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Loving/The City Discussion Thread

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I have an article from late January 1995 saying Brown & Essensten and Jean Dadario Burke are new to "Loving". So I suspect either really late 1994 or early 1995. I would say there work was airing in January as that is when the Gilbert stuff ended and the show became especially dark. Personally, what I've read of their tenure wasn't very good outside of the serial killer plot.

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But the serial killer plot was most of it. I remember it being quite good--but yeah that's basically all I can remember of if lol. Were they chosen solely cuz of their work on... Dynasty I trhink? I wonder where Burke came from

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I loved Loving and The Cit. But for real, I think that Loving could have gone a few more years if they would have brought back Trucker and Trisha (I hope I have the names right), my mind is on the fritz right now. I also think that Morgan Fairchild's character or Tracy Quartermaine cold have been brought on to Loving at an earlier time. I think there are alot of things that could have been done. Crossovers with Loving and All My Children would have been good where characters who were no longer on AMC could have made stops through Corinth and even stayed there. Just a thought!

They could have done the same with Loving and OLTL.

Remember that Llanview, Pine Valley, and Corith are all in the same area. It would be very easy for characters to cross over between the three cities.

And they did at least once with Randolph Mantooth's cop character Det. Alex Masters (from The City) stopped in Llanview to help Bo search for Antonio Vega (who was at that time a fugitive from the law).

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Jeremy also stopped thru Llanview on his way to COrinth from Pine Valley where he saved some of Dorian's paintings from a fire. I think COrinth?pine Valley just had more crossovers because Agnes Nixon was still more connected to them

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But the serial killer plot was most of it. I remember it being quite good--but yeah that's basically all I can remember of if lol. Were they chosen solely cuz of their work on... Dynasty I trhink? I wonder where Burke came from

Brown and Essensten were writing much longer than just the serial killer storyline. The serial killer plot didn't start until July 1995. Even if Brown and Essensten's work was filming in January, they were writing from at least March to mid-July before Stacey ended up dead. There early stuff was painful compared to what had been written in 1994, even when Nixon left. To be fair though, the suffered some major blows with the departures of Robert Tyler, Michael Weatherly, and Paul Anthony Stewart in the course of six months.

Jacob Johnson's background story was too similar to Charles accept for the fact that Angie was obviously falling for a Jessie imposter. After all the build for Charles and Angie, it was a fairly one-sided triangle and I don't think many liked Angie breaking her martial vows to Charles to sleep with Jacob.

The Charles/Lorraine storyline seemed pretty boring and predicatable with the never before daughter popping up. It felt rather blah.

Neal Warren's storyline was interesting but never really developed. It was nice to see Kate dating again and pulling the plug on his wife was interesting. Then, the revelation he had slept with Gwyn's mother was another interesting turn, but then the show was over because Gwyn had knocked most of the interesting characters off.

Casey's descent into drugs was a fairly dark storyline for a show that defined itself in the mid-1990s as mainly escapist entertainment. Casey's death in the shootout was a bit much and I didn't even find Casey that interesting. I thought Ally was made a fool when she was paired with Danny, who was responsible for her husband's death. I wonder if Taggert was on the staff at the time because Ally/Danny had a very Danny/Cassie vibe when Taggert was writing "Guiding Light".

Tess faking Steffi's stalking left a bad taste in my mouth. Steffi was alone and pregnant and Tess was doing it for publicity. I didn't mind Tony Soleito, but Stephanie and Cooper were such a wonderful written couple under Nixon that Tony and Steffi seemed like sloppy seconds.

I'm glad that Brown and Essensten wrapped up the Trisha stuff, but it was weird to have Dinahlee return to the Aldens with the letter, especially since Elizabeth Mitchell had very little to do during her time on Loving. I under Robert Tyler had already left, but Trucker should have been the one there to resolve that storyline.

There was some stuff I like under Brown & Essensten. I liked the Stacey/Curtis pairing. I liked the heart disease storyline with Deborah.

I believe Essensten and Brown were breakdown writers for "Guiding Light" during its golden period. As breakdown writers they are fairly good in my opinion, I found both "Days of our Lives" and "One Life to Live" very good when they were in charge of breakdowns, whereas Sheffer and Higley could waver respectively during their stints.

Remember that Llanview, Pine Valley, and Corith are all in the same area. It would be very easy for characters to cross over between the three cities.

