By Marlena De Lacroix a.k.a. Connie Passalacqua Hayman
The late Jim Reilly used to say that writing a soap was like baking a cake. You mix in various ingredients, maybe a little bit more or less of some, bake it, and then, voila, there’s the show, rich and delicious. The main ingredient mixed into GH this past year has been veterans. With the 50th anniversary coming up April 1, veterans are becoming more than the flavor of the month — they are almost the entire show. In addition to all the characters we have “mixed in” already, coming soon are Kin Shriner (Scotty), Rachel Ames (Audrey), possibly John Stamos (Blackie) and the beloved Jackie Zeman (Bobbie.)
What do you think of all the veterans that have been “mixed in” so far? Are there too many, or can’t you wait to see more? I’m curious what you think. I think the return of so many GH actors greatly enriches the quality of the show, stirring up our emotions, bringing back memories and leaving us wanting more of our favorite old characters. Mr. Carlivati has done a marvelous job as a “baker,” using veteran characters to launch new storylines or make old ones better.
But there’s something peculiar I’ve noticed about soap fans, especially longtime ones. I always wonder that the first questions viewers (particularly online) seem to ask each other when vets make their first appearance after years (or decades) is “How do they look?” In other words, “how well have they aged?”
Well, some, like Kristina Wagner (Felicia) look younger than springtime. Some have aged remarkably well and look really distinguished, like Tristan Rogers (Robert) and Marlena’s heartthrob Ian Buchanan (Duke). Some just look remarkably great, like Finola Hughes (Anna), Lynn Herring (Lucy), Robin Mattson (Heather) and Sean Kanan (A.J.). Poor Jack Wagner. When he recently reappeared as Frisco Jones, after what seems like centuries (it was actually decades) he looked like someone whose face had been put through too many wash and dry cycles.
Some veterans look even better than they used to, their growing maturity actually thrilling us. Doesn’t Genie Francis look gorgeous? Her hair is a bit darker, but otherwise she looks exactly the same as she always did. I can’t help but think that Laura’s inner beauty as a character makes us love her even more. Laura is one of the few female daytime characters who have realistically grown as a person. We first met her when she was 14; Genie is 50 now. Sure, Laura was kidnapped and was catatonic for a while, but for the most part the character avoided more extreme storylines such as being an identical twin, or turning into a murderer. Perhaps because of the way Francis plays Laura, or the person Genie is, Laura is now wondrously womanly wise, the kind of leading lady that makes us glad we’ve watched GH for centuries (or decades). Welcome back, Ms. Francis!
So, readers, why are we fans so obsessed with the way our returned veterans look? Is it because we are so concerned with our own aging process? Who looks good and who doesn’t! Marlena has no shame in asking this and I feel her readers should have none either in answering it! So let your hair down, Thinking Fans – assuming you still have some.