Archive | September 2014

The Many Faces of Susan (Daisy) Lemay

Susan Lemay was born Daisy Cooper in September of 1987 to teenage parents Harley Cooper and Dylan Lewis.  Her birth, and subsequent adoption, would impact Harley for the rest of her life.  Susan Lemay did not have the easiest early life, in fact her childhood could be described as somewhat “traumatic”.  She had a life threatening illness, she was kidnapped (twice), the only mother she had ever known died of cancer, and then her father died in a fire.

harleydylandaisy1. Brittany Slatterly : (August 1989-October 1989;  March-April 1995) Daisy made her way into the world on the side of the highway when her mother Harley was involved in a car accident on the way to Cedars hospital.  Harley named the baby Daisy after the flower Dylan used to bring her.  A teenager, Harley was unable to take care of young Daisy and put her up for adoption.  Daisy’s adoptive parents JimDylanHarleySusan and Connie Lemay would rename her Susan.  In 1989 Susan’s biological father Dylan learned he had a daughter and convinced Harley to reclaim their child.  Dylan and Samantha Marler worked as Susan’s nannies unbeknownst to the Lemays, which granted Harley access to her daughter.   Harley’s then-husband Alan-Michael attempted to buy Susan from the Lemays but was refused.  Alan-Michael retaliated by revealing the true identity of Dylan to the Lemays.  As a result Harley’s only connection to her child was severed and placed a great strain on her marriage to Alan-Michael.  In an attempt to hold on to Harley Alan-Michael kidnapped young Susan and made plans for them to leave the country.  Harley refused and returned Susan to her adoptive parents who then moved away from Springfield.  In 1994, Connie Lemay revealed to Dylan that an eight-year old Susan had contracted a rare form of diabetes.  She convinced Dylan to donate part of his pancreas to Susan in a life-threatening surgery.  The procedure was a success and young Susan recovered yet the Lemays barred Dylan from seeing his daughter. Harley gives up Daisy for Adoption , Mrs. Lemay informs Dylan that Daisy is sick Guiding Light-August 19, 1989 (Dylan and Daisy montage)



Brittany Snow2. Brittany Snow (December 1998 to March 2001; May  2001) In 1998 Connie Lemay died of cancer and a distraught Susan ran away from home in order to find Harley.  Susan begged Harley and her then-husband Phillip Spaulding to not return her to her father.  When Jim Lemay arrived to collect his daughter Harley convinced him to let Susan stay in Springfield for the holidays.   Susan plotted to get Harley’s full attention and faked an illness in January 1999 in order to prolong her stay in Springfield.  Susan’s real plan was to bring Harley and her father Jim together, however her matchmaking plans failed.  Phillip urged his wife to let Susan and Jim live their own lives.  When Harley became pregnant a hurt Susan left town.  However Susan later reached out to Harley and mother and daughter continued to keep in contact without Phillip and Jim’s knowledge.   In February 1999, Susan called Harley from the bus station after being accused of shoplifting.  When Phillip and Jim arrived they argued about Harley’s intervention in Susan’s life.  Because Harley and Susan refused to part Phillip suggested Jim love to Springfield and even offered him a position at Spaulding Enterprises.  Not long after, the Nursery Rhyme Stalker, Holly Reade, kidnapped Susan along with other Springfield children.   Susan and the children escaped but were caught again by Holly.  They would eventually be rescued by Susan’s grandmother Reva Lewis.  Susan tried to play on Harley’s jealousy by getting close to Phillip’s ex-wife, Beth Raines.  Phillip overheard Susan asking questions about miscarriages and he warned a pregnant Harley that Susan could be dangerous.  Jim threatened to leave town over Phillip’s accusations, but Harley and Beth persuaded Phillip to convince Jim to stay in Springfield.  In the spring on 1999 Susan befriended a boy named Max Nickerson.  Susan and Max sneaked into Buzz’s new restaurant to make dinner. Max dropped a cigarette on the floor, setting the diner ablaze. Though both were rescued the restaurant was destroyed.  When Susan learned that Jim and Beth were going on a business trip to the Bahamas, Susan hoped that lacing Beth’s drink would cause Beth to miss her flight. However Susan drank it herself and in daze jumped into the lake.  A Jim and Harley planned to send Susan to a camp for trouble teens, Susan and Max attempted to run away together.  Susan and Max reconciled their friendship when they both wound up in the camp for troubled teens. Later, Jim and Susan talked their problems through, and Jim took her home.   Susan apologized to Beth, but continued bfa6555da70bc1e5ac070a22ad35d0bato disapprove of Beth’s relationship with Jim. Susan traveled to San Cristobel with Beth, Jim, Phillip, and Harley for Thanksgiving with Cassie and Prince Richard Winslow.  Phillip and Beth needed to return home for business, and Jim agreed to fly them in a private jet. The jet crashed, but the three were eventually rescued.   In January 2000, Susan and Max found Beth’s prenatal vitamins, and realized that Beth was pregnant.  Soon after, it was revealed that Phillip, not Jim, was the baby’s father however Jim and Beth married despite Susan’s suspicions.  Susan began to act out, even getting involved in Sam Spencer’s pirating CDs.  Then tragedy struck for Susan once again when her father Jim Lemay died in a fire saving Lizzie gl3and James Spaulding. Susan grew more distant from Harley and became increasingly close to Beth.  Feeling out-of-place in Springfield Susan eventually went away to boarding school.  Brittany Snow was great at portraying a teenage Susan Lemay.  Susan Lemay had faced numerous heart breaks in  her young life but there was a “realness” to the character.  She was very much a teenager for she would dance and sing along to songs on the radio and her room was cluttered with Backstreet Boy posters.  And Brittany Snow was fabulous at portraying those pesky teenage emotions, like Susan’s crush on Max to her jealousy over her father’s relationship with Beth as well as her overwhelming grief at losing her father.  And though she had a tendency to be manipulative it was very “Harleyesque” for when Harley was a teenager she was a bit of a wild child herself.  Susan and Max’s House Party. Christmas 1999.  How to Live (Classic GL clips after Jim’s death). 



