Ten More Marlena Summer Questions

Thinking Fans’ summer thoughts on this, that and the other: Esther is happy Holly is making an appearance on Guiding Light, and wishes Monti Sharp would come back, too … Steve finds, “The acting from the new younger set on General Hospital is good, but I’m horrified by the misogyny and thug worship in their stories” … while Roger Newcomb is “actually excited about the Daytime Emmys. The producer this year is a lifelong fan of soaps and has produced some pretty classy award shows in the past” … and more. See Comments below. 


By Marlena De Lacroix

1.  Isn’t it interesting that both Gigi and Stacy on One Life to Live wore as low as you can go cleavage during their catfight this week?  I mean, those puppies were popping out!  Isn’t it interesting that Brian FronsBrian Frons dogcurrent photo on his Facebook page is that of a big dog sitting in the driver’s seat of a car? (I’m not kidding. Check it out!)

2.  Now that Mary Jane‘s stuffed cat (a.k.a. Kitty) has turned out to be the surprise star of the summer on The Young and the Restless, why hasn’t CBS begun marketing souvenir versions yet? Let me tell ya, city gal Marlena just loves taxidermy …

3.  Hey Bradley Bell, headwriter of The Bold and the Beautiful! Marlena knows what you are doing!  Aren’t you copying your father’s two most successful stories of the 80s at the same time?  That’s the (then wonderful, now nauseating) Brooke-Ridge-Taylor love story and the establishment of a “comic” second family (Jackie M and cronies including Nick, Pammy,  and  new arrival Whip) a la Spectra Designs.  Lightning doesn’t strike twice in the same place! The late Darlene Conley made Sally Spectra a natural phenomenon  and Spectra worked because of her unique comedic talents.   How we loved her!  How we miss her!

Sean Kanan4.  Isn’t it interesting that Y&R‘s Deacon Sharpe (Sean  Kanan) walks around in a tight black tee shirt exposing his Popeye-esque bulging arm muscles? Isn’t that almost exactly the black tee/ bulging muscles daily get-up of Jason Morgan on General Hospital?  As we all know,  Steve Burton and Kanan used to play kind of look-alike brothers Jason and A.J. on GH!

5.  Is anyone still watching the calamity known as All My Children? I quit the day Tad, playing a game of darts, accidentally fired a dart into Liza‘s very pregnant stomach,   revealing to him her pregnancy was a fake.  How many viewers out there are or have been ever  pregnant?  Misogyny on AMC?  Makes an old Agnes fan like me want to  weep!

6.  Now that Guiding Light is bringing back veterans for its grand finale, may I suggest two characters played by two of the best actors ever to appear on this program, both Emmy winners?  I’d love to see David Grant, played by Monti Sharp, and Marcus Williams, played by Kevin Mambo, who actually won two Emmys, come back.

7.  Why don’t we ever give the old vets the praise they deserve? After more than 35 years, the sarcastic wit and hilarious facial expressions of Marie MastersMarie Masters (Susan) on As the World Turns still crack me up, doing a lot to relieve the silliness of the plot when it’s been discovered that Susan’s daughter Allison and Hunter can’t be lovers because they’ree brother and sister!

8.  Am I the only one not counting the days until the Daytime Emmys on the CW?  Last year’s network show had no class. The prospect of an award show done on the cheap actually frightens me!

9.  Who is the find of the soap year?  How about the refreshingly natural young man General Hospital found for the almost impossible to cast role  of a grown Michael, son of those skunks Sonny and Carly? His name is Drew GarrettDrew Garrettand he seems to have a real passion for art of serious acting.  And you gotta be good and serious to make the same old deplorable Guza scripts suddenly seem sensitive and real!

10.  So Y&R decided to give Lily ovarian cancer?.  I’m sure Y&R will do an superb job of telling this important social issue story.  But to spring it on the audience in the middle of the summer?  Remember long, long ago when soaps used to do romance (like Luke and Laura on the run in 1980) in the summer? I love Y&R, but summer’s my vacation. I’d rather mellow out in  the pool than cry my eyes out over this story.

Waiter, bring me another margarita from the Tiki bar! 


  1. antmunoz says:

    Little “whoopsie,” Marlena…Emily is Hunter’s MOTHER, not sister, on ATWT. Alison is his sister.

    It’s still uber-ick.

    And, yes: Marie Masters is always the best part of any storyline involving “those Stewart women!”

  2. Great questions, Marlena! You know I’m happy that Holly will be making an appearance again on GL, but you’re right — Monti Sharp especially would be an awesome return. I love KM too but not his character, really. Plus, if Dinah’s already gone by the time he returns… How about Ghost Nadine too? 🙂

    So you’re looking forward to the Emmys? As like a train accident to watch? Once again, I won’t be watching them but I’ll look forward to your critique afterwards.

    And I’m with you on AMC — I stopped watching a while back too….killing Dixie and then Babe….enough.

    Y&R is the best thing going for me right now. I know I’m supposed to hate MJ but I just love her and her stuffed cat. P3’s return to life storyline is the best thing going… with great acting from vets (minus TB — who is still as bad as he was bactk then but I still don’t care — I love Phillip!) getting to sink their teeth into some great soapy stuff that we haven’t seen the likes of in decades.

    Marlena says: Great to hear from you. I knew you would be happy Holly will be back! I love to see Nadine again! Jean Carol was such a hoot. So you are a Y&R fan? I was wondering what you thought about that stuffed cat!

  3. marceline says:

    I’m right there with you on wishing for the return of Monti Sharp to GL. Seeing David, Bridget and Dylan again would be wonderful. I know a Nia Long return is impossible and frankly without Vince Williams there as Hamp it would be bittersweet but I would love some acknowledgment of the Grant/Speakes families. They were fantastic characters and a wonderful example of how genuine, organic diversity enriches a show and actually increases the opportunities for good stories.

