OLTL: Tricking and Treating

With still a few tricks up their sleeves, OLTL writers are making the show as entertaining this month, as last month.  WELL DONE!

1.  Shaun finally catches his worthless brother and the ever lying Rachel in the act of kissing in public.  What heartbreak!  I’d hoped that OLTL would follow GH’s lead and offer an unconventional romantic pairing.  GH’s Spinelli and Maxie are clearly mismatched (she the glamazon, he the geek) but they work for whatever reason.  I’d hope that cuddly teddybear Shaun and Princess Rachel would work things out, but not so.  I’m just glad that the writers didn’t spend months keeping the poor guy in the dark while the audience grew increasingly saddened by the deception taking place around him.

I’m still hoping that Rachel realizes that Greg is a pompus windbag and goes back to Shaun (who won’t want her back at that point).  Rachel, however, won’t give up and earns her way back into Shaun’s life.

What about Greg?  Todd is going to end up dumping Blair soon enough.  Why not Greg and Blair?  She loves being involved with difficult and self-aggrandizing men.  Greg would be perfect for her.

2.  Clint and Kim.  YEEHAW!  This is such a replay of Asa and Blair.  Clint reminds me of Asa more and more each day.  The drinking, the insecurity masking as toughness, the desperation masking as other things.   So, who gets to play the NuMax?  Schulyer?  Will Kim realize that she wants poor but honest Schulyer after all (ok, so he’s not exactly ‘NuMax’)?   Will Nora or Viki end up being ‘Renee’ for Clint?  Poor Clint, alone and lonely, in love with his brother’s ex wife, foolish enough to believe that putting  a ring on her finger will make her love him back.  Dude… poor poor Dude.

3.  Daniella and Tea?  PRICELESS!  They have the mother-daughter spark that Blair and Starr lost long ago!  The writers took the teeth away from Starr when they foolishly shoved her into the teen pregnancy storyline.  Starr has been unrecognizable as Todd’s daughter.  She had to become soft and gooey, and a whole lot of foolish, to break out of the role that made Starr such a memorable character.   That doesn’t mean that Ive been waiting to see Starr take on Todd’s psychotic tendencies.  That would be a tragedy as well.   I just wanted her to be shrewd and calculating.  I wanted to see Starr protect herself and not take garbage from anyone.  Starr lost the edge that use to make her such an enjoyable character.  She became a weak and whiny thing, all in the name of  ‘luv’.

What I’m not looking forward to is competing mother-daughter tag teams.  While sibling rivalry makes sense with Todd’s daughters going to war, to have their mothers involved would seem too much like adult women using their daughters to obtain the objects of their affection.  Daniella is the ‘new kid’.  Starr has been able to reject her father and cause him to beg for her for her forgiveness  – even though he was initially right about Cole,  before the writers twisted both Cole and Todd into unrecognizable characters for the sake of ‘drama’.    Will she as easily walk away from her demented father now that she can be ‘replaced’?  Replaced?  Sick?  Yes, I know…  but that’s Todd.

By the way, the casting is brilliant for this storyline.  KA’s Starr has always looked like the child of Blair and Todd.  Kelly Missal’s Daniella, with the  to-die-for-hair,  makes her look like believable as the child of the Hair goddess, Tea.  Daniella’s temper definitely sells her as Manning’s kid.

4.  Talk about continuity!  Most shows have difficulty maintaining continuity on their own shows.  OLTL maintained continuity between two different shows.  Daniel Manache (Tom) was last seen as JJ on As the World Turns.  JJ was sent away to (art?) school by his parents – a boarding school.  Manache turns up as ‘Tom’, Matthew and Daniella’s friend from boarding school.  Sweet irony.

As for Matthew and Daniella the potential couple?  Can you imagine the nightmare it would cause Bo and Nora to have their son involved with Todd and Tea’s kid? To think, it would never have happened had Bo and Nora not forced Matthew out of the country.   Poor Destiny.  It seems that she will be the odd girl out, unless the writers are clever in how they write this budding teen romance which will probably loom large next summer.   While not everyone is a fan of the character of Destiny, I like her (and even like the actress portraying her – Shennell Edmonds).  Edmond’s acting is stiff, and she’s clearly a novice, but she’s improving – and anyone who can have such sweet scenes with Tuc Watkin’s David Vickers is winner in my book.

