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3 minutes ago, j swift said:

Not to make it a competition, but upon reflection, I preferred Cass with Frankie.  Kathleen was always a bit of a damsel in distress, going blind, being wheelchair bound, kidnapped etc, which creates routing value, but is not the type of heroine that I enjoy.  Whereas Frankie challenged Cass and felt more like an equal because she rescued Cass as often he aided her.

 

There was too much telling us how wonderful Frankie was and how Frankie and Cass should be together for me to care about them, especially during the triangle with Kathleen, where they even gave her a miscarriage to manipulate viewers. There was a real insecurity in the writing about viewers not supporting her. I think Alice Barrett and Steven Schnetzer worked well enough together, but I just don't feel like the pairing represented all sides of Cass. 

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9 minutes ago, DRW50 said:

 

There was too much telling us how wonderful Frankie was and how Frankie and Cass should be together for me to care about them, especially during the triangle with Kathleen, where they even gave her a miscarriage to manipulate viewers. There was a real insecurity in the writing about viewers not supporting her. I think Alice Barrett and Steven Schnetzer worked well enough together, but I just don't feel like the pairing represented all sides of Cass. 

 

I too preferred Frankie/Cass - I agree with j swift's take that while both were tough women, Frankie was actually written as more proactive which made that pairing better balanced -  but my personal distaste for the way the triangle was written was not so much the miscarriage - that's classic soap - as the sort of unsympathetic writing that was given to Kathleen.
I am fine with them nudging the audience in the direction they have chosen but even as I agreed with that direction, I still feel they did Kathleen who was a loveable character a disservice in small subtle ways in the process.

What I absolutely adored with that story though - and why I agreed with their chosen endgame - is Cass' realization that he had changed, matured and he wasn't "that guy" seeking adventure anymore. That was nice character writing and there is nothing I like more than when a soap manages to tie a plot with its usual soap twists and turns with some digging into a character's personality and psyche and that was a nicely done story about who Cass was. 
Definitely screwed Kathleen over in the process and for fans of them from the 80s I would definitely understand why they'd resent it.
Does anyone know if her return was always intended to be mid-term or they just decided they had no more use for her after the triangle was resolved?

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47 minutes ago, Spoon said:

John Considine was a pretty strong actor who should've returned to the show at some point and keep the Love family prominent.  Reggie meddling in his family's affairs is classic soap and writes itself.

 

They made Reginald too much of a cartoon and made his crimes too unforgivable. He supposedly loved Mary but his motivation for lying to her was not to protect her from anything, just to keep her from leaving him. His only interest in his children was in Protecting the Family Name. He tried to get Victoria on his side primarily to "pwn" Michael. He killed Zane and Sally just as a way to write the characters out. Ironically, his McGuffin was called "the trump" (and it didn't really drive that much story, although it did somehow bring Mitch onto the canvas and also cross over with Cecile).

 

20 minutes ago, j swift said:

Kathleen was always a bit of a damsel in distress, going blind, being wheelchair bound, kidnapped etc, which creates routing value, but is not the type of heroine that I enjoy. 

 

Kathleen didn't really start out as a damsel. She was initially presented as Cass' equal in a lot of ways, as a professional woman (whose career had somehow been derailed). In the early 80s I thought AW was good at incorporating various careers but in 1985 that all started to go off the rails. Sally removed as art director for Brava and made into the Lesoleil spokesmodel.

 

I feel like I don't remember Kathleen being blind (although her and Cass' theme was If You Say My Eyes Are Beautiful) or kidnapped (Cass was kidnapped by Cecile) . . . Rachel was both, possibly more than once.

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21 minutes ago, DRW50 said:

 

There was too much telling us how wonderful Frankie was and how Frankie and Cass should be together for me to care about them, especially during the triangle with Kathleen, where they even gave her a miscarriage to manipulate viewers. There was a real insecurity in the writing about viewers not supporting her. I think Alice Barrett and Steven Schnetzer worked well enough together, but I just don't feel like the pairing represented all sides of Cass. 

