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Flashback: Clone Reva

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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Guiding Light: Mother’s Day 2006

The saga of Marah and Tony will continue with the next installment on Wednesday but beings it is Mother’s Day I think a look back to Guiding Light’s 2006 Mother’s Day episode is in store.

There were a few of things I didn’t like on Guiding Light at the time, and fewer things that I actually did.  But in my opinion, this episode was a light in the dark times on the show.  The return of the mothers that were gone, but never truly forgotten.

Nadine Cooper.  Quirky and flighty, she was never one of my favorite characters…until she was gone.  Then I saw just how big of a role she played in keeping the Cooper family grounded.  Sounds strange right?  The flighty and selfish mother keeping her kids grounded.  But she did, she kept them from going off the rails because she was quirky enough for the both of them.  Though she loved Buzz she knew his heart was not hers, but still remained his steadfast supporter and friend.  She was fiercely protective and loving towards her children.  And most of all she infused the Cooper family with humor and an unquenchable spirit.  Her death at the hands of Brent Lawrence/Marion Crane remains one of the most shocking in Guiding Light history…well even more so because the show had her being a psychic at the time (I really hate that soap trope).

Jenna Bradshaw.  Personally Jenna was always one of my favorite characters.  I simply loved watching Fiona Hutchinson bring Jenna to life.  Jenna arrived in Springfield a jewel thief but slowly over time became to be a beloved character on the show.  Perhaps it was the first time we saw that Jenna had a heart, when she comforted Michelle during a blackout.  Or maybe it was her romance with Buzz, which was one of my personal highlights of the 90s.  Whatever it was, losing Jenna marked Buzz forever.  In fact, none of his relationships post-Jenna really blossomed into more than a blip on the radar.  Even the show leaving him with a happy ending I always got the sense that his heart will forever belong to Jenna Bradshaw.

Sarah O’Neal Shayne.  I always saw Sarah as a woman who deserved better.  Her husband abandoned her and their three kids.  She worked as a housekeeper to support her family.  And hell, she parented Reva through her teenage years which had to be hard enough!  She forgave Hawk and remarried him and years later threw him out again after he lost all their money in poker.  She was never a character that was forefront on canvas but to her kids, especially Reva, she was a pivotal member of the Shayne/Lewis clan.  And through all of Reva’s crazy stunts throughout the years I would always find myself wondering what Sarah would have done to kick Reva’s behind into shape.

And on to our episode…

It is May 2006 and all of Springfield has gathered for a Mother’s Day picnic….

Part One

~Buzz looks at Coop and thinks about Jenna.

~We actually have a Marah mention!  Reva tells Josh that her kids competed about who would send the biggest bunch of flowers.

~Lizzie is pregnant and is trying to convince Coop to spend Mother’s Day with her and “their” unborn baby.

~Buzz’s potato salad gives everyone food poisoning.

Part Two

~Reva gets her cancer results back but hides it from Jonathan.

~Lizzie continues her charade.

~Buzz feels Jenna’s presence…and Nadine and Jenna fighting.

~Jenna appears at Buzz’s bedside but although he senses her she has a bigger reason for visiting.  Their son Coop is in trouble.  She later appears to Coop.

~Nadine visits with Harley.  Sarah visits Reva.

Reva: Momma, you’re here.

Sarah: I’m here to give you a swift kick in the britches.

Part Three

~Jenna talks to Coop about his upcoming fatherhood.

Coop: Oh, right, well, I’m scared. I’m excited. I’m not ready for this.

Jenna: Do you know if there was somebody never ready to be a mother, it was me?

~Nadine congratulates Harley on being in charge of Spaulding.

Part Four

~Sarah warns Reva not to break Josh’s heart.  Especially if it is to keep her cancer a secret.

Sarah: And you’re just as stubborn and silly as ever, but we are going to talk about the “c” word, and I’m not talking about “cellulite”.

Reva: It’s my decision, Mama, please stay out of it.

Sarah: I can’t. As much as I want you with me, I’m not ready yet. Not like this. (Love this exchange between Sarah and Reva.  If ever there was anyone who called Reva out on her BS it was Sarah.  Even if Reva rarely listened.)

~Sarah appears to Cassie and apologizes for not being in her life.

Part Five

~Nadine’s false joy over Harley’s status as CEO reveal her true purpose, to remind Harley to be herself and not like Alan.

Nadine: There are no two ways about that. I know I was selfish, but at least when you do bad stuff, you do it for the right reason.

Harley: What bad stuff? What are you talking about?

Nadine: You know, that stuff with Dinah and that ugly business with Ross. Oh, Ross, he was such a lovely man. But you know, there will be a lot of fallout from this business, and it could affect your bottom line.

