Second Verse Same As The First? Why RH’s Todd Had To Win Out

TSJ’s last day filming for the show was late July (the 22nd).  The entire time I’ve been hoping that TPTB released the information to throw fans off track (much like the ‘Todd’s execution scenes when, I believe, TSJ’s contract was up and TPTB kept us guessing about whether or not he would return.  At time moves on, I realize that it’s utterly hopeless to believe that TPTB are playing a waiting game and I realize that RH’s Todd has indeed won out.  While I’d preferred having both men onscreen, it’s clear that RH’s Todd had to win out.  Bummer, but I accept it will adjust.

Bummer?  Yes, bummer.  I’ve been adamant that I want TSJ to be declared the ‘real Todd’ while keeping RH’s Todd on as the  newly discovered brother brainwashed into believing he was Todd  Why? Although it took me a while to warm up to him,  I’ve been a huge  TSJ supporter since Todd’s “death row” storyline.  It’s one of the most ethereal,  hauntingly beautiful, storylines OLTL writers have offered.  A rapist, who later became a rape survivor, is on death row after being convicted of killing his assailant.  I think TSJ added an intangible quality to the role that RH’s Todd didn’t have.

Rather than build on the magnificence of that storyline and send Todd on a journey of introspection, OLTL writers took the opportunity to make Todd meaner, angrier, and more vile with each act -primarily to prop other characters and storylines.   TSJ’s Todd was sacrificed to sell Cole and the Starr as a burgeoning supercouple and the writers wasted no time in taking TSJ’s Todd to a new low (battering Cole, knocking a pregnant Starr down a flight of stiars, threatening to kill orphaned adolescents, bullying Starr’s friends, etc).

Todd had become such a heinous character that OLTL writers wasted months creating a new ‘high school musical’ around the “eternal” love of Starr and Cole, with Todd being cast as evil personified.  Much of Langston’s play centered around the heartlessness of a man like Todd, who’d lost the ability to recognize and bask in the glow of true love.  When an entire town’s collective life revolves around a high schol musical on the glory of teen love/pregnancy as a lesson about love for the ages?  Your show and its characters are doomed.  I think the show for far too long leveraged its credibility on the backs of its youngest performers (not their fault at all) in the hopes of bringing in newer/younger viewers — and  as has always been true of daytime, younger viewers are as uninterested in hot mess storyline about their lives as the rest of us.  It didn’t stop TSJ’s Todd from becoming a causalty and beginning the downward spiral toward irrelevance.

Like RH before him, TSJ’s  portrayal of the character became one of boredom and he began projecting ‘shorthand’ acting.  His  responses became quick quips. Facials expressions (plural) became facial expression (singular).  The return of Marty Saybrooke was the death of TSJ’s Todd Manning.  His struggle for redemption – post Marty’s rape (the first time) was gone.  His sad realization that he would never be able to make up to Marty, or the community he offended and terrorized, for his actions was gone.  His struggle to forgive himself for what he’d become, was gone.  

The writers, I can only guess, felt that they’d found the one sure fire way of giving all of that back to fans.  RH’s Todd gets a fresh start.  If he becomes ‘Real Todd’, it means that the writers can take us back to the place where we loved the flawed Todd Manning because he would still be struggling with his humanity and his fighting his  fear of returing to the sociopath he’d once been (the sociopath TSJ’s Todd was sacrificed to become once again). 

Watching Viki with Todd, even I began to long for old Todd.  I remembered how instrumental a role Viki played in Todd’s redepmtion and how much closer to human she made him. The few minutes of Viki with the RHTodd’s (the Todd who was allowed to experience human emotions) made me “homesick” and sad that the writers had wasted the gifts that TST brought to the role at the same time.   There is something special in RH’s Todd’s relationship with Viki that TSJ’s Todd  was never allowed to capture.   I felt like an intruder watching Viki watch her baby brother (RH Todd) sleep.  The moment felt so real and I could only imagine that in fictional Viki’s shoes that I, too, would long for the brother with a  familiar face, a  familiar sound and familiar mannerisms. 