  4. Melanie says:

    Wonderful observations as usual! I can’t comment on much since I’ve been on a soap sabbatical. Though I have to say, if AMC’s ‘dart to Liza’s belly’ really happened, I am *so* glad I’m not watching anymore.

    Against my better judgement, I have started watching GH and B&B again. I completely agree with you regarding Drew Garrett. I think he’s terrific. At her recent event, Sarah Brown raved about him and compared him to Leonardo DiCaprio. Actually, I think they’ve done quite well with their recent younger actor additions. I think all of them are very likeable and are doing a good job. For all it’s faults (and it has *many*) at least GH is proving that it’s possible to find younger actors that can actually act.

    I’m sorry to see on the B&B that Taylor has apparently become a moron.

    As for the Daytime Emmys, I’m just hoping it’s not a complete train wreck.

  5. The acting from the new younger set on GH is good but I’m so horrified by the misogyny and the thug worship in their stories, especially with Michael (oh how we are supposed to weep for this little brat who hates women, who is obsessed with violence, who wants to be in the mob and his mean parents won’t let him). And don’t you love that creative Guza naming Kristina’s abusive boyfriend Kiefer Bauer? Good luck getting that 24 job now, Bob. It’s jarring to see them contrasting this story to Sonny/Olivia. Kiefer tries to pressure Kristina into sex = evil. Sonny tries to pressure Olivia into sex = hot hot hot how could any woman resist!

    I don’t have any expectations for Y&R to do Lily’s cancer story well, because they just rush through stories without caring about detail or emotional depth. This story is all about the men in her life, from her father Neil telling her the news to Neil and Devon trying to control her to the implication that only Cane’s love can save her. I do think CK and Daniel Goddard are doing some of the best work of their careers. To be honest I think Lily is one of the few characters MAB/Sheffer/Hamner get right.

    I agree about Brad Bell trying to rip off the best of his father. Jackie is fine and Owen is very fine and I like Pam and Whip but this is no Spectra. And any time I see Nick I want someone to hit him in the face.

    Marlena says: Steve, I am so glad that you can see the misogyny and hypocrisy in soaps that I thought only women like me can see. I saw those GH scenes with Christina’s boyfriend pressuring her to have sex and I thought, what is this, an afternoon special? I didn’t know he had a name — Kiefer Bauer — oh, LOLOL. You are right, Guza isn’t headed to primetime after GH. (A fiery place down below is more like it!) And I never realized how male-oriented the Lily story was on Y&R!

    B&B is a played-out soap as far as I’m concerned. We’ve seen all their plots before a zillion times. I don’t even care about it at all anymore and from its 1987 debut I used to be the show’s biggest booster. My favorite Marlena column headline of all time — many times quoted in 1988 — was “B&B is a Camp Classic.” The fun of all that was so long ago …

  6. I used to love B&B too, up to around 1994 or so. I miss those days. Macy, Sally, Saul, Darla, Caroline, Bill, etc.

    Did you know Lisa Brown is coming back to GL? I will not get my hopes up but I hope they make up for the shameful way she was written on her last return.

    Marlena says: Lisa must have come back the last time when I was off in graduate school: I didn’t see her last return. I can’t imagine how they will bring her back now. Does she still know anyone in town besides Vanessa? Everything Nola did in her heyday was the creation of the late Douglas Marland, who in real life was very close friends with Lisa. I used to see them at the theater together here in New York all the time. If only Doug, a real gentleman with a lovely soul and someone I was privileged to know, was still here with us!

  7. 1. Gigi & Stacy: Exit stage right!

    2. Mary Jane’s cat: The best actor on Y&R. I swear I get more pleasure from that stuffed Kitty than any time the Quad of Blah rears a head.

    Phyllis actually is dumb enough to take Nick back into her life? How stupid is she?

    Sharon lies to everyone about her baby’s paternity? How unbelievably CRUEL of her to lie to Jack. No real person would do such a thing.

    3. B&B: The Jackie M. crew are funny. I’m sorry to disagree but all of those folks are the best part of B&B. Leslie-Anne Downe is recovering from breast cancer and is acting up a storm!

    Ridge/Brooke/Taylor? Why? I think of poor Nancy Kerrigan sitting on the ice screaming and crying “Why? Why? Why?”

    Steffy and Thomas? Wonder Twin powers activate! Shape and form of two very bad actors. Where’s a blue space monkey when you need it start throwing some poop to get these two of the screen!

    Rick Forrester? For the love of the Soap Goddess Venus, where is the sweet and earnest Rick portrayed by Justin Torkelson? Kyle Lowder may be a great guy in real life but he’s ham to Ronn Moss’ very thick cheese.

    4. Deacon Sharpe. Sean Kanan is no Steve Burton. Thank Venus! Kanan can actually move his facial muscles and act!

    But Deacon Sharpe. Start the sirens! Deacon just blackmailed Amber into having sex.

    Why should we care about this newly scumified character? He’s so pathetic he has to force a woman to have sex with him? The old Deacon was a seducer not a virtual rapist.

    But hey, it’s Soap World! Rapists are H.A.W.T.!!!

    I really don’t get why soap writers constantly make rapists into desirable spouses and heroes (gag!). Real victims of rape are left with psychological scars. Some never get over the trauma.

    Seriously. Why would Amber, who is close friends with a billionaire, not pick up the phone and ask Katherine Chancellor for advice? It’s not like Kay doesn’t know Amber has a dozen or more skeletons in her closet.

