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Loving/The City Discussion Thread

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I never thought we would get to see the two first-ever episodes of Loving. Watching them was such a treat for me since I never saw them before until now. I only have seen clips of them in video packages at award ceremonies over the years. 

 

You can tell which characters Doug Marland and Agnes Nixon had a stronger hand in developing. Such as Rita Mae Bristow being creations of Nixon's since they're modeled after Opal from All My Children. Although, Rita Mae was somewhat more subtle and less broad in terms of personality than Opal, Whilst. Marland seemed to pattern the Donovan's after the greatest works of his working-class families he will go onto the create such as the Snyder's on ATWT. As well as the kitchen is the hub of the household like the Snyder Farm too. 

 

I always thought Jack was Ann and Dane Hammond's son too. So I was surprised when it came out that he was adopted outright by Ann and Roger as an infant. Lorna to me had my attention the most you as the bitchy heiress who is jealous of the attention her big brother gets from everyone. So him coming home all of a sudden puts her back to not getting her parents' attention. When Lorna was yelling at Jack you can hear Susan's southern accent coming out. 😂

 

I was also taken-back at Noreen and Merrill being sisters so Doug was involved with his sister-in-law's sister? The Roger/Merrill/Ann triangle was the weakest thing for me in these two episodes. I can see why it didn't last long. Although I did like Shannon Eubanks from what I've seen of her, she has more a patrician presence than Callan White's who had more of a socialite persona as Ann. Bryan Cranston as Doug was a highlight too you can tell he was going to be a star in the future. 

 

Sadly, the incest storyline doesn't go further because I think it had the potential to be a game-changer for Soaps. But you know what happened from what Jennifer Ashe said on the reunion about ABC. Garth was such a domineering force I'm ready for him to die already. 

 

I think Loving should've stuck to being about a community residing in a college town with most of the characters having ties to Alden University them being students, faculty, parents, and alumni as well as the television station too, 

 

I just hope more episodes from this era pop up soon. 
 

 

 

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I apologize for repeating an earlier question but these first episodes reminded me of my quandary about Loving.  I know Cabot and Isabelle came after the first year of the series, but does anyone recall the exposition about where they were when the soap debuted?  Why were Ann and Roger living in their house with Curtis?  And was there any mention of the Alden's company (AE?) before Cabot arrived?  I seem to remember that Ava and Jack worked at Forbes construction when Jack was being a rebel and doing menial labor, but I don't remember if there was any references to Jack's maternal family's business.

 

Also, does anyone recall the circumstances of Roger's death?  My vague recollection was that he won a political appointment and left town (although I may be conflating him with Frank Ryan). 

Edited by j swift

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I believe Roger died in a plane crash on his way to D.C.
 

Cabot and Isabelle were there from the jump.  Their  son and his wife (eventually referred to as Clay and Gwyneth)  were supposed to be travelling in Europe with daughter Trisha, while Curtis was staying in the family compound.  He was in college  at AU.   Roger, Ann, Lorna and Jack moved to Corinth when Roger accepted the job at AU, and Lorna and Jack, a football star enrolled there.

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The Donovan's seemed nice with a matriarch that wasnt perky or annoying (like Bea Reardon and Emma Snyder).  

 

For people that viewed the soap back in the day, were Jack and Stacy always meant to be end game..or was the plan Jack/lily with Stacy meant for a future character?

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As @EricMontreal22 mentioned, the characters were all in Agnes Nixon's original bible for the show. It is clear which characters Marland was more interested in writing. The Donovans are much more intricate and their scenes are much richer than the scenes with the other characters.

 

Rita Mae and Billy definitely seem more subtle than Opal, but they are still a bit much for my personal taste. Originally, Billy was suppose to potency issues which was why Rita Mae was constantly sex starved. Rita Mae was suppose to befriend Noreen Donovan during her initial fling with Curtis Alden before having a much more intense affair with Mike Donovan. Almost all of this was nixed at some point. Onscreen, Rita Mae and Curtis had an fling, but I believe it was short-lived (August-September 1983) before Rita Mae shifted her eyes to Doug Donovan and Curtis got involved with Lily. I don't think Billy was impotent, but I do know that later, when Rita Mae and Billy were trying to conceive a child, that the fertility issues seemed to lie at Billy's feet. Eventually, Billy and Rita Mae split and Rita Mae becomes involved with Tony Perilli after it becomes clear that Stacey will never stop loving Jack Forbes despite his marriage to Ava. Rita Mae gained a niece, Colby Cantrell, who bounced between Curtis and Keith before she was also written out. 

