Peyton Place The smooth introduction of Marion Fowler

Discussion in 'Sundry Prime Time Soaps' started by Wintry North Poleson, Dec 22, 2016.

  1. Wintry North Poleson

    Wintry North Poleson SoapLand Battles Moderator

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    If I wanted to say something witty, then I would have posted "the bumpy introduction of...".
    But that isn't the case, and I like to stick to the facts - or at least my interpretations, as factual as possible.
    This is Marion:
    upload_2016-12-22_18-12-5.png
    A very beautiful and enigmatic woman.
    There's something about her that reminds me so much of another tv character...but I can't remember who.

    Tragedy strikes again while Rodney is still in jail. Allison is rushed into the hospital after being hit by a car. This was an off-screen accident which I thought was kinda strange, I mean, what soap wouldn't use such an event to shock the viewers? But some eps later I learned that it was more about the person who drove the car and apparently it was the plan to keep the driver's identity shrouded in mystery. But not for too long.

    John Fowler comes home and greets his wife, Marion. Yes, why not? This was definitely not a "OMG-he-has-a-wife!" moment.
    It was all rather casual, until she walked into the garage, look at the damage of the car, stepped into car, started the engine as if she planned to go somewhere, and then smashed the front of the car against the wall.
    Cool and controlled, without blinking an eye. That was definitely an OMG-moment.
    So, in just this one scene she became one of the Peyton Place characters, and it's really all I needed to know - hence the "smooth introduction".

    While Allison is still in a coma, Constance finds out she's pregnant. Quite a dual situation, but, as Constance explained it to Elliot: "Whatever happens to Allison, it'll be our tragedy, and this baby should be welcomed into the world with all the joy it deserves". (or something like that).
    Personally I thought this made things a little easier.
    Incidentally, I already knew Mia Farrow would leave the show, but not when. I considered the possibility that she was going to be written out with this coma story, but I also knew that she wouldn't die in this series, because she's going to be killed by Mark Graison in the "Next Generation" movie.

    Steven Cord's plans to wreak havoc upon those who used to treat him as the servant's son and take over the Harrington mansion (I don't think at that point anyone really cared who lived in that house, Leslie and his sons don't seem to be very sentimental about it) have been put on the back-burner, or so it seems.
    I really thought that it wouldn't do Rodney any good if Steven was going to be involved with his trial, but it looks like Steven is doing a great job. Orders from Martin Peyton, of course.
    "I want Stella Chernak destroyed!"
    What a theatrical, 19th Century-esque tyrant! I've never seen Dark Shadows but he strikes me as a character who belongs on that show.

    There was a Dallas Quotes Top Ten in the Dallas forum, but where to begin with the Peyton Place quotes?
    This show is blessed with such a great script, it's often more about the scenes than the story.
    Take that conversation between Steven and Michael Rossi, and Steven's metaphor about "reaching for the truth" and "reaching for the scalpel". Rossi seemed reluctant to accept it, but it was obvious that he couldn't completely disagree with it either.

    Great dialogue is given to the minor characters too, like Theodore Dowell, Eli Carson and nurse Esther Choate.
    These are not endless monologues, it doesn't feel like theatre play.
    Nurse Choate tells Betty that she's never had someone like that (Rodney) in her life.
    She's had three dogs and they were all named Brandy.
    Sometimes it just takes a few personal lines to really "see" a character.
    I'll never forget that line by Sable Colby: I live for perfection. It explained everything.

    The plot thickens (big time!) when it's revealed that Marion really shouldn't have been on that roadt that night in the first place.
    She is/was having an affair with the tough-thug-looking therapist Russ Gehring (had to look up his name, carefully avoiding spoilers, which isn't easy because spoilers are so tempting).
    Apparently he's determined to continue the affair, something that could be jeopardized by Allison whenever she regains consciousness...and possibly provides further information about the hit-and-run accident. Hmm....

    After Kim's testimony, Doris Schuster decides to leave Peyton Place, and just to make us understand why, there's a final dramatic scene between mother and daughter (and Mrs. Chernak, of all people).
    upload_2016-12-22_19-59-34.png

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    Is dead! Is dead! Is dead!

    Stella Chernak lies on the stand, and yet I find it hard to dislike her. It seems to me that it is about obligation (towards her brother and father) rather than being concerned with Rodney's future.
    But to lie about Martin Peyton's grandson while living and working in Peyton Place...well I don't think it was a very good decision.

