Archives for August 2008

Rating As the World Turns’ Busy, Busy Summer

Kelley M.

Thinking Fans Comment Update Aug. 30: Kristen says ATWT writers finally got one right … while Oakdalian found the summer a mixed bag … and more. See Comments below. 


By Patrick Erwin

What’s been happening in Oakdale? It’s been an interesting summer for As The World Turns as the show has been finding its balance after the departure of Martha Byrne (Lily) and several other high-profile departures of other characters earlier this year — including the losses of Jennifer Landon (Gwen), Jesse Soffer (Will) and Scott Bryce (Craig).

Here’s a look at some of the show’s front burner stories from this summer:

Parker and Liberty: The Internet message boards have indicated that fans have mixed feelings about this story. And I’ll agree Liberty and mom Juicy Janet have

I really want to spotlight Kelley Menighan Hensley for praise. As Emily, she’s sold us on every single story she’s ever been in. (And that’s a tall order!)

been overplayed. They’ve only been on for six months, and both characters were thrust to the front-burner almost immediately, first as Brad’s instant family and then in this story.

But I’ve found this young love story to be moving and realistic. Much of the credit for that has to go to Mick Hazen, who is a great young actor. He’s done a great job at playing [Read more…]

Why One Life To Live’s Back to the Future Story Was a Bomb

Gigi and Rex

Thinking Fans Comment Update Aug. 28: Aaron enjoyed “1968” for its fun, escapism and heart … while Christian in Boston found the acting embarrassing … our own Soap Shrink discovered a compelling psychological adventure beneath the silliness … and more. See Comments below. 


By Marlena De Lacroix

What did I do to deserve two Farah Faths on my TV screen? That’s what I thought last week when I tuned in One Life To Live to see a scene set in 1968, in which Rex (who was Bo) was in bed with Emma Bradley (Farah Fath), and in walked Gigi (Farah Fath), who had just journeyed back to that year a la Michael J. Fox in Back to the Future.

You have be an OLTL fan to understand all of the above. And even if you are, as I am, a regular viewer, the show’s six-week fantasy time travel story, in which the actors normally playing Bo, Rex, Gigi and other regular characters showed up as antecedent  Buchanan family members circa 1968, seemed both charmless and nutsy.   Why a soap in this minuscule-rated soap year would take such a huge risk to do a crazy time travel storyline like this during the crucial summer viewing months is beyond me.

Yes, the kickoff of this story (Bo and Rex get hit by lightning and are hurtled back to 1968, the year OLTL premiered) worked well as part of the two-part episode 40th anniversary celebration back in mid-July.  But why oh why [Read more…]

Welcome Back, Genie! Laura’s Heart Could Save General Hospital

Thinking Fans Comment Update Aug. 25:  horselover fears Genie’s return is just another bait and switch … Mike, a disappointed ex-GHer, will come back for Laura … so will Denise … and more. See Comments below.


In 1982, at the height of Luke and Laura mania on General Hospital, I was fortunate enough to publish “The Legend of Luke and Laura” in the classic soap magazine Afternoon TV, where I was then editor.   The extraordinary two (later three) part series of articles chronicling the history of the characters’ romance became a legend itself because its writer, Marilyn Henry, combined the skills of  a professional writer (The Films of Alan Ladd) with insight, feeling and an adult understanding of what really made these two characters psychologically reverberate both in our hearts and in soap history.Genie Francis

All these years later, I’m proud that Marilyn is one of Marlena’s Thinking Fans. To commemorate Genie Francis’ short return to General Hospital beginning today, Monday, Marilyn has written an appreciation of Laura and the Emmy-winning Ms. Francis. She briefly recaps and explains their history on GH and, as a longtime fan of the show, recommends that Genie’s  heart, talent and womanly goodness be the panacea for a show beset with the ugliness of  crime and violence. Marlena couldn’t agree more …




By Marilyn Henry

Genie Francis returns to General Hospital today, August 25th, for a short run.   She is one of the most beloved actresses of daytime and the fans have been begging for her prolonged return for years, to no avail.  Now the show seems to be at its lowest point, suffering from acute ennui on the part of the viewers.  Even the complainers have given up hope for change and the message boards, which used to be alive with rantings and ravings, are oddly quiet.  So the question is: will Genie’s eagerly awaited return be enough to bring mob- and violence-weary fans back into the fold?

