CAUTION:  My girl, Carol, speaks her mind in a strong, brassy and vibrant fashion.  If you are offended by straight talking, adult oriented language (sometimes, there's a "very" in there), please be aware that you may well find it here.  Carol shoots from the hip and tells it like it is, pulling no punches and taking no prisoners.  That's why I love her & why I hired her.  If it's not your bag, let's part still friends and salute our differences in tastes (I'm sort of a strong strawberry flavor...)  ~*~Katrina~*~



OLTL is textbook for doing everything wrong, up to and including dropping the ball on Bo and Nora’s reunion, made inevitable, but not quite so interesting anymore. 

“Don’t build something up and then not deliver; it makes us very angry.” –H.C.S., Kitchener, Ontario, Soap Opera Digest, “The Cure,” August 31, 2004 

This thing with Nora’s triangle had me fuming long enough to consider the bigger picture, an annoying habit by TPTB (The Powers That Be) to make a big deal out of an upcoming storyline, a promised pairing, giving the fan bases what they want, then barely putting forth the effort necessary to make the storyline about a promised pairing remotely coherent, much less enjoyable. 

Consider this: After Troy went bonkers (because TPTB had no idea what to do with him and wasted the dramatic and comedic talents of his portrayer Ty Treadway [co-host, SoapTalk]), Nora had nothing to do but shuffle papers, make quips about heading home alone to tend to her little boy Matthew and do the wallpaper bit. Fans were still seething from what executive producer Jill Farren Phelps had done to their hapless but intelligent heroine from December 1997 through December 2000, dropping the ball on Nora and Bo’s marriage to glorify JFP’s good pal Kale Brown and have his new character Sam Rappaport take over the show as the #1 leading man, Nora’s soulmate and father of her only son, Matthew... by all rights, Bo’s. 

Fans would soon receive their fondest wish for a Bo and Nora reunion, but they’d have to wait three years for it. They’d also have to endure such character assassination and plot holes and the relegation of key scenes in relationship development off-camera, that they’d soon either forget they wanted Bo and Nora reunited, or no longer cared. 

The first hint of a reunion surfaced last year, when Sam got accidentally killed by his former wife Lindsay and amongst his papers, left confirmation that he’d kept a crucial secret, right to his grave: Matthew wasn’t his after all, but Bo’s. This revelation did not produce the usual thrilling results with long-suffering fans in the least. They had to wait until the kid was practically a teenager before TPTB saw fit to return him back to Bo (and Nora) where he belonged. This revelation, instead, should’ve happened shortly after JFP left OLTL and took over GH in January 2001, when Matthew was still baby-sized and Bo could enjoy as much of his child’s growth spurts as possible (particularly poignant after the police commissioner lost his only known son, Drew—already grown up by the time he found his father again—in the line of duty). 

After this huge revelation, one would assume the writers would detail a lengthy, descriptive follow-up, elaborate scenes with Bo, Nora and Matthew bonding, getting reacquainted as a family all over again, acting silly, Bo taken aback by Matthew’s maturity and easygoing forgiving nature, as well as innate interest in horses, perhaps a minor crisis to firm up that growing bond. Oh, sure, the writers did throw some of that in, but sporadically, out of sync, sandwiched in between lengthier, detailed character and story development of newcomers without soap history or a controversial past to overcome... until fans started the process of forgetting. 

This past winter/spring, Matthew began consulting with a scheming Starr to reunite his parents. He came up with several options, but decided on tricking them into a dance competition, held in Manhattan, after finding out how good they used to be (back before, when Bo and Nora were lead characters on this soap). He then set about forcing them to practice a lot, squeezed in a few board games and such, and those scenes were suitably charming – watch Matthew do his victory River Dance, watch Bo and Nora share a secret, bemused glance after Matthew cracked a whip on yet another twirl and dip – but not enough, not nearly enough to undo the damage JFP did to the show, the loyal fans and to the main characters who were now supporting, or gone altogether. 

