Sunday Reflections 3: The Young and the Restless, General Hospital, Days of Our Lives

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

The Young and the Restless: Finally a soap does what I’ve long advocated for this era of desperation:  perform a radical life-saving change to save itself.  Y&R has sent in then Marines in the form of new executive producer Jill Farren Phelps and new headwriter Josh Griffith. And Marlena says Semper Fi!  Fresh from their triumphs on Hollywood Heights and Phelps’ latest Emmy for Outstanding Show (General Hospital), these two soap vets certainly have just the skills and genuine talent needed to pull Y&R out of its deep pit of, as we French say, ennui.

And already the fans have started flinging tomatoes at the choice of Phelps, who we all took to task for her cooperation with Guza on GH and other foul acts on One Life to Live.  Forgive and forget, Marlena says, because darlings, this is war!  With 30 plus years of continuous executive producing service to five soaps (Santa Barbara, Guiding Light, Another World, One Life to Live, GH) Phelps certainly has the octane needed to quickly change Y&R.  Similar negative things were predicted when the much skilled and experienced Paul Rauch (whose track record  fans did not love) first came to produce Y&R  a few years ago, and look at what an effective job he did. 

Tony Geary

General Hospital: Marlena is still swooning over the GH scene this week in which Luke and Anna were privately reunited in the hospital after Luke’s taking a bullet for Anna and his long abduction by cray-cray Heather. No crying, screaming or carrying on, it was just a conversation between two mature people revealing their deep romantic feelings for each other without words.  The script said that Anna was questioning Luke about his long abduction by Heather, and later telling him that the arrested Heather said Robin was alive. Yet, bravura Tony Geary and Finola Hughes played the scenes’ subtext — two very adult people (yes!) in love — so quietly and with so much subtlety, the scene was a thing of beauty. Luke spoke slowly and clearly, and in a low voice, while Anna listened, receiving his unspoken love with just a touch of a tear in her eye.   What creativity and worlds of experience these two actors bring to their work!  Whoever thought we could see such adult emotion portrayed so realistically on a soap opera?

This was a wonderful couple of days this week, for we who (try to) watch GH without spoilers. The previous day, insane Heather (surprise!) appeared in the doorway of the cabin in which she held Luke, shooting Luke after Anna (yay girl!) had punched her out and had  handcuffed her.  Her reappearance aiming a gun at Anna was just as shocking as a Michael Meyers reappearance in the Halloween horror movie series   In the episode’s cliffhanger, Heather aimed her gun at intended victim Anna, and we didn’t find out until the next day that it was Luke who had heroically stepped in front of Anna at the crucial moment to take the hit.  Bull’s-eye, GH!  Thanks for giving spoiler-less us the thrill of old-fashioned soap shock and surprise.

By the way, wasn’t it awesome when the show also revealed this week that Dr. Ewen is part of the mysterious cabal that’s keeping Robin hostage? That was a total shocker, too!   Keep plugging up those spoiler leaks as you promised, Mr. Valentini.

Days of Our Lives: I watched the Salem explosion on Friday and they blowed the place up real good, as they used to say on the brilliant Canadian mid-70 satire show SCTV.   Ratings-challenged Days needs a two weeks break from the air so that NBC can air Olympic coverage like they need a hole in the head!

Which brings up a new occasional feature here at  You all know I am a teacher and I love class discussion.  Plus I love getting and answering your letters more than anything.  So from time to time I’m going to throw out specific topics I’d like to hear you opine about.  Do write me.

This week’s subject is the following quote I found on my answering machine from a good friend, an ardent soap fan who is a (non-soap) television producer, and who has watched and expertly analyzed soaps for 50 years.  Even more years than Marlena!  OK class, consider this:

“Marlena, I cannot believe how static Days of Our Lives is. It is visually inert.  It reminds me of Oakdale (As the World Turns) before they discovered outdoor locations. The (characters) sit and sit and sit in the same location. The actors are so under-rehearsed, it’s ridiculous. The scripts are underwritten and the actors are not being served by the dialogue written for them.”

Maître Marlena says: Agree or disagree? Discuss.


  1. horselover says:

    I’m glad you think JFP will do a great job over at Y&R. I do not agree. They don’t call her the soap killer for nothing. She killed beloved characters like Frankie Frame, Maureen Bauer and Alan Quartermaine without remorse. She made GH the Sonny, Carly and Jason show for over a decade. I’m thrilled she’s gone from GH but sorry for Y&R fans. Good luck to them.

