As the New Year quickly approaches, let us reflect on the highs and (mostly) lows that One Life to Live brought to us during the past year.
Best Return: Cristian's return may not have been all that it was cracked-up to be (although there is a MAJOR secret he seems to be hiding...is he really Cristian??), but I was impressed by the quick manner in which he appeared to most everyone (Carlotta excluded). Most "return from the dead" characters sneak around town for weeks determining when just the right time is to reveal to everyone how alive they are. That didn't happen this time. Cris made a bee-line for Natalie and wasted no time in resuming their affections for one another in the cabin! That part of the return was refreshing to me. I found it strange, however, that despite the "ooh's" and "aah's" by a few characters, nobody else seemed to be overly-shocked by his sudden reappearance to the Land of the Living. Maybe this new fondness for booze along with his whanging headaches will lead us to a better reveal in this story.
Worst Return: Since arriving in Llanview, Duke Buchanan has essentially been making the moves on Adriana. What a wasted opportunity for this character with such vast history and potential. Sure, he and his father, Kevin, don't get along, but surely there are a lot of unresolved issues between the two that they can throw into a meaty storyline. For how he is currently being used, ANY new character could have been introduced as a love interest for Adriana and would have served the same purpose. Why isn't Duke becoming fully immersed in Buchanan business with Asa, or where are more scenes of him with Grandma Viki? If a character like Duke is going to be significantly aged, then he should be utilized better. Former American Idol contestant Matt Metzger is doing a pretty good job with the role, but there is just so little connection made to Duke--and I blame that part on the writers.
Best Moment: I'm always a fan of using a show's history to enhance and enrich a current storyline, so it really pleased me (and made sense) for the writers to bring back Clint during Viki's heart transplant. Despite the legions of Ben/Blondie fans who fondly remember and cherish their courtship from the moment that first pair of fuzzy dice was introduced to the moment they were separated because of his lapsing into a coma, there are many more fans who remember the days that Viki and Clint were THE supercouple of One Life to Live and one of the most steadfast couples on all of daytime. They traveled back in time together and had an unbreakable bond that absolutely nobody could come between. Unfortunately, Clint's brash behavior over the "Billy is gay" storyline started the downhill destruction of this powerful couple that eventually led Viki into the arms of Sloane Carpenter. Nonetheless, Clint and Viki share a daughter together and two adopted sons. Further, they still have a connection that cannot be explained, so for him to show up and sit by her bed to await the outcome just made sense.
Worst Moment: The emergence of Santi after Santi was bad enough and would warrant a half dozen "Worst Moment" mentions; however, there was one moment when I thought "uh-oh. These writers are really serious about these strangers. Everything is going to change now." And it did. When Tico struggled with his mother and pushed her to the ground where she landed on pieces of broken glass and died, not only did we face a major story dealing with the ramifications of this death and the rivalry between Tico and Antonio that would result from it, but we also learned definitively that Antonio is a Santi and not a Vega. Forget Eterna. Forget Viki's trip to heaven. Forget that Jessica is Mitch Lawrence's daughter. Even forget killing off Gabrielle and Al Holden. The reveal that Antonio is Manuel Santi's son might be one of the biggest blunders OLTL has ever made!
Best Couple: No couple has sparked as much chemistry as John and Evangeline. Despite the writers' attempts to break them up and add conflict where there really shouldn't be any, this couple will last a very long time. No other couple in recent memory has created such strong response from fans as this couple. Any mention of this "Dynamic Duo" usually provokes two dozen emails that do nothing more than praise the couple. They definitely have super-couple potential. And forget the interracial card---that is such a non-issue when watching these two together. Even though the race issue seemed to be haphazardly thrown in by the writers just to address it, these are just two people with remarkable chemistry and sizzling on-screen passion--no matter what color each one's skin is!
Worst Couple: I shouldn't even call these two a couple, but Natalie and John have tried to be forced down our throats since Cristian's "death," and they just aren't working. There was some attraction for a very long time, and nobody seemed to fully act on it. There might have been a kiss or two---who can remember? But there has been zero passion, zero chemistry, and zero interest for these two. As friends, I think they work out perfectly. They do have a genuine compassion for one another and really do care for the other's interests. To call them a "couple," however, really stretches things. It boggles my mind that either one would risk solid relationships with other people to go back to a little "connection" that the two supposedly share. It isn't even like they had one night of love that pulls them back into one another's arms; it's just a nagging feeling. Well, I have nagging feelings all the time that I could wake up and win a million dollars, but I don't throw away all of my earnings into lottery tickets just to find out if that nagging feeling is correct!