I get it, because as much as I’ve loved TSJ in the role and for as much as I hope there is a way to bring him back, afterall, I can see the emtional threads of this storyline braiding themselves together to give fans the Todd they’d hoped they would get with TSJ and were disappointed when the writers had other plans.  EZ’s Viki and RH’s Todd have the opportunity to bring viewers back to what feels like ‘home’.

Initially, this storyline led me to imagine the Emmy worthy work Erika Slezak would deliver as the emotional heart of the Lord family, torn between two brothers who want to be loved best by her – one who now had everything and one who’d pretty much lost it all.  Both brothers would be fearful of being rejected in favor of the other. I thought of the stress and pain it would cause Viki to constantly be asked to choose between them, as it has caused her the same gutwrenching  pain she experiences even still with her daughters. Ithought of the comic moments with the two sets of long lost Lord twins, RH-Todd and his favorite, Jess.  TSJ -Todd becoming Natalies’s champion.  In the end, while both Todds are familiar to Viki, both would be strangers.  Now it’s becoming clearer that the writers are going to make a ‘choice’ themselves, and I’m resigned to the fact that their choice won’t be mine and TSJ won’t be back.  More is the pity.

Ultimately, it must be hell to work for an ABC soap in a familiar role.  From the return of the “Real Greenlee” to the return of RH’s Todd, any actor would probably be smart to consider themselves just a temporary long-term replacement in any ABC soap role.

Advertisements

OLTL, the good, the bad, and the WTF!?!?!

The Good: Thank you writers for finally wrapping up the ‘Baby Chloe- Hope’ storyline.   It’s been a long time in coming and I was getting sick of it!

The Bad: (With sarcasm):  Thank you writers for the ‘Baby Chloe -Hope’ storyline.

The WTF: (with incredulity and a tad bit of disgust):  Thank you writers for the ‘Baby Chloe -Hope’ storyline.  Of all of the storylines you COULD have told, this is what you saddle us with?

There are some legitimately wonderful reasons to love OLTL, in my book:

1.  It’s not All My Children.  Need I say more?

2. None of the characters are named Michael Corinthos Jr.  How is it is that General Hospital writers have a knack for taking an event that should be considered a blessing and turn it into such an awful AWFUL thing?  Little Michael Corinthos’ awakening was something I felt myself regretting about 10 minutes after the kid opened his eyes.  To the credit of OLTL’s writers, they haven’t managed to make me wish that any of their teen characters would lapse into a coma!  ALTHOUGH… I wouldn’t mind seeing LESS of all of them.

3.  Viki Lord.  Period.  What would this show do without Erika Slezak?  I don’t even want to know!

4.  The triangle between Clint/Nora/Bo will be heating up soon into a quadrangle with mixed partners Clint/Nora/Bo/Lindsey.  I’ve never been a big Bo/Nora fan – primarily because I’m not a Nora fan. I say that knowing that MANY OLTL fans are Bo/Nora fans and for their sake, I sure hope that the show’s writers honors its history and gives the couple back to the audience who loves them.  The question is… what happens to Clint?

Clint/Lindsey? (Can you imagine their couples name?  Clindsey?  Lint?  FUN!)  Since it seems that CH’s Lindsey’s stay is temporary, I have  doubt as to whether the writers would move in that direction.  Too bad, Lindsey was fabulous with both Clint and Bo in the past.  I would be interested in the chemistry between JVD’s Clint and CH’s Lindsey.

Clint, on his own? Angry?  Scheming to break up Bo and Nora?  Where’s the fun in that?  I’d rather see Clint go back to London before having him take on his own brother over a woman he shouldn’t have been with in the first place.  I had a preference for Clint and Nora over Bo and Nora, but to have Clint becoming involved with the love of his brother’s life was a bit much for most of you and in moments of objectivity, I agree.

