Marlena’s Summer In Review (Part 1)

beagleBy Marlena De Lacroix

What a summer, and it’s not over yet!

Moose and I deeply mourn the loss of my mother, who passed away in April.  This very week we adopted an exquisite beaglePeter Bartlett puppy I’ve named Nigel.  As in Mr. Bartholomew Smythe, the One Life to Live character, played so capably by Peter Bartlett, who has given me so much laughter and joy over the years.  I also watched a lot of soaps this summer, but uncharacteristically (the first time in 30 years) I didn’t feel like writing about them.

I watched the last remnants of my old favorite soap, All My Children, dissolve in front of my eyes. It was once the most idiosyncratic and indivudual of soaps because Agnes Nixon wrote with genuine wisdom, wit and heart that always brought me

Conditions on soaps have to get better when the summer is over! The Emmys, the end of GL, the big 20th anniversary of my old mag, Soap Opera Weekly, are coming up and I’m sure there will be lots of hype and hoopla.

joy. Charles Pratt is writing generically bad soap as if it were Love of Life, Somerset, Sunset Beach, or any other long-cancelled soap.  So how fitting is it that ABC announced the show is moving from here (Manhattan ) to L.A., land of the bland!

When the news broke, Marlena had a flash of a fall night in 1995 when ABC threw a party for the debut of the soap The City, which they had just transformed from Loving.  Of course the party was held in a Soho loft, the new locale of The CityThe City logo Late in the evening, Marlena watched as the daytime executives responsible for this decision danced for joy — they were very, very drunk — over their brilliant strategy to save Loving.  Since when do daytime execs get drunk in front of the press, let alone dance, Marlena thought at the time.  None of these ABC Daytime executives work in daytime today.

So what brought real emotion and real feeling this summer on soaps? I keep watching Guiding Light, waiting for its approaching September 18th finale to make me cry.  Marlena always cries at the last episode of any soap (well, except for brain dead Sunset Beach) but GL hasn’t given me any tears yet. Peter Simon Except when I saw the magnificent actor Peter Simon (Ed) return, and remembered what a sour interview the actor had been years ago.  And the storylines — aside from symbolically giving Phillip three months to live — why?? Otalia would have saved this show if only it had kicked into gear two years earlier!

Instead, I spend most of the summer fixating on Kim Zimmer/Reva’s heft.   Kim was the first soap star I ever met, when my career godmother, the late Seli Groves, took me to the set of The Doctors in 1980 .  My photographer wanted some good shots, so Kim obliged by hanging upside down from the two story-tall camera dolly. What a trouper, even then!

So here we are all these years later, and it’s still Kim and me on the soap scene. It’s politically incorrect, even anti-feminist, but I can’t get over how jumbo Kim has grown this summer.  And that they let Reva wear tank tops!  It happens that Kim and I are exactly the same age (okay, she’s three months younger) and I can testify, middle-age is not kind to female bodies.  My question is, how in world does P&G let Kim get away with appearing on camera like that?  (Somewhere ingénues are starving and Erika Slezak is giving yet another interview on how hard she diets.)

I think Zimmer’s heft is a power thing.  For 25 years she has successfully defended her throne as the star of this show against all comers (Michelle Forbes, Cynthia Watrous, et al.) and the weight must have something to do maintaining a superior position.  (Don’t you love how I play Dr. Freud?) Even though she reportedly never liked what I wrote about Reva over the years, I wish Kim the best and am sure she’ll be coming to another soap soon.

Conditions on soaps have to get better when the summer is over! The Emmys, the end of GL, the big 20th anniversary of my old mag, Soap Opera Weekly, are coming up and I’m sure there will be lots of hype and hoopla.  And as I always have over the years,  Marlena will to tell you exactly what she really thinks!

And speaking of SOW, I’d like to welcome my friend since 1980, the mag’s founding editor Mimi Torchin, back to the blogosphere. Check out her latest post here.

Coming in Part 2: Observations on summer soap “stars” Y&R and OLTL.


Beagle art from The Beagle Shop. We’ll put up a real photo as soon as we have one.


  1. Marlena, you crack me up!

    Only you would remind us that Peter Simon is not necessarily kindly Dr. Ed offscreen…and touch on the subject that is Big Mama Reva!

