Parade Magazine

Walter Scott's Personality Parade

Question: I'm a fan of CBS' series Now and Again. What can you tell me about Maraget Colin, who brings a complex shading to her portrayal of Lisa Wiseman, wife of the cyborg hero of the show, played by Eric Close?

Answer: Maraget Colin, 38, is a memeber of the Actors Studio with a distinguished career on Broadway (Jacki: An American Life), TV (Chicago Hoe, Everybody Loves Raymond) and in films (Independence Day, The Devil's Own). "I took the role in Now and Again because I wnated to work with Glenn Gordon caron, the series creator, and also as a business move to get more exposure," she tells us. "But wht I really need to do are some classics, like Lillian Hellman, Shakespeare, Chekhov and Brian Friel." Colin is married to Justin Deas, who plays Buzz Cooper on Guiding Light. They have two sons, Sam, 10, and Joe, 6.

January 9, 2000

Local TV Guide
by Jennifer Weiner

Wrestling with Identity:
Existential shows pose questions not easily answered

If you are a John Goodman-sized insurance executive whose brain now resides in the body of a government-engineered hottie, who are you really?


A history in the arts

Identity has been a preoccupation of literature, opera and high art throughout the years. But it's also a particularly American issue, says Robert Thompson, chair of Syracuse University's Center for the Study of Popular Television.

"In America, so many things are stripped away. You're not born into a caste, where you know who you are because everything tells you. You're not born a duke or a peasant, where your identity is immutable."

Geography and bloodlines were both no big deal in the New World: "You could come here as an immigrant, eliminate your past, move west, reinvent yourself."

But throughout time, invention and reinvention have never come without consequences.

Whether you were Dr. Frankenstein making a monster or Jay Gatsby remaking yourself, whether you were meddling with science or society, there has always, inevitably, been a price to pay for having a new life


Broadway influence

Glenn Gordon Caron, the creator of "Now and Again," said he based his sci-fi fantasy/domestic romance on the 1950s movie of the musical "Damn Yankees." You remember: Middle-aged sports fan yearns for his beloved Washington Senators to finally win the pennant, so much so that he sells his soul to the devil for a shiny new body and a strong batting stroke, only to find he misses his wife.

Caron says he wanted to do a show about longing, ardor and passion -- subjects usually confined to the "Dawson's Creek" demographic, at least during prime time. "So I started to think. What if one member of the couple was younger than the other? What if it was the guy?"

And so you've got a classic outside love story -- cute, lost young man searching for his forsaken bride, while saving the world in the meantime. And what a different world it is. Years ago, immigration was what allowed you to become unmoored from the things that had defined you: name, age, station, religion, geography, family. Today, you can hop online and become somebody else with a few keystrokes.

Years ago, women were defined by their roles as homemakers, and men went to work for one company and stayed there until they retired.

Now, everything's in flux. Women work, companies merge, people are laid off -- movement, rather than stasis, is the norm, and the institutions that conferred identity, whether they were marriages or corporations, are changing.

Years ago, you were born with a body and you kept it until you died. Biology was destiny, at least in terms of when in your life you can do things like bear children.

Today, people walk around with artificial hip joints and transplanted hearts, with breasts and thighs and noses that came courtesy of plastic surgeons instead of Mom and Dad. Science is making designer babies possible, and living past 100 no longer seems farfetched.

"The familiar landmarks are shifting," says Arthur Caplan, an ethicist at the University of Pennsylvania. "you used to have kids in your 20s and 30s and retire in your 60s. Now, all of that's up for discussion because of changes in science, and because of people living longer."

Gene therapy, transplants, Internet disconnect, shifting gender roles, plus a dash of millennial anxiety -- is it any wonder, asks Caplan, that there's confusion about how we determine who we are?

January 9, 2000