Tag Archive | Annie Dutton

Flashback: Clone Reva


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.



Top Ten Character Assassinations on Guiding Light

The term Character Assassination comes into play when a soap character begins to act in ways that are inconsistent to that character’s personality and history.  While soap characters can change over time, these changes are usually prompted by storyline and are gradual, thus, seeming more natural.  However, sometimes writers will instead change the characters to fit the story and therefore viewers are left judging characters by their onscreen actions instead of their history.

With no reason shown for the sudden change in a character’s personality or actions viewers are left grasping at straws and changing their views based on what they see instead of what they knew about the character.

Over the course of Guiding Light’s long history there were several characters that were subjected to this type of character destruction, and probably many more than you could even make a list for.  But for the sake of condensing I compiled this list along with other Guiding Light fans.


Recast Tony, Stephen Martines.

Recast Tony, Stephen Martines lacked the Tony charm.

10.  Tony Santos.  This one is of course one of my pet peeves, that I have spoken about in length.  The Tony Santos that viewers were introduced to in the early years was very complex and multi-layered.  He was torn between wanting to be a better man and the life he had grown up in.  He was impulsive, reckless, and could be cocky at times but he had a good heart.  The two constants in his life were his love of Marah Lewis and his loyalty to his cousin Danny.  Yes the role was recast and viewers were forced to accept another actor as Tony but that change wouldn’t have been so difficult if Tony wouldn’t have started acting completely out of character.  Suddenly his love of Marah was completely forgotten.  Instead of his undying loyalty to Danny he was jealous and wanted everything Danny had, including Michelle.  And though he and Danny had left the mob life years before Tony was drawn back in, he actually seemed to welcome it.  Tony’s character lost all the positive aspects of his character until he became a dark rather unappealing character.

Michael Dempsey saw the decline of Alam-Michael

Michael Dempsey saw the decline of Alan-Michael

9.  Alan-Michael Spaulding.  While Alan and Phillip embraced their Spaulding instincts a key ingredient of Alan-Michael’s character was his desire to be different from his father and brother.  He was Alan Spaulding’s biological son but he always felt like Alan favored Phillip over him which made his desperate for his approval.  Despite his need for Alan’s approval he knew his father didn’t deserve his love, not when Alan pitted Alan-Michael and Phillip against each other, both in the family and in business.  That was the background of his character: the constant need to prove himself worthy of his father’s love, his need to prove himself worthy of Spaulding, and his desire to not be like Alan and Phillip.  Though Alan-Michael was never really a “good guy” his return in 2005 marked a huge deviation from his usual characterization.  He had no problems using his ex-wife Harley and old flame Dinah to gain control of Spaulding, he faked being paralyzed to try to win the heart of Ava from Coop, and he exposed pictures of Olivia and Jeffery kissing on the day Olivia was set to marry Buzz Cooper (his ex-father in law).  When all was said and done Alan-Michael Spaulding, the Spaulding who had always tried to be different from his father and brother, was boasting about how his family owned the whole town.  Gloating that his family owned the whole town it was a vast change from the humble man who worked at the Meals and Wheels Diner after marrying Harley.   The man who could so callously screw over his friends was a far cry from the man who helped Lucy get a job at Spaulding even though she initially struggled as an administrative assistant.  No, Alan-Michael was never a “good guy” but he was never a bad guy either.  Alan-Michael was a characters with all kinds of shades of grey.  He was manipulative, calculating, and shrewd.  But he was also protective, loyal, and loving.  He was Spaulding but he had enough Bauer in him that the good qualities often overshadowed the bad.  But when the writers decided to take Alan-Michael in a “new direction” the aspects that made him such a dynamic character were missing. 

Born crazy? Or did Jeva make her that way?

Born crazy? Or did Jeva make her that way?

8. Annie Dutton. Long before Annie Dutton became one of Guiding Light’s favorite villainess she was simply a nurse with a past.  As she treated Josh Lewis for his broken leg they quickly fell for each other.  But Annie had secrets, she had been married to Rick Bauer in Chicago but the marriage fell apart due to her alcoholism.  Annie hid the secret from Josh and the two became engaged, but not long after, Annie told Josh her secrets. After initial resentment, Josh forgave Annie and the two married.  In 1995, Reva Shayne was discovered alive meaning Josh and Reva were still legally married.  Josh was determined to stay with Annie and he divorced Reva and  married Annie legally.  In time, Josh and Reva grew closer again, but Shayne, and especially Marah, loved Annie and wanted her as their mommy.  Annie knew that Josh was still in love with Reva. This infuriated Annie, who had started drinking again and had become addicted to painkillers. She was caught stealing drugs from the hospital and forging Rick’s name on prescriptions, and Lillian Raines fired her. Josh and Rick intervened with the help of drug consultant Rachel Sullivan, and Annie went through a radical withdrawal treatment in the Bauer cabin. To Josh’s dismay, Annie then took a job as a private physical therapist to Alan Spaulding, who soon fell in love with her.  She was desperate to keep Josh and went so far as to get artificially inseminated.  She picked a fight with Reva at the top of the stairs at the Spaulding mansion and made it look like Reva pushed her down the stairs and thus caused her to miscarry.  With Josh out of the picture Annie moved on with Alan, the two planned to marry, but Reva learned Annie was married to another man.  With the return of Reva Shayne it was inevitable that Josh and Reva would find their way back to each other.  However, Josh reassuring Annie that he loved her while making eyes at Reva only drove Annie closer to the edge until Annie snapped.  Annie’s story would continue, complete with plastic surgery to hide her identity, and Annie would go into Guiding Light history best remembered as a villain.  A very different end to a character that started off relatively nice. 

