Wednesday, 4 April 2012

"PAPER DOLLS", THE SERIES











Before Nicollette Sheridan was Eddie Britt on DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES or Paige Matheson on KNOTS LANDING, she was Taryn Blake on PAPER DOLLS. If you recall, she was one of the few fresh faces invading our televisions that year. We’re talking about 1984. Prime time soaps were hot commodities. ABC wanted yet again to cash in on the trend by turning a past hit TV movie, about the fashion industry, into a weekly series. A darn good idea at the time, if you ask me. So in came PAPER DOLLS, with a slew of well-known actors such as Lloyd Bridges, Brenda Vaccaro, Morgan Fairchild



I was a young adult then, barely out of the closet and completely at lost with the world. My parents were having trouble with my sexuality; my love life was in shambles, and, most importantly, I had lost the respect of my dearest friend over my quitting his family business (too long a story to explain). The only thing left was to escape by going out dancing every night or watching as much TV as possible. Remember, LACE was everyone’s favorite mini-series back then. And never having been a true DYNASTY fan (I was more into KNOTS LANDING, even with pre-Sheridan), I was always on the lookout for something fresh to sink my teeth into.



Well, of course I couldn’t resist the charms of PAPER DOLLS. I had previously enjoyed the aforementioned TV movie with Joan Collins as fashion agency owner Racine and young Daryl Hannah as supermodel Blake. Seeing Morgan Fairchild and Nicollette Sheridan taking over those roles was fine with me. I was already aware of Fairchild, having catched her prior in TV’s FLAMINGO ROAD (a candidate for an upcoming blog entry), and Sheridan to me was perfection in the flesh, having discovered her in the 1982 hit flick THE SURE THING.
 


The first broadcast episode was a two hour special that was going against The Emmy Awards, if memory serves me right. And to the surprise of all, including I, PAPER DOLLS scored impressive ratings, making it a solid contender for a continuous success. Well, as it turned out, it was too good to be true. The subsequent weekly ratings did not fare as well and PAPER DOLLS was soon yanked after a mere 14 episodes.



Where was I when all of this was happening? Mostly in front of my TV screen trying to watch the tribulations of these high-powered people. I say trying because ABC kept shuffling the series on their schedule and it was hard keeping track. But I did manage to do it up until its premature end. It would take me more than twenty years before seeing PAPER DOLLS again. When the moment came (via the now-defunct SOAPnet) it put me right back into that time when everything was good and bad in my life. The one thing I was most impressed with when revisiting this long-forgotten show is how stylish and glossy everything was. This was typical ‘80s; you know, big money, big hair, big shoulder pads... It had such a commercial appeal that I kind of wished the series would have stayed on a little longer. Just enough to resolve the multi-faceted cliffhangers of the first season. Ending it like it started, in a two-hour special finale, perhaps.


Yes, it’s because of PAPER DOLLS that I really got to enjoy Nicollette Sheridan. But it didn’t stop with her. Terry Farrell, Mimi Rogers, Dack Rambo, and of course, pop singer John Waits playing himself as Taryn’s puppy love, all became favorites of mine—at least for a while. Besides Sheridan who’s been devoting her time nowadays on her legal battle against DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES execs for wrongful termination, only Fairchild seems to still be around (have you guys seen her in the American telenovela FASHION HOUSE?! Another blog contender, for sure). Some have stopped acting, some have passed away. But one thing will always stay the same, the pleasure I got from having been part of their fictitious lives during those 14 aired episodes. To me, they were like a balm to my then-hardship. And because of them (and the show kick ass plot and subplots) I will always be grateful.
 
 
 
 

Until next post—Martin




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