All Hail La Strasser: She’s the “Alexis of Daytime” — Again!

Robin Strasser 

By Marlena De Lacroix

About 1984 or so, when the primetime world was at the height of Dynasty-mania, all the daytime soaps were hustling to introduce characters, all costumed in big-brimmed hats,  who were supposed to be the “Alexis of Daytime.”  Elizabeth Hubbard, new as Lucinda on As the World Turns, was supposed to be the Alexis of Daytime.  Marj Dusay, who played Myrna Clegg on Capitol, was supposed to be the Alexis of Daytime.  Louise Sorel, Augusta Lockridge on Santa Barbara, was supposed to be the Alexis of Daytime.

Baloney, I wrote in an early column headlined “Outrageous” in Michael Logan’s old magazine, Soap Opera People.  We already had the definitive Alexis of Daytime.  Her name was Dorian Lord, and she’d already been played definitively from1979 by Robin Strasser on One Life to Live. Strasser was so good at extreme villainy, she didn’t even have to wear a hat.  And as a life-long Strasser fan (going back to the Alice, Steve and Rachel triangle in the 60s on my first soap, Another World), I also wrote that Strasser was a much better and more serious actress than that overdone poseur, Joan … what’s her name?

So what a truly campy hoot it’s been more than twenty years later this past week to see Dorian wearing a big-brimmed hat (the size of California) as she made a huge Big Entrance at the Buchanan Enterprises Annual Corporate Meeting.  Lips trembling,  Dorian exposed Jared “Buchanan” as a hoax.  For the millionth  time in Strasser’s long, long career, she proved that nobody does Alexis Carrington Alexisbetter than the actress who plays the character who came way before her creation, and survived her — namely Miss Dorian Lord.  That’s Doc-tah to you!

I love that Mr. Headwriter, Ron Carlivati, who obviously knows the history of soaps and can write for Dorian both as a vulnerable older woman and a campy wicked Queen For a Day.  He’s writing the only soap I look forward to watching every day.  Not just because it’s the only truly entertaining soap opera right now, but because it does current story details well and, at the same time, knows its own history.

In all her different shades of black, Dorian has been OLTL’s chief villainess for decades. Remember in 1976  when Dorian killed Victor Lord by standing by and letting him die in the hospital? This was the original version and I saw it with my own eyes!  Later in the early 90s, the facts of the event were changed to appear that Viki had killed him.

Dorian has been played by various actresses (Nancy Pinkerton originated the role;  Claire Malis played her briefly, Elaine Princi played her for a few years), but Strasser owns the role.  She is and always has been the quintessential Dorian. And who else could make this great villainess unexpectedly loads of fun in that big, big hat! Hardly any soap makes me look up from my chair and starts moi laughing in the middle of the afternoon anymore.  Some may call Dorian at the Buchanan Enterprises Annual Meeting “camp,” but moi,  Marlena De LaCroix, is grateful for the good laugh Strasser evoked.  I call it food for life.

Comments

  1. Dale says:

    Oh, Marlena, I knew you couldn’t hold your tongue on this for long! What a delicious treat Ms. Strasser has been for those of us starved for a little bit of over the top action! How much fun is this? I laughed out loud several times during Dorian’s smack down of the Buchanans. Taking Asa’s enormous picture down and gloating, “The king is dead. Long live the Queen!” was soap opera heaven!

    OLTL is the best there is right now! Thanks fore writing about this so quickly!

  2. Tom Casiello says:

    I was totally rendered speechless from this week’s OLTL episodes (as you can see from my blog). Thank you, Marlena, for putting into words what I was unable to. Robin took what could have been DiMera-esque and made it powerful, vulnerable (re: this stemmed from Clint dumping her) and accessible, And thank you, Ron, for the Mel mention. It totally sold the most despicable part of her scheme.

