John asks: Were there any other GL characters you wished you could have written for, either who were on the canvas at the time but not utilized very much or who were already gone from the show by then?
Claire Labine: Yes indeed. I can’t go into it because there isn’t any point. In the end the network and the production entity called the shots. That’s the way it is. You take a deep breath and wish you could have been more eloquent in persuading them this would have been a good thing to do. If you can’t do it, you can’t do it.
We Love Soaps: We spoke about the triangle that so many enjoyed of Buzz, Holly, and Billy. Who could you have seen Holly ending up with.
Claire Labine: I don’t know! We would have to have played it out. They were both so viable. The chemistry with the three of them was gangbusters. I don’t know who she would have ended up with. Maybe a third party.
PJ asks: Is there any truth to the rumors that on GL, around the time you were writing, Olivia and Holly were going to get involved?
Claire Labine: That wasn’t the original plan, but it was a later plan. I wanted to do a “Children’s Hour” story. I was very serious about wanting to do that, but the network shied away from it. We really wanted to try it to see if it would go with those two consummately gifted actresses. I would have loved to do that.
We Love Soaps: But "Children’s Hour" is a very tragic story [in which a lesbian commits suicide].
Claire Labine: It sure is.
We Love Soaps: Did you mean for it to end that way?
Claire Labine: No. I don’t think anyone needed to have committed suicide. But the realization of one or the other, that she really was in love with the other. I think how she managed that, and how the other character managed it in a loving way. In a sympathetic and loving way ask, “How the hell do we stay friends and how the hell do I not torment you? At the same time how do we do this?” That’s the stuff you get can get a lot of emotional scenes out of. It moved me. I was really interested.
Hunger asks: Please comment on the almost male rape jail scene with major heartthrob character (“Beanie”, played by Christopher Reeve) on LOVE OF LIVE in 1974?
Claire Labine: Ben Harper—I had only written for Christopher Reeve in that role. But this story rings no bells, I can’t imagine how we would have gotten there. He got bigamously married in a highly convoluted story. I think that had to have been an early incarnation. I didn’t know him as “Beanie,” that must have been prior to 1974. We didn’t talk about it, it wasn’t us.
Hunger asks: Did you write the Vietnamese woman & war vet story?
Claire Labine: I don’t remember that one.
Hunger asks: Also,the horsemeat/cafeteria story on LOVE OF LIFE?
Claire Labine: That probably was an early foray into environmental issues that outraged me because I love horses very much. This fellow has a great memory.
We Love Soaps: According to Wikipedia, this was related to the story around the mayor Jeff Hart. He had his henchman lock Vanessa and her daughter Cal (Caroline) in a meat freezer. They learned that the meat served as Cal’s school was horsemeat.
Claire Labine: That was us! We were fully responsible for that. Van and Cal were locked in the freezer.
We Love Soaps: Then it says Jeff raped Cal before he left town.
Claire Labine: That had to have been after we left. We wouldn’t have done that for a minute. The wonderful thing was having Jeff Hart as the mayor and his henchman played by Michael Fairman [ex-RYAN’S HOPE, now THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS]. Fairman was playing Haldeman to Hart’s Nixon. We had laid this out before Watergate. We had this mini-Watergate story that was playing out at the same time as the real scandal. Hart’s lies were closing in on him, he had dirty tricks up one side and down the other. I don’t think ABC ever really understood, but my theory is that there five minutes of news at 12:00, they were playing out Watergate, then on comes LOVE OF LIFE doing Watergate. They thought we were doing it on purpose.
We Love Soaps: That covers most of our reader’s questions. What do you think?
Claire Labine: Please thank them. I was delighted to answer them. I’m astonished people remember what they remember, it pleases me very much.
We Love Soaps: I think it also shows how you’ve touched so many people. They carry your writing and how your stories have helped them or improved their lives in some way.
Claire Labine: Really and truly it such an astonishing privilege to be able to tell stories that reflect human dilemma and have this incredible audience every day. And a resident company of actors that you trust and love. There’s nothing like it. The pressures of night time are different, the pace is different. This every day exposure to other people’s lives, and the fun of living in the alternate reality...when one is it one is not always sure which world is the real world. Am I coming out of the real world to bring things into the serial, or am I coming out of the serial to bring things into the real world? Who knows, it gets very confused. But it’s a profound pleasure to work in the forum.
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 is re-imagining a world without "shoulds" at www.shouldless.com.