A Moment When Rebecca’s Michelle is Defined

When I was doing prep for my New Year’s Week posts this year, I discovered a scene I strongly remembered that I had described from memory and referenced it in an earlier blog post, but I was off on several small points.

Rebecca's Michelle Defining Moment Now I don’t necessarily blame Ms. Budig who I am sure is perfectly engaging, but I just didn’t think her Michelle jelled….The scene I always think of first when I think about her version was something to do with a costume party. Rick had bought Michelle a costume, a colonial miss costume that was very sweet. When Michelle decided Abby needed to go to the party also, she gave that to Abby and said she’d find something. She came downstairs in the iconic Madonna silver lame swimsuit with the huge metal cones in front.


I had remembered it being Halloween and I was wrong. Halloween that year was when Abby didn’t know anything about it and freaked out in the hospital about all the strange goings on. Instead for some reason they held a masquerade party for New Years at the Lakeland Country Club and that was what they were dressing up for. Also, I thought it was Rick that bought her the colonial miss dress because I assumed this was while Ed was out of town as he often was during these years. Feeling broken by both Maureen and Eve’s deaths, Ed had taken solace in doing good works in Africa. He had drug Michelle along (mostly as an excuse for Michelle to be gone long enough for them to swap out the Rachel Miner for the much less Michelle version of Michelle played by Rebecca Budig) and dumped her in a boarding school in Switzerland. Michelle hadn’t liked it and begged Rick to tell her father he’d look after her if she could come home. She returned and Ed dropped in and out of her life as a couple of different actors until he is off screen for years almost completely out of touch in Africa.

Find the entire New Year’s Sequence:

1995-1996 – Masquerade Ball at the Lakeland Country Club

So at this point TPTB are still trying to figure out what to do with this newly romantic pairable young heroine. First they tried her with her non-blood cousin J (people objected so it was dropped), with a literal angel named Zachary, and finally with a kind of Romeo and Juliet story with Jesse Blue. In other words they never really figured out what to do with her.

Many people felt Budig’s portrayal of Michelle was sweet and innocent and there was a vocal group of fans who liked her. I think those fans were led by her huge innocent, Bambi eyes which I admit were a quite impressive look. Personally I thought Michelle lost almost all her fire during Budig’s reign. Michelle had always been a leader. She made her own choices and would fight what she saw as right even when she was a little girl. This is a small example, but Michelle knew Roger was Maureen’s friend so when Ed started to kick Roger out of Maureen’s wake, Michelle insisted he be allowed to stay. Budig’s Michelle was much more driven by other people’s opinions, whether she was complying with them or rebelling against them (which mostly involved her doing something stupid that got somebody else in trouble or simply pouting). She didn’t really seem to have a goal that wasn’t man centric until very late in her run. Near the end she raised money and created the AIDS garden at Cedars. She fought to restore her eyesight. Finally she decides she wants to be a doctor, but she soon returns to her man-centric ways, playing games fighting with Drew Jacobs over Jesse Blue.

Whenever I think of Budig’s Michelle this interaction of scenes are what I remember most. I’m glad I found them and am able to share them with you.

Ed buys Michelle a costume for the masquerade

Michelle dresses as Madonna instead

To quote once again my first blog post on Budig linked to above:
That’s her Michelle, not quite knowing what’s she’s doing, saying hey look at me, trying to be overtly sexually and not quite pulling it off. Another good example of this are the scenes where Jesse draws her nude. The whole thing is just off.

As I spell out in more detail in the blog post linked to above, Michelle’s main motivation during the Budig years seemed to be to lose her virginity and once she had accomplished that rather meager goal they were at a complete loss of what to do with her next, until a firestorm named Danny headed her way. Now watching any Budig scene makes me say, often aloud, hold on Michelle Danny is coming! He brought with him external purpose, strong worthy opponents, and obstacles that would require every bit of the Michelle, as portrayed by Rachel Miner before and Bethany Joy Lenz afterward, resourcefulness, determination, and strength that defined the character to me. Watch these scenes as see if you agree with me.

Robansuefarm is the handle of one of Manny and Guiding Light‘s biggest fans following in her family’s footsteps of Guiding Light fandom since 1939. This blog is an effort to make it easy to find Guiding Light and especially Manny online. Check back here for her blog, find fanfic previews and fake WSPR newscasts on her YouTube, find podcasts that look back to old shows and audios of her fanfics on Blog Talk Radio, and finally follow her on Twitter and Facebook.


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