Clint and Viki?  If you’re going to make me suffer through Bo and Nora, writers, I’ll take Clint and Viki (no worries, anti-Clint/Viki fans… I never get the pairings I like).  I think Clint and Viki/ Bo and Nora have the potential to take fans back to some of the glory days of  OLTL. I have to admit that I’m concerned about the initial awkwardness of the two couples getting together in light of Nora and Clint’s relationship… eh,there’s been worse on this show.

5.  Believe it or not, I think that John and Marty (or the prospect of John and Marty) would be far more interesting than Blair and John – who’ve only managed to put me to sleep.

6.  Jessica and Brody.  Even now, I’m still disappointed that Nash is gone and that Jared survives in his place, BUT, at least TPTB have come as close as they possibly could to Nash, without trying to replace him with a ‘Nash Clone’.  Brody has ‘Nash like’ qualities (hot as sin, a beautiful body, thoughtful, kind, and loving), but have given him a unique personality and core.

So… setting aside that things I actually like, I have to say that the ‘Baby Chloe- Hope’ storyline has the potential to keep me tuning out OLTL (or at least FFing most of whatever episodes I bother recording.

I think the teen pregnancy storyline was the biggest mistake the writers have made so far.  I’m not against the idea of a teen pregnancy storyline.  I’m simply against the teen pregnancy storyline for the chosen characters.  Why?:

  • I hate the back door approach to keeping Todd and Marty connected given their history.  It’s bad enough that he’s violated her twice in a lifetime, but now they’re connected because their children are ‘in love’ and are now parents together.  BULLOX!
  • I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again.  This is NOT a storyline that plays to Kristen Alderson’s strengths.  She has become the weak link in this storyline. I find KA’s emotional responses to be stilted and unbelievable.
  • Adding the teen pregnancy storyline on top of the drug addiction storyline was a bit much.  The writers have seemingly decided that the juiciest storylines should go to the youngest actors and that the veterans should be stuck with trivial, pointless, boring storylines.  It’s another storyline for which Kristen Alderson seemed completely unprepared and didn’t connect as an actress, in my opinion.  She uttered the dialogue  well enough, but her performances felt like a ‘script reading’ rather than watching someone who was emotionally impacted by a loved one’s drug abuse.
  • Oddly enough, Brandon Buddy has done as well as any actor with significantly more experience.  He’s been a marvel.  The only problem with having handed him this storyline is that he seems far too mature an actor for the role he now plays.  It’s time to SORAS Cole to 18 and find him a cougar (no older than 25, please, not someone too much older).  “Starr and Cole” now feel like little Starr and her much older brother – ICK!!!!!!!!!  By the way, Brandon should be nominated, next year, for the addiction storyline.

KA fans I’m not completely ‘Anti-Starr’.  I think there are a  number of storylines that would be great for the character and would showcase the actress’ abilities well.  The Baby Chloe-Hope storyline just isn’t one of them.

All I’m saying is THIS (GH Scrubs Spoiler)

If the spoilers are correct, and Robin is suffering from something OTHER than PPD, it’s possible that my days as a deeply disappointed, incredibly bitter occasional GH viewer are OVAH! GH will be off the viewing list for GOOD for me (or at least until TPTB rebuild Scrubs and LL2). The question is, what is the ‘something other’?

Is it possible that the writers are venturing into a potential ‘DID’ storyline? One Life to Live has successfully carried out the multiple personality storylines with Erika Slezak’s ‘Viki Buchanan Lord’ for decades. They’ve had some success with Bree Williamson in a similar storyline. Could GH writers be looking to reproduce that success with Robin Scorpio Drake?

For pity’s sake! Robin has survived more tragedy than most characters in daytime. If the writers are adding DID on top of her HIV, PPD, and general life dissatisfaction, I think I’m truly done with this show.