Quirky not Crazy

Quirky not Crazy

7. Nola Reardon.  This quirky character was always a fan favorite and one half of the Quint and Nola (Quola) super couple.  But in 1995 Nola returned to town with son Anthony and no Quinton.  His absence was explained by news of an affair and Nola was understandably heartbroken.  But she took over the running of the boarding house and became friends with Frank Cooper.  One day he kissed her due to excitement and Nola took it to heart, literally.  Nola began fantasizing about Buzz and leaving him cookies and flowers.  Breaking into the fire house where he lived to steal a picture…which she had framed and then brought back!  Buzz eventually figured out it was Nola stalking him and forgave her, then he fell down some steps and got amnesia. Nola even held over Jenna’s head that the baby Jenna is carrying wasn’t really Buzz’s.  Buzz and Jenna forgave Nola she LisaBrownleft down embarrassed and ashamed.   And in true character assassination form we were never shown why Nola turned to stalker mode.  Quint himself had followed in Nola’s wake to win back the heart of his beloved.  Nola Reardon was quirky (and quite flakey) but she wasn’t stalkerish.  Nola was feisty and determined.  This was a woman who when forgotten on her wedding day RAN down the road and hitched a ride on a fire truck.  Who survived countless adventures as Quinton’s sidekick.  But a case of heartbreak has her descending into stalker behavior?  Sorry, not buying it.  This story was so bad that Nola’s portrayer Lisa Brown even refused to come back until the final episodes where we were led to believe that Nola and Quint had in fact reunited.

Wish we had amnesia to erase Michelle's mind warp

Wish we had amnesia to erase Michelle’s mind warp

6. Michelle Bauer Santos.  Michelle had overcome blindness and survived several murder attempts by her mother-in-law but it would be an explosion in 2004 that would have fans cringing in horror at what the writers had in store for this legacy character.  Completely wiped of her memory she turned to the one person she did remember, the person who rescued her, Tony.  Michelle felt pressured by her family members to regain her memories and lashed out at everyone, especially her husband Danny.  When Tony revealed that Danny was a mobster Michelle was intrigued.  In fact, new amnesia Michelle was impulsive and carefree, and Michelle looked at Danny’s attempts at helping her as him controlling her which led to the end of Manny.  While fans could have handled some of the changes in Michelle, the character took a big hit when she jumped into a relationship with Danny’s cousin Tony.  Especially when her memories began returning and she knew the relationship Danny and her had could never compare to what she was trying to force with Tony.  Tony was just a comfortable friend who didn’t push her to remember her old life.  Tony himself got the lines blurred between security and love which is why this storyline was really tragic.  It saw the character assassination of two characters and would ultimately lead to Tony’s death.   Michelle and Danny had an ever rockier road to reconciliation they did find their way back to each other and made their way out of Springfield in 2005.   Fans had just spend almost a year watching Michelle act like a completely different woman only for the writers to effectively shrug their shoulders and leave her this forgotten soul of a character.  What was truly awful about this story was once Michelle and Danny reunited it was like Michelle had never had amnesia in the first place!  Her personality transformation was erased and she just went back to her old self and both Danny, Michelle, and their kids were sent to live happily ever after offscreen.  Two character assassinations, one death, and this amnesia storyline was one epic failure that lasted way past its expiration date.

Business woman to drug dealer?

Business mogul to drug dealer?

5. Alexandra Spaulding.  When I asked my Twitter followers their personal opinions on Guiding Light character Assassinations I got quite a few responses for Alexandra Spaulding.  I had to think about it for a while because I have always considered Alexandra as being rather, well,…devious.  Especially when it pertained to her relationship with her brother Alan.  But in 2004 Alan let investigators see the files for Spaulding Pharmaceuticals, especially regarding the drug Antmonious, which was being sold on the black market as Delirium.  When stock holders began dumping their stock in Spaulding Alexandra followed suit and gave a man Brad Green full reign over Antmonious.  Things would come to a head when it was discovered that Alexandra was working with Brad to ship the drug Antmonious to the mob, who would then refine it into Delirium and sell it on the streets.  Alan then pleaded with Gus to spare her from being arrested (which he agreed to).  But when Frank Cooper began investigating Alexandra tried to have him framed.  Though Alexandra was in jail briefly the very idea that Alexandra Spaulding would become a drug dealer was ludicrous and completely out of character.  A cornerstone to Alexandra’s character was proving to that she could run Spaulding just as good as Alan could.  Brandon Spaulding used to pit Alexandra and Alan against each other and it molded Alexandra into the tough woman she was, in business and her personal life.   Even if we were to believe that ambition made her blind to the illegal manufacturing practices going on at Spaulding many viewers found it hard to comprehend how Alexandra would ever be that, for lack of a better word, stupid.

