May 13, 2003
Entertainment, OLTL Style!
Whatever else it is that you are doing during whatever time One Life to Live airs in your time zone, you need to drop it and start watching this show! And I don’t mean just watch it part time either. I hate to be bossy (Oh, who am I kidding? I’m the oldest of four…I perfected bossy ages ago, with flair even!), but I really am looking out for your best interest here and this show deserves your time and attention right now. Actually it deserved it starting weeks ago, but it’s not too late. OLTL went from a “catch it sometimes” to an “absolutely must see” for me, and now, it’s the only soap that I am loathe to miss. I’ve watched it for years, but I’ve also taken many a break from it so, granted, I’m not as invested as others are and I’m by no means an expert on the show. What I can tell you though, is that this show is pulling off a LOT of things with style and substance, along with just the right amount of soapiness to make it fun. Here’s a look at my three favorite things of late…and believe me, there are more where these came from!
Marcie and Al
Let’s start with my favorite, shall we? I swear I’m in love with this couple. I have yet to hear from someone who isn’t actually. On the surface you could assume that it’s the underdog factor, since Marcie isn’t your typical soap character in several ways. I admit I do have a soft spot for the underdog so that may have something to do with it, but there is much, much more. Nowadays, soaps are literally littered (lol) with couples that are at best obvious, and at worst, forced. Marcie had all the signs of being a background player…a prop. She was introduced quietly and slowly. I think tptb of every show should take note of that idea because while there is something to be said for introducing a new character with a bang on occasion, it’s not always the best approach. Entwining her in Al’s drug story, while also giving us glimpses into her loneliness and watching her be intrigued by The Voice at the same time gave us ample time to get used to the idea and almost feel like *we* were the ones who came up with the idea. One day it was just “Marcie and Al? Do you think??” and that my friends, is the way to start a couple. At no time did I get that “Oh, they’re definitely pushing these two together” feeling. I don’t care who you are and how great the two characters and actors are, there is a teeny bit of resentment every time the writers insist on making their intentions clear for a character right from the get go. It implies that whether it works or not, *they* like it, so too bad for the rest of us.
I was already in love with them, but when Marcie put that duct tape on the door and single-handedly turned Al’s life around, I knew I was really in deep. Here I am, getting teary-eyed over AL for Pete’s sake! They are sweet, well paced, FRIENDS (unheard of lately on some soaps), and I’ll watch them do anything together because they feel real to me. It doesn’t matter if some of it is a little too glossy because they are building a story for these two, instead of just building a couple. Marcie’s past is being slowly filtered in, and Al is at a convenient point of rediscovery of himself. I swear I haven’t looked forward to specific scenes like I do for theirs, in ages. And I still cannot believe some days that Al is half of the couple that makes me grin from ear to ear. Who knew?
Next on my list of favorites at the moment, is the music. I absolutely am enthralled with the music choices on this show lately. Not only the songs themselves, but the placement of them and how they are choreographed into the show. I am not necessarily a fan of Flash’s band, but even their stuff has been apropos for the moment. The way music is suddenly an intrinsic part of the canvas of the show is intriguing and inspired. When you think about it, music is a huge part of the lives of many viewers, I’m sure. It’s not something you necessarily spend a lot of time thinking about, but many people have some sort of background sound going on through a lot of their lives and there’s no doubt of the power of musical ties to important or memorable events in our lives. I can’t believe I’ve never wondered before why more soap characters don’t have the radio playing in the background more often…but I’ll always wonder it now. The Voice of the Night seemed completely hokey to me when I first heard it, but it has developed into an expanded musical backdrop that highlights and compliments the show, particularly during the recap type episodes such as the one a few weeks ago. Blair sat in the bar, telling a fabulously written story that had already taken place but was new to us. We also learned something we didn’t know about Max while Antonio was typing his report. Jessica was in jail, talking about her father and her feelings for Antonio. Al and Marcie both spent important time with her diary. Lindsay thinking about the shooting and Jen’s reaction to it while Dorian ended the episode with “The fall of Mitch Lawrence has begun”…honestly, that episode felt like one of the most perfect, seamless, professional looking and sounding soap episodes I have ever seen. The scenes flowed into each other perfectly, Dorian talking while Blair was onscreen, Jessica talking while Antonio was onscreen, and Andrew and Joe talking about Marty while Jen and Flash were onscreen. It was a perfect episode for new viewers to catch up on, but also presented in a form that was interesting to those viewers who had already viewed, or were aware of, the storylines being recapped.