    I agree with you that Tony Geary and Finola Hughes are fabulous actors. What I can’t agree on is any romantic chemistry between them. All I see is yuk, yuk, yuk when they share the screen together. But I do think GH is getting better. There still is a long way to go but it’s certainly better than the JFP years.

    Marlena says: I love when we disagree, horse. But you’re right — Phelps has certainly made some of the most onerous mistakes in soap history. I still burst into tears when I think of the killing off of Alan Quartermaine, and you know what I think of the Sonny, Carly and Jason show. But the woman has time-tested production skills. Remember her Guiding Light circa 1992 and divine Santa Barbara? Only time will tell what she and her skills will do to Young and Restless. And yes, I do see chemistry between Luke and Anna. Both are survivors, and Luke can be quite charming when he wants to be. He was three women (Anna, Tracy, Heather) fighting over him about the time he should be applying for early Social Security!

    • While I believe that GH is a much better show right now, I have to agree with horselover about Luke and Anna. “Yuk.” Now Anna has all the romantic and sex-appeal in the world! But Luke has none. Nothing. Nada.
      They’re a turn-off as a romantic couple. Literally. I FF through their scenes together. Which is unfortunate because otherwise, she’s the best thing about this show.

    • I thought Anna and Luke were kind of skeevy at first too, and I really wanted Luke with Tracy. But I’m finally liking Anna & Luke together, and think a triangle with Tracy would be great. I love when they write stories for the “geriatric set” since I’m one of them!

      Overall, GH is finally turning around. I FF through very few scenes anymore, so that’s a good indication. In fact, I think the only scenes I FF’d through last week were Sonny’s scenes and I don’t see that changing any time soon.

  2. I have lots to say about Days of our Lives, and the majority of it is not good. Sadly, it is not the production values, or the lack of sets, that bothers me most, it is the fact that the show continues to focus on couples and storylines that the fans don’t seem to care about.

    All of the months spent on Carrie and Rafe, who were dull and repulsive. Even now, with Carrie leaving with Austin, she left having feelings for Rafe, so why would I want to root for her to be with Austin in any kind of happily ever after, knowing that she had feelings for Rafe last we saw her? And now Dr. Daniel being thrown on Nicole. Daniel, whom I have never found to be all that interesting, and who hasn’t had much chemistry with any of the ladies he’s been paired with (and there have been plenty). Which is sad, because Ari Zucker is a powerhouse and deserves a better story than to be pregnant with EJ’s baby, pretending Rafe is the father, and hooking up with Daniel. Brady and Madison are beyond boring. Melanie and Chad, also dull, and Gabby’s scheming isn’t nearly as interesting at Abby’s was, to keep Austin away from Carrie (and that wasn’t all that well written either, so that says a lot).

    All of the pairings I care about haven’t had stories for months. John and Marlena, Bo and Hope, Victor and Maggie, I even liked the Kate/Stefano pairing (never ended up caring about Ian, either). Lucas finally returned home, reunited with Sami, and is now being sidelined so that Sami can drop everything to “rescue” EJ from going to jail? I get why the show continues throwing Sami back in EJ’s orbit. I’m not a Sami/EJ fan but I understand that, unlike many of those previously mentioned couples, Ejami are hugely popular. But I fear with Carrie gone, now Rafe will return to Sami and Lucas will be thrown into a nonsensical pairing (Lucas/Chloe anyone?) before being shown the door. I liked Rafe well enough, but he never had the history, or the chemistry, with Sami that Lucas does. The triangle should be Lucas/Sami/EJ, and Rafe and his sister, as well as Melanie and Daniel, can all just leave town.

    All of that said, the ONLY storyline that I find compelling is the saga of Will, who continues to keep me enraptured on a daily basis. His obvious crush on EJ, his friendship with Sonny, his relationships with his parents and Marlena, I find it all compelling. I still think Chandler Massey smiles a little too much in his scenes, but he has improved so much as an actor, and I find him so delightful to watch, that I can overlook that mannerism. And I realize that it’s kind of creepy, since EJ is a bit older than him (not to mention was his stepfather, and is the father of Will’s half-siblings), but the chemistry between Chandler Massey and James Scott is intriguing, to say the least. Will has truly become the sole reason that I keep tuning in. So I do hope that things change soon, for the better. Because it feels like Days is living on borrowed time, even moreso than the other three remaining soaps.

