Sunday Reflections: General Hospital, Bold and Beautiful and Marlena’s Radio Days

By Marlena De Lacroix a.k.a. Connie Passalacqua Hayman

General Hospital:  Heather! Heather! Heather! That’s practically all the GH audience is seeing this summer.  Last month I praised multi-soap veteran actress Robin Mattson to the sky, placing her very much toward the top of the Soap Villains Hall of Fame (which I made up.)

Now it’s time to praise another GH actress, Lisa LoCicero, who plays Olivia Falconeri. 

But let’s first go back to LoCicero’s daytime debut in 1995, when Marlena was a newspaper columnist. I liked to interview only the best of young actors, and get them early on in their soap tenure. So shortly after LoCicero joined Loving as Jocelyn Roberts Brown (she later graduated to The City in the same role.)  I requested an interview with her because I thought she was so natural and earthy, and possessed a rare intelligence that she always showed in her performances.  LoCicero in person turned out to be a very cool person, a real no b.s. kind of gal. 

These were exactly the characteristics she brought to General Hospital in 2008 when she originated the role of Olivia (at first she was only signed for seven appearances). LoCicero, who is from stylish and affluent Grosse Pointe, Michigan, convinces us that her Olivia really is of lower class Brooklyn origin. This is always part of the fun of interviewing a real pro in the acting craft – hearing her speak for the first time in her own voice.  I always really liked Olivia because Locicero makes the character seem so real. Did the writers pick up on the actress’ intelligence and run with it? I’d bet they did.

And she’s one of the few women characters on GH who had never been made a victim.  Olivia used her native smarts to get through everything — especially her early big story in which she was the secretive single mother of “fatherless” policeman Dante, who was shot by our favorite mobster, who thought Dante was an undercover cop out to get him.   “Sonny, you just shot your own son!” Olivia cried, a line no one can forget.

And speaking of Heather … Olivia was the first to catch on to the real creepiness of Heather, the mother of Olivia’s overtanned schlemiel (as of Thursday, ex-) boyfriend Dr.  Steve, or Steven Lars, as only Heather still calls him.  Haven’t the heated arguments between these tough gal enemies been just been especially great? Now this week, Heather (murderess of Maggie Worth, by poisoning via iced tea) will succeed in injecting Olivia with a good dose of LSD (forgive me, I accidently read the spoiler). I’m really looking forward to Locicero’s take on the character’s likely long strange trip if that happens.  Or will she just get very sick?  Either way, the show better not make Olivia a total victim — in the long run!   

Heather’s use of LSD as a weapon is good use of show history. Over 30 years ago in a very delicious, terrific, classic GH story, Heather tried to murder Diana Taylor by giving her LSD, but accidentally took it herself.  The writers tried to make us believe Heather did eventually succeed in murdering Diana, but it was really Heather’s Mother Alice Grant who accidentally committed the grisly deed.

By the way, I’m sure you all remember the brilliantly written and acted LSD trip of Roger Sterling (John Slattery) on Mad Men not that many months ago.   Could this have also been the inspiration for this story, if Olivia does indeed trip out on acid?

The Bold and the Beautiful:  Special kudos must go to B&B for the especially timely social issue story they did this week:

Marcus was driving when he decided to send a text message. While he was texting, he hit Anthony. As of Friday, Anthony had survived but lay in a hospital bed very, very seriously injured.  On Friday, Marcus made a super guilt-filled bedside apology (nicely played by Texas Battle). It didn’t help poor Anthony, but hopefully the audience learned an important lesson: don’t text while driving.

What police call “distracted driving” – trying to operate a motor vehicle while texting or talking on a cell phone – is now regarded as the number two cause of traffic accidents, not far behind drunk driving. Teens are especially culpable, and the problem, studies show, is just getting worse. So hooray for B&B for quite effectively spreading the message here.

And for continuing to dramatize the consequences. This being a soap, the accident occurred just prior Marcus’ planned wedding to Dayzee.  Will the wedding come off?  More importantly, will Anthony live?

Back to the Buzz:  Marlena will make her ninth appearance on the Brandon’s Buzz blogtalk radio show (http://blogtalkradio.com/brandonsbuzz) on Tuesday night (10PM Eastern, 9PM Central, 8PM Mountain, 7PM Western.)   We talk about the state of all the current four soaps and much more. Tune in for a great time! 

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