Soap Opera Update- September 14, 1999

Defending Carly

By Ellen Baskin

Sarah Brown (Carly) has never been one to keep quiet about her General Hospital character's often questionable behavior. But in the past, Brown has usually stood up for Carly. Even when nobody in Port Charles would give the girl the time of day, Brown could explain the complex reasons behind her actions.

These days, though, Brown isn't shy about declaring her frustration with her alter ego. "It seems like every decision she makes right now is revolving around one man or another," Brown sighs. Torn between her love for Jason and her desire to ensure a future for her son Michael, Carly set out to marry Michael's rich and powerful father A.J. Quartermaine. Her plan was to keep her son, and ultimately get together with Jason by bringing down A.J.

Brown feels that Carly's scheme didn't reflect the maturity she's been gaining up until now. "It's more of who she was when she started, instead of having grown over these past three years," she thinks. "Her self-esteem has gone nowhere."

To be sure, Brown recognizes that Carly's actions are rooted in her love for her young son: "She has the right intentions. It's not as if she's come up with this plan out of spite or meanness. She really thinks it's the best thing for her child." But that's where Carly and Sarah part company. "It's hard for me to make sense of the part of the plan where the best thing for her child is to destroy his father," the actress admits.

When it comes to playing the protective mother, Brown doesn't have to stretch very far. Both she and her character share "that knowledge of what it means to be a mama bear - that 'nobody is going to touch my kid.' I don't have to imagine that feeling." Her face lights up like neon when she talks about her year-old daughter Jordan, the product of her former relationship with musician Shuki Levy. "She's amazing! My daughter is the best thing that's ever happened to me!"

These days, though, Brown's frontburner storyline is often keeping her away from her little girl. "Ever since she's been born, it's been really heavy-duty stuff- not just the storyline, but long, long hours. I'm not complaining, but it's hurting me right now, because I desperately miss her." She may be a two-time Emmy winner, but Brown is well aware of the conflict she shares with ordinary working mothers. "It's so hard to know what the right thing to do is," she continues. "But in my heart, I feel that the best thing for my daughter is that she'll be able to look back when she's older and say, 'I'm really proud of my mom. She was young and worked really hard, and everything she has she did for herself. Nobody ever gave her anything.' I want to be able to be that kind of role model for her." Besides, "it's even tougher not to work. So what do you do?"

One solution is to be with Jordan when-ever she can. "All my free time goes to my daughter," Brown says. The actress is also close to her mom and dad, who have settled near her in the Los Angeles area. That's a far cry from her childhood, which Brown spent moving from place to place.

Although the family was always in California, "we'd move about six times in two years within one city, and every two years we'd move to another city," she recalls. It was a challenging life for a child. "It was hard to always be picking up and leaving friends. I didn't like it when I was growing up," Brown admits. "But now, I look back and think it was a wonderful thing."

Whether Carly will find that same security with Jason remains to be seen, especially since genuine feelings seem to be developing between her and A.J. It's anyone's guess as to how the potential love triangle will be resolved. "There's a lot of indecisiveness about which way to go," allows Brown, who admits to feeling "a mixture of discomfort and curiosity having no idea what the writers are planning. But I sort of gather from what I hear that nothing at all is set in stone."

Meanwhile, despite her concern over Carly's current behavior, she remains positive about the character:
"She's learning. Carly is a work in progress, like we all are."

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