For eons, the phrase, "it's only my opinion", has had the power to cause a struggling soap starlet to shake beneath her extensions and falsies. Now it's Carolyn Hinsey's turn to be a dreaded newbie!
I caught up with the Soap Opera Digest columnist as she preps for her acting debut on the highly-anticipated soap-within-a-soap Tainted Dreams. Is Hinsey ready for her closeup?
Daytime Confidential: You've served as the go-to soap expert on numerous countdown specials, celebrity magazine shows and on SOAPnet's talk shows. Is it different to play a scripted version of yourself?
Carolyn Hinsey: Yes, because I had to remember lines written by someone else, although I did tweak them to sound more like me. It's much easier being a soap expert: I just have to spin the soap rolodex in my brain and try not to swear.
DC: Matt LeBlanc and Tina Fey found mad critical acclaim playing versions of themselves on TV. If this goes well, could we see the name "Carolyn Hinsey" in lights above some Manhattan theatre?
CH: You flatter me. Is there a market for an older, bigger, louder Carrie Bradshaw, who lives in Manhattan and has seen every soap opera episode since 1979? I wasn't aware... [Laughs]
DC: You've made a career of critiquing soap actors. What kind of advice has the cast of Tainted Dreams given you on honing your craft as a thespian?
CH: To quote Spencer Tracy, it was mainly, "Know your lines and don't bump into the furniture." Or in our case, the giant lights perched all over each set. Alicia [Minshew], Kelley [Menighan Hensley] and Terri [Ivens] graciously ran lines with me so I wouldn't hold up production yelling, "LINE?"
DC: Creator Sonia Blangiardo seems so energetic about soaps. What is it like working so closely with her on this project?
CH: It was super fun. Sonia is one of those people who appreciates good ideas, no matter where they come from, so she encouraged a very collaborative set. Everyone pitched in, and she went with it. Daytime needs more people like Sonia, who care more about the quality of the show than themselves.
DC: A few years ago, you wrote a book telling us why Soaps Still Matter. Does the ratings surge all four daytime soaps are experiencing prove your thesis?
CH: Yes, although I wish I had written my book two years earlier so maybe GL wouldn't have gone down. That was the domino that tipped ATWT and then gave ABC the idea that they could cancel AMC instead of fix it. OLTL was collateral damage - I will never understand that.
Carolyn Hinsey's book, Afternoon Delight: Why Soaps Still Matter, is on sale at the Tainted Dreams website. A portion of each sale goes toward a charitable foundation Sonia Blangiardo established for her brother, Carlo, who died of pancreatic cancer at 35.