Happy First Anniversary, Dear Thinking Fans!

moose and marlena

By Marlena De Lacroix

A year ago, my husband Moose claimed he heard voices late at night in our Gramercy Park apartment.  One night he woke me up and said, “Listen Marlena … listen to that voice.”

“Build it and they will they will come,” came a whispered male voice from the direction of the kitchen.

“Moose,” I said, “isn’t that Ray Liotta?  Remember when he played the ghost of that old baseball player Shoeless Joe Jackson in Field of Dreams?  Didn’t he whisper

Happy anniversary, everyone.  Because this site is not just my own. It also belongs to you, the many, many readers who have visited this past year.

‘Build it and they will come’ to baseball fan Ray Kinsella  (Kevin Costner) to inspire him to construct a ball field in the middle of a cornfield in Iowa?”

“Actually,” said Moose, ever the stickler for accuracy, “Liotta said, ‘Build it and he will come,’ but never mind … there’s a message here for us.”           

We sat transfixed.  Moose, always the idea man in our family, finally said, “Marlena, he’s telling us … we should start your own website on the net … ‘Build it and the Thinking Fans will come …’”

“Moose, do you know I interviewed Ray Liotta when he played Joey on Another World?  He was such a doll … Italian, just like me….”

“No, Marlena, listen to what the voice is saying.  He’s giving us a message about today’s soap world. He’s saying it needs a place where intelligent fans — we could call them Thinking Fans — can go and read your columns and make comments of their own.  It would be a place where they feel comfortable expressing their opinions, away from the herd instincts of other soap websites, and a place where they could take as much room as they want to share their views and feelings, and for you to write back to them.”

And that, darlings, thanks to both to Ray and to Moose, is how Marlena De Lacroix:  Soap Criticism for the Thinking Fan was conceived.  A year ago today, I posted my first column.

So happy anniversary, everyone.  Because this site is not just my own. It also belongs to you, the many, many readers who have visited this past year.  We are so fortunate to get so many of the same fans writing to us time and again. We’ve truly developed a community.  As I read and edit your letters, I’ve come to know many of you as friends.  It’s been an enriching experience for me,  and it’s a comfort to know that intelligent thinking fans are still out there in the precarious world of soap opera. 

Why? Certainly you’ve noticed that according to the ratings, soaps are a rapidly sinking ship.  Those of us who have devoted major parts of our lives to watching soaps can hardly imagine a television world without them. So, TFs, what can we do to right the ship?

Express our opinions, of course!  Try and support the soaps that still have integrity, intelligence and substance. Try and support the veteran actors and actresses who have given us so many years of their artistry.  Stand up for good writing and producing!  Remember,  no matter how low the ratings, good soaps are still about the mysterious and deep interplay between the heart and the mind – or ought to be.  If I wanted to experience a mindless thrill ride, I’d go to an amusement park!

You’d rather hear me carry on about Ray Liotta’s dimples, circa 1982, wouldn’t you?

Actually, what I’d like to emphasize here is the quality of the thinking that has gone into creating this website.  I am thrilled to have two professionals working with me, writer Patrick Erwin and psychologist Damon L. Jacobs, a.k.a. the Soap Shrink.  It’s been rewarding to watch both develop as writers, and to come to love them both as people.  And speaking of, the previously unsung hero of this website is my husband, the former newspaperman and professor Moose. In addition to constantly coming up with ideas, he edits, proofreads and lays out every column.  See his picture, done by our fabulous staff artist Ira Blutreich, whose work has made our site such a visual treat. Yes, Moose really looks like this! 

So be grateful for husbands who hear voices of former soap stars in the night.  And who support you lovingly in what you love to do best.  Which to me has always been being a redhead named Marlena De Lacroix.          
 

Comments

  1. Dale says:

    Happy anniversary, Marlena! I am so glad that you returned to us via this forum! I check a couple of times everyday to see if you have posted a new column so I can get my fix! Though I don’t always agree with your views, you are funny, outspoken and truthful. I have a long time appreciation for you dating way back to the soap rags of old – Afternoon TV and the classic SOW. I went through withdrawal when you disappeared a few years ago to follow your muse. But you are back — feisty and opinionated as ever – just the way I like you!

    In addition to looking forward to your comments, I have also come to appreciate the other Thinking Fans that congregate here and have their say. The Thinking Fans are smart, clever and articulate!

    Here’s to your second year!

    Dale

    Marlena says: Ah, Dale, so sweet and fitting that you should be our first response. Your love and support over all the years have meant the world to me! (Yes, dear, even though we disagree about the entertainment value of that awful character, the “T” word, on OLTL.) As our President-elect has said, “Let’s learn to disagree without being disagreeable.” You are the best, darling Dale!