BonnieDennison33. Bonnie Dennison (January 2007-September 2009) : In 2007, Harley and her husband Gus Aitoro were seeking to adopt an abandoned baby they had found.   Needing a statement from Harley’s firstborn, they visited Susan’s school and learned that Susan, who now went by Daisy, was not the innocent girl that Harley remembered.  Daisy’s boyfriend Mark Gillespie, A.K.A. “G,” burglarized Harley and Gus’ house then struck Daisy’s cousin Tammy Winslow with his car before fleeing the scene.  Gus discovered Daisy passed out in the back of the car and attempted to get her to see “G” for the criminal he was.  Gus locked her in a room at Towers in the hopes of sobering her up.   While giving testimony at Harley and Gus’ adoption hearing Daisy broke down and confessed that she was in the car that hit Tammy.  The judge denied Harley and Gus custody of Sydney, and expressed concerns that Harley’s absentee parenting had adversely affected Daisy. Harley realized that her daughter needed structure.  She enrolled Daisy in public school and set her up as a candy striper at Cedars.  Daisy would rebel against the structure Harley attempted to put in place while Gus stood up for the teenager and tried to mend the mother-daughter rift.  Gus’ support and understanding resulted in Daisy developing a crush on her stepfather.  After she was nearly raped by a boy at school she called Gus and Harley, but Harley believed Bobby over Daisy, and put Daisy in jail overnight to teach her a lesson.  Harley and Daisy’s relationship reached an all-time low when Harley slapped Daisy for claiming that her mother would’ve screwed up Sydney more than she already did Daisy.  Harley told Daisy that she was sending her to boot camp.  Though Daisy tried to hide at Reva’s Harley was adamant that Daisy go to boot camp.  Gus offered to drive her there and during a rest stop Daisy confessed her love for him.  When he didn’t reciprocate her feelings Daisy drugged him and slipped into his bed.  The candles caught fire, and a panicked Daisy called the paramedics when she couldn’t revive Gus to make an escape. Gus kept Daisy’s secret and claimed that the fire was his fault claiming he had taken painkillers when he woke up.   A bitter Daisy found the mysterious Natalia in Chicago, and upon learning that Natalia still had feelings for Gus, Daisy hinted to Natalia that Harley and Gus were having marital problems.   A traffic ticket from Chicago proved that Daisy had violated her parole by leaving Springfield.  Seeing that she was out of control, her mother decided it would be best if she was sent away to juvenile detention. Once there, she befriended Ashlee Wolfe who protected her from a fight.  She also began speaking to another guy she called “vent boy” since they communicated through the vents.  Daisy refused to see or speak to Harley, but she allowed Gus to visit, though he expressed his anger that Daisy had lured Natalia to Springfield. Dylan took Harley to see Daisy, and he confessed that boot camp had been his idea. Daisy softened toward Harley, even hugging her. When Daisy arrived home from detention, she was shocked to see that Rafe was “vent boy.”  Rafe and Daisy pretended that they’d never met, so that they could carry on their relationship under the same roof. Their secret caused Rafe and Harley to butt heads until Daisy finally revealed the truth about her relationship with Rafe.  Daisy moved in with Dylan yet their parents still forbade them from seeing each other. They snuck around behind their parents’ backs but were found out when Rafe went into insulin shock during their secret date at the Spaulding lake house.  Daisy tried to strike an allegiance with Natalia, in which Daisy would help Natalia win Gus in exchange for time with Rafe.  