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OLTL, you like me, you really LIKE me

It’s like someone woke a sleeping giant!  OLTL is showing big love to its fans once more!  Prior to this lasted set of arcs, this show was on a huge downward shame spiral for some time now.  The storylines stopped making sense, the characters became unlikable – or worse, BORING, and watching OLTL began to feel more like an obligation.  Hey, I could have trashed the show without watching it, but how fair would that have been?

Trash it?  Oh no, I’m here to PRAISE it!  This show has found its mojo and it’s paying off in SPADES.  My biggest gripe with daytime is that so few writers seem to do the unexpected any more.  Most writers’ moves are telegraphed and therefore yawn producing.  OLTL writers seem to be determined to offer viewers the unexpected.  Fans have wondered if David’s conversion was real.  Had he become a better man, or was this yet another Vicker’s scam?  I’ll admit that I was waiting for the scam – when isn’t David pulling a con?  We got our answer. 

THIS time David is for real.  He not only doesn’t want to harm the Buchanans, but the revelation that BO, not Asa is his father has led him to change his mind and being entitled to the Buchanan money.  The old David would have fought tooth and nail for that money and not given Bo a second thought.  David isn’t willing to hurt his family just to become a wealthy man.  He wants to create his own life.  He wants to feel good about who he is and not owe anyone anything.  Of course, it sucks that we learned it as he was on his way out the door (Tuc Watkins why do you keep breaking my heart with each goodbye!?!?!) but we can’t blame the writers for that.

I’d expected Rex  to somehow turn out to be Bo’s son (not Mitch Laurence’s- if the mystery man really is Mitch Laurence).

I never expected Bo to be so callous in learning about David’s paternity (WTH was that?  Having lost one son, you’d think that Bo would have been reluctant to get to know David, but to want to know him anyway.)

I expected David to turn out not to be Asa’s, but instead to be Ned Truman’s son after all.

At the very least, I expected David to stick it to Dorian, who’d waged war against him during his marriage to Addie, by having her give up her fortune and then claiming his and not marrying her.

I’ve been happy to be proven wrong at every turn. The show is far more interesting this way.

Create Your Own Soap

A lovely poster on the SoapOperaNetwork’s message boards posted a ‘create your own soap’ thread. The only instruction? You’re not limited by the format/structure daytime uses now. WOWZA! Great idea. So many of us are unhappy with the current storylines offered in daytime (and repeatedly offered) that we want something different. Daytime is clinging to a dead model, in my opinion and has focused on all the wrong changes to bring fans back/or keep them around (GL’s disastrous Peapack shoot, for example).
Below is my attempt at setting up a new soap, storylines we don’t (or won’t get) in daytime:
Setting: Colorado! Why? Big cities that feel like small towns, 4 seasons (and I think there’s something romantic about the rockies as a backdrop). The mountains work as an additional character the same way NYC became a fifth character in Sex and the City. States like Colorado allow you any sort of lifestyle you’d want: urban and chic, rural and hearty, ranch/farm style living.

Multicultural/multi-ethnic cast. One Life to Live comes closest to a truly multicultural cast and achieving the ‘feel’ I’d like in a soap.

There should be varying levels of income (I think what sucks about daytime is that everyone has to be ‘rich’ and that those how aren’t eventually become rich or scheme to become rich, or spend a LOT of time hanging out with the fabulously wealthy as if that could happen – because there’s nothing rich folk like more than hanging out with people who don’t have money. Don’t you read ‘People’?).

No more treating race, orientation, religion, etc like ‘novelty’ storylines. The cast would be fully integrated in that sense. I think the ‘old’ model of ‘easing in’ populations is killing daytime and fails to appeal to larger audiences who are far more sophisticated than daytime EPs/execs believe.