    6. Monti Sharp and Kevin Mambo! That would be great! Cynic in me says that it won’t happen. Soaps just don’t value their African-American audiences that much.

    Don’t get me wrong, I like GL’s current African-American and Latino characters. They’re great.

    I do think it is telling that the only Spaulding who has served recent time for a felony is the non-white Rafe Riviera. The rest of the Spauldings can murder (Alan and Phillip), defraud (James), and kidnap (Beth) with no worries.

    And, as we saw recently, Phillip was happy to take his son and father on a Spaulding men’s retreat but forgot to invite Rafe. (Yeah, it was storyline dictated but it was a crock.)

    Sick but true.

    (BTW, GL’s Daisy Lemay is worried about money for college. How does that not make sense she is a Lewis! Why isn’t her wealthy grandpa Billy or cousin Bill paying for her college? Didn’t her adoptive father leave life insurance for her college education? Poor logic and writing strike again!)
    7. Marie Masters: Awesome actress! She’s the only vet who gets decent screen time on a rare occasion.

    BTW, how sad is it that Elizabeth Hubbard has to fly half-way across the planet to Holland to find airtime on a soap??

    If Y&R can make Jeanne Cooper the center of front burner, exciting stories, how can ATWT screw up so badly and shove Hubbard’s Lucinda Walsh into cabinet?

    9. Drew Garrett and Lexi Ainsworth are great.

    10. Lily’s cancer:


    Thanks for pointing out how much Lily’s cancer is being reflected as affecting the men in her life.

    Have you ever heard of “Women in Refrigerator Syndrome”?

    Khalil is delivering a fine performance, however.

    Marlena says: Great comments. I know you are not going to believe this, but when I originally suggested Monti Sharp and Kevin Mambo comeback to GL, I was not thinking about race. The two just happen to be among the most incredibly talented performers I have ever seen, and my personal GL favorites. I’ve seen Kevin in some New York theater, but not Monti at all lately. Why didn’t they both have better subsequent careers????

    Plus I urge all my readers to look at the url of “Women in Refrigerators.” It’s about women characters in comics and how much violence (and misogny) has been foisted on them.

    Just like women on soaps—what an eye opener!

  8. Insightful and funny as always, Marlena.

    Love Marie Masters and it’s so sad to think the end of ATWT may be near and these longtime actors have been doing next to nothing for so long. Give them one last story!

    I’m actually excited about the Daytime Emmys. The producer this year is a lifelong fan of soaps and has produced some pretty classy awards shows in the past. I am very hopeful. We’re interviewing him in our next podcast.

    He wasn’t in the version we screened at Tribeca, but we added Monti Sharp to my film in a voice over role later. Even with a few lines he’s awesome! I’m surprised he hasn’t made it bigger by now.

    I couldn’t agree more about summer storylines. I miss the fun summer advenetures that were pure escapism. Some of these shows are way too dark for my taste.

    Marlena says: Hi Roger and thanks. I’ve read your interviews with the new Emmys producer and he sounds like a very, very nice guy. I wish him luck! I worked on the Emmys for a year under Dick Clark Productions, and it is a major and very messy undertaking. So many egos involved! The networks, the stars, the publicists–everyone truly has an agenda!

    And I didn’t know Monti was added to the movie. I want all my Marlena readers to go out and buy or rent Roger’s movie Manhattanites (now out on DVD) which is a total treat for soap fans. Ilene Kristen gives the most amazing performance in it along with several other soap stars. My other favorite was Forbes March, who plays a real heartbreaker in the movie. If you’d like to read my review of Manhattanites, click “June 2008” in the archives on my main page.

  9. Actually Marlena, I can’t stomach ‘watching’ any soap anymore, and we’ve all discussed the reasons why ad nauseum. So I just read the recaps and if I see a particular scene I think is noteworthy of my time I hit the soap channel. LOL But let me weigh in on a few plots you brought up …

    1. Tad: can’t see them leaving him in this topo gigio state forever because the humor is forced as opposed to the Tad we knew and loved. I see an accident or brain tumor coming not too soon.

    2. AMC: while the other 92% of the show is in the toilet I do like the Adam Annie storyline because I KNOW Adam is playing Annie or something else is going on that what we see, so I’m looking forward to the crux of this plot coming out. It will affect so many Pine Valley people too. I’m not even convinced Stuart is really dead. Okay this is me hoping because I hate the budget cuts that made this happen. Kill Marian. I didn’t like her.

    3. GL: ahh the comeback of the best of the best. I find this too painful to watch because the material is not worthy of the great actors who are coming back.

    4. Y&R: You and Esther are demented sisters of the womb. Okay fine have CBS sell kitty souvenirs but that is just creepy. MJ is creepy. I want her G O N E with a capital B (#itch gotta go LOL). But this show lost me with the Sharon storyline (my girl would NOT have gone that crazy, and why did it have to be the poor girl from the wrong side of the tracks going crazy and always making the stupid decisions? huh), Adam lying to Ashley about losing her baby (maybe that’s too close to home since my 2 month old niece just died, you just don’t play that), I’m sick of Jill and Kay arguing, now Lily has to have cancer (come on that’s the best you can do for a plot), Adam/Heather/Rafe (ick to the ick ick degree), and I could go on and on. It’s just either regurgitated or plain yawn.

    5. B&B: Speaking of regurgitate, I do keep up with this soap and never thought I’d say this for the first time I’m rooting for Bridge. Not sure that’s what Bill meant to do with his writing of Brooke selflessly giving up Ridge after he drug slept with Taylor but I’m sick of the self righteous Forresters. But you’re right on there will never be another Darlene. Spectra is a joke of itself because they’re writing Nick as a joke character. So you’re angry your mom is a cougar bride. No man is so pissed at that he screws up his honeymoon. Not the oversexed guys I know.

