Temple of Vanessa
How to Catch a Man -- Soap-Style!
SOD Apr 97
1. Know Your Type. When Sonny was felled by stray mob bullets, Brenda saved his life - and captured his heart - with a transfusion of her blood.
2. It Pays To Advertise. Sonny was busy running the underworld, but Brenda diverted his eyes from the (fixed) books by plastering her face on every billboard in Port Charles.
3. Mix Business With Pleasure. For her next trick, Brenda unwittingly helped her man dodge the IRS by sheltering his cash in L&B Records.
4. Get Kidnapped By The Mob. Outrunning gun-toting Puerto Rican warlords in three-inch heels ruined Brenda's vacation, but at least she and Sonny got to enjoy that From Here To Eternity makeout session afterward.
5. Wear A Wire. Sure, Sonny was furious when Brenda went undercover for the cops, but at least he gave her that long-overdue lecture on trust and loyalty.
6. Feign Helplessness. Tears and apologies didnt melt Sonny's icy heart, so Brenda stranded herself in a snowstorm. When he came to her rescue, she turned up the body heat.
7. Marry Someone Else. When all else failed, Brenda moved on... and Sonny moved in.
Battle Lines! - SOD Apr 97
GH Creates The Perfect Triangle -- And Fans Are In An Uproar
"Sonny and Brenda will always share great chemistry. No other couple in daytime has the passion and the light. Even through the worst situations, they always find each other. They are soul mates. I just hope the writers at GH can see the beauty they share with the audience and let them be happy and together."-- M.A., via Digest Online on AOL
"For 15 years, no other love story has captivated me as much as the love story of Brenda and Jax. First they were friends, then lovers. Viewers waited for months for Brenda to tell Jax she loved him, and when she did on their wedding day, it was the most romantic moment I can ever remember on the show. Restore the magic!" -- C.D., via Digest Online on AOL
Aaah, the great GH debate. There is no more vocal group of fans right now.
"We did not write the character of Jax as a one-dimensional, arrogant, self-centered wimp," wrote the campaign director of the S&Believers to Executive Producer Wendy Riche just before Sonny and Brenda reunited in the catacombs. "Instead of taking S&B to a place where their relationship can soar, we were subjected to a moping, morbid Sonny and a lame carbon copy of the Brenda that we know and love."
On other fronts, we have the 1200-plus signatures on the J&B Angels petition, demanding that GH "restore the magic" and realize that "Jax is a perfect match for Brenda... their love is passionate, romantic, full of tenderness and fun... a healthy and enchanting love."
Yikes. "I have fans sending me flowers and notes," marvels Riche, adding that she reads "most of the mail" and goes online periodically to gauge which way the wind is blowing with daytime's hottest triangle.
"The fans are very vocal," she continues. "I've actually spoken to some of the fans. I've called several of them and said, 'Stay tuned!' Like the Sonny and Brenda fans, because I knew something was coming in the catacombs. Or, if they think that Jax isnt Jax, I've called and said, 'Look, we tried to do something with the character of Miranda, and it didnt work. Bear with us.' Or, if somebody is leaving, I say, 'Actors are people, too.'" Riche acknowledges that a phone call from GH's executive producer must come as a surprise to the average viewer. "This is probably more than a fan needs to know," she laughs.
What fans do need to know is which one Brenda (Vanessa Marcil) is going to choose: Sonny (Maurice Benard) or Jax (Ingo Rademacher)? "Jax just lights up the whole room, and that was something Brenda needed -- to feel good. Clearly, that's what the fans latched on to. The Jax fans are saying, 'She's happy, let her be happy.' And the other side is that you have this primal, visceral love, and it doesnt go away. Regardless of how you judge it, it doesnt go away. And that's what's happening with Sonny and Brenda."
So, here's the answer, all you S&Believers and J&B Angels: Brenda is choosing... neither! For the moment, anyway. "Brenda needs space right now to figure out who she is so she can make the right, honorable choice -- for the men she loves and for herself," explains Riche.
Are Sonny and Jax really going to sit back and leave Brenda alone while she decides? "Interestingly enough, both men are going to allow her this time," responds Riche, "because each one believes that she will come back to him. I think we're going to see a little bit of a change in Sonny, because he will allow her that. And Jax, true to form, accepts it. One of the beautiful things in their relationship is that he accepts her for who she is, completely and unconditionally."
That wasnt the original plan. Ingo was initially brought in to shake up the marriage of Ned (Wally Kurth) and Lois (Rena Sofer), but when Rena decided not to renew her contract, GH went to Plan B and inserted Jax into the Sonny/Brenda story. "We wanted somebody who would viably create a triangle, and the minute I saw this guy, I knew," Riche says, confessing that she was surprised by how fast the character of Jax took off with viewers. "It's odd, because I wanted it, but I didnt want it. You know what I mean?" Riche confides. "Jax took such focus away from Sonny and Brenda, but that's what the intention was! I always knew Ingo would have great success. He's a terrific actor and has such genuine appeal. It was more a question of whether the actors would connect, too, because sometimes an actor can have genuine appeal and they dont connect."
