Happy Halloween, Thinking Fans!

  Halloween
 

When my husband/site managing editor Moose showed me this special Halloween illustration of moi, done by our cherished resident artist Ira Blutreich, I said, “Moose, it’s politically incorrect for anyone to be called a witch these days unless she is a Wiccan or … or  she is Tabitha Lenox, who actually was a witch on Passions.”

But then I thought of my early days working on soap magazines, when we weren’t allowed to use the word, “bitch” and had to call all such wonderful characters “witches.”  Well, that made me feel better.

So, to celebrate all the wonderful witch/bitches I grew up with — Rachel Davis, Another World; Dorian Lord, One Life To Live; Lucinda Walsh, As the World Turns;  Alexandra Spaulding, Guiding Light; Kay Chancellor/Jill Foster, The Young and the Restless; Tracy Quartermaine, General Hospital;  Stephanie Forrester, The Bold and the Beautiful, and, of course, Erica Kane, All My Children — I proudly don my witch/bitch costume for Halloween, and dance up a storm of Halloween Happiness!

Happy Halloween, my darling Thinking Fans!                                                                       

                                                               Marlena

                                                               XXXOOO           

                                                                             

All My Children’s Tornado: “Look at Me, I’m Chuckie P!”

AMC tornado 1

Thinking Fans contemplate the Big Wind(s):  Marlene opines the strong wind is meant ”to sweep away the stench of E&B” … while Tom Casiello is exhausted by the ”piling on of plot points” … and NancyJo has just one word for Thorsten Kaye: “MAGNIFICENT!” … and more. See Comments below. 

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By Marlena De Lacroix

All My Children‘s latest tornado was amusing to watch for more than a week as a soap special event. But I’m going to use a word for it I’ve never used in decades of watching or writing about soap opera.  I have never seen such a overly contrived piece of soap opera in my life.

The whole aim of any drama is to make the audience believe.  Do I believe that one tornado stuck most of Pine Valley, and then  a second one conveniently struck what

(The tornado) was showy, it was exciting, but when you calmly thought about it all, the likelihood that all of it could happen this way to real people in a real place was just plain ridiculous.

was left, namely the Pine Valley Hospital where, as luck would have it, most of the show’s characters had gone to seek refuge? How cooperative of Mother Nature! Maybe she [Read more...]

Night Shift 2 Served Up that Old General Hospital Magic as its Sublime Second Season Came to an End

cast

Thinking Fans Comment Update October 26:  Dianne says NS2 was a gift to long-time GH fans … Suzette applauds the celebration of GH history, though she missed Genie Francis … Mike agrees, mostly, but wonders, where was Holly? … and more. See Comments below. 

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By Ed Martin 

Sri Rao and Lisa De Cazotte are my new heroes.

The head writer and executive producer, respectively, of SOAPnet’s General Hospital Night Shift have in recent months given me as much to smile about as any creative team presently working in television. They reminded me why I became a passionate fan of General Hospital 30 years ago, and they did it in a manner nobody could have predicted, transforming what had been in its freshman season a perfectly putrid spin-off of a soap opera that is now a mere shadow of its fantastic former self into a sophomore series that embodied almost everything that was sublime about its mother-ship back in its heyday.

And after giving those of us who cherish our memories of GH in the Seventies and Eighties a three-month treat filled with characters from and references to that glorious period, delivered in a storytelling style that was as sophisticated and

I don’t know what Rao and De Cazotte have in mind for season three. I don’t even know if there will be a season three. There should be, and we shouldn’t have to wait until next summer to enjoy it!

respectful as it was heartfelt and thoughtful, Rao and De Cazotte concluded Night Shift’s swell second season with a two-part love note to those fans who made GH a pop-culture phenomenon and the formidable foundation of ABC Daytime.

Like hundreds of thousands (or could it be millions) of GH fans, I have felt increasingly beaten down by the show’s dark, dreary and [Read more...]

