November 20, 2007
What’s NOT a Mess: One Life to Live
As a life long General Hospital lover, it pains me to have to say this but facts ARE facts: One Life to Live is the best soap on ABC at this time, bar none! Wow. Simply; WOW.
I thought I had shed my last tear over Asa Buchanan until he said good bye to his family in the video will. I was gritting my teeth and PRAYING that it wasn’t going to be another lame-wad contest like Lila Quartermaine’s ill begotten virtue contest was (on General Hospital) Thankfully One Life to Live’s writer, Ron Carlivati, is more creative than that! It’s Asa Buchanan’s version of The Apprentice that will pit the Buchanan’s in a year long race to work together to make Buchanan Enterprises a fiscal success. That some how just tickles the cockles of my withered old heart! This (you just know) is going to be some kind of fun!
I love how one story spins off in to the next, weaving together to form a kind of over all tapestry on the canvas that we haven’t seen in years! The teens are being adequately represented as Cole and Marty go missing at the hands of a mysterious black robed man. Starr, Langston and Marco are about to go out and get in to some trouble searching for Cole and oddly enough; I’m looking forward to it. Langston leads us to Dorian, who is trying to sign on as Langston’s foster parent and who is letting Nora move in on her man (or at least Roxy thinks so). Which leads us to Dorian’s running in to David Vickers and new wife Alex Olanov-Vickers, who are about to descend on the Buchanan clan in Texas like a biblical plaque. I can’t help but love it.
John has left Terrible Todd and his serial bride stalking Marcy-Penny-Sally, who has ended up in Paris, Texas; the exact same place Viki Davidson has been holed up starting a brand new minimum wage life of apparent complete serenity. Sally and Todd’s son, whatever they’re calling him this week, are living right across the no-tell motel hallway from Viki and right next door to the man romancing Miss Viki. It all rolls around from one set of characters to the next. Just like an old fashioned soap! I find it wildly refreshing.
Viki’s new suitor is looking for his long lost son. Any bets it might be Jared? Who else fits that bill? Rex? Nash? I can’t think of the other guys on the show in that age group that don’t have a definite daddy figure at this time. Jared leads us around to his romancing Sarah and wanting Natalie, black mailing Nash and Jess and cozying up to Renee. Renee is going to live with Nora, Mathew and Nigel… but what’s this? Is it a potential romance between Nora and Clint as Dorian fears and Roxy foretells? Or is she working her way back around to Bo…. Who is paying very close attention to his ex; Lindsay…. That swings us BACK around to Roxy and connects the dots to Rex and Adriana completing the circle back to Dorian. Adriana also ties up loose ends and brings us to Layla, Vincent and Shaun and that take us to Talia. Talia’s secret crush on Antonio completes another circle by bringing us to Carlota Vega who has been entrusted with the care of Starr and Langston while Blair sniffs after Todd running after whatever that kids name is.
Sigh, now this is good, old fashioned, soap story telling. See how no one is left high and dry without a connection to the next story playing out? They aren’t isolated vignettes even though the locations are varied and many. We aren’t bouncing haphazardly to and from them with no rhyme or reason. That is the difference in what’s happening on One Life to Live that is not happening on All My Children or General Hospital. These stories are anchored in established characters and steeped in cherished history. The veterans are enjoying face time and some good stories.
How delicious is it to have Alex romancing the inheritance with David while he thinks he is romancing the inheritance from her? Both consummate con artists you would think that they would be more agile minded than to fall for this so fast but then again that is how "marrying" cons are ran, isn’t it? Move in, sweep the marks off their feet, whirlwind courtship… straight to the matrimonial alter: do not pass go do not collect 50% of the inheritance. This is characteristically exactly what they both do and do so well.
It isn’t JUST that they have given their core “legacy” characters some meaty roles, for a change; and that the veteran performers are knocking it out of the ball park; although that is most certainly the case, as well. It is also about these core players being given some fresh traits that show that they are growing. Look at Dorian. She is still the scheming diva to be reckoned with. She is decked out in her signature style and riding the Dorian wave but she seems to be actually trying to change her ways subtly and not just to attract and keep Clint. Dorian’s reaching out on Langston’s behalf, taking her under her wing is a brand new Dorian trait. Cramer women, it seems; have gained a brand new depth and not only a brand new recruit.
Finding out that Viki disappeared months ago on a supposed vacation to Paris, France and has been waiting tables in a roadside café in Paris, Texas instead is equally amusing. I like Gigi, Noelle, Charlie and the “chef” at the Bon-Jour. They are being introduced slowly through their interaction with first Viki and now Marcy. Guess what? It is working about 5000% better than bringing a brand new person to the screen and then having them hog off huge sections of the show as they did with Miles and Nu-Marty.
THIS, my dear readers is how to bring a show back from the brinks of cancellation. Go back to the core families, incorporate legacy characters in to the happening storylines and write something interesting for them to do. Do not allow your “favorite” characters to stagnate by refusing to give them depth and allow them growth. That’s the pit they fell into with John and Natalie and Antonio and Jess (pre Nash). Weave the stories together as they are doing now and anchor them to the canvas by honoring characters and history. Not by rewriting them as new characters every time the behind the scenes personnel do the do-si-do and expecting the long time fans to go with the flow.
I have some mild problems with One Life to Live, so don’t think I’ve jumped off into drinking the corporate Kool-Aid and am going to go all Kumbaya signing Pollyanna on you. For instance what was all that flag waving excitement that greeted Hunt Block’s hiring? My cohorts at TV Fan Online with whom I do the ABC Edition of the Daytime Confidential Podcast were doing freaking cart wheels about his coming on the show and Ramsey is a blazing snore as far as I can tell. Also, Lindsay’s story has dried up and gone the way of the Do-Do Bird now that she is Spencer’s killer. Even Roxy’s “Save Lindsay” T-shirt has turned in to a “Team Marcie” top. I still have to watch Terrible Todd and his serial wife do round 1236 of the “I love you-I hate you” tango and I am so seriously sick of that. I miss Larry Woleck, and I can not lie. Plus; I really thought that they were going to go some place with Vincent and Layla and Shaun; with or without Talia. That disappoints me, but the show is so gloriously basking in the sunlight of a brand new day that I can’t help but love it right now. I’m gloriously in the dark about who’s rumored to do what and what’s been spoiled and that is fine and dandy by me.
I am finding myself watching the clock, waiting for time for One Life to Live to start. It has been a dang long time since I have been this involved, this invested in a daytime drama. The good news; for me and maybe for you, too; is that *IF* TPTB can see a fiscal advantage to saving the daytime drama’s using the ascribed methods above (I.E.: strong, original writing featuring core families, legacy characters played by veteran actors, tightly woven, character driven plotlines that have a distinct tie to the history of the show while incorporating fresh new faces and keeping up with the current events and social morals of the times) THEN there may be hope for both All My Children and my personal life long favorite General Hospital.
There is a window of opportunity here (with the writer’s strike threatening to upset the current status quo of the shows if it continues much past February sweeps) for TPTB at ABC to take note of the wonderful changes in One Life to Live and in the viewer’s response to it. If the ratings respond to the viewers falling in love with this show all over again (and HOW CAN THEY NOT?) and the writer’s strike shakes up any changes in staff or staff attitude or direction then might this wondrous transformation in One Life to Live herald better things for the other shows we love? Oh, man I hope so!
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October 28, 2007
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September 19, 2007
September 7, 2007
August 20, 2007
August 11, 2007
July 25, 2007