Soap Opera Magazine- 11/96
One on One- Sarah Brown and Jackie Zeman
Family Ties (and Lies)
By Robyn Flans
GH viewers wondered for months about the true identity of the young woman who came to Port Charles calling herself Carly Roberts. Even as the facts began to emerge, her motivations remained a mystery. Then it became clear that Carly is Bobbie's long-lost daughter. But don't expect a joyous mother-daughter reunion- Carly's torrid affair with Bobbie's husband Tony has killed any chance of that. Soap Opera Magazine sat down with Jacklyn Zeman (Bobbie) and Sarah Brown (Carly) to get their take on these two adversaries- and the actress' candid insights were every bit as exciting and surprising as their compelling mother vs. daughter storyline.
Soap Opera Magazine: Jackie, what would you like to tell Carly, in character, as Bobbie?
Jackie Zeman: The script says it all. We just taped a scene where I see Tony for the first time since I found Carly and him in bed. He says to me, "I don't have time to talk to you now. Carly is waiting and I need to pick her up and drive her home."
Sarah Brown: Did he say that? That's awful.
JZ: Needless to say, I'm going to give Carly a piece of my mind. I'm literally going to go on for five pages- and it's very well written. I tell her that she's a heartless little home-wrecker who used my husband while he was going through a mid-life crisis and in a very fragile state of mind. He lost a daughter and he's been uncentered for a year and a half. Carly used my son to get to him, and she used me- she was trying on my jewelry and really trying on my life. She's sneaky and has an agenda. Tony will wise up to her. He'll see who she really is, and the rest of the town will, too.
SB: And I just stand there, looking at her like I've been steamrolled.
SOM: Sarah, what would you want to say to Bobbie, as Carly?
SB: This is all Bobbie's fault, from beginning to end. Her husband is going through a mid-life crisis because she's driving him to one. She hasn't seen that Tony has needs and desires- he needed to laugh and have a good time. She's brought this upon herself, and if she hadn't thrown me out, I wouldn't be back 20 years later to ruin her life.
SOM: She doesn't know that part yet.
SB: She doesn't, but that's what I'd like to say. I came here hoping she'd love me. I went into the nursing program thinking Bobbie would love it, that she wouldn't know who I was, but she'd fall in love with me and eventually I'd be able to tell her. But it didn't happen that way.
JZ: Does a mother's love go that deep? Being a mother myself, I think it does.
SB: My (real-life) mom doesn't speak to her biological mother because she's been horrible to her all of her life, but she tells me that no matter what, she loved her and she waited for her and blamed herself whenever anything was wrong. I know that's how Carly is. The first day Carly met Bobbie, she wanted Bobbie to accept her and love her. When she didn't she was angry. Carly has the need for a female role model to take her under her wing as Bobbie did in the beginning. But once they started to get close, Bobbie got really protective of her husband and son; she felt threatened.
JZ: Bobbie sensed that Carly had an agenda and a neediness that was just a little beyond some girl passing through town. Also, there was her saying she wanted to be a nurse when she was so bad at it. She has nothing that will make her a good nurse- no maternal feelings- so it was like, "Something is wrong here."
SB: Carly never had maternal love. Her (adoptive) mother who raised her never loved her. Luke said it best: "She gave you a backyard and a yearbook."
JZ: I see a lot of who Bobbie was when I started to play her 20 years ago- both in Carly and in Sarah as an actress. There's a grit about us, a toughness, a survivor instinct- and also a sense of humor about life. And all the things you've said about wanting- the doctor, the husband, the clothes and the lifestyle- was everything that Bobbie wanted and tried to get- also in the wrong way, for the wrong reasons. Bobbie had nothing. She and Luke were like a couple of orphans running around, feeding themselves.
SOM: How did it make Carly feel to discover that?
SB: That was a real awakening for me. I had no idea. It was hard when Luke came up to the cabin, announced that he was my uncle and said, "This is who your mother is: She ate dog food. She turned her tricks in the back alleys." But the only thing you can do is get defensive. You don't go, "Oh poor her, I'm so sorry. I'll leave her husband alone." You justify: "I've got to hold on to this man. He's the only man- only human being- I've ever found who loves me." When Luke tells me those things, it shocks me, but when he says Bobbie's built this life for herself, all I can think is: "What did she build? She didn't build a marriage. This man is miserable with her," assuming it's all her fault and has always been. Because if I can't hang on to that justification, than I can't do what I'm doing.
JZ: It's age and experience, too. When you're 20, you don't really see the depth. When you finish with somebody, you move on and get a new relationship. You don't really see how something like this affects children, family, the unit.
SB: Yeah, I'm going, "I'll take over. Lucas can come with me." I'm delusional, of course, but a lot of abandoned kids want to be parents young because they want somebody to love them unconditionally, which is what they assume babies will do- which is maybe why Bobbie had me. Why did you have me? Why didn't you have an abortion?
JZ: As a person, I could never have one, so I can understand how Bobbie could never have one. I believe abortions should be legal, as I believe Bobbie does, but it's also a personal thing about what you as an individual can or can't do.
SOM: Sarah, how do you feel about Carly right now?
SB: It's really hard for me because my training teaches me not to judge my character. Once you do start judging what your character is doing, you're not going to be able to connect to it. What you have to find out is how to justify it. I've never had an affair with a married man, and I never will. But I do know what it's like to find true love and say, "I don't care what anybody says. Nobody can make me lose this, nothing can make me give this up." I understand the side of Carly that finds love and says, "I'm in love and I'm going to hold on with all I have because it's all I have to live for."
SOM: Jackie, how do you feel about Bobbie these days?
JZ: Pretty good. I have such an investment in Bobbie emotionally- having been her for these past 20 years, and I'm very protective of her. If I didn't feel comfortable with something, I'd immediately go to the powers that be and say I'm having a hard time with it. The one time I did that was with the Damian storyline a couple of years ago. I called Wendy (Riche, executive producer) and said, "Believe me, I love Leigh McCloskey (Damian) and I love working with him and don't want to talk myself out of a story, but I'm having a hard time justifying this. People don't throw away their whole life for a shtup, and you're making this about a shtup. If this is a love story, it needs to be a love story." Like you were saying, Sarah, "I've met the one and I'm going to be with him." That I can understand, but to be about a guy and sex, that either makes Bobbie stupid or makes what she has in her life of little value to her.
SB: I think that's a really important point. Carly's motivations were sort of written as revenge, but I said, "No, she loves him," because if she doesn't, what's the point? It can't just be about sex or something that superficial. There are a lot of reasons she loves Tony, and I think I remind him of you- Bobbie- when you didn't have as much responsibility. You needed him and Carly needs him so bad, and I think men really need to be needed. Maybe he is going through a mid-life crisis, but I think, "That's OK, and it's my job to get him through it." I'm going through a beginning life crisis. In the dictionary, crisis is defined as a dangerous opportunity, and that's what I think all of us characters are going through- we're all facing dangerous opportunities to change our lives radically.
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