How much darker can GH get? The phrase once used was ‘would the last viewer out please shut off the lights?’… I think it’s time for the last GH viewer out to turn the LIGHTS ON.

Clearly, it’s the turkey talking…

I’m always giddy for about a week before the Thanksgiving holiday… mad with anticipation.  It happens every year and it’s the only thing I can think of that explains the fact that I loved daytime last week.  I can’t think of a thing I truly disliked.  I enjoyed most of what aired!  WOW!

The Young and the Restless – Poor deluded, insecure, Phyllis.  LOVED her reaction to Nick and Sharon’s closeness and that she made sure that everyone knew that she felt ‘thankful’ for a husband who made her feel “sexy”.  I LOVED that Sharon wasn’t at all affected by the possessive kiss Phyllis planted on Nick.  Loved  Nikki and Paul.   I get a little tingly watching them!  Daytime writers always receive huge kudos for remembering the show’s history and giving us a reason to cheer historic couple on.  Veteran viewers will remember the STD storyline  that ended the relationship between these characters when they were younger adults – opening the door to Victor and Nikki.  It’s an old storyline that still makes some cringe at the thought of the two of them getting together now.  I say, BIG DEAL.  Paul made mistakes when he was younger.  Look at the man he is now.  Victor never gave Nikki an STD, but he hasn’t given her much else, either.  Paul is so gentle, so sweet, and so caring.  It’s been a while since Nikki has had a man like Paul.  She’s so use to being treated like property that the tenderness she shares with Paul must be akin to a drowning woman being tossed a life raft.

Hey, it doesn’t hurt that Doug Davidson has grown sexier over time and brings a dignity and integrity to the character of Paul that makes me wonder what took writers so long to decide to make him a leading man, again. Better late than never, writers.  What a huge plus for veteran viewers like myself who aren’t as fond of new gang of unlikable leads – and you know who they are even if the writers don’t.  We get a character we’ve loved for a long time, in a surprising storyline that works.   Daytime writers are always patting themselves on the back for ‘taking chances’.  These are the sort of chances viewers want more of – playing with the show’s history and taking us somewhere we hadn’t expected to go.

One Life To Live – Erika Slezak has once again proven that she can take the very worst the writers throw at an audience and spin it into Emmy gold!  Breathing new life into Viki Lord Davidson, she almost, ALMOST, gave me a reason to feel sorry for Todd.  While that moment was fleeting, my complete and total awe of ES’s performance remains.  That Viki suggested that the only true escape from the Lord legacy was death made me gasp.  Viki’s expression of emotional and psychological exhaustion and devastation was probably the most amazing work anyone has done on this show in a while.  There are things best left forgotten, and there are those things too horrific to forget. The only option when you’re dealing with the latter is to do what you have to do to survive them.  To have the sexual assault of Viki revealed and brought to light again was painful for many viewers, I suspect.  As peeved as I still am at the writers for the Marty/Todd storyline, I have to admit that they’ve done a magnificent job laying out the case for viewing the Lord family in new perspective.  It doesn’t make me want to forgive Todd, but it does add a layer of tragedy to the storyline that I hadn’t considered before.

The Bold and The Beautiful: DELICIOUS!  I found myself wondering if the writers wanted us to view Eric as a man who is so pathetic that his children can’t help but play on his stupidity and his vanity.  It’s not just one son who is lying to and deceiving him, but TWO!  Rick has led him to believe that he was more seriously hurt than he actually was.  Thorne tricked him into believing that Donna was cheating on him.  I’m sure this storyline was supposed to be another ‘pity poor Donna’ attempt.  Sorry, writers, no dice.   That won’t happen.  Donna is irrelevant at this point.  So much of Eric’s life has been spent being pampered and catered to that his children knew exactly which buttons to push to make him dance to their tune.  How perfect is it that a man who has only been passingly acquainted with the term ‘fidelity’ demands and expects it from others?  My only real disappointment with this storyline is that Donna will probably end up crying on the ever willing Owen’s shoulder. Poor Budge will become Owen’s friend and confidante, when she should be the woman he falls in love with – but it would be too much to have the writers allow Bridget to be happy.