Frankie always acted like she was the best thing in Cass life. Which was really annoying. Long before her other people had helped shape Cass. Like Felicia, Wallingford and Kathleen. Cass & Kathleen were something special. A shame a resurrected Kathleen was only used as a short term obstacle. 

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44 minutes ago, FrenchBug82 said:

 

I too preferred Frankie/Cass - I agree with j swift's take that while both were tough women, Frankie was actually written as more proactive which made that pairing better balanced -  but my personal distaste for the way the triangle was written was not so much the miscarriage - that's classic soap - as the sort of unsympathetic writing that was given to Kathleen.
I am fine with them nudging the audience in the direction they have chosen but even as I agreed with that direction, I still feel they did Kathleen who was a loveable character a disservice in small subtle ways in the process.

What I absolutely adored with that story though - and why I agreed with their chosen endgame - is Cass' realization that he had changed, matured and he wasn't "that guy" seeking adventure anymore. That was nice character writing and there is nothing I like more than when a soap manages to tie a plot with its usual soap twists and turns with some digging into a character's personality and psyche and that was a nicely done story about who Cass was. 
Definitely screwed Kathleen over in the process and for fans of them from the 80s I would definitely understand why they'd resent it.
Does anyone know if her return was always intended to be mid-term or they just decided they had no more use for her after the triangle was resolved?

I recall reading an interview with Julie Osborne where she stated she extended her contract and the show wanted her to stay but her life was on the west coast.  They were putting Kathleen in Grant's orbit towards the end of her run and I suspect that is what her next story would have been if she stayed around.

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I do recall Kathleen and Grant being tested, and I did like how she served as her cousin Jake's conscience during her 1991 return.

 

At least she was allowed to leave with her dignity, even teasing her meeting a guy on the plane.

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On 7/1/2021 at 7:22 PM, Xanthe said:

 

They made Reginald too much of a cartoon and made his crimes too unforgivable. He supposedly loved Mary but his motivation for lying to her was not to protect her from anything, just to keep her from leaving him. His only interest in his children was in Protecting the Family Name. He tried to get Victoria on his side primarily to "pwn" Michael. He killed Zane and Sally just as a way to write the characters out. Ironically, his McGuffin was called "the trump" (and it didn't really drive that much story, although it did somehow bring Mitch onto the canvas and also cross over with Cecile).

 

I loved (pun intended) the creation of the Love house as a cold old money family with deep dark secrets, but it was difficult to keep Reginald in the mix after a while.  Donna had money again with Michael.  Peter was destroyed as a character once his marriage to Brittany was over.  Mary went back to the McKinnons.  Nicole...well that character never really was finessed.  Vicky and Marley were in their own world making their way and not really Loves, but Hudson's.  They would have needed to develop more business angles like perhaps a run for taking over Cory Publishing or creating a company that hired many of the people of Bay City and then had work storylines.  It was fun for a while....but burnt itself out and with it the Love mansion.... 

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It has been accepted as an article of faith for as long as I can remember that while Philece Sampler was a wonderful actress and a lovely person, she just didn't fit as Donna. She even acknowledged that many fans felt that way in one of the interviews of her I binged on today and she seems to think that was down to AS having made such an impact with her portrayal.

 

But I'd be interested to hear why ya'll thought that.

Admittedly watching those years back, I see Donna being somewhat different but in a way that seems to me in sync with what the writing was for the character at the time.
So what did we think that she, as an actress, didn't embody that AS did? That couldn't put simply put down to the writing or to nostalgia for the OG?

I have thoughts but I am curious to hear everyone else's.

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Posted (edited)
24 minutes ago, FrenchBug82 said:

It has been accepted as an article of faith for as long as I can remember that while Philece Sampler was a wonderful actress and a lovely person, she just didn't fit as Donna. She even acknowledged that many fans felt that way in one of the interviews of her I binged on today and she seems to think that was down to AS having made such an impact with her portrayal.

 

But I'd be interested to hear why ya'll thought that.

