Episode 5.8: Strictly Melodrama
Writer: Yan Moore
Director: Allan Kroeker
Special Guest Stars: Patricia Hamilton as Rachel Lynde and Linda Sorensen as Isabelle Carrington
With: Kay Tremblay as Eliza Ward and Marilyn Lightstone as Muriel Stacey
Original CBC Airdate: January 30, 1994
Time Frame: November 1908
Synopsis: Hetty insists on winning the regional drama competition and makes a wager with a Carmody rival. Janet surprisingly wins the lead role, but when a famous actress visits Avonlea, Hetty gives the lead role to the actress.
Highlights/Analysis: Hetty is determined to end Avonlea's 22 year losing streak against Carmody in the regional drama competition. Eleanor McHugh of Carmody, makes a wager that if Avonlea loses, she will get the recipe for her Cramberry pie. If Avonlea wins however, Hetty will get the recipe for McHugh's stroodle. While fretting about who will play the lead role, Hetty and Olivia overhear Janet reciting a scene from the play. Overwhelmed by Janet's acting abilities, Hetty makes Janet the leading lady in her play, 'The seductive Roue.' The plans change when Hetty discovers that the famous actress, Isabelle Carrington, has arrived in Avonlea. After considerable praise, Carrington agrees to play the leading lady and Janet is dropped from the play. Carrington's behavior on the set becomes intolerable and Hetty fires the actress. Hetty begs Janet to return to the play and Avonlea wins the competition.
Criticism: Remember how Hetty was so defiant against acting and dramatics throughout the series? In the episode 'It's Just A Stage', Hetty remarks that "Actors are deceivers. People who pretend to be something else for a living aren't right in the head." Well if this is the case, then why is Hetty the the director for the Avonlea play? To make matters worse, it's pointed out that she has been the director for many years. Hetty's character is completely inconsistent in respect to her stand against drama and the arts in the first two seasons. Fortunately in later episodes, Heather Conkie and Marlene Matthews steer Hetty's personality back into character.
Were you surprised that Avonlea won the drama contest?
"Why should we be made to suffer on account of that miserable Isabelle Carrington." -Hetty King
Sap Meter: 0
Notes: (1) The Avonlea town hall in this episode was actually a church in the Westfield Heritage Centre in Rockton. The graveyard of this location was used in a scene in 'The Journey Begins,' where Felicity and Felix were tricked into wishing upon magic seeds. (2) Marilyn Lightstone is not featured as a special guest star.
Grade: D The huge inconsistency with Hetty's character killed the validity of this episode.