    Marlena says: An excellent analysis of Days! I’m still learning more about a lot of the back story on Days, but I did watch the Will story and liked it. But you’ve hit on something I’ve observed too — as you term it the “creepy,” a little too close relationship between E.J. and Will. Weren’t they involved in a murder case in the past? I understand the Days writers are changing now, and it should be interesting to see what multi-multi soap veterans (oy!) Gary Tomlin and Chris Whitesell will do now. Extremely curious how they’ll write out Peter Reckell, as his Bo and Kristian Alfonso’s Hope have spearheaded this show going back to the early 80’s.

  3. Hi Marlena!

    Well here are my thoughts on the “new” General Hospital-has it improved: well yes, indeed it has. But the thing is we fans like myself who remember when it was at the top of its game, know it can be 10, hell 20 times better than what is on our screen now.

    First let me introduce myself as one of many GH fans-I having been watching GH since I was in the 9th grade and I am now 46 years old. What does that mean and how does it bear reverence to this letter? Well it means I REMEMBER when GH was at its peak-the glory days of Luke and Laura, Robert and Holly and Anna, Frisco and Felicia and so many other great characters were the heroes of GH instead of the likes of Sonny and Jason. When the Police Commissioner was not a joke title job, whether it was held by Anna, Robert or Sean Donely. Until recently that position was filled by Mac, Robert’s brother and it was appalling watching a Scorpio get turned into a DOOFUS running the PCPD (and I won’t even cover his lackluster life which is almost as bad lol). But now Anna is back at the helm and perhaps there is a ray of hope that that the PCPD will stop looking like a not so funny version of the Keystone Cops.

    Another ray of hope is the new regime at GH-yes F&P are not perfect (more on them later) but at this point almost anyone is welcome with Brian Frons and Bob Guza finally out of the picture. I am williing to hang in there and see if they can keep GH alive past the 50 year anniversary next year. So far there are things I like and things I don’t like. Here’s the list of them:


    1. Robin Scorpio is ALIVE. A big kudo to F&P for keeping her alive and that they are obviously working hard to bring her back 100 to us fans who love her. I firmly believe this would not be happening if Frons and Guza were still at the helm, as they proved to me multiple times the past few years how little regard they have for Robin. I think if it can be worked out for Kimberly McCullough to do GH and direct, this new regime will appreciate her and that to me is wonderful.

    2. As I said above, Anna is back in her old job as Police Commissioner and from what I have seen, she is already showing more fire and guts than Mac did in the job. Keep it up. Also big kudos for the new regime to grab Finola Hughes under contract. Now do the same with Kristina Wagner and bring back Tristan Rogers, Jack Wagner and some other vets and the good guys in PC will actually be allowed to shine again.

    3. Heather Webber is a delght to have back on screen-but one tiny thing-just lower the dosage a bit please. I dont need her on every day. And if you want her to have longevity you gotta cut the crazy factor a bit down too. Scheming Heather is good-over-the top psycho Heather is bad. I also hear whisphers Scott Baldwin might be returning-I hope this is true because I remember the fun days of Heather and Scott being bedroom and crime partners-let’s revisit those good old days!

    4. I may be in the minority here, but I am sooooo glad Jasam are broken up. I frankly don’t want them back together. They were a boring couple especially since Sam became so over dependent on Jason’s approval she practically couldn’t wipe her own butt without asking Jason’s permission first. I am starting to just a wee bit like Sam now that she is no longer joined at the hip to Jason-now if only we could end the boring dead baby story and have Sam talk of something else for a change I could really like her. Oh and definitely keep pursuing the romance with John but please again-ditch the baby story!

    5. Are my eyes deceiving me or are we seeing less Sonny and Jason? HALLEJUAH! I don’t mind if they stay on the “new” GH so long as two things happen: Less airtime and stop having the town of PC bow to them as heros and I can tolerate them.

    Now for the Dislikes:

    1. OLTL OVERLOAD! I don’t mind some OLTL characters like Todd and Starr and John being brought on but please don’t ram them down my throat. You don’t need them on every single day of the week! And I don’t need anymore transplants for now, especially the nerve grinding Tea! Oh and thank goodness there is no sign of Saint Viki coming to GH-I couldn’t stand her before and I don’t want her on GH!