    Marlena says: Tom dear, thank YOU so much for mentioning the Mel part. No one besides Dorian loved her husband Mel more than moi! Mel was brilliant, funny, a newspaper reporter, cuddle-y. When I told Claire Labine that Mel was my dream guy she said, “Marlena, isn’t he the dream guy of all of ours?” (Of course darlings, Claire was writing OLTL and she created him!)

    Ron, if you are reading this, please, please bring Mel back. As a new contributor to this column, Damon, recently said to me, “I hope Ron knows that the body was never found!” (Mel supposedly died in a plane crash.)

  3. Tom C. Greene says:

    Hi Marlena,

    So glad you wrote this.

    Many of us at SON have been posting away furiously about this most welcome renaissance of the soap genre that is OLTL. Of course, the lynchpin has been Robin Strasser as Queen Bee Dorian and several of us, myself included, made the comparison to Alexis Carrington.

    Thank you for reminding us that this version of Dorian predates the more well-known “Joan who?” just as daytime predates the primetime version of the genre. So it’s clear. We know who copied who (or is it whom?) because it worked in daytime first. A fellow poster at SON mentioned Iris Carrington (RIP Bev. M) as another influence for Joan Who’s portrayal of Alexis, which I am sure is true.

    To be fair and just in this big magilla, perhaps we should go back even further to 30′s, 40′s, 50′s Hollywood. That other “Joan”, and Bette, Lana, etc. were all iconic bitch divas in battle garb at one time or another. More often than not though, they were merely the “other woman” who had broken some kind of slumber party code.

    Ms. Strasser as Dorian has brought it to us, updated, liberated, educated and professional, on a daily basis for decades now. Her latest is merely fine tuning. Long live the Queen!

    Love your blog.

    TC

    Marlena says: What a fantastic letter, TC! I love bitch diva movies of the 40s and 50s and it never occured to me before that there was a connection between them and soap bitches. The first soap editor I ever worked for, a real pioneer in the field of intelligent soap journalism, the late Jon-Michael Reed, wrote a sensational series on “The Bitch Goddesses of Daytime” in his magazine, Daytime TV Serials — back in the 70s. I have a collection of them. I don’t think he got up to Dorian, but I will check.

    I love Soap Opera Network — everyone is so nice there. Thanks, TC, for your compliments!

  4. CeCe says:

    Brilliant Ms.Delacroix

    Robin Strasser has been nothing short of perfection this week. OLTL has been on fire. I am loving every minute of it.

  5. Brandon says:

    Marlena, you hit the nail on the head again, as per usual! Strasser — who you just HAVE to know is thrilled to have such juicy material again, after one of the saddest droughts in daytime history (not since she was snogging Nathan Fillion has Strasser looked so visibly happy onscreen!) — has been the cherry on the top of a marvelous, deliriously soapy week (and this was only Wednesday; most current soaps can’t even put together FRIDAYS that are this thrilling!).

    Marlena says: What about Dorian’s romance and continuing snarky friendship with David, as played by the divine Tuc Watkins? I’m sure Robin must enjoy that!

    (Thanks for also correcting my SB boo boo, Brandon.)

  6. Carl says:

    Always love your comments, Marlena, but I have to correct you–Judith McConnell played Sophia Capwell on God’s gift to daytime. Louise Sorel played Augusta Lockridge.

    Marlena says: Whoops! And thanks! I guess I was too busy remembering the hats, not the faces!

  7. Sedrick says:

    The ultimate diva of daytime in a hat so dramatic it should receive star-biliing! Just a week or so ago a poster on SON asked everyone to share the stories that first got them hooked on the various soaps. My memory of my first ONE LIFE addiction went back to the Echo DiSavoy storyline in 1983, and I recounted the intensely dramatic Friday cliffhanger filmed on location in which Echo (played by the electric Kim Zimmer) jumped from the top of a bridge after a struggle with Clint to her supposed death…and witnessing the scene from below was stalwart Viki…and, in what I thought had to be straight from the closet of Alexis Carrington, Dorian Lord in a hat that it eerily similiar to the one she has been casting spells in this very week!