Family man to fraud

Family man to fraud

4. Matt Reardon. In 2007 Matt sought out investors for a new business venture.  When large sums of money began being transferred out of Vanessa’s accounts Mallet began to investigate, which made Matt nervous.  Matt’s nervousness wasn’t lost on Dinah and when she inquired about it, he confessed that he dipped into her funds to woo investors and never replaced the money or told Vanessa. Weeks later, Matt was forced to admit the truth to Vanessa when his main investor began demanding his money. Sadly, the investor was nothing more than a loan shark and Vanessa berated Matt for being stupid enough to do business with a criminal, When Vanessa asked why he couldn’t come to her, Matt confessed that throughout their marriage he always felt second-best. Matt also had another secret—he not only dipped into Vanessa’s money; he used Maureen’s trust fund as collateral.  When the loan shark, Griggs, shot Dinah and put her in a coma Vanessa said their marriage was over.  Matt had just had an argument with Vanessa who warned him to stay away from Dinah since she believed that he was a bad influence on her daughter. Though Matt tried to steer Dinah away from him, she confided that he was the only one she could confide it. When she offered to leave to keep him from getting in trouble with Vanessa, Matt realized that he needed her too and suddenly kissed her. He quickly pulled away and apologized but Dinah insisted that it was no big deal.  Later, after Matt made a scene after seeing Vanessa and Billy together Dinah pulled Matt in for a kiss.  As they kissed passionately Mallet saw and attacked Matt, which was witnessed by Vanessa as well.  In the meantime, Vanessa and Mallet were both highly concerned with Dinah’s well being and irresponsible behavior. Angered that Mallet was treating her like a child, Dinah returned her wedding ring and she and Matt ended up making love. Later, Dinah came for Matt for company again but he was frustrated because he was supposed to spend time with Maureen but she was taking an entrance exam at her new boarding school. Feeling sorry for him, Dinah pulled Maureen out of school and brought her to Matt.  After Vanessa and Mallet had Dinah committed to a mental hospital Matt and Vanessa made it seem as if they had reconciled.  However months later, Matt confessed to Dinah, who’d since been released, that he and Vanessa were never together. It was all a lie to help Dinah get her life back together. After Dinah hugged Matt, he backed away and told her that they weren’t good for each other anymore. Dinah was always looking for trouble and he did not need that.  Early in Matt and Vanessa’s relationship Dinah (then played by Wendy Moniz) had tried to seduce Matt with no success.  Matt wasn’t that guy, hell Matt and Vanessa fell in love online again while hiding behind screen names.  Nor was he the guy to embezzle money from his wife or daughter.  And I am pretty sure after years of being married to Vanessa Chamberlain he was used to her wealth but suddenly he was threatened by it to the point of going to loan sharks.  No the character of Matt was destroyed in other to reunite Vanessa and Billy for the sake of history leaving fans of the Matt character and the Vanessa and Matt pairing bewildered.

Harley kept it in the family then abandoned hers

Harley kept it in the family then abandoned hers

3. Harley Cooper.  After Harley’s marriage to Gus ended in 2007 she was understandably hurt and lost but it would be in 2008 that the character would really take a beating.  After being trapped in a building with her niece’s boyfriend Cyrus.  Desperate to keep Harley alive and hopeful, Cyrus kissed her gently.   Shell shocked, Harley taken to Cedars. As she was released, Gus rushed in to see if she was alright and offered to take Harley home and take care of her.  However Harley saw papers sticking out of his pocket and was shocked to see they were annulment papers. Distressed, she asked if Gus knew what an annulment meant, it meant that their marriage never happened.  It wasn’t long before Harley was having feelings for Cyrus and she kissed him despite him dating her niece.  Harley promised Marina that she’d never hurt her by going after Cyrus.  Harley then went to Cyrus and admitted that she wanted to be with him. However, this time Cyrus was determined to do the right thing and stand by Marina. As Cyrus tried to fight his feelings for Harley, the pair’s closeness was not lost on Marina. Finally, Cyrus and Marina decided to move to France. However, the night they were supposed to leave, Cyrus met with Harley and confessed that she was the one he loved.  Neither Cyrus nor Harley could resist the pull they had and made love. Afterwards, they decided to keep their affair a secret. Later, Cyrus finally broke down and told Marina that he loved Harley. Marina angrily lashed out just as Frank approached with Harley. While Harley tried to tell Marina that she never meant to hurt her, Marina refused to be pacified and called Harley a whore before warning her that Cyrus would hurt her as well.  Later Josh shocked Harley with news that Cassie cheated on him and asked Harley to spy on Cassie in order to learn who she’d had her tryst with. Though Harley was reluctant to spy odownload (2)n her best friend, when she discovered that she had maxed out her credit cards paying for Gus’ funeral, she realized that she needed to take the job.  When Gus’s son Rafe shot at Jeffery O’Neill on accident.  Horrified at what he’d done, Rafe ran off to the house that Gus bought for Natalia. Daisy found him and, later, brought Harley to him. Desperate to save Gus’s son, Harley decided to flee the country with Rafe. After getting some money from Buzz, Harley shared a hug with Zach and Jude before fleeing the country.   Personally speaking I found it especially hard to watch Harley go after her niece’s boyfriend.  That was NOT Harley.  Harley had her faults but the Cooper family was very family oriented and to go behind Marina’s back was completely out of character.  Added to this was the fact that Harley was married to TWO, technically THREE, Spaulding men.  She had a son with Phillip Spaulding and one with Rick Bauer who was a doctor.  I sure she had quite the child support and alimony coming in.  Yet she was broke for the sake of plot.  And then despite having two young children she fled the country with Gus’ son in order to protect him.  The woman who had basically told Alan Spaulding point-blank he would not destroy her children like he had his own sons just upped and left them behind for a son that wasn’t even hers!  Yes, Harley Cooper’s character was decimated in 2008 for no other reason but for plot. 

