Whatever Happened To Pat Williams?

Discussion in 'Knots Landing' started by Angela Channing, May 13, 2019.

  1. Angela Channing

    Angela Channing World Cup of Soaps Moderator

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    Yes, I know she was killed by Danny but why was the character reduced to being almost insignificant.

    When Pat Williams first arrived in Knot Landing in season 10, she had a strong storyline. She and her family arrived mysteriously, she was living under an assumed identity, she was stabbed while giving evidence in court and she had the hots for Gary, so there was a lot going on for her. However, by season 11 she had almost no screen time and the most interesting dialogue she was given was stuff like "of course Karen, I'd love to babysit Meg".

    What happened? Why did she go from hero to zero? I thought they might have made something of her being attracted to Gary which could have been an interesting storyline. Instead Pat made pancakes and we got weeks of Gary's boring regular phone conversations with "Sally's friend". They should have done so much more with her character so when she was killed it would have had an bigger impact.
     
  2. Toni

    Toni Soap Chat Star

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    To be honest, I didn´t really see any chemistry between her and the other female stars. However, she did have it with Ted Shackelford and above all, with the actors who played her husband and daughter. At the end of the day, I tend to think that the Williamses were as cursed as the Wardes, Kenny and Ginger.

    They kept trying and trying to make us like them, but not hard enough, or not cleverly enough, or not naturally enough. If TPTB had given them the same interest and screentime they gave to Lisa Hartman´s two characters, things would have been different. Sometimes I think there was someone at CBS or Lorimar who just did NOT want them on KL at all...the same kind of "professional people" who just treated Diahann Carroll´s Dominique as a three-season "filler"...

    ...On the other side, I´m re-watching their second season now, and I can´t stop thinking that Pat might come across as your average bitchy neighbor. Of course, with the Abster as a precedent, that would be less than zero, beech-wise. I also tend to think that Constance McCashin put a curse on the sets that used to be Laura and Richard´s home, and whoever came after her exit also became cursed...or maybe she just cursed the whole show, considering how awful Season 9 became once she died off-screen.

    [​IMG]
    upload_2019-5-14_19-28-41.jpeg
    - Karen, sometimes I´m sitting at home and feel as if someone were watching over me. An unsettling presence, as if I had taken something away from him...
    - Her, Pat, her...
    - What did you say?
    - Nothing, I just love your yellow sweater, it just fits your natural tan...
    - Black, Karen, I´m black...!
    - Oops, I must go watching a re-run of "Pollyanna"...​
     
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  3. Jimmy Todd

    Jimmy Todd Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    I liked the Williams and wished they had developed them more. It seemed that after the publicity of having black characters on the show died down, whoever is in charge of such things lost interest in them.
    Instead of an affair between Pat and Gary, I wanted to see something between Val and Frank. Notv as an affair, because I can't see Valene ever being with a married man, no matter how attracted she was to him. However, maybe a strong friendship that also included some sexual tension.
    The problem for me of an affair between Pat and Gary is that Gary's character had grown so much since the earlier seasons. He may have been attracted to Pat, a very beautiful woman, and to the idea of an interracial romance, but the person he was at this point in the series seemed to me to be one that had more self awareness, and would steer clear of becoming involved with a married woman(who is also a neighbor of Val's)
    That's the thing about writing and acting on this high level. Your characters can't just do whatever the writer may want. They almost take on a life of their own, and the writer has to admit, yes, I may want this in the plot, but my character won't do it.
     
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  4. Jimmy Todd

    Jimmy Todd Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    Now that I think of it, there may have been some potential in putting her in Abby's orbit. I always thought Lynne Moody was very beautiful. As the only Black woman on the show she has the added exotic factor, and she's an intelligent person. She would be an interesting rival for Abby and it would be fun to see rhen in situations where she steals Anby's thunder. KL would craft those scenes so they weren't typical soap opera tropes. There would be fascinating layers to the scene and characters.
     
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  5. Angela Channing

    Angela Channing World Cup of Soaps Moderator

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    If the writers and producers had a little more imagination and a bit more desire to do something better with the Williams family, they could have written season 12 so Gary could have had an affair with Pat, and Frank would seek solace with Val which would eventually develop into them having an affair also. Then all the pieces would be in place for the Danny Waleska storyline with Frank replacing Danny and Pat replacing that boring character who started out as "Sally's friend" who chatted with Gary on the phone. (She was so dull and uninteresting that I've forgotten her name). The plot could play out exactly the same with Frank turning violent towards Val and eventually he would run down and kill Pat. Ultimately it would have given the Williams family a meaty storyline and made much better use of the characters.
     
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  6. Jimmy Todd

    Jimmy Todd Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    Good point. It would have been an improvement over the "Sally's friend" story.
    However, I do want to raise an issue. I am not an ultra "politically correct" person, but this was the 1980's, Frank was the only major Black Male on the soaps, and among a handful on TV at all, from what I remember. Making him a violent, spouse/girlfriend abuser is feeding into a stereotype. Not something I 'd want to see.
    Richard Wright's Native son depicted that, but it also delved into the many, many factors that led to its protagonist's violent behavior. KL at its peak in writing could have had the potential for that, but the time constraints of an hour long serial would have prevented a truly intelligent, valuable portrayal. Even if it could, it's still another Black Male being associated with violent behavior.
    I also can't see Val ever wanting to be the "other woman."
     
