Was Sarah's Mourning Exploited? Did KS Go too Far?

Discuss the latest Avonlea actor, actress, and crew related news.

Did Kevin Sullivan Go too far when the scene was scripted for Sarah to mourn her mother's death?

Yes
4
50%
No
4
50%
 
Total votes: 8

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Gwendolene
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Post by Gwendolene » Sat May 19, 2007 5:13 am

As an actor you need to stay emotionally available, but there are some parts of your life that it can be unhealthy to go to. There are events in my life that I know I can never use for emotional recall, so, in order to access the same emotions, I need to take a different route (which may or may not be as "effective" as the other more obvious choice).

A child may not have the tools to accomplish or understand the need for this so she could have said:
"Script says my character cries over her dead mother = I will cry over my dead mother". Which isn't to say that its anyone's fault specifically, but as adults Sully et al. should have used some common sense and not asked her to go there in the first place (or at least not so soon).
Last edited by Gwendolene on Tue Sep 11, 2007 1:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by AvonLea » Sat May 19, 2007 7:44 am

Gwen, have you been in any movies or shows??
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Gwendolene
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Post by Gwendolene » Sat May 19, 2007 5:32 pm

I've done mostly indie shorts and stage productions... I have worked as an extra on several SAG films, though.
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Timothy
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Post by Timothy » Sun May 20, 2007 7:17 am

In fairness to Sullivan, he is a film maker and not a child psychologist. He sincerely believes that this scene in Home Movie was designed to help Sarah, not harm her. And I'm guessing that Michael Polley fully accepted these scenes. The following article suggests that Sarah received "little parental protection" and that her father let her do pretty much whatever she wanted.

Polley technical
The Sunday Herald
No doubt much of this was brought on by the fact that during this period, her mother contracted cancer. She died two days after Polley's 11th birthday. A week later the producers of Road To Avonlea ordered a crying scene to be written into the show about by her character's mother dying, in an attempt to exploit Polley's understandably raw state. It seemed she received little parental protection, after her father told her: I want to have no influence on you.' Polley is uncertain whether he did this out of negligence or respect for her - "my family's a big complicated thing," she laughs - but the fact remains that, able to support herself, she left home when she was 14 to live with an older (female) friend. A year later, she moved in with a boyfriend. "In retrospect," she muses, "it was odd that my father let me."
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hobbie
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Post by hobbie » Sun May 20, 2007 10:27 am

Timothy,maybe a stupid question but the crying scene that was mentioned in the article was that the one from "home movie" or "when she was bad..."?
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Gwendolene
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Post by Gwendolene » Sun May 20, 2007 4:05 pm

Looking at the airdates, I think they are talking about two different episodes. Diane Polley died January 10th, 1990, at which time season 2 should have been in production. If they ordered the "exploitive" crying scene about January 17, 1990, they would have been in production for season 2 (or at the most 3) not 4.

Home Movie would have been filmed either in 1992 or 1993 depending on the shooting schedule. When She Was Bad, would have been filmed in 1991. (Meaning I was wrong about WSWB being the episode in question, it would have been a season 2 episode, probably either Of Corsets & Secrets & True, True Love or A Mother's Love.)

This is why I think that
She died two days after Polley's 11th birthday. A week later the producers of Road To Avonlea ordered a crying scene to be written into the show about by her character's mother dying, in an attempt to exploit Polley's understandably raw state.
is refering to a season 2 episode not a season 4 one.

Home Movie did have a scene where Sarah was trying to remember her mother, but it seemed to be handled more tastefully (and would have been filmed much later). I do not have a problem with that scene and feel that, quite probably, Sullivan was right.
He sincerely believes that this scene in Home Movie was designed to help Sarah, not harm her.
In my mind, they are entirely different cases.
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Timothy
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Post by Timothy » Mon May 21, 2007 6:24 am

Hobbie, I think it's a very good question. Gwendolene's right that the article is referencing an entirely different episode than the fourth season's 'Home Movie' that Sullivan was talking about.

It should be noted that the author of the article made errors and didn't do the necessary research (as the comments by Avonlea fans at the bottom indicate). I was mainly interested in the quotes as it pertains to the lack of parental intervention by Michael Polley during the production.

I agree that 'Home Movie' was handled better and time had passed between these episodes. In 'But When She Was Bad...,' Hetty brings up Ruth Stanley in a heated almost-accusatory manner.

I can see how this put the writers and producers in a difficult situation--Because Hetty's bitter feelings towards what happened to Ruth and her passionate need to protect her family (frequently leading to explosive arguments) was a key element of her character and relationship with Sara; and clearly, this dynamic was in the scripts long before Diane Polley passed away. The conflict that was created by this dynamic was important to develop the characters and drive the storylines (i.e. to drive Sara away so she switches places with Jo Pitts).

Perhaps this wasn't so much an exploitive situation as it was a tragic circumstance mixed with an overreaction by Sarah Polley.

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Post by Shelly » Thu May 24, 2007 4:50 pm

Gwendolene wrote:Home Movie would have been filmed either in 1992 or 1993 depending on the shooting schedule. When She Was Bad, would have been filmed in 1991. (Meaning I was wrong about WSWB being the episode in question, it would have been a season 2 episode, probably either Of Corsets & Secrets & True, True Love or A Mother's Love.)
From the sounds of it, it's probably "A Mother's Love". I mean, that entire episode is mother-centric, y'know? The crying scene reference was probably the scene just after Sara admitted to writing the letter about Felicity and Sally being switched at birth.

And it's wintertime in that episode, too.

There's a scene in "Of Corsets..." where Sara reminisces about her mother, imagining her in Heaven, but it's a more serene scene (when she and Davey and Dora are in the hay loft at Green Gables).
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Timothy
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Post by Timothy » Sun May 27, 2007 6:48 am

That's right. I forgot about 'A Mother's Love.' Thanks Shelly.

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Post by oldfashionedgirl » Tue Feb 26, 2008 5:52 am

It's been interesting reading all the behind the scenes information here.

What vast subjects these are:

Grief
Child actors

Just goes to show how important good communication is and the fact that it doesn't always happen!

The personality of the one grieving and the personality of a child actor makes a big difference.

I've learned to give grieving people a lot of room and not "expect" anything from them. Grief is is an odd process which can take many unexpected turns.

Child star, Shirley Temple, laughs about how she was made to cry on camera by being told she wouldn't get her lunch! Her sunny personality held no grudges ans she has no regrets. Someone else might walk away from the same type of thing with scars...

Everyone makes mistakes.

Just rambling! :?
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