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Steve Frame
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On Guiding Light, Coop and Ashlee may not be a supercouple yet, or even an actual couple, but they are well on their way. This unique pairing is what good soap opera is all about. Their budding relationship is being portrayed in such an agonizingly realistic fashion that it is almost hard to watch at times.

“Coop Cooper,” as Ashlee affectionately calls her beloved, is a strapping young man from a good family. He’s everything a girl could want: intelligent, charming and extremely good looking. Ashlee was raised by the single mother from hell, is younger than Coop, and overweight. She’s also sensitive, self deprecating and pretty in an untraditional way. Her brand of pretty is not Hollywood stereotype size two pretty, but rather real woman in the real world pretty. She looks like someone we know.

Their romance has been depicted believably with the two starting out as friends before Ashlee developed a crush on Coop. Their friendship deepened and Ashlee eventually fell in love with Coop. They shared a tender kiss, but Coop still held back his true feelings. It was clear to everyone but him that he was in love with Ashlee.

A turning point came when Coop broke up with his model-like girlfriend Ava, and declared his love for Ashlee only to be rebuffed by her. In a poignant speech, she explained that it shouldn’t be so hard for him to love her. He has sworn to win her heart and prove his love.

This modern day Cinderella tale is brought to life by John Driscoll (Coop) and Caitlin Van Zandt (Ashlee). Driscoll and Van Zandt have chemistry to spare as they bicker and spar with each other. When Van Zandt turns her baby blue eyes up at Driscoll, he seems to melt, as do the viewers.

Both actors have displayed good comedic timing which was never more evident than during the recent episode where Coop became excited while watching a movie with Ashlee. While some thought the ensuing scene where Coop talked to his “privates” in the bathroom was distasteful, others found it hilarious and true to life. Van Zandt seemed to be in her element as she baited Driscoll with wry one liners, and his embarrassment and awkwardness added depth to what could have been a cheesy scene.

These two are perfect together, and have real potential to grow into an anchor couple for the show, a young Josh and Reva if you will. With Ashlee and her mother hinting everyday about some dark secret from Ashlee’s past, hopefully it won’t derail the burgeoning romance. With any luck, the writers will let Coop and Ashlee declare and consummate their mutual love before they get torn apart, only to reunite them again in true soap fashion.
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