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Chris B

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Thinking back, it was a show that was flawed from its initial conception.  They tried to center the plot around the popularity of Iris, but it was an odd choice at the time given that she was known as a protagonist on AW, not a heroine.  I know the show pre-dates Blaine, but a younger woman, on the come up, trying to find a partner, is more compelling than a woman "of a certain age" who had already learned her lessons from years of trails and tribulations.  I was a big Iris fan, but just like the failure of the Kramer spinoff from Sienfield, there can be too much of a good thing in tv dramas.  Obviously, there were other characters from the start, but Iris was undoubtedly the main draw, and removing her so quickly from Reena's orbit did not allow a smooth transition to a new person who we loved to hate.

 

Also, the initial plot was a love story which was never her central motivating factor.  Iris had been through many men during her time and Bay City and she refused to change for any of them, (including the totally dreamy Robert Delaney).  In fact, she never seemed to bemoan a lost love or worry about being single.   Then, you have Dennis, who should have been the male lead given his history on the show and his relationship to Iris, but he was SORASed and recast shortly before the show premiered so there was no connection between the audience and the actor.  Finally, the casting of Alex Wheeler was obviously flawed, so much so that they killed him off twice in the first year.  Re-watching the show, I couldn't pinpoint if Alex lacked charm due to poor acting or poor writing, but it was hard to believe that this sleazeball in a leisure suit could persuade Iris to leave Bay City, as well as promote such loyalty from Ginny, Ryan, and the rest his staff. 

 

In addition to frequent cast overhauls, and suddenly missing families, there was the problem of multiple writers as evidenced by the confounding "social issues" plot regarding Elliot Carrington and Barrett Marshall.  The backstory was about war crimes that occurred in Vietnam.  The production seemed unsure about whether to pin the crime on Elliot or Barrett.  Barrett was the obvious choice because he was the third wheel in the popular Ryan/Ginny romance.  But, it may have seemed distasteful to have a long lost war veteran be responsible for killing innocent families and the actor playing Ryan was eager to leave the show around the time of his wedding to Ginny, thus there may have been a future for the character of Barrett.  So, then Elliot became a prime suspect and the story hinted that he may have planted the memory of committing the war crimes in Barrett's already troubled mind.  He was also the spanner in the Iris/Alex love story, and even though there had been no prior evidence of mental illness when he was in Bay City, suddenly he was very unstable in Houston, and even went so far as to slap Iris when he found out that Alex was Dennis's biological father.  However, Elliot had some story potential with both Dennis and Paige, and his pairing with Paige was a compelling redemption story after both of them had been rejected by everyone in town.  But then, after another writer change, Barrett and Elliott had their final mental breakdowns and left the show.  This kind of back and forth just ruined the pace of the storytelling and made both characters seem to change motivations randomly according to plot convenience. 

 

We were an NBC soap household and I was always excited for the premiere of a new show because there was always so much hype, and NBC started so many new soaps.  After the total snoozefest of How to Survive a Marriage (this 6-year-old  was predictably not engaged by a feminist take on the dynamics of 70's relationships), I was thrilled to see Iris have some new adventures.  But those hopes were quickly dashed.  If anyone has read any of my other posts then you know that I despise when "bitchy women" are tamed by the love of a "good man", and for me that was the central concept of Texas and its biggest shortcoming.   

 

Lastly, don't even get me started on the redundancies of both Wheeler brothers having conniving ex-wives who popped up in Houston just in time to spoil their new relationships.

 

Edited by j swift
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12 hours ago, AbcNbc247 said:

Should've known lol

 

I don't really remember a lot about the character of Jeb. Did he and Courtney end up together?

They broke up right before Courtney left town. Poor Catherine Hickland was also wasted. Texas had a soft reboot during the Writers Strike which is nuts.

Edited by victoria foxton
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7 hours ago, victoria foxton said:

 Texas had a soft reboot during the Writers Strike which is nuts.

From what I saw, I remembering thinking that it kinda dropped off during the strike. Except for Max's death, the show seemed a little snoozy at that time.

