As a child, I loved the soap opera All My Children -- damn near everyone in my family watched it at some point depending on work schedules, and because of its noon time slot, my dad would come home from work to eat his lunch and enjoy the pleasure and torments of Pine Valley along with everyone else -- my great grandmother, me, my sister. I loved the Jenny Gardener (played by Kim Delaney) story-line -- a beautiful girl from the wrong side of the tracks in love with the perfect boy whose family hated her, forced to live with her male African-American friend Jesse (always platonic -- daytime television was not ready for anything else in the late seventies) in New York's notorious Hell's Kitchen to escape her abusive father, the hysterical bad seed hillbilly named Ray. The show always tried to make Hell's Kitchen look like a pit of damage and decay full of wailing sirens and dumpsters which made it all the more attractive to me. Of course, she and her goody-goody boy would eventually wed (corndog city!) and she would die in a jet-ski accident, keeping her young and beautiful, forever tragic. Despite being a wildly popular character, Kim Delaney felt the need to move on, trying to get away from being typecast.
Years later, she'd play Jimmy Smits love interest on NYPD Blue, a charismatic, sexy, alcoholic police officer. The real Kim Delaney was all of those things in her own life as well (minus the police officer), going through detox and rehab more than a few times. I loved watching her on screen -- in her thirties, she was far more interesting than her Jenny character and times had evolved enough to give her a Latino love interest. Okay, I confess -- I enjoyed watched Jimmy S. most of all. That's why all the nudity on the show went to his umm, less than attractive partner, Sippowitz. It was a world of deflated expectations, just like life. But Kim was really something -- troubled and vulnerable and slightly ruined, someone on television to which I could relate. Once someone said I reminded her of Kim Delaney during a particularly tense moment in conversation. It was a sweet attempt to change the subject and put me at ease, and I have to say it did. I cast back to all those conversations that Jenny had on All My Children when she was living with Jesse in Hell's Kitchen, all the times they imagine what might happen in their lives, their television lives. And of course, Kim would return to the city again as a woman on a different show with a different man and a different set of problems, but they would be closer to her own and not that far from mine. I had ended up in my own version of Hell's Kitchen and while it was no Garden of Eden, I liked it just fine.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"You have to find what makes you stable in the storm. Then, no matter what's happening round you, no matter what the hype or the publicity, you can still manage to make leaps in your work as an artist. "Jimmy Smits
Drinking Halloween nail polish suggestion: Black Onyx by O.P.I. -- I wear this year round because it's the blackest shade I have ever seen.
Benedictions and Maledictions