    I started a thread a few weeks ago on a soap blog regarding Reva’s WARDROBE, trying to blame her distracting onscreen look on the inappropriate clothing that she wears…and placing the blame on her costumers, not Kim Zimmer.

    My thread was quickly deleted due to “actress bashing.” Huh? I was only pointing out the obvious: Reva needs to dress a bit more age (and body) appropriate. (Any time she is in a scene with the fabulous and elegent Vanessa, you can’t help but make comparisons.) Reva had a great wardrobe just a few years ago (mostly jackets and wrap dresses) that hid her weight gain. Why now is she wearing a tank top and a too-short skirt every day? And the boobage? Reva is not Janet from ATWT, who needs to put the girls away also.

    I LOVE Kim Zimmer. I think it’s unflattering to her talent to be dressed this way. It distracts from the acting. Wardrobe should complement an actor and a scene, not distract from it. This is usually done the opposite way, where the clothing is more dynamic and dazzling than the acting. Here, the clothing is SO BAD, I can’t bear to watch Zimmer emote.

    Zimmer commented in an interview with DIGEST a few years ago that she was aware that she had gained weight…and that she’d lose it when she was good and ready. I’m guessing she’s found, like most of us, that that’s easier done than said. So, I don’t “bash” her size, because I personally have been there. And I do applaud GL for continuing to employ Zimmer, Jordan Clarke, Caitlin VanZandt, and other “non-traditional” size soap actors. (Even though the rumor was that Patti D’Arbanville (Selena) was fired due to her very noticeable weight gain a few years back. It was a blind item in a soap mag. Anyone able to verify this?)

    Don’t know if Zimmer’s “heft” is a “power thing,” but that’s an interesting theory. Unfortunately, that might leave her vulnerable regarding getting hired at another show. Hope not. I’d love to see her as Katherine’s “real” daughter on Y&R someday.

    Sorry to hear about Seli Groves. I had no idea she’d passed away. I used to love her soap reporting. I miss the days of all the great 70s and 80s soap journalists! Which is why I love your blog, Marlena.

    Marlena says: You said it all, Ant. I would love, love, love for Reva or anyone played by Kim to be Katherine’s daughter. Wowowow! Blind items in mags always drive me crazy, because even when I was actively reporting soaps, I didn’t know who anyone was! Seli was the greatest, and she is much missed by me and by every writer whose career she so graciously guided. Bringing along young writers is the most fulfilling thing a journalist can do. How I prized Seli’s long experience and wisdom!

    But honey, Marlena’s no period piece! I can still scat with the best of them!

  2. horselover says:

    Wow! I can’t believe you brought up Kim Zimmer’s weight. And you’re a woman! That takes guts. I have a feeling you’ll get bashed for it.

    Marlena says: Renee, haven’t heard from you in ages! It’s not about Zimmer’s weight (notice how I said I am the same age and deal with the same issues) it’s about the POWER she has on the show and what special power P&G grants her to be able to stay that weight on screen. There’s a story here and I wish I knew what it was! Bet you Kim’s not done with daytime yet!

  3. While I haven’t watched GL in years, I have caught a few things on YouTube from time to time. The new style is jarring to say the least. The actors seem to be struggling to “connect” with each other. The only one who seems to be able to make any sense of any of it has been Peter Simon — and because of him, Michael O’Leary and Grant Aleksander…frankly anyone who is lucky enough to be in a scene with him. The storylines make very little sense, I hate how they’ve turned Rick into such a loser and am I really supposed to hope for Jeffrey’s return to Reva over her reuniting with Josh? As another pal said, GL died long ago.

    Can’t wait to see pictures of Nigel!!!!

    Marlena says: Esther, how we all loved Guiding Light at some point in our lives! We soap fans get so attached our favorite shows….why do you think Marlena gripes about OLTL so much?

  4. Matthew J. Cormier says:

    While I agree Kim Zimmer’s wardrobe is in need of a fix, and she needs to wear clothes that fit her age and weight, I don’t think her weight is the issue. If anything we should embrace the fact that her weight hasn’t been an issue with producers; the fact that someone on a soap was allowed to weigh whatever it is they wish to weigh is a good thing in my mind. Kim is a talented actress and this is what we should be focusing on, not her weight.

  5. I was giving more thought to the subject of soap actors who noticeably gain weight on soaps, and it might be worth devoting another column to.