    2. Ewen being ruined for the Robin story-I thought he had potential, especially as a love interest for Liz that would keep her from chasing Jason. Now thanks to one episode, I loathe him as he dates one of Robin’s closest friends and sees Robin’s husband Patrick fighting a pill addiction and in massive pain over losing Robin, all the while knowing full well she is alive. And yes I believe he is not in charge but working for someone else (my bet is Faison or Helena or both) but nonetheless the fact remains he is in this up to his neck and that has turned me against him sadly.

    3. The dragged out Kate/Connie DID saga-it was interesting at first and a great device to spotlight Kelly Sullivan’s acting chops, but enough is enough! Wrap it up already! Move on and let Kate get her career back, whether it be battling Todd for Crimson or starting a new magazine up.

    4. The ruination of Spixie and Maxie in general. Some of this I give to the bad writing of Maxie’s self blame for Robin’s death and the lameass Matt killed Lisa story, but I also give blame to that I just never got to liking Jen Rilley as recast Maxie. I am so glad Kirsten Storms is on her way back and hopefully a Spixie reunion is in the works.

    All in all, my summation of GH is it is looks good-it not as great as it was in the 80s to mid 90s, but it a heck of a lot better than it was a year ago at this time. I think the new regime has some great ideas on the table such as hopefully bringing back the Nurses Ball and more vets and their respect for history are good signs. This shows promise but two more key things need to be done: Balance airtime for all the cast and bring back ROMANCE! GH the last few years has become depressing and dark with very little passion or humor and we need that back desperately. Remember that 80s logo “Love in the Afternoon?” Well lets bring that back-give us more romance and fewer bullets, more passion and less violence. Let the dark cloud over GH lift and give us sunshine and reasons to smile when we watch GH. If that can be accomplished, GH will not only continue to rise from the ashes and survive past its 50th birthday, it may even one day be number one in the daytime ratings. How that for dreaming big?


    Marlena says: Jenny, what a terrific even-handed analysis of GH! It would take me three columns to answer all your points but here are some quick reactions. I watch GH everyday under the new regime and rather enjoy it, a lot more than in the recent past. I’ve watched back to the Luke and Laura days too! I am not a Jason and Sam fan. Why would a gal with such common sense marry a hitman? Love her with McBain, though. Bring it on! I’m glad Robin is alive and agree with you how great it is that TPTB really seem to respect McCollough and her career choices. Less Sonny and Jason equals more Marlena. I liked Jen better than Kirsten as Maxie but this role is Kirsten’s after all. I always thought Ewen was a big bore; now he’s finally getting interesting treating Patrick AND the kidnapped Robin at the same time. I would love to see the Nurse’s Ball again. And I am rooting for GH to live on forever, because it now deserves to even though as I’ve written, it gives me a lot to bitch about it all the time. Cheers to you!

    • Hi again Marlena!

      I definitely believe GH is on the rise and this is only a few months of a new regime. Already the women are stronger and less dependent on men to prop them. Having Anna, a strong woman, fighting crime is not only a great display of female power but also that she is not afraid to fight back. And I love how she plays by her own rujles as she did the other day with Heather. Love also that she is not going to kiss Sonny and Jasons’s arses as displayed in the scene a few weeks with Jason. Now lets see her get in Sonny’s face. Finally a woman who won’t succumb to his sexual charms and who can put him in his place. I will be cheering her on. I do agree though to ax the romance with Luke. There is little to no sparkage there. Bring back Robert or Duke for her instead or just let her be single for a while. Oh and don’t put Luke back with Tracy please. I never liked those two. Y&R is under-utilizing Genie Francis so GH get on the ball and lure her back. All you really have to do is make Laura STRONG and I bet GF would be back so fast our heads would spin back to the 80s!

      As for making Sam stronger, the answer is simple-END JASAM! I don’t really care about the baby storyline just wrap it up already. If Sam must have her precious baby, then make her be a single mother and continue her career as a P.I. Just please keep her out of Jason’s orbit or she will be back to kissing his buns and planning her days around what to order for Chinese dinner so fast it will make me puke. As for romance with McBain, I say go for it too so long as it makes Sam evolve. I like that John respects her so keep that a factor in their relationship. I don’t want Sam to go from one relationship where she is over-dependent to another one.

