May 23, 2008By Mara Levinsky Posted: May 23, 2008
Research for an upcoming Digest assignment led me this week to YouTube and a score of clips from SANTA BARBARA (I know, I know, my job is enviable). One of the clips I watched was actually from the very first episode of SB I ever watched, the first wedding of Mason and Julia, played by the incomparable Lane Davies and Nancy Lee Grahn. Does anyone else remember this ceremony, in which Mason accidentally pocketed a grocery list instead of his vows and had to improvise after blurting out the first few items on the list at the altar? That was enough to get me completely hooked on the show back in 1989 (my taste was none too shabby for a 12-year-old, eh?)
In any event, the more I watched, the more impressed I became. There was a scene in which Julia, overwhelmed by pre-wedding jitters, enumerated to future sister-in-law Eden all the reasons she shouldn't get married, including that Mason's company wasn't all that great and there were things she had wanted to accomplish on her own, like have her own game show and succeed Sandra Day O'Connor on the Supreme Court — because, she pointed out, they'd never let two women serve on the court simultaneously. Can anyone out there remember the last time they saw dialogue that sharp, pithy, and, yes, political, on a soap? I can't, personally, but I do know that 15 years after SANTA BARBARA's cancellation, the daytime landscape is still less bright and less bold without it.
On the ALL MY CHILDREN front, we've got a lot more wedding still to come — its aftermath is going to be big and it is going to be bloody. But the ceremony itself was perfection, as far as I'm concerned ... though I'd still love for someone to explain to me how, while living in the shadows and ducking his enemies for the last 20 years, Jesse managed to befriend R&B superstar Ne-Yo. I thought Darnell Williams and Debbi Morgan did a magical job capturing the joy, spontaneity and romance of their characters' long overdue union, and I know I'm not the only Digest staffer who wept like a baby when they exchanged vows on Wednesday. On a separate note, David Rasche's stint as the villainous Robert Gardner/Papel is coming to an end, but what a fantastic job he did. In addition to being menacing, Rasche managed to work some humor in there; I found him to be an extremely watchable bad guy. And lastly, after feeling ho-hum for a long while about JR and Babe, they kinda got me the other day with their impromptu post-ceremony romp. I'd be curious to know what you all think about their coupling now that Amanda Baker (Babe) has had some time to settle into the role.
Have a great and safe Memorial Day Weekend, all!