When it came time for Bo and Nora to actually perform their winning dance number in Manhattan, where the contest was, they were nowhere to be found, on-screen that is. Fans got an eyeful and earful of Starr and her kidnapping adventures and Nu Jess prancing around in her latest spring fashion line (whether she drove, carried or helped a scene or not), but no Bo and Nora. Instead, as a footnote, Starr avoided answering Matthew’s questions at the hotel she and he just happened to be staying at in Manhattan, before she ran away, Bo showed up, without Nora, to help a frantic Blair and Todd find Starr, and later, seemingly weeks later, Matthew bragged to a handful of people who couldn’t have cared less, that his parents won the first prize trophy. 

For what? Oh yeah, that dance contest nobody saw, the dance contest that could’ve helped fans see why Bo and Nora truly did belong back together, a facet of their coupled personality that helped fans fall in love with them in the first place. 

After the dance contest (nobody saw), Matthew continued his trickery, pitting another suitor, Daniel, up against Bo, hoping to raise some jealousy issues. Since when did Daniel like Nora? Oh yes, since TPTB forgot to build their rivalry and animosity into grudging respect and growing friendship into believable heights. So, anyway, Daniel likes Nora, Bo used to love Nora, and Matthew’s in there secretly pulling their strings so that Bo will realize he doesn’t want Nora to go to Daniel, because he wants his former wife for himself. 

Throw in not one, not two but three plot devices, geared toward throwing Bo and Nora together in an enclosed, intimate situation, 1) a quarantine at Nora’s house, 2) a trapped elevator, 3) a robbery in progress with them stuck in a meat locker—and romance ensues, right? Hardly. 

Again, because TPTB refused to do their homework and actually remember Bo and Nora’s past history, personalities, motivations and the ever-important necessity to show them forgiving each other, acknowledging each other’s faults—Bo’s stringent adherence to truth at any cost, Nora’s almost blind devotion to following the law, falling for each other again in a reasonable, understandable, as in-real-time-as-possible manner... choosing instead, far-fetched, isolated plot-driven triggers of inspiration, fans were left wondering where the romance was, and fast approaching apathy. Remember, it’s been four years and counting, and nothing. 

At Nora’s house, while unable to leave for at least 24 hours because they – and nobody else in the town (how’s that for impact?) – were quite possibly contagious with some unknown virus a former hospital employee and convicted criminal (whom Nora helped prosecute) released on them as payback, etc. etc. ... Nora accused Bo of being jealous of Daniel, always bringing his name up in that mocking tone. To which Bo accused Nora of being jealous of Eve (who?), John and Michael's chanteuse mother – seen a couple of times, Bo spoke with her a couple less, then gone from the face of the earth for several months now, that Eve – always insinuating that her voice was throaty and deep, whatever that meant. They each protested the other’s assumptions, feigning irritation and interest. Meanwhile, fans sat back shaking their heads, not buying this revisionist, non-seen, non-event whatsoever, waiting for a sign, a genuine, backed up by history and slowly worked on sign that Bo and Nora never stopped loving each other. 

The other two events, the elevator and meat locker, were even more uneventful. 

Worse, some fans, like me, started noticing the obvious chemistry, humor and awkward realism of a brewing romance between Nora and...Daniel, the former DA prick, alcoholic and abusive dad to Riley, ably supported by the understated, yet still slapstick-worthy reactions of their colleagues Antonio and John. Who could forget those recent, memorable scenes at the police department as Nora fondled Daniel’s hot chest and shoulders with a cold can of soda after his particularly grueling game of tennis with son Riley earlier (unseen, of course)? Daniel turned shy, modest about his athletic exploits (rock climbing too? Eeee!), and downright beet-red when Nora touched him, there and there, even if it was only to soothe his aching muscles with whatever was practically handy. And, she had to partially remove his shirt to get at the aches and pains, just around the same time Antonio and John were walking out, talking about where to go for lunch. They stopped, stared, tried to avert their eyes, figured ignorance is preferable bliss, and without missing a beat, Antonio continues with, “How about Italian?” as the cop pals walk out the door, leaving a flustered Daniel and Nora. 

