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.

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OLTL: Todd/Todd2/ Irene – Clouded Destiny

Oh, OLTL writers.  Why wait until AFTER the show is cancelled to write a compelling set of plots!?!?!  We have two key pieces of information that help put the T/T2 storyline in broader perspective, I think.  The first is the unaired woman’s face, head of a secret organization which held Todd (or Todd2) prisoner.  The second is Viki looking over the picture of Todd/Todd2’s mother, Irene — nice touch! 

Speculation time:  Irene and the heartless head of the spy organization one in the same person. 

Was Irene a plant, sent in from this secret  spy organization to get close to Victor Lord?  Was she a dangerous spy of some sort who was supposed to uncover Victor’s coldwar dirt (to whom was he selling secrets/weapons/etc) and then meant to kill him?   Did the organization fake her death when her mission was over and allowed her to recover one of her sons only to send him off somewhere safe when she realized that a child was in the way of her ambition to rise to power in the agency?  Did she plan to bring the unknown twin in to replace the known twin (Todd), who is obviously a bitter failure in her book since he couldn’t be controlled? 

Of course, a complete and utter indifference would explain why she didn’t care that her brother subjected one of her sons to incredible torture during his childhood and why she never intervened to help Todd as he careened out of control in his young adulthood.  In hindsight, it benefitted her.  She later realized that she needed a sociopathic cold-blooded killer she could trust or at least control, someone linked to her.  It’s exactly what she thought one of her sons became.  Thanks to her brother’s cruelty, Todd had learned to not care about others and to inflict pain without remorse.  The trouble with him would have been the fact that he doesn’t take orders, and that he felt no allegiance to anyone – not even his believed dead mother.  Allowing the other twin to be beaten, tortured and brainwashed in her own agency  made Todd1’s  failure to become her puppet immaterial.  She could create the cold-blooded killer-superagent she needed in Todd2.

Oh yes, I’m intrigued, OLTL writers, and enough  so that I forgive you for creating yet another set of mystery twins in the Lord family and hope that the execution of the Todd-Todd2 storyline is far more successful than the mind numbing Jessica/Tess/Hot Messica-Natalie storyline.  I’m even willing to pretend that the other twin pair doesn’t exist at all!  Yeah, Todd and Todd2 are just that interesting.  By the way, does this now mean that Todd1 has to split his inheritance with Todd2?  Now THAT is going to be the place where these brothers part company!

Destiny – Nora:  The mother of all showdowns?

Love or hate her, the one consistency about Nora is that when it comes to the law, she’s willing to do what she can to help those she cares about and believes in escape what she thinks of as an unfair prosecution. When it comes to her children?  There is no such thing.  Hell hath no fury! The Ford Brother (whichever one it is, they’re all the same to me) only escaped having Nora give him a proctology exam like no other because he had something to trade, his freedom for Matthews’. 

As much as Nora loves Destiny, is there anyone who doesn’t believe that if the writers are consistent, Nora will take young Destiny to court to prevent her from aborting Matthew’s child if she doesn’t decide on her own to keep it?  I can’t see Nora talking Destiny into keeping this baby if her own mother wasn’t able to, and I can’t see Nora sitting idly by while Destiny makes this decision.  I could see Nora on one side, Bo in the middle and Destiny and her mother fighting for her right to not have to keep a child she’s not ready to raise on her own, or even with the help of the Buchanans.

Whatever the decision, I hope it’s Destiny’s to make and I hope she can handle the consequences.  If true the form, the writers will have Matthew wake up and remember Dani alone,  and his great love for her.  Destiny’s face won’t ring any bells for him.  He won’t feel close to her or her child (should she decide to keep it).  If Destiny decides not to keep the baby, I can see Matthew waking up, again in love with Dani, and having the poor girl feel twice as lonely and in despair — no child, no Matthew, just heartache.  Either way it rolls, insanity is in Destiny’s future — because women in daytime go crazy without the love of the objects of their affection.  I think it’s a rule, or just a misogynistic wish on all soap writers’ parts.

BnB: The measure of a woman. The mismeasure of a girl.