That is actually a very good example of why the music is complementing the show so much, it keeps things interesting and fresh. I find myself looking forward to what will be playing today! They don’t overuse the idea, by inundating us with it everyday, but rather pick and choose where it will be most effective, and they do a good job of it. All Eighties, all night? Bring it on! There is also a palpable attention to detail that many soaps lack. The Mother’s day show today, is another example. It was also something of a recap episode, but it was accomplished with a flair that keeps us interested. I thought the opening scenes of unseen characters preparing their gifts and cards were inventive. Little things like that add an amazing amount of watch-ability (yeah, I make words up). The entire show has a quality feel that was not there a few months ago; it looks and feels like it could be completely at home in primetime at the moment, and I for one am loving every second of that. So kudos to whoever is coming up with the money to add the little extras that are making a big difference. The writing is fresh, smart and fast moving. I’m completely impressed by the entire production lately. And even more kudos for the obvious skill of whoever is responsible for bringing it all together and making the entire show something I’m proud to say I watch.
Love her or hate her, this show needed Dorian. Hell, every show needs a Dorian! I personally love the Mitch storylines, but I do concede that there is probably a valid point to be made that is has overtaken the stories of some other beloved characters. I don’t think however, that it has overtaken the show to the point of excess mostly because unlike some other time hogging saga’s on ABC (See General Hospital’s mostly mob moochers) this story actually involves a number of characters from across the canvas, instead of just a closed, elite group. Since the return of Dorian, the story has shifted and Mitch is no longer what it’s all about anyway. It’s about how everyone around him reacts to him and protects those they love from him. He’s the current reason for so many of the characters to interact, and that is a necessary step. It can’t and won’t last forever, there will be yet another reason down the road for different characters to react from, but for now, it’s Mitch. Bo and Nora are peripherally involved, but also have their own story going on. Antonio is involved, but has the Jessica and RJ angle going as well. Blair is very involved, but there is still the Todd story to be told and she has her family to balance. Jessica brings this story home to her family, but also is dealing with the family changes and with her feelings for Antonio. Lindsay is in the thick of the Mitch story, as well as her own madness and the repercussions to her family. This story has allowed some interesting history to be brought back, along with segueing in some returning characters quite nicely. Robin Strausser has had a part in bringing life back to the show, and the character is tying some things together that needed a hub to work from. OLTL is working the delicate balance between weaving its stories while also allowing for something for everyone. Soaps get into trouble when they segregate characters off into a story of their own and forget to keep them tied to something or someone else. Characters in a bubble are not all that interesting, but characters that weave and mingle are.
That covers the big points I wanted to make, now let’s look at the smaller ones. There is a lot I love, and of course, a few things I don’t. There are also a few things I just have to pick on…it’s what I do, after all, lol. I’ll just toss the rest out there and let you agree or disagree where you wish!
I’m slightly intrigued by the idea that Nora may become important in Jen’s life. There have been flashes of it in the past, Nora comforting Jen, etc. They had a moment again the other day where Nora tried to reach Jen, and it could be interesting to see them keep forging a bond (Maybe Nora can try detoxing her. I’m pretty sure duct tape is a good start when dealing with an annoyance addiction as well) and see Lindsay deal with that. I was also intrigued watching Jen seeing Flash in Nora’s house with little bro Matthew…very interesting.
This is old, I realize, but I just had to say that it’s been awhile since I laughed as hard as I did at the scene where Bo confronted Dorian and Mitch about Mitch’s manservant guy.
Bo: “When is the last time you saw Craig Lombard?”
Mitch: “Weeelll, that would have to be before I lost my sight”
Dorian: “Really, Bo…”
THAT was classic!
This heist story is a little lame, and frankly RJ is being wasted in silly capers such as this. I hope that there is going to be worthwhile fallout (and I suspect there will be, which is another nice thing about this show) because for the moment, I’m not much caring. Evangeline and RJ look promising though, so let’s hope he moves into something more befitting the talents of TS.