      Now about Ewen-the trouble with him is that almost from the get-go, he has been handed crappy material. First there was the lame debut of rescuing Elizabeth from drowning to the lame story of them meeting in a mental hospital. There was a bit of spark there but then it got backed off and he was thrust into the ultra boring saga of Cassandra aka Ghost Lady and Ethan. What a snoozefest that was! After it ended, once again Ewen was MIA until the story with Kate/Connie came along, then he got a conk on the head which again put him out of sight for weeks. When he finally woke up, it looked like the Ewen/Liz romance was finally going to be explored only to be derailed by Jason crying on Liz’s shoulder. And now with this story of him holding Robin hostage, they completely trashed him. What a shame as he made nice eye candy and could have been a viable new character if he had not been dished out such crappy writing.

      Like I said before, I never like Jen in the role of Maxie-she played up Maxie’s bitchy, selfish side way too much and made the character look unsympathetic in every storyline she was in-even ones where she was supposed to be sympathetic. And she had absolutely no chemistry with Bradford Anderson as Kirsten did and that is a big part of why I am looking forward to her return. GH needs romance again and a Spixie reunion would be a step in that direction.

      And the return of the Nurses Ball would be wonderful for so many reasons-it gave the entire cast an opportunity to showcase other facets of their talents, we got to enjoy fun and glamour and it kept Robin’s HIV storyline prominent without resorting to such crap as Lisa Niles switching her meds.

      I believe GH can be as great as it once was-maybe not exactly the same since it is in new hands but it can be great fun to enjoy watching GH again with the right mix of heart, soul, romance and balance that will keep GH on for well past its 50th anniversary.


  4. Marlena, I hate it when major soap news breaks a day or two AFTER we do a soap chat!

    Re: JFP – I think you’re RIGHT on here. I’m quite amused and mystified (and, quite frankly, a little horrified) over the incessant brickbats being hurled at Phelps over this announcement. As we’ve discussed multiple times, Y&R has been rudderless and floundering since Paul Rauch stepped down a couple of years ago, held afloat largely on the supreme talents of its cast (most of whom have gotten little to NO help from the flat, uninspired, downright dippy writing and storytelling). Still, unlike with some other soaps we could name, at least in this instance, pretty much all of the pieces are on the canvas — the sets are still lush and gorgeous, the veteran cast is arguably the strongest in daytime. The show just needs a smart writer and strong producer to pull it all together into an entertaining daily hour of television, and alas, that’s exactly what it has now.

    I make no apologies for being an ardent, unabashed Jill Farren Phelps fan, and while I absolutely agree that she has made some major missteps in her incredible tenure in soaps, a lot of crap gets laid at her feet that I don’t believe she deserves full and complete blame for. (I think it’s pretty clear that she was hanging on by her fingernails for the back half of her tenure at GH, something of a figurehead carrying out commands coming from above her head at the network. And from having personally spoken with a number of principals involved back then, I’ll say with some authority that Phelps was caught in an all-out war between Proctor & Gamble and NBC for creative control of “Another World” and saddled with an awful head writer — Maggie DePriest — who still thought it was 1980, and while we can all agree in hindsight that Alice Barrett’s firing — and Frankie Frame’s grisly, episode-long murder — was a massive mistake, it should also be said that Phelps made some shrewd moves during her year at the helm of AW — rebuilding the younger set of characters; bolstering Emmy-garnering story for vets like Anna Holbrook, David Forsyth, Linda Dano, Mark Pinter, and Charles Keating; and finally finding a softer-edged Vicky that rightfully made a superstar out of Jensen Buchanan — that bought that show a few more years on the air.)

    Love her or hate her, there’s a definite and instantly identifiable reason that this woman has been consistently employed for most of the last three decades in daytime. She is a strong, smart producer who puts her unmistakable stamp on any show she touches. (Strong music cues, scorching love scenes, passionate, extra-concentrated performances from fired-up actors: yep, you ALWAYS know when Sheriff Phelps has ridden into town!)

    I also strongly suspect that Jill is shrewd enough to understand that this will likely be her last stand in daytime, and that she is going to take this miraculous last chance much more seriously than she might have earlier in her career. (I also suspect that she knows how the fans, rightly or wrongly, feel about her, and even though it may not be foremost in her thinking, I’ll bet money she knows and knows well that she has a shot at redemption here in the eyes of the audience.) I predict we’re going to see some very prudent pruning of an overgrown cast over the next few weeks as she gets her bearings in Genoa City, and I, for one, can hardly wait to see what “her” Y&R looks like later this fall.

