Ask Marlena: Whatever Happened to the Marlena Awards?

cowardly lionBy Marlena De Lacroix

Hi everyone! I’m ecstatic to be snowed under with the many, many Ask Marlena questions submitted by all of you in the past week.  They are all intelligent and thoughtful and I am so flattered to hear from so many Thinking Fans I’ve gotten to know over the past year. I’m starting with just one great question today, and will try and answer many more in the days ahead. Plus, the letters have given me ideas for new features (see below). Feel free to submit more questions as soap events warrant.

Hey Marlena, I’ve been a fan of yours ever since the very first Critical Condition column in Soap Opera Weekly and I have a (hopefully) great question for the new column.  The month of March used to always mean two things to me:  the (blessed) return of warm weather, and the annual Marlena Awards.  Thankfully, the sun still shines, but questions like “Who was the best stand-alone actor of the year?” and “But who will win the always coveted Marlena Marlena?!” have sadly gone unanswered for years now.  So, my question for you is:  Whither the Marlenas?

Love always,
Brandon (your #1 fan!)

Thanks for remembering, Brandon, dearest darling.  I invented the Marlena Awards because I was so frustrated in the mid-late 90s by how out of the touch the Emmys were with the kind of soap opera [Read more...]

Introducing a New Feature: Ask Marlena

question mark

What’s on your minds, dear Thinking Fans? Do you have questions about current soaps you’d like to ask Marlena?  Or questions about soaps of the glory days past?  I’m the original Been-There-Done-That gal who’s written about and been around soaps forever, and I love to talk with you, the best, most intelligent fans in the world, about where we’ve been, where we are and (shudder) where we may be headed. And I’m sure you have many opinions you’d like to share, too. So fire away.  I’ll answer them as swiftly as I can,  just as I do when I receive reader replies to my columns.  And of course, all readers are invited to join the ensuing dialogue. Send your questions to webmaster@marlenadelacroix.com with “Ask Marlena” in the subject line.  I can’t wait to hear from you!

                                                                                    Marlena

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On the Soap Shrink’s Couch: One Life to Live’s Todd Manning

Thinking Fans on Todd: Marilyn Henry says, “I do not understand how some fans see him as sexy or hot. He is cruel. Sick. Unfeeling for others. As such, he is dangerous” … while Dale agrues, “Just because I and others find something of worth in watching Todd does not make our opinions any less valid than yours, or Marlena’s, or Joe Blow’s” … and more. See Comments below. 

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By Damon L. Jacobs

What do you call someone who is capable of committing abhorrent crimes against others? What do you call a man who can rape another person, attack a blind woman, lie to his own wife that their newborn is dead, kidnap a woman who is presumed dead by her friends and family, and then plot to fake his own grand child’s death?  If you live in One Life to Live‘s Llanview, you call that man Todd Manning . 

If you’re in the therapist’s chair, you call that person “Antisocial.”  When most of us hear the word “Antisocial” we think of someone who doesn’t like to socialize at parties.  But in clinical terms, the term refers to an individual who is capable of

Todd doesn’t truly want to atone for his crimes, he doesn’t authentically want to stand up and do the right thing. He just wants his “pizza,” i.e., Marty’s love.

committing horrendous violent crimes against others without any sense of guilt or remorse.  They can lie, cheat, rape, even kill, without batting an eyelash.  The only type of regret they express is when [Read more...]

Joyeuse St. Valentin, Mes Chers!

Happy Valentine’s Day, Thinking Fans!

                                                                                            Marlena

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Asa, Ace of Characters: Phil Carey Remembered

phil carey 

Thinking Fans pay their respects to Mr. Carey: Dale says, “There’s a big hole in Llanview these days named Asa Buchanan. His presence is still very much felt, but it’s never going to be the same” … and Steve recalls, “What made Asa so real was that he truly did love his family, even if he showed that love in the wrong way” … while James adds, “I hope Phil and Bucky are up in Heaven having a good ol’ time” … and more. See Comments below.

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By Marlena De Lacroix

Any executive  producer of today’s desperate-for-ratings soaps would pay a ransom in gold and maybe sell his/her soul, too, for an actor like Phil Carey.  An actor who, on his debut, instantly grabs the viewer’s attention; is immediately  talked about everywhere by all soap fans; is charismatic, funny and charming, and has both sex appeal and a real  edge. 