  7. Daniel Avery

    Daniel Avery Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I often wondered if the Danny/Amanda storyline was originally conceived with Pat/Frank (at least parts of it). Obviously there were several layers to the Danny/Amanda plot that we ultimately saw, and even if they had pursued the idea of the Williams marriage being torn apart by an affair (either Frank/Val or Pat/Gary), the violence and insanity parts would not necessarily have occurred. I guess it would depend on whether the producers considered such a dalliance as "A Gary/Val plot" or a "Williams family plot". If they simply threw two of the characters into an affair as yet another obstacle to a Gary/Val reunion, then they would likely have made the Williamses into two-dimensional plot points--viewers would view them as obstacles rather than members of the neighborhood/cast. It would have been a challenge to the writers to make the Williamses not come off as disposable. If, however, they approached such a story from the Williamses point of view--that is, hear more about their marital issues and insert Val and Gary into their lives to be the complication(s)--then it could help make them on par with the principal characters. Early Knots Landing traded heavily in marital strife for plotlines (think the Averys, especially) so their issues would have been a nod to "old" Knots...but by 1988 the show was trading much more heavily in corporate intrigue, crime, and various scheming. Though the plotline would be identifiable to the audience as the bread and butter of typical soap operas, I'm not sure it's the sort of "normal" problems the producers thought the viewers wanted to see. I'm also not sure the Val/Gary fans would react well to having them become supporting characters in the storyline of a new couple in town who weren't even in the principal cast.

    Speaking to your original inquiry, I developed the feeling years after the fact that the producers had not planned to make the Williams family into a core family on the series. Yes, they had this splashy intro story and were likeable. They had everything they needed to take on the role of a 'new generation' family on the cul-de-sac and the producers were foolish not to establish them as such. I don't think the producers had much planned for them after the Witness Protection Story concluded. Yes, Pat functioned as a Talk-To character for Karen when Val wasn't available, and Frank became a similar character for Mack, and they even came up with stuff for Julie with Jason Lochner...but being a sounding board for other characters is not driving story. I think Moody and Riley were likely made to believe they'd be on the same track as Nicollette Sheridan--that is, introduced as a recurring character who ultimately goes on contract and becomes a major player. Their storylines seemed instead to go in reverse--lots of meaty material at first, then dwindling screen time as they faded into supporting work. KL in that period saved a lot of money by bringing in recurring characters to drive story, then dismissing them once their story ended. I wonder if maybe there had been mis-communication with Moody about the plans for the Williamses. Moody was quite well known at the time, having appeared in sitcoms and dramas across prime time for over a decade, so I did not blame her for voicing her concerns about her character losing screen time. The producers apparently took issue with her publicly criticizing their choices for the character and next thing you knew, Pat was mowed down and ultimately died. As the story is re-told over the decades, people automatically assume Pat was killed off because Moody spoke out about her lack of screen time, but producers may have already decided to get rid of them when they began de-emphasizing them. I always thought keeping Frank around after Pat's death did not do the character any favors, given the comic relief stuff they had him doing with Mack and Peggy that was kind of painful to watch given how strongly he had arrived on the scene. But Riley of course had his own issues IRL, and we will never know if keeping him on was simply an effort on the producers' part to help him keep working (and keep his health insurance) as his health deteriorated.

    I wish the producers had seen the potential of the Williamses and stuck by them. The show would not have held onto its vets forever, and some attention needed to be paid to setting up its next generation of characters we viewed as the "core" of the show. The only success in that regard was Paige, and I guess Anne and Claudia to a lesser extent. But those three characters were a product of the 'new' Knots, and not similar to the original characters at all. Efforts at writing adult stories for the kids who grew up on the show were not successful, so they needed to bring in fresh blood and establish that new generation of characters so that when the vets start leaving, they won't have to introduce a bunch of newbies all at once, and Frank and Pat would have represented the cul-de-sac side of things while characters like Anne, Claudia, and Kate would have been on the 'other side of town'.
     
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  8. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson SoapLand Battles Moderator

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    Maybe that's also one of those typical Knots things. Characters could say or do these things without setting up the obligatory romance or whatever.
    Just knowing that a character is attracted to another character (without any significant consequences) can make the scenes look more interesting because we watch it with some "secret" information.
     
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  9. ChrisSumner

    ChrisSumner Soap Chat Active Member

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    I take what happened to them as a sign of the times. When Lynn Marie Latham took over at The Young and the Restless she gave a heavy focus to the black characters. In terms of story and screentime they were clearly her muses. In daytime that is special because there's still resistance from the networks in featuring black characters as lead no matter how successful. Considering that, it's led me to believe that she wasn't allowed to elevate the Williams more than they were. The Gary thing obviously was presented for a reason, why was it dropped? And did Lynn Moody decide to leave once she realized they weren't going to properly use her? I think so. It was easier to keep Frank because this is a womens medium. If you keep Frank he can be Mack's side kick with throwaway girlfriend characters here and there. That way you still have black characters, but with Pat there would've been more of a desire to integrate her which would've meant potential interracial pairings which were still taboo.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2019
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  10. Mustard

    Mustard Soap Chat Fan

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    The mysterious Williams family first arrived in Season 9. I've heard that Lynne Moody fell from favour before she left the show, for going too public with her criticisms. I don't know how true that is, but it's what I've heard.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2019
  11. Knots Blogger

    Knots Blogger Soap Chat Active Member

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    I’m a big fan of the Williams family and their storylines. I think Lynn Moody, Larry Riley, and Kent Masters King were all great at playing their roles. And I also appreciated that there were black people on the show at all since the other nighttime soaps seemed allergic to that. At the same time, I wish the writing had been better and watching Pat just get mowed down with a car and killed, even in a nighttime soap opera where this sort of shit happens all the time, did feel pretty racist and disrespectful. “The colored broad is asking for more money and more stories; why don’t we just kill the bitch and get her off the show? Oh yeah, and once we’ve done that, let’s immediately add two new white people to the cast.”
     

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