Wasn't AMC more succesful ratings wise in the 1990s? I known both AMC and OLTL are critically aclaimed for their realistic issue oriented storylines around the time "Loving" was on its last legs, but "Loving" and the other two had a completely different feel. "Loving" of the 1990s was more a fluffy little soap that was more escapist than realistic. Also "Loving" preceded AMC in most areas so I think they were hoping to grab the AMC audienec a half hour earlier

I never understand why the Loving and AMC crossovers happened. Was Jeremy really that much of a beloved character that they expecting his move to "Loving" to spike the ratings? Debbi Morgan as Angie was definitely a coup, but she was certainly out of place in lily white Corinth when she arrived. Frankie floundered without much story for most of his time on "Loving".

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Yes AMC was far more successful rating wise in the early 90s--from 90 or 91 to about 95 it was almost always the number 2 show. I loved it. I also loved OLTL under Malone--some years it was prob the better show, but one thing peopel seem to forget, Malone and Griffith and Gottlieb got OLTL talked about and respected and awarded, but not hugely watched--it was consistantly the seventh or sixth highest rated show under that team according to Soap Opera Encyclopedia.

I actually think Loving and AMC had a similar feel for some of this era. I became a Loving fan as a young teen because of the Carter Jones crossover month really with characters going between each show (I believe Summerish 1992 though Jeremy and Ceara had already made a brief crossover the fall before, and Jeremy would stay after Carter Jones). I also didn't find Loving purely escapist--even before Casey they delt with youth drug use, sexual abuse (though the Cooper storyline was botched I still found it powerful at the time) etc. Granted things like AVa and Jeremy later on running from GH's Faison through Universal Studios weren't very realistic but AMC and OLTL had moments like that back then. (I still think Loving, to get ratings, shoulda been aired between AMC and OLTL as intended originally).

As for ANgie--I thought they messed that up by not having her come back to AMC briefly FIRST and then go to Loving. If you didn't watch Loving or see the ads and were an Angie fan, you'd have no idea she was on a new show. Still I loved her on it, even liked Jacob even if I agree with you about Charles, and I know Agnes Nixon had always been trying to get some colour on Loving (She offered to bring Carla, Ellen Holly's role over from One Life to Live when Rauch fired her but I think Ellen saw goign to a lower rated show as an insult). Jeremy's cross over, though they never really seemed to know what to do with him on Loving and his twin was pretty awful I thought, made sense too--he was a popualr character who literally had run out of stories and mates on AMC.

Thanks for such good memories of the Brown/Esensen Loving era. I have a lot of 90s Loving muddled up in my mind. OK I'll agree with you it was a step backwards--but I'd argue, besdies some major cast departurs, probably from near the beginning B/E knew they were there essentially to clean house and move everyone to The City. Characters like Tony and Danny always felt introduced to me largely just so they could go on to The City. ANyway I actually at the time really liked all the dark Casey stuff, though I get your point. I didn't even remember Charles and Lorraine--all my Lorraine memories are her troubled pairing with Nick (Roscoe Borns) on City which I liked a lot.

I do agree that Brown/Esensten seem best as brakdown writers--I hope they get a job in that capacity. That said I found the whole show during the serial killer storyline thrilling (I meant that that seemed to be the main purpose of their writing the show, even when they first came on it seemed to be building up to that), and while the first 6 months of The City were a mess (I heard ABC pressured them to spike the ratings by doing the Masquerader serial killer storyline but having a serial killer story on a new soap, some 5 months after you'd just had a great one on your old soap really was a poor idea), I thought once Tracey QUartermaine moved to the City it clicked. I saved the last 4 months of the show on video and rewatched it when I was pretty sick a couple of years back and still hold that opinion.

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It sounds like "General Hospital" and "One Life to Live" were in the same boat at the time, talked about, but still not the top rated show. When I was thinking of "All My Children", I was thinking of Lorraine Broderick's more social consciencous tenure, which was post-"Loving". McTavish's AMC probably was more in line with "Loving" in terms of characters and plot.