Done, Finito, KAPUT!  I’m done trying to find a reason to like the BnB’s Steffy Forrester, DONE!  I usually love bad girls/bad boys in daytime;  although I almost always root against them.  I enjoy watching them unleash fresh hell on others, and later themselves as their plans backfire.  It’s the best of both worlds.  Truly great bad girl/guy characters feed your light and dark sides.  Most daytime writers have a tried and true formula and “get” what makes bad girl/boy characters so much fun.  They’re equal parts exhilaration and exasperation and just when you think you can’t love-to- hate them any more than you already do, the writers pull a twist.  The character you thought you knew, the character whose all-knowing smirks drove you to the brink of distraction suddenly has a vulnerable side.   You find yourself almostliking them!  When daytime writers want you to fall for a character, they know what it takes to make you fall hard:

  • AMC’s writers pulled the ’empathy card’ on Janet-from-another-planet Green when they revealed that she wasn’t simply pathologically jealous of her beautiful sister, Natalie Marlowe, but that she’d been the target of unrelenting taunting and teasing, merciless emotional abuse, all without remorse by a mother who felt justified in the emotional torture of her daughter.  Natalie was her blessing, Janet was her curse. Wilma Marlowe couldn’t wait to remind Janet, every day of her life, that she was the daughter she would have done without and when given the choice, that choice would always be the beloved Natalie.  Janet’s hope was to, just once, be chosen first.  The desire to be someone’s first choice – even Trevor Dillon’s, drove much of Janet’s continued march toward madness. 
  • ATWT’s  writers pulled the ’empathy card’ with Emily Stewart, who spent years dealing with her mother Susan’s substance abuse and emotional distancing.  Emily’s victimization at her mother’s hands turned into a worldview in which she was always the victim of the those around her – even as she drew first blood.  By soapgod, she was going to make the world PAY!    ATWT pulled the double whammy with heartless schemer, Angel Lange, who was the victim of longterm sexual abuse at the hands of her wealthy powerful father.  Angel’s scheming was directed at helping her secure her freedom from a powerful father who seemed unstoppable.   To that end she forced Holden Snyder into marriage, schemed to keep him, and with her brother, stole millions from their father’s company.
  • GH’s Stefan Cassadine’s ’empathy card’ came in the form of dysfunctional parenting as well.  He and brother Stavros were presented as the “Heir and a Spare”. While his parents groomed his brother for greatness (and you can read that as great darkness), he was expected to bask in the shaded glory of the pathological Stavros, accept the cast off crumbs of his parents’ affections.  It was a wonder that they allowed him to keep the Cassadine name.  Stavros was dangerous, but even Stavros was a kitten compared to their parents.   

Stefan never stood a chance growing up.  If it’s possible to assign behavior to soap characters, you could imagine that had Stefan’s parents paid more attention to him in his youth, there would be no need to discuss adult Stefan.  He’d have never nade it to adulthood.  

  • Long before Stefan, there was Bobbie Spencer, who curiously enough became Stefan’s wife.  In her youth,  Bobbie hadn’t met a man she didn’t want to control, nor a woman she didn’t want to destroy to have him.   We later learned that Nurse Bobbie’s early  trauma occurred when she was led into prostitution as a young teen by her Aunt Ruby, not long  after her parents died.  She was just another of the working girls  in Aunt Ruby’s house.   Bobbie’s “protector” was her older brother, Luke, who protected her by making sure she was ‘safe’ on her ‘dates’ with older men.  Bobbie was reminded of her sex worker past, frequently, even as she transitioned from good-girl-gone-bad to bad-girl-turned-real-woman.  The most lasting reminder of Bobbie’s difficult time was the arrival of the daughter she conceived while working for Aunt Ruby.    Unfortuntately for Bobbie, daughter Carly came with an eye on vengence.
  • OLTL’s Todd Manning, in his youth, was anger on a stick and a threat to the safety of women everywhere.   The writers should have taken advantage of the fact that in a field of characters with unusual names (Storm, Ridge, Thorne, Destiny) naming this guy “Trouble” instead of Todd would have been more honest.  If there was a thing that Todd didn’t hate, it was only because it hadn’t been invented yet.  It’s hard to feel sorry for a unrepentent rapist and the writers knew it.  Without the need to try to ‘redeem’ him, the writers allowed the audience catch a glimpse of what was left of the humanity of the character.  The idea seemed to be to provide the audience some hope that whatever was left of his humanity was enought to stop him from victimizing others and to begin dealing  with his own pain.  Todd’s pain resulted from frequent beatings by an uncaring father who despised him.  Todd’s father, Peter Manning, was his maternal uncle and adoptive father.  He was forced to raise the child as his own.   We later found out that Todd was also sexually abused in his youth.
  • BnB’s Stephanie Douglas Forrester (who moved from my love-to-hate column to fully despise) was the product of a vicious wealthy father who presented the image of a perfect family to his business colleagues and friends (including fellow industry titan, YnR’s Katherine Chancellor).  What his friends and and colleagues didn’t know is that Mr. Douglas beat his daughter “Stevie” with reckless abandon behind closed doors.   Stephanie’s cruel childhood treatment was reportedly the cause of the cruelty she expressed in adulthood.  It is something that others around her struggle with until this day — clearly Stepahnie doesn’t struggle with her inhumanity toward others.  She revels in it.

