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Thanks @Wendy

I was also thinking about the lack of balance, in terms of the focus on the Capwells at the expense of every other family in town and I would propose that it was due to the fact that they had too many children. 

If each Capwell heir represented an archetype then we have Mason (the ne'er-do-well), Ted (the romantic hero), Kelly (the damsel in distress), and Eden (the sob looking for her daddy's approval).  By the time you add a love interest for each kid, and a person to serve as a spoiler to true love, that's 12 characters, not including CC, Sophia and their spoilers.

Not many one hour soaps could balance more than 14 characters, leaving very little room for other families or settings.  Coupled with the huge expense of the Capwell living room, which meant that most of the interactions had to take place somewhere within that set, there wasn't a lot of literal room left.

It may have been poor planning, (who knows if Eden was part of the original pitch or if she was added once Marcy Walker was cast?), or just the result of the need to make changes on the fly after the initial ratings failed to attract a large audience.  However, it goes without saying that the lack of expansion of stories beyond the Capwells damaged the potential longevity of the soap.  For example, look at Y&R, they pivoted to new families after their debut and it sparked years worth of stories.   Yet, I've come to believe that SB was never able to successfully expand because they were stuck with too many Capwells.

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I agree with the assessment of Mary. There was very little possibility of conflict with her character. Even after the who's the daddy played out, there just wasn't any. She wouldn't have cheated on Mason and he wouldn't have cheated on her. She eventually would have wound up in the green room with Amy. (And often Sophia) waiting for tptb to give her a storyline. 

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9 minutes ago, j swift said:

Thanks @Wendy

I was also thinking about the lack of balance, in terms of the focus on the Capwells at the expense of every other family in town and I would propose that it was due to the fact that they had too many children. 

If each Capwell heir represented an archetype then we have Mason (the ne'er-do-well), Ted (the romantic hero), Kelly (the damsel in distress), and Eden (the sob looking for her daddy's approval).  By the time you add a love interest for each kid, and a person to serve as a spoiler to true love, that's 12 characters, not including CC, Sophia and their spoilers.

Not many one hour soaps could balance more than 14 characters, leaving very little room for other families or settings.  Coupled with the huge expense of the Capwell living room, which meant that most of the interactions had to take place somewhere within that set, there wasn't a lot of literal room left.

It may have been poor planning, (who knows if Eden was part of the original pitch or if she was added once Marcy Walker was cast?), or just the result of the need to make changes on the fly after the initial ratings failed to attract a large audience.  However, it goes without saying that the lack of expansion of stories beyond the Capwells damaged the potential longevity of the soap.  For example, look at Y&R, they pivoted to new families after their debut and it sparked years worth of stories.   Yet, I've come to believe that SB was never able to successfully expand because they were stuck with too many Capwells.

Arguably, I think the show tried with the Lockridges, Duvalls, Donnellys, DiNapolis, and later with the Walkers. But either the writing was subpar [first three] or the characters were a drag [Walkers]. Either way, the result was the same. The other families did a fade (save for the Walkers, who stayed 'til the bitter end!).

I loved the Capwells, especially Mason and Kelly. But I do agree that the show should have learned to budget time and stories for non-Capwells much better than it did.

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I guess what we'll never know is whether they wrote Mary into a corner and then had no choice but to kill her off, or did they start writing into a corner with the desired outcome to write her off?

Because, one could argue that once Mark was introduced, and provided context for Mary's entrance into the nunnery, there was further background to explore. Why Mary chose men like Mark and Mason after growing up with abusive men in her family?  What did she gain from relationships of trying to fix broken men? And, how could she have emerged as her own woman after learning those lessons?  But, that's not very SB, which was a little too caught up in fantasy romances, wish fulfillment, and the idea that the rich are more screwed up than the rest of the 99%.

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14 minutes ago, j swift said:

Thanks @Wendy

I was also thinking about the lack of balance, in terms of the focus on the Capwells at the expense of every other family in town and I would propose that it was due to the fact that they had too  By the time you add a love interest for each kid, and a person to serve as a spoiler to true love, that's 12 characters, not including CC, Sophia and their spoilers.

Not many one hour soaps could balance more than 14 characters, leaving very little room for other families or settings.  Coupled with the huge expense of the Capwell living room, which meant that most of the interactions had to take place somewhere within that set, there wasn't a lot of literal room left.

It may have been poor planning, (Yet, I've come to believe that SB was never able to successfully expand because they were stuck with too many Capwells.

Well, no spoilers for CC and Sophia and that problem would have been solved.

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But seriously, a slower speed would have allowed it. Days certainly had 14 character between the Bradys, the Horton and DiMeras. Another World also had 14 between McKinnons, Loves, Hudsons, Frames and Corys, and my beloved Felicia and Wallingford.

