By 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?
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 I was watching every day. The awards were also
The difference between the old Marlenas and the new Marlena Courage Under Fire Awards is that these new ones will be awarded, not just by moi, but by you Thinking Fans.
meant as a satire on how obsessed everyone was with their power to give out awards. By then several other soap magazines were giving out awards that seemed more interested in saying “look at me and my great taste” than in really honoring the winners.
I’ve grown over the years, and became more populist. I no longer think that any one person (like me) has the right to give their own awards. Awards are supposed to represent a consensus.
And look at how much the quality of soaps has degenerated since the late 90s! Today I think the valor in daytime lies in the ability and versatility shown by soap actors who make bad scripts and illogical characters — and plots — come alive. So I’m formulating the new Marlena Courage Under Fire awards, designed to recognize actors who have gone the extra mile and have been courageous and inventive enough to meet the special challenges the deteriorating daytime world presents today. In other words, let’s honor our favorites who are making some kind of dramatic sense of the improbable, the illogical, and the plain old uncomfortable plots and scripts they are handed.
For example, on All My Children, consider Jill Larson, whose Opal was always meant as comic relief to the late Jenny and Tad’s natural mom. Now, especially with the death of Myrtle,Opal is the talk to of every young character on the canvas, whether she likes them or not!
Likewise, although I am infamously not a Kim Zimmer fan, don’t you think she deserves special recognition for playing a 50-ish character who not only has cancer, but is pregnant?
And top soap star Tony Geary earns kudos, too, for having the grace and fortitude to play out 147 scenes in a row with an absolute soap character newcomer, Aussie Ethan Lovett, played by the nearly inaudible Nathan Parsons, to balance out weeks of February scenes in which the hospital was afflicted with toxin gas and endless explosions and fires.
The difference between the old Marlenas and the new Marlena Courage Under Fire Awards is that these new ones will be awarded, not just by moi, but by you Thinking Fans. Since these awards will take a bit more brain work than merely picking people who are pretty, I invite all my Thinking Fans to make submissions from now until April 15th. We’ll post all nominations right here. So watch the shows and submit your picks to firstname.lastname@example.org with “New Marlena Courage Under Fire Awards” in the subject line.
And stay tuned for answers to more of your questions.