  2. Greg N. says:

    Congratulations on your first anniversary!!! I was so thrilled to re-discover your insightful & entertaining critiques after being an avid fan and follower for years in SOAP OPERA WEEKLY and other various publications. Thank you for creating this blog andhere’s to many more years of thoughts, reviews and retrospectives within the wonderful world of daytime drama.

    Marlena says: Greg, thanks so much. You know what they say: old friends are the best friends!

  3. esther says:

    Mazel tov on your first anniversary. May there be many more to come!

    Marlena says: The readers might not know this from our constant bickering, but IRL we have been the best of friends for years. Thanks for all the feedback, help and the fun this past year, dear.

  4. Chrissy says:

    Connie Dear! Congrats on the 1st Anniversary of MarlenaDeLacroix.com!!! I recall our many conversations prior to the launch of the site, and it was so gratifying to see it all come to fruition. Visiting your site daily reminds me of the good old days of opening a new issue of Soap Opera Weekly immediately to your column. It was the first thing I read in SPW, just as your Marlena site is the first thing I click on when I sign onto my computer. Here’s to another wonderful year!

    Marlena says: Thanks Chrissie dear! Who held out hope for Marlena De Lacroix even in her far, far away from daytime days? It was you dear, and I love you very much for it. Thanks for always being there for me and for sharing the successes with Moose and me. There’s more to come!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Happy Anniversary, Marlena and Moose!

    Thanks and blessings for this site!

  6. Leona says:

    Happy Anniversary! It’s been a pleasure to be able to read your columns again.

    Marlena says: Thanks Leona. Thank you for all your support and of course, your invaluable soap history insights.

  7. Happy Anniversary Marlena! Thanks for the honorable mention. Working with you is an honor and a pleasure.

    And I second a toast to Esther too. There’s no one I’d rather have tell me I’m totally wrong!

    Marlena says: Oh LOL, Patrick. As we discussed you and I are going to compile a book on the snarkiest sayings of Esther. No one knows more about GL than she, and about many other soaps. You must obey!

    Can’t wait to see you here in Manhattan next week at last!

  8. David says:

    Congratulations to you dear Connie! What a thrill it was to see your name back in print! I love to read your columns and it was SWEET to meet you this year in New York! Like you, I am a soap fan from waaaaaaaay back in the 1970s. I am always interested to see what you write about and what other thinking fans have to say. Although I don’t always have time to post I hope you know I always read and enjoy!

    H A P P Y A N N I V E R S A R Y ! ! ! !

    Love,

    David

    Marlena says: Thank you, David dear. Meeting you and your wonderful mom Lillian when you were in NYC visiting was certainly one of THE high points of my year! And I swear before the soap goddess (Kim Zimmer?) that I WILL write another Guiding Light column one of these days, just for you. Looking forward to seeing you again next year …

  9. Raye says:

    CONGRATULATIONS, Marlena!!! I have read and loved your work since the very early days of – and throughout your tenure at – Soap Opera Weekly. You are a gifted and talented journalist with a true passion for the daytime serial genre. And for us Thinking Fans who still love that genre. Thank You! And heres to many more years of fantastic, thinking posts. :-)

    Marlena says: Raye, this is one of the sweetest messages I have ever received in my life. Bless you and have a merry Christmas!

  10. BL says:

    Happy Anniversary and have a great holiday season!

    And no, I’d rather not talk about Ray Liotta’s dimples (as I have no good visual for that), though I do appreciate when you do a “Yearning for Yesterday” column.

    Marlena says: Thanks so much Blossy. You know I always love hearing from you! If you’d like to see what Ray looks like, google the movie Goodfellas, which he starred in along with Robert DeNiro, Lorraine Bracco and Joe Pesce. On Another World, Ray’s Joey Perrini was the teen-aged brother of Angie (played by Maeve Kinkead) and the son of Rose (played by Kathleen Widdoes.)

  11. Melanie says:

    Happy Anniversary! You have no idea what a pleasure it’s been to read your entertaining and thought provoking commentaries over the years (I loved your column in SOW)! Thanks!!

    Marlena says: It means a lot to me that so many of my old SOW readers have hung in there with me. And a special thanks to you Melanie for repeatedly standing up for me against the Todd raping Marty again mess!

  12. norn says:

    Oops, that “anonymous” was me!

    Marlena says: Well thanks Norn! We are thrilled to have an artist as talented and professional as you as a periodic contributor. Your illustrations are gems, so full of insight and emotion. We’ll have at least two more in the next few weeks.

