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  1. Thanks, @SFK! I have just gotten up to Buzz's debut in 1993 on YouTube. I had never seen his very first episodes and in some ways I was dreading them even more than Maureen's death. I did like his character back in the '90s and remember enjoying him with FH's Jenna, but I had heard that his fake accent, etc. made for a bumpy start. I also anticipated that I would not be able to separate what played out on-screen from what I have since read of the backstage dynamics, i.e., the initial decision to kill Maureen was meant to free up money in the budget to hire a soap veteran. (Whatever else, I will say again they should have taken another look at that budget after Beverlee McKinsey quit...and they probably would have found the money.) Buzz's intro has been...pretty much as I expected, although it's not making me hate everything surrounding him as I feared. One thing I have to point out, though, that I've never heard before: Justin Deas's first (full) episode was like a reunion of Phelps's so-called "Friends of Jill" that defied the time-space continuum. The actress who had a bit part as the woman Buzz was living with (before he learned Nadine was married to an oil magnate and took off to bilk money from her) looked vaguely familiar to me, so I looked her up on IMDB. JFP would go on to hire her as a love interest of Tim Gibbs's character on Another World, although the character lasted a few months before being murdered by the same serial killer who killed Frankie Frame. And, the actor who played said serial killer was also credited as a guest star in this very same episode of GL (playing the DA who replaced Ross after he resigned to be a senator). I suspect the part of Buzz's love interest was written as a woman of a certain age — it was insinuated that he met her while she was working at a VA hospital when he first came home from Vietnam — but the actress was clearly much younger than that backstory would suggest...
  2. I am just about a year behind in those early '90s episodes on YouTube - well, slightly less now, after I binged the episodes surrounding Maureen's death today. All of the cast turnover in 1992 had definitely taken its toll, although unlike some on this board, I always loved Liz Keifer as Blake and have enjoyed seeing her first months on the show. I know Ellen Parker's departure will only add to the bleeding of talent, but I must admit I'm also glad to get to see a year or so with Nancy Curlee back at the helm of the writing team. Watching full episodes now, I can totally see why Beverlee McKinsey singled Curlee out with praise in her exit interview. There was plenty of high-stakes drama as 1992 drew to a close - and I am inclined to credit Stephen Demorest, Lorraine Broderick, and Wisner Washam, not to mention the dialogue writers for staying (mostly) true to the overall tone that Curlee and Co. had previously set. But the intelligence in the writing declined noticeably throughout the year that Curlee was gone, while cliched soap opera plot devices and glimpses of the kind of misogyny I have come to associate with several of their collaborators in the decades since were cropping up more and more in the writing. The 1991 episodes were just sooo much better, IMO, and despite the loss of some major talent while Curlee was on leave, I recall there is a lot of good stuff still to come in 1993. Speaking of the writing credits, I started Googling Bill Elverman, who was credited with the other dialogue writers, several months ago. I was intrigued by several of the episodes he scripted (including the Alex/Mindy hair-pulling episode, and several others with strong material for Vanessa, Maureen, etc.) and didn't recognize his name from other work in the soap biz. He was on the writing team for at least a year, apparently right up until he died in 1992 - of AIDS, at 40 years old. He wrote an off-Broadway play that was reviewed by Frank Rich in the New York Times (not favorably, but this was a good ten years before his work on GL and I tend to think he honed his craft in the interim), as well as several other plays that sound interesting - what a loss. The recent discussion in this thread of Beverlee McKinsey doing a cameo on GH to keep her union insurance makes me wonder (hope) that someone working at GL helped Elverman get some work that would ensure he had coverage.
