Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Y&R's Judith Chapman appreciation

At Soap Opera Network, and many other places, the debate rages on: Is Judith Chapman's Gloria hijacking the show? Is she a better or worse Gloria than Joan Van Ark?

I love both actresses. Joan was one of the major reasons I watched Knots ...but her Gloria didn't grab me. Some of it was the writing (hired gigolos would end up accepting non-payment for the option to have sex with Glo INSTEAD? GMAFB). Joan Van Ark didn't convince me that she was trailer trash, with a hard knock life. To her credit, especially early, Van Ark's Gloria seemed strangely detached from her boys emotionally...which worked with the neglectful backstory.

[Tangent...but it becomes relevant. Michael Bruno recently said, on an Emmy-nomination-timed podcast that, at one point GL wanted to hire a "Channel Stopper"...a man so beautiful you rested on the show when flipping channels. (Long story...the role ended up going to Ricky Paull Goldin instead...but he's a channel stopper IMO too). ] Anyway, Judith was an original channel stopper.

That is LITERALLY how I "met" her. Mom was a religious devotee of Ryan's Hope (it was on while we made lunch), but I didn't pay it a lot of mind. Until I walked in the room and SAW Charlotte. Those eyes--I think the TV was even black and white--drew me in and held me. (In fact, that inspired the montage at bottom).

I still think she is one of the most unconventionally gorgeous creatures ever.

In the process, her Gloria became richer and therefore more vexing...in a good way...she drew me in. With her immense beauty and sophistication-despite-poverty, I INSTANTLY understood why John might shuck it all to be with her. She still had moments of ARCH selfishness and recklessness (asking Kevin to commit crimes for her; face cream) that helped me connect her with her selfish/neglectful/abusive backstory. This Gloria had warmth with her boys...but it always had a manipulative (even seductive...yes, she goes there!) flavor to it. I totally buy her as this damaged, selfish black widow...so charming and attractive that she sucks men (even her sons) in time and time again. I mean my heart TOTALLY melted for her when Jeffrey was so vile to her...even though she flipped and went back to him a week later.

The fact that Gloria sucks me in that way helps me understand why she is so powerful as a character.

I guarantee you, Joan Van Ark had none of those capabilities :-). I'm just not that into her smile.gif.

I've struggled to understand why there is SUCH hatred toward her. I think viewers have just not yet looked closely at the screen and surrendered to those eyes. (Thumbnails link to source sites/photos).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Mark -- I have to agree with you. Whenever Glo is on-screen it brings a dimension to the show. She is one of most engaging characters in daytime. Judith does is such a wonder in that role. -- Sandy