I still don't think of "Loving" as a soap dealing with deep issues because when they did, they skimmed over them. The aforementioned Cooper Alden sexual abuse plot was shoddy and thankfully rewritten later on when Steffi and Cooper were in prison together. Around the same time, Dinahlee got a letter saying she had been exposed to an STD, but nothing happened with that. Angie was exposed to HIV, but that plotline bleeded into the aplastic anemia storyline with really only giving Angie and Charles a reason not to sleep together. Kate run for office was a side plot, though I've seen it mentioned in soap books as if it was a major plotline. 35 Maple St was an interesting venue to explore social issues, but I don't it really did. I thought Louie's prostate cancer could have been given more time and sent a message, but it petered out because of Ally's pregnancy.

When I think of "Loving" in the mid-1990s I think light drama/romantic fantasy. Ava and Dinahlee stealing Leo's car, Leo/Shana's attempt to have a baby, Cooper streaking to save Steffi from Deborah, Deborah's marriage to Clay, Ava in heaven, Casey/Ally busting Basil the drug dealer, Ally pretending to be possessed by the spirit of Abigail Alden, Ronnie/Betty, Curtis pretending Trisha was alive to keep Dinahlee away from Trucker, Gwyn's romance with Jeremy, Dinahlee stripping at the opening of 35 Maple St., Ava and Leo's romance overseas, the Cradle Foundation, the Dante Partou storyline, Trucker calling some madame to get a reference for Tess, Curtis going to Dunellyn because he thought Jeremy was possessed by the devil (a comical subplot spoofing Days possession storyline), Stacey's fantasy where she ended up alone while Ava was happily married, Trucker and Casey dressing up as female nurses to get Trisha to her wedding, and Stacey/Gwyn fighting over Buck.

By comparison, the last year was very dark and bleek. Was there any plotlines during B&E's tenure that had a happy outlook?

Overall, it my opinion that B&E lucked out with "Loving". They came in with a whole bunch of characters leaving and they were able to do some okay exit storylines and introduce some okay characters, and then they were asked to gut the show so they never really had to provide "Loving" will a solid canvas or any longterm storytelling.

re: Angie. To be honest, I don't understand why Debbi Morgan had to play Angie on "Loving". I think Morgan was a fairly big name in the soap world and could have been introduced to "Loving" as a new character. The show never gave Frankie much to do. Angie arrived in August 1993 to consult on Shana's pregnancy. Patti was suppose to have developmental issues, but what those issues were left fairly vague. Shana later gave birth in a storm.

To be fair to Morgan, she definitely was part of the better half of the class of '93. A slew of characters were introduced that year. Amelia Heinle was introduced in January as Steffi, originally calling herself Mia and taking money to seduce Cooper or Casey. Curtis returned played by three different actors (one in January, one in June, and one December). Buck was introduced in March 1993. Tess was introduced in May 1993 ala Dinahlee as a new nanny (Dinahlee was initially JJ's nanny before Dinahlee bedded Trucker ruining his marriage to Trisha in 1992). Mac Huston and his girlfiend Dolly appeared throughout the summer to scam on Trucker. Angie arrived in August with Frankie. In September, Alex returned. In November, Charles and Dante arrived separately.

I didn't like the Tess/Buck/Curtis story. Later, Taggert tried it on "Guiding Light" with Bill and Beth with even less success. Three newcomers shouldn't dominate a soap in a storyline that really just never developed into a whole lot of anything. I never understand how Catherine Hickland made it to "The City" when she had so little story on "Loving".

Having not seen the actual episodes, and summaries being sporadic, I didn't feel B&E were building up to the serial killer. I felt like the show had two major storylines during their run: the drug storyline (January-June) and then the serial killer storyline (July-Nov). Neither storyline was "Loving" and while I think that the serial killer storyline may have been alluring, their wasn't enough else going on to keep the audience around to follow the survivors to "The City".

Lorraine was on "Loving" for a short period of time. She arrived in August 1995. She and Charles had been high school lovers and he was revealed to be the father of her daughter Brie, who was a model that dated Frankie. "Loving" was certainly integrated under B&E featuring Charles, Angie, Frankie, Brie, Jacob, and Lorriane, but their storyline was fairly weak.

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From reading some summaries from the first few years of Loving, I can honestly say that the stories, at least on paper, seemed so interesting and if I had been born then (I wasn't born until 5 years after the debut) I would have watched. The dynamic of the Alden family tied in with Shana's arrival thanks to Dane, and the revealation that Dane was Jack's father, all sounds like juicy soap to me. The soap soap IMO seems very interesting up until some point around 88/89.

Question: Reading one of the summaries from the early 90s, I notice that Bernard Barrow's character had a son in the mob, and was involved with Ava. Was this story written by Guza?