  3. I have now watched all of Ellen Holly's interview, and I'm in awe. It is daytime's — and viewers' — loss that this remarkable woman and actress was not on OLTL and/or another soap up until the very last episode, but it's pretty clear the industry didn't deserve her in the first place. And just about every step forward that any of these shows has taken since then in terms of diversity or social relevance was ultimately wiped away, just like Carla's legacy on OLTL. I'm so glad Holly is alive and well (and clearly still well-versed in the details of everything that happened to her) so that she could say her peace and have it captured for posterity. The Rauch stuff is of course the most outrageous; while much of it has been printed before, it was still powerful to get to see and hear her tell her story in her own words. But the parts about Agnes Nixon and other sometime-allies were most revealing. There was clearly a ton of blame to go around, and a lot to chew on for white people such as myself who like to tell ourselves we try to do better. I will be thinking about EH's words for a long time to come.
  4. Has Maeve Kinkead ever spoken publicly about what happened at Another World? I don't think she ever did, so I'm reluctant to speculate. Everything I've read over the years sounded really bad, though, and it's definitely crossed my mind in the #MeToo context. I've also been making my way through those early '90s Guiding Light episodes that have recently been posted on YouTube, featuring MK's work in the story of Vanessa's attempted rape by a business associate. She did a great job, as always, and I believe she won her Emmy for that material, but it's especially sad to watch with those rumors in mind...and knowing that Les Moonves would soon be running CBS, etc.
  5. I don't think it's quite fair to say that the writers intentionally had Delia (or any character on RH, really) stagnate/regress to generate plot for other characters. And I completely disagree with the notion that Ilene intentionally played against the scripts to keep Delia from growing. On the contrary, she was reportedly exhausted from playing Delia as she was originally written — she has said in print that was why she left the first time. But, yes, when she was playing Delia, Ilene went all in, including when the character went to some ugly places. Love her or hate her, to me Ilene's indelible mark on the role was largely what set the character apart from countless other soap villainesses. As far as the writing, I would say that RH — at its best — was more focused on characters evolving and changing than just about any other soap opera in history. In the first few years of the show, it seemed clear that Delia was doomed to eventually alienate the Ryans and have to stand on her own, and there were hints that she would be able to survive — thrive — without them. I think getting her to that place was treated as at least as important as the havoc she caused for everyone else along the way, and as far I'm concerned they delivered the payoff. That said, aside from jarring recasts and/or network pressure, I think Delia and other characters on RH tended to evolve while maintaining some core of who they essentially were as characters. And yes, when the new lives they had built for themselves were threatened, they sometimes regressed back to some of the bad habits they thought they had outgrown. How very human... To me, though, Randall Edwards was one of those jarring recasts. Unlike some of the others, she was a good actress, with lots of charisma and screen presence, and often one of the brights spot during her time on the show, but I had to accept that she was essentially playing a different character. Not only was it impossible for me to believe that her Delia had done some of the worst things in the character's past, but I never bought that she even grew up in New York let alone in abject poverty, with no exposure to much of anything that she could aspire to beyond what the Ryans and Coleridges had. Delia discovering a knack for commodities and (later) running an upscale but niche boutique as she became more worldly were plausible enough, but owning (a thinly veiled version of) the Tavern on the Green, the premier restaurant in NY? This wasn't the Mona Lisa in Oakdale — I never believed the real upper crust of NY high society would have dined in Delia's establishment, or that she ever would have wanted to spend her time sucking up to people 100 times more snobbish than the Coleridge sisters at their worst. When Ilene reprised the role and the shows' creators returned with a (short-lived) mandate to bring the show back to basics, I think there was a certain logic in having Delia lose everything and seek solace from the Ryans, and temporarily get caught up in old patterns. But based on everything that's available of 1983 on YouTube, this didn't actually move anyone else's stories forward — by this time, Frank and Jill were facing an even bigger threat. Delia having Frank on the brain again at this time actually led to one of my all-time favorite scenes of hers, though, when she first met Charlotte Greer — who knew all about Delia's (legitimate) grievances against Frank and appeared to be pushing all the right buttons in an attempt to get Delia to believe that Frank had also married and jilted Charlotte. Lo and behold, though, Delia saw right through Charlotte. She also seemed to see something of herself and the toxic obsession that she had where the Ryans were concerned for so long, and was visibly horrified; not long after that, she gave up the ghost where Frank was concerned. Alas, this coincided with Ilene's illness and what has been reported about the networks' desire to push her out because of that, so very soon thereafter she just faded into the background. But I really doubt that was the intention on the writers' part, let alone the actress's. Fortunately, Ilene came back again and the show mostly did right by Delia by the time it wrapped.
