“We worked in a studio on 53rd Street from 9 to 10, which wasn’t the best place to work at the time, but the good thing about it was that the executives didn’t want to go there either, because so they left us alone,” said Jeffrey Lane, who was mentored by Ms. Ryan Munisteri and Ms. Labine and who went on to write for hit primetime series like “Mad About You”.
The network sometimes interferes. Once, the screenwriters ended up with a plot in which a gorilla, escaping from Central Park Zoo, kidnaps one of the heroines and takes her to the top of Belvedere Castle. This turned out not to be good for ratings, says Mr. Lane, because the frenzy was so out of touch with the ethos of the show.
Until the mid-1980s, with the rise of comedies like “Designing Women,” the early writers’ room wasn’t the easiest space for women to enter. This makes daytime television a haven, a place where women can use a variety of creative powers and work in a way that suits their individual circumstances.
“There is a real fusion of work life and home life, which is common now but not then,” son of Mary Matt Munisteri, a jazz guitarist, told me recently. “We’re all at the Slope,” he says—Labines on Berkeley Place, Munisteris on Carroll Street. “At night, my mom would write and be on time, and the kids would go back and forth like messengers with scripts.”
“Whenever the kids come home from school during lunchtime, they gather at the Labine apartment to watch ‘Ryan’s Hope,’ which airs at 12:30,” he said. “When the show was on, you couldn’t speak.”
I contacted Matt, whom I knew through friends in college, when I heard that his mother had passed away. I met her once in the 80s in her apartment in a Rosario Candela building overlooking Prospect Park. She’s the first professional writer I’ve ever met, and she’s great. Mary continued to run the writers’ rooms for several other soaps over the years. I asked Matt if she ever wished she had written more widely.
As a grandchild of avid travelers, she’s never felt as though she’s doing something underneath her. “When she sat down to write the dialogue, she would read it, and her fingers would fly over the keyboard, and you walk in the door and you get ignored, ignored, ignored,” Matt said. with me.
“She has zero tolerance for belittling any art form as a coward,” he said. “It’s confusing for people – but she loves it.”
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/25/nyregion/ryans-hope-soap-opera.html Writer brought real-life Brooklyn to spoken plays