    Ms. Strasser is the ultimate acting legend…not just in daytime, but in all of television! How fitting is the fact that ONE LIFE celebrates 40 years on the air enjoying a truly outstanding rebirth that the one and only Dorian, and Ms. Strasser, are front and center in the action!

  8. Gene says:

    Hi, Marlena, I just want to thank RC for bringing the camp back into daytime drama. The real Dorian, Ms. Robin Strasser is back and better than ever and making us take notice. This is the Dorian we know and love and one of the biggest diva on soaps right now. I glad the writers strike is over and the soap is getting back its mojo and bringing old style soap drama back into daytime. Robin better get a Daytime Nomination next year or I think the award is a bigger joke than ever beforehand.

  9. Dave Feldman says:

    I’m not watching OLTL these days, but several folks have told me that right now, it’s the best soap on TV. I do think Robin Strasser might be my favorite villainness, but to me her gold standard will always be her Rachel on Another World.

    What an up and down cast AW had at that time. But imagine Audra LIndley (no slouch in the villainy department), Constance Ford, and Robin Strasser in the same show at the same time. I just loved the scenes between Rachel and Ada, especially when they had nothing to do but recap and kill time. I guess Agnes modeled the Erica/Mona relationship on AMC after Rachel and Ada, but I always preferred the latter, because Ada was more equipped to fight back than Mona.

    So I haven’t seen the Dorian scenes you describe, but I can imagine them. Robin has always brought energy and fun to all of her roles. What a talent and what an asset to any show she is on.

    Out of the blue, a friend told me that Tuesday’s OLTL was a must-see. I wonder if the Dorian scenes are what she was referring to?

  10. Linda says:

    All Hail the Queen!!! Robin was Great!!! I watched the episode live and now I wish I had taped it. Dorian is one of my favorite characters in daytime. Although I no longer watch OLTL regularly I am so glad I got to see this episode.

  11. MD says:

    Finally, Dorian gets to use those pretty sharp teeth of hers again. She’s not to be devalued as some clawless, bubbleheaded, French-spouting wannabe diva. Dorian IS diva, and shame on OLTL for EVER forgetting that fact.

    I was so thrilled to see *my* Dorian come back the other day, complete with a hat out of my Baptist churchgoing mother’s closet. (One of the reasons why I’ve always loved Dorian is because she in so many ways reminds me of the real life divas I’ve been surrounded by for my entire life.) This Dorian is the Dorian that newer, younger fans (who have dismissed and discredited her on message boards) have been missing out on. This is the auburn-haired, red fox coat wearing vixen of 1993. (Meanwhile, the one thing that Robin can wear better than a hat is a fur coat… NO ONE in daytime can work a coat like Robin Strasser… ahhhh, those were the days!) This is the Dorian who tipped off Clint about Viki and Sloan rendezvousing at the spa, the Dorian who seduced her arch enemy’s son (and ended up falling truly, madly, deeply in love with him), the Dorian who (thanks to Viki’s menagerie of alters) got her ribs broken, got stuffed into the the trunk of a car, got tossed into a rat and waterbug infested basement (with her mink coat as her blanket), and locked into a creepy soundproof glass enclosed secret room and STILL served it up diva style day in and day out.

    I love Robin and I love Dorian and I am so thrilled that OLTL has gotten back up on the bicycle.

    Marlena says: I am thrilled, too. I love when Strasser speaks French — she’s spent time in France, and she certainly dresses with that French savoir faire! By the way, have you noticed, moi, Marlena is wearing a big hat in the drawing above?

  12. Brandon says:

    Absolutely, she must enjoy her scenes with Tuc Watkins (although his nonstop barrage of sarcasm tends to grate on my nerves very quickly). But the fact is, Dorian (and, criminally, Strasser) have been treated as utility players since her 2003 return to the show, and finally, under the sure hand of Mr. Carlivati, Dorian has finally again found her verve, her wit, and her fortitude, and Strasser is finally back at the big kids’ table. I couldn’t be happier, but La Strasser herself must be over the MOON at this glorious rebirth.