So it was that great ladies who ran ABC Daytime back in 1979 (Jackie Smith, Jozie Emmerich) knew exactly what they were doing when they cast veteran movie and primetime actor Carey in the role of Asa Buchanan on One Life to Live. One of the

We longtime One Life To Live fans almost don’t need the old tapes.  We can practically see Phil Carey’s scenes in our minds.

first things they had fifty-something Asa do was parachute from an airplane into the birthday party of his barely twenty-something new beloved, Samanatha Vernon. How’s that for a grand entrance?

Asa was bigger than life and a Big Bad Daddy when he arrived in Llanview from Texas to live with his sons, Bo and Clint.   The easy thing to think was [Read more...]

David Selby as Abraham Lincoln at Ford’s Theatre

David Selby

Attention Dark Shadows fans: David Selby, remembered fondly as the romantic heartthrob Quentin Collins on that long-running soap of yore, is playing Abraham Lincoln in a new play, The Heavens Are Hung In Black, at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C. 

Selby has played Lincoln twice before. But this time, he says, is different: “This play goes deeper than any Lincoln piece I’ve ever done.” The play is set in 1862, when Lincoln is grieving for the recent death of his 12-year-old son. At the same time, he’s grappling with the question of freeing the nation’s four million slaves, and ultimately decides to issue the Emancipation Proclamation.

Marlena’s alter ego, Connie Passalacqua Hayman, talks to Selby about his long and varied career in this interview for Theater Mania. The Heavens Are Hung In Black, by James Still, runs through March 8.

                                                                                   Marlena

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Clint Ritchie and The Buchanan Years Remembered

Clint Ritchie

Thinking Fans salute Mr. Ritchie: Steve misses “the easy chemistry between Erika Slezak and Clint Ritchie” … Dale says he “brought a fresh masculine sensibility to Llanview when the town was filled with bluebloods” … and more. See Comments below.

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By  Marlena De Lacroix

How sad it is for One Life to Live viewers that Clint Ritchie passed away this week at age 70.  

When his eponymous character Clint Buchanan galloped in from the west to take over The Llaniew Banner newspaper and later the heart of its owner, the show’s main heroine, the widow Viki Riley, he really became part of the fabric of the show and remained so for the next twenty years.

The foundation of his character was a throwback to old movie heroes like John Wayne and James Stewart — a truly good man you can depend on.  A quiet hero,  a true American.   Clint was the strong shoulders a troubled woman like Viki needed to lean on sometimes to be able to pick up the pieces of her shattered life (most notably her DID, which exploded in the

At the end of the 90s, the actor who was not happy with the modern misunderstanding and direction of his hero character quit OLTL and rode off into the sunset.

mid-80s and in the early 90s).  I always admired that the character Clint adopted her sons and always treated them as if they were his own.  And I actually bought him as a newspaper editor — a member of the rare breed of men (and women) I’ve known in real life who are [Read more...]

On the Soap Shrink’s Couch: All My Children’s Annie Lavery

Thinking Fans Comment update: antmuoz doubts AMC will “actually tell a reality-based story with Annie. But if they did, it might be a daytime first in that it doesn’t involve cloning or demonic possession” … while Matthew objects to AMC’s “fear-based portrayal of Bedlam with outdated methods and near criminal activity” … and more. See Comments below. 

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By Damon L. Jacobs

2008 was a rough year for the residents of Pine Valley.  Murderers ran loose, tornadoes crashed through homes, but nothing or no one had an impact quite like hurricane Annie herself.

Annie Lavery (played by Melissa Claire Egan) first blew into Pine Valley in 2006, on the run with her infant daughter, Emma, from her first husband, Terry.  She was a force to be reckoned with, as she mistakenly shot Ryan (thinking he was Terry),proving to everyone she would do anything to hold on to  Emma.  Eventually she and Ryan fell in love, got married, and lived happily ever, because that’s what always happens on soaps, right?  

Only in Annie’s delusional mind it does!

In 2008 alone, Annie killed her brother Richie and her friend Di, almost killed Greenlee, stabbed Erica, faked Emma’s kidnapping, broke out of an insane asylum,

The Soap Shrink is sickened by the way Annie has been treated in The Oak Haven Institute, and is deeply concerned that this portrayal will scare viewers away from seeking mental therapy when they need it.

assaulted Ryan — and this doesn’t even include losing her marriage to Ryan, losing her unborn baby, losing [Read more...]