In the annals of soap opera history, there exist moments that are, to borrow from an old Nat King Cole standard, unforgettable…in every way. Reva’s emotional self-christening on Guiding Light stands as a perfect example.
Guiding Light – Reva In The Fountain, Baring All
Joshua Lewis’s disdain for Reva Shayne, his long-ago lover turned sister-in-law had grown once he discovered that she had arrived in Springfield to contest her divorce from his older brother, Billy.
And the back-to-back revelations that she had done so at Alan Spaulding’s request and that she was once again a Lewis – thanks to her marriage to family patriarch H.B. – sent Joshua spinning. First metaphorically. Then literally.
The airbags inside the sports car that Joshua recklessly drove into a tree saved his life. The accident, however, robbed him of his mobility.
Confinement to a wheelchair embittered the former swaggering playboy. Annexation to a room inside the Lewis abode enraged him. But the plethora of opportunities to belittle, embarrass, and harass Reva pleased Joshua to no end.
Just prior to July 30, 1984, a détente of sorts was agreed upon by the feuding pair, but the tension remained ever-present. It again erupted at a gala event being hosted at the country club when Reva made the mistake of engaging in raucous conversation with Phillip Spaulding – Alan’s adopted son.
When their bickering and snipping resulted in the other revelers bidding them adieu, Reva and Joshua found themselves alone on the recreation centers patio. In want of a descriptor for the mass exodus, Joshua described it as “the cripple and the tramp,” clearing the place out.
Enraged over her subjection to yet another tirade, Reva countered that she was, “…tired of this!” With rapidly weakening aplomb, she railed at having provided Joshua with pleas for forgiveness, love, understanding, and access to the best physician her money could provide and receiving nothing in return but ingratitude.
“There’s only one thing that’s gonna make you happy,” she defeatedly realized. “And that’s to catch me being unfaithful to your daddy.” If Joshua was so determined to see her as a slut, Reva opinioned that she should act like a slut. After all, “ol’ Reva’s nothing if she ain’t obliging!”
With that, Reva relieved herself of her shoes, her shawl, and her bejeweled evening gown! After tossing the accouterments at her captive audience of one, Reva loudly declared herself a tramp, an adulterous, and a scarlet woman.
But upon seeing that Joshua had yet to take her bait, Reva decided upon further action. With spectacle in mind, she rushed to the nearby fountain and jumped in!
Upon making contact with the standing water, the chemise clad woman, growing more hysterical by the minute, profusely anointed herself and proclaimed, “I baptize myself the Slut of Springfield!”
When Joshua issued orders to redress and get the hell out of his presence, Reva wondered what the point would be? “Isn’t this fun?! You look at me like I’m naked all the time… like I don’t have a heart or a brain.”
And since she was convinced that all Joshua’s “dirty little mind” could see her was body, Reva decided to remind him of its glory – by removing what little covering she still had left. After ordering him to take a good look, Reva succumbed to the tears she had so desperately tried to keep in check.
It was a moment that neither character would ever forget – nor would the audience who viewed it, nor the actors who brought the vivid scene to life.
In an exclusive interview with Soap Hub, actress Kim Zimmer, who spent 21 years playing the oft-married, oft-in peril Reva, remembered the scene thusly: “The biggest thing about [it] was that Reva’s vulnerabilities were finally exposed. Her self-doubt. She was stripped of everything she could get down to her guts.
“She was asking: Was this enough Springfield? Because you’ve done nothing but put me down and treat me poorly. So I’ll be your bitch!”