General Hospital Night Shift 2: If They Could Bottle This Show, They’d Save Soaps

Thinking Fans Comment Update October 26:  Brandon says his patience was rewarded as NS2 got better and better … Marybell says the end of NS2 left her near tears … and more. See Comments below.GHNS2

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By Marlena De Lacroix

“I love you …” I lost count after about half a dozen the number of  times one character said that to another in the last half hour of the last episode of General Hospital Night Shift 2. Anna to Robert.  Robin to Robert. Leo to Saira. Claire to Kyle. Robin to Patrick.  Patrick to Robin …

You’d think all this would be kind of treacly, but love is what the 13-week run of NS2 was all about, and proudly so.  Relationships, family, friendship — these are fueled by love, and that is simply what this show is made of. Darlings, if they could only bottle NS2, they’d save soap operas.

Because … challenging a ten- to fifteen-year slide, when daytime soap operas have come very close to self-annihilation by trying to hook viewers with “faster, more sensationalistic” elements, gimmicks and “improvements” like the mob, tornados, a

The show even closed on a scene of Patrick and Robin kissing.  Isn’t true love much better than endless shouting?

whole show taped on location in exotic New Jersey, hostage crises, characters who screw their fathers, earthquakes, an endless parade of cleavage and over developed pecs … here was a little summer cable show that dared to remember and deliver what  soap opera is really all about: love. And of course, a deeply [Read more...]

Soap Shrink to Thinking Fans: Ways to Cope with Recent Soap Deaths

Thinking Fans on the passing of beloved soap characters:  BL says, “Feelings are feelings, and if someone did something magnificent in their career or touched you emotionally, it should be honored” … while renee says, “I know they’re not physically real, but if we’re blessed they’re emotionally real” … and more. See Comments below. 

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By Damon L. Jacobs

This is not an easy time to be a soap fan.  Already we are coping with declining ratings, pre-emptions, time changes, and signs of behind-the-scenes instability.  But this week the Thinking Fans are coping with not one, not two, but three significant creative and artistic losses.  What’s worse, the NAW’s (Non-Addicted-Watchers) in our lives usually have a limited ability to relate to our pain and sorrow.  

Unlike stars of prime time TV shows or movies, soap actors/writers form unique relationships with us viewers.  They are in our homes several times a week, sometimes for decades at a time.  We often go through school and college

Respect your relationship with the person who has died …  Appreciate the values they brought into your life.

watching our favorite character go through similar struggles.  We may enter and exit relationships; we may give birth to children and watch them grow up, all with that comforting surrogate family member entering into our homes during the day.  They come to symbolize [Read more...]

Jim Reilly, Very Fondly Remembered

Thinking Fans remember James E. Reilly: Jonnysbro says nobody else could have written Passions … Fabobug says Reilly “knew how to think outside the bubble” … Jenn appreciated how he used his Catholic background … and more. See Comments below. 

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By Marlena De Lacroix

It’s one thing to write an obituary for an actress you’ve seen and admired on television, and quite another to write one for someone with whom you were friendly for many years.  To tell you the truth, I don’t really feel like writing at all right now because Jim Reilly died today unexpectedly at the age of 60 while recovering from cardiac surgery.

Jim and I were friends for years for two reasons:  we both liked to laugh, and, as two stay-at-home writers, we were self-chosen outcasts in the fairly social soap industry.  He was an infamous recluse.   Whether he was writing Days of Our Lives or Passions, I knew he was alive because I’d get phone calls from his various lavish new homes, successively in Los Angeles or Amagansett or Connecticut.   He met

Timmy, invented by Jimmy and played by Josh, was a character who evoked pure joy.  At least for me … and I’m sure for a lot of you out there.

me for lunch once in Westwood around 1992 when I in Los Angeles, and as we ate he kept saying, “I won’t come out for anyone. Bill Bell, yes, and you, yes.  And especially not for Ken (Corday, by then his hated Days boss).”  But when he said [Read more...]

All My Children’s Eileen Herlie Dies; Her Myrtle Was a Beloved “Mom” to Us All

Eileen Herlie

Thinking Fans mourn the passing of Ms. Herlie:  Pat loved her cosmpolitan gypsy flair … Tess relished her confrontations with Langley … Dale says she stole our hearts … while Joey wishes for Myrtle’s blueberry muffins and lemonade … and more. See Comments below. 

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By Marlena De Lacroix 

I just heard that Eileen Herlie passed away today at age 90 from pneumonia, and as an old All My Children fan, I’m pretty choked up.  As Myrtle Fargate, the carnie turned Pine Valley character confidante and advisor since 1976, Herlie was universally loved.

