Bringing History to the Fore
Call me a sentimental fool – but I just adore each and every Erica & Jack flashback. I love the use of history in a show. So often these days, shows just re-write history, rather than use the richness of a show’s past. Maybe that’s why I’m so fascinated with the Ryan remembers Kendall only story – because the writers on AMC aren’t afraid to mine that history. Whether it’s 4 years ago, 10 years ago, or 20 years or more – this is a show that seems to have a newfound appreciation for what went on before. I’d like to see more soaps do that. It’s more satisfying to the viewers – and not just the lifers, but even the short timers like myself.
That’s why I’m finding more time to watch OLTL these days. I have a slightly longer history with OLTL – after all, back before I discovered the joys of the DVR and SoapNet, I used to tape the last 10 – 15 minutes of One Life before GH – so I wouldn’t miss anything. Back in the day, I was once a Todd & Tea fan (and yeah – I still think Blair’s real soul mate was Max. But what do I know – I’m still convinced that Lucky & Liz belong together). I thought Todd – as played by Roger Howarth – was a multi-layered, complex, nuanced character with tormented depths that fascinated me.
Now – I’m not complaining about Trevor St. John. When he first arrived as NuFace Todd, he did a wonderful job of letting us see the Todd that was under his “new face.” No easy task, that. But St. John pulled it off. An actor has to be careful not to mimic the previous actor in that kind of situation – yet still stay true to who the character was. Trevor St. John was marvelous at that. Then there was the dreaded “taking the character in a new direction.” Said direction had nothing to do with who Todd *was.* Since then, we haven’t been able to see as much of the various complexities that made Todd so fascinating – even while we were repelled by the things he did. Not Trevor’s fault – that was all on the writers’ heads. In their defense, I’m sure it’s a lot easier to write a simple character. It takes a lot of time and effort to research and write a character like Todd Manning. So – we lived with Todd Lite. Similar, but not the same.
That all changed last week. For whatever reason, the writers have brought back the Todd that was. It all changed the moment Todd saw his little girl in bed with a boy in her underwear. You could almost *see* Todd flashing back to what happened to Marty.
The old Todd – the one who never really learned to even like himself much – was back. We have been given the treat of watching Todd descend into his twisted self-loathing. Each day, we see him revert back to the man who didn’t think he deserved Blair, didn’t deserve a family, didn’t deserve the daughter he adored from birth. Kudos to Trevor St. John. As he sat in a corner of a darkened room, for a moment he made me see the old Todd. He actually had me seeing the Todd that was lurking behind his new face. For a moment there, I could almost see the scar.
This, my friends, is what soaps are made of. This is what keeps me coming back. It’s not a pretty site, but it is an intriguing one. I can’t wait to see what happens next.
Mysti's Musings of the Past