  13. Melanie says:

    Oh I know Marlena…for the record I’m *still* upset about the Todd/Marty story and am incredibly disheartened by the fact that ratings didn’t plummet (which I had hoped would happen) and by so many critics/journalists writing (as you pointed out) “It was sexist, but…” or “I hate rapemances, but…” or “It was offensive, but…” Well, there’s still no *But* about it for me. The story shouldn’t have been done *Period* Okay, getting off my soapbox now, lol.

    You’re the best Marlena!

  14. Dave Feldman says:

    I guess you’re O.K.

    Seriously, if only soaps today deserved the passion and smarts that you devote to this website! All things are cyclical, and I’m hoping that the quality, if not the quantity of soaps increase in the near future. However they change, I hope you’ll be here to chronicle the developments. Happy Anniversary!

    Marlena says: Thanks Dave, what a nice compliment to all who work here!! It’s fun to be a writer, as you well know.

  15. DS0816 says:

    Happy Anniversary to Connie/Marlena, and congratulations to all who contribute to keeping this site “alive”!

    Marlena says: Thanks DSO! Hang in there!

  16. Bryon says:

    Happy Anniversay Marlena and a toast to many more! Thank you for giving us a place to complain, praise, remember, and most of all come together to discuss the art of (good) storytelling. Like others, I always look forward to your next update.

    Marlena says: Thanks Bryon!!

  17. JONNYSBRO says:

    Marlena, Happy Anniversary. It is awesome that the old SOW readers could find you again. We definitely missed you when you left the magazine. MarlenaDeLaCroix represents the gold standard on the internet. It is a critic’s column where it is not overly biased, wonderful critiques, with humor thrown in and a place for intelligent soap fans who want that intelligent fun debate. Marlena now what you, Moose, Damon, and Patrick need to do is break out the bubbly and toast on this occasion. Heres to many more years of MarlenaDeLacroix.com

    Marlena says: Thanks Jonny. You have been a very good friend to us for years and years. And, a true gentleman!

  18. HI Marlena,
    I can’t tell you what an honor it is to be part of this team. I am so thankful to you and the Thinking Fans for this wonderful opportunity!

  19. Katie says:

    Happy Anniversary Marlena! Just wanted to let you know that I love your column. I hadn’t watched soaps since GH during high school (early 90s), but then last year I had a baby, stopped working, and started catching GH and OLTL during naptime. Honestly, I think half of my motivation to keep up with the shows is to see what you and Soaptown’s Jeremy in Chicago have to say about them! I love the smart critiques and analysis of these shows I find here, it really makes watching them a totally different experience. So, happy anniversary and please keep it coming!

  20. PK ( Kel ) says:

    Happy Anniv. !!

    Marlena says: Thanks Kel!

  21. Marilyn Henry says:

    Happy Anniversary! We go back a long way, Connie. I still remember that morning when you called me from New York because I’d written a letter to Afternoon TV you liked and you wanted me to do articles, only to learn I only watched one soap and knew very little about any others. We both hung up disappointed–and then a few days passed and you called back to suggest I do a series on the soap I did watch: GH. It was ‘the beginning of a beautiful friendship’, to use a timeworn phrase.

    It is so nice to come here and be able to talk soaps in the old thoughtful way. The message boards are fine, but there are always those fans who contribute little beyond ‘So and so is hot !’ and ‘when are they going to hit the sheets?’ and so and so has had bad face work done, or so and so is such a mean bitch …well, you get the idea. Here we find some analysis, some understanding of what the writers have in mind or at least some overview of a story’s direction and progress and meaning. I like that because that is how I watch. I can come here and read your reactions and thoughts and analysis and that is far more interesting that the usual chat places.

    I don’t always have time to post, but I am reading. I just wish you were still doing your ‘In Critical Condition’ pieces for a magazine, as well as doing it here. It used to be the best thing in SOW and the one piece that was honest and without hype. You were often courageously outspoken which I appreciated.

    Keep up the good work. As my interest in soaps continues to diminish, I find I go to the chat places less and less and here more often. Even if you are talking about a soap I don’t watch, it’s still a good read for me.

    Marlena says: Marilyn, a beautiful friendship indeed! I’m sitting here as I read this dabbing my eyes. You are such an amazing writer — thanks for summing up in this letter exactly what I have been trying to do here over the past year. Much love!

  22. S. Woods says:

    Happy Anniversary, Marlena!! From this Thinking Fan to your Thinking Blog, Thanks for Keeping Us and the ‘Powers-That-Be’ Honest and Inspired! Write On!

    Marlena says: Thank you S!!!

  23. Rebecca says:

    Dear Marlena:
    I must echo all who said how much they enjoy getting the opportunity to read your columns again after having followed you in the soap mags. I loved your column in SOW, and read it devotedly every week. Even tho there were times we didn’t see eye to eye on various issues, I always enjoyed the eloquent way in which you expressed your viewpoints. I was thrilled to dscover (only a couple of weeks ago) that you were at this website, and have been faithfully following it ever since. Thanks so much for all of the insightful commentary that you provide, and Happy, Hapy Anniversary—I hope there are many more to come!

