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I soap hopped, but discovered The Doctors mid 78 or so. Sara died around August 1979, but I tried to keep with it-despite the writing/producing debacles. At one point you watched it at your own risk. You know, the frustration that accompanies wanting to be a viewer, offering your loyalty, but it not being returned or justified. Still, it was apparent The Doctors had a lot of inherent strengths:
Mona Aldrich was the classic, controlling matriarch and Meg Mundy played her to perfection. Characters like Mona were common in soap's glory days. Sometimes they were benevolent; other times they were terrors and Mona was one of the best- unshakably certain of right and wrong, always acting with moral certitude, a very formidable lady. She adored her handsome sons, attorney Jason and doctor Steve. No one was good enough for them. Millions of women have played that dynamic out for real, including Mona's daughter-in-laws, which made it an endless source of identifiable conflict- a story that never had to be resolved. Steve's wife Carolee was the suburban spouse viewers could idealize- warm, sympathetic, a 1970's earth mother. There was nothing objectionable about her, but Mona disapproved anyway (little did Mona know how good she had it until she drew Nola as the next in-law). She criticized Carolee's breeding, mothering, her wifely devotion, her career as a nurse. Carolee forbore Mona mightily; sometimes they united for a purpose and there was a truce; more often there were burrs in their relationship. Carolee could push back mightily and those scenes were glorious. Once, Carolee, stopped by to help with Nola, who was sequestered in her bedroom (after a drunken debacle). She and Mona were very civil; the elder woman grateful for the younger's concern. Then Mona noticed Carolee school notebook (she was taking a midwife course) and edgily asked if C was "still doing that". Carolee tried to impart the worth of what she was doing, but her mother-in-law was having none of it. Now Carolee was on the defensive, arguing that her children were "well taken care of". "Is that so?", Mona shot back frostily. She reminded Carolee that Erich had been acting out (setting a fire) and she strongly disapproved of Billy's teenage love affair- and impending fatherhood. Finally, Mona wondered if Carolee shouldn't just leave the "doctoring" to someone qualified- like Steve. Both actresses played countless variations of scenes like these- and they always brought it home. I wonder if they ever knew how much they were liked and appreciated. Jada Rowland grew up in front of daytime America- she had tremendous, in-born goodwill from her audience.
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