  6. I don't think the revelation that Sharlene had been abused was generic, per se — I don't know that too many other shows had gone there by that time and, if I'm not mistaken, Sharlene's story was probably the first time the issue of child trafficking was addressed on a soap. But generic is a perfect description of virtually everything that came afterward. Of course, Sharlene's abuse resulted in a split personality, and of course the psychiatrist she visited to treat that became obsessed with Sharlene's husband, and then she was presumed dead when the psychiatrist tried to killer her and the trauma from that resulted in a whole new personality...
  7. I thought Matt and Donna were great together. (That was also just about the only time I had much use for Matt's character, incidentally.) Anna Stuart is a treasure and still imbued Donna with such vitality...she had been through so much and deserved a man who could keep up with her. Watching the reruns on SoapNet many years later, it was clear that Swajeski could tell a story that had momentum and ultimately led somewhere, although Sharlene's personalities was one of many, especially as her tenure went on, that I found too cliche-ridden. The biggest problem with Swajeski, from my perspective, was that she could seemingly manage only one three-dimensional female lead organically growing and evolving as a character at a time (usually she was played by Anne Heche). Nearly everyone else acted solely to move the plot forward. After Swajeski left, there was some lovely, character-driven material for Donna, Rachel, Felicia, etc., who had all foundered under Swajeski. Iris's relationship with Steve Fletcher's character was an attempt at this, and on paper it should have worked because both actors were so talented. However, the show was seemingly so desperate for an engaging narrative that by this point they were dusting off Swajeski's old stories, e.g., Sharly and Evan Bates. I will never understand why Lorraine Broderick, who had more experience than head writer Peggy Sloane, was playing second fiddle to her at this time. I am certain if it were an equal head writing partnership, Broderick would have at least developed some big umbrella story to complement the quieter material some actresses were finally getting to play. Other than Matt in a towel, about the only good things in this episode were Iris's decanter and creamsicle suit. I remember that outfit...in hindsight, probably a knockoff Chanel, but still fabulous and totally apropos of its time. I hated how this story ended for Iris, and the OJ Simpson trial playing out in real life at the same time only underscored how poorly researched her (fictional) legal troubles were, but on the plus side we got to see more of Iris and her still decadent lifestyle that summer than we had in years. Once Iris was gone that fall, the show started going darker and darker, and Carmen Duncan's Iris being discarded and never heard from again proved to be the canary in the coalmine. Characters/actors over 40 who had been there for any number of years were increasingly treated as disposable over the next five years.
  8. I'm way behind on these 1991-92 episodes, but I have really liked what I've seen of Samantha so far — I barely remember her from what I saw in the '90s — and it occurs to me that Sam could have easily stuck around and played Julie's role in the "youth" story. And it would have been much richer: Ross's history with Roger went back much further than Mallet's, and it would have been way more interesting to see him grapple with his ward dating Roger's son than Mallet raging. Of course, Sam was established as an adult by this time and I couldn't see Ross "forbidding" her to see Hart even if he could legally stop her, but there were other, subtler ways that Ross's objections could have caused friction. Really, the whole dynamic with Hart would have been different for Sam vs. Julie, but I dare say I wouldn't have missed the whole naive ingenue angle. This also would have directly linked the younger crowd to the Jean Wetherill mystery, etc. And, Sam had a history with Dylan that would have added some more texture a bit further down the road.
  9. Awww...Leslie Charleson was the subject of a question on tonight's episode of Jeopardy. ("Leslie Charleson has played a doctor on this show for 40 years.")