    6. Last point, yes, Marie Masters is a dream. If I could have a good day of drama between her, Kim, Bob, and John … now that would make my world turn.

    Marlena says: Hey Renee! It so interesting that so many regular Marlena readers — all hardcore soap fans — have written to me this summer, telling me they are NOT watching soaps. If my readers are not watching, then who is?

    I’ve theorized from Day One from Stuart is impersonating Adam and that Stuart isn’t really dead. Stuart is a truthteller, too valuable to lose in a soap that has become full of … baloney. And I know from interviewing David Canary a few years back that he absolutely LOVES Stuart. I think “Adam” is in love with Annie because the real Stuart is so much like Annie. Both have been ruled mentally ill and incompetent at times. I think Stuart loves Annie because he recognizes her as a true soul mate. This “mystery” is a very messy and elongated story that frankly gives me a headache! But then again, so does ALL of AMC, as written by … that inappropriate, untalented man. Go back to primetime, you sexist galoot!

  10. Kristan says:

    I am still watching AMC. But for how much longer I don’t know. This version of Liza is one of the worst re-casts I’ve ever seen. They are about to pair her with David. I don’t know if I can stand to watch. Viewers as well as Vincent Irizarry deserve so much better.

    Marlena says: Tell me about it! Vincent is one of the few performers who started soaps in the 80s, who only keeps getting better and better as an actor. I interviewed Jamie a thousand years ago when she was on “Savannah” and loved her. Loved her! What a firecracker she was back then! But the actress I see now on AMC can’t talk (too much botox!), can’t move (she needs some advanced movement lessons) and is in way, way over her head on the show — besides being nothing like Marcy Walker, of course.

    I guess Pratt is trying to make David and Liza a “supercouple.” Maybe if Jamie was the firecracker she was on “Savannah” it might work. I don’t recognize this lifeless blob of an actress on my screen today. Plus, I can barely make out what she is saying every day.

  11. antmunoz says:

    Marlena, regarding Lisa Brown: I remember your insightful columns on GL just after Lisa departed for the second time (GUIDING LIGHT: The Vision and the Fallout, Parts One and Two), so perhaps you had just returned to watching the show.

    Nola and Quint were split last time around, and remained that way (they even went so far as to temporarily recast Quint with Josh Taylor, if I recall correctly!). Nola became a bitter harpy and schemed to take Buzz from Jenna, going so far as to “stalk” Buzz (which I believe led to an accident where he lost his memory…a storyline that was abruptly dropped. Buzz didn’t regain his memory; it just kind of NEVER HAPPENED.) Nola knew Jenna was pregnant by Jeffrey Morgan, not Buzz, and was holding that over Jenna’s head. One day, Nola just ceased to appear, and pretty soon, Buzz won the lottery and bought Company when Susan and Max burned Meals and Wheels down.

    In other words, you missed alot…but not much. LOL

    Nola would still know Vanessa, her nephew Matt, her niece Bridget, Dinah, Buzz, Frank, Lillian, Rick, Ed, Michelle, Reva, Josh (Nola famously flirted with him on the GL disco theme, remember? LOL), Billy, and possibly a few more.

    Marlena says: Thanks, ant. I’ve found throughout my career that most soap fans are blessed with long and detailed memories. I have one, but not for specifics of plots. I can tell you, however, that one of my favorite GL memories is meeting Beulah Garrick who played Quinton’s (and later Nola’s also) housekeeper Mrs. Renfield (Doug based the character on Mrs. Danvers in Rebecca.) This woman was both salty and a hoot, as outrageous off camera as she was on. What a character!

    BTW, ant –I absolutely love and adore when my readers remember my old columns. Merci beaucoups!

  12. Christian in Boston says:

    LOL! Welcome back Marlena!!

    Those 1st two in the list cracked me up. Forgive me, but Frons is a complete tool.

    I do love that in spite of itself, and Frons, OLTL is at long last ABC’s #1 rated soap! It has its moments and is by far the best soap on ABC.

    Y&R I watch like a trainwreck at the moment. That show has been overpraised for the last year in my opinion. With the exception of Katherine/Marge – which started out amazingly and ended horribly, the last year has been a bore i my opinion. But now- There is so much going on. It reminds me of 1980’s Rauch style OLTL, minus the eye burning lighting.

    But this show i am watching is not Y&R- It is seedy. It is plot driven. And the Philip returns scenes and what has followed (minus the awesome Tricia Cast) have been some of the most awkwardly written and terribly acted scenes I have seen in a LONG TIME.

    The show has gotten like B&B (at its worst) with elements of a horror film.

    But I can’t stop watching. And that Stacey Haiduk is a TRIP. But again, this is not Y&R. Strange.

    Marlena says: Hi Christian! So you are a OLTL fan? I watch it, as I have forever. But do you see the rampant sexism on the show? We’ve been friends for a very long time, Christian, so I’d love to hear what you have to say about all the catfights and the old fool they’ve made of Dorian.

    It’s interesting that old Y&R fans hate the new Rauchian version. And some viewers think it is fabulous. I like watching it, but agree it is overhyped. Whether you are reading “criticism” here or anywhere else, Marlena suggests: consider the source.

  13. Christian in Boston says:

    Oh yes Marlena, my shows are OLTL (and Y&R, to a lesser extent actually.) Honestly, at this point my relationship with both shows is based on sentimentality. I enjoy watching Youtube OLTL episodes from 1985-1989 more than I do watching today though, that’s for sure.