    Marlena says: Brandon, you are so eloquent as always. Good point about her wanting to do a good job as this will be her last soap. I bet she doesn’t really care about “redemption” in the eyes of the fans. She just does her job, I suspect. Do you think Jill will remember our support group of two when we ask for Y&R interviews? Thanks for filling us in on her AW history. I saw her last when I went down to the AW studio the day a big press conference introduced their new NYPD-esque police headquarters set. (Jill: “Where’s Marlena? I want her to see this.”) But I haven’t talked to her again since I threw tomatoes at her One Life to Live. And she certainly doesn’t do interviews often! She’d be outstanding as a guest on your show!

  5. Chere Marlena,

    So wonderful to have you around weekly once more.

    I agree that JFP has the potential to do great things at Y&R. They certainly need a strong hand guiding that show which has been an utter mess for the last two years. And she knows how to produce strong shows.

    But I also wonder which of her trademark moves she’ll make on this show that will anger the fans:
    1. Firing an actor playing a core character within minutes of walking in the door — she fired Christine Tucci as Amanda Cory on AW, Laura Borango as Cassie on OLTL.
    2. Angering a veteran performer enough that they decide to quit — Beverlee McKinsey on GL, Genie Francis on GH.
    3. Recasting a part with one of her faves — Tim Gibbs taking over as Kevin on OLTL, Kevin McClatchy taking over as Nick Hudson on AW.

    Marlena says: Hi James! I’m going to be posting more than once a week, so check my site daily. Here’s another: bringing in James Franco to GH and Hollywood Heights. Wonder if he’ll show up on Y&R.

  6. Marilyn Henry says:

    Hi Marlena!
    Nice to see you are back to once a week. I love sites that are NOT fan fights over Jasam or Jaliz or why Sonny isn’t on every day–and that is how many sites seem to be–so it is refreshing to have you back for some intelligent talk.

    I say this, yet I’m going to jump into a fan struggle–over Luke. I LOVE him with Anna, they are lovely together and I think this is the one that works almost as good as old Luke and Laura. Both are adventurous, clever, good humored, and sexy. There was never a moment I could believe he loved acid-tongued Tracy, who constantly belittled and sneered, but then Guza tried his best to make Luke pathetic, drunk, greedy, and faithless, in order to be able to take her abuse. That’s what Tracy knows about him and that’s why Luke needs a new romance without the Guza baggage. He got SO unlikable, even unrecognizable, that I stopped caring about him–and you know that is major! Came close to turning off GH, but then lost OLTL which I loved. With my only soap fix being GH I stayed.
    And so VERY glad that I did. Frank and Ron are finally hitting their stride. They had a lot of garbage to clean up first (and impatient fans were already deriding them), but they are starting to rekindle GH’s lost fire. They gave Sonny a story that had little to do with his mobness and gave him a superb actress for it. And cut back his airtime. Smart. They pulled Jason from super-savior of everybody to a not always sensitive, not always smart thug who could stumble. Once he’s down from his Guza-pedestal I suspect they can restore him, and even get him out of his nasty profession. Carly is already more likable and her airtime more balanced. I have liked Laura in the part, but want her Carly to learn and grow now.
    The Heather thing was fascinating to watch, but agree a little less would make it more so. I like Todd, too, but again, less may be more. I really like John McBain on GH (better than on OLTL) and hope they handle him well. Having the good guys dominate will really help the show. The only other OLTL character I’d like to see on GH is Jerry verDorn. I see him as coming in while ELQ is being neglected, and trying a takeover. That would give Tracy and Monica good story. And given that Tracy is kind of a Dorian-par insulter, I could see sparks there. LOVED Jerry on OLTL–had a big soapy crush. I miss him…
    I also miss Robert Scorpio, but he is busy now. I really grew to like Maxie as played by Jen Lilly and will miss her–she made me finally care about Maxie. I want to see more of Mac, and much more of Alexis! If only they could find a big humorous, romantic , challenging story for Nancy who has always been popular with fans but seemingly not-so-much with TPTB.
    Incidently I feel Ewan is being coerced against his will to carry out some scheme of Helena’s–she has some hold on him. So he may turn out a good guy after all. But what a delicious surprise that was when we saw his face… (Look forward to Connie Tower’s return but hope she’s better written than the last few times).
    In fact, there have been lots of delicious surprises and good story for the last couple months and what a pleasure it is to actually look forward to my daily soap again!