    Marlena, hasn’t this “One Life” week, with its dizzying succession of denouements crashing down like so many doomed dominoes, felt like the glory days of the Michael Malone era (after he finally figured out how to write soaps, natch!)

    Marlena says: To me the last week feels more like the over the top 80s Rauch years. I think Malone wrote Dorian a bit more realistically.

  13. MD says:

    Yes Marlena, and you wear it well!
    I too love it when Francophile Strasser speaks French, but not when that’s the only interesting thing she gets to do all month. :-D More than the French, I loved it when she’d speak Spanish to Carlotta! Wow, is Strasser’s Dorian not the finest example of a successful recast AND reinvention of a soap character!? She injected Pinkerton’s (as you put it) Nancy Reagan-esque Dorian with a fabulous dose of Rachel Davis, and the results have been magic.

    Marlena says: Did I really write Nancy Pinkerton was Nancy Reagan-esque? LOL. Thanks for reminding me!

  14. David says:

    Hi Marlena… I’m usually just a lurker and have only posted once to Patrick’s “GL self-destruction” column. I find it interesting that my fave soap GL seems to be dying on the vine before my eyes and my 2nd favorite soap OLTL is a classic soap come back to life under Ron and Frank’s careful attention. This week has just blown me away! La Strasser has knocked it so far out of the ballpark that they can stop looking! She is a hoot! Nobody can raise an eye brow or purse their lips quite like Robin!!! I was lucky enough to meet Robin in front of the OLTL studios last year and she was so gracious and kind in person!

    Thanks for the flashback to Daily TV Serials! I remember the Bitch Goddess series! Wow! I still remember how long a month was until the next issue DTS or Daytime TV came out! Those were the days when one really hungered for daytime news!!!

    Anyway glad to finally post! My friend Dale posts all the time!

    Cheers!

    David

    Marlena says: Welcome David! You go back with soaps and soap mags even further than I. In those days as you know (1960s-1985 or so) the mags were monthly and the news in them was at least four months old. No spoilers (hooray!). Daytime TV Serials (which published through the 70s) was the first magazine to do serious soap criticism, by my future boss, the Editor Jon-Michael Reed. Jon-Michael (who had red hair and was tres handsome) had been a stage actor and he reviewed soaps as if they were theater. Do you remember? I modeled my Critical Condition column in SOW fifteen years later (starting in 1989) on the serious criticism Jon-Michael did in DTS. Unfortunately, Jon-Michael, who originated the field of intelligent soap journalism, died in 1983.

  15. tess says:

    Marlena, LOVED your article.

    I have always been a fan of the bitchy troublemakers. Who could forget Meg on Love of Life? She was played by the late, great Tudi Wiggins. Meg wore big hats and schemed and plotted her way through Rosehill.

    But admittedly, Dorian’s machinations have been far more over the top than Meg’s.

    Marlena says: Thanks, Tess dear. I never saw much of Love of Life, but I remember seeing Tudi’s picture in the soap mags and she was just strikingly beautiful. A soap reporter friend of mine was pals with her and all I heard for years was Tudi, Tudi, Tudi…..

  16. Brandon says:

    Cherie, with all due respect, I believe your “over the top Rauch years” comparison *seriously* undergirds the bravura work of Carlivati and co. this week. (And I say that as a FAN of the Rauch years! I began watching in June of 1988, during that ridiculous — and ridiculously entertaining — Faux Bo storyline, which was the epitome of what you used to term “fast food soap opera” — not at all nutritious, but certainly filling and satisfying in its moment.)

