were on the air at the time brought me some welcome escape in those early years of the Bush administration. It was a small comfort, but this news quite viscerally took me back to those dark days. I hope it's not presumptuous (Ms. Labine did make her political persuasions fairly explicit in the press, and I think they were somewhat implicit in much of her writing) to say that I hope she was able to cast a ballot this week. I'd just rather not think about this strong, intelligent, trailblazing woman presumably(?) learning about the outcome of this election in what would be her final days, though. As I posted in the main thread about this news, RIP.
  6. RIP to an amazing writer and woman — whose work meant more to me, during some very formative periods of my life, than I could ever possibly say.
  7. I kind of loved when she said that, though... I think FMB, like so many others who came and went from various soaps in that period, had experience that could have benefited these shows, but wasn't empowered to effect lasting change. She had her strengths and weaknesses, like anyone else, but I'd have rather seen her (and her initial writing team's - Stephen Demorest and Addie Walsh were no slouches) actual vision for ATWT have played out for a reasonably measurable period of time than what followed.
  8. Full disclosure: This was actually around the time when I first watched ATWT on a daily basis (for about a month)…if only out of boredom with the shows that I had been watching. I read the hype in the early online forums about the changes underfoot at ATWT, after hearing how shockingly bad the show - which I had previously thought was an unsinkable institution, based on its longevity and what I saw while flipping channels and in awards show clips - had gotten in the year or so before, and I tuned in. I remember that year on the Soap Opera Digest Awards - which back then still aired in primetime and were a big to-do - ATWT opted to forego the usual montage of the "highlights" from the prior year that each show typically put together, set to some Celine Dion or boy band hit of the day that completely drowned out any dialogue. Instead, they aired a couple of recent scenes (which had aired since I had started watching) and then cut to a taped speech from Behr herself, addressed to lapsed viewers, basically saying "this show hasn't been itself lately, but, see? We're fixing it." I was impressed by that. But, yeah, even I only saw Rice-Taylor once or twice and then, when Batten came on, it was a true WTF moment. To be fair, soaps - especially in the past two decades or so - don't really offer the time or direction for even promising actors to play characters with completely different accents, etc. Batten did have her fans on OLTL, which I had not watched when she was on so I can't speak to. I was surprised, though, to read earlier in the thread that this was Behr's doing, personally. Were she and Batten really personal friends? To my knowledge, they'd never worked together previously, so I always assumed MADD made that happen. Even so, though, soaps with strong long-range stories have withstood ill-advised recasts. I still feel like this misstep was only emblematic of ATWT's larger problems.
  9. In hindsight, 1996 is often talked about as a markedly bad year for daytime, but it wasn't until 1997 when it (should have) become apparent that the solutions that had worked in the past were failing across the board to improve soaps that were struggling creatively. I remember at the time Logan and the handful of other serious soap commentators would run these messiah-narrative pieces about newly hired figureheads periodically, and then within weeks or months they would be harshly critiquing those same folks' work (often fairly). This MADD interview is actually not too far off from the (also very fascinating) interview that Logan ran with Jill Farren Phelps just a few years back, when she took over Y&R. But, to my knowledge, nobody ever analyzed collectively/longitudinally how it could be that hiring new writers and/or producers failed repeatedly to fix the fundamental problems plaguing most/all of these shows over the long haul. In retrospect, the problems had to be higher up, and I don't know if the soap press had gotten to the bottom of it and called it out, some of these shows might have at least gone out with some dignity, instead of a race to the bottom.
  10. I'm not totally sure where to post this, but those early 1997 episodes on YouTube and the subsequent discussion about Felicia Minei Behr in this thread were what got me thinking about it. At the time, I was so intrigued by the new golden era that not only ATWT - but the P&G lineup as a whole - was supposedly ushering in that I saved this transcript of an interview that Michael Logan conducted with newly hired executive in charge of production, Mary Alice Dwyer-Dobbin, for TV Guide. (I think this was when the traditional media was even more baffled about how to deal with the internet than they are today, and a lot of the soap press was actually publishing longer, unedited transcripts of interviews online - for free - than would fit in the print publications that you actually had to buy.) Of course, MADD's (and Behr's) fall from grace in the eyes of those of us who knew any of these people's names was already in process by the time this interview went live. The momentum of the stories hyped in this interview quickly petered out, the aforementioned Connor recast was in the works and, of course, within a few months GL's Michael Zaslow was fired and MADD used the phrase "wizened old man" in a quote in the press release. Despite the many mistakes she made - and as furious as that statement still makes me, even more so having lost a family member to ALS since then - as a soap fan, I can't help but wonder what might have been if MADD had been able to deliver one tenth of the things that this interview foretold for these shows. This was only just past the point in time when a new head writer and/or executive producer with a strong vision could turn a soap around. Those of us who were following these behind-the-scenes developments on the early internet hadn't yet been disappointed enough times to realize that had necessarily changed, and MADD had assembled a very interesting team...