Legacy character turned serial killer

Legacy character turned serial killer

2. Ben Reade.  Hard to talk about character assassination without mentioning Ben Reade.  A legacy character, Ben Reade grew up with his best friends Bill Lewis and Michelle Bauer close at his side.  Young Ben was raised by his stepfather Fletcher Reade, and for the most part he was a fairly ordinary kid.  Under Fletcher’s loving care Ben grew into a confident and loving teenager.  When Fletcher married Holly in 1995 Ben quickly accepted her and vice versa.  He had a loving and supportive family and his two best friends Bill and Michelle.  What could possibly go wrong?  In 1996 Fletcher and Holly’s daughter was born with Down’s Syndrome.  Young Ben suddenly felt he was in the way.  Though Fletcher and Holly tried to reassure him this was not the case they finally relented and allowed him to attend boarding school.  In 2001 a now adult Ben returned to Springfield a changed man.  No longer the loving teenager he ignored his friends and established himself as a Lothario at Springfield University.  He set about winning a bet about how quickly he could bed Marah Lewis and take her virginity, working with her roommate Catalina in keeping Marah and her ex Tony apart.  In 2002 after years of living beyond his means and a trust fund that had gone belly up, Ben found himself broke and began working for Eden August’s escort service behind the back for his girlfriend Marina Cooper.  Ben soon became one of the prime suspects in a series of murders involving people connected to Eden’s Escort service.  When the truth of Ben’s extracurricular activities was exposed Marina broke up with him and sent Ben into a tailspin of despair.  He became obsessed with Marina even stalking her.  Finally in July Ben kidnapped Marina and took her to the Bauer cabin.  Ben told Marina about how he went to boarding school and how he was molested by a teacher and how he felt ashamed.  When Frank burst in Ben threatened to kill her but instead he turned the needle on himself.  Rushed to the hospital Ben gave a deathbed confession.  He had murdered a total of four people.  After a last visit from his friends Bill and Michelle, ex-stepmother Holly and ex-stepsister Blake the once loving and ambitious Ben passed on into Guiding Light history a tarnished character.  As previously stated, Ben Reade was a legacy character.  And I can fondly remember watching Fletcher and Ben in their “bachelor pad”, they were such a loving father and son duo.  Growing up the son of a reporter young Ben was fascinated by seeing the world, even wanted to follow in Fletcher’s footsteps and be a reporter.  Such a drastic turn in the characterization of Ben was hard to watch, particularly when it was clear Ben Reade would not make it out of 2003. Watching this clip featuring a young Bill and Ben drives home how far the Ben Reade character was assassinated by the 2003 Weston regime.  

The early days. Ben and Fletcher Reade

The early days. Ben and Fletcher Reade

Was Holly too tarnished beyond redemption?

Was Holly too tarnished beyond redemption?

1. Holly Norris.  I have to start off saying that I have always enjoyed the Holly character.  She is neither a hero nor a vixen, she falls somewhere in the grey area in between.  Holly Norris was simply a complex character.  She was ambitious, strong, and yet slightly neurotic.   Whereas characters like Reva wore their feelings openly Holly kept her feelings closely guarded, a pool of deep still waters.  The scene from 1979 where her husband Roger Thorpe rapes Holly has become a memorable piece of Guiding Light history.  One of those iconic timepieces that even if it was before your time (like me) you know about it and have watched the amazing acting between Maureen Garrett and Michael Zaslow.  But it was the late 90s when the character of Holly really took a beating, a beating she never fully recovered from.  It all began with the sudden romance between Holly and Fletcher Reade that would lead to their marriage in 1995.  Months after they married Holly learned she was pregnant which left them both shocked, yet happy.  They also learned that their unborn child would be born with Downs Syndrome.  Though Holly thought of having an abortion she decided against it and later gave birth to daughter Meg.  Later they learned that Meg was born with a hole in heart and needed surgery.  Holly and Fletcher remained happily married until 1997 when Holly decided to let Roger back in her life.  Roger and Holly’s closeness didn’t go unnoticed by Fletcher either, who after seeing Roger give Holly a “grandmother’s” ring, asked Holly point-blank if something was going on between them.  After Fletcher caught Holly and Roger in an embrace a devastated Fletcher left town with Meg in tow.   Holly fell into a deep depression and turned to alcohol for comfort.  Holly’s brother Ken,  who’d been in an institution for decades, noticed she had a drinking problem and didn’t want to watch his sister destroy herself.  Sadly, Holly let it slip that Jeffery Morgan, not Buzz Cooper, was Rocky’s father which ultimately led to the death of Jenna Bradshaw.  Though it appeared as if Holly was appearing to get her life together, several strange occurrences were happening in Springfield.  Harley Cooper was given a gift basket that contained a poisoned apple and Vanessa Reardon found herself bit by a poisonous spider. When each instance came

Storyline Hell

Storyline Hell

with a nursery rhyme, it became clear that Springfield had a “Nursery Rhyme Stalker” who was targeting Springfield mothers….Soon it would be revealed that Holly was none other than the Nursery Rhyme Stalker.  But this was not before she had kidnapped most of the children in Springfield including: Kevin and Jason Marler (Her grandchildren),  Susan LeMay, Rocky, Marina, and Henry “Coop” Cooper, Shayne Lewis, Lizzie Spaulding, Tammy Layne and Roger Joshua Jessup and held them against their will.  Thankfully when Fletcher heard Holly was the Nursery Rhyme Stalker he returned to Springfield and he convinced the judge that it was his actions that caused Holly to go off the deep end.  FLASHFORWARD to 2004 and Holly learned of Rodger’s death from a man named Sebastian Hulce who claimed he was Rodger’s son.   Sebastian asked Holly to take a trip to Santo Domingo to celebrate Roger’s life.  They stopped in the same hotel Rodger kidnapped her years ago and even saw a waiter that resembled Rodger.  But Sebastian

then held Holly captive, he was dying and needed Holly to contract Ed for the cure.  After a long (and awful) storyline Sebastian freed his hostages, yet Holly stayed behind to bid farewell to Sebastian.   Alone, Sebastian made a convincing plea for why he and Holly should be together but Holly reluctantly resisted.

The 90s were a bit of hit and miss for Guiding Light history.  On one hand there was the addition of Buzz and Lucy Cooper (the later who would be a part of the great LAM pairing), and in the later 90s was the addition of the Santos family.  But on the other hand this was also the era that brought such stories as Ghost Reva (though I liked that one for some odd reason) and the Reva Clone fiasco was nothing compared to the character destruction that occurred with Nursery Rhyme Stalker storyline.  From that moment on the character of Holly Norris floated around in the background because many of the subsequent writers felt she was too “tarnished” to give any real storyline to.  Viewers had watched Holly’s decent into depression so her actions were logical on the surface, most viewers just hated it.  But the hate was magnified when the character was never given the chance to rebound   When Reva was being stalked in 2002 the immediate suspect was of course, Holly Norris.  Reva was convinced of her innocence but that didn’t stop the rest of Springfield.  Like Ed said, “Holly was the victim of more than a stalker.  The whole town turned against her.” 

