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 Two Scoops: August 8, 2005 columns
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Michael Easton
The wheels keep turning
For the Week of August 8, 2005
Lately, One Life to Live seems to be moving along in spurts. For a few weeks, there is non-stop action that propels stories into another level; then there are weeks that fail to advance any plots.
For the last few weeks while watching OLTL, I've literally felt as though I'm on one of those never-ending highways in the middle of the country that just seems to keep going and going and going without any end in sight! The wheels on the car are turning, but I'm not going anywhere. Lately, OLTL just seems to be moving along in spurts. For a few weeks, there is non-stop action that propels stories into another level; then there are weeks (like what we're in now) that just seem to keep stories at a level that fails to advance any characters or plots to other levels. At an age when the ratings for the soaps seem to plummet faster and faster, it's imperative that daytime television executives realize that maintaining viewer interest with stories on a DAILY basis is what is necessary to keep the genre from dying completely.

First, the Killing Club murder story SEEMS to have come to an end, but has it? The disappearance of Natalie after she was kidnapped WEEKS ago, yet this story just spins in circles with its focus in trying to reclaim her. Sure, I understand that part of this is due to Melissa Archer's recent contract negotiations and the fact that it wasn't clear if she'd renew her deal or not, but the story was never a popular one, and there have been few strides made in advancing the story at all. Only on Friday did we FINALLY catch a glimpse of Natalie at the bottom of some deep, dark hole. The capture of Hugh was necessary, but I sure do hope that his conviction will fast and efficient. Viewers don't want a trial, they don't want him released on a technicality or some other lame circumstantial reason, and they don't want the story drug out longer than it needs to be. This chapter among OLTL's other stories needs to end PRONTO!

I'm also extraordinarily frustrated with the whole John/Evangeline relationship. Okay, they broke up because John couldn't admit his true feelings for Evangeline, etc, etc. I get that. I'd probably be frustrated if I were in someone's position like Evangeline, too. I also get that John is a very guarded and reserved dude. Ever since arriving in Llanview, he's had issues and unresolved feelings that stem from his family and his prior relationships, apparently. But in all of this time, he's never dealt with those issues. In fact, I don't think we as viewers even know what they really are! I think that's part of the reason so many viewers don't like the John McBain character; the writers haven't given people enough reasons to invest in him. Putting him on screen everyday for almost an entire month doesn't make someone like a character UNLESS there is an emotional attachment or an emotional reason to like the character. All John does is run around the police station and solve the latest crime. Occasionally, he would kiss Evangeline and send the wrong signals to Natalie. So, I can understand why Evangeline would end the relationship. It just wasn't going anywhere; it was just completely stagnant.

So that brings me to when John showed up at Evangline's door, apparently ready to confess his undying love for her and plead with her to take him back because he will really change. Didn't everyone think that is where the conversation was headed? At first, when he seemed to initially be finding the right words to convince her that he's going to work on his unresolved emotions, I thought to myself, "FINALLY!" But after a brief commercial break, I was disappointed again. All John did was manage to spin the same wheels over and over and over again. Haven't we been through this game that these two play before? All John needs to do is find the inner strength to just tell Evangeline that he loves her. That's it! That's all she wants to hear, and he knows it. Yet, something is holding him back so much that he can't find those three little magic words---he went to her apartment knowing this, and seemed awfully determined upon his arrival to make things right between them. But, the writers seem bent on keeping John such a one-note character that he can't show any emotional growth? In the end, this relationship (and "love triangle" which includes Natalie) just keeps going round and round and round without any advancements. How sad!

The other relationship that is just getting on my last nerve is the blossoming one between Bo and Nora. I've always been a fan of them, and I still want them reunited; however, I'm completely frustrated by the sly games they play. Neither one has the ability to have an honest conversation with the other one about how each feels about the other. It's almost like they are playing a chess game during which they are forcing the other to make the first move; who will be the first one to finally just admit that he/she has feelings for the other one? Nobody can ever convince me that Nora truly loved Daniel! That marriage was a sham from the get-go! She didn't have the same passion or chemistry with that guy as she did with anyone else. I could buy her relationship with Sam, because the love was actually there between them, but Nora didn't love Daniel in that way. No way! And Paige? Please!! Like Nora with Sam, I could buy the relationship Bo had with Gabrielle, because that relationship was one that lasted a very, very long time. They worked on that relationship and started out as friends. It grew over a period of time to be more than that, and they shared something special. But Paige just seems like a convenient girlfriend to Bo like Daniel was a convenient partner to Nora. Especially after bonding with Bo after discovering Matthew really was their child and even gave him the Buchanan surname, I thought that the two of them would rekindle their magic. It's destined to happen, but the wheels on this story just spin in a never-ending circle!

Another relationship of sorts that I'm growing weary of is the one of animosity between R.J. and Antonio. Sure, I understand that the custody battle over Jamie is a complex and bitter bone of contention between the two men, but this hatred that R.J. has for Antonio (and vice versa) is just growing old; nothing ever comes of it, and nothing ever happens to try to soften it. So Lindsay took a picture of Antonio and Layla? Big deal? What I DID find interesting and compelling amid this story was the moment when Lindsay slipped and called herself "Mommy" in front of Jamie! Whoops!! Here is a great story for Catherine Hickland---the growing attachment to that child after the loss of her own, and how she could team up with R.J. to regain sole custody of that child so that Jamie becomes her own child whom she tries to adopt. With this twist added to the story, I could buy the continued hatred the two of these men have for one another, because there is another person (Lindsay) feeding it continuously for her own motives. But the way the story is now, the same old history between R.J. and Antonio is the only impetus pushing along this story, and that's just a yawn!

On the bright side, there is one story advancing---and that's the one with Tess and Nash. I know I write about these two all the time, but it's really the only exciting story that keeps me coming back day after day. I'm to the point now after watching Tess for a month and enjoying the full characterization of her that I wonder how I could ever handle Jess coming back and not having Tess around anymore! Tess is more than just a one-note cartoon character like Nikki Smith was to Viki; she is someone who has a vast array of emotions. She has that edgy and smart sense of humor that one either loves or hates. She has that sexy allure that makes men do whatever she wants. She has that soft spot within her that wants to be loved for TESS and not for Jess that she's only started to explore now with Nash. She has that fear within her that she will disappear forever and never see Nash again. All of those things make her a likeable character. The writers have to be very, very careful when crafting this story for Tess and Nash, because their growing popularity could leave them in a pickle! What happens if fan support for these two swells so much that when it's time for Jess to re-emerge that the nobody really wants her there? Jess is a critical character in the Buchanan family circle, and it's unfathomable to think that Tess will replace Jess for good, but what if that's what fans ultimately want?

I always enjoy hearing your comments and discussing what you have to say. Feel free to email me below or look out for me in the message boards where I'll throw in my thoughts here and there to various discussions.

Enjoy your week,
Ryan


Two Scoops is an opinion column. The views expressed are not designed to be indicative of the opinions of soapcentral.com or its advertisers. The Two Scoops section allows our Scoop staff to discuss what might happen, what has happened, and to take a look at the logistics of it all. They stand by their opinions and do not expect others to share the same view point.



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