Marlena Is Back – And Needs A Little Help From Her Friends

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

Peter Bergman

Peter Bergman, still smilin’ through. But what about the other guy?

Bonjour, mes amis! Je suis retourné!  Marlena was ill for a while, but I’m recovering and happy to report for duty. The only problem is, I took a short hiatus from watching soaps during my down time. Now, I’m reemerging with many questions. It’s amazing how much soaps can change in just a few short months.

So I have a favor to ask of you, my faithful thinking readers. Can you help me fill in the gaps in some storylines? If you’ll send in your answers to the following questions as comments on this column, I’ll comment on your comments and we’ll have a grand old time talking about soaps, our favorite subject, as we have for so many years. In advance, merci beaucoups.

A Tale of Two Jacks

Why are there two Jacks on The Young and Restless?  Of course, double characters and twins are as old as soaps themselves.  But two Jack Abbotts?  This one really threw me.  One is ol’ Smilin’ Jack and the other is Marco Annicelli, a big drug dealer.  Who is this Marco and how did he become Jack? Moreover, how in the world did Jack’s love, wife Phyllis, not know she was sleeping with an imposter? Isn’t that … bizarro?  And while we’re at it, who is this Marisa (Sofia Pernas) and how did she get mixed up in this two Jacks debacle? Most importantly, are you all having fun with this, or not?

Certainly Peter Bergman has enough talent to play a double, so this is not a comment on him. But this just seems another hollow trick by headwriter Charles Pratt, master manipulator of nonsensical plots.  But please don’t get me started on Pratt until a future column.

Too smart for their own good?

Why did so many good, brainy characters get written off or killed off in the time I was gone?  I am furious that Y&R did not pick up the contract of  Jessica Collins, who played Avery Bailey Clark.  Avery was what all soaps need, namely a very intelligent woman.  She was a lawyer with a cause, The Innocence  Project.  Yet Y&R chose to have her ex Joe Clark (Scott Elrod) beat her up, motivating her to flee the town. I miss her!

And then there’s the murder of Dr. Silas Clay (Michael Easton) on General Hospital.  Soft-spoken though he was, he was a voice of intelligence and reason, saving Danny and Josslyn in life and death situations.  Yet, there he was stabbed in the back with a butcher knife. This is a soap called General Hospital after all and it needs as many doctors as possible.  I know that in the interim the show’s old head writer Ron Carlivati got fired and Shelly Altman and Jean Passanante have been hired.  I have all faith in Altman and Passanante, both of whom have long sheets of soap credits, the last of which was Y&R  before Pratt came in.

So how to do feel about the fled and the dead?

They Enriched the Days of Old, and Now They’re Back!

How did Days of Our Lives get so good?  I am the first to confess that I haven’t been a Days watcher for years.  Yet I grew up glued to Days on the 60s, 70s and early 80s and adored the show when that genius, the late James E. Reilly, was writing it in the 90s.

But now, as the show’s 50th anniversary looms this November, new headwriters Josh Griffith and Dena Highley are bringing back the spirit of the show I cut my soap teeth on.  All of a sudden there’s the reappearance of the old show’s central stars.  Bo (Peter Reckell) and Patch (Stephen Nichols) are back and I find myself interested in the show again.  And there’s more. They’re bringing back Thaao Penghlis, who played that great baddie  Tony DiMera as well Tony’s evil cousin Andre. I can’t wait! And, joy of joys, they’ve signed Marlena’s old favorite Vincent Irizarry to a contract as Demios.   Oh how I loved his Lujack and Nick on Guiding Light, his Dr. Scott Clark on Santa Barbara and  his David Hayward on All My Children! Plus, they’ve already brought on the fabulous A. Martinez as Eduardo!  Most notably, Martinez played  Cruz Castillo on Santa Barbara. I can’t wait to watch this show again! Tell me if I’m right.

So write to me, Thinking Fans, and let’s have a glorious reunion!



  1. Chere Marlena,

    My goodness! It’s been so long since you’ve written, I thought you had retired. Good to have you back. Sorry you were ill for so long. In the future, please write a short note on the website saying you’re ill, or you’re just too busy to write a column. Don’t just leave us hanging for six months wondering about your fate. Some of us do care about you.

    Short answers to your questions:

    1. Victor hired Jack-lookalike Marco to impersonate Jack and merge Jabot with Newman back in March, while Kelly Andrews held the real Jack captive on an island in the Caribbean. Jack escaped Kelly and then was held captive on a freighter by drug runners who thought he was Marco. With Marissa’s help, he escaped, blew up the boat and made it back to Genoa City. While Jack managed to get Victor to undo the Newman-Jabot merger, he can’t prosecute Victor for hiring Marco to impersonate him, because Victor threatened to turn in Jack for murdering all the men on the freighter that he blew up. As for Phyllis, for plot purposes, she couldn’t tell that Marco was impersonating Jack. Then when it became necessary to the plot, Phyllis began to wise up.

    2. Jessica Collins opted not to renew her contract. From what I understand, she got wind of Chuck Pratt’s plans for the Avery character including a prolonged storyline where she accused Joe Clark of rape and/or assault. She found the storyline distasteful and opted to leave.