    The main problem with Rauch’s version of “One Life” (and, to a lesser extent, Rauch’s version of “Guiding Light”) was that he clearly wanted the production to be the star, not the story itself. He never had a head writer (and as near as I can tell, never WANTED one) who could match his bullheaded vision pound for pound and provide that vision with the kind of breathtaking, intricate, logic-based plotting that soaps are known for at their best. Michael Schnessel, he of the Eterna-lly infamous underground city saga, probably had the best luck, but even in his work, each character fit into his/her easily identifiable slot (Tina was the vamp, Viki was the heroine, Cord was the white knight, Brenda was the distressed damsel, Gabrielle was the crier, Max was the cad, Megan was the spitfire…), and no character possessed more than a couple of layers.

    I won’t argue that Malone probably had a better handle on Dorian and what really made her tick — the material he handed Strasser when Nora represented Dorian for the murder of Victor Lord in 1994 was an actor’s wet dream, and Strasser MORE than delivered — but I compared Carlivati to Malone, because once he got the hang of the daytime grind, Malone was masterful at pulling the entire community of Llanview together into one big plot and then sending all the individual threads rippling back out to sea, and that’s exactly what we’ve seen this week. While the big plot was the BE takeover, all the little plots that were affected by it — Rex’s marriage, Nash’s vineyard, the illicit Jared/Natalie fling, the Charlie/Viki romance, the Clint/Nora romance, Jessica’s new pregnancy, and Dorian’s ever-misguided attempts to secure love for herself — will reverberate across the canvas for the rest of the summer, if not the year, if not longer. THAT’S strong, fiercely intelligent soap writing, mais oui? (And even better, the talents of the acting company — Bree Williamson’s unbearably incessant wailing and Farah Fath’s apparent inability to play subtext notwithstanding — have risen to the challenge, just as they did under Malone’s maiden voyage.)

    Je t’aime beaucoup, Marlena! Thanks for always keeping us fans on our toes!

  17. Marilyn Henry says:

    Suddenly I find myself eagerly anticipating each day’s OLTL and wondering if I want to bother watching my DVRed GH eppies. (Those are so dismal and depressing, repetitious and dreary. )

    The last two weeks on OLTL have been epic! This new writer really knows soaps, what they are and what they are not, and how to put on a dazzler. I’d like to know more about him. He respects the show’s history, yet can create fresh new drama with one of the longest running villainess in daytime, Dorian. I love Robin Strasser and always have.

    Many years ago I did an interview with Nicolas Coster, one of my my all-time favorites, on the set of Santa Barbara, and we got to talking about his previous role of Anthony Macana on OLTL. I loved him in that role and told him he had got me started watching OLTL again because of that role, even thought the story later went astray. So we fell to talking about the great actors on the show and I remember saying I thought Robin Strasser was the best actress in daytime. “She (as Dorian) makes us love her and hate her at the same time, we sympathize with and revile her, want her to win, want her to die, and always, always enjoy watching her.’ Nick shook his head smiling, and agreed whole heartedly, and told me Robin was a generous, fun person as well. I’ll never forget that conversation.

    Marlena, I love reading you here. Will you do something sometime on that great jewel of a soap, Santa Barbara? Was there ever a better one? I miss the actors so, from Jed Allen to Lane to Judith and Louise Sorel and even Carrington Garland. I miss Marcy and A–the whole marvelous bunch that made that show unique and superior to anything else on daytime. At least in its early years. Its last years were painful, but how glorious it was when it began.

    Thank you for throwing the spotlight on Robin and OLTL. Currently OLTL is what we true soap fans have been crying for–real soap done with real finesse! Not a rip off of some daytime drama or sitcom, not a plot-driven string of Big Events, but a real story-telling hour that involves all the characters in stories that grow out of stories and fan out in that delicious never-ending style that keeps us loyal over the years.

    Marlena says: Marilyn, if you read other soap boards you’ll know that Carlivati has had a cult of very young, passionate, intelligent fans for some time now. It’s interesting that’s he’s now winning over the older professional writer/author babes like you and I. (Maybe that’s why he put our Robin in The Hat!) His OLTL is certainly wonderful salve for the pain of GH.

