Soap Opera Magazine- Star of the Week- 5/97

By Robert Schork

It takes a precise mixture of character flaw, irreverence, and idiosyncrasy to be a bona fide Spencer. That's what makes watching Sarah Brown (Carly) go toe to toe with Anthony Geary (Luke) and Jacklyn Zeman (Bobbie) such a feast for viewers.

For her recent performances, as she so subtlety illuminates the layers of pain underlying her character's sexual, dangerous, and moody facade, Soap Opera Magazine names Sarah Brown Star of the Week.

When Carly accidentally broke Lucas' handmade birthday gift for his father, Tony, we experienced Carly's anxiety as though we had shattered the young boy's ceramic tribute to dear old dad. And what a metaphoric scene it was, as Carly sat down to put the pieces of the present back together, just as she had been trying to put the pieces of her life back together since she'd arrived in Port Charles. "She's human and people do all kinds of weird, awful things to each other out of their own pain and their own need to survive," Brown explains. "And I think the biggest challenge for a soap actor is to let the writers and producers, as well as the audience, know that we're not going to do one-dimensional characters. If you give me a bitch, she's a bitch for a reason, and I'm going to find a reason."

That is perhaps Brown's best contribution to the role- that she conveys the reason and motivation for Carly's oft-misunderstood machinations- even when one hadn't initially existed.

"It was written that they had this terrible relationship," says Brown about her scenes with Geary. "They got on each other's nerves in the worst way, from the time they had their first fight, until now. We thought it was a better, stronger choice, and it seems to work better, if you show that we do respect each other out of the fact that we're blood, and we recognize each other in each other's eyes."

When Tony and Carly started to have problems, Carly resorted to her usual method of communicating- sex- but Brown poignantly portrayed Carly's disappointment after the deed was done, when she realized yet again, that sex is a poor substitute for love.

"That's the way Carly always solves problems with Tony, because she knows the huge power she holds over him, and over all men, is her sexuality. But when a woman looks for love in sex, she finds herself deeply disappointed. A woman needs love in order to have sex, and a man needs sex in order to feel love.

"It's like the way she went after Jason. She's new in town, nobody liked her, nobody knows her, and she needs to feel loved, so she finds herself a hot, hunky guy, and she gets in bed, and expects that she's going to feel love from that. What she ends up feeling is slapped in the face.

"She doesn't have a lot of skills, she's not well educated, she's not brilliant.

"What she has is street smarts and survival instinct and it's that survival instinct, just like her mother's- to turn tricks in order to keep herself afloat- that's Carly's way. She hasn't yet learned the lesson that everything you need is to be found from within."

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