  11. Claire Labine's ATWT at the time that she was being recruited by P&G (late 1996-early 1997) probably would have been much the same as her OLTL ended up being, as the backstage environments at both the P&G and ABC soaps seemed to be much the same by then. (Namely, writers were seemingly no longer empowered to tell long-term stories that were planned in advance and depended on characters acting consistently throughout.) I'm sure she would have successfully lobbied for quite a few beloved vets to be featured prominently, some of whom would have probably had some of their best scenes in years — much like I would argue she did at OLTL — but I suspect under the circumstances the sum would not have been no more than the sum of the parts. (Not that any other daytime writer did objectively better for any length of time at any time since then, I would argue.) And, with soap budgets already beginning to tighten, she likely would not have been allowed to showcase the entire cast as they should have been, which would have fostered resentment (rightfully so) among fans of the neglected popular characters, who would have been especially critical of the flaws in the show that would have almost certainly been there. As far as Labine's time at GL, I can only imagine that must have been like Whoopi Goldberg's head writer character's experience in Soapdish, right down to half of the soap opera's stories being inexplicably uprooted to a fictitious Caribbean island. I don't see how any writer could have integrated the tropical royalty and the cartoonish mob family and what had been the core of GL into a coherent, entertaining show, but Rauch — like the Robert Downey, Jr. producer character — was reportedly unwilling to give up the ghost at that point. I have no doubt the Labines would have written a far more watchable ATWT, especially five years or so earlier. A more interesting what-if for me than either of those scenarios, though, would have been the Labines going to ATWT a few years earlier — right after Doug Marland passed away, instead of taking the job at GH. I loved what they did at GH so much, but knowing what I know about the behind-the-scenes stuff now, it was one of the least likely shows for her to have gone to; in hindsight, ATWT was more up Labine's alley, and I could see many of the types of stories that she told at GH playing out in the ATWT universe. I believe at the time there was still enough creative license at P&G for an experienced head writer to execute a long-range vision and, whereas the decline of ABC soaps can be traced back to Disney buying the network, I feel like P&G writers lost power more gradually, and not necessarily due to any one unavoidable, external factor. A strong, veteran head writer with a proven track record advocating for creative autonomy, much like I imagine Marland did while he was still alive, might have stemmed the tide at least for a little bit longer.
  12. Interesting... I had heard that BM (and I believe CD as well) were approached about returning for the finale, but I didn't know that even a short-term return before the show was actually canceled was ever under consideration. It definitely would have been a better story than what ended up playing out with Jordan Stark, et al. I still am curious, though, as to whether an appearance by McKinsey immediately after Duncan departed might have been in the cards at some point — and whether that explains why so many loose ends were left hanging when Iris left Bay City that seemingly could not have been resolved in a logical or dramatically satisfying way without her returning. In both cases, I'm still trying to imagine what kind of attention, if any, a BM/Iris return would have garnered at the time, and whether it would have been in time to stop (let alone reverse) the ratings decline...
  13. Awww...thanks Vetsoapfan. As far as ratings, I actually think the fact that RH was one of the only soap to debut after 1973 to achieve even modestly successful ratings, relative to other soaps (for a few years there, at least) is a testament to its strengths. By the time RH premiered, women coming of age were not necessarily planning to be at home during the day, meaning the typical audience for a soap opera was already disappearing. From that point forward, most soaps were losing viewers, gradually but consistently. The only major variance in that trend, of course, was when a few shows in the early '80s attracted teen viewers for a relatively short time (and probably just as many other shows hastened their demise by trying unsuccessfully to copy that formula, RH arguably among them). By and large, the soaps that survived the last quarter of the twentieth century (and into the current one) were the ones that already had a strong base of viewers before that shift began. RH was trying to build an audience when more women than ever before in American history were entering the (paid) workforce, and I don't know that anything could have made finding an audience when viewers increasingly were not home any less of an uphill battle. The only daytime soap that premiered after women started entering the workforce en masse to ever attain what might be considered commercial success long-term was B&B. And, from what I understand, it only first really achieved what one might call blockbuster ratings during a crossover storyline with its "sister show," Y&R, involving some of that show's most popular characters. I think it's fair to say that, if AMC's Jenny and Greg had ended up at Ryan's Bar when they ran away to New York City in the early '80s, RH's history might be very different — although I don't know that it would have been better in the long run. RH's initial vision remained mostly intact, and the desperation that set in throughout the field when viewers really started dropping off in recent decades makes the various attempts that the network made to "fix" RH in its day pale by comparison. RH also went off at a time when the return of a soap's creators could fully restore the show to its former glory, at least in terms of quality, and I certainly cherish the episodes I've seen of YouTube from the last (two) returns of Labine and/or Mayer. Not to mention, the industry was still strong enough immediately after RH went off the air to provide work for more of its cast and crew than likely any soap that was canceled later on.