But since SB felt the need to move at breakneck speed, and to have many plot driven events compared to character driven, it didn't take the time for other families. 

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15 minutes ago, Marissa Gallant said:

I agree with the assessment of Mary. There was very little possibility of conflict with her character. Even after the who's the daddy played out, there just wasn't any. She wouldn't have cheated on Mason and he wouldn't have cheated on her. She eventually would have wound up in the green room with Amy. (And often Sophia) waiting for tptb to give her a storyline. 

I agree that Mary would never have cheated on Mason. But Mason was his own worst enemy, especially when he was drinking and/or in conflict with C.C. I can envision him cheating on Mary if just to punish himself for something. He had that darkness.

I do believe he would have deeply regretted doing so as he did love Mary as much as he was able, and Mary would get story reacting, but since the show basically did that later with Julia/Mason, with Julia strong enough to cut him loose (if for a while), I think it would have also did Mary a disservice as I think she would have forgave him, and the show probably would have just did variations of that for years on end, diminishing the pairing and the individual couples.

So the problem of lack of story for Mary would have still remained.

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8 minutes ago, Wendy said:

Arguably, I think the show tried with the Lockridges, Duvalls, Donnellys, DiNapolis, and later with the Walkers. But either the writing was subpar [first three] or the characters were a drag [Walkers]. Either way, the result was the same. The other families did a fade (save for the Walkers, who stayed 'til the bitter end!).

I loved the Capwells, especially Mason and Kelly. But I do agree that the show should have learned to budget time and stories for non-Capwells much better than it did.

I don't think the Lockridges could survive the absence of Augusta. The writing was there for them. But don't forget, they WERE the Dobsons. And I think that it was also a bit of an f you by writing them out.

The Duvalls were skeezy. And not missed. 

7 minutes ago, Wendy said:

I agree that Mary would never have cheated on Mason. But Mason was his own worst enemy, especially when he was drinking and/or in conflict with C.C. I can envision him cheating on Mary if just to punish himself for something. He had that darkness.

I do believe he would have deeply regretted doing so as he did love Mary as much as he was able, and Mary would get story reacting, but since the show basically did that later with Julia/Mason, with Julia strong enough to cut him loose (if for a while), I think it would have also did Mary a disservice as I think she would have forgave him, and the show probably would have just did variations of that for years on end, diminishing the pairing and the individual couples.

So the problem of lack of story for Mary would have still remained.

I disagree. I think Mason always longed for what he had with Mary. It would have taken more than a fight with CC. Now, we also know he really wanted to be a dad. So MAJOR conflict could have come from the baby was Mark's. Then something goes wrong in birth, and has a hysterectomy. Mason can never have his "own" child.

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 The neglected/unexplored Augusta detail that I've been thinking about when watching the first year episodes was the idea of how beholden she was to Minx.  Lionel did not have job, he spent a lot of money on his travels, and Minx held the purse strings.  As we saw when Augusta seduced Joe, she didn't live in the owner's suite, that was reserved for her mother-in-law.  So, really Augusta's life was bought and paid for by Minx.

When Lionel was thought to be dead, there wouldn't have been a large inheritance for Augusta because Minx was still alive.  Julia never made it seem like they were born into generational wealth.  And when Bunny died, I don't think there was a lot of his money left to go around.   

So, it seems like a missed opportunity to tell the story of a woman who always had to depend on the kindness of others to survive.  In contrast to Sophia, who had men throwing money at her left and right, or Julia, who made a good salary as a lawyer, or even a hustler like Gina who came up with a million get rich quick schemes; Augusta had nobody to rely upon. I wish they had explored the effect of her need to please Minx, and others, in order to afford the life she had become accustom to, as well as her anxiety over whether they would continue to fund her needs.

It would have created more motivation to oppose Brick, as he stood in the way of her getting more cash from Minx.  It also would have been an interesting source of conflict with Lionel and created motivation for him to aspire to have his own source of income.  Or allow Augusta to have her own base of power, like a boutique to sell Gina jeans.

Edited by j swift
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1 hour ago, Marissa Gallant said:

I don't think the Lockridges could survive the absence of Augusta. The writing was there for them. But don't forget, they WERE the Dobsons. And I think that it was also a bit of an f you by writing them out.

The Duvalls were skeezy. And not missed. 

I disagree. I think Mason always longed for what he had with Mary. It would have taken more than a fight with CC. Now, we also know he really wanted to be a dad. So MAJOR conflict could have come from the baby was Mark's. Then something goes wrong in birth, and has a hysterectomy. Mason can never have his "own" child.

Maybe, but one of the reasons Lane left the show (besides his real-life break up with NLG and issues following) was he was said to have disliked "domesticated" Mason, which is what he still would have been had Mason remained with Mary.

