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Ryan's Hope Discussion Thread

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It is sad when I am more interested in watching a canceled show than any of the current soaps. It is kind of watching it for the first time since I was maybe 10 yrs old since I last watched it. Jack and Mary.. :wub:

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Watching these episodes for a third time, I am continually shocked by how great Labine & Mayer are, not that I wasn't aware of their greatness before. I know "All My Children" was known for being the humorous soap in the 1970s, but I think Labine & Mayer given Nixon a run for her money. Delia Reid Ryan, as wonderfully played by Ilene Kristen, had just been released from the psychiatric ward after faking mental illness to maintain her marriage to exhausted doctor Patrick Ryan. The great thing about the storyline is Delia is genuinely neurotic, the product of an unstable home life and unhealthy relationships with both Patrick and his brother Francis, but in order to keep her beloved Patty, she is going to pretend to be crazy. So she flips out during a dinner party and starts talking to cornish hens and later runs off to talk to "mama", a woman that has been dead for many years. Ever so patient, Delia sits their doing her nails besides her mother's grave while her husband and in-laws worry about her mental health. The problem of course is complicated by her jealousy, which results in irrational behavior. When she catches Pat and Faith sharing a tender moment together, she runs off to the family bar to throw a big scene about Pat and Faith's affair and then makes allusions to the fact that she and Pat had sex before marriage in front of Patrick's very Catholic parents Maeve and Johnny. This of course resulted in Delia's trip to the psych ward. Delia tried to explain that she had been given books about how to pretend to be crazy, but her psychiatrist thought the story was too unreal to be true.

When Maeve Ryan learned from the babysitter Miriam George that a nice man was visiting Ryan in the park, Maeve deduced it as her one time son-in-law JAck Fenelli, the baby's wayward father. Jack had divorced Maeve's daughter Mary because he didn't want children, and Maeve was determined to have Jack reveal his true feelings about the child. So Maeve concoted a plot to have Miriam claim she beats Ryan so that Jack would tell the truth. Frances Foster had wonderful comic timing as she reveals that when Little Ryan is a pain she gives her a good whack, shocking Fenelli. Mind you this is a man who was so upset over his ex-wife naming giving their daughter her maiden name as the child's first name that he named the stray cat he found Fenelli Fenelli to maintain the playing field. Of course, this resulted in a rather humorous scene in which Maeve announces Fenelli has come out of the closet causing Johnny Ryan to drop an entire tray of dishes in the middle of Ryan's Bar.

Currently, Tom Desmond has feelings for Mary, but realizes she is still in love with Jack so he concotes a plan with Maeve and Faith to lock Mary and Jack in the Ryan's basement until they can work out their problems. The episodes in the basement are wonderful from the scheming to get them in their, to Jack's admission that he's been the scared little boy from the orphanage who didn't want to share Mary, to Mary and Jack's near kiss. I'm usually not big on angst, but I was dying when Mary and Jack nearly kissed for nearly the first time in over two years. Damn, soaps don't do that anymore.The payoff was well done and the acting between Michael Levin and Kate Mulgrew is fantastic as is their chemistry.

I was thinking about Jack Fenelli as a stock character, the strong male who doesn't like to share his emotions, which seems to have replaced the old fashioned male hero from soaps of the past. Audiences today often struggle to like this character (GH's Sonny, OLTL's John & to an extent Todd, GL's Jeffrey, among others) and I couldn't figure out why. I should hate Jack; the man left his pregnant wife to raise their child on his own, yet I care for him. I think it's because of his soft spot for the show's mother figure, Maeve Ryan, even if he didn't like Jack. In a recent episode, Jack called the house looking for Mary, drunk and upset, and when Johnny blasted him Jack replied that when he saw a walrus barking orders in the zoo, it reminded him of Johnny. This resulted in a chuckle from Maeve and Johnny slamming the phone.

Jack & Maeve have such a wonderful mother-son bond even though he is only her son-in-law. Maeve's love for Jack is unconditional and his love for her is the same. Today's soaps don't allow that dynamic. Could anyone see Sonny and Bobbie having a heart to heart? On Guiding Light, Jeffrey ended up sleeping with Marah's mother rather than breaking bread.

