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, then-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 let 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, maybe about Roger, perhaps about Ed.
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
5 thoughts on “Holly: woman of heart and mind”
You know how I feel about Holly – she is the antiheroine, supreme. Tortured, brilliant, cynical, witty, and just gorgeous. I love her. Who else but Maureen Garrett and Michael Zaslow could have made the legendary “tuna sandwich scene” so damned compelling? Is there any other soap character who regularly makes reference to Kirkegard, or reads Browning to her beloved (without sounding corny or contrived!!) ? On that note, I love your song choice, but I feel compelled to post the bit of Browning that Holly really did read to Roger on that fateful Christmas Eve:
James Lee’s Wife Sits By The Window
Ah, Love, but a day,
And the world has changed!
The sun’s away,
And the bird estranged;
The wind has dropped,
And the sky’s deranged;
Summer has stopped.
Look in my eyes!
Wilt thou change too?
Should I fear surprise?
Shall I find aught new
In the old and dear,
In the good and true,
With the changing year?
Thou art a man,
But I am thy love.
For the lake, its swan;
For the dell, its dove;
And for thee — (oh, haste!)
Me, to bend above,
Me, to hold embraced.
SIGH when GL was educational and it didn’t seem like education. 🙂 I love that and miss that, learning from oddball places at least I still have Mad Men for that. The show was not dumbed down and people like Holly and Roger would behave that way. Reading Browning, someone I didn’t even hear of beyond school, and going Woah. That’s acting.
I just related to Holly from the first time I saw her on television. It was a who is she, wow she is great and hey she’s old enough to be my mom, but so cool. I’ve enjoyed reading the comments on TWOP about Maureen Garrett from people who had no familiarity with Holly
I have, and always will adore Maureen Garrett for her amazing work as Holly on GL. She was saddled with some poor storylines at the end of her tenure, but she was probably one of the most fascinating characters in Daytime, in my opinion. And yes — her voice was amazing to listen to (which is why one of my favorite GL clips on YouTube is of Garrett and Beverlee McKinsey as Holly and Alexandra discussing the “passage of time”…two VERY sexy, sensual voices, two incredible characters).
I’m sure Garrett has a lot of things on her plate already, but any soap would be lucky to have an actress of her caliber join them. However for me, she will be Holly forever. 🙂
Patrick–you know how to take a girl back! I totally enjoyed this read and like you, I was thrilled to see Holly back one last time.
Thanks for a great article.
I love Holly and I love Maureen Garrett. Everybody above said it all. (Should’ve posted first, darn it! LOL)
Say what we will about the Nursery Rhyme Stalker storyline (and we DO), I still have all the articles (that WEEKLY cover was classic…back when GL’s kids were aged correctly), and MG was havin’ a ball playing glove-wearin’, leather-jacketed, flask-swillin’ Holly.
Yeah, it killed the character. The alcoholism could have been compelling as played by Garrett if it hadn’t been joined with this. And Holly’s follow-up story with Sam the Scam Drifter Man (Kirk Anderson, so THAT’S where you’ve been!) didn’t help. But I hope that MG had fun in her last big story. (I don’t count Sebastian. I could never count Sebastian.)
Maureen Garrett and Holly Norris Bauer Thorpe Lindsey Reade…one of a kind. Glad I was there for the ride.