    I LOVED Paul Rauch’s OLTL. LOVED IT. Paul Rauch understands the power of music, sets, and bringing the writer’s vision to the screen. I love that guy.

    Re: Sexism and Dorian- Absolutely. All you need to do is watch Stacey and Gigi (Can someone send them both away, forever?) or Blair and Tea’s catfights to see that the show has an undercurrent of sexism. Re Dorian: This plot driven and contrived mess with Markko’s parents the last few weeks was absolute garbage. It is really a storyline about the 17 year olds,not about Dorian. So they try to give their vets storylines- SUPPORTING THESE HORRIBLE to subpar younger actors that I have no interest in. None. Everything seems forced. Motivations do not come from character. You think Dorian would have given a flying- fig- regarding what Markko’s parents thought of her 20 years ago? Please. And as always, I find OLTL’s every growing younger cast, lacking. And if I wanted to watch the new 90210, I would watch the new 90210. What I appreciate is the show’s ATTEMPTS at balance. I appreciate that OLTL has a contemporary edge to it, and always has. It has a cool energy about it. I also enjoy many of the adult actors, and I am hoping that the show will be getting Kelly and Joey back at the very least (Although if Gina has any smarts she would be saying yes to Y&R for one simple reason- I would rather work for Sony and the Bells over the pigs at ABC any day of the week) Regarding OLTL- I also enjoy Melissa Salmon’s episodes- I like her scripts- She came from GL and Y&R I believe.

    Y&R is watchable but it is not Y&R- It really as nothing to do with Paul Rauch, it is 100% Maria Arena Bell and Hogan Sheffer I think. That show was one of the last character driven soaps. Not anymore. The plots are outrageous and the characters are betrayed to fit the stories. But its now a GUILTY PLEASURE because the stories are so addictive in a trainwreck sort of way. I am kind of a hypocrite. Its trash. But I cannot stop watching it.
    You know what it reminds me of Marlena? And I know you will remember this! Y&R reminds me of Jill Farren Phelps version of OLTL in the late 90’s. Nora sleeping with Sam in the Cabana anyone?

    Dark, seedy, plot driven. But I did not stop watching.

    Marlena says: Christian, how nice of you to write back–almost right away! I won’t make any more comments about Y&R because I’m determined to write some columns on it soon. OK, I’ll say one thing now: I see the mark of Paul all over this show. I have been watching him and his work for decades now. Glad you appreciate his achievements, too.

    One Life to Live: you LIKED when Jill was producing it???? I practically had a full-time job back then condemning everything she did: totally ruining Nora, chasing off Strasser, getting rid of Claire, ramming her personal buddies down our throats day after day. Nora and Sam in the cabana was the infamous Day Nora Lost Her Brain (I’m sure you remember that column!) They may not be aware of how sexist they are, but Carlivati and company today are Jack and the Beanstalk compared with the way Giant-ess Jill stomped all over (and almost out) the LLanview I had once loved.

  14. Christian in Boston says:

    Oh I remember your columns regarding JFP very well!!!!! Remember how the head of ABC!- Felicia Minei Behr called OLTL completely unwatchable!?? I didn’t respect JFP’s OLTL, and I didn’t even like it.. but somehow I was compelled to watch it. She produces a compelling show- even though she betrays the show’s history. There is a clear vision. Does Frank Valentini really have a vision for OLTL? I would have to say absolutely not. The show looks good (especially compared to the cheap looking GH and AMC). But the only stamp I get from Valentini are biweekly musical guests. If you want to compare the JFP/McTavish years to Dena Higley’s OLTL- I found Dena’s OLTL completely unwatchable. I tuned out for over 3 years. Didn’t watch an episode. I am curious if her OLTL was as sexist as Carlivati’s??? And can any ABC producer even have a vision with Frons breathing down their necks?

    As to how I feel about Y&R, I cannot help but watch it. But I have to shower in bleach afterwards. Its kind of a detachment. There is no emotional involvement, its purely voyeuristic. Like “WHAT WILL THEY DO NEXT!”… And Thom Beirdz would really benefit from some serious speech lessons. Good lord. And as far as Lily’s cancer- I find it completely plot driven. I do not trust the show to really do a topical storyline at this point.

    I do wonder how women in their 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s feel about these shows. Based on data from SON- Y&R’s over 50 audience is huge.. Even with all this plot action (I have never seen Y&R move like this) Y&R reached a ratings low last week. And I do not think it is a coincidence. You have people who have been watching this show since its beginning. They have to be fleeing in droves. The show is very dark and very campy. Minus the brilliant (at least to me) Brenda Dickson- Y&R has never been campy. Ever. That was B&B’s niche.

    Cannot wait to read your column on Y&R.

  15. About sexism on OLTL, I haven’t been watching much lately, that being one of the many reasons. I go to several different boards just to keep up with what’s going on and it is quite disturbing how many WOMEN on these boards that are haters of certain characters will go on about who is a bitch or slut. They argue about it and even get personal about actress’s looks, etc. It is really disturbing. When I started watching soaps when I was a teenager about 15 years ago, when my friends and would discuss what was going on, it was fun. Now, online, not so much. The negativity must be getting to the viewers themselves.

  16. Mychal Brackens says:

    Y&R is my show, but the show has lost its character driven intensity. The Phillip storyline should be Jess Walton’s claim to fame right now. Jill has barely blinked an eye to her son’s return from the dead. And the Sharon/Nick/Phyllis story would still be HOT, HOT, HOT if William Bell was still alive. That man knew how to stretch a story and make it work. Now the 80’s OLTL comparisons hit the nail on the head, but i still love Y&R. It’s a intense, lush, romantic soap that still knows its viewers. The daytime genre is dying and MAB is just doing what she can to keep us entertained. Mary Jane does this for me, I don’t know about anyone else. I love a campy villainess!!!!