16 hours ago, j swift said:

In addition to frequent cast overhauls, and suddenly missing families, there was the problem of multiple writers as evidenced by the confounding "social issues" plot regarding Elliot Carrington and Barrett Marshall.  The backstory was about war crimes that occurred in Vietnam.  The production seemed unsure about whether to pin the crime on Elliot or Barrett.  Barrett was the obvious choice because he was the third wheel in the popular Ryan/Ginny romance.  But, it may have seemed distasteful to have a long lost war veteran be responsible for killing innocent families and the actor playing Ryan was eager to leave the show around the time of his wedding to Ginny, thus there may have been a future for the character of Barrett.  So, then Elliot became a prime suspect and the story hinted that he may have planted the memory of committing the war crimes in Barrett's already troubled mind.  He was also the spanner in the Iris/Alex love story, and even though there had been no prior evidence of mental illness when he was in Bay City, suddenly he was very unstable in Houston, and even went so far as to slap Iris when he found out that Alex was Dennis's biological father.  However, Elliot had some story potential with both Dennis and Paige, and his pairing with Paige was a compelling redemption story after both of them had been rejected by everyone in town.  But then, after another writer change, Barrett and Elliott had their final mental breakdowns and left the show.  This kind of back and forth just ruined the pace of the storytelling and made both characters seem to change motivations randomly according to plot convenience. 

I think that might have been due to the change in writers. The Corringtons probably wanted Elliot to be the one who betrayed the prisoners at the prison camp, but when Dorothy Ann Purser and Sam Ratcliffe took over, they changed it to Barrett.

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42 minutes ago, Soaplovers said:

Would it have worked better if it were Pat Matthews in the spin off vs Iris?  She and reena didn't like one another on AW..and the show had hinted at Reena's husband liking Pat before spin off started.

I don't think it would've matter. Texas was so DULL.

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51 minutes ago, Soaplovers said:

Would it have worked better if it were Pat Matthews in the spin off vs Iris?  She and reena didn't like one another on AW..and the show had hinted at Reena's husband liking Pat before spin off started.

I think it would have worked with Reena on her own returning to Texas after her marriage imploded. 

 

Also, I just re-read the 1980 synopsis and Blaine was already in Bay City and was on her own (between her pairings with Jamey and Sandy), so she could have crossed over easily, given her ranching experience.  Meanwhile, Iris divorced Brian one week before visiting Houston, and Mac had just recovered from his trauma with Janice, so it was an especially odd time for her to pack up and leave town.

Edited by j swift
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20 hours ago, j swift said:

Thinking back, it was a show that was flawed from its initial conception.  They tried to center the plot around the popularity of Iris, but it was an odd choice at the time given that she was known as a protagonist on AW, not a heroine.  I know the show pre-dates Blaine, but a younger woman, on the come up, trying to find a partner, is more compelling than a woman "of a certain age" who had already learned her lessons from years of trails and tribulations.  I was a big Iris fan, but just like the failure of the Kramer spinoff from Sienfield, there can be too much of a good thing in tv dramas.  Obviously, there were other characters from the start, but Iris was undoubtedly the main draw, and removing her so quickly from Reena's orbit did not allow a smooth transition to a new person who we loved to hate.

 

Also, the initial plot was a love story which was never her central motivating factor.  Iris had been through many men during her time and Bay City and she refused to change for any of them, (including the totally dreamy Robert Delaney).  In fact, she never seemed to bemoan a lost love or worry about being single.   Then, you have Dennis, who should have been the male lead given his history on the show and his relationship to Iris, but he was SORASed and recast shortly before the show premiered so there was no connection between the audience and the actor.  Finally, the casting of Alex Wheeler was obviously flawed, so much so that they killed him off twice in the first year.  Re-watching the show, I couldn't pinpoint if Alex lacked charm due to poor acting or poor writing, but it was hard to believe that this sleazeball in a leisure suit could persuade Iris to leave Bay City, as well as promote such loyalty from Ginny, Ryan, and the rest his staff. 