    I was a big fan of Nick Coster through all of his nine soaps. I had a fantastic lunch/interview with him at Sardi’s here in Manhattan’s theater district about ten years ago. What a charmer! And the backstage gossip he told me! He even admitted falling “like a ton of bricks” for one his leading ladies — the one who is THE most beautiful, most married and certainly, most untouchable. What a guy!

    Santa Barbara seems like another lifetime ago now! Perhaps I’ll go back and dig out the host of interviews I did with (creators/headwriters) The Dobsons. They were kooky–and very, very strange people! I can tell you from dealing with them that the first few years of the show (and their brief return) were 100% idiosyncratic!

  18. Carl says:

    I appreciate Ron’s (I’m not trying to be overfamiliar, just too tired to type his last name without getting it wrong) writing for Dorian, in that she’s not written as too much of a combination of malicious/pathetic, which was one of my problems with the writing for her when Malone and Labine were around. She’s not trying to drum up sexual harassment lawsuits against her enemies, or tampering with her mentally ill sister’s meds. I really would like to see her find love, preferably love that does not involve a triangle with Viki or any of her relatives, but I’m not expecting it.

    I do think Nancy Pinkerton deserves a lot of credit for Dorian. She played Dorian during a period when Dorian was the acid rain of Llanview, slowly but surely eating away at everything and everyone. She managed to take a very negative character and make her prominent as well as popular, as she tapped into the viewers who may have respected the “good” people of Llanview, but also knew they were a little too good to be true and needed shaking up.

    Marlena says: Oh no, Nancy Pinkerton was terrific as Dorian–so scary. I loved when Dorian had the affair with the married Dr. Mark Toland (Tommy Lee Jones in one of his first acting roles.) I interviewed Mr. Jones years later at a party for a Showtime TV movie he did and I asked him about his time on OLTL. Boy, was he intimidating! He looked down at me and said, “Well if I could make people who stay at home all day or sick people in the hospital happy than I’m glad I did it.” No kidding!

  19. MD says:

    I wasn’t around during the Nancy Pinkerton years, but I’ve read marvelous things about her Dorian. Many longtime fans maintain that she’s the REAL Dorian, and though wonderfully talented and charismatic in the role, Robin Strasser essentially created a new character.

    Robin’s said that her Dorian is basically her Rachel (AW), just older and richer. One could argue that her Rachel was the “original” Erica Kane, just as Mrs. Hardwicke-Moore in The Lady of Larkspur Lotion was the “original” Blanche DuBois. I think Robin saw all of the fun that Susan Lucci was having and thought, Hey, I want some of that again! Dorian was her chance, and she ran with it.

    The Alexification of Dorian was really the Rachelfication of Dorian, as we saw Robin Strasser’s Rachel Davis all grown up having attained the prominent husband, the wealth, the cache, and all of the fabulous material things she’d always dreamed of… and barely any happiness.

    Marlena says: As a lifelong Strasser fan who has seen all these characters, thinking through the connections made in this letter makes my mind feel like a pretzel.

  20. Fabobug says:

    Wow, between Robin Strasser and Hillary Clinton, what a great week for strong fabulous women (not that I’m comparing the two!).

    Robin Strasser’s Dorian remains one of my favorite soap characters of all time. Her anger, resentment, vulnerability, fear, pain, humor, and resilience shine through in nearly every performance. EVEN when the script is weak (the Higley years…), Strasser is able to bring layered subtext and emotional weight to every scene. It makes every nefarious act understandable, if not forgivable.

    I believe it is characters such as hers that allows the viewer to project sides of themselves they wouldn’t normally act on. For example, when Mel died, Dorian went around town verbally berating pretty much everyone she felt could be in some way responsible for him being on that plane. In my own life, I had just gone through a very painful death of a beloved friend who died way too soon. I couldn’t exactly run around the city tongue lashing everyone I felt was accountable. But seeing Dorian going through something vaguely similar truly helped me through it. And THIS is what makes a viewer connect and remain permanently loyal.

