Friday, October 24, 2008

Party Foul

Mention the name "Marina Cooper" to most fans of GUIDING LIGHT and the response you'll get is likely to be fueled by the last four years of one botched, chemistry-free romance after another with characters like Danny, Alan-Michael, Cyrus, and, perhaps worst of all, her current pairing with Mallet. Current Marina portrayer Mandy Bruno has entered into an off-screen relationship with Rob Bogue who plays Mallet and the current powers-that-be at GL seem to feel that this real life development guarantees the success of an onscreen Marina/Mallet coupling. Alas, it does not-- quite the opposite in fact, considering the fact that the Dinah/Mallet union is one of the most beloved romances that the show still has at its disposal. As a result, the Marina character's popularity is at an all-time low-- and that's really saying something taking into account the disastrous turns the show has taken with this character even before Mandy Bruno assumed the role in 2004.

It's easy to forget that Marina used to be wildly popular in 2002 and 2003 when played by Aubrey Dollar. Dollar's Marina was an audacious spitfire who remained sympathetic and vulnerable while causing trouble and cracking wise. The smartmouthed vixen who initially (and falsely) accused Gus of rape eventually won viewers' hearts through her starcrossed romance with older rich boy Ben Reade and her school girl idolatry of Olivia Spencer.

This delightful success of a character (and her Ben romance) were carefully crafted and shepherded, first by "Lucky" Gold and then by Millee Taggert and Carolyn Culliton. However, by the beginning of 2004, the infamous "WesCon" era of the show (with headwriter Ellen Weston and Executive Producer John Conboy) was in full swing, Ben was dead, and Marina was in a soap opera standard "youngster" relationship with Shayne Lewis and at the center of the convoluted and unpopular MaryAnne Carruthers mystery (a story that I actually enjoyed at the time, but that was before I became a student of GL history)-- and by March of that year, Dollar had departed the role that had, at one time, been such a joy for so many. While it might be easy to blame Mandy Bruno for Marina's current unlikability, the character was ruined even before Dollar left the show.

Today's clipset is called Party Foul. It's from the end of January of 2002 and it features a "Welcome Home" party for Marina thrown by Frank and Eleni, who learn, to their horror, that their daughter has actually been skulking around Springfield for weeks. The party guests have their own dramas going on, as this is right after Blake has discovered Ross' indiscretion with Tory, Phillip has discovered that "Lorelei" has been "impersonating" presumed-dead Beth, and Rick realizes that his bride-to-be Harley is in love with Gus. Marina's secret is blown by a loose-lipped Shayne, played here by future indie film star Billy Kay. It's a nice look at what made Dollar so special in the role and a nice reminder of Shayne and Eleni, two characters that are on their way back to Springfield as we speak.

Enjoy Party Foul---

clip 1 , clip 2 , clip 3 , clip 4 , clip 5 , clip 6 , clip 7 , clip 8 , clip 9


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