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From reading some summaries from the first few years of Loving, I can honestly say that the stories, at least on paper, seemed very interesting and if I had been born then (I wasn't born until 5 years after the debut) I would have watched. The dynamic of the Alden family tied in with Shana's arrival thanks to Dane, and the revealation that Dane was Jack's father, all sounds like juicy soap to me. The soap IMO seems very interesting up until some point around 88/89. the whole Trisha/??? Hartman/Gwyeneth story seemed a little contrived.

Question: Reading one of the summaries from the early 90s, I notice that Bernard Barrow's character had a son in the mob, and that son was involved with Ava. Was this story written by Guza?

Edited by MichaelGL

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From reading some summaries from the first few years of Loving, I can honestly say that the stories, at least on paper, seemed so interesting and if I had been born then (I wasn't born until 5 years after the debut) I would have watched. The dynamic of the Alden family tied in with Shana's arrival thanks to Dane, and the revealation that Dane was Jack's father, all sounds like juicy soap to me. The soap soap IMO seems very interesting up until some point around 88/89.

Question: Reading one of the summaries from the early 90s, I notice that Bernard Barrow's character had a son in the mob, and was involved with Ava. Was this story written by Guza?

I think the Aldens, for the most part, remained a fairly dynamic and interesting group of characters, barring the mid 1980s (around 1986-1988) when they seemed to declaw the show's main schemers Lorna and Curtis by pairing them in fairytale romances. Honestly, I cannot understand why Dane never returned beyond the brief 1990-1991 stint. He was a major catalyst for angst for that family. Granted, Anthony Herrera was probably very busy with ATWT, Loving never seemed against recasting. I also never saw any reason for the Tim Sullivan storyline unless there was a change in the production staff.

Paul Slavinsky (Joseph Breen) was Louie's gangster son who ran a club/casino? Off Limits (does anyone know if this was the same club/casino that Harry Solowsky had earlier run). When he arrived on the scene, Millee Taggert and Tom King were headwriters, according to Toups credits. It seems that Ava and Paul were going to marry circa June 1991, but then Paul was paralyzed, got out of the mob, and hooked up with Carly, whose husband Clay moved to California only to return in January 1992 in the form of Larkin Malloy. At some point in 1991, Mary Ryan Munisteri took over and she focused on the Paul on his recovery and placed him and Carly in a love triangle with Paul's therapist Flynn Reilly. Addie Walsh took over in 1992 and focused on the college crowd. In August 1992, Carly announced to Kate and Ava she and Paul had married, but I think this occurred offscreen.

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Snark Weighs In put a 1989 episode up just this week on youtube. Episode one :

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Anyone remember the stories? What's going on with Jack and Stacey? It took me a while to realize she didn't jsut have amnesia or something but now it seems like Jack and her had rules about not going too fast again. and I don't think I even remembered that Trisha had a bastard brother called Rick--is he played by an actor who played Matt's closeted soap star boyfriend on Melrose Place? I recognize him from somehwere

I know most of the Alex pretending to be Clay story though from descriptions I've read I could never completely untangle it--but I never remember seeing this Clay (they recast the role quite a bit like all Aldens it seems--I think Lorkin M was in the role when i started). --Gotta love Alex's hair! Lisa Peluso is a bit of a different Ava than I remember her in the 90s--which reminds me, what happened to Ava at the end? Was she killed off in the murders? I can't remember...

I had never seen this opening so clearly--I like the song though I find the vocals pretty cheesy for 1989--but never realized there were drawn images of many of the couples in the credits--kinda Y&Rish. Sadly no writing credits :(

Edited by EricMontreal22

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This appears to be an episode featuring many storylines that were coming to an end or slowy beginning.

I don't know the specifics about Jack and Stacey, but it does appear that they are trying to start over fresh. Stacey is definitely referring to Jack when she mentions the football hero (in the premier Jack came home from New Orleans where he was playng college football) so she knows who he is. Stacey and Jack would have gone on a long road since they were last together. Stacey witnessed her best friend Trisha's husband Steve take a bullet for her and her son only to learn her husband Jack was sleeping with his first love Lily. Stacey became involved with Rick, wrote a novel about being in love with the two brothers, and underwent a custody trial with Jack where the Judge suggested Stacey break it off with Rick. While Stacey was with Rick, Jack became involved with some woman named Juliette. Rick ended up drugging Stacey into marriage and getting her pregnant with baby Heather.

