Best and worst 1989

  Soap Opera Digest, 1990

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Best love triangle : Robert / Eden / Cruz, Santa Barbara

Cruz and Eden were one of those soap opera couples whose union was thought sacred by the audience. Constantly fending off outside intrusions and impending danger, Cruz and Eden served as Santa Barbara's anchor. As long as they could get back together again, the daytime world could sleep at night. But now they face a more serious threat - Eden's former lover Robert Barr - and the audience can't decide with whom she should go. Even diehard Cruz and Eden lovers are rooting for Eden's mysterious underdog. This creates numerous story possibilities in the basic peril-and-rescue pattern of Cruz and Eden relationship and allows actors A Martinez and Marcy Walker to stretch their acting muscles and explore new facets of their familiar characters. Roscoe Born's Robert Barr is the surprise homewrecker of the year, a character who immediately intrigued and challenged the audience.


Worst love triangle : Ethan / Laura / Michael, Santa Barbara

This triangle was the product of what we call the Santa Barbara syndrome. It goes like this. One half of a couple doesn't admit that in the past he/she had an affair with someone he/she is not currently married or engaged to. And boy, isn't the other half of the couple surprised when he/she finds out that his/her better half and this outsider are still attracted to each other ? Indeed. Ethan didn't know that, prior his marriage to Laura, she and Michael had been lovers. When Mr. and Mrs. Asher moved to Santa Barbara, Laura and Michael pretended not to know each other... at all. Sound familiar ?

Other victims of the Syndrome include Celeste, who returned to town and pretend not to know Scott (who was engaged to Heather), even though they had been high school sweethearts. And don't forget Mason and Julia. Their relationship has been complicated by the return of Sasha, with whom Mason had a brief fling in Europe. Of course, Sasha and Mason pretended not to know one another. Really dumb.

When you put so many of your romances through this kind of a wringer, you leave them to shapelessly drip-dry. Despite their Vesuvian passion, Michael and Laura had no chemistry.


Best fantasy : Mason goes to Heaven, Santa Barbara

After being shot, Mason Capwell was on the operating table and dreamed that he went to heaven. Joan Crawford was God's receptionist and she was Mason's personal Cloud Nine tour guide. Mason recalled Crawford's face from a movie he'd seen... was it Mommie Dearest ? “That was Faye Dunaway,” snorted Joan derisively. This fantasy sequence had all the elements that has distinguished this soap as the one willing to try anything once : a wild concept, priceless dialogue and witty performances (especially by the brazen Joe Marinelli as Joan and NBC programming executive Brian Frons as God). Topped off with Santa Barbara's usual luscious set design (everything in God's antechamber was white and Cloud Nine was appropriately wispy), Mason's trip to the beyond made for one of the more memorable fantasy sequences seen on daytime.