    3. Michael Easton was let go mainly for budget reasons, from what I understand. Easton stated online somewhere that Ron C never liked his character(s). They haven’t been doing much with the character in the past six months anyway.

    4. Shelly Altman and Jean Passanante are turning GH back into the Sonny Corenthos Hour per ABC’s orders now that Luke Spencer is gone. So, now everything is revolving around the noble, misunderstood mobster once again.

    5. Yes, Days is suddenly getting very good. Feels like the Days of yore again. Dena and Josh Griffin’s first scripts started airing around Aug 20 and the show is fast becoming must-see TV. Old characters are returning. Yawn-inspiring characters are being killed off (or written off). Julie and Doug are getting screen time. History is being remembered. Things seem to be coming together nicely. Also nice, but a little weird, to see Cruz Castillo playing Luis Lopez-Fitzgerald’s father; the two hottest Latino men ever on NBC Daytime are now family!

    My only complaint about Days is that the gay storyline hasn’t just been put on the back burner in lieu of the 50th anniversary celebration, it’s been put in the freezer. Supposedly, they’re killing off legacy character Will Horton later this fall. That’s a real shame. The actor currently playing Will is wrong for the role, so getting rid of him is no great loss. But losing the character is huge. They should just send Will out of town and recast the role later rather than kill him off.

    Marlena says: James, so good to hear from you. Marlena loves her faithful readers. Your input is a big help!

  2. Marlena !! I’ve been a long (silent) fan and have really missed your soap insights !! I was so worried that you were sick (or worse !! I’m a soap fan after all — you could have been in a coma, fallen off a cliff — how do we know you are not your own evil twin ?!? or Marco Anicelli-like doppelganger ??!!)

    James has already answered all of the big questions — can’t wait for you to get back up to speed and comment on all the doings in Genoa City and Port Charles (I don’t watch Days.)

    Y&R hasn’t done any favors for the remaining women in town — Ashley had an extremely short medical issue that was resolved in a few days (why bother to start a story like that only to end it a few days later ??), Nikki went back to drinking — came back to town sober and mostly smarter to avoid Victor but we see so little of her now, we aren’t sure what to think exactly. (if she knew Victor’s role in the Marco mess, would she forgive him ?) Their screen time has been replaced with the never-ending sniping between Victoria and Abby. UGH! it looks like Phyllis is getting smarter now that she’s on to “Fred” being Ian, thanks to Summer. The Sharon saga goes on… and on….. Sage will be Sharon 2.0 when Nick finds out that she knew all along that Gabe is Adam…

    Over on GH, I’m not sure how I feel about Paul Hornsby coming back to enter the mob wars… although I’m glad Julian hasn’t been lying to Alexis all this time (I hope !) But suddenly – the Nik taking over ELQ story has disappeared ! I’m sure it will reappear once the tie between Paul and Mayor Lomax is revealed further…. (might the mob be behind her quest for Governor ?) And what about Lucas and Brad ??? I’d like to see if Nina and Franco can fit in now that they are free of Madeline and Rick. And it’s time to reveal that Jake is Jason already — geez !! You didn’t miss much in that plot-line other than Liz’s supposed guilt. If Jason remembers who he is/was — who is to say he would want to be with Sam or Liz ? and what all happened to little Jake while Helena had him ???

    You’ve missed so much !! I wish you a speedy recovery and speedy soap catch up!!

    Marlena says: Thank you for writing, Sandy. I have always loved Roger Howarth. He was a favorite of mine when he played Todd on One Life to Live. And I loved Peter Bergman when he played Cliff on All My Children. There is only one Marlena. No evil twin here!

  3. Marilyn Henry says:

    Hi Connie! Welcome back.
    Personally, I am pretty devastated over the firing of Eastman on GH. I wasn’t happy about making him Silas because I had long loved McBain but I had come to love the actor and was, well, angry that they chose to cut budget there. He kept me watching for a long time. True, they had too big a cast on GH, but there were others that should have gone long before McBain.

    I was impressed with the actor now playing Hornsby and looking forward to his story, but that stopped the moment he was shown to be the new mobster in town and when he coldly shot Sloan. I never cared for the Sloan character (what a nasty little wimp), but his demise ruined Hornsby and limits his appeal now. I cannot get interested in evil guys who are outright criminals. SOooo very tired of mob stories.

    I am seriously considering watching Days. Good grief–Vincent Irizzrary, Steve Nichols, A Martinez, Lordy!
    Many years ago (like 40) I watched a little Days and always thought it sounded like a greeting card writer penned the dialog–it was twitchingly bad stuff, with stories also pretty silly. But what I’m reading now points to great advances in quality, and that cast…wowsy! (Though I do hope A shaves off the white beard.) Now they need to look up Steven Snietzer and Lane Davies and Jed Allen (I so miss Jed). I also liked Billy Warlock and he might be available. So many lovely possibilities.

    Glad you’re back!

    Marlena says: So good to hear from you, old friend. I am very impressed with Richard Burgi too! Watch Days, everyone! It’s great!

  4. Pamela Avery says:

    Days was great now it is bad ☹️

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