    On one hand, there have the characters over the year who were HIRED to be “non-traditional,” like Ashlee on GL, Nancy on DAYS, Marcie on OLTL…mostly women, mind you. Yet none of these “revolutionary” hirings (and they produced ALOT of press) led to massive recruitment of zoftig beauties on other shows.

    Then, we have the longtime actors/actresses who put on weight over the years. Sometimes it’s dealt with, Delta Burke style (such as when DESIGNING WOMEN had to address Suzanne’s weight gain)…(ed. note: Ant goes on to name several soap stars who gained weight over the years.) Ignored, that is, onscreen. I’ve read numerous digs against all of the above regarding their new sizes.

    And then, there are the outcasts. (More overweight soap stars mentioned) And I’d bet that many former soap stars and starlets that we’d like to see return to their former shows for guest appearances decline because they are no longer soap opera ship-shape.

    People age. People gain weight. And lose weight. And regain weight. It’s a part of life. If soaps were still “relatable,” tackling normal people with normal problems, we’d be much more accepting. But the minute our screens filled up with young beautiful things (and not-so-young things trying desperately to stay beautiful), we lost “real” people on soaps (vintage OLTL, anyone?).

    I’ve read that the “real people” look is one reason why EASTENDERS is so popular, not only in the UK but also among Americans, because most of the characters look “real.” (Even when the offscreen actors are glam!) I applaud shows like GL for continuing to employ the “real” people among us (count Justin Deas as another; he’s not soap handsome, but a fine actor; and Maeve Kinkead, finally allowed to go gorgeously silver-haired).

    Marlena says: Well, American soaps have always confused the fantasy stories with the reality stories as long as I’ve been watching them. I loved plump and relatable Marcie Walsh on OLTL with heartfelt abandon; yet have you ever seen Erica Kane on AMC gain an ounce over the last 40 years? I have always loved her too! Popularity goes way beyond just weight!

    But the reason they call it “show” business is because it’s theater, a.k.a. show business. You affect an audience by what you put on screen. Especially in this era of HDTV, anorexic actresses mostly rule. It’s unfair, but as they say, that’s show business!

  6. I’m just a little confused about something you wrote… (Charles Pratt is writing generically bad soap as if it were Love of Life, Somerset, Sunset Beach, or any other long-cancelled soap).

    I’ve got no problem with you dissing Sunset Beach, but Love of Life and Somerset were good shows. And I’d wager that if given the chance to watch them again, they’d be a million times better than any soap currently airing!!!!!

    Don’t mean to get my “knickers in a twist” but LOL and SS were two of my earliest soaps and they remain special to me

    Marlena says: Oh Leona, you are the ultimate soap historian and I mean that as a high compliment. You caught me. I chose “Somerset” and “Love of Life” as sample cancelled soaps this morning only because devil dog Nigel was biting my toes. Or because I too watched both soaps in my tot years. Somerset was great! Especially Joel Crothers as Julian at his most handsome and Kate, played by Tina Sloan (Lillian, GL). Whenever I see Ted Danson on TV I always jump up and shout, “He was on Somerset,” and everybody looks at me like I am crazy!

    Love of Life I don’t remember well except for some editors at the fan mag company I worked for at the time going to Christopher Reeve’s press conference when he got the Superman gig (1977?) He had played Ben on LOL, right? Years later, I interviewed him and he was very gracious about being on a soap in an era when many “successful” ex soap actors forgot their humble beginnings. What a brilliant and magnificent man Reeve was!

  7. I’m just a lush college student who, at this very moment, is sitting in a cafe getting drunk off cheap beer. But even in the crazy environment of college, I’ve taken an hour out of my day to stop studying, partying, and bar-hopping to catch up with my friends in Pine Valley. Finding out AMC is moving to LA is like finding out a good friend has lung cancer: though it isn’t necessarily a death sentence, you can still read the writing on the wall. AMC is a big part of my life, and I never hoped to have to raise my kids in a world where they wouldn’t know Kendall and Bianca and I couldn’t say “I remember when Erica…”

    That being said, my great-grandmother must feel the same way, as she’s a GL fan. I remember visiting her when I was little and, for that hour, having her catch me up on what Michelle and Danny were doing, on Reva and Josh, and on how she remembered when GL was on the radio. Those memories are some of my most cherished, and to see GL go dim breaks my heart.

