Hit or Miss:
Soap Opera Weekly, December 19, 2000
by Gabrielle Winkel
I must again remind readers that no, I am not on SoapNet's payroll. OK, that said, I've fallen in mad, passionate love with Ryan's Hope. Here's why:
By mid-November on SoapNet (a year and a half into the defunct soap's run) RH was in the middle of not one, not two, but three pregnancy storylines, all causing big trouble for everyone involved. That's a lot for a 30-minute show. Faith Coleridge is engaged to Patrick Ryan, who impregnated ex-sister-in-law Delia Ryan during a one-night stand. Jillian Coleridge is in love with Frank Ryan (Delia's ex), but she's pregnant with Seneca Beaulac's baby. Frank knows, and has ended his relationship with Jillian. Mary Ryan and Jack Fenelli are married and pregnant, but he doesn't want the baby and is pushing for an annulment. Note the frequency of the names Coleridge and Ryan. This makes RH easy to follow.
RH wasn't like other soaps when it debuted in 1975, and it's not like other soaps today. The characters aren't glamorous. Not all that thin. Not all super-young. Most of the scenes take place in a bar. There are ugly hand-crocheted blankets on one couch. (I crochet, so it's OK for me to say that.) There is a middle-class mentality that makes the show very appealing and easy to identify with. Those '70s-obsessed fashion people should tune in to see how really bad '70s fashion could be.
Of course, it's great fun to see a very young Justin Deas (Bucky), a very young Kate Mulgrew (as the absolutely luminous Mary Ryan) and a very young Catherine Hicks (now on 7th Heaven). More sightings are ahead.
Watching RH does beg one question: Why didn't Ilene Kristen (devious Delia) get more soap roles, or move on to major stardom? She's up there with the best daytime has to offer.
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