Arguably one of the most bizarre (not to mention what I think is completely dumb) storylines to come out of the 90s had to have been Clone Reva. Written by James Harmon Brown and Barbara Esensten this story was universally panned by critics and went on to make Guiding Light something of a laughing stock of the industry. This storyline is very polarizing with Guiding Light fans; some look back on this story with a grimace and others seem to like the campy feel.
So here’s a flashback to what I personally consider a groan-worthy storyline. Included within are links to various clips in order to relive the story that Guiding Light fans wish they could forget and here is a playlist of Clone Reva clips.
To begin this storyline you have to start with the exit of Annie Dutton. Annie Dutton has lost everything. She had Josh and his love, but that ended with the return of Reva. She plotted and schemed to no avail. Josh’s love for Reva would be the victor in that triangle. Annie “moved on” with Alan only to have Reva ruin her wedding. Enough was enough, Annie was going to take Reva out once and for all.
Drugging Reva one night Annie brings her aboard a plane. Taunting Reva with her plan Annie video records her distress before calling Josh to taunt him with Reva’s predicament. Then Annie Dutton bids Springfield adieu (for now) by parachuting out of the plane, leaving Reva to die.
When Josh arrived in Florida, he searched desperately for Reva until the Coast Guard stopped him. Distraught over the death of Reva (again) hired Dr. Michael Burke to clone his supposedly dead wife from the eggs she’d left. Within two weeks Josh is holding a cloned Reva Shayne baby.
Meanwhile, Reva washed up on a deserted island and soon discovered that she was not alone. A man named Sean McCullough was sharing the island with her. She attempted to build a raft to get home but it sank. Sean being the altruistic gentleman he is, then showed her a boat he had stored away and agreed to take her home.
With an aging serum Josh was rapidly aging his Reva Clone. Soon she was a free-spirited teenager played by Bethany Joy Lenz (which was the only real bright spot in this tale). Though Josh should have prepared for this after all he and Reva were high school sweethearts and Reva was spirited even back then.
Calling home Reva hears a voice on the other end of the line, and she suspects something is going on. Once back in Springfield a shocked Reva thinks Annie changed her appearance to look like her. Instead she meets her double, who knocks her out and locks her in the lighthouse.
In her absence Dolly had fallen in love with Josh and Reva’s return was not happening! Reva convinces her clone to let her teach her how to get Josh to love her. Though Josh does sleep with the clone he cannot bring himself to love her since she lacks “Reva’s spirit”.
The clone eventually locks Reva up in the pool house at the Lewis home, and Josh resigns himself to marrying the clone. Reva, realizing that the clone was preparing to leave her to die, talked the clone into bringing her a camcorder so that she could watch tapes of the kids. Reva made a videotape telling Josh that she was locked up in the pool house.
The clone returned to the house and popped in the tape, stopping it just in time to realize that Reva had conned her. Josh overheard a part of the tape, but it didn’t really hit him what he was hearing. On the way to Cross Creek, the clone began to ask Josh how it felt to starve to death. Her guilt was getting the better of her and as she asked more questions.
Josh began to put the pieces together and remembered hearing Reva’s voice on the videotape. He turned his car around and sped home to save his dying wife. Running into the pool house, Josh was shocked to see two Revas! After saving Reva from the clone Josh tenderly bathes his Reva, happy to have the love of his life back. They had to figure out what to do with the clone. After the excitement of their reunion began to settle, Reva had a lot of unresolved anger with Josh for cloning her, and for giving up on their love.
Reva bonded with the clone out of pity and made her over into her long-lost cousin, Dolly. With her new identity, the clone finally had a name of her own. She began to settle into her new identity, and Josh and Reva decided to give her a new life in Italy.
Dolly, still very much in love with Josh, decided to take a different route. She overdosed on the aging serum so that she would die, and Josh and Reva would be able to move on with their life together. On their way to Italy, she asked Josh to take her to Cross Creek one more time, so that she could say goodbye to the memories. After Dolly’s death, Reva forgave Josh.
And thus the ending to one of the worst storylines in Guiding Light history. Though like I said, there was one bright spot: Bethany Joy Lenz was certainly fun to watch as teenage Reva. She was spirited and fun, like a teenage Reva would be. Bethany Joy Lenz was so good as Clone Reva that she was brought back as a recast Michelle Bauer in the fall of 1998 and whose romance with good-hearted mobster Danny Santos was one of the most popular stories (and romances) from that era. And the Manny romance continued to be popular until the end of Guiding Light itself.