    Here’s hoping for the best, but bracing for the worst.

    Marlena says: Skylar, you write beautifully for a college student and Marlena knows of what she speaks. Your Auntie Marlena used to steal down to the basement of her college Student Union Building to watch All My Children when it first came on in the early 70s. Only the camp of Erica revived me from the sheer boredom of that State University. I too cannot fathom a world without Pine Valley, just like you. But I’m not optimistic about the move to L.A., not at all. I feel greatly for the wonderful actors on the show who originally signed on for a first rank soap and got Pratt and cheese … and Hollywood. And for GL to actually go, oy.

  8. Marlena:

    When Cheers premiered, the thing I remember most was saying to my mom “he’s that crooked lawyer from Somerset.” Somerset was the soap that gave me my first couple to root for (Steve and Carrie, played by Gene Bua and JoBeth Williams) and it was the show that introduced my fragile young heart to the harsh realities of the television business when it was cancelled. (“What do you mean it’s going off???…it CAN’T!!!”)

    Love of Life runs together with Search for Tomorrow for me in my memory as they were both on CBS in the late morning hours (My mom was a watcher of most of the soaps back then and so, I, too, became a watcher of most of the soaps). I loved the Bruce and Van marriage, the “sorta evil but really misunderstood” Meg (played by the fabulous Tudi Wiggins), and the relationship between former bad guy Ray Slater and Arlene Lovett (whatever happened to Birgitta Tolksdorf?) And yes, Christopher Reeve was the rotten scoundrel Ben Harper (Meg’s son) before Chandler Hill Harben took over the role and reformed the character (he’s actually the Ben I remember most).

    You know, back in those days, when soaps were cancelled, they actually drew bigger audiences than what the top soaps get now. Isn’t it incredible (and quite sad) how things have changed?!!!

    Marlena says: Leona … Gene Bua, OMG what a fabulous actor. So sensitive and passionate! Wasn’t his wife Toni Bull Bua on another soap too? I mainly remember this from going through my collection of 70s Afternoon TV magazines which I have from my later editorship there. Gene is an acting teacher in Hollywood these days.

  9. I have been reading your blog for a while now, but I have never felt the need to comment before now. I am born and raised in Los Angeles and I love my city. I understand that you are upset that AMC is moving, but do you have to express this by putting down LA. LA is a very diverse and wonderful city. Too bad you believe all of the stereotypes that you see on television. The death of AMC will have very little to do with the move but with the horrible writing.

    Marlena says: Darling, can’t a girl catch a break? My two best old soap pals (Michael Logan, David Johnson) live in L.A. and I love it there. I was only using LA as a comparison to New York City. To me, AMC was always, under Agnes, a New York soap — the attitude, the humor — so urbane! And AMC has always been imbued with NYC. Remember in the 80s when Erica moved to NYC and became the world’s most famous shortest supermodel? She discoed with Dick Cavett and Cheryl Tiegs. AMC really caught the Studio 54, late 70s vibe in that story. (I was here, a young editor then!) Remember when Erica modeled at the Metropolitan Museum? At the same time young Jesse and Jenny ran away from Pine Valley and lived in a boarding house in Manhattan, where they got to know one another proving friendship is color blind. Pine Valley residents have always visited New York City.

    Of course the days of Agnes’ full-time writing AMC days are long, long over, with two miserable sets of head writers preceding Pratt. I agree totally that Pratt is the pits. All My Children in L.A, without the NY theater actors, without the NY vibe, without idiosyncratic characters, or Gothamesque-humor may as well be … Days of Our Lives!

  10. Marlena,

    I love Gene Bua! He and his wife (they’re still together) Toni were on Love of Life together as Bill and Tess. After Bill was killed off LOL, he turned up as Steve Slade on Somerset. I’m not sure whether he’s still teaching acting, but he was up until about a year ago when he sold his theater in Burbank. I caught a one-man show he did about 10 years ago and got to meet him and his wife. It was great!!!

    I just about fell out of my chair after reading your AMC may as well be DOOL comment. Very funny! But truthfully, aren’t all the soaps interchangeable these days? Soaps used to have distinct and individual identities, but that hasn’t been the case for many years now.

