All About Eve
By Robert Schork
Soap Opera Weekly

Actors in any ensemble production – particularly a soap – are used to rotating between the front and back burners. But Passions’ Tracey Ross admits to being caught off guard by how many storyline roads converged on her character, Eve, at the same time. Ross is now in the eye of such a big story storm that NBC execs launched a major ad campaign to court the African-American demo.

Ross’ storyline started simmering when Hecuba’s green mist caused several characters – including Eve – to have visions of what might have been had they made different choices in their lives. “What is the right word for that? Flashbacks are flashing back to something that happened. Wishbacks? Wishforwards? Alternate life flashes?” Ross questions with a laugh. What was fun about them is we all got to be happy for a change. For one brief moment, Julian and TC were friends and in the same room laughing and smiling, and Eve got to be satisfied and thrilled.”

In her alternate-life vision, Eve had pursued her first two great loves: music and Julian. As a result, Julian walked away from the Crane family – and its millions – to be with Eve, while Eve parlayed her nightclub act into Whitney Houstonesque fame and fortune. Most importantly, Eve and Julian’s romance was depicted as sweet, tender, gentle and happy. Wait, is this Eve and Julian we’re talking about?

“Seeing that gentle Julian made the reality of the current Julian even more heart-wrenching, because you see what was lost and what could have been. When I think about it, I could just cry,” Ross shares. “And I didn’t realize until we did those scenes that Eve’s been in a semidepressed state for 20 years. When you see all the things that are missing in her daily life now, all the other facets of being a fulfilled person, you realize how much she’s in a trance, walking through life accepting that ‘This is as good as it gets.’ Isn’t that horribly sad? It teaches you to never envy anyone, because no matter how good someone’s life looks on paper, there’s other stuff that’s just as painful for them as anything you think you’re going through.”

To say that a fan reaction to the unlikely Eve and Julian coupling has been positive would be an understatement: It’s one of the hottest topics on Passions’ Web sites, with fans enthusiastically clamoring for an Eve/Julian redux. Though flattered and gratified by the response, Ross feels that, for now at least, less is more. “Pardon me if it sounds self-aggrandizing, but Eve and Julian are like caviar and champagne: You only get a little bit at a time and on special occasions. It’s good to keep the audience hungry for more.

“It feels like it’s all coming to a boil,” Ross concludes. “With everything going on in Eve’s personal life, she’s still being the doctor. She’s still trying to keep Antonio’s head from blowing up, and holding Grace’s hand, watching David manipulate, and watching Ivy try to manipulate the both of them for Sam. I don’t know how anybody could keep up with so much pressure.” But wait: Now that Liz has been revealed to be Eve’s estranged sister, expect the pressure to reach flashpoint. Ross previews that more bitchslaps between the two aren’t far behind. “Stay tuned, because Eve learns that Liz is ambidextrous; she can get you either way.”