Sebastian Hulce. Storyline Hell Vol. 2

Sebastian Hulce. Storyline Hell Vol. 2

Holly was a classic example of a character where still waters run deep.  She was constantly conflicted by her emotions regarding Rodger, torn between love and hate.  They were at their core toxic, but so very beautiful to watch.  When asked if there were any storylines she didn’t like, it isn’t any wonder Maureen Garrett answers with the “Nursery Rhyme Stalker” and falling in a Stockholm syndrome type of love with her kidnapper Sebastian Hulce.  They were both awful storylines.  One “tarnished” Holly Norris and the other was so out of character for Holly it was hard to watch.

Guiding Light’s Best Villains: Top 5

And now for the long-awaited TOP FIVE!  These are the ones that I consider to be most notable in Guiding Light’s illustrious history in terms of villainous behavior.  A couple just might surprise you….

Lucielle Wexler5. Lucille Wexler – Deranged villainess Lucille Wexler was first introduced in July 1978.  Lucille had a daughter named Amanda who was a talented classical pianist whom Lucille sheltered and treated like a little girl.  However, Amanda soon began blossoming into a woman, thanks to artist Ben McFarren.  Amanda admitted to him that she couldn’t shake the memory of being twelve years old and hearing a man beating Lucille in her bedroom. The horrible episode ended with Lucille telling Amanda firmly that she must never trust a man. Lucille continued to nurture this fear throughout her daughter’s life, to the extent that Amanda remained essentially a child, talking to dolls and avoiding intimate contact with men. With Ben’s help, Amanda threw away her dolls and became her own person. One day while Ben was getting ready for a shower, Lucille walked into the cottage and, behind Ben’s back, threw Ben’s electric razor into the shower. She also tried to poison his food with arsenic!  Meanwhile, when Brandon Spaulding fell ill and was hovering near death, Lucille went to visit him at his nursing home. Brandon admitted to Lucille that Amanda was, in fact, his son Alan’s daughter by a woman whose name Brandon whispered to Lucille. Brandon insisted that Lucille tell Amanda the truth, but Lucille adamantly refused. During the intense confrontation, Lucille slowed down the IV drip, and he became short of breath while Lucille brusquely left the scene without summoning his nurse. Moments later, Lucille heard on her car radio that the legendary millionaire Brandon Spaulding was dead.  The name that Brandon had whispered was Jane Marie Stafford.  A woman named Jennifer Richards became the household manager.  Jane Marie/Jennifer was forming such a close bond with Amanda and Lucille was becoming insanely jealous. Lucille also knew that Jennifer had caught on to her scheme to separate Ben and Amanda. A deranged Lucille began terrorizing Amanda with anonymous phone calls and hanging up whenever Amanda answered. She also began to remove items from her mansion so that she could frame Jennifer for theft.  Lucille lunging at Jennifer with a gold-plated letter opener. As the two struggled, Lucille fell on the blunt instrument. When Amanda heard the commotion and rushed in, Lucille weakly murmured that Jennifer had tried to kill her. Lucille died on the operating table.  After Lucille died on the operating table on October 20, 1980, Jennifer was arrested for her murder. The sordid truth about Amanda’s parentage was later revealed to everyone, and Jennifer was acquitted of Lucille’s murder.  I never got to see Lucille Wexler live, just on YouTube.  But with one scene I knew I was watching one twisted sister.  Turns out I was absolutely correct!   And just reading the short biography on the character is reading a list of misdeeds by a deranged woman. 

1090_1_208364. Annie Dutton – Annie Dutton wasn’t always a “villain”, in fact when she first came to Springfield in 1994 she was a caring nurse who helped heal Josh after he broke his leg in the Fifth Street fire and they quickly fell in love.  However, unknown to everyone was that she had been married to Dr. Rick Bauer but their marriage had broken down due to her alcohol problems.   A bigger problem was that they were still legally married since his lawyer had died before the papers were filed!  Annie conveniently neglected to inform Josh of this and the pair were engaged.  Josh forgave Annie and they married. However, during their wedding on the carousel that Josh had built for Annie, Alexandra Spaulding arrived and told Josh that Reva was in fact alive, so they were still legally married!  Though unnerved by Reva’s reappearance, Josh was determined to stay with Annie. Later, Josh and Reva fought for custody for their children, Marah and Shayne.  Josh and Reva grew closer again but Shayne, and especially Marah, loved Annie and wanted her as their mommy, so Reva decided to stay away and told Josh she was in love with another man. In March 1996, Reva married Buzz Cooper and Josh legally married Annie in the Cedars chapel.  Unfortunately, Annie knew that Josh was still in love with Reva. This infuriated Annie, who, by this time, started drinking again and became addicted to painkillers that she took to relieve migraines. Soon she was caught stealing drugs from the hospital and forging Rick’s name on prescriptions, and was consequently fired by Lillian Raines.  Annie was still obsessed with Josh and decided the only way to keep him was to get pregnant. When Josh, who didn’t want another baby, stopped sleeping with her, an increasingly desperate Annie slashed her diaphragm, and then was twice artificially inseminated. Meanwhile, Annie succeeded in getting Josh back into her bed. In January 1997 her second insemination took and Annie became pregnant. When Annie told Josh about her pregnancy, without knowing for sure if she was pregnant, Josh decided to stay with Annie until the baby was born and then divorce her.  After miscarrying the baby, she kept the dead fetus inside her just long enough to get in a fight with Reva. After provoking Reva to throw her down a staircase, she framed her rival for the miscarriage. Her deceptions were soon discovered though. Josh promptly ran back to Reva.  Increasingly unbalanced, Annie moved in with her frequent co-conspirator Alan Spaulding. Together they tried to take over Lewis Oil and to sabotage the relationship between Reva and her newfound sister Cassie Layne.  She soon returned to kidnap Reva. After leaving Reva on a plane to crash, she jumped without a parachute. Reva survived, Annie was presumed dead.  Annie returned later, with a brand new face (Due to the recast Signy Coleman). Thanks to plastic surgery, she had her face remodeled after a woman named Teri DeMarco and returned to Springfield as a police detective. She began drugging Josh to break him away from Reva, seduced Alan and began seducing Frank.  In January 2003, Josh and Reva managed to pry Annie’s location out of Alan, who was keeping Annie in a mental facility and footing the bill. At this time, Reva was receiving threatening phone calls and immediately wondered if Annie was the culprit. When she and Josh visited Annie, they were shocked to discover that while they had moved on with their lives, Annie had not. Annie was living in a replica of their study, believing that she was still married to Josh and raising his children.  Annie was a great Villainess, especially the original Cynthia Waltros version.  Annie was smart and caring but also fragile and dangerous.  The Reva/Annie rivalry and subsequent Reva/Josh/Annie triangle is one of the more popular ones in Guiding Light history. 

