In this final part of my interview with AS THE WORLD TURNS actress Lynn Herring, the actresses weighs in on what is lacking in GENERAL HOSPITAL today (and soaps in general).
We Love Soaps: You have been married to Wayne Northrop (ex-Roman on DAYS OF OUR LIVES) for 28 years. What is the secret to staying married for 28 years?
Lynn Herring: [Laughs] Wow. I have no idea. Except that we laugh a lot. I just think if you laugh at each other and with each other. And we’ve been lucky to have common goals, both with the ranching and the way we raise our kids. These days it’s tricky, and I think it’s so hard, especially with the financial pressures. We went into it respecting and liking each other, and admiring each other’s professional abilities. But mostly we just laugh a lot. We have terrible things happen but somehow we look at each other and say, “Okay, we’ll get through this.”
We Love Soaps: I want to thank you for doing this interview with me. At We Love Soaps we often talk about the history of the genre while looking at the future.
Lynn Herring: Well then you tell me your take. I love that you know so much about it. What is your take on daytime right now? Because coming back, just these couple of months, it’s been interesting to hear what people like and don’t like. Do you think the shows from a viewer’s point are holding their own pretty well?
We Love Soaps: No. Honestly. I say that with respect. I respect the shows, and I respect the work. As a viewer what I see on all the shows is very plot-based story telling. I understand there are budgetary constrictions, but there is not a lot of consistency in the characters and their motivations.
Lynn Herring: I agree.
We Love Soaps: And there’s not a lot of character-based story telling, not the kind that Claire Labine used to tell, or that Harding Lemay used to tell. That for me as a viewer is what loses me. [Character based stories] is what hooked me in a kid, and it’s what kept me hooked in with RYAN'S HOPE and GENERAL HOSPITAL. Not having that on any of the shows now, my interests wane pretty quickly.
Lynn Herring: You know, that’s what I’m getting from a lot of people. I’m sure you know that we actors sit around and dissertate on this all the time. I don’t understand why the powers that be don’t see that. They don’t see it, they don’t understand the characters that got you watching all these years, not just the sci-fi or the next big thing. And I think they’re all guilty of that. And they wonder why the ratings go down, and it’s really frustrating. The actors, we have to play it. We get blamed. We do take the heat because we’re [the ones] they can yell at. And they don’t like just the plot-driven [stories]. That’s a really tough thing. I hope things you write, that people at least pick it up and read it and try to change that.
We Love Soaps: And for me it’s not even about money, about sets, or about costumes. RYAN'S HOPE in the 1970’s looked like it was made for about 75 cents a day.
Lynn Herring: [Laughs] I agree.
We Love Soaps: But it was brilliant psychological based story telling that you had to see every day.
Lynn Herring: Kin [Shriner] said, “Turn on GH” the other day. And I didn’t recognize anyone except Alexis. It was a whole show of people I had never seen. Not that I’m a viewer enough to know everybody. But that was Kin’s point. They’re not mixing in the character type people enough. I thought that was interesting. I don’t know if the other soaps do a better job of it. But there was a lot of new faces from a year instead of five or even ten years. So you don’t know the characters anymore either. And that’s kind of scary for the viewer too. I think if they want to pick it up again.
We Love Soaps: I think with GENERAL HOSPITAL there is no one to root for, and no one whose motivations stay consistent. Their emotions are so fickle and so everchanging you can’t really root for anyone. Plus, it’s so violent, I’m just not interested in anyone.
Lynn Herring: You know I think that’s true on a lot of the shows. And that’s a very eloquent way to put it. You’re not rooting for anybody because they change too much and you don’t see a pure motivation for them. With Audrey, I think it's true, people can’t really root for her motivations. I think they’ll be entertained, I hope, with Henry and the shenanigans, but it’s not as deep as I would have liked to have done her. That gives me some insight too.
We Love Soaps: And Lucy did some pretty mean things, but there was always consistency behind it. She always had intelligence, she always had a heart. Even when she was playing with Damian and betting on people’s lives with tragic consequences. You always somehow stayed on Lucy’s side.
Lynn Herring: I hope. I miss her. I’m hoping that out of this we have some sort of response that maybe, even if it’s a short term thing, with Luke coming back and Scotty and Lucy, just to try to get some of the characters. You know Stuart Damon comes to AS THE WORLD TURNS in the Fall, and he was saying the same thing. Him and Leslie [Charleston] and the whole Quartermaine family, that was such an interesting dynamic whether you just laughed at them or not, it was a great family. To split it up has been really hard for him.
We Love Soaps: They decimated that family, and they’re really not telling multigenerational stories anymore.
Lynn Herring: I know! See, if you and I were king, we could fix this crazy stuff! But thank goodness we still have it. I’m just glad to still play a character and have fun like that.
- The Lynn Herring Interview, Part One
- The Lynn Herring Interview, Part Two
- The Lynn Herring Interview, Part Three
Damon L. Jacobs is a Marriage Family Therapist practicing in New York City, and the author of "Absolutely Should-less: The Secret to Living the Stress-Free Life You Deserve." He blogs regularly at www.shouldless.com.