Or is it simply too late?

Genie Francis started on General Hospital at age 14, after just one other acting job on the TV series Family.  The daughter of actor Ivor Francis, Genie had been around actors and listened to actor talk all her life and was already sure she wanted to be a

Genie Francis should have become the heart and soul of the show, much as Viki is at One Life To Live. But when GH went plot-driven and mob-infested, it was not a place where a character of decency and depth could thrive.

part of the business. She had excellent instincts and GH, under Executive Producer Gloria Monty, was trying to establish itself with the youth market, so she was given as much air time as the law then allowed.

She played Laura Vining, adopted daughter of the Vinings, but actually the biological daughter of leading lady Dr. Lesley Williams, who thought her child was dead, due to a baby switch at birth. Lesley fought to get her child back and won, but Laura was resentful and [Read more…]

General Hospital: Night Shift 2 Is a Monty Man’s Dream Come True

Thinking Fans Comment Update August 22: Bonnie likes GH:NS2 much better than “General Mob” … MontyFan is desperately seeking Holly … Chris says even Gloria would be proud … and more. See Comments below. 


So many readers responded to my two earlier columns on General Hospital: Night Shift 2 that I’ve decided to run another very interesting viewpoint.  It belongs to my longtime friend Ed Martin, who is a television columnist for

Ed is a charter member the ”Monty Men,” a group I affectionately invented  for my many male soap pals who started watching GH in the  late 70s and 80s as teenagers when the legendary Gloria Monty was the show’s executive producer  All my Monty Men (I have at least 9 or 10 of them)  have watched the show daily ever since, waiting for the show’s magic of that era to remateralize.  They are usually a frustrated, complaining bunch.  But as he reveals here, Ed and his fellow Monty Men may finally be getting what they’ve longed for thirty years later in this summer’s GH:NS2.





By Ed Martin

It has been a while since I started a column with a sentence I never thought I would write, but here goes: SOAPnet’s General Hospital: Night Shift is one of the most enjoyable original television series of the summer.

A caveat: The low-budget Night Shift may not be everyone’s idea of a sudsy medical drama, especially in the era of Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice, but damn, it sure delivers the goods. It’s a sexy, spirited, compassionate and totally satisfying [Read more…]

On the Soap Shrink’s Couch: Adam Chandler, All My Children’s Supreme Control Freak

Thinking Fans Comment Update Aug. 22: norn sees Adam as a fierce competitor … while Trey thinks Adam is driven by love. See Comments below. 


By Damon L. Jacobs

“If I don’t take care of this, no one will.”

Does this sound familiar to you?  Have you ever known someone who thought that way?  Or, dear Thinking Fans, have YOU ever been the one who believed you had to solve everyone’s problems, handle every issue, and be in complete control of every situation?

If so, you can understand how the twisted and tortured mind of Adam Chandler (played by David Canary) operates.  Born from humble beginnings in Pigeon Hollow, Adam became a self-made business man early in his career.  He has been driven his entire life by [Read more…]

The Killing Fields of Soap Journalism

Thinking Fans Comment Update Aug. 17: Young Jay spent his snack money on Soap Opera Weekly … Professor Cindy calls for higher soap writing standards … Liz V is saddened by the decline of soap journalism … and more. See Comments below. 


By Marlena De Lacroix

This is a short note to Marlena readers in another terrible week in a year that has become Marlena’s personal “horribus annee.”  My elderly mother is hospitalized again and I had a terrible toothache, necessitating getting a wisdom tooth pulled.  Who could pay attention to soap operas? Yet Hinsey-gate — the firing of the editor of Soap Opera Weekly — loomed large, casting a shadow that still hasn’t gone away.