How dumb is Cristian to choose now to start lying to Natalie after she flat out admitted that she was concerned about him working with Jessica? Her insecurities are her problem, but I have no patience when men work so hard to purport the insecurity. I did appreciate, however, finding out his purpose is supposedly to protect Rex, and I’m glad he fessed up finally. All in all, could be worse.
Why are characters such bad actors? Apparently it must be confusing for actors to play a character that is acting, but I can’t believe for a minute that Mitch has bought half of what Jessica says to him. I realize he can’t see her facial expressions, but her voice is SO lying its ass off when she talks to him. It was particularly bad at the theater before he fell. He’d have had to be deaf as well as blind to believe she was being held at gunpoint or truly feared for her life.
Wouldn’t that tape of Mitch’s be suspect once they analyze it and figure out it was stopped and restarted after every sentence? I wouldn’t think someone should need a breather after every line during a voluntary confession.
Uh…what is the point of having Rae on this show? I personally like Linda Dano and I’ve seen her do some great work in the past, but this character is a complete dud and wastes my precious time.
Speaking of duds, Jen needs to keep her hands off Joey. And yes, I plan to mention that in every column I write in the hope that it comes to pass.
Flash works sometimes, sometimes she makes me feel bad for her or interested in what she thinks. I appreciate the friends she has in her band members and that the writers haven’t yet had the band pull the stereotypical dumping the poor sick friend in an effort to make us feel even worse for her. At Nora’s today…I felt a twinge of happiness for her. Other times though, she seems to have no purpose whatsoever. She’s much, much too young for Joey…so if there is a tie-in here, let’s get to it already.
Speaking of Joey, has he been getting some on the side somewhere that we don’t know about? No way is any man going to sleep for that long while being blanketed by someone as prickly as Jen. The cool part though, was that she didn’t seem to feel the need to keep glancing around the room like usual…can’t say I blame her. One must appreciate these reprieves from annoyances as they come.
Why exactly do I want a bracelet with charms on it that mean something to Viki? The least they could do is offer a variety of charms…now not only am I wearing “Viki’s bracelet” but it also has specially chosen charms from her kids on it? I’m telling ya, I thought the scene was sweet until I figured out it was all to get a new product up for sale, once that was clear I was just annoyed by the scene.
I think Natalie attracted the perfect victims, er…I mean customers, for Roxy. Anyone that excited to see a balloon is obviously very easily pleased.
Rex’s Mother’s day gift was perfect – exactly what we’d expect from him! Roxy recounting Natalie’s card was also kinda sweet in a Roxy sort of way. “O” is for the olive in your drink…”
Natalie is being misused though. She’s wasted on Cristian; I had hope, but it isn’t there. I’m finding it interesting that she is learning that there is more to Roxy, and I’m intrigued by her relationship with Jessica and Viki. I can buy her jealousy of Jess, and even the misgivings she has about Cristian and Jess, but I’m not into watching her start doing stupid things because she’s jealous and afraid. I’d much rather see them have the sisters go at it directly then to see Natalie become a caricature of what she was. Natalie should be feisty and unwilling to back down or lose; she shouldn’t be a whiny insecure adolescent.
Nice touch to have Will, Starr, Jack and Cassie home for Mother’s day, and to mention Kevin as well. It was also nice not to ignore Marcie’s feelings of the day. Antonio and Cristian should consider not enabling Carlotta’s annoying parental behavior though. If they really cared about her they’d have sprung for the cost of having that stick removed from her…well, you get the idea.
My confession for this week is that I quite enjoy the dramatic cheese of scenes like the one that ended today. The double doors open, and there stands Blair, Jessica and Dorian…they all pause and look out at the world they are reluctantly united against…hah! I love that stuff, I really do. The key is to always dish it out in moderation – so far, so good! Oh, and my other confession is that I think Riley is a teeny bit cute…don’t tell anyone though, that’s just between us.
Honestly, after writing columns for a few other shows that had the misfortune of going downhill instead of up after I started writing the columns (I swear, I’m not bad luck or anything!), I was starting to fear that I was incapable of anything except complaining incessantly. OLTL has shown me that that is not the case, and I’m grateful for that. Many wiser than I have explained the ebb and flow of soaps, and I’ve been a viewer long enough to know that no matter what show I’m watching on what network, starring whoever…I better enjoy it while it lasts and store up now for the unfortunately less than elusive barren times. That’s just the way it is. So consider yourself warned, if you aren’t watching you are missing a treasure trove of positives (So turn on the darn TV right after you finish writing “I will watch OLTL everyday for two weeks and decide for myself” 100 times on the blackboard!). If you are already watching, and are enjoying the show (I’m not saying it’s perfect, mind you, but it’s well beyond the “worth watching” mark) then write, write, write and call, call, call ABC and say so. I’ve done enough bitching at ABC in the past, it’s only fair that I acknowledge when they’re succeeding at the seemingly insurmountable task of entertaining little ol’ me!