Cast/plots would include:

The darker characters/storylines

— an educated self-made CEO who is a ‘pariah’ in her family (an outsider to her family not because she’s educated but because she’s ashamed of her working class roots and unable to admit it to herself). The storyline is centered around a 21st century ‘passing’ when she reinvents herself and brings with her into her new life the one person who could/would blow her new life out of the water – someone she brings with her not by her own choice. Hey, I didn’t say NO rich characters, just that they can’t all be rich.

— a young man (late 20s/early 30s) on the edge who has been hidng a secret that’s been tearing him apart. He not only witnessed his father’s death, he knows who did it and helped cover up the accidental death – obviously for someone he loves. The details of his father’s unsolved murder make it unlikely that anyone would believe it was an accident. He’s in his first potentially serious relationship and his deal with the devil comes back to haunt him.

— an unconventional HIV storyline. An older woman whose unfaithful husband contracts the disease. What would happen if this woman unknowingly ended up in a support group for women with AIDS/HIV with her husband’s mistress and neither knew who the other was, at first?

Daytime treats sex as romance, and often without consequence. The only consequence characters have faced is to either end up pregnant and not know which man fathered the child, or from the male perspective, to be named one of a couple/several possible fathers; or to end up pregnant.

It’s hard to imagine that in more than 20 years of public focus on AIDS/HIV that only two shows have dealt with issues of AIDS/HIV for longer than several weeks (General Hospital, which offered the Nurses Ball as an annual AIDS/HIV fundraiser, and All My Children) . ATWT’s Margo was sexually assaulted by a perp she as trying to arrest during a robbery and spent several weeks/months worrying that she’d contracted HIV from the assailant when he tested positive. She didn’t, of course.

I imagine the character in my soap battling with forgiving her husband; befriending, hating, and then working on forgiving the mistress who knew about her life with her family and slept with her husband anyway; dealing with HIV, and becoming an advocate for other women living with the condition. My soap would treat her condition as chronic, as General Hospital has done with Robin Scorpio, or with AMC’s Cindy Parker, wife of Stuart Chandler, before she died. (Trivia buffs, it might interest you to know that Cindy Parker was played by GL’s current EP, Ellen Wheeler!)

— a former (ad exec? autoworker? high school teacher?) who lost everything because of a drug addiction, lived on the streets for a while – gets clean – ends up working as live in help for a wealthy family. He’s dazzled by the big life and the big secrets of the glitterati, never becoming one of them. He knows more than he should because he sits in the shadows listening. He’s not ‘one of them’ so they’re not especially careful about what they say in his presence. He serves as a surrogate father to the family’s young heir when he realizes the kid is being physically abused by the father. No one believes either of them about the abuse. He can’t prove the abuse, but he can prove the father has engaged in other illegal activities. He blackmails him to get him to leave the child alone, keeping his job to stay close and keep an eye on the father. He keeps up his battle to keep the child safe, but the fear and anxiety cause him to battle relapsing in the process.

The lighter storylines:

— one ‘coming of age storyline’

— A little comedy (would love a David Vickers-esque character)

— A least one pair of star-crossed lovers

What I wouldn’t add:

— weak needy whining women. They need not apply. Men who cheat don’t get to be called ‘great husbands’ or ‘loving and caring’ later (see: BnB’s Nick Marone how bailed on his grieving wife for her mother a day after his child was buried… they both see what a ‘good man’ he is… bull)

— love triangles – done to death. When couples break up, let it be for real problems, not because of a third partner.

— Who’s the daddy? storylines, as pregnant women are fighting to keep others from learning the truth.

— Misattributed paternities (geez, how many times can soap characters raise children and later find out the children aren’t theirs?

— No pseudo-incest stuff – you don’t get to date your niece just because you find out there’s no bio link later in life.

Rules

— more drama, less camp. Daytime has become a bad parody of itself.

— more romance, less “hello, let’s have sex”. The Bold and the Beautiful is a classic example of wham-bam relationships! Rick fell for his niece, Steffy, days after her sister’s death – an accident he was involved in.

— I’d want more mystery and intrigue, less psychoses passing as real life.
When you think about it, what would would you change it? How would you write daytime differently?