So, in the end, at some point, I think boredom would have still come had the pairing remained together.

We'll never know.

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On 9/10/2021 at 8:08 PM, j swift said:

The neglected/unexplored Augusta detail that I've been thinking about when watching the first year episodes was the idea of how beholden she was to Minx.  Lionel did not have job, he spent a lot of money on his travels, and Minx held the purse strings.  As we saw when Augusta seduced Joe, she didn't live in the owner's suite, that was reserved for her mother-in-law.  So, really Augusta's life was bought and paid for by Minx.

I think they sort of hinted at this but never fully. I don’t recall if they ever talked about where Augusta was getting her money from when she returned in 88  but they did talk about money being the reason she got involved with Anthony Tonnell when she returned in the 90s and not getting much in the will being the reason for her various business ventures. They also had her living on and off with Julia throughout her various returns, which made for good scenes, but I doubt she would have stayed at Julia’s tiny beach house if she was still wealthy. 
 

Alongside that, I can’t remember if they ever discussed why being wealthy was so integral to Augusta. Both she and Julia hinted at a tumultuous upbringing and poor relationships with their parents but I never got the impression that money was that important to Julia despite marrying into a wealthy family. 

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23 minutes ago, Beach Climber said:

I think they sort of hinted at this but never fully. I don’t recall if they ever talked about where Augusta was getting her money from when she returned in 88  but they did talk about money being the reason she got involved with Anthony Tonnell when she returned in the 90s and not getting much in the will being the reason for her various business ventures. They also had her living on and off with Julia throughout her various returns, which made for good scenes, but I doubt she would have stayed at Julia’s tiny beach house if she was still wealthy. 
 

Alongside that, I can’t remember if they ever discussed why being wealthy was so integral to Augusta. Both she and Julia hinted at a tumultuous upbringing and poor relationships with their parents but I never got the impression that money was that important to Julia despite marrying into a wealthy family. 

Julia's 1st episode hinted that she was overweight, had an over bite and was awkward.  So she probably was told by her parents she'd never had amount to anything.

Even though she lost the weight and fixed her overbite...the scars were there.  She focused on her career at the expense of her personal life.

The first 18 months of her time wasn't with Mason...and you saw how she fumbled with men.  

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On 9/10/2021 at 9:53 PM, Wendy said:

Maybe, but one of the reasons Lane left the show (besides his real-life break up with NLG and issues following) was he was said to have disliked "domesticated" Mason, which is what he still would have been had Mason remained with Mary.

So, in the end, at some point, I think boredom would have still come had the pairing remained together.

We'll never know.

I think Lane also said that one of the reasons he left was because he was so burned out. Boredom would have happened no matter who Mason was paired with at that point.

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3 hours ago, Soaplovers said:

Julia's 1st episode hinted that she was overweight, had an over bite and was awkward.  So she probably was told by her parents she'd never had amount to anything.

Even though she lost the weight and fixed her overbite...the scars were there.  She focused on her career at the expense of her personal life.

The first 18 months of her time wasn't with Mason...and you saw how she fumbled with men.  

Everyone in the SB fandom is always so focused on Mary that sometimes Julia plays second fiddle even though she interacted with Mason a lot more timewise than Mary.

 

I mean, yes, the Mary character is a very important one to the SB canvas even though she spent just barely over a year on the show.

Julia seems like she's independent from the get-go, even though she does interact with men a lot more than with women from the beginning with the exception of Augusta for obvious reasons.

I remember just recently having watched when Dylan first appeared on the show, Julia corrected him on her title "It's Miss - with a "z," she points out to him. 

Having followed NLG for all these years, I know she's a very independent career-focused woman - and she plays one on TV. She most likely wanted the writers of the shows she's been on to have that in mind whenever anything was written for her. Does anyone remember any specific interviews where she points that out, perhaps?

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1 hour ago, Lex S said:

Having followed NLG for all these years, I know she's a very independent career-focused woman - and she plays one on TV. She most likely wanted the writers of the shows she's been on to have that in mind whenever anything was written for her. Does anyone remember any specific interviews where she points that out, perhaps?

Here's an interview from 1991 that I found on the SB fan page that fits this bill:

http://santabarbara-online.com/index2.htm

Nancy Grahn feels very near to Julia Wainwright, her character in the show Santa Barbara. With Lane Davies (Mason), she formed during four years a harmonious and ideal couple, shaken by crises and ruptures certainly, but perfectly welded. A so perceptible unit on screen which one hastened to associate lovingly Lane Davies and Nancy Grahn in life. But one and the other contradict this rumour vigorously. A correction which however does not exclude a deep friendship. Since, however, Lane Davies, tired of his character, returned his apron. It was last June. But Mason did not die. Since the beginning of the year, the American televiewers can find him under the features of Terry Lester, better known of Europeans for the character of Jack Abbott in The Young and the Restless. And what made Nancy Grahn meanwhile ? She did not take the veil of the widows, but benefitted from this undulation to consolidate her character and to put order in her life.