You get the common thread, yes?  Years of emotional, physical, verbal, and sexual abuse.  Whether it happens because of a cowardly parent or a craven lover, there is typically a foundation for the abusive, shallow behavior we witness in our fave bad girls and boys.  Use that as a backdrop to try to understand the BnB’s Steffy Forrester.  She’s the heir to a massive fortune, her mother  came BACK from the dead and re-established the family Steffy always wanted. Her mother also gave her 25% of the family company – trusting her to “take care” of her older brother.  Steffywas raised by a father she adores.  She’s never had to go to college and yet was handed cushy executive level positions in the company after spending only a few months in the mailroom.  AND she had a stepmother who raised her and loved her while her mother was believed to have been in the grave (the same stepmother she still adored just a few years, ago, and with whom she’s had no significant conflict).   She’s traveled the world and has reportedly been loved and in love.

To hear this wanker of a character whine day in and day out about how sad she is, how much she needs a man (any man dating or married to a Logan woman), how hard her life is, how she’s been abandoned, maltreated, unloved… it’s all just too much.  Rather than creating feelings that run from exhilaration to exasperation, my feelings for Steffy run from damned bored to seriously annoyed.  Her rapid shifting from begging her daddy (Ridge) to staywith the family and continue to raise her, to begging her ‘big daddy’ (Bill Spencer) to stay with her for the night and make love to her is pathetic, but mostly jarring.  Is she a needy child or a sexually provocative woman?  She can’t be both, or use both “needs” as the foundation for her aggression toward the Logan family.  Her need to destroy the Logan family because her father loves Brooke, is petty.  It’s surreal at best when you consider how much she loved Brooke as a stepmother, until her nological mother’s return.  It’s absurd when you consider the fact that Brooke is the mother of her youngest brother. 

Steffy doesn’t work as a bad girl because there is no “empathy card” to be played for this character.  The character is made up of all hard angles.  It’s even hard to believe that she’s invested in the people she claims to be invested in. She’s now twice turned on her mother for love of  two different men (Rick Forrester and Bill Spencer).  She’s never bothered to share the stock in the family company with her brother.  She doesn’t care if her YOUNGEST brother (still in late childhood) grows up without a father – as long as their father is in the home she no longer lives in as an adult.  She’s been working to destroy her brother’s family since he was a toddler.  She fell to her knees over twin sister Phoebe’s death, but almost immediately fell into bed with the man her family blamed for her sister’s death.  She defended him even after he used her and used her sister’s death to taunt her father… the same father she can’t live without. 

 The fact that anyone (onscreen) finds her intriguing leaves one feeling dumbfounded.  Steffy Marone-Forrester is a character filled with contradictions, and none of them good. 

She is not likable.

She is not rootworthy.

She is not interesting.

My time is quickly becoming wasted by this character.  My sincere hope is that the writers are planning to give the character depth or to send her packing.  I will accept either, but what I can’t accept is Steffy in her current incarnation.   At some point the writers will  become bored with this character as she is.  I’m looking forward to THAT day.

Ok, BnBers/OLTLers, what the hell?

One Life To Live:  Marty Saybrooke?  I don’t know if it’s possible, but I would love for the writers to use the time they have left to redeem this character.  She was the wild child gone good, who made a wonderful life for herself , survived the death of her soul mate, and raised a child.  First in attempt to prop Todd and whitewash the ‘twice raped’ dynamic between them, then to prop John McBain, and later the John -Natalie relationship, the writers deconstructed Marty into an unrecognizable and unlikable character.  It will be painful watching the show end, having eternally ruined a great character.