OLTL, sometimes you SUCK!

There’s so  much I love about this show (see below).  Then there’s the Todd/Marty rape-is-romance storyline.  Why the writers won’t just cut their losses and drop the Manning pursuit  is beyond me.  Are they sending Todd to prison or is  this another exercise in futility?

 What can they do that will make up for the creepiness of having Todd sleep with Marty while she was amnesic and couldn’t remember the earlier rape or the months of torture and threats after?  He was NOT a repentant rapist at that time, to be sure. He was actually quite vicious in the way he followed her around town, grabbing her, threatening to hurt her again, threatening to hurt anyone who tried to protect her.   

OLTL writers, you are NOT going to make me feel sorry for Todd by having Antonio behave like a prick and falsely accuse him of the attempted rape of  Lee Halpern/Janet Ketring.   New Todd rules?  When he does rape someone, he goes free.  When he doesn’t rape a woman, he ends up in court or being harassed by the police.  You’ve sunk to a new low. 

By the way, why are Talia and Tonio allowed to work together?  Come on, writers, we all remember that Bo has had to reprimand Tonio more than once, now he’s letting Tonio work  with the person who is most likely to let him have a free reign?  Clearly the man needs a partner who reminds him that being a cop is not about nursing his grudges or trying to be a superhero.  Any guesses as to whether one of Antonio’s stupid moves helps Todd go free, again?

 Why couldn’t the writers just leave Todd’s redemption alone?

David, Dorian, and enlightenment!

Oh Dorian!  Could David be setting you up?  Is it possible that he already knows he’s a Buchanan heir?   Will David have the last laugh by taking control of the Buchanan fortune and leaving Dorian penniless?  She did everything she could to make him miserable the last time around.  She kept HIM penniless and powerless.  Wouldn’t that be a fantastic twist?   I buy David’s transformation about as much as I’d buy  Roxy as the president of the local Mensa chapter, soapgod love ‘er! 

Dear Melissa Archer.

You’re a great beauty, a marvelous actor, and probably one of the most fan-friendly celebs  around.  So what’s going on backstage?  The hair department loves you – obviously.  The wardrobe department?  Not so much.  Whatever you’ve done to offend them (walked off with the last bottled water, accidently crushed a car bumper, forgot to invite wardrobe to your last big party)… don’t do it again!    When everyone goes home for the night, steal that goshawfulmakesmyeyesbleed blue sweater and burn it.  While you’re at it, grab “Tea’s” grey coat,  “TessBessica’s” institutional chic lounge wear, “Brody’s” gray t-shirt and sweats, John’s black shirts/pants/socks/shoes/belts/coats/t-shirts/ and burn those too.

Wait, maybe you haven’t offended the wardrobe department, maybe ABC should pony up the cash and pay for a shopping spree!

He said what? The Brass Cojones Awards

If there was a Brass Cojones award for daytime males, I’d have to nominate the following four characters:

3 – The YnR’s Victor Newman. Victor recently referred to rival Jack Abbott as an arrogant S.O.B. As soon as I regained consciousness from laughing so hard I couldn’t breathe (hence the passing out), I realized that Victor has a brass pair so big that the man must wear TWO pairs of pants to contain them.

This is the man who told the love of his life, mother of most of his children, that she would still be a stripper in the dive bar he found her in if it weren’t for him (a bitterly cruel thing to say to a woman at midlife, dontcha’ think?). Apparently, he helped her grow a brain, get a little ambition, and become a person of virtue.   ::swoon::   Sure, if it weren’t for him, she’d still be sliding that pole, not a thought in her head, gigglin’ and jigglin’. Victor just wanted her to know that.  And they say romance is dead!  Victor should be happy that he married Nikki and not a woman who would have taken half of everything in a divorce, including half the brass.

2 – OLTL’s Jared Banks. Jared recently offered to help Clint Buchanan keep hot-stuff David Vickers from finding out that he was the rightful heir to Buchanan Enterprises. He wants to make sure the company stays in the hands of the ‘original family’.  Oh yeah, people, he used THOSE words.

