Soap Opera Digest - Performer of the Week 4/97

On paper, Carly Roberts is hardly someone who deserves our sympathy. Not only did this bitter vixen come to Port Charles with the sole intention of destroying her biological mother, the beloved Bobbie, but she kicked off her vendetta by stealing Mom's then-husband, Tony. So why, try as we might, are we unable to label her Highly Hateable? Two words: Sarah Brown.

For months, Carly's portrayer has turned what could have been a one-dimensional villain into a complex woman plagued by insecurities. Yes, Carly does whatever she can to hurt Bobbie, but what we now understand is that Carly's venom comes from her pain and feelings of abandonment. Brown's interpretation of Carly as insecure and desperate-to-be-loved helps us to see more clearly why Carly does the self-destructive things she does (like sleeping with A.J.). Never were Carly's fears and frailties more apparent than during the fight with Tony that precipitated her roll in the hay with A.J. "Are you going to sneak away from me like you snuck away from Bobbie?" she sniped to Tony. During the argument, Carly's apprehension about Tony's affection for his ex-wife, and her anger at Tony's tolerance of son Lucas's abusive behavior came roaring to the surface.

Okay, an argument with your significant other isn't an acceptable excuse to run into the arms of an insignificant other, but Carly's betrayal was borne of a desperate desire to be cared for. Although normally, we'd look forward to the exposure of a character like Carly with gleeful anticipation, this time, we won't be cheering quite so loudly. And Carly can thank Sarah Brown for that.

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