Love to hear your thoughts! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo Credits: The fabulous http://www.cataz.net/
May 9, 2003
With Mother’s Day fast approaching and with my complete inability to come up with much to say about Port Charles at the moment, I thought a tribute to daytime moms might be in order. That thought was quickly followed by the realization that it’ll have to either be a really short tribute column, or I’ll need to turn it into a “Mother’s Day Roast” because…well, most daytime moms rather suck. What to do, what to do? Will it be a column talking nice about the elusive half-decent moms that, let’s face it, are almost all completely on the back burner? A nice lengthy look at which moms have chosen the best nannies, or maybe an award for the daytime mom who has scored the best prop department, affording her the leg-up when it comes to visual proof of offspring? Best placement of toy truck, bassinette or stuffed bear? Special effects and sound awards for best mechanical reproduction and best dubbing in of some real mom’s screeching baby? Frankly, all good ideas (I rarely have anything but) but a little too much work involved for me. I’d have to sit and remember the names of barely seen children, figure out the rules (if the child is on screen but the mom is not, is the mom still eligible??) and then try to stay awake for the actual judging…very complicated stuff and I fear I do not have the stamina for such a (pointless) task.
Instead, I have decided to dedicate this PC column to moms everywhere by following the ever- famous mom rule: “If you can’t say something nice…blah, blah, blah, etc.” Hey! That IS the way I always heard it, so I’m just quoting what I remember. Can’t be helped.
So without further ado (doodoo?) I give you the mom friendly version of my PC thoughts!
I thought it was really great of Livvie to obey the “No way you can bite Caleb from that cell” rule when the other three had escaped and she was still imprisoned. Just because she could fit her whole head between the bars, doesn’t mean it would have been right of her to turn Caleb. After all, she needed to wait until the poison factor came into play or the story would have been ruined.
I would like to request more of Livvie dreaming of Caleb and Caleb dreaming of Livvie please. It really is important for us to be reminded of their relationship anytime they aren’t actually together in a scene, or we might get confused.
I think Liz is correct; she was a good vampire as vampires go. She’s an even better ex-vampire and I agree with her when she suggests that they all go bite themselves and bleed to death. It’s important for a woman to be up front with her feelings, and Liz would do any mother proud with statements like that.
Hey Karen? It’s understandable that a woman changes her mind from time to time, but I must have missed how you went from drinking and celebrating with Joshua to accusing Frank of joining Joshua’s dark side and accusing Frank of being “one of them”. Don’t get me wrong, it was nice to see you recognize what was going on…I’m just wondering what went on off screen that tipped you off?
Wanna hear something funny? I have digital cable, which has that little option where you can hit a button and it tells you a little about whatever show you’re watching. I hit it by mistake the other day, and found the description of PC a bit surprising; apparently they don’t update it very often. It says, “Young doctors in love populate this General Hospital spin-off!” Hmmm, there must be a better way to describe the current Port Charles, don’t you think? How about this: “Young vampires in love regularly loot General Hospital’s blood bank!” or maybe “Sink your teeth into this compelling drama, it’s guaranteed to suck you in!” or we could just stick with “It’s a Vampire Nation – deal with it!” Whatever. No mom really, I am trying to be helpful here, that’s all!
It seems a bit odd that Ian of all people doesn’t know any better than to leave bio-hazardous waste in the living room trash can. I’m sure he just didn’t think it through, no harm done.
So, did you all enjoy the “safe sex” lesson Caleb gave? Yes, you see safe sex is now any sex that doesn’t result in your being bitten…update your manuals, please. And um… “I will never stop wanting that…to feel your teeth tear into my flesh…” ??? WTH? Update your manuals to also reflect that anything involving teeth, tearing and flesh all in one sentence is NOT sexy. I repeat, NOT sexy. This has been a PSA from your friendly neighborhood Sherry.