In the process of agreeing to help Clint, Jared- the soulless recast his own attempt to defraud the Buchanans, by pretending to be the rightful heir to Asa’s fortune, as an act of ‘protection’.   He and Natalie were only ‘protecting’ the Buchanans from David’s evil greedy dirty deed doing self. The problem is that Jared stole David’s share of BE from the ‘original family’ before finding out who the real heir was. He did it out of greed – and revenge against Tess. It’s an act that cost the family its company and allowed Dorian Lord to take over.  It was also an act that resulted in Nash Brennan losing his life.

Will someone let me know when Jared is gone? For good, that is.

Tied for second is the dark shadow, prince of pain, the man who works at trying to make morose look hot:  Johnny Boy McBain.  Does it astound anyone else that John is self-righteous about Marty drinking and sexing her anger away?  Does it strike anyone else as odd that it’s how McBain was introduced, and how he’s lived as a character the entire time he’s been around?

Does McBain care because he wants what’s best for Marty?  Does he care because he’s jealous?  Is it just the case that it’s hard to look at the female version of himself (down to the black clothing)?

I keep waiting for someone to ask John why it’s ok for him to turn blue skies gray and grunt his way through relationships that end up leaving the women who love him shattered and feeling used.   I was hoping it would be Marty who took him on.

3 – ATWT’s Jack Snyder. It takes a lot of nerve for a man to bring second mortgage papers for his ex-wife to sign for the home she still lives in with their children. It takes even more nerve to ask her to let you take out a second mortgage to allow you to buy your new wife and her kid a home. You’d think that would be enough, right? You don’t know Jack, then.

Jack earns the ‘Brass Cojones’ award for telling his ex-wife, as the second mortgage papers are sitting on her desk, to not accept a loan from the town’s mustache twirling villain: Craig Montgomery(pictured right).  Craig, it appears, is so evil that  Carly’s utter devastation and loss of all of she has left, professionally, is better than accepting his money.  Sure… It’s much better that Carly be unemployed and in debt from a bad business venture.  It’s much better that she spend her days hoping Jack and Janet take a break from sniffing the fantasy laced room full of flowers and sunshine in the new home built from her children’s financial security long enough to pay back the second mortgage so that she doesn’t lose her home, too.

If you’re keeping count, Jack wears FOUR pairs of pants to hold his brass in and even then there’s a little spillage.  It’s not pretty.

OLTL’s Silver Lining…

There are four silver linings, actually:

1. David Vickers: this one is self-explanatory for OLTL viewers. David is daytime’s only ‘can’t fail’ character thanks to his portrayer, Tuc Watkins. Can you name one boring storyline Vickers was involved in? I can’t.

Add Viki Davidson to the mix and it gets even better. David is the less psychotic but equally pathological baby brother Todd should have been to Viki. Theirs is the best non-sexual chemistry in daytime.

2. Brody: Unlike GH’s shameful Iraq-veteran-turned- sociopath plot with Logan Hayes, OLTL’s writers are handling Brody’s PTSD story with amazing sensitivity. He’s a good man who had a horrific experience but still has the love and support of those who know him. Nice character development – rare in contemporary daytime. The writers deserve credit for this one.

3. Bess/Tess/Jessica: The writers are SO playing this for camp! Where can I get a pair of those black glasses Bess wears? Apparently you get a free alter with purchase! Glasses on: Bess takes over…glasses off: Bess gone! You know what be freakin’ awesome? If there was no Bess, and Jess has been intentionally fooling everyone to hang on to ‘her’ baby, out of grief of course. More awesome? Tess is throwing Jess offguard by petending to be ‘Bess’ to keep her from thinking about Chloe’s birth.. Twisted.

4. Tea Delgado…oh how she rocks! The show should display subtitles, every time she’s on screen. She’s that good:

– Tea Delgado: Esquire/American Badass
– The devil may wear Prada but Delgado wears Dolce!
– Delgado: She ain’t here to make friends…unless she’s using you
– Delgado, handing your ass back to you one underhanded move at a time…

All of the above four silver linings take the sting off of the rest of the show – a little.