Sara Stanley leaves Avonlea!!

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housindynyc
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Sara Stanley leaves Avonlea!!

Post by housindynyc » Fri Apr 23, 2010 11:55 pm

Does anyone else share my opinion that RTA loses a bit of it's happy and carefree charm after Sara leaves Avonlea? She did give life to the show. Secondly, where did she run off to during the first half of season 6? I read somewhere that she went off to finishing school. Did they mention anything of the sort on the show?

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Re: Sara Stanley leaves Avonlea!!

Post by hannikan » Sat Apr 24, 2010 12:26 pm

I know there are many who share your point of view. I liked Sara all right but I actually didn't mind when she left. She wasn't really adding much to the show by season 4 (which was because Sarah Polley asked to have the character scaled back to be in school and pursue other projects). I did like her character more in season 5 because she felt more like a real person with imperfections by then. I never thought her character was written very well, she was too much of a hodgepodge of people thrown together (Anne, Sara Stanley from the books, a Little Princess, maybe even Emily Starr). She always said and did the thing the right thing, which is just not realistic in a child/teen. By the end of season 3 she was really just there to tell the other children the right thing to do. She also spent too much time, even early in the show, matchmaking. I liked her helping Olivia and Jasper get together. And helping Felicity get Malcolm and Abigail together but the others, no. I think it would have been better if it had taken Sara longer to fit into Avonlea and they'd kept up showing her struggle to do domestic stuff, like Sara Stanley in the books. Plus Sarah Polley wasn't happy playing Sara and being on RTA by the end of season 2 so we had 3 years of her not really wanting to be there. As for where Sara Stanley went in season 6, the episode is Comings and Goings. She gets accepted to and decides to go to a school specializing in English language and literature in Paris. She comes back at the very last episode of the show but we don't know how close she is to finishing her program in Paris (it had been 3 yrs by that time) or her plans for the future at that point.
Last edited by hannikan on Sat Apr 24, 2010 1:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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weatherman15
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Re: Sara Stanley leaves Avonlea!!

Post by weatherman15 » Sat Apr 24, 2010 12:57 pm

She always said and did the thing the right thing, which is just not realistic in a child/teen.
I agree, to an extent. Sara did have moments of not doing the right thing in the first three seasons. The one instance that comes to mind is "But When She Was Bad... She Was Horrid." Though most teens don't act on it, there are many at one time or another want to run away. And almost every teen gets into an argument with their parent/guardian, just as Sara did with Hetty.

I'm sure there are more instances, but this is just one off the top of my head.

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Re: Sara Stanley leaves Avonlea!!

Post by hannikan » Sat Apr 24, 2010 1:30 pm

Yep, that's really the only example I can think of where the audience would say, "Oh no, Sara don't do that!" In Story Girl Earns Her Name she lets the crook escape with the money because she is gullible, but that was an honest mistake. She takes the Morris baby and gives him to Abigail and Malcolm, which was risky but she had good intentions. She definitely does things the grown ups don't like but everything she does the audience is supposed to support. I guess I just got tired of that and wanted to see her do something we wouldn't totally support. That doesn't happen until S5, when she is too hard on Davey.
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Timothy
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Re: Sara Stanley leaves Avonlea!!

Post by Timothy » Mon Apr 26, 2010 1:35 pm

I think it happened before Sara left Avonlea, beginning sometime in season three. With the Montgomery content waning, Sullivan was looking to move the series beyond the carefree 'Golden Road' stories. This was marked, in part, by the central characters growing up and starting to take on adult responsibilities (I mention this point of departure in the review for 'Vows of Silence.') .

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Re: Sara Stanley leaves Avonlea!!

Post by hannikan » Mon Apr 26, 2010 1:59 pm

I would place the change in S6, so that is when Sara leaves but also when Gus leaves and Felicity is scaled back. The tone of the show becomes more serious and grown up. I still think there is a balance maintained between the children and adults but now it's with Davey, Dora, Becky and Wiley rather than Sara, Felicity, Felix and Cecily (later Izzy).
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Re: Sara Stanley leaves Avonlea!!

Post by StoryJan » Tue Apr 27, 2010 4:16 pm

For me the change came between Seasons 3 and 4. Izzy stepped into Sara’s role as Felix’s mischievous companion, Hetty stepped out of the schoolhouse to become a writer, and with Olivia happily married to Jasper, Sara’s role as Avonlea’s resident match-maker was no longer needed. Her character had nothing to do other than act as Felicity’s sounding board.