  10. ABC had just bought the show, and their other soaps were enjoying record ratings featuring characters/stories that were not very Ryan's Hope-esque. They seemed to be pushing the types of things that worked on those shows onto RH. Also, co-creator Claire Labine said in interviews later on that she was burnt out at this point, and in hindsight wished she had told ABC she wanted to take a year off. However, she was afraid they would further upend the core of the show in her absence to make it more consistent with the rest of their lineup...and later in the decade the network demonstrated that her fears were not unjustified. It sounds like it was a vicious cycle. From what I remember of Barry on the SoapNet run, he didn't bother me, but he wasn't exactly a classic, beloved character, either - in fact, I barely remember some of his stories. Honestly, the only thing I recall about his wife was that I read at the time those episodes were reaired that she was played by the actress who had sung "Dance Ten, Looks Three" on the original cast recording of A Chorus Line. I can see why they might have felt a need to expand the stories beyond the original core ensemble of characters, and at least Barry was distantly related to the main family, but...
  11. Would it have been considered slumming it at the time for an established, in-demand soap actor to join a new show as a recast, because if Phelps really wanted Marcy Walker on GL, it seems like it would have been a no-brainer to bring her on as Mindy? Or were they that gung ho about pairing her with Robert Newman, so she couldn't have played Josh's niece? If the latter, I also wonder if she was already taping (as Tangie) when Jordan Clarke left, because especially if the writing was on the wall that Billy was going to be written out, they should have scrapped the idea of hanging this new hire they were so invested in on a pairing with Josh and gone with Josh and Vanessa instead. I didn't typically care for his character, but that might have actually been worth watching. And, again, Walker could have just played Mindy.
  12. The Ann Gillespie video was fascinating. By the time we got to 1981 on SoapNet, I can't say I enjoyed Siobhan, but I'm not sure how any actress could have done a better job playing the character as she was being written/directed, especially during the writers' strike. Alas, there was no other soap heroine like Sarah Felder's Siobhan, and I suspect there was a mandate to water her down. That said, I don't think I even realized AG was the same actress who had played Kelly's mother on 90210, and I will say she created a completely different -- and very memorable character -- there (I even went back and watched her big episode on Hulu). And she didn't seem to be playing herself in either role. So, clearly, she's a phenomenal actress.
  13. These clips are so great to see, having loved so much of what was to come shortly after this. Based on these scenes, I have little doubt they were testing the waters for Mallet and Mindy, or that Phelps was responsible for quickly moving him out of her orbit to make way for Nick (was there anyone else on canvas remotely in his age range who had been on the show during Lujack's run?). While I can't say I'm a fan of her overall career as a producer, I'm actually not outraged at this point. I did like Harley and Mallet together a lot in the '90s, and I think it's interesting in hindsight that Phelps not only kept him around and gave him a frontburner story with another leading lady, but he ultimately became as good a "friend of Jill" as just about anyone. It's not exactly what I might have expected, based on the worst horror stories about her. Granted, especially back when there was so much more money to go around in soap budgets, I doubt there was network pressure to sacrifice on 20/30-something white, male lead to make room for another...but still, it's interesting. I also wonder if Mallet and Mindy were originally supposed to get together after Mindy/Roger and Francesca/Mallet inevitably ended badly, or what. I seemed to recall when Derwin gave that aforementioned speech at the Soap Opera Digest Awards years later, the announcer said that he'd been nominated before for "hottest couple" or whatever it was called with Francesca, and IMDB confirms this. I can't imagine they were that popular as a couple, based on what I've seen, and I do recall Digest always tried to be "fair" by giving an equal number of noms to each show. But still, that suggests the show was promoting them heavily as a couple, at least at one point? And, if Francesca had stuck around (and Nick never existed), where would that have left Mindy? Were Roger and Mindy ever presented as a viable "love story," even before Curlee, et al took over?
  14. 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.
  15. 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...
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