 

In addition to frequent cast overhauls, and suddenly missing families, there was the problem of multiple writers as evidenced by the confounding "social issues" plot regarding Elliot Carrington and Barrett Marshall.  The backstory was about war crimes that occurred in Vietnam.  The production seemed unsure about whether to pin the crime on Elliot or Barrett.  Barrett was the obvious choice because he was the third wheel in the popular Ryan/Ginny romance.  But, it may have seemed distasteful to have a long lost war veteran be responsible for killing innocent families and the actor playing Ryan was eager to leave the show around the time of his wedding to Ginny, thus there may have been a future for the character of Barrett.  So, then Elliot became a prime suspect and the story hinted that he may have planted the memory of committing the war crimes in Barrett's already troubled mind.  He was also the spanner in the Iris/Alex love story, and even though there had been no prior evidence of mental illness when he was in Bay City, suddenly he was very unstable in Houston, and even went so far as to slap Iris when he found out that Alex was Dennis's biological father.  However, Elliot had some story potential with both Dennis and Paige, and his pairing with Paige was a compelling redemption story after both of them had been rejected by everyone in town.  But then, after another writer change, Barrett and Elliott had their final mental breakdowns and left the show.  This kind of back and forth just ruined the pace of the storytelling and made both characters seem to change motivations randomly according to plot convenience. 

 

We were an NBC soap household and I was always excited for the premiere of a new show because there was always so much hype, and NBC started so many new soaps.  After the total snoozefest of How to Survive a Marriage (this 6-year-old  was predictably not engaged by a feminist take on the dynamics of 70's relationships), I was thrilled to see Iris have some new adventures.  But those hopes were quickly dashed.  If anyone has read any of my other posts then you know that I despise when "bitchy women" are tamed by the love of a "good man", and for me that was the central concept of Texas and its biggest shortcoming.   

 

Lastly, don't even get me started on the redundancies of both Wheeler brothers having conniving ex-wives who popped up in Houston just in time to spoil their new relationships.

 

 

I absolutely love your idea of Blaine being on Texas. That could have been interesting. Blaine and Dennis had a flirtation on Another World as I recollect. What could have been interesting is if Blaine and Dennis hooked up, split for Houston, and then Iris followed to break them up. Previously, Iris had interfered in Dennis' relationships, so it would have been in character for her to meddle in Blaine and Dennis' relationship rather than become a heroine.

 

I recall the original plans were for Russ and Pat to be major characters on Texas (then known as Another World: Houston). It seems like Iris was a last minute addition to the new soap, especially since Beverlee McKinsey returned to Another World just a week before the Texas characters began to be introduced. 

 

Jim Poyner had actually been in the role of Dennis for two years before he moved over to Texas. So the audience was invested in him. I absolutely loved the chemistry between Paige and Eliot and was so disappointed when Eliot left in late 1981. I don't recall Eliot having a final mental breakdown. I think he just vanished after Poyner and McKinsey left the show.

 

And I don't recall Alex having an ex-wife. Yes, Grant had his ex Judith who showed up to cause trouble for Grant and Reena. But I have no recollection of an ex-wife for Alex. He had had an affair with the married Victoria Bellman but that relationship was over when we met Alex (I think Vicky was still in love with Alex). The writers seemed to race through the Alex/Iris relationship. They reconnected in August and were married in November. Alex was dead by June 1981.

 

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50 minutes ago, robbwolff said:

Jim Poyner had actually been in the role of Dennis for two years before he moved over to Texas. So the audience was invested in him. I absolutely loved the chemistry between Paige and Eliot and was so disappointed when Eliot left in late 1981. I don't recall Eliot having a final mental breakdown. I think he just vanished after Poyner and McKinsey left the show.

I see that one of Poyner's AW storylines as Dennis was having an affair with Cecile's mother, Elena (one of Iris' friends). Perhaps his interest in older woman could have continued on TEXAS?

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36 minutes ago, amybrickwallace said:

I am sad that none of Philip English's (Dr. Colin Wakefield, The Doctors, 1978-79) work on Texas is anywhere to be found on YouTube. What was his arc on this show? 

He was a geologist that started off the Hitopah storyline. I think he also had a brief flirtation with Ginny.

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2 minutes ago, amybrickwallace said:

 

Thanks! Was he a good guy or a bad guy. I ask because he played slimy Colin so well.

Not sure. The last episode that AOL posted was the one where he showed up at the Marshall Ranch during a storm and Ginny was going to shoot him. I checked AWHP, he wasn't on for very long.

Edited by AbcNbc247
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