Weeks later, Daisy and Rafe declared their love for each other, and made love at the Spaulding lake house. More time passed, and Daisy Harley and Daisyseemingly pulled herself together. However, around the time she won vice president of the student council, she also discovered that she was pregnant.   Daisy had an abortion which angered Rafe since it went against his Catholic beliefs though Dylan and Harley supported her though this time. Things drew to a head when an angry-at-the-world Rafe got drunk, and disrupted Thanksgiving at Harley’s house. Daisy went to Rafe, and confided in him that she’d felt empty inside ever since the abortion.  Daisy turned on divorcee Harley after catching her kissing Marina’s fiancé, Cyrus Foley. Disgusted by her mother’s actions, Daisy moved out of the house, and suggested to Rafe that they find a place of their own.  Daisy told Harley she needed money for school but was upset when Harley didn’t have any money to spare.  After Gus’s sudden death in a motorcycle crash, Rafe nixed plans to move in with Daisy to be there for Natalia. In his grief, Rafe turned cold to Daisy and on graduation day, Rafe shot Jeffrey, and went on the run.  Not long after, G returned to town, despite still being wanted in connection with Tammy’s murder.  Daisy hid G from the police, and when Cyrus discovered them, he shockingly revealed that G was his younger brother, Grady Foley.  When Daisy learned that Grady was the mysterious man who’d been flirting with Ashlee, Daisy spitefully called the police on him. Though confused about her feelings for Grady she Unable to send him to prison, Daisy lied on the stand, testifying that Tammy’s death had been an accident.  In 2009, Daisy encouraged Bill not to give up when Lizzie suspected that he was her kidnapper. When Coop died in a terrible car accident, a distraught Buzz sought revenge on Alan. Buzz urged Grady to testify that Alan had hired Grady to kill Jonathan. Grady reluctantly agreed to do it when he saw how important it was to Daisy, but he never showed up at the hearing.  Daisy took a gun and went to confront Alan, convinced he had something to do with Grady’s disappearance.  Daisy fired at Alan, but missed. Buzz arrived, and convinced her to let it go.  Towards the end of the show Daisy grew more mature.  She began dating James Spaulding (the young boy her father Jim died saving), and helped her family by babysitting for Marina and Reva.  Daisy applied to Berkley and was eventually accepted.  Her and Ashlee went to California together with James and Daisy exchanging “I love yous”.  The most interesting aspect of Bonnie Dennison’s character on Guiding Light was that the character of Susan Lemay was completely erased in favor of this new entity named Daisy.  As a young girl Susan had sought out her birth mother and they had a rather amicable relationship.  Daisy was a bitter teenager who dated lowlife Grady and even lied for him to spare him prison time for killing her cousin.  For a lot of viewers the Daisy character was very polarizing.  I felt Dennison did a good job of playing a teenager, but I disliked Daisy for a multitude of reasons.  But that tends to happen when writers ignore the character history in order to play the conflict.  But the biggest problem with the Daisy character is that towards the end of the show the writing began to focus on the teen scene.  As a legendary soap came to a close I wanted to see the legendary characters get their final hurrah, I didn’t want to see Daisy sucking face with that greasy Grady character.  But I digress. Bonnie Dennison’s Daisy, A very polarizing character.  Though I would have rather seen a little less Daisy and a lot more Susan I think the best part of Daisy was her friendship with Ashlee (even if it was more one-sided).  But that’s just me.  Some Daisy clips: Taking Back (Dylan tells Daisy that Harley wanted her baby back), When she was Good , Choices (The Daisy abortion storyline), March 2009-A Daring Confrontation  (Daisy VS Alan…please!)