    Marlena says: You like GH now! Wow! How many years as it been? So glad you like Luke and Anna too. It’s so great to see more of the Luke we once adored. And of course you are the authority on that character! (Marilyn first wrote about the Luke and Laura story for Marlena 30 years ago when I was editor of Afternoon TV Magazine.) Love your remarks about they used to have to belittle Luke’s character so he could take Tracy’s insults. That’s so true! Also, Carly–miracles of miracles–has grown a bit lately. I’m sure Jerry ver Dorn would like to hear your comments on him. Do you really think Ewen is being coerced into helping to hold Robin hostage? What could he have done to deserve this? I too hope that if they bring Connie Towers back as Helena that she is better written. Really, this is the first time in years I can’t predict what’s coming next on this show. It’s great that there are veteran fans of decades standing enjoying this show again. That’s a huge accomplishment for the current regime at GH.

  7. I love the improvements to GH that Ron Carlivati and Frank Valentini from OLTL (I still miss that soap!) has done since their regime began earlier this year! I love Robin Mattson as crazy Heather, and I love Luke and Anna (if we can’t have Genie Francis back as Laura, Luke and Anna are the next best thing to them!) I prefer Anna over Tracy, because I thought that Bob Guza made both Luke and Tracy look like clowns when they were a couple together! I also love the burning chemistry between John McBain and Sam McCall Morgan too! I fully agree with Marylin Henry in her post to you that John is more better suited and enjoyable on GH than he was on OLTL! Michael Easton even has lightened up and relaxed a bit in his performance of the character now! Roger Howarth is also doing an incredible job as Todd Manning, making his transition to GH a great success along with the other OLTL characters, and his budding relationship with Carly! both Roger and Laura Wright have great chemistry together! I thought Jen Lilley did an impressively great job filling in as Maxie temporarly, even though I missed Kirsten Storms, and I’m glad that she’s all better now and will be coming back to the show pretty soon! (Why is it that you prefer Jen Lilley over Kirsten Storms, Marlena? Is it because Jen is a better actress than Kirsten?) Glad to see you posting more blog entry posts on here now!

    Marlena says: Thanks Chris. Are you teasing about Jen and Kirsten? I think they are equally good actresses. Kirsten’s mannerisms bother me, but I know that is what others find so endearing about her. Glad she’s feeling better too!

  8. A wonderful assessment, Connie/Marlena! And I enjoyed your July 24 chat lwith the host of the pleasurable podcast that is “Brandon’s Buzz.”

    Because the 2012 Olympics are currently airing on NBC (and many of its cable networks), I’m going to go off here in a different direction that ties in with personal viewing. But I will mention some of the latest develpments that are, or are not, of interest with the currently surviving four dramas.

    It was this time of year, with the Georgian calendar the same, that has me thinking about this was an opportunity for me to get better acquainted with the amount of soaps still on the air. Now, it’s very, very different. I have good memories from 28 years ago. It was at this time ABC carried the 1984 Olympics (with Lionel Richie, Grammy bound for his Album of the Year “Can’t Slow Down,” delivering a knockout performance of “All Night Long”), and the network shortened for a three-week period its three hour-long serials — “All My Children,” “One Life to Live,” and “General Hospital” — to 40-minute installments. ABC’s three other serials — “Edge of Night,” “Loving,” and “Ryan’s Hope” — were on hiatus. (“RH” just won its record-setting sixth best-writing Emmy; “Edge,” despite lead-acting noms for four of its players — Joel Crothers, Ann Flood, Sharon Gabet, and Larkin Malloy — was in its final year and signed off in late-December.) This was a great period for me personally. I was 13 and had a crush on gorgeous Kim Delaney, who was about to leave her soap in a twisty and sad way (story and character wise) that played out organically and remarkably. (Delaney was relatable as the pure Jenny Garder Nelson and, following her 1983 Emmy nomination for the part she did strike gold, in 1997, for ABC’s “NYPD Blue.”) On “OLTL,” Viki was about to be kidnapped, taken to the airport at gun point, but she quickly — and shrewdly — snuck a small pocket knife into her shoe so that her arrival at security would set off the alarm which, in turn, would result in rescue her from her abductor. (Erika Slezak, the six-time Emmy winner, had just won her first statue after 13 years and one previous nod with the role.) And “GH” was playing out the kooky, crazy Grant Putnam storyline — though my greatest attention was given to Tristan Rogers’s and Emma Samms’s magnetic spouses Robert and Holly Scorpio. (Good timing for me. Blockbuster TV producer Aaron Spelling was paying attention to Samms’s work and cast her, in a year’s time, to take over the Fallon Colby role on ABC’s No. 1 “Dynasty.”)

