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  1. I wondered about the timing, not only in relation to Deidre Hall's story, but also (one of?) Erika Slezak's most definitive personality stories. Gwyneth was clearly Loving's counterpart to Viki. How long before this story did Gwyn become a "psychologist" (her training/credentialing seemed vague)? At times, it seemed like Loving was emulating both of those stories at once. For that matter, had Gwyn's paternity been a plot point before this that they decided to tie up at the end? Gwyn being confronted by her long-lost father just after reuniting with her long-lost, amnesiac daughter was a bit much. I had no idea Larry Haines played such a pivotal role in Loving's last episodes, but he too was very moving in these episodes. Given the multiple assisted suicide plot threads, I was expecting/hoping for a scene with Neil and Steffi before the end. Maybe that happened...I was still two episodes from the end?
  2. I was two episodes away from the end of Loving. I never watched the show when it was on and honestly didn't have the highest opinion of it—and I am no fan of Esensten and Brown's writing—but I had always been somewhat fascinated by the idea that a soap deliberately killed off its core family on the way out the door, so I wanted to check this out. At first it was easier for me to keep watching to see how they pulled it off than it probably would have been on a show I actually cared about, and it's not like I'm going out much these days, so I kept watching. But I admittedly got hooked. Christine Tudor Newman (and others) made it work and actually made me care—cynical and Loving-averse though I may be, I have to admit I got tears watching Gwyneth's final scene. ("It hurts so much more when there's hope!") However, I can't quite agree that the story holds up—psychologically, among other things. And I struggle with the fact that some of the same problematic elements of he B-plots, like Laura Wright's character falsely accusing Ted King's of rape, and that always seemed to be a part of E&B's repertoire were baked into the murder mystery as well. Beyond the fact that I would be horrified if this story had happened on a soap I had watched with cast members/characters I was invested in, I still found myself wondering—even if I accepted what the network and writers were trying to do and their assumptions about the audience they were clearly seeking—what they were thinking. They obviously wanted a younger demographic for the new/revamped show, whom they assumed would want to watch a cast closer to their age, so why did they think that prospective audience would care about all the olds being killed off? Why waste all that airtime (during summer vacation) and all the money on those stylized promos, etc.? And even if the serial killer story had actually boosted ratings (with any demographic), would they really have stuck around? I definitely checked out The City a few times to see what all the publicity was about, and from what I recall it was so different tonally from Loving at the end that it's hard to imagine someone who only got drawn in at the end continuing. It also seemed like the characters who would go on to be featured on The City were at best supporting players in the murder mystery—if I'm not mistaken, the only one to make the transition to The City whose character was particularly affected by the murders was Amelia Heinle, and if memory serves she didn't even stay long. (I know LW's character was almost a victim of the serial killer, but that was like the same week of the aforementioned rape allegation and her child being stuck in a cave and almost dying, so she didn't seem particularly fazed by it.) From a business perspective, why not just leave the Aldens in Corinth with a few happy endings that didn't take up a great deal of airtime and use those last months to focus solely on the characters who would be featured on the new show? Not to mention, from what I remember the stories on The City, especially at the beginning, were so flimsy that it seems like it would have been a letdown for audiences of any age after what was at least an umbrella story that was planned months in advance and had such high stakes. Although that was certainly true for most soaps circa 1996. I was waiting to post this until I finished the show's run and possibly even watched the first few episodes of The City because I'm admittedly ignorant, and I really don't mean to seem like I'm sh!tt!ng on show(s) I never really watched in a forum meant for their fans. Did I miss the point? Could this setup for revamping Loving into The City possibly have paid off, at least the way TPTB intended? It's also mind-boggling that they went to all this trouble and pulled the plug less than a year later, but that was also a problem for more and more of these shows heading into the late '90s...and of course it only got worse.
  3. PS: On that note, I meant to post this back when I first saw the pic from that mini-cast reunion to toast Carmen Duncan's memory...I just looooove knowing that she and Anna Stuart were friendly IRL. Iris and Donna never got to fight over anything important enough to become a truly iconic rivalry, but they sure gave it their all and were both so amazing. I like to think they had lots of fun off-screen.
  4. Did Amy Carlson's Josie have many scenes with Carmen Duncan's Iris? They couldn't have overlapped even for a year, so I was a little surprised when I saw Amy in the photo Linda Dano posted from Carmen's "memorial." I initially assumed they shared a dressing room or something and thought it was lovely that they stayed in touch over the years, but then I was even more surprised when Amy commented on the reunion video on how different Carmen was from her character (not that Carmen was unlike Iris, but that Amy would have known one way or the other). I seem to vaguely recall Iris appearing for a nanosecond in a promo for Josie's return at some formal/masquerade party. Years later, I remember seeing the Snowflake Ball scenes for the first time on SoapNet, and wishing that Iris/Josie dynamic had continued when Josie returned in the form of AC...until I saw Josie's behavior with Iris and Lucas later on in that arc, and was not so disappointed they dropped that.
  5. 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...
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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...
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.")
  14. 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...
  15. 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.
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