    I remember around 1999 in one of her hotline messages, Robin Strasser discussed her love for the hats during the Paul Rauch years. She mourned the loss of those costumes during the JFP years. Seeing her this week in full hat and veil seemed like a glorious return to form.

    In my subjective opinion, Malone (in the 90′s) had the best grip on Dorian, her mischief, her humor, her sexuality. But that’s just me.

    Marlena says: Fabs, how wonderful it is that a soap could help you get through a personal trauma and I admire beyond words that you shared this experience with us. So happy that your wisdom and insight will soon be a part of marlenadelacroix.com! Readers, watch this space next week for the debut of a new regular feature here next week!

  21. GregN says:

    Hi Marlena –

    After watching this week’s One Life to Live, I knew it was only a matter of time before you spoke out about Robin Strasser’s performance & the chain of events that followed. She truly is incredible. In Thursday’s show, I was switching back & forth form OLTL to ATWT (knowing I could watch OLTL that night on SoapNet) & was amazed at what a difference two shows can be with the right writer at the helm. Jean Passanante is ruining ATWT for the most part — where is Claire Labine these days??

    Even more rewarding was your memories of the wonderful Daily TV Serials, the “Bitch Goddess” series which I adored & the wonderful Jon-Michael Reed. I was sorry to hear that he had passed away — I met him in the late 70′s at a soap party — charming, intelligent & his passion for soaps was overwhelming.

    Keep up the great work — anxiously awaiting your next installment!

    Marlena says: Thanks Greg. And it I think it’s great that you met Jon-Michael all those years ago. He died way too young!

  22. David C says:

    Thanks for this epic love poem to La Strasser. (La Callas. Hmm. I think there’s a delicious connection there.)

    Carlivati and company have given us-about ten years late-the dynamic power of a intricately plotted, beautifully acted soap opera. In the golden days, every soap offered this more or less on an ongoing basis. The true gems shone above the rest but there was much competition.

    OLTL is offering the audience a chance to understand why soap opera is so powerful and addictive. It’s doing it not by re-inventing the wheel but by using the solid foundations of it.

    This is the epitome of the work of champion talents like Nixon, Bell, Phillips-our soap foreparents-who knew that the genre thrives by using all of the best elements of it. Unless the other soap producers and writers understand this, the genre is doomed if the grim reaper isn’t already standing in the short line for the express flight.

    Marlena says: Nice letter, and I love the line about Carlivati using the foundations of the genre to make it great again. But, as I’ve written in the past, I’ll have to watch his work for a great deal longer to decide for myself if and when he ranks up with all-time soap opera greats you listed above.

  23. Liz says:

    Brava!!!! I watched those scenes at BE over and over, like the Dorian junky I will always be. It was Dorian that hooked me on OLTL thirty some very odd years ago and its Dorian that’s bringing me back to the fold.

    Robin rules, she always has its wonderful to have a great writer like RC to see her strengths and use them so boldly.

    Joan who???? :)

    Marlena says: Isn’t it amazing what a huge following Robin has after all these years? Ain’t nothing like the real thing, baby!

  24. Dale says:

    Marlena, on a post above you asked Ron to bring Mel back, and voila! Mel is back! He will be back in July according to Robin herself! She said so on her hotline!

    Marlena says: Dale darling, all my dreams should come true so quickly! As I wrote above, the people who currently run this show really know their own history.

  25. cher says:

    Joan who indeed, Liz.! It does my heart good as a Robin Strasser fan to see so many others who appreciate her work. I have been a fan for most of my life and it was great to see Robin as a bad ass Diva again. I have been so excited about watching OLTL lately and I am very hopeful about the stories I see on the horizon. And psst Marlena, a little birdie told me Mel Hayes is expected to return for the show’s 40th anniversary! Looking forward to it! Viva la Diva!