Best Triangle: Bo, Nora, Daniel, Paige. The reason I think I enjoy this story is because of all the different elements that are going on. Essentially, this is a story about reuniting Bo and Nora--I'm sure of it. But, I like that Daniel and Paige aren't real threats to Bo or Nora. I mean, Paige is a new character who sure seems likeable enough, but we hardly know her to feel that she is a viable contender for Bo's long-term affection. Through these two other characters, Bo and Nora have been able to explore their feelings from their break up, and that will ultimately be the catalyst that brings them back together.
Worst Triangle: Christian, Natalie, John, Evangeline. As I have said before, Cris and Natalie have proven their great love for one another (and we've seen it!). The same is true for John and Evangeline. This triangle doesn't make sense. That John and Nat would throw away GREAT companions in Cris and Evangeline boggles my mind.
Most Wasted Potential: Illene Kristen's Roxy. Here is a great comedic character, and she is barely even shown on-screen at all. Roxy is at her best when she meddles in other people's business and gets caught up in zany misadventures. There is great potential with this character that hasn't been fully realized, and I hope Dena Higley makes it a priority to put Roxy back to the forefront of Llanview.
Best Use of a Character: Tuc Watkins' David. This is definitely a supporting actor, no doubt about it, but talk about getting the most bang for the buck! Every scene Watkins is in he steals. He is the PERFECT companion for Dorian, and the two of them have developed an amazing rapport and affection for one another. David is slick and a smooth operator, and I like that he is rarely "one-upped" by anyone!
Worst Destruction of a Character: Kelly Cramer. Too many columns have already been devoted to this topic, but let's just hope that Kelly's insecurities in her marriage that resulted in a desperate attempt to become a mother at all costs is rectified under the penmanship of Dena Higley.
Best Friendship: Nora and Evangeline. Isn't it refreshing to have two women talk about their lives and share their secrets with one another without fear that one will blackmail the other or stab the other in the back or go after her man? I like the honesty and the genuine feelings these two have for one another. It's uncommon to find this on daytime.
Worst Friendship: Dorian and Viki. I thought this was all going to change after the heart transplant Viki had, but I was wrong. I LOVED the way these two characters came together as true friends during Viki's crisis. I loved that Dorian was the one who showed unwavering support and was nearly shattered at the thought of losing Viki. For as much as these two fight fiercely with one another and then have moments of compassion and empathy, one would think they were sisters and not women who share decades of history together. Nonetheless, even though these two might never be real friends like Evangeline and Nora are, there is no doubt that Viki and Dorian are still the best "non-couple" on the show!
Best Actor Tuc Watkins. He has every little nuance mastered! From the glance with his eyes to a sarcastic retort aimed at whoever is in his way, Watkins probably has the best handle on his character than any newer character on the show. He times his one-liners just right, and he even offers David a hint of sympathy. He was without a doubt one of the brightest spots on OLTL this past year.
Best Actress: Robin Strasser. There's nobody like Dorian! If I give kudos and props to Tuc Watkins, I must heap praise on his partner-in-crime. From being by Viki's bedside to becoming Chief of Staff at the hospital to going back to jail for a crime she probably didn't commit to always keeping her family together, Dorian was involved in so much going on in Llanview, and nobody can deliver like Strasser!
Best Storyline: Viki's heart surgery. Simply put, it was one of the only emotional stories of the year, and it brought together rich history and a vast array of characters. Too bad it was only contained within a span of just several weeks and Viki seemed to be up and around after what seemed like a blink of an eye. However, in a year with sketchy writing and plot holes the size of Llantano Mountain, who am I to get picky?
Worst Storyline: The baby-switch storyline. The ball was completely dropped by Michael Malone on this one. I have watched All My Children for years, and even more closely and intent since last March's baby-swap. The recent reveal on AMC that Paul Cramer switched these babies and Kelly's search to find her kidnapped baby have been superbly written and produced. The wait was completely worth it in the climax written by Megan McTavish (who should have had more creative input into how OLTL was handling the story since she has first-hand knowledge of the characters from her stint as Head-Writer on the show). The problem is that OLTL completely focused on psycho-Kelly and her quest to keep this secret quiet from everyone and didn't develop the human/emotional end of the story involving Bianca and Babe over on AMC. What a richer and more complex story this would have been with more effective crossovers and development. Further, killing off Paul was a little premature as well. When all of Pine Valley was recently told about the baby switch, they nearly went ballistic! Talk about prime motive to kill someone---this could have been the murder of the century with nearly the entire AMC cast as suspects. Better yet, if OLTL was concerned about the complexity of doing crossovers, just send Paul over to AMC and have his murder happen there where the mystery and reveal would probably have been done far better!
Worst of the Worst Storyline: Anthing Santi. Enough said.
My best wishes to everyone in having a happy and safe New Year!
Enjoy the week,