Myrtle was all hearty humor and blithe spirit, yet she was also warm and wise, and she was one of the best mother figures ever. She was not the biological mother of the twin character Kitty and Kelly, played by Francesca James, but through some plot twists became just as close to each of them as an adopted mother.(Myrtle came on to AMC initially as a drunk hired by snobby Phoebe Wallingford to fake being the mother of Kitty, in order to harm Kitty’s romance with Phoebe’s son Linc.)  And she was surrogate mother to characters such as [Read more...]

Our As The World Turns Expert’s Reaction: Jon Lindstrom Cast as the latest Craig Montgomery

Scott Bryce

Thinking Fans Comment Update October 10:  James thinks Lindstrom is a worthy successor … but Dawn worries that he’ll join the dumpees. See Comments below. 

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Last December our Patrick Erwin did a very, very perceptive take on the very strange state of the character of Craig Montgomery on As the World Turns.  Earlier in 2007, Scott Bryce,  the brilliant and very popular actor who originated that role in the 80s,  had returned to the role after an absence of more than 15 years. (Other actors had played the role in the interim.)  In his analysis, Patrick maintained that  ATWT was misusing  the character and wasting Bryce’s talents.  The same month this article ran, Bryce was indeed fired for reasons that were never clarified by the show.  Fans were outraged — and remain mystified as to why such a valuable actor as Bryce could have been fired. Yesterday, it was announced that Jon Lindstrom, the versatile and well-liked actor who played Kevin and Ryan on General Hospital and Port Charles has been hired to take over the role of Craig.   Here is Patrick’s reaction:

                                                                                                            Marlena

                                                                                                            XXXOOO

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By Patrick Erwin

There’s a big mystery brewing in Oakdale — or at least in Brooklyn, where As The World Turns is taped. It’s more mysterious than figuring out if James Stenbeck is alive, dead, or vying to be a contestant on Dancing with the Stars:  It looks like ATWT is bringing on daytime vet Jon Lindstrom to play Craig Montgomery.

My question is: Why? [Read more...]

Irene Dailey: That Exquisite Pain, Aunt Liz

Thinking Fans Comment Update October 9:  James says Aunt Liz was often the voice of the audience … while Dave Feldman recalls her vicious streak … and more. See Comments below.

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Irene Dailey

By Marlena De Lacroix

As you know, Tony and Daytime Emmy winning actress Irene Dailey died of colon cancer September 24 in Santa Rosa, California.  She was 88.

Her Aunt Liz on Another World (1974-86, 87-93) was a most memorable and invaluable supporting character on soaps, the epitome of a provocateur / Pain in the Ass.  In other words, if you were a Matthews or a Cory and you were going through some kind of problem or crisis and saw her coming, you knew you were in for a real verbal wuppin’. Meddling was her game and no one, I mean no one,  made trouble for characters on soaps better than Irene Dailey’s Aunt Liz. That’s because theater-trained Dailey played Aunt Liz as a living, breathing unhappy human being, not as a cartoon or caricature.

The first Aunt Liz on AW — I remember her well — was played very much in the comic vein by Audra Linley.  Audra Linley, who later became [Read more...]

The Young and the Restless’ Victor Newman In Crisis: Our Soap Shrink To the Rescue!

Thinking Fans Comment Update October 10: Matthew Cormier argues for more long-term, in-depth character development instead of  ”crazy plot-driven one-day-at-a-time crap.” See Comments below.

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By Damon L. Jacobs

It’s not easy being The Young and the Restless’  Victor Newman.  Finding love with a woman half his age and somehow getting her pregnant after two vasectomies were initially happy occurrences for this mustachioed maverick.  But when his young bride Sabrina perished in a tragic car crash along with their unborn child, Victor slid into a downward spiral of anger, depression, and even a near suicide attempt.  He made a mysterious trip to Mexico, shunned the family members who were trying to help him, stopped eating, and began having visions of his deceased wife.  

And this was all before the Stock Market crashed! 

Indeed, Victor (played since 1980 by Eric Braeden) may be having his hardest year ever.  But how do you help someone who doesn’t want to be helped?  Perhaps we would be assisted by [Read more...]