Since she offered to herself, with the pay of Santa Barbara , a small house in San Fernando Valley, that she occupies with her dog Barney, Nancy Grahn is the happiest woman. She also bought a convertible BMW... to make her shopping. "During years", explains Nancy Grahn with enthusiasm, "I convinced myself that only a stable relation with a man would decide to me to buy a house. I was disabled with the idea of having to occupy  of a house all alone and to pay the monthly drafts of it. Since, I radically changed of opinion. I appreciate what Santa Barbara gave me. I feel myself even better in my work, and the purchase of this house completely opened me out in my life of woman. I believe that I will still remain unmarried a long time."

During four years, Nancy Grahn shared the life of Sam Behrens, one of the protagonists of General Hospital. But she takes care well, today, not to recommend this kind of relation. "The majority of my relations in love, it was with actors. All failures. The actors are generally full of charm, tempting, but unable to remain in place. They are always persuaded that there is better to discover behind the corner and would feel frustrated to be private of it." What does not prevent Nancy Grahn from regularly coming out with a television producer... "A producer, but not an actor ", she corrects without resentment. "I had relationships with "civil ones", as she calls people who do not belong to the show business, but they were in general unable to live with a celebrity of the show business.   I felt them frightened by the trade that I made. An uncomfortable impression !"

In nine months, Nancy Grahn had time to get used to the absence of Lane Davies, but she always regretted the departure of the actor who had become her friend and her confidant. Of an optimistic naturalness, Nancy wants however to see only the good side of the things and accomodate with enthusiasm the new Mason. "Lane was a more mysterious Mason, darker, more tragic. Terry is funnier, less secret, more accessible. They do not resemble each other. Moreover, Terry's mason is more loving. A heat which missed my character. I like to play with Terry, almost as much as with Lane, until he wearies of the role. After, everything worsened. He made a wise decision while leaving. But the European televiewer still has a few years before to see that, because Lane is an exceptional actor and he knew to make of Mason a pivot character in Santa Barbara ."

http://santabarbara-online.com/Juliaintime46-2.jpgWhen I say to her how much the European public is disturbed by the frequent changes of actors within the American shows, Nancy philosophically sweeps the objection of large act of hand. "Any change is disconcerting and requires a period of adaptation. What does we do in life if not to adapt permanently to new situations ? Once the character played and the new actor adopted, this small frustration, as I knew it myself with Lane, is forgotten.

Santa Barbara however offers a paradox which remains for Nancy Grahn, in spite of her great adaptability, a perpetual matter of astonishment : how to explain, indeed, that the show gains many rewards, while occupying a relatively modest place in the statements of audience in the United States ? "I see only two explanations", she advances, hesitant. "The televiewers remain faithful to the old soaps like General Hospital and Guiding Light and, by fidelity or habituation, do not wish to connect on a more recent show like Santa Barbara . It is a form of conservatism. That is to say the surveys do not take account of whole sections of populations. I am sure, for example, that the many schoolboys who look at us are not included in the surveys." Nancy Grahn assumes the responsibility of her explanations. But the attempt to rehabilitate Santa Barbara according to the Americans is meritorious. It translates the enthusiasm of Nancy for her work and the interest she carries to her character.

When she does not work, Nancy Grahn can taste the calm of her country house. The place she appreciates over all, is her bedroom and the softness of her bed surmounted by four amounts of wood. She can spend there hours, a book of philosophy (her passion !) in the hand. The return to oneself is however not the speciality of Nancy Grahn. Because, as soon as arises a good cause to defend, she is on the barricades. For the abortion, against the alcoholism and drug, for the environmental protection, more consideration to the handicapped people. "My life would be vain without a cause to defend or a new combat to be delivered. The humans rights are very at the honor today. Even in Russia and East Germany. It is only justice after one decade of blind materialism and a half-century of untrue ideologies. It is not a chance if the man who makes vibrate crowd today is not Ronald Reagan but Nelson Mandela."

In this perfectly balanced life, Nancy Grahn preserved a major property : her independence. Unlike many stars of soap-operas, grayed by their sudden fortune and who show more cicadas than ants, Nancy-the-wise did not launch out in excessive expenditures. Her house is modest and her car is her only luxury. Thus can she reserve the right to say constantly "no" to the show, when she will have one day the desire to discover other professional horizons.

Edited by amybrickwallace
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