June 16, 2006

'Cause I Only Got ONE Life to LIVVVVVE
(dunt dunt dunt)

So...  Show of hands, who thinks that Kelly was lying about not being pregnant with Duke's child, probably because A) she didn't want any crap from Dorian and and/or B) she wanted to gauge Dorian's reaction (and wasn't surprised in the least by it)?  She seemed queasy, looked like crap (meaning she was dressed like us instead of like Hollywood elite) and didn't seem to want to talk about it much.  Her spilled purse with Kevin confused me because Adriana bought her that pregnancy test something like a month ago and she's still flying around town with it in her purse.  What's with that?  Pee on the stick, then toss it.  Sheesh.

I loved the line from David (which will definitely be included in our upcoming "You Were Saying...?" column) to Margaret, "You're pretty hot without your crazy face."  Isn't she though?  I was bothered that as soon as she remembered what happened during her missing months, her crazy face came back.  Lines like that particularly make me sad that rumors are afoot that Tuc Watkins is tired of commuting from the East Coast and wants out when his contract expires (soon!)  I'd deeply miss David Vickers if he left.  OLTL is vehemently denying the rumors, but they always do that until the last minute.  They also supposedly got all uppity about comments saying that Michael Easton wanted to bail when his contract is over as well.  Sounds like they are getting touchy about such things. 

I think I am feeling more anxiety than Jessica is over the proposed re-integration.  I'm terrified I'll be stuck with Jessica and will never see Tess again.  This must be how Nash feels.  I'm even more anxious about the fact that Jessica is wearing a tummy shirt when her baby, is only a few weeks old.  What is she thinking?  Is her skin made of some kind of bizarre rubber or something?  Shouldn't she still be in sweat pants and big T-shifts?

I am unreasonably bothered that Margaret is dead.  I kept hoping she really would speak to Blair in the morgue and out of the corner of her mouth say, "Ssssh.  This is a trap to set up Spencer.  Back away from the table."  I looked forward to Margaret divulging her memories, to Margaret making peace with Todd and perhaps the two of them together searching for their baby.  I wanted to see the juxtaposition of decidedly not crazy Margaret being the one to both save Todd and convict Spencer.  There was far, far too much Margaret story left to tell for her to exit now.  Bad, bad OLTL.

Many people have grumbled loudly about the execution scenes, saying they were much too graphic for daytime TV.  I love them, personally.   I have never been a particular fan of Trevor St John's version of Todd for the reason I dislike a lot of recasts.  I have nothing against recasts as a concept.  My thought is that the story needs to be told no matter what and should not be held hostage to the politics or personal desires of one particular actor.  I discuss this at length in a previous column, so I will specify it to the TSJ situation by saying that it hit on one of my recasting nerves, which is that the integral character personality was changed too much for me.  I hate hearing that an actor is "making the character their own."  That means they are changing the essential components that make up the character's way of being to mold to the personality of the actor.  I don't like that.  The character is not "their own."  The character is an entity unto itself, created by the actor who originated the role and the writers who gave it life.  A new actor in the role should not get to change the character to fit how they think it should be.  The character is... the character and the foundation on which the personality, motivation and actions of that character rests should remain unchanged no matter who plays the part.  If an actor comes to a recast holding completely true to the integrity of the character that has been created before they stepped in, then I do not lament the loss of the previous actor.  I have never for a moment felt that John Ingle was one moment less of Edward Quartermaine than was David Lewis.  Jerry Ver Dorn IS Clint Buchanan.  M'fundo Morrison is a wonderful Justus Ward.  Every single recast of Dorian Lord has been wonderfully true to the persona created by Nancy Pinkerton all those years ago.  It can be done. 

It was not done with Todd's recast.  Trevor St John is about as far away from Roger Howarth as you could possibly get.  You might as well recast the role of Viki with Cher.  Sure, Cher is a wonderful actress, sure she's in the right age range, but she just isn't right to play Viki.  TSJ seems to be a good enough actor, but he's just not Todd and over time, the character profile quickly began to suffer under the stress of a recast that is so adversarial to the nature of the character. 

All that being said, I thought the execution scenes were outstanding.  (Who knew Trevor St John had such a yummy treasure trail?)  They were grisly and brutal and OLTL did not flinch (and neither did TSJ).  They waded right in and put it in our faces, as is their way.  It has always amazed me that OLTL is regarded as the red-headed step child of ABC soaps when it works so hard to consistently deliver good material.  The acting is top notch always. The stories are well-balanced and draw heavily from the cast opportunities rather than leaving 2/3 of the cast benched at any given time (the same 2/3).  Sure, I'd love to see more of Roxy, of Lindsay, of RJ and of Renee.  There will always be rough patches, but overall, OLTL seems to try hard to create stories that involve everyone instead of an elite few. 

OLTL, moreso than the other two ABC soaps, does not cater only to the vital 18-35 demographic.  Actors who fall outside of that range are onscreen daily rather than occasionally.  OLTL does not insist on cookie-cutter actors who all look alike and wear the dress size. 

The rehabilitation of Nora, at least what we have seen so far, is yet another example of the integrity OLTL delivers in its productions.  Nora looks like total shit and did the whole time she was comatose.  There was no "Sleeping Beauty" illusion created for Nora, nuh uh.  She looked like she was in a coma, not as though she made herself up, collapsed into the bed and put a little tube in her mouth for the illness effect.  Also, true to life, Evangeline was sitting by her side, jabbering away about her own problems on and on and frickin on while Nora practically chewed off her own foot to get away.  It's a wonder Nora didn't just go ahead and die so she didn't have to listen to Evangeline any more.  People in Port Charles go talk to headstones.  People In Llanview go talk to Nora. 

The only criticism I have for OLTL is one that many of its fans share:  the stories take forever to tell and seem to amble along, doe de doe de doe, for months and months and months without any real resolution.  We have literally waited YEARS for stories to finish up.  Had the character been SORAS'd on schedule with the young'uns of other soaps, Matthew would have been in college by the time we found out who the kid's father really was and even THEN they weren't done yet.  Nora was in her coma for what, almost a year?  The show is blatantly unapologetic about this form of storytelling and it has persisted over many changes in Executive Producers and Head Writers.  It is simply its way and its fans have come to accept that, relax into the saddle and enjoy the ride.

I have watched OLTL literally since the first day it came on the air, following through the Jim Craigs and Arte Duncans and Marco Danes and Tony Lords and Patrick Thornharts and Jake Harrisons.  I remember that there was a time when GH and OLTL took turns being "good."  Now, I look a little deeper and see a consistency of spirit that infuses OLTL and makes it a good old friend to have. 

PS:  One GH comment:  (This was written the day Carly and Jax gave John to Nikolas)  Carly, please, dear lord, honey shut up!