  11. Jonathan Reiner says:

    I want to second Kim’s comments, Marlena. I agree that AMC moving to Los Angeles is a huge blow to the NYC acting community (and the soap genre), but there ARE just as many talented thesps toiling out here, looking for a forum for their unique talents.

    Maybe (just maybe) AMC will somehow find it’s way back to it’s eccentric roots, when it mixed young love, relevance and over-the-top comedy. If it does, there are plenty of actors out here who can give Pine Valley just as much character as it had when AMC was based on the Upper West Side.

    At the very least, the move provides an opportunity for me to run into Michael E. Knight while walking my dogs or having brunch!

    Marlena says: JR, funny you should bring this up. About a year and a half ago I (under the Connie name) wrote a huge feature for about the symbiotic relationship between New York soaps and the New York theater. I interviewed the casting directors of AMC, GL and ATWT, who swore their shows wouldn’t be as good without the kind of individualistic actors you find here doing theater. My two favorite NY theater actors — who you can’t get in L.A. to do soaps — are adorable Chip Zien (Falsettos, Erica’s newspaper columnist friend on ABC) and the great Marian Seldes (10,000 NY plays and she unforgettably played Dorian’s mother in flashbacks on OLTL.) Who do you get in L.A. to add spice to a soap? Alan Thicke? (B&B) Kathy Hilton (Y&R). Puleeze….

    Michael Knight? He’ll probably ask you for a job hosting a reality show if he runs into you at brunch …

  12. Christian in Boston says:

    We are really in the final days of soaps. I am curious what you think Marlena of the rumor that OLTL will be cancelled in 2010… This revelation really bothered me and made me tune into OLTL with a renewed hope.. The show really has moments of greatness.. and moments of sheer GODAWFULNESS, but heck if it isn’t ABC’s best soap from writing to production. Cannot wait to read part 2 ..

    Marlena says: Christian, I had not heard that rumor about OLTL, but there are so many rumors going around right now in the soap world I’m tending not to believe…anything, until I see some factual confirmation. I can’t see OLTL being cancelled so soon if at all (or aTall as Viki Says). I think the show will survive ONLY if it acknowledges its unchecked misogyny and corrects it. It would certainly be even greater than it is if it nixed this repeated nastiness.
    As for me, life could never be the same without Viki and Dorian!

  13. Marlena,

    Why do I have the strangest feeling that the reason AMC is moving to Hollywood is only so Rebecca Budig will have no reason not to rejoin the cast yet again as Greenlee?

    It’s the same feeling I have about Bob Guza being willing to move GH ANYWHERE to get Vanessa Marcil to rejoin. LOL

    All kidding aside, the AMC actor I’m most concerned about is Beth Ehlers, who has never taken off on the show as Taylor, and who possibly wishes she was at least going down with the Titanic that is GL right now. I wonder if Ehlers will move to LA, or try to find work on OLTL. (I’m having trouble envisioning a character for her there, although I’m open to Liz Keifer as Tina any day now …)

    Marlena, or any AMC viewers — any ideas on why AMC neglected to pair Ehlers with Ricky Paull Goldin (Jake; ex-Gus, GL) again? I thought the whole reason Ehlers followed Goldin to AMC WAS to act opposite him! Harley and Gus were hot! Taylor and Tad … eh.

    Marlena says: Rebecca Budig was never my favorite actress. As far as Beth Ehlers is concerned, she is pretty outspoken so I’m sure the truth behind all this should come out some day. I like Taylor with Tad, kinda. I still love Brot!

  14. LOL at 3am in podunk
    Okay it was only in my head, but that’s the best I can muster. It was still a big guffaw. But first the chastisement … How can you crack on my Dr. Ed?? Big arse no no no no no no. Obviously he (or you!!) had a bad day, or night, or week because Peter Simon is one of my hotties. I forgive him for being married to Ms. Courtney because my goodness if she were a real shrink wouldn’t the world be a better place. So I forgive you for even mentioning this.

    Now the guffaws. ABC saying moving AMC to LA showed their support for the show was only topped by your reminder of how the great show Loving got sucked when it turned into The City. While I’m ecstatic that AMC might finally be done with La Luge, such amazing actors as David Canary, ray macdonnell, michael knight, walt wiley, and jill larsen might be lost leaving us with no texture, just text. This makes me very very sad. We just celebrated the history of AMC when Agnes came back during the tornado, and Eileen died.