I’m not a movie buff who watches only feel-ggod films or only movies with fully resolved endings.  I’ll admit that I have been a soap viewer who loved soaps most when they left the audience with the feeling that all is well in the alternate universe our soap faves live in at the close of their run.  GL’s ending was perfect.  It lovely to think of Josh and Reva (and son) on a trip around the world, the four musketeers filling their days with dinners together and discussing their families, Alex and Fletcher enjoying a life they’d never imaged they could have, Remy and Tina deeply in love, Bill and Lizzie and making things work with Jon and all are peacefully coparenting… you get the picture. 

I hope for something similar for OLTL.  Fans deserve nothing less than a happy Victoria Lord, peace between Vicki and Dorian, Clint gaining back his humanity and reuniting with his family,Marty – whose life has been so violent and tragic finally at peace, and I’ll let you imagine the rest from there.

The Bold and the Beautiful:  In the age of waning budgets for new hires and an attempt to tell complete storylines with as few cast members as possible, I am – to some degree, sympathetic to the limitations of meeting a such a tough balancing act.  I am, however, still stunned by what I saw yesterday (day before?).  The writers REALLY have to think about what they’re doing that makes taylor look either completely unethical moron, and the rest of the citizens of Bell’s fictionalized L.A. look completely unhinged!

Why would Katie agree to therapy with taylor, not only the world’s worst and most idiotic psychiatrist, but a woman who has repeatedly attacked, and supported the attack of, her sister – sisters if you add Donna? I could only love that ridiculous plot if the writers were smart enough to make Katie devious in using taylor, knowing that she and Stephanie would declare war on Bill if he didn’t stay away from steffy.   Sadly, Katie begged Bill not to leave her at the end of the therapy session. I wish the writers had left that part alone, but they just can’t help themselves.  A misogynistic fool being begged by his once strong wife not to leave her.  It wouldn’t have hurt to have allowed Katie was allowed to maintain her standards, writers. 

As for Steffy, the other thorn in the side of the Logan-Spencer marriage, she is either delusional or a pathological liar, given the way the writers are penning her dialogue. She’s better than the Logan’s because she’d never go after a married man? She’d never make a move on him? Wha’????? Bill won’t have her, that’s the only thing that stops her from moving forward. Steffy has put every move she’s known on Bill and he’s rejected her.  Steffy and Stephanie are so one note in their attacks on the Logans. They can’t stand faulting the men in their lives for chasing after Logan women – so they whitewash Forrester male actions to fault Logan women.

That’s the defnition of a weak woman. Steffy was aptly named.

Since I’m catching about one show a month – where is Bridget, readers? Bill telling Katie she should have stayed with Marone if she wanted ‘normal’ was laughable. The man who dumped on her niece for her and for Brooke? I could have sworn Bill made comments that made it clear that he knew that history. That ain’t normal, not even by soap standards — and it’s not like Katie really had a choice to be with Nick. He knew he wanted Bridget – who forgave him for his repeated betrayals. Katie knew it was a matter of time. Who knew that Nick wouldn’t forgive Bridget for her ONE betrayal?

She’s free and he’s headed back to Katie-land?  Far too predictable.

As for the Brooke and Thomas teaser?  Words fail me.  Since I have nothing good to say, I’ll say nothing at all.

Tea? Tea Delgado?

I almost didn’t recognize the incredibly bad-ass goddess of great hair. No sirree!  I didn’t recognize her because she was whining, crying, sniveling, and begging Todd to forgive her for not telling him about their daughter, Daniella.   The soap world has officially turned on its axis.  Isn’t this the same woman who has repeatedly taken hits to her reputation to save Todd from himself and defended him in court against the indefensible?  Isn’t she the woman to whom he owes his freedom?  Isn’t he the man she found in bed with another woman after swearing he loved her?   Isn’t he the clod who accused her of only wanting his money even though she could have stolen his fortune a thousand times over?   Isn’t this the same woman who was willing to risk going to prison by pretending that she killed Lee Halperin/Janet Ketring/Carol Harper Dennison so that the police wouldn’t think Todd did it and send him back to jail?

Rather than begging Todd for forgiveness, the writers should have had her wake up and realize that Ross Rayburn (who, of course, was destroyed to make Todd look heroic) really was a better man than Todd.   For a man who thinks that he makes magic happen every time he says that ‘family is everything’, Todd should remember that he gave a child away to be sold – without remorse and only because he didn’t think that the child, Jack, was his biological son with Blair.  He was willing to let Blair believe that her child was dead.  He may also remember that he plotted to kill Sam’s mother while he was in the womb, to get rid of her and him.  I guess the fact that Todd recovered Jack (after finding out that Jack was his) and that he had a change of heart about killing Sam’s mother, Margaret, makes him a better person than Tea?  It’s why SHE has to beg forgiveness, with him refusing it, and HE gets to be repeatedly forgiven for his worst behaviors.