I saw more promise between two people and more confirmation of that promise in the interaction of the couple and the witnesses in that scene than I had in all the plot-driven traps of Bo and Nora, former thinking woman’s supercouple. 

But the short-sighted, plot-driven-enamored PTB, being fair, did to Daniel and Nora, what they’ve been doing to Bo and Nora, followed up with nothing but an afterthought and a footnote, and later, Daniel and Nora at Rodi’s talking about their weekend getaway (following her ordeal in the meat locker), how tenderly he took care of her and her 104-degree fever, cooking up chicken noodle soup, feeling it to her, ignoring the sunsets over the surf so she could be comfortable, probably stealing kisses and sharing childhood anecdotes, the stuff soaps used to do, the stuff that made soaps uniquely soaps. 

Their talk took all of maybe two minutes, about a weekend getaway fans never got to see for themselves, then back to the Santi mob mystery – ABC Daytime’s desperate mimicry of GH and HBO’s The Sopranos – and more introductions of more newcomers to the canvas. 

Had the weekend getaway been shown, instead of inferred, showcased, instead of downplayed in passing conversation, perhaps Daniel and Nora could stand half a chance at a ratings winning frontburner love story all their own, and OLTL itself could rise from the dregs of mediocre to downright psychotic, suffering the slings and arrows of disgusted columnists everywhere. 

Even better for Bo and Nora fans, had the weekend getaway been theirs... 

The lack of character-driven, relationships-based soap stories hasn’t been lost on soap veteran Hillary B. Smith, who’s played Nora on OLTL for 12 years. Smith definitely found having to pull off Nora’s infidelity to Bo and subsequent turning to Sam (to father a baby for Bo) several years ago quite distasteful and more to the point, uncharacteristic. It was obvious to me during JFP’s reign of terror that Smith disapproved of much of the story direction, and that she wasn’t alone amongst her castmates. 

Recently, under a different regime (but rumored to be under the thumb of control freak ABC Daytime president Brian Frons), a supposed better regime of head writer Michael Malone (returned from his glorious Todd and Antonio period) and executive producer Frank Valentini (up from the ranks), she spoke out, still clamoring for the character-driven, and not necessarily the loud and outrageous show-stoppers, either. In a Soap Opera Digest August 31st interview, Smith said: “I’d like to see heroic moments again where the things at stake are real and count and people understand them. I think we try to be fantastic to get attention, but I think it could be simplified. If you speak softly, people tend to be quiet and listen. What we need to do is tell stories, not events. Stories with romantic heart.” 

In another feature, “The Cure,” same issue, soap experts discussed what it would take to bring soaps back into contention. Former GH associate writer Patrick Mulcahey, who also penned for GL, Santa Barbara, Search For Tomorrow, and Texas, went back to the tried-and-true relationships foundation. He cited a need in the audience for the continuing saga of people doing what people do, once the domain of soaps, now fodder on talk shows Jerry Springer, Oprah, Dr. Phil, even Judge Judy. People, he explained, want to see other people wrangling with relationship issues, infidelity, divorce, jealousy. 

Also in that feature, several soap fans left their impressions with one, an OLTL fan, H.C.S., Kitchener of Ontario, really cutting to the heart and soul of the matter (and what’s specifically wrong with this soap that continues to lag behind in the ratings of common sense): “I want more slow-building romance, not instant sex. I loved the slow build of John and Nat, but the powers-that-be threw that away so John and Evangeline could have cheap, drunk sex. Don’t build something up and then not deliver; it makes us very angry.” 

Or apathetic, in Bo and Nora’s case.