  14. I personally found Ryan's Hope to be that much richer because nearly all of the characters were flawed and had significant blindspots where the characters they didn't get along with were concerned. It was so very human. I think most everyone can be off-putting to some people who come in contact with them. I watched the entire run on SoapNet essentially rooting for Delia, and thinking the Ryans could be extremely hypocritical. I also firmly believed that their rigid adherence to Catholic doctrine caused more of their problems than Delia and Rae combined, for that matter. Whether or not anyone behind the scenes shared those beliefs, just about everything that happened in those first few years made complete sense to me from that perspective. Mary could indeed be insufferable toward Delia, and generally thought she knew everything about everything. She drove me crazy, but I have to say that each time I re-watched some of that material, always a few years older, I increasingly realized that I could be just as obliviously self-righteous at her age. And damn, if I couldn't relate to the issues that she and Jack dealt with so much more than the outlandish stories that keep most soap couples apart. I for one couldn't help but being emotionally invested, and the fact that I simultaneously took Delia's side when she and Mary faced off only made it more interesting. As far as plotting, the stories did go off-the-rails by the end of the '70s, but I would argue that roughly the show's second and third year — once they righted the ship after deciding to keep Frank alive, and subsequently junked most of the initial story bible — was some of if not the best writing in soap history. Yes, as mentioned above, many individual scenes really raised the bar as far as what you could expect in a daytime soap script. But the long-term story itself was also tight, and just about everything that happened to a given character was integral to nearly every other main character. And the show consistently maintained a pace that I found consistently compelling without missing any beats. Whether Labine and Mayer burnt out after a while, or the multiple recasts muddied the inherent differences between the characters that were supposed to be fueling the conflicts between them, or network interference sank the show — and I think it's been fairly well established that it was some combination of all of those factors, with an emphasis on the latter — doesn't negate that, in my book. PS: Speaking of Maeve and Mary's respective flaws, I can't help but think when I watch Orange is the New Black that Kate Mulgrew is essentially playing an only-slightly-more-twisted version of Maeve Ryan, and it makes me smile.
  15. I've been watching those 1994 clips, belatedly, mainly for Carmen Duncan's last hurrah as Iris. As I've often bemoaned on this board, I never understood what TPTB were thinking, shipping a veteran character off to prison never to be heard from again. After seeing a good deal of the storyline again now, I have a new theory: Could AW have been in negotiations with Beverlee McKinsey to make a cameo appearance as Iris to wrap up the story sometime after Duncan left? I think the timing works…BM came out of retirement to appear in a couple of episodes of GH just a few months after CD left AW, and McKinsey was quoted as saying that she only did that because she needed a TV credit to maintain her union's health insurance. She was living in LA at that time, but she could have flown to NY for a month or two to usher Iris off the show permanently, in a manner more becoming the character. Maybe the show was even toying with killing Iris off, i.e., taking a bullet after teaming up with Carl and Rachel to bring Evan down or whatever. Whether Duncan left of her own volition or the show wanted to write the character out to save money, I'm still inclined to believe that this was not meant to be the end for Iris's character. Even though she was partially responsible for Carl's shooting and arguably deserved to go to jail, a 15-year sentence (handed down right after the jury read the verdict!) was so over-the-top — especially when Carl had fully recovered — and Evan was still being positioned as the villain at this point. Iris going on the lam or something would have actually been a more expedient exit, and less messy if Evan's "redemption" was already planned. The only dramatic reason I can think of for rushing Iris off to prison like they did was to up the stakes when she returned, presumably for Evan's downfall. What I could never figure out, though, was how another Iris recast would have fit into the canvas. It doesn't see like AW was all that invested in the character at that point. Whereas a short-term McKinsey return might have generated some buzz, which AW could have used at the time, and by all accounts she wouldn't have wanted to stay long. Obviously no deal was finalized by the time CD left, and the GH role came along for BM — at which point she would have had no reason to come back to NY, likely for a longer commitment than GH wanted. Meanwhile, I believe CD left the country. All of which would have left the character of Iris in limbo. Can anyone recall speculation along these lines back in 1994, or anytime in the 20-plus years since? What, if any, impact do folks think such a stunt would have had for AW at that point?