20090205_rraines_gl_445x5803. Alan Spaulding – Unlike many of the other characters Alan Spaulding would remain a fixture at Guiding Light from around 1977 onward.  And so a paragraph would be insufficient in even scratching the surface of Alan’s many misdeeds…but I could highlight some of the more devious and cunning acts performed by this villainous character over the years.  Alan Spaulding is a native of Chicago and was the owner of Spaulding Enterprises, after he wrested the company away from his own father, Brandon.  The baby Alan’s wife Elizabeth was carrying died and afraid that she wouldn’t be able to handle the news Alan arranged an illegal adoption of Philip.  Elizabeth quickly grew tired of Alan’s controlling nature and their marriage deteriorated. During their divorce he bribed Ramon de Vilar to claim to be Elizabeth’s lover to help gain custody.  In 1984 Alan had eyes on wooing Vanessa Chamberlain but she had eyes on Billy Lewis.  To break up Vanessa and Billy, Alan brought Billy’s ex-wife, Reva Shayne to town.  Several weeks later, at a mask ball, Alan was shocked when a masked woman suddenly unmasked herself–it was Alexandra! Alex told her brother in no uncertain terms she was now in Springfield to make sure Alan’s days as President of Spaulding Enterprises were numbered! Alexandra arrived in town. She hated Alan for helping their father give her son Lujack up.  Alex discovered that Alan was involved in the Dreaming Death plot to manufacture the Dreaming Death virus as a biological weapon.  In 1987, Alan and India got involved in the black art market together. Alan got
the paintings into the states through India’s new art gallery.  Alan then hired Reva to break up Alex and H.B and, in return, he arranged a paternity for her to discover if Josh or Kyle was Marah’s father. When Alan learned that Josh was indeed the father, he bribed the doctor to keep quiet to keep Reva and Josh apart. Alan changed the test results to look it like Kyle was Marah’s father.  Alan staged a series of accidents to keep Phillip from marrying Blake but didn’t succeed.  In 1994 Alan was released from prison and returned to Springfield in secret. Using the alias As Mr. Tashiwa, Alan tried to gain control of Spaulding and enlisted Roger’s help. Roger discovered Tashiwa’s true identity and became Alan’s partner while he successfully schemed to get back at Alex.  Determined to break up Josh and Reva, Alan worked together with Josh’s ex-wife Annie Dutton. They found her in stripper Cassie Layne, who happened to be Reva’s long-lost sister.  By threatening to make sure Cassie never saw Tammy again, Alan was able to force her to do what he wanted. Unfortunately, Alan still lost out when the Lewis’s found out who Cassie was and helped her secure custody of Tammy.   In 2002 he kidnapped Alex and attempted to coerce her, by holding on an island, into signing back the presidency of Spaulding Enterprises. Speaking of Tammy….in 2007 he put a hit out on Jonathan Randall which resulted in Tammy Winslow’s death.  According to Alexandra, Alan’s biggest secret was he had been drafted to go to Vietnam War but was too scared to go.  Alan asked his father to get him out of it so Brandon arranged for another man, Gerry, to go in his place. Alan later found out that Gerry was killed in the war. Alan admitted to Phillip that since the day he was drafted, he hadn’t made a single brave choice. Afterwards, Alexandra admitted to Phillip that Alan sent an anonymous check to the soldier’s widow every year.  Perhaps one of the more sensitive aspects of Alan’s personality, along with his frailty.  Alan would ultimately sacrifice his life in order to save Philip’s, the very son he shot in 2004.  Alan died of a heart attack and was hailed as a hero in Springfield.  Not bad for a villain huh? Alan’s main passions in life were power and family, often at the expense of his family.  Like his father, he showed his love for them by controlling their lives.  He was ruthless and merciless wether it be in business or a perceived threat to him or his family (sometimes one in the same).  But it would ultimately be a father’s love that would bring about the end of Springfield’s most long-term villain’s.

