Anjelica Deveraux was a type familiar to soaps: the older, but still attractive, rich bitch who spends most of her time plotting to break up a couple or couples on the show. This could be on her son or daughter’s behalf (like Kate), or because she wants the male half of said couple for herself. Such was the case with Anjelica, and the couple she was trying to break up was Justin and Adrienne Kiriakis.

I often find these (and other) spoiler characters tiresome, as I watch them reach ever higher levels of psychotic delusion, trying to break up the same couple over and over again. What set Anjelica apart, at least at first, was that she didn’t seem to believe that Justin really loved her, or that he would surely turn to her if only Adrienne were out of the picture. She didn’t even seem to be particularly in love with him herself. Justin the playboy pursued her relentlessly when he first came to town, and she enjoyed being in the position of being sought after. Even after they slept together, she mostly treated him as a disposable boy toy. But when he met Adrienne and broke off their affair, Anjelica resented being dethroned—and for such a nonentity as Adrienne Johnson! She seemed to feel she should just be able to squash Adrienne like a bug, and when she couldn’t, rather than walking away, she just kept trying harder and harder. (There was also possibly a sense of an extraordinarily capable woman having too few outlets for her energies, and messing with Adrienne was a source of diversion and amusement.)

There was also far more to her character than just her attachment to Justin. We saw her running her business. We saw her be a warm, supportive senator’s wife—and we saw that marriage disintegrate for reasons that had little to do with Justin. We saw her being a loving stepmother to Jack. There is scene that I don’t have on my DVDs, but is available on Devoted to Deveraux. It takes place soon after Jack finds out he’s Billy. Anjelica and Jo square off, and Anjelica says that Jo might be Jack’s mother by blood, but she’s the one who raised him, who sat up with him when he was ill. It’s an extraordinary scene for Days, where usually Biology is All.

Here is another great Anjelica scene, this one also right after Jack finds out he’s Billy. She confronts Harper about the fact that he is sterile, and therefore can’t be the father of the child she is carrying. She also puts it together that Harper was the one who tried to poison Kayla:

YouTube link

Jane Elliot—more commonly recognized as Tracy Quartermaine from General Hospital—played Anjelica for the first two years she was on the show. Judith Chapman played her after that, and though she was competent, I never felt she brought as much to the part. She had little of Elliott’s sly humor or intelligence, and she had no chemistry with Wally Kurth. The writing for the character also deteriorated: Anjelica’s layered motivation for meddling with Justin and Adrienne slid into Delusions of True Love territory. I just watched a scene on my DVDs, where Anjelica makes a videotape for her son, telling him Justin is his father. Anjelica says, “Your father was a wonderful man … with the cutest dimples. We had so much love when we made you.” Ugh.

10 thoughts on “Anjelica

  1. Great analysis of another wonderfully layered character (at least in the beginning, as you note so well). I liked how the Jane Elliott version was layered, yet consistent in her differing behavior—a rich snob who consistently looked down on anyone of lesser class (unless it was politically wise to use them); yet a genuinely loving stepmother who yearned for a biological child. There were so many times you just wanted to slap Anjelica for her bitchy behavior, then other times your heart broke over her own losses and regrets. Her loyalty to and protectiveness towards Jack was also consistent (and in many ways, more grounded in reality than Jo’s fantasy of the ideal child). When Anjelica first came on the show, it was established that she was very concerned about her ill stepson, who had rebelliously flown the coop from his cancer treatments. Numerous times Jack mentioned what a great stepmother she had been and her love for him clearly showed. During the period when he was trying to seek revenge on Steve and Kayla by holding up the divorce and shutting down the community center, she offered him wise advice to cut his losses and move on (he didn’t heed it, but it was wise nonetheless).
    Your analysis of her interest in breaking up Justin and Adrienne was right on the mark as well. Its too bad the later incarnation of her character bought into this notion that Justin was her true love, since one of the interesting things about their earlier affair was that accepted it as a fun diversion, nothing more. Alexander’s conception was even more interesting than the false image the later, obsessed, Anjelica portrayed. Justin was going through another rough patch with Adrienne (they were separated while he was secretly trying to bring down a mob boss, she was trying to make him jealous with Emilio) and Anjelica was hoping to get pregnant while being rebuffed by an increasingly hostile Harper. Several times she and Justin found themselves leaning on each other as friends for a little fun and a nice break from the stress in their lives. This led to drunken sex and conception, but at the time both recognized it as just a friends with benefits moment of comfort (little did Justin know Anjelica also wanted a baby out of it).
    It should be noted, though, that Anjelica didn’t try to use the baby to break up Justin and Adrienne(not initially). She was content to let the world believe Harper was the father, then when he turned out to be a killer, she married Neil to keep the secret. If it hadn’t been for Victor’s discovery of the truth and his efforts to use it to get rid of Adrienne, Anjelica might never have told Justin. For awhile, she was as much at the mercy of Victor’s manipulation as she had been of Harper’s. It’s too bad they allowed her character to shift into crazy, fatal attraction mode near the end of her run. She was much more interesting early on.

