Marlena’s Hope: Merry Christmas!

 Cher Thinking Fans:

I wanted this Christmas message to be merrier, but alas, I’ve been sick for the last five days.  Ever the trendsetter, I am the first among my friends and family to be downed by what the local newscasts have dubbed “Vicious Virus,” a miserable stomach flu that is sweeping New York City just prior to Christmas.  Isn’t it interesting that TV has made even the achiest, most miserable illness alliteratively promotable?

Complicating all this is the fact that I can’t seem to snap out of the gloom caused by Georgie’s murder on General Hospital earlier this week.  Sure, Georgie was a fictional character, but the murder goes beyond the loss of a rare intelligent young female character and a very good actress, Lindze Letherman.  Did GH have to strangle her to death at Christmas, of all seasons?  It’s as if at the end of the episode in which Spinelli found Georgie’s body in the park, an arm reached out from the TV screen and with a hand tattooed with the initials “ABC” between the knuckles, found me and slapped me across the face.  Hard.

Ugliness!  I hate ugliness!  Reportedly, the same tattooed hand had reached out and dealt actress Sabine Singh an extra wallop to her behind as she departed the central role of Greenlee, which she has wonderfully and very courageously played over the year on All My Children.   Actors get fired all the time, but few have a network boss who go to the soap magazines and boast that Singh shouldn’t feel ashamed since she was being replaced by the Emmy winner who had originated the role (Rebecca Budig).  He thought it was a compliment!  Ugly!  Ugly!

I’ve loved soaps for decades and I know many of you have, too.  Yes, the genre is in decline, but that doesn’t mean we all have to conduct ourselves in an ugly manner.  It’s Christmas, the traditional time of peace and hope.  I firmly believe soap fans have a lot of power to change the fate of the genre.  As Tom Joad declared at the end of John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, “We’re the people.”

Next year, I hope that by publicly discussing our constructive ideas on how to make soaps better, we Thinking Fans can help to make the soap world once more a beautiful place, not an ugly one.

Since we started a month ago, we’ve been deluged with messages from old soap fans and new, and it’s been a real treat for me to hear from so many of you again.  We can tell by the quality of the letters that, just as I predicted, there are thousands of Thinking Soap Fans out there, ready to share their sophisticated thoughts, devotion to and frustrations with soaps with each other.   Darlings, in just a month, you have made Marlena (and her beloved husband Moose, who serves as co-pilot here) very happy that we’ve started this site.  We hope you’re enjoying it too.

Merry, merry Christmas!

Love, XXOO



  1. Hi Marlena,

    I love your column and love to see that other viewers see what we do: that daytime is in terrible shape. I noticed the title of this article: Marlena’s Hope:Merry Christmas! Unfortunately, I don’t think I have any hope left. ABC doesn’t listen. Their ratings keep sinking and nothing changes. Is there any hope left for GH to change? Or will this show continue to be the sadistic, violent, sleazy, mob-centered show it has been for the last decade?

    Marlena says: Horse, you may remember that last year Marlena wrote a “Savoring Soaps” column on the phenomenon of General Hospital viewers who object to the show and bash it constantly but who still continue to watch for years on end. I’m one of them! You may be, too! I guess we’ll all meet up here at Christmas 2017!

  2. No matter how abysmal our soaps continue to become (I too would be upset over GH’s latest killing if the show hadn’t ceased to exist for me back in February), I always enjoy reading your posts, Marlena. Happy Holidays to you, and I hope you feel better soon!

  3. I wish that you enjoy your Holiday season Marlena. I had tears in my eyes today watching GH. I hate that we only see characters like Bobbie and Mac at funerals. Of course, with the rate that GH is killing off characters, we will see them a lot more often. I would love the old GH back, but I don’t see it happening. And sad to say, I will still be watching. I hope you feel better!

