Article about Megan on Heartland

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hannikan
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Article about Megan on Heartland

Postby hannikan » Sun Nov 29, 2009 3:09 pm

http://www.vancouversun.com/entertainme ... story.html

There isn't any way to comment on the article's page itself so I thought I would here. This author is so patronizing of Anne and RTA it's really annoying. I have been getting the impression that many journalists and critics tend to do this now of Sullivan's work, much like ppl do in the U.S. of the Cosby Show. Anything successful with the masses is written off completely (and after a time laughed at by the general public) until all the people involved in the creation of it are dead. Then all of a sudden it's genius! The writer is clearly too dense (or else never actually watched RTA) to notice the fact that addiction did creep into RTA in the form of Viola Elliot's addiction to alcohol/pain medication. Abe Pike was a murderer and alcoholic. Mr. Hammond was also a violent drunk in Anne. Oh but only stories set in the modern day ever show the ugly aspects of society. Insert sarcastic tone. The fact that Megan was typecast for several years had far less to do with the complex character of Anne than it did with the fact that she was a teen star. Any wildly popular role played by a teenager will follow them wherever they go.
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Re: Article about Megan on Heartland

Postby Shelly » Sun Nov 29, 2009 7:11 pm

I'm not sure I'm seeing any patronization here. The only thing that stands out to me is the author making light of the fact Megan was, again, playing against type -- something she's done for nearly two decades.

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Re: Article about Megan on Heartland

Postby Timothy » Mon Nov 30, 2009 3:14 pm

"...it's modern setting necessitates a certain edge that was perhaps missing from Anne's adventures or Sarah Polley's followup fun on Road to Avonlea"

Sarah Polley certainly doesn't consider the series "fun."

This is another example of lazy and irresponsible reporting. Mr. Volmers is repeating the same erroneous claims of past reporters that the series lacks "edge." If he would have done his research, he would have found that RTA covers "edgy" themes such as addiction as Hannikan suggested.

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hannikan
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Re: Article about Megan on Heartland

Postby hannikan » Mon Nov 30, 2009 6:28 pm

In addition to what Timothy noted... "It's hard to imagine that the issues of addiction and domestic abuse found in Heartland's storyline over the next two weeks would have ever snuck into CBC's classic family hour 25 years ago."

There is just a snide tone in the way he talks about RTA and Anne. Also the way he arranges Megan's quotes out of context, to try support this snide attitude, is misleading. I fully acknowledge that Megan's role (Lily) on Heartland is quite different from Anne but there are similarities between Lily and Viola. While the audience is critical of both women, we sympathize with them and understand how their addiction came to be. Both characters give a human, non-stereotyped face to addiction. And I'm guessing it's this exposed, real human face in the character of Lily that most viewers found edgy since we've all seen stereoyped caricatures of addiction many times.
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Re: Article about Megan on Heartland

Postby Wild Roses » Mon Dec 07, 2009 4:11 pm

I don't think the author was being disrespectful towards Anne or RTA. While Avonlea did address the serious issues, it was mostly in a feel-good friendly way. I think what the author was trying to get was that shows-even in the family hour time slot--are grittier and darker than they were 25 years ago. There was always hope in Avonlea that things would turn out for the better, that you would be forgiven for mistakes or your addictions--that you could correct them and you would.

Nowadays, you can find any number of family hour shows where people die of drug addiction, abandon their children, where's there's no hope for certain characters even though everyone including the doomed characters would like things to be different. [Just look at any tv series that runs on ABCFamily during family hour. You'll get the whole spectrum of issues from gun violence to bullying to frank discussions about sex to parents who abandoned their children, etc.]

And, the author is right. Many tv series and miniseries on tv are darker and more cynical than they were when Anne and RTA premiered. Even the shows' stars are supposed to edgier. Can you imagine any of RTA stars or Megan posing semi-nude with Daddy 25 years ago? Of course not. But because it's all about pushing the envelope nowadays, even Disney's teens stars are doing risque and "trendy" things. [I use Disney since RTA ran on the network as well as CBC.]

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Re: Article about Megan on Heartland

Postby Shelly » Mon Dec 07, 2009 8:49 pm

Yeah, I still don't see any disrespect toward RTA and Anne. That excerpt hannikan posted wasn't a dig at either/or; the author was simply telling the truth. Family shows these days are much edgier than they were over the last two decades or so. The optimism that was prevalent in RTA (and even Anne) simply doesn't exist these days.

Again, the only thing that stood out for me was the author noting that Megan was playing against type. Yet, a clear look at her resume from 1987(ish) to now shows that she's been playing against type for a very long time (her reprisal of the role of Anne in the third miniseries notwithstanding). In fact, in the first few years after Anne 2 premiered, she made it a point to choose roles that were virtually the polar opposite of Anne for fear or concern she'd be typecast, not to mention to try and show her versatility as an actress. If the role were being portrayed by someone else from Anne or RTA (not counting Sarah), the press wouldn't have been bothered to write about it. But because it was Megan, because she played such an iconic character, and because Heartland is a popular family drama, they're going to pay a bit more attention.