    This was a good period, because it also allowed me to break away — during those ABC hiatuses (the hour-longs ran began at 1 p.m. ET) — to check out CBS’s “Guiding Light” at 3 p.m. ET. And I enjoyed it right away! Vincent Irizarry (the 2009 Emmy winner as “AMC’s” David Hayward) debuted as Lujack and was fighting Phillip (Grant Aleksander) over the affections of one woman, Beth Raines. Lujack met with his rich momma, Alexandra Von Halkein Spauling, played by the brilliant Beverlee McKinsey. (Judi Evans, with whom Irizarry was romantically paired, had just won the soap’s first-ever acting Emmy for originating Beth. Irizarry left the show in 1985, with his character killed off, and he returned six years later to take on a new role, twin Nick McHenry, who happened to be the second son Alex didn’t know she had. This month marks the 20th anniversary of McKinsey’s deliciously scandlous departure from “GL.”)

    This helped me get going with familiarizing myself better with other CBS serials — specifically “The Young and the Restless” (which played out the Traci/Danny/Lauren triangle, wonderfully acted by Beth Maitland, Michael Damian, and Tracey Bregman; the females went on to win gold at the 1985 Emmys, which were acting firsts for their soap) and “As the World Turns” (which had me catching future Oscar winner Marisa Tomei as Marcy Lafferty, working opposite future triple Emmy winning “Y&R” player Christian LeBlanc as Kirk McColl). Oh, and also on “ATWT,” there was a murder-mystery story where, if memory is correct, one of Lisa’s (Eileen Fulton) many husbands was the victim. (Lisa was so unique that, even when she was the wronged, she rarely, if ever, came across as a victim. Since I like to mention Emmys: “ATWT” had just come off winning the lead-actor and supporting-actor for then-first-time recipients Larry Bryggman and Justin Deas, who matches Slezak as the second most-winning daytime soap performer. Gold for Bryggman and Deas were also acting firsts for “ATWT.” Talk about a remarkable year!)

    In response to Connie’s/Marlena’s latest, I felt the urge for a stroll down memory lane. I feel this way because the Olympics are now playing on NBC. And, just as the case from 1984, I find myself wishing NBC’s remaining soap was not on hiatus. I would like to tune in more of “Days of Our Lives,” especially for the continuing story of the out Will (Emmy winner Chandler Massey) who is delighted in figuring he’s outsmarting — thanks to blackmail goods — the amoral E.J. (the excellent James Scott). Yes, 28 years ago at this time, I was missing that earlier-mentioned alphabet-net trio. But having patience is good. And it’s necessary. So, for now, I have to make do with “Y&R” (which just isn’t sparking much; other than possibly the romantic screen pairing of Michael Muhney’s Adam and Melissa Claire Egan’s Chelsea — in a new marriage that is rushed). I’m bummed by “The Bold and the Beautiful” (story wise, there is too damn much Steffy and too damn little Stephanie). And in the case of “GH” — well, the reigning Emmy chanp for best drama gets commonly all-too-twisted up with its excesses. But Connie/Marlena, along with Brandon, have me thinking I should get back on the ball and once again tune in. (I have appreciated Carolyn Hennessy’s work on HBO’s 2012 season of “True Blood.”) And summer is still alive!

    “Patience,” as I already mentioned, is both good and necessary. We longterm soap-opera viewers know this … all-too-well.

    Marlena says: Delightful letter, DSO! I feel like I just stepped out of a time machine. In 1984, I was writing for every soap magazine ever printed and covering soaps for USA Today. Why don’t I remember the Olympic breaks? Thanks for filling us in. You mentioned one of my favorites soaps of all time–Edge of Night, which was on its last legs that summer. Hail Edge! And Jenny Gardner–everyone loved her and Greg on AMC. I hated that they killed her off in a jet ski accident. (Very weird death!) And you got to discover the CBS soaps during the Olympics ! You are so lucky to have experienced Beverlee McKinsey on Guiding Light, a magnificent actress like no other! P.S. Thanks for listening to me on Brandon’s Buzz!! It’s like chatting daytime with your best soap friend. Fun! I love doing that show.

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