I’m an old traditionalist who yaps about how great soaps were back in my day, when they were filmed on STAGES! with CAMERAS! And all of the actors walked UPHILL TO WORK! BOTH WAYS!
Well, okay, maybe I’m not so stuck in the past. But I’ve bitched a lot about characters on Guiding Light that I’ve missed.
This week, newer fans got a little taste of Original Recipe Springfield, and according to Television Without Pity, they’re totally getting what the fuss was all about.
We saw Maureen Garrett as Holly this week. One of the most interesting, complex characters GL has ever had was back on our screens.
She might have only been on for a few minutes, but Garrett’s performance – and Holly’s indelible personality – left a memorable impression as we waved goodbye.
If you didn’t know who Holly was, you may have initially wondered what the fuss was about. Whereas Reva Shayne is balls-to-the-wall emotion, Holly is a bundle of nerves, emotions and contradictions, simmering under the surface.
I remember watching GL when she first returned to the show in 1988. I saw one scene of her with her daughter, the newly-returned-to-town Blake, and said, “Who was THAT?”
It was those complexities that made for such explosive chemistry with Michael Zaslow’s Roger, who was all fire, focus and barely concealed rage. Their pairing was so magnificent that GL was at a loss to put Holly in any other context after Zaslow’s untimely departure from the show (and subsequent death).
There’s so much I loved about Holly. She was a real woman who admitted to not loving her troublesome daughter. Holly was never trendy, yet her mystery and enigmatic nature made her unbelievably sexy. And her voice could melt butter and drip venom with ease.
Maureen Garrett is a masterful actress and I’ve missed seeing her on screen. I could write a thousand words on why she was left go from Guiding Light – and why the show wrote such horrifically inappropriate storylines (Sebastian? Suspected as Reva’s stalker? Nursery Rhyme Stalker, anyone?) for someone who so clearly could play ANYTHING she was given.
I wish she’d have been given a chance to continue live in Springfield without the character assassination she suffered. (I always though that the younger Springfield University set needed a great journalism professor, and Holly would have been perfect.)
But instead, I’ll rejoice in Wednesday’s all-too-short visit. Her wonderful scenes with Ed (who she should have remarried years ago) and with Blake. And her lovely, too-short chat with Olivia. Holly was unfazed when Olivia revealed she was in love with a woman.
This was, more than likely, a nod to the fact that GL had originally considered Olivia’s sapphic love story with Holly (not Natalia) as her partner. Watching Crystal Chappell and Garrett was compelling, but as someone on Television Without Pity said, those two voices sounded “as if they were undressing someone somewhere.” The sensuality and subtext was there in spades!
Another great, brief Holly scene – two mature women assessing and appreciating a new man in town (none other than “good man” Frank Cooper!)
Holly is so much more, and was so much more complex, than I could ever begin to describe for my readers. She was often tormented by her feelings (negative and positive) about Roger, but there is – and was – so much more to her.
Jill Lorie Hurst said in an interview with Soap Opera Digest this week that Holly’s final scenes were about “the anguish of love.” Holly was certainly a leading lady in every sense of the word, feeling that anguish. But her cool nature and intelligence made her struggles far more than a generic “perils of Pauline.” Holly was perhaps the closest GL ever got to the kind of heroine we often see in novels – a woman of heart and mind.
I hear the lyrics of Joni Mitchell’s “Woman of Heart and Mind” and I can imagine Holly – the writer, the journalist – writing these lyrics to Roger.
You come to me like a little boy / And I give you my scorn and my praise
You think I’m like your mother / Or another lover or your sister
Or the queen of our dreams / Or just another silly girl /When love makes a fool of me
After the rush when you come back down / You’re always disappointed, nothing seems to keep you high
Drive your bargains / Push your papers / Win your medals / Fuck your strangers
Don’t it leave you on the empty side
I’m looking for affection and respect / A little passion
And you want stimulation, nothing more / That’s what I think
But you know I’ll try to be there for you
When your spirits start to sink