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Loving/The City Discussion Thread


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Agnes addressing  Loving's focus. they didn't really hold to that for long.

 

 ''Loving,'' television's newest soap opera or daytime serial, will make its debut on Monday from 11:30 A.M. to 12 noon. ''For the first time,'' says Agnes Nixon, who created it, ''we have a college campus as a story's focal point. This is new for a serial. You need, for the sake of the story, something like a market place. That's why a lot of folks have a hospital. We're going to have a college campus because we think it is a microcosm of life today. You have - from the oldest tenured professor to the youngest freshman - all the range of emotions and the social and economic strata. It also appealed to us because college students are such fans of the soaps and we want to have them feel that they are being represented.''

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Interesting that in '93 (Trisha's final episodes) they were still shelling out money for excellent film score music cues from Presumed Innocent and Jennifer Eight - playing during the scenes with Ava/Dinah Lee and Curtis/Gwyneth among others. I thought Linda Gottlieb had popularized using film scores at OLTL, but I've heard others in '80s episodes of soaps pre-dating her. Either way I know those scores and they work very well here, particularly the sinister title theme from Jennifer Eight when Gwyneth tells her son to leave Corinth and never come back to save himself from their family. Very prescient for '95.

Edited by Vee
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As someone who never had the opportunity to watch Loving, the show has interested me for years. I've seen bits and pieces (the pilot, odd episodes on YT) and you've all managed a far better job than I could of articulating why it's so intriguing. Every single isolated episode I've seen feels like a completely different show. 

 

I've been wanting to watch the Loving Murders for literally 25 years and the timing of these uploads is an absolute gift for me to dial down anxiety and immerse in something. As a soap loving 10 year old in the UK, my first knowledge of the story came from a friend of mine bringing me back a copy of Soap Opera Magazine, I guess from around August. It was a snapshot of the story that imprinted on me because it bore no resemblance to anything I'd seen on a soap before - I was also a precocious Agatha Christie and slasher fan so it ticked all my boxes.

 

I've now got about 20 episodes into the story and my reflections at random so far:

 

  • I completely understand why @dc11786 or any long term fan would struggle with the story as a wrap up to "their soap". Initially I dug the relentless gloominess of the story and the curse of the Aldens. However the handling of Clay's death was so off. The physical comedy of it might have worked if it was a silly side story for Tess but the Weekend at Bernie's [!@#$%^&*] with the corpse felt like a slap in the face. Then vacillating back to the Alden funeral preparations and grief - truly bizarre.
  • The Alden mansion set is stunningly beautiful. One of the best "mansions" I've seen on daytime.
  • Ava and Kate are hugely watchable to me for completely different reasons. Kate really emanates warmth and that matriarchal archetype but without coming across as a total bore or cliche. Lisa Peluso is somebody I'm aware of but have barely seen in action before - I already feel like she'd be in the Susan Flannery league of actresses for me who I could watch do just about anything. Really charismatic and I find Ava really likable.
  • I can't put my finger on it but aside from the Buck hotness, I find Darnell the most attractive in anything I've seen him in. Also, with the exception of Charles, I really appreciate that the black characters are all actual characters - multi faceted, different POVs, brilliant actors - not tired tropes. Pat is another character I am enjoying immensely even though she's firmly supporting.
  • I can't believe Christine Tudor didn't go on to other roles after this, outside of daytime even. I presume this is a reflection on the era, how she presented physically in 1995 due to the way the show styled her. It's a crying shame. I've also enjoyed seeing her and reading this thread generally in relation to the Gwyneth character. One of those I wish there was a meaty bio for on the internet to understand her background and growth through the show.
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Charles does have at least one great scene early on; his hilarious double-act with Alex. Mantooth is in perfect mischievous form and Geoffrey Ewing plays off him beautifully. "Don't call me 'white man!'"

 

I never found Charles super compelling, but Ewing gave the material his all and plays the collapse of his marriage to Angie and especially his rediscovery of love with Lorraine beautifully.

 

Lisa Peluso was best known not long after this for a breakout role in the last years of AW, as a Southern belle comedienne. But the role that grabs me is Ava. Peluso fills Agnes Nixon's Erica Kane/Rachel Davis mold well, but evolves it as Victoria Wyndham did in a different way. Peluso was also a soap lifer, a child star who'd bounced all over, from Search for Tomorrow to a throwaway teen role on garish Paul Rauch OLTL that she still made crackle. Underrated star then and now. Be sure to watch her with Dinah Lee in the 1993 eps.