 

Ann is a thinly drawn character in Nixon's bible. She is suppose to be committed to her marriage and she was suppose to befriend Merrill. I don't know if Ann and Merrill actually became friends onscreen. I suspect Marland worked to expand the character by reconfiguring different parts of the bible. Onscreen, it was Ann, not Rita Mae, who ended up having the affair with Mike Donovan after he was fired from the police force and was hired to redecorate the Alden guest house. Also, there were only a few details about Clay and Gwyn in the bible, but one of them was that Gwyn was an alcoholic. Onscreen, Ann had the problem with alcoholism. There was no mention of Dane Hammond or Shana Sloane in Nixon's bible, but the creation of Dane as Jack's biological father (originally Jack's biological parents were the married couple who perished in the car accident) and the introduction of Shana as a rival really solidified Ann's place on the canvas. 

 

I think part of the problem in the Merrill / Roger / Ann / Doug scenario is there is no villain. Roger and Merrill's affair just hurts Doug and Ann, neither of whom deserve the heartache. Merrill was described in the bible as a radical feminist which I think may have been influenced by the women on "Ryan's Hope." On "Ryan's Hope," Jill Coleridge was having an affair with a married man, Frank Ryan, but she wasn't sleeping with Seneca until much later and the affair was mostly backstory rather than playing out in front of the audience's eyes. Also, Delia was a clear villain. I think it helped that Mary Ryan was equally independent and she was just shacking up Jack Fenelli, an older man, but not married. Merrill's fear of marriage was suppose to be rooted in her mother's death; her mother had died while giving birth to Merrill. The bible implied that Merrill would have a string of relationships (after the first year) that were intended to be based on her fear of marriage and having children. Doug was also pretty thinly drawn, but the implication was that after the first year Doug was going to be pursued by a calculated Lorna who was determined to land the older man. 

 

Roger accepts a diplomatic mission and, according to SOD, was heading to Nairobi when his plane crashed and no survivors were found. A memorial was held for Roger without a body. The plan was probably to revisit Roger Forbes later on. Right before he died, it was revealed that Roger and Shana had known each other in Washington, D.C. I suspect the show was intending to play a Roger / Shana / Ann triangle at some point. 

 

Based on the bible, Lily and Jack were the longterm couple, but the bible only outlined the first year (June 1983 - August 1984). The bible ended with the Olympic cliffhanger which was suppose to be June Slater remembering what happened the night of Garth's murder. This actually happened in January 1984. Almost the entire bible was used or abandoned by January 1984 so it's not clear what Nixon's plan would have been for Lily and Jack after the murder trial.

 

Lily did return to the show years later, March 1987, during a transition period. It was probably one of the last things Bill Levinson did or one of the first that Ralph Ellis initiated. Anyway, Lily was released from the psychiatric facility after June Slater's death and she returned to Corinth where she reconnected with her old friends Jack and Stacey Forbes. I don't think there was much done with Lily and Curtis, but Burke Moses, who was playing Curtis at the time, was hired to appear on Broadway in early summer 1987 and Curtis was shipped to Germany's AE office in the late summer. Then Moses was fired with the intention of recasting, but, instead, they just dropped Judith Hoag and had Lotty join Curtis in Germany. By that point, Lily was working as a model at Amourelle while trying to get Jack into bed and found an ally in Rick Stewart, Gwyn and Clay's son who Gwyn had given up for adoption. Lily and Jack's affair was the bulk of Lily's 1987-1988 run, but there seems to be a bit with her working with Jim Vochek at the homeless shelter before she left town. 

 

I don't know if Alden Enterprises was mentioned specifically in the bible, but I know that the offices of AE were featured no later than November 1983 when Dane Hammond was introduced. 

 

When Fran Sears took over as EP in the summer of 1991, she decided "Loving" should bring back the college. Under Mary Ryan Munisteri, Giff Bowman was hired to teach art courses at AU and they introduced the art studio set. Down on her luck Dinahlee Mayberry modeled in the art class. When Ceara arrives in Corinth, she is working at AU in an administrative position. Jeremy comes to teach an art seminar. Slowly, they built a small college set around Ally Rescott, who at the time was dating Matt Ford. In January 1991, when Addie Walsh took over as headwriter, she introduced a group of young people who were involved with a band (drug dealer Reggie, singer Tess, brooding James) that Matt was involved with. Matt was quickly dumped in February and Ally started taking courses at AU. Ally still hung out with Tess (Daisy Fuentes' character) and has a brief flirtation with Sam (the senator's son who briefly dated Dinahlee under Mary Ryan Munisteri). By early April, the new group was introduced (Hannah, Arthur, Cooper, Kent, and Staige) were introduced. The campus only really went away in late 1993 when Nixon came on and shifted the characters away from the college campus.  