Admittedly watching those years back, I see Donna being somewhat different but in a way that seems to me in sync with what the writing was for the character at the time.
So what did we think that she, as an actress, didn't embody that AS did? That couldn't put simply put down to the writing or to nostalgia for the OG?

I have thoughts but I am curious to hear everyone else's.

 

The main problem with Philece's Donna is that she was written as a generic ingenue. This was not unique to her - Anna Stuart's last months in the role before she left in 1986 (I'm not sure if this is part of WHY Anna left or she just left for other reasons) also had her suffering, and being victimized and drugged, none of which I find worth watching. 

 

So you had a generic Donna, suffering or being in the midst of vacuous love triangles, with no real depth or wit (which was always key to Donna). I also don't think she had much chemistry with Kale Browne or David Forsyth (although to be fair to her that was not a unique problem...). And she simply looked too young to be the mother to Vicky and Marley. 

 

When Harding Lemay and then Donna Swajeski got into the main chair, Donna began to act more like her old self, and Philece was better, but she was mostly just doing what Anna Stuart would do a better job with if she were in the role. 

 

Anna basically was Donna. I know that there were bigger roles which were somewhat successfully recast, like Iris or Rachel, but Anna brought so many of her specific nuances as a performer to the role and in many periods of time, was literally the only thing that kept the role together at all. Not to be too glib in comparisons (apologies @vetsoapfan) but I might say it's a similar issue to the attempts at recasting Alice after Jacquie Courtney left the role. 

 

Philece likely would have been fine in another part - maybe yet another of Mac's cousins or nieces or whatever, or a recast of Nicole Love - but she just wasn't Donna. 

Edited by DRW50
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I can talk Donna Love Hudson all day long.    But I think the powers that be felt as though they had to make Donna a more sympathetic character that her being a rich Ice Queen/Snob would not keep her in the fabric of Bay City with any genuine connections.  While Iris was similar, she was a Cory and thus kept her in the middle of storylines easier.  If Donna remained so cold and aloof she would have just been "dismissed" by most of the characters and it would have limited keeping her on the canvas.  And I agree that the process started before the recast, the casting of PS made that transition a faster track.  As the Love family intrigue started to fade away with the death of Reginald, Peter not being viable, Nicole gone, Marley and Vicky in their own worlds...they worked to push her into the stories with Felicia and the gang and their adventures.  While some may argue it was perhaps a misstep, it may have kept the character around.  

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15 hours ago, DRW50 said:

Not to be too glib in comparisons (apologies @vetsoapfan) but I might say it's a similar issue to the attempts at recasting Alice after Jacquie Courtney left the role. 

 

LOL, no need to apologize. While I do believe that firing Courtney, Reinholt and Dwyer in 1975 was a huge mistake (akin to axing the Bauers on TGL in the early 1980s), and that trying to replace Courtney was a losing proposition from the get-go (none of the replacements could hold a candle to her), there are other stars that should not have been replaced either. Some actors are simply too iconic and identified with their roles for recasting to be feasible. 

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Philece being too young to play a mom to Vicky and Marley never held water with me since Donna was 15 when she had the twins.

 

What others said before, her Donna was more emotional, and in trying to make Donna comedic..made her seem like a ditz.

 

Anna's Donna was more regal, snobbish, and kept her emotions in check.  After all, she had to remove her all emotions when dealing with Marley.  And I often think Harding Lemay would have had a field day writing for Marley because of her backstory.

 

Anyway, in the last few months of Philece playing Donna..she acted more like Donna..but not quite.

 

And I agree with others that Nicole love would have been perfect for Philece.  Nicole was always more prone to emotion, being her own worst enemy.  Similar to Renee from Days.

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Posted (edited)

 

34 minutes ago, Soaplovers said:

What others said before, her Donna was more emotional, and in trying to make Donna comedic..made her seem like a ditz.

 

Anyway, in the last few months of Philece playing Donna..she acted more like Donna..but not quite.


