Genie Francis Shows’em in The Note

By Marlena De Lacroix

For the first hour of the Hallmark Channel’s Christmas movie The Note, I felt kind of bored and uncomfortable as Genie Francis played a frumpy (though definitely thinner) middle-aged newspaper columnist who seems to be in need of a stylish makeover or at least a spiked eggnog.  Did I really want to watch a slow-paced Hallmark Christmas movie, all bathed in holy-ish holiday golden light, on a channel where there is no cleavage?  But I hung in there to the end, and was I rewarded!  The Note gives us what General Hospital never ever does anymore:  an emotional payoff so deep and powerful, it leaves both Genie’s character and you in tears.

Oh Genie, what those dopey TPTB at GH are robbing us of! Genie can deliver one from the heart as few actors, and even few soap opera actors, can.  The Note is a journey in which Genie’s very sad, very temperate Peyton MacGruder slowly sheds her depression and the tragedy of her past to find love at Christmastime.  The catalyst is a note in a plastic bag  (as opposed to the prototypical note in a bottle) Peyton finds that has floated to the shore after a fatal airplane crash near her coastal town.  Intense public interest in The Note gives her an opportunity to save her threatened job as a columnist  (not enough emails) who writes about matters of the heart.  She embarks on a national journey to find who The Note was addressed to.

At first, it’s just a journalistic quest aimed at getting a  sensationalistic newspaper story.  But what she ultimately discovers in the search for the addressee of the note has much more to do with the unbottling of her hurt from her tragic personal past.  Peyton is a widow, and that’s just the beginning of her wrenching, very soapy back story.

Along the way are some perky characters who help to brighten up Peyton’s rather bleak journey.  Working at the newspaper, advising her on her big story and ultimately becoming her love interest, too, is a fellow columnist named King, who has the jaw, awesome hair and quick charm of a soap opera star.  He’s Ted McGinley, Marlena’s old boyfriend from the ancient era of Happy Days and later Married With Children  (I’ve  worked at lotsa newspapers,  and I guarantee you there are no newspaper guys who look like as this!)

The rest of the low-budget Hallmark movie cast is filled with Canadian actors you’ve never seen before or heard of.  They all do just fine, but it’s frustrating to soap viewers like you and I who get a warm familial feeling from identifying cast members as actors we’ve watched in the past.

With ads and talk show appearances, Hallmark has cleverly marketed The Note to Genie’s old fans from GH.  And they’ve been pretty smart, because The Note affords Genie a showcase to do what she does best:  act from the heart. What use would the writers of General Hospital s mob saga, the video game-esque haunted house and penchant for woman-murdering have for Genie Francis and Laura Spencer now? 

Comments

  1. lynn says:

    Dearest Marlena, you are a far more patient woman than I. I got as far as the as the insipid voice-over and thought to myself, “Well, that’s an hour of my life I’ll never get back. I have cookies to bake and gifts to wrap.” Then I hit the delete key. So now you tell me I have to watch the damn thing! For any other impatient souls, “The Note” repeats this Thursday at 9pm EST.

  2. Ryan Chandler says:

    As much as I love Genie, I probably wouldn’t think twice about watching this movie. That said, I’ve been looking for something good to watch, and I may just tune in to see why you liked it so much.

    Keep up the great work!

    -Ryan

  3. Joyce says:

    Enjoyed reading your review. I didn’t finish watching, not because I wasn’t interested. My cable went bonkers for a while there. Yet I was enjoying the movie and the journey of the note, and look forward to seeing it again on Thursday without technical difficulties.

  4. Tishy says:

    Ahhh Marlena, now I will have to watch this! I love GF and will watch her in anything. Now that you have given the stamp of approval, I will definately watch this. General Hospital is so missing this gem of an actress. Bring back the moral compass of the show!

  5. Esther says:

    Congrats on the new site, Marlena!

    I do miss Genie and her warmth on my screen. I was watching something else that night but kept turning back to it at commercials and thought she looked pretty great. Glad it has a great payoff for you at least since it was molasses to get through.

    As for Genie on GH, from what I have heard from my sources, they will probably never ask her back. You see, while Divas are fun to watch, they sure aren’t fun to work with.

    Marlena says: Esther if you weren’t Marlena’s staunchest supporter from “Savoring Soaps” days I wouldn’t print your little piece of salacious gossip about Genie. Why is it that everyone on the net has to rain on someone else’s parade? Come on gal, lighten up–it’s Christmas!

  6. BL says:

    When it comes to the holidays, I can be a bit sentimental so I actually liked the movie even if it was a predictable. The premise was sweet, though I didn’t understand why Peyton (Genie’s character) was allowed to keep the note from the airplane. Wouldn’t they have confiscated it from her?

    Seeing Ted McGinley made me fear for the movie, as he is a known show killer.(He is the patron saint of jumptheshark.com) I do agree though that I missed seeing other actors I was familiar with as that’s part of the fun in watching these.

  7. Bryon May says:

    Amen! Thanks Marlena for writing exactly what I feel!

  8. Tony says:

    I booked an interview with Genie on a radio show I produce while she was doing publicity for “The Note.” The Genie that I met was not a diva at all. Actually, she seemed pretty humble.

  9. AngelFace says:

    Genie a Diva? Oh, Come! Come! In 30 years I’ve followed this treasure’s career, I heard only love-fest comments from anyone who was anyone on that show. Diva’s are Whitney’s and Mariah’s NOT our beloved Genie.

    I thought the movie was beautiful. A new holiday classic. A little sappy yes. It you don’t like that, don’t watch Hallmark. Genie’s acting was superb as always and I think she looks fabulous, Dahlings!

    I daresay, unless they do something so that Luke Spencer doesn’t look like a shriveled up old prune over at GH that Genie need not worry about going back. Honestly, at this point she would look more like his child than his wife.

    But look at our Golden Girl. Ms. Francis looks fabulous, healthy and happy…..three hand snaps and a Meow! Go girl! Go! I thought the movie was tender, goodhearted and wonderful – just what we need at this time of year.
    Ho! Ho! Ho!

  10. Jack says:

    Dear Marlena,

    I just came across this article…just a note to the TPTB…I boycott GH while Genie is not on…It is 8/26/2008 – she’s back and I’m watching again…

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