When I started watching soaps, the internet audience bemoaned the loss of friendships on soaps. Now, soaps barely have connection between characters outside romantic partners. If soaps really want to survive, they need to establish links between characters whether they be friends or foes.

I don't think "Ryan's Hope" is for the occasional viewer. The stories are about characters who aren't flashy or glamorous, but who are well established and firmly grounded in the fictional world they live in. If you are looking for a quick fix, then you'll be disappointed. On the otherhand, if you give the show your attention for a few weeks, the payoff is well worth it. I don't think something like Mary and Jack's reunion has played out in daytime in quite some time.

Edited by dc11786

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I can't remember when I started watching RH but it must of been the late seventies and early eighties. I remember Delia, Roger, Jill and Frank; but I must of missed Jack and Mary. Watching SN, I absolutely love them. The writing of their dialogue is outstanding. I agree, RH is not for the casual viewer. It was the golden age of soaps (or at least in the beginning). It was a time when soaps focused on the working class family. Nowadays, that has practically disappeared. It is all about glamour and getting the the brass ring. RH is about Irish immigrants, politics, strikes. Maybe because soaps became influenced by Dallas and Dynasty in the 80's and now think that is all viewers want to see.

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I've been taping Ryan's Hope and in today's episode, Maeve and Johnny were reading a letter about Jack and Mary's honeymoon in Ireland and Claire Labine was in the Ireland scenes. I very vaguely remember hearing that she was in them, and had long forgotten about it until I saw her. I'm not sure what Paul Avila Mayer looks like - maybe he was in the scenes as well.

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I've been taping Ryan's Hope and in today's episode, Maeve and Johnny were reading a letter about Jack and Mary's honeymoon in Ireland and Claire Labine was in the Ireland scenes. I very vaguely remember hearing that she was in them, and had long forgotten about it until I saw her. I'm not sure what Paul Avila Mayer looks like - maybe he was in the scenes as well.

I saw a GREAT episode today where Frank (Daniel Hugh-Kelly) LIT INTO Seneca for concealing the fact that Jill's son, Edmund, was really Frank's.

The funny thing is, I can't remember what happened to Edmund in the later years, when they SORASd the kids. Does this mean Edmund died at some point?

In any event, the scene was quite powerful. The lower production values of the time really aren't a major issue, and those scenes had classic soapy music and pregnant pauses. These are important parts of the soap formula.

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I saw a GREAT episode today where Frank (Daniel Hugh-Kelly) LIT INTO Seneca for concealing the fact that Jill's son, Edmund, was really Frank's.

The funny thing is, I can't remember what happened to Edmund in the later years, when they SORASd the kids. Does this mean Edmund died at some point?

In any event, the scene was quite powerful. The lower production values of the time really aren't a major issue, and those scenes had classic soapy music and pregnant pauses. These are important parts of the soap formula.

Edmund did perish. Some point in early 1979 Jill took Edmund to the Coleridge beach house (located on Long Island?). Jill put Edmund down to sleep while she sat in the dunes thinking about her problems. Before she left, she turned on the heater for Edmund since it was winter. While Jill was on the dunes, the faulty heater exploded. Jill found Edmund dead in the rubble only to be knocked unconscious by a falling beam. Labine & Mayer referred to Edmund's death for many years as they did with Mary's passing. In the 1980s, there was a Edmund Beaulac Pediatric Unit still in existence. I remember seeing Maggie appearing in posters for the unit during the St. Patrick's Day marathon that SoapNet use to do yearly for "Ryan's Hope".

The beauty of "Ryan's Hope" is the powerful confrontations between the strong actors. People miss catfights, but I miss a good old fashion confrontation between characters. Unfortunately, today's characters are underdeveloped, plotlines are wrapped up too quickly, and non-romantic relationships on soaps are nearly non-existent.