    Maybe it’s time to just blow them all up and say sayonara. Does anyone care beyond the fans?

    Marlena says: Mickey Mouse? Stockholders in ABC/Disney?

  15. I generally abhor conspiracy theories, Marlena, but why can’t I shake the sense that this AMC move is just a thinly veiled attempt by ABC to dump Susan Lucci, Michael Knight, and David Canary — no doubt three of the highest paid performers in soapland, salary cuts or no — from the Pine Valley canvas without having to seem like the bad guy? One would hardly blame 71-year-old Canary if he decides he neither wants to uproot his entire life nor live a bicoastal one; Knight has already been there done that re: the L.A. lifestyle; and, let’s face it, Lucci hasn’t been allowed to make a viable contribution to this show in EONS. And since Pratt and company seem hell-bent on making Eakes, Irizarry, and Luner the focal points of the show, what better way to accomplish that without blatantly enraging the fans?

    Marlena says: With all great affection, Brandon, I respect your analysis. But so many rumors and unconfirmed reports about AMC are flying around I think speculation as to anything about AMC’s future is just that … speculation. As fans, we really DON’T know exactly what’s going on behind the scenes — most soap “journalism” now is just gossip, not hard news reporting, and I don’t trust the network or their press releases at all. (It’s a journalist’s job to be cynical about everything!) And trust Marlena, who has done a million interviews over the years, we REALLY don’t know what’s happening in the actors’ private lives, for example what their salary is, how much they need money and what they’d do (like travel cross the country) to maintain their lifestyle. Moi, I’m holding out for hard facts before I believe anything.

    As far as cutting Canary, Knight and Lucci — well, that would be pretty wild. To some fans, they may be the whole show! If Chucky wanted to fire them, he wouldn’t have to move the show; he’d just get Brian to do it. Firing Lucci … well, every major news outlet in the country would pick that up and ABC Daytime would look pretty stupid (or be declared “over.”)

    Yes, I know NBC “fired” Deidre, but Lucci IS soap opera to the real world. “Qui sache?” as my father used to say. That means, “Who knows?” Stay tuned and as I teach my young reporters in Journalism 101, when you read something always consider the source and verify your facts with at least two independent sources.

  16. Marlena, you brought back wonderful memories of AMC for me. Needless to say there’s not much enjoyable about All My Children these days. The irony is that I’m old enough to remember the show’s glory days. But I’m still young enough to fall into that “treasured’ demographic they claim they are trying to appeal to.

  17. Given the fact the Kim Zimmer has addressed her weight as an issue I think it is a missed opportunity for story.

    For a woman who had always relied on the company of men (except for her brief time at Reva Bend – btw only a soap diva names all of her homes including her one room rental – but I digress ) it may have been interesting for her to talk about her fears about being able to attract a man or why she choose to “let herself go.”

    Instead, it looks like Reva hasn’t noticed and nobody in Springfield wants to tell her.

    Final note, I think the loss of GL is so important because we know that it won’t be replaced by another soap. Loving begot The City and Another World begot Sunset Beach. This is how soaps worked forever, one would go and another would take its place. Some were good, some were bad, but it kept going. After reading the comments on NY Times site about GL memories, most people site watching it with their relatives. People don’t live that way now, Most young Moms would be embarrassed to watch a soap instead of Sesame Street – maybe these kids are better for it – but that is where I see disintegration of soaps.

    But, if this is really the end of the soaps I will really mourn the loss of soap opera magazines. I grew up buying each and everyone. At the time, you could follow all of the stories from the summaries which included details of what people wore and sited lines of dialogue. Now the magazines are so filled with non sequitur because they don’t want to spoil story. I have always felt that the magazine reader is an immersive fan who doesn’t care about being spoiled. The alternate, which I also support, given the internet ability to give daily summaries, why not just give a monthly summary of each soap? They could alternate between the soaps and still provide a service to those of us who don’t watch everyday.

    Marlena says: Well, Oliver you have officially blown Marlena’s mind. Miss soap magazines? Wow, I thought all the hip kids had abandoned them for on-line news and views. But as a 20 year veteran of about a million of them, I say, terrific! May they live on forever.

