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Best returns for previous soap characters


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In honor of Thom Bierdz's return to Y&R...

Soap characters come and go for random reasons. The ones we usually notice are those when a prominent face of the past comes back. Sometimes this is a flop (like almost every major OLTL return over the past few years), but let's focus on the ones that have worked.

This doesn't have to be the same actor, it can just be the character returning.

My pick for best would be Roger and Holly on GL. Roger is, on paper, a character who never should have worked out as anything but the increasingly unbalanced violater of women and loather of Bauers who went off the cliff in 1980. They were, somewhere, insane to bring him back. Yet, Roger on his return was astonishingly complex, a man we understood through every love and hate, every rivalry and surprising friendship. They never ignored his past, but they also never repeated it. Roger could gut you like a fish, but he also carried deep scars for what he'd done to Holly. And they knew how to keep him in limits. There's a great scene where Blake asks Roger to kill Beth, and he is stunned at what she is asking him, and at what his daughter has become.

Holly's return also had risks, because she spent her previous run as the neurotic woman tormented by Roger and her own demons. This still carried over into her new persona, but with it came dry, caustic humor, wit, a more mature sexuality, and a jagged edge under all the world-weariness. There was no one else like Holly on the show, and few like her in daytime, and there's a reason why she was a key part of many of GL's best stories in the first half of the 90s.

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^Aw, Nancy Curlee told us she fought hard for Roger and Holly's return, Ed Trach didn't want them to be brought back and her Co-HW at the time, Pam Long, had never seen them on-screen before. Her passion and deep understanding of these two characters, their complex relationship, and their existence outside of one another's orbits was very noticeable and commendable during Curlee's Head Writing run. Though they existed before, and were written for by people like the Dobson's and Marland, I really think Curlee made them real people. She added a realness to both characters that I don't think was very noticeable before. I mean, how she made Roger a successful integrated character after all he did prior to his return is nothing short of astonishing. I also think Maureen Garrett looked her best in the early 90's, I think she was in touch with her sexuality as an actress, and from what I've seen of her prior to her return, I don't think that was really there before.

I really can't think of a soap return over the past 15 years or so that was very successful...

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It was very brief but I loved Dina on Y&R. She put Sharon in check, and that was enough for me. LoL. I also thought Juliana McCarthy was a good one on Y&R during the Jill/Katherine story. Tricia Cast return most definitely.

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^Aw, Nancy Curlee told us she fought hard for Roger and Holly's return, Ed Trach didn't want them to be brought back and her Co-HW at the time, Pam Long, had never seen them on-screen before. Her passion and deep understanding of these two characters, their complex relationship, and their existence outside of one another's orbits was very noticeable and commendable during Curlee's Head Writing run. Though they existed before, and were written for by people like the Dobson's and Marland, I really think Curlee made them real people. She added a realness to both characters that I don't think was very noticeable before. I mean, how she made Roger a successful integrated character after all he did prior to his return is nothing short of astonishing. I also think Maureen Garrett looked her best in the early 90's, I think she was in touch with her sexuality as an actress, and from what I've seen of her prior to her return, I don't think that was really there before.

I really can't think of a soap return over the past 15 years or so that was very successful...

I agree. There were some jarring moments under Long (like when she had Holly almost have sex with Roger to try to prove his infidelity to Alex), but Curlee seemed to know them. I never knew just how responsible she was for their return and the care in the writing for them until I started reading soap boards. I definitely agree Maureen Garrett was more in touch with the sexual aspect of her character when she returned, although Holly's writing for most of Garrett's first tenure didn't exactly require a sexual nature.

When I look at their history I am even more surprised GL managed to bring them back. I know soaps had bigger budgets and more talent at the time but now they don't seem to be able to handle even the simplest returns.

In more recent years, I think B&E did a good job with returning Angie and Jesse to AMC, although the show seemed to stop writing for them soon afterwards.

And of course, Nina on Y&R. Cashton, MTSRocks, I didn't want to put her because it's only been a few months, I don't want to jinx anything. But I love Nina and I have been very pleasantly surprised with the writing for her return so far.

I also agree about Dina. I had never seen Dina, minus a few short-lived returns in the 90s where she suffered nobly while Ashley hurled abuse at her. THIS Dina, the one who returned for Kathereine's funeral, was far more what I had expected Dina to be. Great scenes.

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Holly and Roger - the soap couple you feel you're eavesdropping in on they're so real and brutal. Damn I'm WASTED!

Really? I'm only on my second Amstel Light.

I don't think any show, not even GH or Y&R, ever had a couple as real, soulful, or multi-dimensional as Roger & Holly.

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Here are some of their fireworks from July 4, 1993.

http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=classicGL&view=videos&query=persistence

I almost forgot to say that even though Liz Taylor's work as Helena was only a cameo for a few days in 1981, I will praise Constance Towers for bringing Helena Cassadine back to GH. Helena is nothing more than a great big honking plot device. ALL the credit for her goes to the sexy, sublime, droll Constance.

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Here are some of their fireworks from July 4, 1993.

http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=classicGL&view=videos&query=persistence

The first time since the infamous rape they had sex, but of course, they could still never get over the rape and Holly felt disgusted soon afterwords. Two weeks after this aired, there was that party Holly threw for Ed at the Country Club, where a drunk Roger storms in and he and Holly get into a verbal battle where everyone learns that they had sex. I loved the dialogue and acting in those scenes. You don't see writing and acting like that anymore.

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After Michael died, they played a clip of what you described. Maureen introduced it. I don't think I've ever seen the full clips online though.

Back then I took soap quality for granted, I would think, "Why can't the entire show be like this? Why can't all my favorites get this writing?" Now I'd settle for even one or two good stories on a soap.

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I enjoyed Frisco's return to GH just in time to see Felicia marry Coltin Shore. Laura's return to GH in 1983 was good, as was Luke and Laura's return in 1985 to kick off te Aztec Treasure caper.

I am still waiting for some OLTL writer to pen the epic return of Dr Ivan Kipling.

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It's very difficult to create another story like Roger & Holly. You need that electric chemistry but you also need writers who are willing to take their time to tell a story. I think writers are too afraid that audiences don't have any sort of attention span, which is really not true.

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Awww now you have me thinking about how much I loved AMC in years past. I was a little one, but I remember being sooooo excited when Maria Santos came back on AMC after being presumed dead (I think her airplane fell into a volcano - but I was probably only about 8 or 9 years old when this happened, so it's sorta fuzzy! I just remember being devastated because I was sure that Brooke was dead - I guess if she died then we'd have some closure to that legacy character)... but when Maria came back, it was like the most exciting thing EVER!

ETA: UGH i don't think this post made sense, but like most of you I've been engaging in the festivities!!! happy 4th, ya'll!

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I would love to see Brooke back on AMC. AMC's ratings suck anyway, are people really interested in watching Adam and Annie -- who could probably pass for his granddaughter? Erica always hated Brooke and vice versa. An Erica/Adam/Brooke triangle would be a zillion times more interesting that what's on our screens right now.

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