 

Edited by dc11786

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Thanks for finding that. 

 

@dc11786 filling us in about the Deborah/Steffi backstory helps make that conversation between Deborah and Clay richer. I have to admit I find her more interesting as a colorful schemer, but it's nice to see NAA get a chance to act. 

 

Michael Weatherly and Amelia Heinle really did have terrific chemistry. That the brewing conflict in Steffi is character-based and believable makes it more compelling.

 

The Alex and Ava conflict, while well-acted, is not compelling as it feels false. It mostly just tired me out. The Gilbert/Jeremy scenes were more interesting than I expected, however.  

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the 1st 2 episodes of Loving didn't have Marland's trademark stilted dialogue.  It actually flowed and there was some energy on the show as well.

 

I wonder if Nixon had a hand in micro managing the scripts and that's why it didn't have Marland's usual flaws in his day to day episodes?

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On 9/12/2020 at 3:33 AM, DRW50 said:

@victoria foxton @dc11786 @Elsa @SFK @Vee @DeliaIrisFan @Paul Raven @slick jones (sorry to anyone I didn't get) Not sure if these have already been around but someone has uploaded the first two episodes...and holy hell, the first episode has a lengthy introduction by Dorothy Lyman! I had never heard about that.

 

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3jUaUwwBf1UGEswAYEjJJQ


Thank you so much! I haven't watched the first episode in decades. 
I have said before that I find the Jack-Lily story almost identical to early Phillip-Beth. Could it be that Marland had all this planned for GL? The show was stupid to lose original Ann and Rita Mae. I never cared for Meryl. 

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On 9/15/2020 at 3:13 PM, Soaplovers said:

the 1st 2 episodes of Loving didn't have Marland's trademark stilted dialogue.  It actually flowed and there was some energy on the show as well.

 

I wonder if Nixon had a hand in micro managing the scripts and that's why it didn't have Marland's usual flaws in his day to day episodes?

She absolutely did during that early period.  Patrick Mulcahey said in one interview that he left the Loving writing team after a year (I believe) because every script he'd get would have tons of notes, not from Marland but from Nixon (and I've seen scripts of other shows with her notes--like early AMC scripts--she is very clear).  He noted that that's a valid approach, but not one he can work under.

On 9/11/2020 at 5:33 PM, DRW50 said:

@victoria foxton @dc11786 @Elsa @SFK @Vee @DeliaIrisFan @Paul Raven @slick jones (sorry to anyone I didn't get) Not sure if these have already been around but someone has uploaded the first two episodes...and holy hell, the first episode has a lengthy introduction by Dorothy Lyman! I had never heard about that.

 

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3jUaUwwBf1UGEswAYEjJJQ

My friend who posted them said he only recently got them transferred digitally.  Sadly, this is all he has (for now).

The Dorothy Lyman intro BTW actually aired AFTER the Loving movie the night before--not as an introduction to the daytime premier. 

On 9/13/2020 at 6:46 PM, dc11786 said:

As @EricMontreal22 mentioned, the characters were all in Agnes Nixon's original bible for the show. It is clear which characters Marland was more interested in writing. The Donovans are much more intricate and their scenes are much richer than the scenes with the other characters.

 

 

 

A great summation--I think you've studied the bible closer than I have and I was the one who scanned it!  LOL  Thanks for that.

As for Lily's return in 1987.  Someone (Schemering?) pointed out what an awful return it was--and some of those episodes (a rather dull, non-descript era for the show) are online.  She basically became a bland, blonde, husband stealing, vixen with little nuance.

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3 hours ago, EricMontreal22 said:

 

A great summation--I think you've studied the bible closer than I have and I was the one who scanned it!  LOL  Thanks for that.
 

 

Is the bible available online?

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15 hours ago, Elsa said:

 

Is the bible available online?

I scanned it when I was at her archives at Northwestern for my grad paper research.  Send me a PM :P  (I suspect any copy floating around comes from mine--I have sent quite a few to copies...)

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