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hannikan
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Re: Article about Megan on Heartland

Postby hannikan » Mon Dec 07, 2009 9:00 pm

Yeah, it was the disregard for the facts about issues addressed on the show (addiction) and about Megan's career that made the tone patronizing to me. It is silly to act as though this is new for Megan and that people aren't familiar with the fact that she's taken a variety of roles even if they haven't chosen to watch her in them. I think in the last part of the article, Megan was kind of laughing at the suggestion that this is new for her. Like come on, are you really trying to do this angle 25 years after the fact? I am not saying that RTA was edgy/raw in the same way that many shows are now but I do think that ppl fail to recognize some of the complex issues RTA did deal with. It seems like a lot of people think they know what RTA was all about when they really don't because they never actually watched it.
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Re: Article about Megan on Heartland

Postby Timothy » Tue Dec 08, 2009 3:03 pm

While it's true that none of the RTA actors did stuff like the Miley-type photos, it should be noted that Sarah Polley moved in with an older man when she was 15 years old without her father's objection.

The article states that it's "perhaps" hard to imagine themes like addiction appearing on the classic CBC family hour. While it might be hard for Mr. Volmers to imagine this, the truth is that addiction was depicted in the RTA episodes concerning Viola Elliot.

Avonlea also included the issue of child abandonment. In 'The Last Hurrah,' Lottie Cooper abandons her child to the Dales after the cannery burns down and she is unable to support the child. I also consider 'A Time to Every Purpose' to be particuarly dark, when Felicity's friend Colleen Pritchard dies during childbirth.

Volmer's use of the word "perhaps" and that he's unaware of the issue of addiction in RTA, suggests that he is reiterating the long held view by many in the media that RTA is a show that lacks edge. The problem with this view is that RTA is perceived as a fluff show that lacks substance and it's more complex themes are dismissed.

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Re: Article about Megan on Heartland

Postby StoryJan » Wed Dec 09, 2009 4:29 pm

Can a tv show really be both edgy and family friendly? Remember when all of the sitcoms would try to be both back in the '80s? Can you imagine watching a "Very Special Avonlea" where Sara becomes addicted to pain pills, Felicity contemplates aborting Gus's baby following an after-school romp in the hay, and Felix battles boy bulimia? I can see the author's point of view from this article, which wasn't necessarily meant to demean Anne and RTA, but to provide a contrast between Avonlea and Megan's new role. RTA's "edginess" was always family friendly, but that doesn't mean it was a fluffy show without any artistic merit. The characters dealt with the same types of problems children face today- the loss of a parent, trying to fit in, being kidnapped by fortune tellers, and falling in love with mermaids... You know... the usual coming of age angst :)

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hannikan
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Re: Article about Megan on Heartland

Postby hannikan » Wed Dec 09, 2009 9:39 pm

But it's my understanding that's what this Heartland show is too, family friendly. This article is acting like this is such a huge departure from shows of the past, esp RTA. Of course it's not Law and Order or ER which are more adult themed and show much more intensely the themes that shows like RTA addressed in a less aggressive way. But that doesn't mean RTA didn't explore addiction, dead-beat fathers or a mother making the heart-wrenching decision to leave her child. This article makes it sound like RTA would not touch those things with a 10 ft pole but in reality they did go there, just like Heartland has.
PS SJ, your musing about the characters were very entertaining, thank you for the images :lol:
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Re: Article about Megan on Heartland

Postby Shelly » Wed Dec 09, 2009 9:50 pm


"Luck. It had nothing to do with it." ~ Izzy Pettibone

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Re: Article about Megan on Heartland

Postby hannikan » Wed Dec 09, 2009 10:15 pm

But things didn't always turn out all right and we only sometimes expected them to. Yes there is optimism but there is realism, too. Gus's father was always a horrible, murderous criminal who is trying to bring his son down with him. He never changes. Viola never overcomes her addiction, we just understand it and accept it as part of her illness. Gus becomes blind and doesn't recover. That's much more like real life, not a contrived children's show. There's lots of other examples, too. I think the sense that things would always get all tied up nicely is in the first season, if at all. Once Gus is introduced that sense is not guaranteed, it comes along sometimes but we never know that things will resolve themselves nice and neatly. If they had I would have lost interest pretty fast I think.
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Re: Article about Megan on Heartland

Postby StoryJan » Thu Dec 10, 2009 6:51 pm

I'll be the first to admit I know nothing about Heartland. I don't receive CBC (although one of my local cable stations has finally picked up Emily of New Moon-Yay!). Just browsing CBC's web site, Heartland seems much more like Party of Five than Road to Avonlea. Yes, there was an element of realism to Avonlea, but nothing too tragic happened to the main characters with the exception of Sara's father's death (the essential premise of the series), and the blinding of Gus Pike, which at the time I didn't find too devastating (I was just happy he was alive, and Felicity wasn't going to marry that horrible Stuart McRay). AND let's not forget he had an operation and was regaining his sight... Everything else happened to secondary characters or guest stars. The cannery fire and the Dales departure at the end of the series was realistic, but as we learned in HCMK, Avonlea didn't completely disappear from the map. The Lesters did not hurl themselves off of the cliffs. Life went on. RTA had its soap opera moments, but it was never Road to Avonlea 90210.

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Re: Article about Megan on Heartland

Postby Wild Roses » Thu Dec 10, 2009 7:27 pm


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Re: Article about Megan on Heartland

Postby Shelly » Fri Dec 11, 2009 6:01 pm


"Luck. It had nothing to do with it." ~ Izzy Pettibone


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