Harley: I turned into Alan Spaulding, with blonde hair and boobs.

~Coop tells Jenna how much he misses her

Part Six

~Nadine and Jenna observe Olivia’s interactions with Buzz and Frank.  Nadine thinks that Olivia is better with Buzz.  That Frank needs another Elani.  Jenna disagrees.

~Coops puts off proposing to Lizzie

~Sarah urges Cassie to learn to let go of Jeffery and Tammy.  Cassie asks about her father.

Part Seven

~Sarah witnesses Reva and Cassie being close.

~Nadine says goodbye to Frankie (her pet name not mine) and Harley

~Jenna bids Coop farewell and the three mothers return from whence they came..

 

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)

 

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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

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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.

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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.

Family Trees of Springfield

My new Best Friend is the Internet Archive Way Back Machine  which is intended to build an internet library.  It’s purpose is basically to prevent areas of the internet from disappearing into the past.  So I have been using it to go back and view some of the great soap websites from before I was a “web-savy” soap watcher like I am now (insert joke now).

Starting with some “vintage” soap goodies that used to be available from CBS: Family Trees from the major families in Springfield.  They are older so many of them aren’t updated with the latest marriages/remarriages/children/divorces that have happened in the past 20 years, besides the last one of course.  But for the sake of history I thought it would be interesting to show them off.

Starting with the Bauer’s as the “First Family”

Bauer:

bauer

Lewis:

lewis

Chamberlain:

chamberlainCooper:

cooperThorpe:

thorpeGrant:

grant

Reardon:

reardon

 

Spaulding:

spauldingAnd I found this one of TV Megasite but I “improved it”.

Santos:

Santos Family Tree

The Dreaded Soap Recast

After the recent cast shakeups over at Y&R it got me thinking about the worst fear of every soap fan: The dreaded recast.  For fans of soap operas there is nothing worse than having your favorite character recasted.  The actor or actress that had played a character you had grown accustomed to is suddenly gone, and in their place is an altogether new entity.  Even if the role is recast with a well-known actor that doesn’t necessarily mean it will sit well with fans, fans who already feel like they have been sucker-punched.

People are by nature creatures of habit, especially soap fans.  And after investing into a character it is hard for fans to accept the changes in a character.  Not only because the face of the character has changed, but because the writers usually tend to write this altered role in “a new direction”.  Usually when fans are just fine with the direction the character was going.

2003JOSHREVAKIDSHowever, sometimes recasts can be a positive change.  For example,  Marah Lewis on Guiding Light.  I loved the young Marahs but my feelings towards teenage Marah (portrayed by Laura Bell Bundy) were lukewarm at best.  Even with Tony I almost felt like she deserved to be alone after playing Tony and Sam against each other.  But when the role was taken over by Lindsey McKeon I began to love the character again, and I clearly fell big time for Marony.  Lindsey infused a level of maturity into the role of Marah and she had great chemistry with her on-screen family, as well as with Tony Santos.

download (1)Carl T. Evans was popular with fans in the role of a young adult Alan-Michael Spaulding.  And I agree, watching his scenes with a teenage Dinah and Harley it is clear to see why fans liked him in the role.  But recasting Rick Hearst as the Spaulding outcast proved a huge success.  For many Guiding Light fans he is considered the true Alan-Michael Spaulding (count me in on that one).  Rick Hearst managed to convey so much passion and emotion into Alan-Michael.  With a bad boy undercurrent to the character it was hard not to like him. There were two other actors that played Alan-Michael but they all fell flat for most viewers which again shows just how recasts can be a hit or a big ole’ miss.

AlexandraBeverlee McKinsey was fantastic in the role of Alexandra Spaulding.  Alexandra loved her family but when crossed she was tough as nails, and watching her take down her enemies with such skill made Alexandra Spaulding a fan favorite.  In 1993 Marj Dusay took over the role.  While I never saw Dusay’s version of Alexandra as “tough as nails” like her predecessor but she was no weakling.  I still saw Alexandra as a powerful woman, just without the innate ability for reducing enemies to stone with a single glare.

Another successful Guiding Light recast was Liz Keifer taking over the role of soap vixen Blake Thorpe.   Keifer had big shoes to fill since fans seemed to enjoy Sherry Stringfield’s version of Blake.  But step up to the plate she did, and made the role her own.  She studied her predecessors mannerisms and included them in her performance.  Of course it was a plus that Ross and Blake had some amazing chemistry!

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Though there are also times when soap recasting just doesn’t work.  I have talked at length about the recasting of Tony Santos and how the writers destroyed the character.  Taking Tony in a “different direction” became turning him into a cold, brooding character who would stab his own cousin in the back.  It didn’t work and the writers resorted to sending the character off a cliff.