  2. Jane Elliot made Angelica the bitch you love to hate. She was fun. She could put such spin into her lines I enjoyed every bitchy moment. I was never a huge fan of Justin and Adrienne anyway, so it didn’t really bother me when she tried to break them up. And there were these great nuances to her character. She was capable of love and loyalty. She buried her own doubts about Kayla when it became clear that Jack needed her.

    Then Judith Chapman showed up and Anjelica became just another crazy rich bitch. Such a disappointment.

  3. Absolutely true, Flaco. Elliot was brilliant. On the issue of her role in the Justin/Adrienne relationship, I was an AJ fan (though they often did go overboard on the schmaltz factor), but even so, I recall feeling as if Alexander’s conception made perfect sense within the context of the storyline. Of course, Anjelica’s motives were obvious, but it also made sense from Justin’s perspective. Let’s face it: Adrienne was pretty high-maintenance and Justin often found it hard to live up to her high expectations. He was at a low point. Anjelica was a reminder of his carefree playboy days. She liked him just the way he was without the pressure to be perfect, so why not relax a few moments and enjoy himself?
    Elliot’s Anjelica chased Justin for the thrill of the hunt (the ultimate cougar). She would never have wanted to marry him, especially knowing she would always be second fiddle to the lowly Adrienne in his heart. I think that’s why she tried not to tell him about the baby. For awhile, she genuinely wanted him to be happy, even with Adrienne, because he was her friend and had given her the one thing she always wanted. Chapman’s relentless pursuit of him to create some perfect “family” was a debasement of the character. Elliot’s Anjelica would have had too much self-respect for such obviously clingy behavior.
    Sigh, they just don’t write ’em like her anymore. . . .

  4. When Jane Elliot left the role, Anjelica lost her range. She retained her snotty nature, but that was all that was left (besides the aforementioned “twu wuv” mentality she gained). Even in her interactions with Jack after the change, there was never that softness that they always had before. Since Alexander was born right when the switch was made, it almost made it seem as if Jack was right in looking at Alexander as his replacement.

  5. I just watched the scenes of Chapman and Wally Kurth, after Justin finds out he’s Alexander’s father. They are both terrible. WK was usually very good, but high drama and angst isn’t really his strong suit. Unfortunately TPTB put J&A into high angst storylines and I don’t think it works very well. Judi Evans is generally a great crier and sufferer, but with WK/Justin I think they went in the wrong direction for J&A.

    Anyway, that aside, with Chapman in the role I didn’t really believe in any sort of connection between Justin and Anjelica. That on top of the twu wuv talk just ruined it for me.

    It’s funny, though—I love the plotting of this story, with a year between Alexander’s conception and the big reveal. The reveal is timed to be right after Justin and Adrienne move out of Victor’s mansion, so you think things are going to work out for them at last. And Adrienne is trying to get pregnant but is unable to, so finding out Justin already has a son with her rival is soapy irony. As I was watching these scenes is occurred to me that this is an exact mirror image of how I saw Days under Hogan—terrible scene, terrible acting, but good plotting. Hee.

  6. Marypickford, re: Anjelica’s tape. The Elliot version would have left a much more pragmatic message, to the effect of, “I was very fond of your father. He was a good friend when we both needed one and sometimes that’s more important than finding true love.”

  7. I so wish Jane Elliot would have stayed in the role of Anjelica. She brought so much fun to the character. I agree with pretty much everything everybody has already said about the Justin and Anjelica relationship and Alexander’s conception. Anjelica always hated Adrienne not because Anjelica loved Justin and wanted him for herself, but just because she didn’t like the idea that Justin would rather be with a poor, blue-collar girl than with her.

    If Anjelica had chosen to tell Justin the truth, it would have been in a much simpler and snarkier way. And the only reason she would have decided to try and break-up Justin and Adrienne (again) would have been if she thought it was in her best interest to do so. And that would have been tons better than the NuAnjelica’s “twu wuv 4evah” routine.

  8. The dialogue on the videotape and in their confrontation scene is really pretty terrible, but I can’t help but think Elliot would have found a way to make it better. At the very least there would have been a sense of the history between the two as they argue about Alexander, and some of the bombast would have been lessened.

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