Brent2. Brent Lawrence (AKA Marion Crane)– Brent Lawrence arrived in Springfield in 1995 as an employee at Spaulding Enterprises.  Brent initially seemed to be a great guy and he started dating Lucy Cooper, Alan-Michael Spaulding’s secretary.  Lucy had feelings for Alan-Michael and  when he didn’t return them she started dating Brent.  But gradually Alan-Michael became jealous over the relationship.  Brent offered to break up with Lucy for a promotion.  One night while on a date with Lucy they were having a good time until a virginal Lucy told Brent that she was reluctant to sleep with him.  Brent drugged her with a spiked drink and raped her.  Ashamed, Lucy told no one about the rape and when Alan-Michael confessed his love for her, she ran away, making Alan-Michael realize something was wrong.  Brent went to Lucy’s apartment and talked about their night together, Lucy yelled that he’d raped her! At this moment, Alan-Michael arrived and beat Brent up! Alan-Michael comforted Lucy and convinced her to tell the Coopers and to press charges against Brent when he threatened to rape her again. Turns out that Alan Spaulding had hired Brent to sabotage Spaulding files so Alan could attempt to take the presidency from his son. Alan-Michael was forced to step down as president of Spaulding thanks to Brent’s manipulations but he and Lucy exposed Brent by getting him to confess to the rape on tape.  Brent would later reappear and threatened Lucy and Alan-Michael with a gun demanding to take Lucy with him. Alan-Michael struggled with Brent and then shot him. However, when the police arrived, Brent was nowhere to be found! Later, it was learned Brent was injured when he called Alan-Michael and demanded that Alan-Michael come to see him at the docks. When Alan-Michael arrived, he saw a mortally injured Brent who apologized for what he’d done to Lucy and when Brent’s sister, Cassie Lawrence, arrived, Brent apparently died. What Alan-Michael did not know was that Alan later found Brent (Brent and his sister apparently faked his death) alive and paid him and his sister, Cassie, to leave town to avoid a scandal.  Brent soon reappeared, in Springfield, as a woman named Marion Crane and began working at Spaulding Enterprises and even tried to get a room at the Reardon boarding house right next to Lucy Cooper’s room.  Brent stalked Lucy and gained her friendship by claiming to be a rape victim. When Lucy went to group therapy, Marion also attended and was even invited to Alan-Michael’s yacht when Alan-Michael and Lucy got engaged. In addition to bugging the yacht, Marion also stabbed and killed Lucky Fowler when Fowler attacked him/her! At this time, Lucy had an HIV test done since she could have been infected at the time Brent raped her. Brent broke in the Cedars lab and manipulated the test and Lucy would learn weeks later that she was infected. Luckily a second test would come back negative. Though Lucy never suspected that Marion was, in fact, Brent, Buzz’s ex-wife, Nadine, accidentally learned the truth when she began snooping around Brent’s apartment. Nadine was about to leave town, but had a premonition that Marion was in grave danger. So Brent killed Nadine with a candlestick.  Meanwhile, Brent was desperate to get Lucy. Planning on murdering her, he went to Lucy’s room and attacked her while she was showering. Unfortunately, the woman in Lucy’s shower was her friend Susan Bates, not Lucy (Murder a la Psycho style).  Finally on New Year’s Eve/Day 1995, 1996, Brent kidnapped Lucy at the Country Club’s annual New Year’s Eve costume party and brought her to the lighthouse to kill her. There he confessed all his crimes, including masquerading as Marion, and told Lucy that he was abused by his mother.  Alan-Michael arrived at the lighthouse to rescue Lucy. At the same time, Alan-Michael’s father, Alan, got in touch with Brent and offered a 20090908_GuidingLight_BrentMarionwithLucy_650x487_0Spaulding jet and $10 million in exchange for Lucy and Alan-Michael’s safety.  Brent dragged Lucy to the top of the lighthouse and Lucy threw the money from Alan over the edge. Alan-Michael caught the money and after struggling with Brent, rescued Lucy when she was about to fall over the edge. Brent was also in danger of falling to his death but was saved by Frank who promptly arrested him. In the end, Brent, who slipped into his Marion persona, went to a mental institution.  Without a doubt Brent Lawrence was mentally unstable, but the acting by Frank Beaty (and temporarily by Marc Wolf) was so fantastic) you felt yourself being drawn into a storyline that felt like it was out of a Hollywood thriller.  In fact, it was very Hitchcock in nature which was probably why it was so good to watch!  Plus, it had the added benefit of bringing together one of my favorite couples Alan-Michael and Lucy.  Brent usually doesn’t top Villain lists but I have to give credit where it is due.  He had me on the edge of my seat and the true psychotic nature of the character as it slowly emerged was a sight to behold!  Want to watch some of the Brent Lawrence decent into madness?  Here you go! Guiding Light March 1995

And what Soap Opera Villains list would be complete without…..

roger2151. Roger Thorpe – From 1970 to 1980, then again from 1989 until 1997 one of the most legendary characters in daytime television history could be found on Guiding Light.  Roger Thorpe first came to Springfield as an employee of wealthy business man Stanley Norris. Stanley was Holly Norris’s father and he thought that the slick and ambitious Roger would do anything to climb the ladder to success so he gave Roger the mission to bring naive Holly into line with her stocks. Roger was eager to do this and he began wooing Holly. Holly found Roger quite irresistible and fell for his smooth line.  However, as much as Holly wanted Roger, he was too busy eyeing Holly’s brother’s (Ken Norris) wife, Janet.  Disgraced, Roger left Springfield and began a series of both failed business ventures in Texas and affairs with numerous women. Meanwhile, Holly, still smarting from her embarrassing infatuation with Roger, began to fall for her doctor, Ed Bauer. She eventually got Ed to marry her, albeit while he was drunk and had no clue what was happening.  Holly soon became somewhat bored with her marriage and as soon as Roger returned to Springfield she approached him. Though Roger was trying to prove he had changed, he fell for Holly’s charms and they conceived a child, Christina.  Roger became Alan’s right hand man despite the fierce competition of Dean Blackford who would at one point go as far as to run Roger down with his car.  However, as Roger continued improving his position at Spaulding, he embarked upon a seemingly paranoid campaign against Ed Bauer. Apparently, Roger was diagnosed as being sterile, meaning Christina was to be his only child, and Roger was insanely jealous that Holly allowed Chrissy to continue seeing Ed. At first, Roger seduced Ed’s vulnerable half-sister, Hillary, but he soon became much more dangerous. One night, Roger approached Rita, who was now engaged to Ed, and demanded that she pay him back for saving her at the trial and also demeaned Ed. When Rita refused to have sex with him, Roger threw to the floor and raped her!  Convinced that marrying Holly would keep him close to Christina, Roger got Holly to do so.  At first Holly and Roger’s marriage was very passionate, but Holly soon became disenchanted with Roger and refused to have sex with him.  Convinced that Holly was holding out on him for Ed, Roger brutally raped Holly. A confused and battered Holly turned to Ed for help and Ed suggested that she bring charges against Roger. With Mike Bauer as her attorney, Holly did just that. An astonished Roger used anew hotshot lawyer, Ross Marler to defend him. Ross did a wonderful job, depicting Holly as the villain, not Roger, however, Rita, who had felt horrible about keeping quiet, came forward. Her testimony that Roger had raped her also, was enough to convict Roger, but he was let on bail.  Roger then began a series of attempts to kidnap Christina, the first being at a carnival sponsored by Cedars where he dressed up like a clown in an effort to get close to his daughter.  Holly and Christina were flown to Santo Domingo by Ed, where subsequently Roger followed and dragged Holly through the jungle.  Roger nearly fell off the side of an enormous cliff, but a wounded Ed, valiantly tried to save the life of the man who had basically killed his child, raped his wife, and tried to murder him. Despite Ed’s efforts, Roger’s hand slipped, and he fell to his second presumed death.Garrett.Zazlow

