Thursday, 8 May 2014

Kristian Alfonso: Hope springs eternal

Kristian Alfonso's latest endeavour, selling her own jewelry line.
She still had those unmistakable looks when I saw her recently, selling her own line of jewelry. Older and more confident, all I could think is how far she has come.

Kristin Alfonso started playing the role of Hope Williams on the daytime drama “Days Of Our Lives” back in April of 1983 at the age of 19, not too much before I started watching her.

Through marriage, divorce, children, international intrigue and family drama, she still plays Hope Williams Brady, and I was along for the ride for almost the entire time I was in high school.

There is no Hope without Bo
Hope William (Kristian Alfonso)
and boyfriend Bo Brady (Peter Reckell)
celebrating Hope's 18th birthday.
Almost from the outset, Hope Williams was attracted to bad boy Bo Brady. They would eventually date, and consummate their relationship. I recall those episodes occurring during one of the summers I spent a couple weeks in Brooks, because I saw it at my Aunt Monica’s. They were in some sort of vintage home, Civil War era maybe (Wikipedia reveals it was an old plantation in New Orleans). That was during a loveless marriage she had with Larry Welch, who was a real weasel.

At that point, I had no ability to watch “Days” regularly. That all changed the Christmas of 1985 when I received a VCR for Christmas. Soon after I started taping “Days” and would watch it either in the evening, or an entire week’s worth on a Sunday afternoon, usually with my mom.

By then, Hope and Bo were married and going on adventure after adventure. It was not soon after, that Steve “Patch” Johnson came town. Sporting a patch over his left eye, a black leather jacket, and a motorbike, he was a bad dude. He had a dark past, and was hired to terrorize Kayla Brady, Bo’s sister. It turned out that he and Bo had a past, serving together in the merchant marines and at one point were like brothers. However, a girl came between them and it was Bo who put out Steve’s eye.

Bo and Hope getting married.
Over time, we discover Steve isn’t so bad after all, but he still keeps getting into trouble. Hope is the only one who sees the good in Steve, and tells Bo. At the same time, Bo and Hope’s relationship is deteriorating, which is bad timing because Hope is pregnant. Ultimately, it’s big bad Steve Johnson who delivers the baby.

Hope and Bo were never my favourite couple on the show. That honour was reserved for Steve and Kayla. However, I really came to like Hope because she was the only one, aside from Kayla obviously, who sided with Steve.

Losing Hope
About the time I left home for university in 1987, and left behind watching “Days” regularly, Kristian Alfonso also left. She took a part in the night-time soap opera “Falcon Crest” for the show’s final two seasons. By then, I had no real idea what had happened to her, other than she and Bo had literally sailed off into the sunset on their boat “The Fancy Face”, which was also Bo’s pet name for Hope.

Finding Hope
No one ever really dies on a soap opera. There is always a chance they can come back, and they so often do. Hope did return in 1990, an apparently died soon after. Of course, her death only lasted four years, until a woman named Gina bearing a striking resemblance to Hope surfaced in Salem. It turned out that Gina was Hope who had been brainwashed by the evil Stefano DiMera. Hope has been on the show on and off ever since.

When I saw her last, while I was flipping channels, she was promoting her own jewelry line on The Shopping Channel.

Parting thoughts
“Days Of Our Lives” has always had a special place in my heart. Back in Grade 11 and 12, I lived vicariously through the characters on the show, especially Steve Johnson. It seemed anything was possible, and the guy always got the girl in the end. It was the perfect antidote for a high school kid who was love-sick at the time.

And, it shows the stamina and longevity of an actor like Kristian Alfonso. After all these years, she still turns in a solid performance in a role she pioneered more than 30 years ago.

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