Soap Operas and Romance Novels: The Feminist Debate


Recently on Twitter I saw two things that really made me stop and take a second look.  The first was a comment that said that “Soap opera is the most feminist of genres, by nature of ongoing narrative” and the second being “Feminism and the writing of romantic novels are a contradiction in terms. ” Why did these statements make me take pause?  Simply said, I am a fan of both.

I have watched soap operas since I was a little girl who was too young to recognize the true complexities that were taking place on my television screen.  One of my first ever “ships” was between Alan-Michael Spaulding and Lucy Cooper.  I simply loved everything about them.  The contrast between their social classes, how Alan-Michael fought his feelings for Lucy, and how hard they had to strive to get their happily ever after.  I simply loved them.  The same can be said for my love of romance novels.  I have always loved to read, and one day I picked up my mom’s Sandra Brown novel and from then on I have been a big fan of the genre.  So yes, these broad sweeping statements made me take pause.

Feminism: (n) the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes 

Early romance novels were classified as “bodice rippers”.  The hero was typically older rogue who is assertive of his dominance over the younger, often virginal, heroine.  A woman’s wants and needs were secondary to the hero’s.  Indeed, romance novels in the early 70’s were very patriarchal in nature, even as the feminist movement was simultaneously taking place in America.  Modern romance novels feature stronger heroines who are successful in their careers, and the heroes are men that see them as equals.  Why the shift?  Because the women writing romance novels today grew up during and after the feminist era.  They take feminist ideas that were seen as revolutionary as a given.   The heroines are no longer pushed into making changes in their life but take the proverbial bull by the horns and choose their own destiny.  In other words, they can maintain their personal relationships without sacrificing their careers.

Romance novels are a billion dollar industry.  Yes you read that right, a BILLION dollar industry, with the majority of the writers being women.  In my opinion that is impressive in that women have carved out an industry that is highly lucrative, though this “for women written by women” mentality has also led to the stigma attached with reading romance novels.   Like all things romance novels can be as feminist or not depending on the writer.  But in my opinion romance novels give readers a chance to read about and examine their own desires.

Soap Operas emerged from detergent companies sponsoring radio shows aimed at the housewife.  But while the soap opera may be a female genre, it has a strong patriarchal ideology that remains to this day.    The women can be smart, sexy, and successful but that the end of the day the men will more than likely triumph.  A powerful female character will often time become more sensitive and thus lose her edge, or will be destined for a life of loneliness.  That while female characters will often time use their sexuality in order to influence men, that realization is never full achieved.    In fact, most female characters in soaps are likely to fall into these trends.

dn6504qp9lad5x_oTake for instance, Alexandra Spaulding from Guiding Light.  She was a cutthroat businesswoman who was out to prove that she was just as good as her brother Alan at running Spaulding Enterprises.  She was however, always unlucky in love.  When she was desperate to retain power at Spaulding she resorted to drugging her brother to drive him crazy.  She got into the illegal trading of the drug Antimonius and of course, her brother Alan tried to save her.

70518ae37663b3551235bd809a0265cbLucinda Walsh on As the World Turns was another savvy businesswoman but none of her marriages lasted very long and towards the end of the show’s run the writers even had her marry a gay man.  Stephanie Forrester on the Bold and the Beautiful manipulated Eric Forrester into marrying her, and it was her driving force that helped make Forrester Creations a success.  She was rewarded by her husband Eric having countless affairs with younger women, divorcing her repeatedly, and ultimately ending her reign as matriarch by suffering from lung cancer.  Victoria Newman on the Young and the Restless is a middle-aged billionaire yet everyone knows Victor is the one in charge, and that Victoria kowtows to “daddy”.  She left Newman Enterprises to write and illustrate children’s books, which didn’t pan out.  This is the same woman who constantly put Newman over her so-called “miracle baby” Reed, as if motherhood and career was too much to balance.  However, the very fact she still refers to Victor as “daddy” doesn’t exactly scream feminist.


So what was the point of this article?  Well I will tell you.  1. Soap Operas are FEMININE by nature of the ongoing narrative but in my opinion they are not exactly FEMINIST in nature.  The males on soap operas will always be the ones that come out on top while women on soaps will always have to balance family and careers, with one side always losing.  Some may be strong successful businesswomen but there is almost always a man to either be their downfall or their savior.  And 2.  Feminism does exist in modern-day romance novels.  Many romance novels today contain feminist ideas while also retaining traditional notions of love and family and these relationships are based on equality.