I loved older Sara in episodes such as “Home Movie” when she confided in Olivia; there was pain, loneliness, and unhappiness in her voice- an entirely different side of the character that was never fully explored, but completely appropriate given Sara’s degraded role in the series. I have always thought Sarah Polley’s performance in “Home Movie” was the one of the most underrated of all seasons. Hetty’s speech may be remembered most, but even this late in the series, Sarah showed she could still be the glue that held everything together if she so desired. I remember reading comments from Sarah Polley expressing how they used her mother’s death to get better scenes from her. With “Home Movie” being written specifically for Sarah Polley to mourn her mother, do you think the writers went too far, essentially exploiting her real life sorrow on national television to make money?

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Re: Sara Stanley leaves Avonlea!!

Post by hannikan » Tue Apr 27, 2010 5:01 pm

I think Sara was also getting a little old to be Felix's partner in mischief by S4. They still have the adventure of returning the Duke's place setting in Heirs and Graces. But by that point Sara is the accessory to Felix or Felicity (the making the copy of the dress in that episode). There's Lady and the Blade where Felix, Sara, Felicity and Gus all are convinced Tomgallon House is haunted. Gus seemed a little silly in that scene because he was too old for that. Since Sarah didn't want to be the focus of the show the writers couldn't write too much for her but she was still under contract, so she was more in the background. I agree that Sarah's performance in Home Movie was very touching. It was also a profound moment to tie the plot together and made for a touching scene with Jasper and Monty. In some ways it would have made more sense for her to be mourning her father's death since that was more recent, but for the plot it made sense to talk about her mother. I'm not really in a position to say whether I think her feelings were manipulated or not. I know she feels that way now but she understandably has a lot of emotional baggage from that time in her life. That doesn't mean the intention of that scene was to manipulate her. According to Sullivan the intention was to help her cope with her mother's passing. I have no way of knowing what the intention actually was. Considering her mom's death happened during the taping of the series, I would hope there was counseling made available to her. It can't ever be easy to use real traumatic experiences to portray emotion in acting. I feel badly for her if it caused her pain.
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Re: Sara Stanley leaves Avonlea!!

Post by Timothy » Thu Apr 29, 2010 7:23 am

The change from the "carefree" days probably did happen between the third and fourth seasons, as you suggested Jan. housindynyc, unless you meant something else. I interpreted "carefree" to mean when the kids were still doing kids stuff like playing blind man's bluff. In the third and fourth seasons, they are moving away from this--Felicity is pursuing the scholarship at Kingsport Ladies College and Felix and Gus are working at the hotel. Hannikan, I know what you're saying about the sixth season though being more serious.

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Re: Sara Stanley leaves Avonlea!!

Post by hannikan » Thu Apr 29, 2010 1:20 pm

Yeah the transition between S3 and 4 I see, too. Felicity grows up a lot by S4, by the middle of S4 Felix has responsibility working at the White Sands (he's still pretty carefree when he's just tasting food for Pierre at the end of S3), Sara starts to be concerned about her future and inheritance. But I think S4 is still pretty carefree for the most part. I think S5 is really when they all take on more responsibility or burdens. Felix is expected to take over the farm and has to tell Alec he doesn't want to, Cecily expresses her desire to have it and becomes deathly ill, Felicity has to make hard choices about marriage and career and Sara is a role model for Davey and Dora and begins a romance. The tone is still more lighthearted than S6 but it's moving in that direction.

ETA: I agree that Sarah's strength was for drama, the scenes she did best were those where she is expressing pain and/or loss. I read an interview with her recently in which she said something along the lines that she always gravitated toward sadness and it never scared her. That she embraced it as an actress. I think that kind of contradicts what she says about feeling manipulated but it's hard to say how her feelings have changed over time. Grief is a strange beast. I think Sarah Polley was always a more serious child than the other children and that made Sara's character most interesting when she was experiencing tragedy. I do think they used that ability without taking it too far. Her most memorable scenes I think are in the Journey Begins, A Mother's Love and Home Movie. She didn't really have the flair for comedy that many of the other actors (child and adult) had in the series. Or if she did, we never really saw it in Sara's character. Perhaps that also made her less entertaining to me than other characters. Although she was sometimes funny opposite Hetty, like in When She Was Bad. I think it was obvious that Sarah's enthusiasm for the show waned by the middle of S3. She never really seems very into it after that.
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Re: Sara Stanley leaves Avonlea!!

Post by topkapi56 » Sat Apr 02, 2011 2:38 pm

I continued watching after Sara left, but the series was never the same. The entire series revolved around her and when she left the series lost it center. I never cared for Felicity but she did serve a purpose. The only point to Felicity being so completely arrogant, selfish and self-centered was so Sara )and sometimes Felix) could knock her down a peg or two. When they tried to take away all of Felicity's character traits and infuse her with new ones, she ceased to be the same character.