    Best Wishes from Rebecca

    Marlena says: So glad you found us, Rebecca. And what a very sweet letter! Welcome! All our past articles are archived at the right, so I personally invite you to dig in.

  24. Renee says:

    Happy Anniversary Marlena! It’s nice to see there are columnists out there that think the same way a lot of us long time daytime fans think: today’s soaps stink! But there is always hope that tomorrow will be the day things change. Congratulations

    Marlena says: I don’t think they all stink! Right now I like…Viki and Charlie on One Life to Live and….well….it’s hard to think of a lot else. But I wouldn’t be doing this unless I loved the way soaps used to be. And should be. As you say we can always hope that tomorrow will be the day things change (and we can search for it too). Thanks you most seriously for being such a supportive reader.

  25. renee says:

    HAPPY ANNIVERSARY MARLENA.
    You are truly one of the best things period, not just on the web. Period. I’m so glad Di intro’ed you into my life. My Saturday isn’t fully started until I finish my wake up with you (it begins with ESPN, sorry dahling I’m a freako sports nut).

    It’s been only a year? I thought you had been here fahever! Well, a wise choice you made. Someone syndicate this girl again. By far the best soap read out here.

    But I had to laugh as you extolled us to ‘support the soaps with integrity.’ Do they exist? Phoebe was just killed on Bold and the Beautiful. Now it wasn’t her death that bugged me as much as a group of writers insulting my intelligence by having Rick go get Ridge who then goes to Phoebe who he then holds in his arms while she croaks out a few words of the song she wrote for her daddy. HELLO! Cell phone. Call 911. Or better, Get your friggin’ sister Bridget the doctor. Yup, integrity. Sigh.

    Or Young and the Restless, who has a scribe that obviously watches all the gossip shows and decided Jack (Benet Duchovny) should say with a straight face to Sharon – ‘I’m a sex addict,’ I never laughed so hard at Peter Bergman trying to pull that off.

    Then there’s AMC with meltdown Krystal whose motto is no matter what the crisis I will always turn to any man but my husband, Tad, because the viewers love to see Tad cuckold. Uh no we don’t.

    We do love seeing the beautiful writing of Kay Chancellor’s 2 day funeral and wake, and when Agnes Nixon came back to AMC, or when AMC reunited Angie and Jesse, even the Ashley Nikki Victor triangle. Why? It’s respecting the history of the characters.

    I could go on, but you get the picture.
    And this is a celebration of tu.
    So to tu Ms. Marlena, you’re my Gretchen Wilson and I’m Here for Your Party. Now and forever.

    Marlena says: Esther/Di brought you to me? Wow! We are certainly all fun gals! And as Esther can tell you, I have been around soaps faheva! (since 1980 professionally.)

    I, too, almost had a cow when Y&R’s Jack admitted he’s a sex addict. And what does that make Phyllis then? A nymphomaniac? I can’t believe Rauch had her back in the black lingerie in the same episode! (She was with her hubby at least — for now!) Re: Phoebe’s death — the last six months or so B&B has been outtacontrol (and to me unwatchable.) And I’m glad you brought up AMC’s Tad. All he ever does is talk and complain and talk and whine — why doesn’t AMC give some sort of a real life, like an addiction to sports (inspired by you Renee) or maybe a computer or a DVD collection to spend time with ? Also Michael Knight’s naturally gray hair makes me feel positively ancient. Tad is supposed to be the eternal thirtysomething — dye it back, honey!

    Anyway, thanks Renee for all your good wishes! You are a hoot!

  26. siport says:

    Happy Anniversary!!!

    You are sanity during an insane time.

    Marlena says: Thanks as always, SIP.

  27. pjs says:

    Happy Anniversary, Marlena…and Moose!

    And thanks, Marlena, for keeping the long-running spirit of great soap opera alive even when the long-running shows themselves fall far short of their former greatness.

    Your writing has always championed this unique form of story-telling and you never let up on challenging its writers and producers to strive to do better.

    May you continue to rally us thinking fans with your cogent insights for a long time to come. Of course, that long time to come will only be possible if some soap producers finally start thinking and use your critiques to fix their shows. You light the way, Marlena! Keep up the good work!

    Marlena says: Pjs, I could never ask for a better friend or for anyone to be as much of a gentleman as you are! Moose and I cherish you!

  28. Giada says:

    Happy belated anniversary!
    To many more years to come. cheers. :o )

    Marlena says: Thank you darling!! Grazie! You have always been a true friend to Marlena.

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