  26. GregN says:

    I’m thrilled to hear they are bringing back Mel. This & other castings on OLTL in recent months show that TPTB actually LISTEN to what the fans like & want AND they remember the rich history of the show unlike other shows such as ATWT these days that seems to be doing almost everything they can do to alienate their viewers.

  27. Cherry Ames says:

    Ca va Marlena. I am going against the grain here when I say the BE takeover didn’t make Dorian seem strong , to me she seemed like she was a)over-dressed for a corporate takeover- a serious business shark doesn’t wear white gloves and a picture hat-she’d likely wear an Armani power suit. This is 2008-not 1988 b)using a sledge hammer to swat a dead fly. Drugging Charlie and pouring booze all over him and leaving him to die in an alley behind a bar. She’s a Dr. not a Mafia crime lord. c) channeling Joan (Crawford and Collins). If this was all about her revenge against Clint then she is just a pathetic scorned woman. She took umbrage when she caught Clint kissing Nora. Dorian then slept with David-which seemed like the ultimate payback to me for Clint merely kissing Nora. Clint caught them in bed and threatened David with a shotgun. WTH did she spend months plotting against B.E. and Clint with all of those head scratching hostile takeover attempts by the revolving door of men with funny names i.e. Beaver Calhoun and Bull Durham.

    It seemed 100% contrived for sweeps and an indulgent opportunity for Robin Strasser to outcamp and out dress and out sneer Joan Collins. (I hated the 80′s OTT , “all about me” attitude,and the big hair and bigger shoulder pads and I really thought OLTL hit a low point during Rauch’s goofy stories). It (the B.E. takeover scenesand the Jared reveal and Nash’s death) all seemed cynically formulaic and purely designed for style over substance-much like the OLTL of the 80′s. I was disappointed. However, the aftermath is going to be terrific soap, I hope. Jessica and Natalie were exceptional the day Jess slapped Nat and asked if “it(sex) was worth it” Of course, this is just my own humble opinion. Maybe I have grown cynical and just don’t know anymore but something about those scenes just didn’t seem right. There is a lot that I like about OLTL but this- the story and Robin Strasser’s performance- left me cold.

    Marlena says: Cherry baby, you know I always respect and welcome your opinion. As you can judge by the number of letters here from old Strasser fans, the show got exactly at the what they wanted Robin in The Hat– heaps of publicity and notice of La Strasser from old fans and new.

    I may be reading into this but I think there was another reason for The Hat. Strasser’s Dorian was treated terribly in the Highley years–her character was insultingly written as a dingbat and a fool–by a woman no less. (Dena can take her current tasteless “blog” and shove it….) The Hat recognizes and announces Dorian as the master soap villainess than she is and always was. And I hope its appearance ‘promises’ to treat Strasser with the respect and good material she deserves after 40 years of her entertaining we the fans who cherish her.

  28. Matthew J Cormier says:

    I am just glad that after all these years someone has finally woken up and seen the light of day to give Robin Strasser a story befitting of her talents. It was awful to me years ago when Jill Farren Phelps forced Strasser off the show and than again when Hiegly regulated her to basically a day player. Dorian is back in all her splendor and glory—she’s a manpitulative witch out for revenge on Viki. But i also like that they have also made an effort to make Dorian somewhat sympathetic with her mention of Mel Hayes as she is posioning Charlie and her calling the hosptial to check on Nash.

  29. Pat says:

    Joan Who?

    Her name is Joan Collins and she’s been around longer than Robin Strasser has been alive.

    Nothing against Ms Strasser who is a terrific actress, but this article seemed a bit snobby towards Joan Collins.

    For what it’s worth Joan Collins’ portrayal of Alexis’on Dynasty was basically a recreation of her role as Fontaine Khaled in the movies ‘The Stud’ and ‘The Bitch’, both written by her sister Jackie.

    Marlena says: Honey, I don’t have anything against Joan Collins. She’s terrific! I once had the pleasure of interviewing her sister Jackie, one of the smartest women I have ever met in my life!

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