The soap world is turning on its axis, and my stomach is just turning.

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.

The first thing we do? OLTL?

Copyright ABC (2008)

Let’s rid ourselves of all of the bad editors!  (if you don’t mind the turn of phrase).Most of what took place on OLTL this past week pleasantly surprised me.   Even my well worn remote would like to take this moment to thank the writers for relief.  It pretty much had the week off with One Life, since I don’t remember hitting FF once this week.  The only big shocker for me this past week  were several pretty lousy editing choices, one in particular.  I’ll get to that in a moment.

Soap-heaven help me, I still like John and Marty.  The only thing that’s harder to take than a dark and brooding John McBain is John McBain in love.  ‘Happy’ John and ‘Brooding’ John are pretty much one in the same.  It’s just at times tough to watch a man who SHOULD be filled with joy behave like a man whose problems could all be solved with the help of  a good laxative.  Wardrobe, could you PLEASE at least put on a brightly colored shirt under his dark suit jacket and dark coat, to go along with his dark pants and dark shoes so that we know the difference between Brooding John and Joyous John?  Thanks!

John’s reaction to Marty as she flashed back on her the manipulated-rape sex with Todd was a reminder that there are soap writers who still realize that it’s so much easier for fans to root for good men – we get so few of them in daytime.  Many of us still love men who are sensitive to the needs of others, rather than focus on themselves  and their own pain.  LOVED that moment when John reminded Marty that he was always willing to wait for her – she’s worth it.  LOVED that the writers didn’t follow that scene up with John immediately running to someone else to flirt with or have sex with while Marty was working on her recovery.

Copyright ABC (2009)

The only thing that made the scene even remotely awkward was watching Blair seduce Todd at the same time Marty had difficulty being touched by John because of Todd’s assault of her.  If the writers wanted to make some of us squeamish about Todd and Blair, job well done.  Otherwise?  Bad editing job on this one.  It made Todd and Blair seem completely disconnected from the world around them, belligerently insular.  They seemed to not care about how much damage had been done to others in their time apart.

Blair, who was disgusted by Todd’s treatment of Marty, seems to have absolutely no qualms about his actions, now.  She was disgusted enough before to want to keep his children from him.  Now?  She can’t keep her hands off of him.

I would much rather have had long soulful talks between the two rather than strip scenes and “shame-filled” sex. The problem with the writing for the once magnificent Todd and Blair is that that the writers don’t seem invested in having them break the inch deep-mile wide pattern they’ve established as part of their courtship.   OLTL writers have seem to always bank on the hard work of Kassie DePaiva and Trevor St. John in winning back fans to the ‘Todd and Blair corner to bring romance back to the show.  I think they’ll have to reconsider, this time.  Too much damage has been done and an instant reunion most likely won’t give them the bump they’re looking for.  How instant is instant in their case?  Todd/Blair reunions can be summarized by the following dialogue:

“You hurt me” (Todd to Blair, Blair to Todd, it doesn’t matter).

“I’m sorry” (Todd to Blair, Blair to Todd, it doesn’t matter)

“Stay away from me” (Todd to Blair, Blair to Todd, it doesn’t matter)

“You don’t mean that” (Todd to Blair, Blair to Todd, it doesn’t matter)

They have sex… AND SCENE!

Where is the discussion about what they want and why they want it?  What about some insight into why they dragged Marty and John into their psychodrama?  How about some part humorous/part dramatic couples counseling for them?   What about real consideration about Tea’s feelings?  It’s bad enough that Todd cheated on Tea after she put everything on the line for him, her life included, but he then lied and said that it meant nothing that he’d had sex with Blair.  If it wasn’t a lie that having sex with Blair meant nothing to him?  It makes his actions even worse.  The writers rubbed salt in fans’ wounds by having Todd coldly state to Blair that he was leaving her to go after Tea ‘because she’s worth it’.