    In an earlier era (up until 1982) there were no plot summaries in soap magazines since we had a four month lead time. When I was the editor of Afternoon TV (the first soap mag, which had been started in 1970) we did long, long, long, interviews with the stars and in-depth photo shoots at their houses. We watched soaps the old-fashioned way–with great suspense that COMPELLED you tune in everyday to see what was going to happen. Long ago, I had a friend at the network who predicted the end of soaps, because of the spoilers. Why give away the store?

  18. Marlena, looking forward to seeing a picture of your beagle puppy Nigel and your comments on OLTL, as I don’t watch Y&R.

    I don’t hate AMC in its present state. so I find it kind of odd, that when I see the complaints most of the time I agree with them. For whatever reason, I find the show watchable, and that is enough for me right now. Due to the moving news, my interest has waned slightly as we know who is going to LA and how it will effect story.

    When it comes to GL and the cancellation, seeing others react to it makes me sad, especially those people I’ve known for years. 🙁 The only time I lost it was when I was in Walmart reading SOD and what Liz Keifer said about the cancellation and how she called Jerry verDorn and well if I hadn’t gotten emotional, I think everyone who knows me at all would have thought I’d been brainwashed, replaced by a clone or some such nonsense.

    I’m very cynical about the networks and their press releases, and I’m not a journalist, but I should have learned something from getting a degree in public relations. That’s what is so scary about soaps today is that there is just speculation, and no one digging in for that information. There are no real checks and balances. If gossip comes down the pike, TPTB whomever they are can go the plausible deniability route as seldom will two independent sources speak out and even with two sources, their words can be twisted.

    Marlena says: Blossie, I didn’t know you a degree in P.R! It’s natural to get emotional over the end of GL, and I remember how fond you were of Blake and Ross (per your handle “Blossie.” ) Ver Dorn and Keifer had the charm, the talent, and the real work ethic that always made them a great soap couple!

    Actually getting two sources to confirm a fact is something we preach in journalism class and big publications use it. In soaps, I guess to its okay to get one of these to confirm something –the actor, the writer, the producer and/or the p.r. people either at the show or the network. I have been a critic for years and avoid all current soap p.r. people. In the old days they understood that to get soap audiences you had to service the soap press and they persued us aggressively. Today they don’t answer their phones, or only want major press. Like NYTimes readers are the only important viewers of Guiding Light right now!

    Speaking of network publicists, I’d like to give a shout out to the best and the smartest soap p.r. person ever, former ABC’ and later P&G p.r. head publicist Rodi Rosenzweig. Yes, she is the Rodi, the bar on OLTL is named after. Rodi always knew the story before the press did, knew our markets, knew exactly how to best work with journalists. She got her clients (like the notorious Linda Gottlieb) fabulous press AND she was gift to we serious reporters. She always did her job most professionally!

  19. I have been watching GL and I have to say that when I first tuned in I was IMPRESSED that many of the actresses on this show aren’t bean-poles. They look very real and easy to identify with it, and they dress like real people I meet in real life. I admire that.

  20. Marlena,

    The other day, Reva was wearing a tank top summer dress and flip flops. She looked like many other American women. I then flashed back to sexy, slim seductress Reva and thought how much Reva/Zimmer had changed.

    But one of the best things about soaps is that we are able to see characters change and grow. If they are the same people 20 years later, what’s the point?

    I saw several clips of Victoria Rowell on from her first appearances in the early 1990s as Drucilla and then later clip in the late 1990s and mid 2000s. Over the span of time, I could see and hear how Drucilla changed by how she dressed, carried herself, and spoke.

    Zimmer’s weight gain is striking. But I wonder if it’s also liberating not to have to be a sexy dynamo at 50+? Is that also about power?

    In contrast, I have been enjoying B&B because of the wonderful acting and magnificent sex appeal of recent cancer survivor Leslie Anne Down. Down’s bravura portrayal of the sexy Jackie M. is incumbent on her looks, she has to be able to convince others that she is sexy and desirable enough to catch a man in his late 20s/early 30s.

    Zimmer couldn’t have pulled it off at this point. But Zimmer could definitely convey and convince us that she is the woman that has both Jeffrey O’Neil and Josh Lewis hopelessly in love with because of her personality, heart, intelligence, and passion.

    I don’t know where Zimmer will go from here. In a recent interview for CBS, she stated that finding employment at her age would be difficult.

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