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: 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.

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.

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!