Kudos to the workmen involved in revamping (hah) the Recovery Room. That was some FAST work, my friends. Maybe you guys could go over and work on that hole Alison and Rafe abide in…it needs help.
So, why doesn’t Joshua just turn Liz again? Does he just enjoy listening to her, or what? In fact, if he’s so all-powerful, why doesn’t he just turn everyone? Why does having mortals make any sense at all? Turn everyone, feed on each other and live happily forever after…what am I missing?
Liz and Kevin are a maybe for me. Jack and Reese are growing on me. Casey and Jamal…a maybe too, she has been okay at times lately. Ricky is still a waste of time (I mean that in the nicest way, of course!). It was fabulous to see Chris one day last week – who wants to be in charge of collecting the donations and finding out who we have to pay off next to get him a few more minutes of screen time next month? They should at least be able to work in a “What are we gonna do about he massive blood shortage?” hospital scene by then.
Special thanks go out to Ricky, for giving us a taste of the hood recently with this memorable line: “Don’t hate the player, hate the game, Homeslice” Word up!
I truly enjoyed Liz and Gail’s chat in the park! RS was fabulously funny and I’d love to see more of that kind of thing. She was also great with Chris at the Recovery Room party – those two scenes and the Caleb/Alison interaction were by far the most interesting things to happen lately…and nary a fang was in sight, imagine that!
It seems very wrong that Livvie is being tricked at every turn (she’s bitchy yes, but dumb? No!), and not to be critical but if she was that hungry why didn’t she jump that guard Joshua sent to get her? The Livvie I know could’ve been on his back and wrapped around him so fast he’d never know what hit him. She’d have had that telltale blood drip coming out of the corner of her mouth before he could say “Wha...”!
Speaking of the blood drip, here’s something to keep you busy. I am becoming suspicious that the drip is not always consistent with which way the vampire’s head was turned during the feeding (if ONLY I could ban that word from existence, I swear I would!). Logic says the drip should be on the side lowest during the actual bite…I’m thinking though that it’s usually just on whatever side is closest to the camera, go figure.
How sweet was Lucy, offering to “help” Victor fight it like Ian is fighting it? If Victor only knew how she “helped” Ian, he might have thought twice before turning her down, particularly with his newfound obsession with being younger and more…useful.
What in the complete hell was that noise coming out of Joshua after Livvie told him Alison was dead? I thought an alien was going to come out of his throat or something! Add that to Ian snarling and growling in the church and I’m thinking maybe they decided the glowing eyes, blood and fangs aren’t quite enough…queue the sound effects, stat!
I really liked that they brought up Alison’s (Rafe induced) nightmare about Caleb. That was a great way to incorporate a little recent history and actually made that nightmare more interesting in retrospect since at the time I thought it was pretty low of Rafe to do it. Caleb’s surprise at it mirrored mine so I appreciated that as being realistic. I also appreciated being able to watch all four of them react to it. All four of the reactions were telling and seemed right for the characters. Very nice touch!
Was that red smoke supposed to be a smokescreen or something? Because it really didn’t screen her flight at all…watching Joshua stand there slapping his thigh and basically “aw shucks-ing” because he couldn’t see what happened to her was rather lame frankly. It got a laugh out of me, but I doubt that was the intent!
Lucy’s prayer in the church was very effective, maybe too effective. “ Please fix what’s broken here, fix what’s broken in my home because I need to know that the people I love can live out their lives in peace…” I felt bad for the poor lady, standing there feeling something she loves is doomed to darkness. Everywhere she looks there is more darkness with little hope of seeing happy times. Then I wondered why she’s any worse off than me since I feel the same damn way about my beloved PC characters, and at least she has hope of seeing Chris once she’s in the hospital (off screen, no doubt)…I don’t even have that to look forward to! I don’t need happiness and light all the time, but I’m beginning to get really tired of the doom and gloom on this show. There has been no respite from it for months now – a girl can only take so much I’m telling ya.
Well shoot, I’m not sure this qualifies under the guidelines I set forth…I did try at least! Believe me when I say, this hurt me more than it hurt you! I’d love to hear how you’re feeling about PC, misery loves company and I’m always game to have my mind changed as well so send it on! Email me at email@example.com with the good stuff I’m missing or the commiseration condolences - both are welcome!
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