Nasty, trashy doings behind the scenes of a TV soap opera--in a talk-logged, thinly melodramatic novel that is itself highly...



Nasty, trashy doings behind the scenes of a TV soap opera--in a talk-logged, thinly melodramatic novel that is itself highly sudsy, with the requisite one misery/secret per character. Rita Martin, creator/head-writer of ITC's ""Time Nor Tide,"" has a retarded daughter whom she's neglecting--along with long-suffering, much-cuckolded husband Ben. Nan Booth, the ITC Vice-President who wants to boost her career by ""saving"" TNT from Rita's supervision (ratings are failing), is a sub rosa lesbian. Co-writer Tom is an alcoholic homosexual; co-writer Mel is dying of cancer--without much sympathy from battered wife Wendy, a frustrated photographer and compulsive gambler. And so it goes, as Rita and Nan try to de each other in, reacting to the decline of once-popular TNT with dirty tricks and desperate measures. Looking for scapegoats, Rita fires actor Rick Cologna (her erstwhile lover) and dialogue-writer Ellie. Nan arranges for the new dialogue-writer to be handsome Al Peterson--who sleeps with Rita but secretly reports to Nan. In desperation over job security, Rita even decides to defuse Nan by letting herself be seduced. . . but, despite ""mounting pleasure,"" she can't quite go all the way. (Nan is not pleased: ""God, I should have known better. You're just another cunt!"") And finally, after clichÉd dialogue galore, Delligan awkwardly contrives for most of these loathsome folk to undergo magical transformations: Wendy, despite a hot affair with sexy Al, returns for a rosy reconciliation with dying Mel (she'll also return to photography); Tom bounces back to happiness after a suicide attempt; and Rita, after Ben's death in a convenient car crash, gives up TV for mothering, wins two Emmys, and utters the immortal lines--""I new see that everything I once held sacred is really profane. . . . Everything I once would have sold my soul to possess new seems the emptiest of prizes."" The stuff of a serviceably junky TV-movie, then, with graphic sex and a few half-convincing backstage details (Delligan has written for the soaps)--but none of the tough-minded pizazz that others (Ron Powers, for example) have brought to behind-the-TV-scenes fiction.

Pub Date: Jan. 20, 1982


Page Count: -

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1982

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