    Steven to Betty: "If Rodney were drowning and somebody tried to pull him out, he'd ask to see his life-saving badge".
    I think that perfectly illustrates Rodney's overtly idealistic ideas and behaviour, which IMO makes him the soapiest inhabitant of that beautiful little town.

    This image, just for the heck of it. I really like the conversation-in-the-mirror angle.
    upload_2016-12-22_20-44-8.png
     
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  2. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Mega Star

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    Yes. For years, I'd always assumed Peyton Place was a daytime soap (i.e, painfully slow and probably crap) and then, in the '90s I think, I caught a scene between Alison and Rodney when the show was being repeated on cable in the UK and I thought, "well, even if this is a painfully slow daytime soap, if they fill up the time with scenes as beautifully written and acted as this, then I wanna see more". It was years and years till I did see more and came to realise that it wasn't a daytime soap at all, yet it still had that quality of the scene itself being well-crafted and all-important. You get that with the British (evening) soaps when they're at their best as well -- a scene isn't just about advancing the plot, it's about exploring the relationships between that particular combination of characters in that particular room at the particular time. PP was full of that. Maybe it's something do with the pacing of a year round evening soap -- you've got your plots to advance but you've also got time to check in with and examine your characters.

    Yes!
     
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  3. Wintry North Poleson

    Wintry North Poleson SoapLand Battles Moderator

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    I wonder if the people who watched it back in the sixties realized how good it was. There wasn't much else to compare it with, I think. At least not another nightime soap.

    I once asked my mother about it, and she said: Betty Harrington was so pretty, I always wanted to my hair to be like hers.
    Maybe she knew that one day I would watch it myself.
     
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  4. Piggy It's Kermit Outside

    Piggy It's Kermit Outside Soap Chat Star

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  5. Wintry North Poleson

    Wintry North Poleson SoapLand Battles Moderator

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    And then, with the sweetest voice I've ever heard:
    "This is Lola Albright. I will be playing the part of Constance MacKenzie, until the return of Dorothy Malone".

    But now Rodney wants the house back...and Martin Peyton has moved back into the house!

    Episode 150 was an odd one. There was the first official comedic scene: the argument between Eli and Elliot about the nursery. At first I thought it was kinda funny, until it became clear that this was intentional banter. Faux-argument banter (especially in non-comedy series or movies) has always been a pet peeve of mine.

    After that there was the conversation between Steven and Ted Dowell (about Stella Chernak's personal file) and to me it seems the reverse of what it should have been.
    Instead of Ted lecturing Steven about the unethical conducts, Steven blamed himself for everything, to such an extent that Ted started to make excuses for him.
    (this could be pure manipulation: I'll blame myself before he has a chance to do it).
    But then Steven started to open up about his personal feelings, and that all his life his motives had been driven by envy.
    To me it just felt like: wrong time, wrong place, wrong person. It was so bizarre.

    Episodes 151-154 were great. After Rita has decided to testify about the day Joe Chernak died (and everything else concerning their past) Ada explains to Norman how this will affect her daughter's life (and status) in Peyton Place permanently, and if he decides to walk out on her after the trial, she's going to make him wish he was never born.

    Marion Fowler seems to have vanished into thin air...
     
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  6. Wintry North Poleson

    Wintry North Poleson SoapLand Battles Moderator

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    Rita Jacks takes the stand in Rodney Harrington's trial, and it feels like big payoff.
    Before they start, all people under the age of 21 are instructed to leave the courtroom, and to me (and the characters in that scene) this really built the anticipation!
    Not that I've learned something new from her testimony, but after Steven Cord had made her put her past as Joe's gang chick in such detail, it became more tangible.
    Witnessing this from the picture-perfect "town's" point of view, it does indeed come across as a shocking and scandalous revelation, and it puts the previous events more into perspective, especially Ada Jacks' concern for her daughter's status in the Peyton Place community.

    A town divided! But isn't that the purpose of these trials? In essence, there's no difference between the Harringtons and the Carringtons.
    After Rita's testimony, Norman (always a bit of a loose cannon) takes it out on Steven. "Think about your brother", he says.
    "Yeah...my brother!", is Norman's reply.
    It's very interesting how these events push the characters in different directions. The animosity between Betty and Stella has reached boiling point, although I don't expect a physical catfight between them.
    I'm not really concerned about Rodney. As the romantic lead of this series, I don't think he will be convicted and spend the rest of his life in jail.
    But I'm sure there's going to be an aftermath.

