I didn’t mean for this post to be so late, but this has been a truly sad and bizarre week, and it’s taken a while to get my equilibrium back.
So much has already been said about Claire Labine, who died last week at 82. She wrote small, intimate stories with memorable, one-of-a-kind characters.
I was a fan of Ryan’s Hope when I finally got a chance to watch it (the local affiliate in Pittsburgh, where I grew up, never carried it). That was near the end, but I did get to see Maeve and Johnny, Delia, Roger and some other great characters in action.
Her run at General Hospital still stands as the only time during the show’s run that I could count myself as a fan. Yes, I remained a hardcore Guiding Light fan through thick and thin. But Claire’s arrival at GH in 1993 captured my attention.
She humanized a GH that bordered on parody, and introduced characters like Lois who widened the base of the show, and yet never felt out of place.
It was interesting to see Luke, Laura and Lucky return to the canvas. I know Tony Geary has gone on record with his dislike of the 90s era L&L, but I, for one, enjoyed the different perspective on those characters.
And of course, BJ’s heart. Enough said.
In 1993 and 1994, the wheels were coming off at GL. There were a number of departures of actors, and some writing changes, and the show felt tremendously different very quickly. GH was actually a bit of a safe haven at that time – I watched characters I could still understand and recognize.
Speaking of GL, I was so happy when I heard that Claire would be writing for the show. Sadly, what should have been the ideal fit never seemed to click. Was it a bad match? Interference from the network or P&G? Paul Rauch? Claire shared a little here and here about what happened.
With the passing of Labine and Agnes Nixon, we are truly near the end of an era. It’s a cliche, I know, but one that is wholly appropriate in this case.
The characters, the stories, the way those stories made us feel, continue to sink into the ether, deeper into memory, preserved in bits and pieces on YouTube.