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We're getting into my favorite period of the Soapnet years. Jill's anguish over losing Edmund, which was brutal to watch, but phenomenal acting from Nancy Altman. The Seneca/Jill/Frank/Rae mess, which has one hell of a climax with Rae setting Frank up (if only that story hadn't ended in Kimberly's arrival). Everything about early Siobhan, and the spellbinding Siobhan/Jack, my choice for best soap pairing that never was.

I even liked Pat/Nancy, I thought that recast of Pat was very underrated.

I still wonder if all the recasting is what doomed RH or if it was the very abrupt, very damaging shift towards mob stories and Kimberly's "acting" career.

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Just started TiVoing Ryan's Hope again and SoapNet is currently airing the November 1978 episodes. What I like is that the actors are real, the drama is real ... it's just a real, honest and raw soap opera. It thrives on character development, and interaction.

When I watched this time-frame last time on SoapNet, I was NOT a fan of the Pat recast because Malcolm Groome IS Pat, but this guy (his name slips me) is not bad in the least. He's not Groome, but he's not bad. And this Siobhan (Sarah Felder) is my hands down favorite Siobhan.

It's a shame ABC cancelled this gem of a show. It really is. But at the same time, can you even imagine what it would look like today? I shudder at the thought. I guarantee you, there'd be no one left, except for Maeve, Delia, Roger, Frank and Jack. I'm sure Ryan and Johnno (Frank and Delia's son) would be leading the "thirty/forty" crowd and we'd have a bunch of random teenagers with no ties. Just a huge gut feeling I have, consider ABC's hatred of veterans, minus the scarce few they dare allow remain.

Edited by KMan101

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You are right, Shawn, it was probably a blessing in disguise that the show was cancelled when it was and that it went out on such a high note.

If only the same were true of Guiding Light...

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You are right, Shawn, it was probably a blessing in disguise that the show was cancelled when it was and that it went out on such a high note.

If only the same were true of Guiding Light...

RH was coasting on fumes for most of the 80s. A high note might have been around 1980.

I think many soaps, even when they're very flawed, still have good qualities, so for this reason I'm glad RH still stayed around, and why part of me will always wish the show had had a few more years. Claire Labine dearly loved those characters and she'd barely had a chance to make her final return before the show was gone.

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Well I can't believe I have never seen this thread before!

Ryan's Hope is truly one of my favorite soap operas of all time. I got hooked on SoapNet at somepoint, and still enjoy the show. I always watch it, should i be up at 5AM, and I often times TiVoe it.

I really like the family elements of the show. The interactions, and family dramatic elements, is what appealed to me. The theme of working class people in America is something I enjoy, perhaps only because it is so drastically different from what is on today. Nonetheless, the show is great.

And for those that call it slow moving, I have to agree and disagree at the same time. While the show is certainly a lot more slow moving than today's soaps, it is something I almost relish. The fact that the plot lines move on slower always allowed, at least for me, the dramatic elements to build up. Stretching the story out and having it move slower allowed the plots to overlap and layer upon each other, in a way that encanvased the entire show and had you yearning and thinking of how it would end. And for me, that just built up the emotional connection I had with the plots/characters, and I love it.

I still watch it on SOAPnet and a lot on YouTube as well.

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RH was such a wonderful show. Even when Pat Falken Smith and Millee Taggart/Tom King were head writing, there was still something magical and theatrical about it. Just a certain electricity that many of the other shows lacked. Maybe it had to do with the fact that it took place in NYC, where I live. Whatever it was, it had a certain spark.

The household ratings were still very respectable for the time (mid-5.0's to around a 6.0) when ABC made the fateful decision to move the show from its traditional 12:30 slot to 12:00 in order to give Loving the cushy pre-AMC spot after struggling in the late-morning time slot. Many affiliates preferred to air local news in that slot instead, and the show suffered. Its ratings dropped in half over night, and never really recovered. The time slot change IS what killed the show. Even Claire Labine said in a welovesoaps interview that when she returned to headwrite circa 1987, the was told TPTB that the show was going to be cancelled.

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