    Allison continues to be her own worst enemy by refusing to talk about the things she doesn't remember. Mia Farrow's performance is mesmerizing, not many shows would have gotten away with this very extended storyline.
    Nevertheless, it looks like Constance (the Lola-Constance) is losing her patience and it's refreshing to see her as her own person, rather than the fiercely protective mother.
    And now the Dorothy-Constance has returned, and at some point she's going to give birth to a baby...
    I must highlight a truly bizarre scene between Allison and Russ Gehring. She asks him to play the guitar for her but he says he has finished his job that day and is ready to leave.
    But then he does it anyway, eventhough he appears to be very annoyed and hostile. And it doesn't seem to bother Allison at all.

    upload_2017-1-9_1-57-47.png
    Steven Cord, alone in the arena, where 5 minutes ago one life has been sacrificed to save another. It's a very dirty job!
     
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  7. Wintry North Poleson

    Wintry North Poleson SoapLand Battles Moderator

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    Nevertheless, Norman and Rita got married, and everything is roses and sunshine at the Jacks' Tavern.

    Snow in Peyton Place! A soap with real snow, it's like a dream come true.
    upload_2017-1-12_18-23-38.png
    Here goes Rodney.

    Gus Chernak collapses and dies before he has the chance to attack Martin Peyton. I thought it looked very similar to Joe's death scene.
     
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  8. Wintry North Poleson

    Wintry North Poleson SoapLand Battles Moderator

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    Episode 200 ends with Steven Cord proposing to Betty Anderson. Will she have the strength to ignore her feelings for Rodney?
    It's pure soap romance, albeit not the traditional love triangle since there's a fourth person involved. At first, Rodney and Allison's relationship struck me as one of those against all odds romances - he was the rich cool guy and she the dreamy and intelligent girl.
    I don't know exactly when I stopped rooting for this development, maybe after she got out of the coma and didn't remember that she used to love him.
    Or perhaps because I feel that she's not suitable as the show's romantic lead.
    Either way, at this point they all seem somewhat undecided, except Steven of course.

    There was a moment of passion between Rodney and Betty, when she stopped by to give him a present for his 21st birthday.
    And believe or not, Rodney actually looks a bit older in that episode i.e. most of his boy-ish features are gone.
    Soap kids grow up, but somehow I always notice this at the beginning of a new season - Knots Landing, for example - as if, for some mysterious reason, these kids only age off-screen during the summer recess when they're not filming episodes.
    I used to think that people age gradually but now I think it's also possible to change overnight. Ever looked in the mirror and asked yourself "how come I hadn't noticed this-or-that before"? Well, maybe because it wasn't there the day before.

    I'm not complaining. Ryan O'Neal looks incredibly handsome as a young man.
    upload_2017-1-30_1-20-59.png

    And another one: when she goes to the therapy room to talk to Russ, before she's leaving the hospital.
    To me, it wasn't quite clear what she was trying to achieve, but Allison has a way of tangling people's minds with truths and half-truths, and it's not always easy to interpret the meaning of her words.
    Then Russ says how beautiful she was when she was lying in that bed, like Sleeping Beauty, and he gets angy when she thanks him for all his help, despite the fact that she knew that he knew about the driver who hit her.
    I guess he thought that she was punishing him with her graciousness. But how did he really feel about Allison?

    Martin Peyton comes up with a soap-tastic proposal: I want an heir, you want the mill. What is your decision, Leslie?
    It reminded me of another Ruler, Angela Channing, who never scrupled to bargain with her family members.
    And yet, I don't find Martin Peyton dishonest. Leslie Harrington on the other hand...I just don't like him.

    After Rodney has been found guilty by the jury, Steven finds the link to Stella's shady past - Richard Jensen - and he hopes to pressure Stella to confess her perjury.
    The story takes an unexpected little detour since Jensen has his own plans for Stella.
    I like it when a storyline spins out of control, but at the same time I was a little worried that this would go on for a while and I really wanted to see the whole trial thing being wrapped up. But she confesses anyway.
    I find it hard to dislike Stella because I've always enjoyed her provocative and sarcastic approach to people and situations. She and Michael Rossi had great chemisty, but then, he has great chemistry with all the people in Peyton Place. Right now I would rank him as one of my favourite soap characters.
    But it was very selfish of Stella that she wanted to use Rodney's conviction to free herself from any obligations towards her family, and it turned out to be an illusion anyway because she just can't get rid of the Chernak-Stigma, no matter what.
     

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