Many readers have written to me, asking for a comment on the Hinsey story.  Here it is. But first some background:

After 10 years as a soap magazine editor, writer and newspaper  journalist, I originated the Critical Condition column in Soap Opera Weekly.  It was a pioneering critical column in the field and I wrote more than 570 columns, from the magazine’s inception in 1989 until 2001.  Early that year, Soap Opera Digest took over [Read more…]

Soap Surprises: Five Holy @#%! Moments

Marlena killer

Thinking Fans Holy @#%! Update Aug. 14:  Melanie picks Wayne Northrup’s return as Roman on Days … B3 loved Gwyneth as the killer on Loving … Carl recalls five faves from Santa Barbara … and more.  See Comments below.


By Patrick Erwin

Soap plots have many twists and turns in them, but we rarely get to see a complete “bombshell” surprise, like the ones we’ve seen in The Sixth Sense, The Crying Game, or The Usual Suspects. The “reveal” of a surprise on soaps usually happens a little bit at a time, with a character or two here or there. And unfortunately, the appetite for news and spoilers has spoiled the element of surprise for many viewers (and that isn’t doing the shows any favors, either).

But there have been moments of complete, utter surprise on the soaps. Here (in no particular order) are five examples of fantastic, goosebump-producing, oh-no-they-didn’t moments.

NOTE: The moments I am talking about, and have listed below, were stories where we the audience, were totally surprised when these scenes played out. There are many, many moments, like [Read more…]

Marlena in New York Magazine


Thinking Fans Comment Update Aug. 15: The judges’ hits and misses, according to Dale, Cherry Ames, Purple Haze et al. See Comments below. 


As a longtime soap opera journalist, I was asked by New York Magazine this week to be one of five judges to pick five of the most promising young soap opera stars.  Yes, that’s moi, under my real name, topping the list of judges.  See the article here.



Passions’ End: Get Your Memories of Craziness and Creativity!

Josh Ryan Evans

Thinking Fans Comment Update Aug. 9: Fabobug appreciates Passions’ honest eccentricities … Jonnysbro wishes the cast well … Cherry Ames, with mixed feelings, says the likes of Passions will never pass our way again … and more. See Comments below.


By Marlena De Lacroix

I don’t  have the chance to say good-bye to Passions because I don’t have Direct TV to watch the last episode.  But I did it in my own way by browsing the list of August 9 auction of Passions props and memorabilia here on To my knowledge, there’s never been an online auction like this of props and costumes from a soap.  Considering the intensity of fans’ love for soaps, I can’t think of anything else that would be more of a sure thing.

I sniffled mightily as I went through the items of two favorite characters, Tabitha and Timmy: Tabby’s  framed picture of her adorable daughter Endora; the actual paws of Fuzzy, Timmy’s largely unseen cat who menaced him from offstage a la “Fang” from the old Soupy Sales show,  and course Tabitha’s collection of fabulous gauzy skirts and beaded shawls, all purchased I’m sure at [Read more…]

Soap Shrink: Why Can’t Women Be Allowed to Age Naturally on Soaps?

Thinking Fans Comment Update August 5:  Ryan offers kudos to the bigger but still sexy Kim … esther wants to see more age appropriate attire … Aaron says the issue isn’t pounds, it’s Reva’s “white trash” look … and more. See Comments below.


By Damon L. Jacobs

There has been a lot of discussion on the boards about Guiding Light these days.  The shrinking budget, the shrinking ratings, the shrinking cast list.  Yet there is one thing obviously not getting smaller in Springfield: Reva Shayne’s waistline. 

And for this the Soap Shrink couldn’t be happier!

Personally, I am exhausted by the pressure in daytime (and all media) for women to stay skinny and unhealthily thin.  It alarms me to know the lengths some of these great actresses will go to in order to [Read more…]