In this month's Busted to Blissful, Soapdom's Lesleyann Coker has a bone to pick with the General Hospital, but couldn't be more pleased with the way some things are going on One Life to Live. What has busted her bubble, and what's put her in bubblicious bubble bliss? Read on!
Do You Agree? Dish Busted to Blissful with Lesleyann Right Here on the Soapdom Boards!
Reese's Death and NuCarly#2's Introduction on GH
I'm going to miss Kari Wuhrer and her character, Reese Marshall (aka the real Carly Roberts) on General Hospital, and am disappointed the show fired a talented actress who added something special to the cast.
The recent storyline in which Reese's true identity was slowly revealed was original, and a welcome break from the mob violence that usually consumes the show. I enjoyed watching the buildup of the big revelation to the other characters, particularly to Carly herself. Carly Benson Corinthos Alcazar is usually such a formidable opponent that most women eventually back down from doing battle with her over Sonny -- or anything else. In this instance, however, Carly had finally met her match.
I'm not a fan of cat fights on soaps, but the one that went down between Reese and Carly at Ruby's Diner after Sonny dumped Reese was riveting. Both Wuhrer and Jennifer Bransford, who played Carly at the time, helped the viewer appreciate the women's complex history by illuminating the seething hatred and bad blood between them. The actresses were almost primal in their need to physically attack each other while eviscerating each other emotionally.
The character of Reese went far deeper than just anger and revenge. Reese's tender, tentative romance with Sonny was well acted, and I even reviewed it in a Blissful column in June 2005. Wuhrer possessed amazing chemistry with Maurice Benard's Sonny, and after a string of unsuccessful pairings, it looked like Benard finally found an actress capable of becoming his new leading lady.
Wuhrer also shared chemistry with Rick Hearst, who plays Sonny's brother, Ric. After Reese and Ric engaged in a one night stand, the show appeared poised to build a triangle between Ric, Reese and Sonny. With the news of Wuhrer's real life pregnancy, it seemed a perfect fit. After all, Sonny is the king of fathering illegitimate babies in Port Charles, and it would have been ironic for Ric to believe he had impregnated Reese at the same time his estranged wife Alexis was also carrying his child. Ric and Sonny would finally have more in common than their bloodline and their bed buddies.
Unfortunately, neither man will share Reese's bed anytime soon, since the-powers-that-be made Reese the token fatality of the Fall Sweeps train crash. I think GH did fans a real disservice by killing Reese, instead of having her leave town to recover. In soap land though, no one is ever really dead. Albeit we saw her die onscreen, Reese could still return someday.
If Reese ever returned, and the show recast the role, I hope they would handle it better than the way they introduced NuCarly#2. This is the third actress to play the character this year, and it was another abrupt transition.
While the NuCarly#2, Laura Wright (seen at left in her former role as Cassie on Guiding Light), is an accomplished soap actress, it was unfair to her --and to the audience -- to have her recreate the most important moments from Carly's past in flashbacks during her first week on the job.
The classic scenes from the past, like when Carly and Sonny broke up over her not telling him that he was the father of Alexis' baby Kristina, were hard enough to watch recreated, but the recent flashbacks were the most jarring.
Bransford's last scene as Carly was layered with subtext underneath the innocent dialogue about hummingbirds, before Sonny left Carly in her room at the mental hospital. Viewers could feel the pure emotion and unspoken goodbye between the actors in Bransford and Benard's version, especially when she mouthed the words 'I love you,' instead of saying them.
Wright and Benard's version was perfectly adequate if you hadn't seen the previous scene, but since the original was still so fresh in my mind, the second take couldn't even come close to conveying the characters' deep feelings -- and Wright said 'I love you' out loud.
While it's too soon for me to weigh in on whether or not I think Wright is a worthy successor to the role of Carly, in my opinion, the show stacked the odds against her from day one.
Will you miss Reese or are you happy she's gone? Did you prefer Bransford's Carly to Wright's? What did you think of the recreation of Carly's past? Come visit the Message Board under Lesleyann Coker at http://www.Soapdom.com and tell me your opinion.
Jess/Tess, Nash and Clint on OLTL
Bree Williamson has always been good in the role of Jessica Buchanan on One Life to Live, but never great. All of that has changed since the writers have allowed her to create the brand new character of Jess' alter, Tess.
With the storyline of Jessica developing DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder also known as multiple personalities) like her mother Viki, Williamson has come into her own and shined. Williamson proves the old adage about bad girls having more fun. Her eyes sparkle every time she's Tess, and she seems to be having the time of her life playing the repercussions of Jessica's battle with DID.
Williamson as Jessica, and Kamar de los Reyes as Antonio, were always a likeable pair, but never anything memorable. They were never going to set the world on fire together. But Williamson as Tess, paired with Forbes March as Nash, could ignite an entire forest with the heat generated between them.
Even though the logical rooting value is with Jessica and Antonio, thanks to Williamson and March, you find yourself hoping that there will be a way for Tess and Nash's love to survive if Jessica and Tess become integrated again. It's hard not to root for Tess to remain a part of Jessica when all is said and done, though how the writers are going to resolve the dilemma of two men in love with two women who just happen to inhabit the same body, is anyone's guess.
Williamson's performance has alternated on a dime. She wrought poignancy from the scenes where Tess finally opened up to Nash about her DID, and her fears about her pregnancy. Then a moment later, she was sassy and smirking in the scenes where Tess realized her mother Viki was actually her alter ego, Niki Smith (Erika Slezak).
The first meeting between the alters of Tess and Niki proved why Slezak is a six time Emmy winner, and why Williamson deserves to earn her first trophy this year. Their facial expressions and rapid dialogue deftly shifted between Niki's astonishment at learning 'perfect Jessie' had an alter, to Tess' anger at Niki for her existence, with a little humor thrown in as the bad girls faced off and circled each other.
To add to the convoluted family tree, OLTL introduced a NuClint at this crucial time. While I thought it would be next to impossible to replace Clint Ritchie after he'd been on and off the show for over two decades, Jerry ver Dorn (seen at left in his former role as Ross on Guiding Light) rode in on his cowboy boots and hasn't looked back since. Ver Dorn has become Clint in a surprisingly short amount of time (probably because the show didn't try to recreate his past), and he's a natural in his scenes with Slezak and Williamson.
Hopefully, Niki and Tess will continue to wreak havoc on Llanview for the foreseeable future, and Clint will be in the mix to help his ladies. This is one storyline I would be happy to watch unfold at a leisurely pace.
Who do you like better - Tess/Nash or Jess/Antonio? What do you think of NuClint? Share your opinion at http://www.Soapdom.com on the Message Board under Lesleyann Coker.
Lesleyann Coker is a contributing columnist for Soapdom.com, and co-author of Boob Tube, a satiric novel currently being shopped to publishers that examines what really goes on behind the scenes of the soap opera industry. She is a former reporter for Soap Opera Weekly magazine, and has interviewed over 200 daytime and primetime actors during her career.
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