A lot of fans loved Krista Tesreau in the role of Mindy Lewis.  There were also those fans who enjoyed Kimberly Simms as Mindy Sue.  But when Simms left in the middle of the Nick/Mindy coupling the studio was forced to recast the role.  Mindy/Nick proved popular, especially with Nick’s mother Alexandra’s displeasure at the couple acting as a foil.  The first recast, Ann Hamilton, took over the role in 1993 and lasted three months.  Most fans tend to call her version of Mindy as “lifeless” (and that is being kind).  The next actress was Barbara Crampton who also failed to capture the interest of fans, thought she lasted two years in the role.

West; LewisI was a big fan of Aubrey Dollar’s version of Marina Cooper.  She had so much personality and presence, a wise-talking spitfire who wasn’t afraid of taking chances.  She fit right in there with the Coopers, a little trouble maker but with a heart of gold.  In 2004 the character was recast with Mandy Bruno in the role and all of that personality was simply eradicated.  They tried several relationships with Marina but she never did have much chemistry with anyone (besides Cyrus and that was short-lived).  She was paired the longest with A.C. Mallet and that couple was where chemistry went to die.

Dennis Parlato rodger ThorpeAnd then soap recasts can be downright UGLY.  Like when Guiding Light attempted to recast the one and only Roger Thorpe. Michael Zaslow WAS Roger Thorpe and for fans no recast would do.  Michael Zaslow was special.  He had such a magnetism about him that you couldn’t look away when Roger was on-screen.  Even with Roger was doing dastardly deeds Michael Zaslow was able to infuse just enough sympathy into the character that you actually began rooting for him.  In 1997 Michael Zaslow was experiencing difficulty speaking his lines and was abruptly fired from Guiding Light (come to find out he was in the beginning stages of ALS).  But the brilliant minds behind the show decided that  instead of killing off Roger or perhaps sending him out of Springfield they would recast the role.  Dennis Parlato was brought in as the new face of Roger Thorpe.  Sure enough, the recast was a complete failure.  For Guiding Light fans there was one Roger Thorpe and he was unceremoniously fired while facing a debilitating disease.  The backlash was so severe that Roger Thorpe had to be written out of the show less than a year after Dennis Parlato took over the role.  The recasting of Roger Thorpe left fans feeling insulted, and angry doesn’t begin to describe the hate people still express over this recast blunder.

These are just some of the numerous Guiding Light recasts that left a memorable impression.  The Good, the Bad, and the UGLY.  What was your favorite/worst Guiding Light recast?

The Name Game

First off I have to start off saying that it was quite the experience sifting through various baby name databases looking for the perfect one for Marah and Tony’s little bundle of joy.  Oh who am I kidding…It was pure torture!  Nothing seemed to “fit” what Marah or Tony would name their child and Jonathan had already “stole” the name Sarah.  Though I think they chose well the whole process made me pause and think about the concept of the “Soap Opera Name”.

The actual term “soap opera name” usually has a negative connotation to it.  Afterall, soap operas are not often taken seriously among mainstream media, this is  despite their longevity or the fact that their filming style is more intense than that of television or film.  But I digress.  Sure some soap opera names border on the outlandish, but they can also be both beautiful and unique.

Who knew that Sierra would start a trend?

Who knew that Sierra would start a trend?

But more importantly, they can impact social trends.  When the character Kayla Brady was introduced on Days of our Lives in the early 80’s the name Kayla suddenly began to leap onto the top baby name lists and stayed there for more than a decade.  Soap Operas were also one the first genres to introduce locations as first names.  Characters such as India von Halkein on Guiding Light  and Sierra Esteban on As the World Turns were trend setting for their names alone!

And for a little personal touch, a coworker of mine shared that she was named after Alexis Colby (portrayed by the always fabulous Joan Collins) from Dynasty.

Alexis is quite the glamourous diva....

Alexis is quite the glamorous diva….

Soap Opera names can be a lot of things:  Different, unique, trend-setting, and beautiful.  So for fun let’s look at some of the more interesting ones…

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Though a real name Reva still remains as unique as the character

Though a real name Reva still remains as unique as the character

Since Guiding Light will forever be my favorite soap opera I will begin there.  And I have to start with my girl Reva Shayne.  Though her name was “different” it is an actual name that means “star”.  But really, how many Revas do you encounter in real life?  Reva said she combined her mother’s name Sarah and Josh’s mother’s name Martha together to get the name Marah for her daughter.  It’s a sweet story, though like Reva the name does exist.  And it’s meaning…”bitter”.  I think I like Reva’s story behind the name better.