Chemistry has never been a problem with Vanessa Marcil. "Vanessa seems to have chemistry with wood," chuckles Riche. "You look into the eyes of an actor and you are either allowed in, or not. Vanessa allows you in. She's very, very accessible, and I think that's one of the keys to her success."
While the debate raged on, GH upped the ante last month by having Brenda and Sonny make love. "After the catacombs, everything changed," explains Riche. "Brenda thought she was dying. Sonny thought he was dying. So there was nothing at risk and nothing to lose. All bets were off. They both felt this was the way it was always meant to end. Fate. They comforted each other and professed the love they felt. The nightmare for Brenda was when she heard Jax's voice and was shocked back into reality."
Which is? "She loves two men, and she had been addicted to drugs." Riche assures us that Brenda will battle her drug addiction first, before dealing with the inevitable choice of which man she should spend her life with.
"The response I get from fans is that they want Brenda with Jax," reports Ingo, who has a long-term contract. What does he tell those people? "Watch what happens," he winks.
"I think Sonny is the love of her life and always will be," Vanessa chimes in. "I dont think she will ever love anyone like she loved Sonny. True love is desperate. Brenda and Sonny are like Romeo and Juliet to me. I used to love our scenes (when the characters were together), because we had realistic arguements and realistic fears and we were really loving to each other. We worked through stuff together and we argued; that was healthy. The fact that he lied about what he was involved in was the big problem for them, but I think that lots of great relationships have problems because someone wasnt honest about something."
On the other hand, Vanessa can see Brenda making a life with Jax. "I think she could love Jax and be happy with him." It's a perfect threesome, and Vanessa is in no hurry for the story to resolve itself. "I love being the point of a triangle," she smiles. "Bring on the two men!"
While the debate rages through the mail and on the Internet, much will depend on whether Maurice and Vanessa renew their contracts. "It's like Richard says," quips Riche, referring to GH Head Writer Richard Culliton. "'Who am I writing for this week?'"
Vanessa Marcil to GH Fans: "Relax!"
Unless you've been living in the catacombs, you know that GH star Vanessa Marcil is in the process of deciding whether or not she wants to remain with the show when her contract expires this summer.
"The rumor I heard is that I signed for another year," marvels Vanessa. "I actually read that in one of those new soap magazines. That is untrue, and I wish you would print that. How can they say I have signed a contract when I havent? I havent even made a decision!"
Rumors started around the time that Vanessa's pilot, LA Med, was not chosen for ABC's fall schedule. "Even though my show didnt get picked up, there are a lot of things happening outside of GH," she explains. "There are still a lot of elements that have nothing to do with the show, which have to do with other things in my life. We cant start negotiating until I say to GH 'I'm staying,' which I havent done."
GH fans are keenly interested in Vanessa's contract status, because they assume that if Vanessa stays, Brenda will be paired with Jax(Ingo Rademacher). If Vanessa goes, the rumor is that Brenda will go on the run with Sonny (Maurice Benard, who has announced his exit). "You never know," teases Vanessa, in character as Brenda. "It may not be one or the other. I may leave without Sonny. Or I might leave and come back. Or I might stay and not end up with Jax. The writers have to be prepared for the fact that I might leave, and they have to figure out two different scenarios. They either write that I'm leaving or that I'm staying."
So, while Vanessa is weighing her many options, does she have any advice for her loyal GH fans? "Relax!" responds the actress with a smile.
1997 Soap Opera Digest Awards -- Hottest Female Star
Vanessa Marcil, Brenda (GH)
"First, I want to thank God. I cant believe I finally got one! I want to thank the fans and Soap Opera Digest. I feel honored to be recognized in the category alongside Eva and Martha. I feel honored to be in daytime, among the hardest working actors in the industry. I have to thank Linda, and the rest of my team, Wendy Riche, Mark Teschner and Carol Scott, the directors, producers, writers, all the cast and crew. I want to thank Maurice, Ingo, Rena and Wally, my mother, Mel, Trish, Alana and my sister, Sheri. I want to thank Nathan for helping me through the hardest year of my life, Jon Homa for opening my heart and teaching me to trust, and Tyler, my best friend in the entire world, for teaching me to forgive myself and for teaching me that angels really do exist. I love you, honey."
Soap Opera Update: Nov 25, 1997
When Tyler Christopher took his first acting role on General Hospital in the summer of 1996, Vanessa Marcil was one of his first co-stars to welcome him aboard. Although their storylines have yet to cross paths, their real-life friendship blossomed into romance - a route, Vanessa says, neither of them ever experienced before. The couple have spent the past year plotting their future together, househunting, and planning a December wedding (it will be her second, his first). By all indications, they've opted not to go for a huge wedding, instead keeping it small and simple, concentrating on what the ceremony is really about. And dont expect the whole show to be in attendance, as the twosome say just friends and castmates closest to them will be attending the nuptials. While Vanessa's future with GH may be in question - she's staying for at least a half-year - their future together is clear: They look forward to starting a family. And maybe a business down the line. Says Tyler, "Vanessa's talked about starting a theater company and doing a one-act play that we would write. That's exactly what we want to do." Chances are, if that's what this hot and up-and-coming couple want for their future, you can bet they're going to get it!
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