Hells bells, people, you know that despite Tea’s fault, I’m a fan of the goddess of grand bitchery but for TODD to state who is ‘worthy’ and who isn’t?  Well that just burns my grits.  I would have loved watching Blair  get up off the chaise lounge and slap Todd back to his infancy (which would finally allow his external state match his internal state)!   Marty, Tea, Blair, his sister Viki, and even his own daughter, Starr… just how many women in Llanview are going to end up emotionally scarred thanks to this guy?  Taking Todd down the dark road for the sake of pimping “Starr and Cole” is a decision that still haunts this show.  The writers haven’t been able to find their ‘Todd mojo’ and get anything right with this character since then.

Despite the detour and bad editing, I enjoy Marty and John.

What else was there to love?

Copyright ABC (2009)
Copyright ABC (2009)

1.  Greg turned out to not be a big a jerk as he originally seemed.  I liked that he experienced pangs of guilt about running out on Destiny and realizing that he’d hurt her with his actions.  I still don’t like the guy enough to have Rachel walk away from Shaun and fall into Dr. Dork’s waiting arms.  I just like the idea of Shawn and Greg working out their differences for their sister’s sake.

Lovin’ the OLTL writers for giving us this little family.  It’s so unconventional and I can’t wait to see where they go next.  Don’t make me eat those words, writers.

2.  I uh… liked Destiny last week.  If you’re shocked, imagine how I feel.   I’m starting to see what the casting directors saw in this kid when they cast her.   She’s growing in the role and learning to convey a vulnerability that’s refreshing in a teen character, given the rash of adult-themed storylines daytime writers have been pushing for young characters, lately.   It will be interesting to see where the friendship between Destiny and Matthew goes.

3.  I uh… liked Starr last week.    Still in shock here!  The discussion between Starr, Cole, and Jessica was so rational and thoughtful, I have to classify it as the high point of my soap watching week!  Alderson held her own in scenes with Buddy and Williamson.   Scene chewing is not her thing so this emotionally low-key scene felt genuine and believable.  I have to admit that the discussion between Jess and Cole sparked my interest most.  Er, NO, I don’t want to see them as a couple.  I’m giving kudos to the writers for creating such a layered scene.  Both made the connection that they were both ‘in recovery’ and made poor choices because of an inordinate amount of pain, but that they both needed to take responsibility for their own actions.  Both Jess and Cole realized that they had to forgive others as they needed to be forgiven.  For a brief and shining moment, I felt that I could honestly tell my friends who don’t know that I watch soaps about the show … well done, writers, well done!  It was good enough for prime time… 😉  Ouch?

4.  Wish I could give a crap about the Stacy storyline, but I don’t.  I don’t even care who Rex’s father is any more… just.not.interested!

While Starr moved one step closer to being a ‘real mom’, Gigi took a step back for me.  (Wait, I’m getting to it… there’s something I like about this storyline, hang on)… It was odd to watch her encourage Shane’s hatred of  Aunt Stacy no matter how much of a low life Stacy has been.

I had to wonder if there wasn’t a unconscious attempt to warn fans about the perils of being a young mother – since it appears that they’re avoiding that ‘lesson’  of young parenthood with Starr and Cole.   Gigi applauding Shane’s comic book character (skanky Stacy?  Sleazy Stacy?)  REEKED of an immature mother dragging her child into her baby’s daddy drama.  A mature mother would have told Shane that his feelings of anger are appropriate, but that it’s also appropriate to feel sorry for Stacy for what she’s become and to hold out hope for her.   The Gigi-Shane scenes skeeved me out a bit, I gotta’ admit.

SO, here’s what I loved

A –  That the ‘secret’ is finally out in the open.  I was tired of this storyline about a month before it began (damn you spoilers!)

B – That there’s a possibility of a Schuyler-Gigi pairing – the actors have an amazing onscreen chemistry.  Rex and Gigi have been terminally cute.  Schuyler and Gigi have the potential to be hot!.  Having Rex sleep with Stacy and lie about it after treating Gigi like such dirt for so long makes Rex and Gigi a dead pairing for me, for now.  No matter how many things didn’t add up, Rex refused to believe the truth and painted the Scarlett ‘A’ on Gigi’s chest – clearly tempted to use her own blood to do so.  Let Big Rex, and little Rex, sit on the sidelines and watch Gigi happy with someone else for a while.

5 –  I’ve never been much of a Bo and Nora fan… but they’re reeling me in.  Poor Clint… Sorry guy, I think I want to see a Bo and Nora reunion.  Clint and Nora seem to have been killing time for a while now.  Send Clint home to Viki (sorry Charlie!)