 

I think the darker character throughlines for the Aldens in the Loving Murders are all there, esp in the early '90s episodes sprinkled through the thread recently. Clay's summation of himself in his final episodes is damning and links back to the '93 material for both him and Gwyneth. Certainly some of the other material is tacky.

Edited by Vee
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Our benefactor has begun posting The City. I may rewatch a bit to see how it holds up beyond the amazing production/style and intriguing characters. My ex was obsessed with the same writing team's attempt at TC to do a follow-up to the Loving Murders when its ratings dipped - "The Masquerade." I don't remember much of that, but the promotional campaign was near-identical.

 

The writers, Brown and Esensten, later had very mixed runs at Port Charles (which succeeded LOV/TC), GL and AMC. At PC they shepherded its transformation into an overtly gothic, telenovela-ized supernatural soap complete with vampires, werewolves and angels. At GL they did a third run at rehashing the Loving Murders with the "Nursery Rhyme Stalker" story, which sucked. At AMC they worked with Agnes Nixon to refocus the show on a beloved core family - their key Hubbards from LOV/TC, with the return of Debbi Morgan, Darnell Williams and a new Frankie (Cornelius Smith).

Edited by Vee
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I'd love a reunion of LOVING cast memebers on-line like they have been doing with ATWT & GL

 

I'd love to see 

Nada Rowand

Christine Tudor Newman

Lisa Peluso

Randolph Mantooth

Chris Marcantel

Lauren Marie Taylor

Noelle Beck

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1 hour ago, Vee said:

Our benefactor has begun posting The City. I may rewatch a bit to see how it holds up beyond the amazing production/style and intriguing characters. My ex was obsessed with the same writing team's attempt at TC to do a follow-up to the Loving Murders when its ratings dipped - "The Masquerade." I don't remember much of that, but the promotional campaign was near-identical.

 

A major criticism at the time was that the show was plotless for months and months - Marlena de la Croix said it was baking a cake without any flour. The other criticism was clunky social issue plotlines - I think every one they did got panned. 

 

Watching the end of the mystery reminded me of one of the main problems with transitioning from a horrific murder spree to a new, hip show. Not only is it exhausting for viewers, but it hangs over the characters. Many of the characters who moved on were not directly tied to the murders, but it still has the moment where you have to question Buck the sexy bartender or Ally the plucky photographer when you look at their last year on Loving. There's one bit I remember seeing that left a bad taste in my mouth, where Tess tries to use the knowledge of the murders to blackmail her way through a scheme. It's not out of character, but it's so crass a writing choice and so out of sorts with the slickness of The City that I assume it's one of the reasons The City had to very belatedly foist a cancer redemption type story on Tess, even though by that point the character really shouldn't have needed it.

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2 hours ago, Vee said:

Peluso was also a soap lifer, a child star who'd bounced all over, from Search for Tomorrow to a throwaway teen role on garish Paul Rauch OLTL that she still made crackle. Underrated star then and now. Be sure to watch her with Dinah Lee in the 1993 eps.

 

I certainly will be now, once I've finished the storyline. Good on her for getting on with her life in a new career but it's a crying shame the industry evolved in a way that there was no space left for her. She'd be great on B&B albeit I wouldn't wish that upon her these days.

 

I've just reached Edie Falco as a nurse tending to Steffi. This is really the gift that keeps on giving with those sorts of surprises.

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I enjoyed Peluso on AW, especially once they paired her with Cass, but the material wasn't really a patch on her best as Ava. It's still a real surprise sometimes at how well she managed to make Ava her own, given how special Roya Megnot was in the role.

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23 hours ago, BetterForgotten said:

The City should have been a brand new show without any ties to Loving.

 

In retrospect, ABCD was kind of dumb to spin a brand new soap from one that was perennially low-rated.  True, LOVING always had its' core audience.  However, if those viewers weren't enough to keep LOVING on the air, what made the network think they could help make THE CITY a success?

 

IMO, they would have been smart (or smart-ER) to launch THE CITY as a spinoff of AMC or even OLTL.

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Or just give Claire Labine that NYC-centered soap she tried so hard to get of the ground after her GH stint came to an end. It would've been canceled anyway, but I would think it would have at least been more compelling than what we got with THE CITY (or during Labine's OLTL stint).  

Edited by BetterForgotten
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