Darling!

What else could I call a post about Lucinda Walsh? Darling is the most memorable part of her vernacular, of course.

I’ve come here to praise the amazing Elizabeth Hubbard, actress and ad-lib master. She’s been a joy to watch on our screens for years.

And if there was a medal of bravery or valor for actors, Hubbard should get it. Because I think I’m being honest when I say this: The character of Lucinda has been treated shabbily in the last 10 to 15 years, and Hubbard still makes it work and grounds Lucinda.

I know that I often complain about the “way things used to be.” But Lucinda really was at her most dynamic when Douglas Marland wrote for her. And Hubbard, always a tour-de-force, matched all of Marland’s writing with her memorable performances.

The complex Lily-adoption story would have never worked as well as it did without Hubbard holding it together. You may not have always agreed with her methods, but you never doubted Lucinda’s love for Lily.

And little on ATWT is more exciting than the pairing of John and Lucinda. The great joy of yesterday’s air show was seeing two total pros, Hubbard and Larry Bryggman, playing scenes as if no time went by. Bryggman’s John brings out something in Lucinda that humanizes her. He gets her in a way no one else does.

Post-Marland, the character of Lucinda has been handed a mixed bag. The retcon giving her a son with James Stenbeck was just pointless. The Brian Wheatley story would have made more of an impact if it hadn’t happened in the blink of an eye.

Lucinda’s bouts with cancer have given Hubbard some great story, but it’s sad that the only story that the show could come up with for such a vibrant, active actor – and her equally volatile character – was a story that sapped all of the character’s energy.

I think the show missed an opportunity to play a great story between Lucinda and Luke when Luke came out. Lucinda did show love and support to Luke, which was great. But I thought Lucinda would have been a bit more of an Auntie Mame figure, creating adventures for Luke and trying to take him away from friction at home.

The fact that the character has lived, survived and thrived is all due to Hubbard. (I remember when Sam Ford’s class at MIT was asked about their favorite characters a few years ago. Do you think it was Will and Gwen? Nope, it was Margo and Lucinda.)

And Hubbard has proved she’s smart and savvy about the industry, too. I loved reading this interview with her at TVGuide.com – her comments about class divides on soaps are a must-read.

EDITED TO ADD: Today’s air show (Thursday 9/9) had some Bryggman/Hubbard scenes that were even MORE magnificent. Whoever wrote today’s scenes did, in fact, know John and Lucinda’s history – and put these great scenes into that context.

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2 thoughts on “Darling!

  1. I loved, still do, Lucinda. I watched ATWT shortly after the Lily adoption story and I am still saddened that I never had the opportunity to see this amazing actress play out that story. So true that Marland knew what he had in Elizabeth Hubbard and Lucinda Walsh. Hubbard and Lucinda were never used to their full potential after Marland passed away. I google Hubbard often in the hopes that I will read that she has found her next great character. I sorely miss watching this transcendent actress at work.

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