Thinking Fans defend Dorian, too: Rebecca demands, “Dorian has always been a great soap villainess. I have a big problem thinking that she actually was in her cups at the party she hosted for Markko — as we all know, soap villains do not lose control. I want the indomitable, formidable woman that Dorian is back on screen, giving no quarter to her enemies and taking no prisoners!” … Marilyn Henry adds, “I have long thought Robin Strasser one of the finest talents in soaps, maybe in all TV” … while Jennifer rages, “I am outraged by the callous and heartless writing, not just for Ms. Strasser, but for this iconic character” … and more. See Comments below.
By Marlena De Lacroix
I have been a Robin Strasser fan since 1969 when she, George Reinholt and Jacquie Courtney drew me into the soap world with the pathos of the Rachel, Steve and Alice’s storyline on Another World. The passion, the tears! It was the best love triangle ever! Rachel was the neurotic spoiler, the villainess, and Robin made her grasping inner pain so harrowing (Rachel was deserted by her father as a child), I can still feel the hurt decades later. And after 40 years (through Another World, All My Children and One Life To Live) Robin is still here, as OLTL‘s Dorian. And so am I, having followed her through all of her long and distinguished soap career.
In all those years, Robin has never given a bad performance, never failed to be anything less than riveting, or at the very least extremely interesting in any soap scene. We love her! She is daytime soap opera! And on a personal note, is there any other soap actress who has aged so well — naturally? She doesn’t mind that we know she’s 64 (born on V.E. Day 1945, her middle name is literally ‘Victory in Europe.’) She still looks youthful and beautiful.
It’s way too easy for soap writers to fall into cliché. Robin is, after all, an older woman. In our soap world of 20-year-old uneducated, unsophisticated heroines, it’s only too tempting to write an older woman who can be easily marginalized — and laughed at. It’s an ugly stereotype.
And in public appearances she’s always dressed with stunning perfection. Like Dorian, Robin loves all things French. She is the rare soap actress who understands and can do chic.
So what I’m about to say isn’t aimed at Robin. It’s aimed at the writers, producers, costumers and make up people at OLTL: Don’t turn our Dorian Lord into a hag!
In the last few months, Dorian has looked increasingly alarming. She’s been plastered with too much makeup, including lots of black liner. She’s worn way too many wigs, falls, and chignons. At her party for Langston’s graduation, she wore two wiglets and a fall full of curls. (The fall looked exactly like the one we recently found in my mother’s wig box, circa 1968). She also wore an orange and white dress ensemble which I thought at first was vintage from the 60s. Then I looked closer – it wasn’t charming in a retro way, it was just ugly and loud.
And the desecration of Dorian didn’t end with the awful makeup and dress. Pained by the abrupt desertion of her new lover Ray a day or so before, Dorian took some sort of pill at the party, and started screaming like a hellfire banshee at everyone. She loudly fired Moe and Noelle, effectively telling Marko’s strait laced parents that Langston and Marko had sex. She screamed at Sean and threw him and Rachel out of the house.
Gentlemen of OLTL, Dorian Lord is not Helen Lawson. And Robin has never been written or dressed as such. There’s a fine line between an older woman and villainess who is a soupcon eccentric and a character we have watched and loved for decades made to look and act like an absolute ass because she lost a man. The day Ray left, Dorian upended a whole table of food she had Moe cook for a special romantic dinner. How soap opera! How fake! The real Dorian would never do anything that cliché. Instead, she’d go to Viki or Blair and cry and harangue all over them for six months worth of scenes — at least!
I think it’s way too easy for soap writers to fall into cliché. Robin is, after all, an older woman. In our soap world of 20-year-old uneducated, unsophisticated heroines (I mean, bimbos), it’s only too tempting to write an older woman who can be easily marginalized — and laughed at. That hag! It’s an ugly stereotype.
Well, Dorian is no joke, and neither is any other older woman on daytime The OLTL writers would never write material like this for Viki, because Erika Slezak would charge the writer’s office armed with her six Emmys and rightfully clunk those writers over the head with them.
And so I’m asking for respect both for Dorian Lord and for Emmy winner Ms. Robin Strasser. Stop dressing and making her up as a circus clown. Dorian is Dorian, not because she’s older, neurotic, and rich. She’s Dorian because she embodies equal measures of nastiness and vulnerability, the later often exquisitely so. Strasser’s so good at portraying this duality that she’s kept us, her fans, literally enthralled for 40 years. One Life to Live viewers love Dorian. She is not to be trivialized or marginalized. Llanview is not the Valley of the Dolls.