  17. Marlena,

    Hi. I’m really enjoying your site! The Women in Refrigerator trope also extends beyond comics into action pictures. How many movies have you seen in which the male hero’s wife or girlfriend is killed or raped and the movie is about his need for revenge? The lens is focused on the man’s feelings and needs.

    I didn’t assume that you mentioned Mambo or Sharp because of their race. I noted it because of the reality of how race and ethnicity affect success in our society.

    Unfortunately, there are many talented soap actors who leave shows and disappear. Another World had some great actors who disappeared after the show ended. What became of the popular actress who played Frankie? What will become of most of GL’s great actors? Luck and talent seem to go together like peanut butter and jelly.

    Of course, I think it’s harder for actors of color to find success because there are fewer opportunities available to them in film and television. A recent NAACP report showed that primetime television now features half as many actors of color (black, Asian, Native American, and Latino) than just a couple of years ago. When’s the last time an Asian male had a decent storyline in Daytime. I guess Eric Stern’s Ji Min on Y&R.

  18. Christian,

    I have to disagree with you about Dorian’s handling of Langston and Markko’s dating dilemma. Dorian is not the same woman of 20 years ago. Thank God for that! She’s grown after much heartache. Look at the mess she inflicted on her daughters Cassie’s and Adriana’s lives.

    Finally, Dorian has been able to be a good mother and focus on the needs of her child without resorting to some outlandish manipulation.

    If Dorian didn’t change, she would be as useless as B&B’s Ridge Forrester.

    Moreover, I enjoyed the scenes where Dorian plays matriarch to her girls. There were some very good scenes of Dorian helping both Blair and Langston.

    If you think the younger actors on OLTL are not master thespians, have you seen B&B’s younger set? With the exception of Brandon Beemer and Ashley Jones, the rest are scarily bad.

  19. Hey Marlena! Just wanted to respond to what you wrote regarding #10, about missing the fun summer storylines that soaps used to give us in the past. I, too, would rather watch something fun and entertaining during the summer months, than watch something super dramatic and depressing. It’s probably the reason I cling to cheesy stories like the karaoke scenes at Jake’s on GH, or Melanie, Brady, Arianna and Nathan playing strip poker at the Horton cabin on DOOL. But I think I miss more than anything the pretty location shoots. It seems some soaps are trying to bring them back, but the story is lacking. So I had a question for you, if you can answer. Is it really expensive to film outdoors as opposed to creating a new set in a studio? I remember back in the 90s, when DOOL created the outdoor set, Salem Place, which was the outdoor mall. It was nice to look at, and was often a hanging place for many of the characters. As a frequent viewer of GH, sometimes I get so depressed watching, since everything is always so dark and dreary (probably to go along with the plots). Honestly, I would rather see some fun in the sun at the beach, than another crappy CGI created disaster on that show, so which is cheaper to produce?

    Marlena says: Great questions, Jenn. As I recall, Salem Place on Days was shot right outside the Days soundstages on the studio lot, so it must have been quite cheap to do. But when a show usually goes out on location more than a few blocks from its studio , it usually pays for transportation for everyone involved, the use of the location and most likely some extra casting. On site catering is required by union rules. So locations must be more be more expensive; plus, it’s a lot more work for production personnel in scheduling and coordination.

    But things have changed over the years. New technology has made cameras easier to move, and locations work faster and cheaper. Look at Guiding Light, which did most of the show on location in New Jersey this year (with varied results that will be argued forever.). As you observed, soaps like GH and AMC (the tornado) are using very expensive CGI, which I haven’t liked at all. All that hocus pocis just doesn’t meld with the everyday studio look of soaps.

    Like you, I could use some fun in the sun on soaps right now! The problem is every week, sometimes every day right now on soaps must to be devoted to some kind of action or high stakes story. Nice remotes must be mixed with some kind of ugliness–remember last summer when OLTL went to the lovely Jersey Shore—and Todd pushed his own (pregnant) teen daughter Starr down a flight of boardwalk stairs?

  20. Let’s not forget that JFP also helped drive the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd nail in the coffin for AW. The only thing she did right was update their opening. Killing Frankie and then firing Charles Keating and Anna Holbrook after they won their Emmys finally pushed AW completely over the edge. It was also, I recall, widely rumoured that she was trying to run Victoria Wyndham out the door.

    She’s a show killer.

    Marlena says: I was around then and interviewed a lot of those people involved, including Jill. But I NEVER heard that about Vicky Wyndham. No one would dream of pushing her out of anywhere, let alone the lead of a show she put almost three decades into.

  21. Marlena, thanks for the speedy response! In regards to Salem Place on Days, I sometimes wish that all the soaps would create a set just outside the studio, to give the shows some much needed light. GH is so dark sometimes, I have a hard time seeing! And Salem Place was a good place for lots of action to happen, didn’t a Christmas tree get burned down or something around the time Marlena was possessed? LOL

    I haven’t been very impressed with the CGI distasters on AMC or GH, either. It just seems like the money spent on all those special effects could’ve gone to send one or two couples on a fun trip to the beach, or to a ski resort in the winter, even.

    Soaps have always been dramatic, and I’m not against the serious storylines, but I do wish the fun would balance things out a bit.

    Oh, and one more thing, I completely agree about Drew Garrett, he is wonderful! And I also want to give kudos to the young boy playing Morgan, he moved me to tears the other day, talking about how he didn’t want his mom to die. For all of GH’s flaws, the casting director usually manages to find some really incredible younger actors.