Yes to all that and it kinda confirms what I believe: that the writing was two-thirds of the problems. Donna's storylines were weepier at that time, they were going for a softer Donna.
It had started before the recast but sometimes we forget that TPTB might take an opportunity to push a character "change" when writing for a recast rather than the actor being the one unable to play the original version.
It is true that Philece excuded a very warm natural energy that didn't quite track with AS's more icey bitchiness BUT if she had been given more snobby lines and such she would have been able to build up that part of the character and I bet it wouldn't be as jarring.
However once they made Donna a mother, I guess they wanted to lean in on the motherly thing (made WAY worse with the Mikey storyline). And there was no way PS could play those storylines bitchily!
 

As for age: Philece was 33-34 when she started so it is indeed not impossible to believe she was a mother to 17-18yo if she had them at 15yo. AS was 5 years older though so that made it a smoother leap of faith. Philece did look younger than her age but as PS said in one of the interviews, in real life, the math worked out.

 

Edited by FrenchBug82
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3 minutes ago, FrenchBug82 said:

As for age: Philece was 33-34 when she started so it is indeed not impossible to believe she was a mother to 17-18yo if she had them at 15yo. AS was 5 years older though so that made it a smoother leap of faith. Philece did look younger than her age but as PS said in one of the interviews, in real life, the math worked out.

 

Donna was closer to 17 when the twins were born. The math only comes close to working out if Marley & Victoria's ages are frozen at 18, which they sort of handled by casting Anne Heche (although Vicky's storyline with Jamie skewed slightly older). Otherwise Donna was already 35 and the twins 18 two years earlier in 1985.

 

I don't really have a problem with actors playing older or younger than their age if the performance is good and casting not based entirely on appearance. Beverlee McKinsey being too old to be Douglass Watson's daughter can't make me dislike her Iris or his Mac. I  loathed Brittany but not because Sharon Gabet was 10 years older than Thomas Ian Griffith. (Taylor Miller is about the same age as Gabet and Sampler, incidentally.)

 

1 hour ago, Soaplovers said:

Anna's Donna was more regal, snobbish, and kept her emotions in check. 

 

Agree. But she could convey

Donna's emotions within that framework very effectively. 

 

1 hour ago, Soaplovers said:

And I agree with others that Nicole love would have been perfect for Philece.  Nicole was always more prone to emotion, being her own worst enemy.  Similar to Renee from Days.

 

I wonder whether they could have created a triangle between Michael, Nicole (as played by Philece), and David Forsyth (as John or some other character) without doing the unpleasant rape/not rape retcon. 

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2 hours ago, Xanthe said:

Donna was closer to 17 when the twins were born. The math only comes close to working out if Marley & Victoria's ages are frozen at 18, which they sort of handled by casting Anne Heche (although Vicky's storyline with Jamie skewed slightly older). Otherwise Donna was already 35 and the twins 18 two years earlier in 1985.


Not to finesse this point because I understand why some people felt she *looked* too young because she did look young but I think the idea that the math doesn't work because Philece was 33yo and Donna had to be 35yo is kinda nitpicky.

The overall idea is that she looked younger than her age which created a visual problem but because her real age was very close to Donna's it could stand to reason Donna too might have looked younger than she was.

 

2 hours ago, Xanthe said:

Agree. But she could convey Donna's emotions within that framework very effectively. 


I think we all agree that Donna of the AS years was a superior character. The question is how much is it down to Philece being miscast.
AS is a spectacular actress; no doubt about it. She could play the layers of icy bitchiness AND vulnerabilities perfectly.

And my coda is that I believe PS could have but the writing for Donna during her tenure was heavily focused on the latter. So while there is an argument her natural warmth would have made it hard for her to play the other full Donna, she wasnt really given the material to prove us wrong

Even the great AS, when the victim period of Donna was unfolding a bit earlier in the mid 80s, didn't have much chance to exude the other part of Donna's personality. She had the longevity that she had established it so could have a period where it wasn't the focus.
PS being new couldn't afford the writing to be off-balance the way it was during those years and perception quickly set in.
In the end, it was for the best that AS came back and the show was better for it. But I don't think the purely academic question of whether this recast was doomed from the start is as settled as conventional wisdom will have it.
 

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