DAYS Of Our Lives – Nicole, Nicole, Nicole… Zuker was perfect, of course.  Just when you’re convinced that Nicole Walker is completely soulless, Zuker pulls out the most amazing performance and reminds you that Nicole’s rough and hard exterior only serves to protect her incredibly soft heart.  I just love this character.  I may not like what’s coming for our Nicole Walker Dimera, but Zuker makes me want to hang in there and watch just for the performances.  GO GET ‘EM, Nicole!

All My Children –  O… M… G!!!!  Annie?  YIKES!  I know it was Annie Lavery carrying that bloody knife and wedding bouquet, last week, but honest to goodness, I just kept seeing Richie’s face.  If only the residents of Pine Valley knew then what they know now.  I was sorry to see Annie sacrificed on the doomed altar of Ryan and the oft-fleeing Greenlee, but I’ll have to thank the writers for letting Annie go away with a bang, and not a whimper.  I had such a grand time watching Annie act out the last scenes of ‘Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?” that I almost didn’t care whose blood was on the knife.

General Hospital. I’ve long since lost my stomach for General Hospital, but I have to say that  I didn’t mind the show last week.  Sonny’s descent into madness… correction:  Sonny’s CURRENT/LATEST descent into madness has been oddly entertaining.  Like so many times before, Sonny has been loathed to take the counsel of anyone else, save Jason, and he’s even lost that.  Now his actions may cost Jason the one person he cares about above anyone else, his son.  I’ve been uber disgusted with Elizabeth’s character.  I’ve never been a Jason and Elizabeth fan and can’t imagine that I ever will be.  In part because being with Jason is such a betrayal of everything Elizabeth has been about in the past (not to mention that her lie of a relationship with Jason cost poor Lucky so much).  Liz was always quick to point out what a bad mother Carly was, that Carly kept putting her sons in danger by being with Sonny. Now?  She sees firsthand what a life with a mobster is worth.  Will the writers pull the wool back from Elizabeth’s eyes?  Will she stop pretending that when Jason kills it’s ‘holy’ and ‘noble’?  Will she wonder why she traded in a man who lives on the RIGHT side of the law for the man who clings to the wrong side of it?  NAH!  It wouldn’t be General Hospital if that happened, right?

BTW, if I didn’t love the Robin-Patrick pairing, I would be seriously considering rooting on an Elizabeth-Patrick pairing… er, how HAWT were they?

As The World Turns. Brian/Lucinda/Luke… Oh dear.  Luke, in the driver’s seat.  Watching Luke make Brian uncomfortable?  PRICELESS.  “Grabby Grandpa Bad Touch” will learn to keep his hand to himself.   As much as I hate the idea of Brian deceiving Lucinda, I love the idea of Luke making Brian sweat a little.  Brian lost any appeal as a sympathetic character (at least in the short term) the moment he tried to make Luke believe he was both drunk and delusional, that he (Luke) misinterpreted the kiss.  I have to say that I wasn’t too keen to watch this storyline play out.  I’m sitting on the edge of my seat now.  I still think the writers are going with a sexual harassment storyline with this one.  Brian, so deep in the closet that even HE doesn’t know where he is, sexually harasses young men – those who are often the least powerful.  When they call him on it, he faults them, tells them they’re imagining things, that he was only being a friend.  Oh Brian, you picked the wrong man, this time.  Luke (and Noah) willl probably be the people who expose his past.  This should be good.  Take him down, boys, make him sorry for being the sleaze he is… until Lawrence Lau eats the dialogue the writers hand him, does that thing he does oh so well, and makes us all fall in love with Brian and actually feel sorry for him…

What did YOU love about your favorite shows this past couple of weeks?