  22. Christian in Boston says:

    JTG- I see where you are coming from and I agree somewhat!

    Re: B&B- That show used to be so bad it was good, now it is truly bad.

    It is an embarrassment to acting- period. (Susan Flannery and few others are amazing, but my god that show has some howler scripts and some of the worst performances in daytime.

  23. Jennifer says:

    I have only been watching OLTL, but your mention of Marie Masters reminds me of the some of the best years of soaps opera. I loved the battles Susan and Lucinda had because of the devious Doctor John Dixon. I loved that Lucinda won out, and how Susan became addicted to pain killers after Lucinda unknowingly pushed her into a ladder causing Susan injury. This led to sainted Doctor Bob’s affair with Susan. There was so much fabulous story on ATWT at that time (I think it was late 80s into the mid-90s).

    I miss wanting to watch my shows as opposed to watching in hopes of something entertaining. There was a commitment to quality. I hope the shows find that before the cancellation bug hits.

    Marlena says: The stories you speak of were all written by the late Douglas Marland, whose 1985-1993 headwwriting stint is legendary. Doug loved actresses and respected older women (he was very close to his mother Bea his entire life) and wrote great things for wonderful older female performers at the show. One of his best stories was about the Doug Cummings (John Wesley Shipp),a young murdererer who stalked his prey, Kim Hughes ( played then as now by the glorious veteran Kathryn Hays.)

    Love your comment about how shows should have a committment to quality! That’s so rare these days.

  24. antmunoz says:

    Marlena, in response to Jason’s comment regarding Victoria Wyndham…I never read anywhere, even in the numerous articles about AW’s last days, and in interviews with VW, that she felt she was being pushed out of AW. She did go on record that she felt the show was being pushed out. (I’d have to dig up the articles to actually quote her, so this is all paraphrasing.) Whether by NBC, P&G, or both, she was quite angry that “her” (my quotes) show was being destroyed over a long period of time. She always made it sound like the cancellation was a bit of a relief following years and years of battle.

    But…how things change in 10 years. VW would be pushed out of AW today, just as ATWT’s vets have virtually disappeared…just as Drake and Deidre were fired from DAYS…just as the rumors about Strasser and Slezak on OLTL continue to swirl. Jensen Buchanan (Vicky McKinnon, AW’s heroine) would probably be taking a huge cut and/or fighting for her job right now.

    Marlena says: I was fortunate enough to spend a whole afternoon interviewing Wyndham a year or so before the cancellation. I went in expecting to meet big, bad Rachel. In reality Wyndham was one of the smartest, talented, and most together women I ever interviewed in this industry. She was weary of all the problems on the show–who wouldn’t be?–but she wasn’t going to quit! She was planning for the end–but who wouldn’t? Hope she is happy whatever she is doing now.

    Meanwhile Marlena doesn’t like disinformation!

  25. Marlena, how’s your summer? I hope you are having a great time relaxing because I trying to get into the soaps, but tiic is not making them any better and no wonder fans are tuning out. The sexism and misogyny on most soaps is turning fans off and now Y&R, a soap that have a great balance of heroines and female villains is now getting into the victimization of women. To Sharon, Chloe, Amber, Lily, Ashley, Nikki, Victoria, colleen, Phyllis, and Jill, most of the women in Genoa city is needy or dumbed down to fit a plot or to make a man for good about himself. Keep on telling it like it is and have a great summer.

    Marlena says: Gene, you are so sweet to ask about my summer. I’m just hanging out. What you say about the women of Y&R is very interesting. The one who seems particularly repressed to me is Phyllis. The old fiery Phyllis never would have put up with Nick and his infidelity. The fact that Summer has been rendered brain damaged is beyond cruel (since when do they do something this awful to a mom on a soap opera?) and I’ve been waiting for the real Phyllis to rise up in absolute rage. I wonder how Michelle Stafford feels about all this.

  26. antmunoz says:

    Marlena, loved your comments on Victoria Wyndham. Would love to see your rerun your interview with her on this site. Ten years after AW’s cancellation, some of us still can’t get enough VW.

    She’s still acting, I believe. She was on LAW & ORDER about two years ago, and us VW fans were salivating before, during, and after…LOL. And “Rachel” was using a Queens accent!

    Wish someone could unearth some footage of VW playing Charlotte Bauer on GL. Would also love to see any stills of VW as that character. In all the GL material I have complied over the years, I can’t find anything with her as Charlotte. She must’ve been profiled in the fan mags during that time, right? (Oh, how I wished I’d saved so many of those…)

    Marlena says: I never saw Charlotte Bauer on GL; I had not started watching the show then. I have an extensive collection of old soap mags from the 70’s (before I got into the business) so the next time I am in the attic I will have to take a look, as well as for my Wyndham interview.

  27. I agree that veterans like Marie Masters have been forgotten over at ATWT. They bring out Liz only when a story involving Luke or Emily needs some momentum. In fact the veterans are used mainly as catalysts for stories rather than being central figures. Often those characters come across as negative obstacles like Lucinda and Holden controlling Luke in their stand against Damian. Or Holden arguing with Meg on EVERY man she chooses. So characters like Holden become heavies instead of heroes!