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Re: Sara Stanley leaves Avonlea!!

Post by BSITW » Wed Oct 05, 2011 10:32 am

I'm in the third episode of season 6 right now so I'm not quite sure how I feel but...I never really appreciated Sara until she appeared less and less (starting in season 4). It came to the point where the few episodes that starred her were a treat to me (and pretty much the stronger episodes in those 2 seasons...esp. "A Friend in Need" and Moving On). I've always loved the character (and Polley's performance) but I think I enjoyed her even more when she got older and became less perfect and less cute-sy, and not so much a matchmaker. So...it sux that the older she got, the less central she became. I don't even really mind that she became less central (I like the ensemble feeling of this show)...but it was difficult realizing she was only in 4 of the 13 episodes of season 5.

I still like show. I dont think this show will ever jump the shark in my eyes...but I'm a little sad that in these upcoming seasons, she'll only appear twice. I love Felcity and Gus' relationship, and Felix is a cool cat but...I really really miss Sara.

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Re: Sara Stanley leaves Avonlea!!

Post by Marilla » Wed Oct 05, 2011 5:19 pm

hannikan wrote:I would place the change in S6, so that is when Sara leaves but also when Gus leaves and Felicity is scaled back. The tone of the show becomes more serious and grown up. I still think there is a balance maintained between the children and adults but now it's with Davey, Dora, Becky and Wiley rather than Sara, Felicity, Felix and Cecily (later Izzy).
I agree, and I think this is probably why I don't care for Seasons 6 and 7 as much as the earlier ones. Losing Sara, Gus, and Felicity was too much and I never felt connected to most of the new generation of children the way I did with the originals (although I did like Becky Lester; she was such a sweetie). And, while I love Felix, I preferred him when he was interacting with Sara, Felicity and Gus over his scenes with Izzy, Elbert, Cecily, etc.

Although losing Sara did add to the darkness of Season 6, I did feel it was time for her to go. As others have said, she just wasn't contributing much to the storyline by that point. Whereas that seemed like a natural breaking point for Sara, I felt like Felicity and Gus were yanked inappropriately from the plot and the show was, ultimately, harmed more by losing them than by losing Sara.

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Re: Sara Stanley leaves Avonlea!!

Post by Miss Lewis » Wed May 22, 2019 9:24 pm

I liked Sara as child in seasons 1 and 2. She had carefree and child-like attribute. And it reflected more like LM Montgomery's Golden Road children.

hannikan is correct… Sara Polley was better at drama than humor. It was the talents of other children in humor and her talent in drama that made the prefect blend in those first 2 seasons. I loved the “Proof of Pudding" when they think the Governor's wife is their relative. Because they think she is deaf, the children say say all sorts of truthful funny things. Perfect mix of humor and drama!

Season 4 is when Sara’s character starts to take a backseat to Felicity and Gus Story line. Sara, then, is often a sidekick and does not command main story lines as much.

I always liked how RTA changed and evolved as the kids grew up. They changed and thus their story lines changed too. I value that. Other than the 1st two seasons, my favorite growing up episode for Sara is “Comings and Goings" in Season 6. There Sara shows how is she caught between two worlds…the one her Nanny wishes and the one Aunt Hetty wishes for her. In the end, she stands up and chooses her own path. That is the heart of growing up. You take what you learn from your parents and family but in the end you have to stand on your own. You have to find your own path. The coming of age story. It was a perfect end for the Sara story arc.

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Re: Sara Stanley leaves Avonlea!!

Post by Timothy » Thu May 23, 2019 4:00 am

I also liked 'Comings and Goings.' It's interesting to me how it features Arthur and Sara, once prominent characters that are now sidelined and lacking direction. These were probably the two best characters to question "where do we go from here?" I also liked how Hetty and Louisa were suspicious that they were courting.

There was a 2013 Guardian article where Sarah Polley said how she wanted Avonlea to focus on real world issues and was dismayed with the Disney influences.
Because it was so popular, Polley saw Road To Avonlea as an opportunity to deal with what she considered to be real issues, such as the history of immigration in Canada and the treatment of native people.

That was, until a certain multinational began financing the show. "In the first couple of seasons we did things like an episode on a strike," she says. "Then as soon as the Disney Channel got really involved, all that went away and it became, literally, a show about family values."

Even at 12, it wasn't hard to see how much the tone of the series had shifted. Polley wasn't particularly politicised then, but the Disneyfication marked the beginning of her awareness.(1)
Sarah Polley wanted Road to Avonlea to Address Real Issues; Guess Who Ruined it?

Who knows? Maybe more edgier themes would have kept Sarah Polley from leaving the show.

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