Through its many years Guiding Light had numerous characters with unique names.  Some examples include: Harley Davidson Cooper who was named after her father’s favorite motorcycle (hate to see if her father had driven a Buick), Melissande “Mel” Boudreau, Roxy Shayne, Fletcher Reade, Meta Bauer, Gillian Grant, Marina Cooper, Hawk Shayne, and can’t forget LUJACK and Maeve!

Some of the early pre-television names were quite interesting to say the least.  My personal favorite being the name Torchy.

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Now for the others….

As the World Turns didn’t have many unusual character names.  They did however have a Sierra before the name Sierra became commonplace.  Okay I admit Holden and Lucinda just sound like pretentious soap opera names.  Though some of the older character names like Hester and Gunnar could be considered strange by today’s standards.  Hester?  Channeling some Scarlet Letter action?

Wallingford is quite a name.  Hope they called him Wally.

Wallingford is quite a name. Hope they called him Wally.

I never watched Another World but an internet search turned up the names Lehoma, Wallingford, and Gonzo for the winners.  Now I am all for the outlandish and the unique but unless you are a Muppets character the name Gonzo should not be used. Ever.  Though I at least get some soap opera fan points for knowing the actor that played Wallingford portrayed Rose’s friend Jonathan Newman on the Golden Girls right?

Muffy doesn't sound snooty at all...

Muffy doesn’t sound snooty at all…

In addition to Reva, Kim Zimmer also got to play another character with an “interesting” name over on the soap opera One Life to Live.  Echo DiSavoy.  Yes ECHO!   Also included on this list would be Harrison Brooks, Muffy, Suede Pruitt, Euphemia Ralston, and Mortimer of names considered “different”.

Like the sand through the hourglass….Days of our Lives has had characters with the names Calliope which reminds me of Cantilope and the names Greta, Rolf, and Leopold make me think of a production of the Sound of Music.  They also have several good dog names: Rex, Bo, and Belle.

The soap opera All My Children had numerous names that could be considered odd to non-soap fans.   Greenlee, Woodruff, Millicent, Myrtle, Brot, Alf, Seabone (?) and Ceara are not exactly common names.  And not exactly sure they should be… But how about Verla Grubbs played by the always amazing Carol Burnett?

Here's Verla!!!!

Here’s Verla!!!!

Once again I never watched the soap opera Santa Barbara but Flame and Minx would I think top anyone’s list, unless you plan on your children pursuing a career as a stripper maybe.

The Soap Passions in itself was unusual so of course the show would be a plethora of wacky names to choose from.  Fancy, Siren, Tabitha, Esmerelda, and Orville are my top contenders. Though Cracked Connie the psychotic doll isn’t winning any “Top baby name” awards any time soon.

Sure they weren't conning him with the name Algernon?

Sure they weren’t conning him with the name Algernon?

General Hospital:  Damien Spinelli is top contendor for worst name on this soap opera. The name Damien always conjours up bad images, probably due to Damien in the Omen.  Some others include: Algernon the con artist,  Constanza (though called Connie), Maxie, Tonia, Siobhan, and Duke.  And though the character’s real name is Lucas Lorenzo he is known to other characters and fans as “Lucky”.

Poor Zende hasn't been seen since 2005

Poor Zende hasn’t been seen since 2005

And now good ole The Bold & the Beautful.  Proving that things really are strange in Tinsel Town, the show has given us names such as Ridge, Mossimo, Storm, Thorne, Macy, and ZENDE!! But even Zende doesn’t compare to the next one…Whipple “Whip” Jones.  Whipple?  Kind of hard to imagine a kid with that name NOT getting made fun of on the playground. With a name like that his parents are practically wishing it on him!Zendre

Cordelia..my darling little Abbott

Cordelia..my darling little Abbott

On The Young and the Restless there hasn’t been as many wild names as on the other soap operas though it does have a few.  The character’s name may have officially been William but viewers know him as Dr. Snapper Foster.  Yes Snapper like the lawnmower.  And the always fabulous diva Victoria Rowell portrayed rags to riches Drucilla Barber to perfection.  And going back to the 80’s there was a character named Boobsie Caswell.   Brock, Brooks, Fenmore, and Reed are uncommon names and not likely to be found outside of soap land.   More recently one of my favorite couples Billy and Chloe had a daughter named Cordelia “Delia” Abbott, though she was killed off this year.  Though the name grew on me after learning that it means “heart”.

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So there you have it, some of the more unique names I have uncovered (and at turns laughed at).  Some of these should probably remain locked away in the soap opera vault forever.  But you never know, perhaps like Kayla Brady on Days of Our Lives the name Zende will finally catch on.