    Y&R I started watching again in May after an absence of 17 years! I was very happy with P3 return and LOVED seeing Tricia Cast again. I had really enjoyed her romance with Ryan. Wish Scott Reeves could return as well. It was nice that we we reminded by Kay that Ryan is the only father Chance has known but for some reason we haven’t heard what happened to Ryan. As far as summer romance on Y&R, what about Billy and Mac? Or maybe Chance with Chloe? Meanwhile I would love this firing of Colleen to be used as a way to break up boring Victoria and J.T. Then have Vicki leave town and come back as Heather Tom! This plus the reveal of Mary Jane as Patty hopefully will bring Victor down! Speaking of Colleen, while I enjoyed the original Lyndsey Fonseca. Wish she were used more in Lily’s story. That scene at the hospital was heartbreaking! Plus BRING BACK DRU! Victoria Rowell would bring so much to Lily’s story as well as Neil. Neil and Tyra are so dull. They never found Dru’s body right?

  28. antmunoz says:

    Marlena, thanks for considering digging up some classic VW photos and your interview with her. I will look forward to seeing one if not both.

    In these dismal days of soap, I hope will devote more columns to CLASSIC soap of yesteryear. I would love to revisit ANOTHER WORLD, THE EDGE OF NIGHT, SEARCH FOR TOMORROW, LOVE OF LIFE, THE SECRET STORM, and others with you here.

  29. Marlena, I am so glad to finally see GL bringing back Nola Reardon. I watched Nola in her mid 90’s stint when I first started watching GL. I love her acting style and I will love to see her with Matt and Vanessa (her old nemisis again).

    I have come to terms with GL leaving. It will be a transition when it does. Family time was watching GL at night. But these big time returns does keep my mind off Sept 18th. I have been so excited to see Danny and Michelle some too. Ed and now Holly coming back. And I am interested to see what Dorothy Lyman’s character will be with as she is a 2 time emmy winner.

    The only thing with GL I had issue with was Natalia being pregnant. I was very ticked about that one. it was an insult to the fans there. And “Jeffery” being alive. No shock! But I do hope Alan turns the corner and be somewhat nicer in the end. I could even GASP hearing Alan tell Phillip he loves him on his death bed. There is some very good drama potential for that.

    And yes I do think Reva and Josh should be together with the last words for them being “Always.” It has to be included in the script. And it don’t have to be them romantically either.

    I think GL should end with Josh giving the Rev Rutledge sermon at the Lighthouse. And the whole town is together in a circle and they show flashbacks from the 30’s to the present day (be it pictures and TV).

    B&B will be my only soap left with the exception of an occasional Y&R glance. But I guess since I have only watched B&B 4 years I guess the Taylor/Ridge/Brooke plot is still fresh. For you people watching for 20 yrs, I can see your point how tiring it is to see. However, I have a few friends where the ongoing debate rages who Ridge should end up with. I say Brooke my two soap loving friends say Taylor—I am outvoted 2-1. However, if Ridge ACTED happy being with Taylor I could see him being with her. There is no basis in his face that tells me he does. He would rather be having sex with Brooke all the time.

    As for Jackie and Owen, it is an ok story. They look hot and steamy but sex can only go so far. As time passes, we will see how it really will be with them.

    Marlena says: The newish term “cougar” makes me sick, it’s so sexist. They don’t call older men who go after young women (like Adam and Annie on AMC) a special sneering name, do they? I was put off initially by the thought of Jackie and Owen pairing up. But I think the actors (Lesley-Ann Downe and Brandon Beemer) have somehow developed a real rapport, and the characters have a believable affection between them, almost a bit of sweetness. I don’t know if that’s what Mr. Bradley Bell intended. He must have been thinking both actors are gorgeous, so how could they miss?

    I’ve been a fan of Lesley Ann Downe since she her breakthough role of Georgina Worsley in the best “soap opera” ever — the distinguished British miniseries Upstairs Downstairs — in 1971! I urge all my readers to go out and rent it. The story of a rich upstairs London family and their servants downstairs from the 1890s to the end of World War 1 is beyond superb and ultra-intelligent Downe first appears as a 19-year-old debutante and later becomes a nurse during the war. The romance! The acting! The writing! It’s a thousand episodes long, but it is so magnificent you wish it never ends.

  30. I have not watched much TV in about 20 years. Turned on As the World Turns the other day as curiosity and discovered show being canceled.

    So I am researching Marie Masters, one of my favorite actresses ever. Why didn’t she get a huge following?

    As Susan Stewart, the gorgeous, brilliant mother-doctor, she was the best female drunk on the screen ever. Sue Ellen Ewing never drank with the style of Susan Stewart. Susan would drink and drink and wallow in her self-pity.She wanted Dan back, but she couldn’t have him.

    Susan wasn’t that bad of a mom when Emily was small, but her love of the bottle distracted her. I remember when Kim tossed a drunk Susan in the shower to force her to show up for something for Emily after Susan had muttered, “I’ll see her tomorrow.” Kim knew that wasn’t the real Susan.

    I think Betsy had first met Kim in a park and was complaining about her Uncle Dan didn’t know much about clothes and Aunt Susan hadn’t come to take her shopping. There was no reason for Susan not to take her child’s sibling shopping. So Kim helped the little girl choose her school clothes, and then Kim and Dan fell in love. Susan made some vague apology to Betsy for not having taken her shopping, an inaction that was a selfish oversight on Susan’s part.

    Susan, the brilliant doctor, got fired for drinking and wanted her job back! She was a research doctor, who claimed she wasn’t good with patients. But occasionally the show gave her patients, and they loved her! I remember one young man she briefly treated who fell for her passionately. Perhaps Dr. Susan would have just got over-involved with ever single patient if she had a large treating practice.

    I have not watched the later years, but I’ve read of her having another child, etc. When she gave up the bottle, she must have become a better mother to Emily.

    Susan was never a villainess; she never had the malice Kay Chancellor and Jill Foster had for each other.

    Susan, brilliant and beautiful, rather selfish, flawed with her alcoholism, is a woman who succumbed to ordinary vices. And she pulled out of them.

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