  4. I just stumbled upon this blog, and I’m so thankful I did! I completely agree about Georgie’s murder; it was absolutely devastating as a soap fan (and amateur feminist) to see such an intelligent, strong female character killed off. She was the only heroine on GH with much sense. Likewise, I’m disgusted at the way Sabine Singh was treated at AMC and Brian Frons, in particular. It’s astounding to me that *anybody* would think it appropriate to comment in such a manner. What makes it even worse, though, is the headline over on the AMC official website touting Rebecca Budig’s return by screaming “The REAL Greenlee is Back!” The “real” Greenlee? As opposed to the fake Greenlee Sabine was playing? I think that’s the most insulting and offensive part of this entire mess.

    AMC and ABC have dug themselves into a quagmire with fans, who were just starting to warm to Sabine Singh’s take on Greenlee. They sorely miscalculated the fan base that Singh had established for herself and now Budig’s return is marred by the unfortunate handling of Singh’s termination, as has the character; Greenlee will, at least for the immediate future, be linked with this scandal. Only time will tell if the Greenlee – or AMC – will recover in the long term.

  5. Marlena — so sorry you’ve got that stomach virus. I’m trying to avoid it!

    Yup, it’s a sad time for soaps. But you know what bothers me more? The fact that soaps that are trying to improve are getting trampled on. I read on a website that OLTL fell to last place the week of 12/10-12/14.

    Marlena, I’m wondering what you think about the ratings system in general, and what could account for the decrease in OLTL? For me the show is watchable now for the first time since Megan McT took over in 2000. It keeps getting critical accolades, yet the ratings are droppin’.

    Ah, more wonderful sentiments. I hope you have a very happy holiday, and that we have better news to dish about next year at this time!

    Marlena says: Hi Fabs. I’m not sure if the ratings curve has followed critical opinion in soaps for a very long time. These days soaps are lucky if they maintain their ratings rather than lose points every week. To tell you the truth, it upsets me a lot to look at the soap ratings each week! I wonder if the ever-improving OLTL is being dragged down ratingswise because it is sandwiched between All My Children and General Hospital, two soaps that are practically in death spirals creatively as we enter the New Year.

  6. Oh Marlena, I totally agree with you. It does feel awfully hateful of ABC with what they’ve been doing. I violently hated Budig as Michelle on GL but she did grow on me at AMC. However, I thought Sabine made the role a true potential heroine and not some annoying spunky girl who I just wanted to slap. She was the first person to actually have chemistry with Aidan, whom I adore but who can’t seem to click with any female. And I normally hate recasts and never adjust. Budig wanted greener pastures…she should have just stayed away.

    Killing Georgie at Xmas is just its own special brand of evil. Storylines are supposed to be wrapped up with a happy ending on Xmas — not like this! Irna would be disgusted…

    Happy Holidays, Marlena and Moose — and feel better!

    Marlena says: Thanks to all who inquired about my health. I hope to be better by Christmas Eve when I am hoping to greet the REAL Santa Claus. Seriously, Esther and I jointly abhored Budig’s amateurish acting when she was on Guiding Light, only I continued to not to like her when she went to AMC and became a quasi-soap superstar. As Tony Soprano used to say, “Whatcha gonna do?” It’s gotten to the point where I don’t even try to second guess anything ABC does anymore.

  7. Stumbled across your website and just love your commentaries on the soaps. Just wanted to add my two cents to the GH discussion. I have watched this soap since the Luke and Laura campus disco days. This week I threw in the towel. The death of Alan Q. earlier this year during sweeps almost pushed me out the door but killing off Emily was heartless and cruel. This character had so much potential and many of us were hoping for a happy ending with Nikolas. Both characters have suffered greatly over the years and to what end? The Quartermaine family was a core family and it is now an empty shell. Couldn’t watch poor Georgie die this week. I also hate that all the soldiers are lunatics (GH Night Shift) criminals or murders.

  8. Marlena, thank you for returning to us in 2007! I can’t wait to see what you have in store for us in 2008.

    Are you going to present your “Marlena Awards” this year? I always loved those back in the day!

    All the very best to you!


    Marlena says: Oh Dale, you are so sweet! I had forgotten everything about the Marlena Awards, except how much they used to outrage everyone in the biz! Right now, I am working on a “Bests” 2007 column for later in the week and it has been tough to scrape up enough of them. Marlena doesn’t want to get started on “Worsts.”

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