Rick was murdered by Denny in the summer of 1990. Gwyneth was deadset on seeing Stacey go done for the crime. Unfortunately, Gwyneth's friend Norma knew otherwise. Rick and Denny had invested in some shady deals and faked kidnapping baby Heather so that the Aldens would turn over the ransome money. Something went wrong, and Denny ended up killing Rick.

The Clay story is complicated because it went through at least three sets of writers (Ralph Ellis, the 1988 scabs, and Tom King and Millee Taggert). At this point, the show is delving more into the Maine murder mystery that brought Trucker to town earlier in the year. The bullseye is a trigger for Alex or Clay to kill the other, which is why Clay is playing with the bow and arrow.

Alex and Ava have split at this point because Alex had spent a good chunk of the year on a secret govenment assignment. He simply disappeared and he was believed dead. Ava and Clay became close during that time and Clay appointed Ava in charge of Amourelle, the cosmetics company at AE that was the center of a lot of action in the late 1980s/early 1990s. Alex returned angry that Clay and Ava were close and separated. A bitter Ava took Sandy and asked to move in with the Aldens out of spite, and because they had believed Sandy to be their grandson (his full name was Cabot Alexander). This is why Ava is happy to see Alex at the end of the episode.

James Horan played Clay until about June 1991 when Clay left town after divorcing his wife Carly, Ava's sister. Larkin Malloy arrived in January 1992 and had a dalliance with Dinahlee Mayberry, who had slept with Trucker during Trisha's second pregnancy. Malloy had surgery and Dennis Partlou took over as a temporary replacement in November 1992 and when Malloy returned he was fired. Partlou played Clay until his death in July 1995.

Brian Fitzpatrick played Mitch Beck on AMC before he played Rick Alden. I think Rick was murdered in the spring or summer of 1990.

Ava was sent to Florida with the kids during the "Loving" murders. I assume they never recovered from Ava's affair with Gilbert Hunter.

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I just found an episode from late march, 1992 and was wondering if anyone remember what was going on? it's the wedding at Pins between Dinah Lee and "trucker". But "Trucker" is really Clay Alden--and it's all being staged for Hannah's benefit--with Gwenyth helping and threating Clay to make Dinah Lee leave or she'll tell Hannah. I don't remember this story at all and was wondering if any fans on here remembered why they were hiding Clay's identity from Hannah?

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Clay returned to town in late January 1992 looking for Trisha's approval. Apparently they wanted to pair Clay and Dinahlee. In one newspaper synopsis from that time states "Clay's determination to fix the vandalized bowling alley impressed Dinahlee", but later Clay spotted Dinahlee and Trucker together when Trisha was delivering Christopher. Clay told Trisha and Trisha was angry. Hannah arrived in town. Dinahlee apparently had been telling her lies about her life in Corinth as the synopsis for the week of March 2-6 1992 states "Just as Dinahlee was about to level with Hannah about her life in Corinth, Clay pretended to be her finace, Trucker Mackenzie." Why shouldn't she lie? She came to town to be the Forbes nanny and failed to seduce married man Jack and later suceeded bedding Trucker, another married man. Not something you really write home about. There doesn't appear to be much reason for Clay to pretend to be marrying Dinahlee other than his attraction to her, even though this seems to contradict his reason for returnign to town.

So I would say they weren't hiding Clay's identity from Hannah so much as hiding the fact that Dinahlee was, to be polite, a bit promiscious. The assumption must have been that Hannah seeing her sister happy would result in her leaving town, but instead she ended up enrolling in AU.

Most likely, Gwyn doesn't like Dinahlee because of her affair with Trucker, though Gwyneth isn't one to talk as she slept with most of Trisha's lovers. I do know there appeared to be a Gwyn-Dinahlee-Clay triangle brewing around June 1992 when Gwyn and Clay married with Isabelle on her deathbed. However, this seemed to be dumped when Clay left town.

1992 was a really choppy year for Loving. I think there were three very different headwriters (Mary Ryan Munisteri, Addie Walsh, and Millee Taggert & Robert Guza, Jr.) as well as two executive producers (Fran Sears and Haidee Granger). Yikes! The show did seem to settle by the time Granger and Taggert & Guza took over, but so much was lost in the shuffle.

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