Instead of dying when he fell from the cliff in Santo Domingo, Roger bounced and was rescued by the CIA who in return for saving his life got Roger to become an agent.  Coincidentally, Alexandra Spaulding and Fletcher Reade crashed on that island. Seeing opportunity, Roger hid his face behind a mask, called himself Adam Malik and brought Alex to a cave where he began seducing her.  Though Alex tried to hide him in the wine cellar of her mansion, Alan’s suspicions were raised and the two consummate frauds spent months trying to outdo one another in a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse. It ended in a gun battle at Blake and Phillip’s wedding which left both Phillip and Roger with gun shot wounds.  With Alan now in prison, Roger positioned himself for power. He tried to repair his relationship with both Holly and his daughter and convinced Phillip to make him Vice President of Spaulding. When Alexandra returned to town, he seduced her again. Ruthless in business as in all else, he schemed to bilk Henry Chamberlain of all his money through rigged poker games.  As he bought up real estate, the Coopers refused to sell and a thug Roger hired burned down their property, killing ‘Pops’ Cooper in the fire. Thorpe managed to save himself from being implicated by shooting the man who set the blaze.

After a particularly heated fight at the country club, where virtually the entire town ganged up on him, Roger wound up shot. Everyone assumed he was dead and that Alex killed him but, in fact, he was hiding in Holly’s basement. Sneaking out at night, he spied on his enemies around town and realized that the police wanted him for fraud and other crimes. Finally, at the brink of death from his wound, he revealed himself to Holly.  Roger made contact with a mysterious Asian businessman name Tashiwa who wanted to enlist Roger’s help in taking over Spaulding Enterprises.  He soon discovered that the mystery man was none other than Alan, out of prison and ready to take everything back. He and Roger made a deal and Roger began to seduce Alex yet again while Alan stole the company out from under her.  Although Alex and Roger never slept together, once she realized what was happening, she told Holly that they had. Holly promptly dumped him and turned back to Fletcher. He fought to get her back, threatening to kill Alan unless he revealed their plot to her.  He kept trying to get her back, faking a car accident and amnesia to solicit pity and attention but nothing worked.


Going back to his old ways, he hooked up with Dinah Marler, daughter of two of his old enemies (Vanessa and Ross) whom he saved from a kidnapping. They got married, which appalled everyone, and the fighting between everyone involved continued. When Hart finally learned that Roger had killed his grandfather, he seduced Dinah and began destroying his father’s life. Of course, the marriage was already crumbling because Roger was embezzling all of her money and whatever he could get from her family.  Instead of divorcing him, she and Hart decided to torture him and make him think he was going insane. The plan worked, and Roger became gradually unhinged and more violent than ever, attacking both of them and drugging Dinah in an attempt to force her to commit suicide.  Seeing how dangerous things were, they upped the ante with Hart fighting his father at gunpoint and faking his own death. He then ‘haunted’ his guilty father, pushing him into suicidal behavior. After Roger tried to kill Dinah again, he was locked up. When he was released, Hart and Dinah publicly confronted him, humiliating him and sending him into a breakdown. He was locked in a mental hospital but broke out and went looking for his wife and son.

He began faking amnesia and started acting good and self-controlled again.  At a second competency hearing, Hart and Dinah were discovered together and a “kind, benevolent” Roger was finally released from the mental institution without having to attack anyone else. Within a couple of weeks Roger decided to get back in his son’s good graces, so he made some street thugs mad, got beat up and used Hart’s sympathy to worm his way back into Hart’s life. Dinah wasn’t quite so trusting, so Roger set it up for her to get locked in a grain silo on the Jessup farm. She nearly suffocated as the silo filled up with grain, but just in time, Thorpe “rescued” her.Playing up his reformed act, he seduced Amanda Spaulding in a bid to get back into the company and began blackmailing Vanessa. He and Amanda abruptly moved to California and he died several years later.


To describe Roger Thorpe in one word would be; complex.  He was a fully developed, three-dimensional villain who always managed to rationalize his evil deeds.  Roger Thorpe had great capacity for evil but could also loved deeply.  As the late Michael Zaslow said about his character, “he wants to be loved and to love. He has a lot of love. He’s trying to protect what’s his, and himself. There’s a lot of self-protection with characters like his.”  Another hallmark of this character was his relationship with Holly.   Though their love story is often overshadowed by the betrayal of his rape, people still loved them and rooted for them as a couple.  Even now, Roger Thorpe is considered an icon among Guiding Light fans.  Hell, soap fans in general!  In the words of Alfred Hitchcock, “The more successful the Villain, the more successful the picture”.  The same rings true for daytime television even years later because there will NEVER be another Roger Thorpe or Michael Zaslow.