The cowboy is riding back into town! The great news was released this week that Clint Buchanan will be making a permanent stop in Llanview (as part of a four-year contract for actor Jerry Ver Dorn), and I couldn't be happier! I am not familiar with Ver Dorn's work, but I do know he is highly regarded in the soap community for his portrayal of Ross on "Guiding Light." More important than finding a capable and committed actor to replace retired actor Clint Ritchie is realizing that the Buchanan family will have a greater focus on the show and that Viki will FINALLY have a love interest (and with someone with whom she already shares a past).
Clint's history with the show speaks for itself. After working with Joe Riley, Viki's first late husband, Clint and Viki eventually fell in love and married. After that, the Buchanans seemed to be a staple in Llanview; they were always front and center in major storylines and involved in the highest drama. Who could forget when Clint learned he had a son in Cord Roberts? Or when Cord's mother Maria came to try to rekindle her relationship with Clint, only to turn into a psychotic, raving lunatic who finally died by spilling poison on herself (the same poison she wanted to use on Tina)? What about when Clint was shot in the head by Jamie Sanders and was blind for a period of time (only to be assisted by Sarah Gordon, Bo's future wife and the sister to Clint's stepdaughter Megan Gordon)? How about when Clint time-traveled back to the 1800's to meet his ancestors and those of his friends and family? It was hard to suspend reality, but it sure was great, great fun to watch! Clint's excitement over having Viki give birth to their only child together, Jessica (well, or so we thought at the time), was definitely a highlight for the couple; Jessica was the apple of her daddy's eye! For so many years, Clint and Viki were unbreakable; they were the constant that all couples sought to emulate. Everyone thought they were undestructable...that is until Joey's friend Billy Douglas (played by a then unknown Ryan Phillipe) revealed he was gay. After that, the writers turned Clint into an agry homophobe who didn't want his son associating with Billy and even briefly feared Joey was gay himself. This animosity soured Viki and caused much dissention in the Buchanan household...that is probably what turned Viki to Sloane Carpenter and led to Viki and Clint's divorce. Since then, Viki has been on a romantic rollercoaster going from losing Sloane to Hodgkin's disease to losing Ben to a gunshot wound. The time is ripe for her to return to the father of her children-Clint!
Clint has been away from Llanview for so long, though, that many new viewers are oblivious to his rich history with the show and are not aware of the connection that Clint shares to so many people. Maybe having a new face to the character will help viewers see the character as "fresh" and "vibrant." Who knows? Clint Ritchie embodied everything about Clint Buchanan; he was the earnest cowboy who would have killed for his family. Coming back now in the midst of great family turmoil ("daughter" Jessica has D.I.D. and real daughter Natalie is about to be embroiled between her husband and the man she now loves) gives Clint many resources to play from and will allow him to fully integrate himself back into Llanview life. We have barely heard anything about "THE BANNER" these days, so what a great way for Clint to rejuvenate the family paper!
One of the biggest gripes viewers have made is that Natalie to this day does not seem fully accepted by the Buchanans. The bigger question is: does the family REALLY accept her as Clint's true blood-born daughter, or is Jessica really the only one they will accept? This question will surely be answered when Jessica's fight with her multiple personality problem becomes center stage in the coming months. With her family sure to rally behind her to regain control from Tess (my personal favorite of the two), Jessica's problems will seem gigantic compared to those of Natalie, who is eventually going to realize that the man she thought was impersonating her dead husband is really the living and breathing form of him! She will then learn that John and Cristian had a deal vowing to keep this information from Natalie, which will definitely not make her happy, and Carlo Hesser still remains an unknown factor in this story. Natalie's problems will likely be tossed to the side and ignored in favor of her sister's identity crisis. So with the arrival of Clint, will he be forced to choose one daughter over another? The relationship between him and Natalie has never been fully explored, but now that he is sticking around for longer than a few days, it is likely that all of the feelings of insecurity and dissatisfaction that Natalie has had are probably going to surface. Clint will have to deal with the fact that he has a grown daughter he doesn't know and also that the daughter he has loved for the better part of 20-plus years is not really his blood kin. Jerry Ver Dorn should be in for quite a ride!
Best of all, Viki will finally have some romance return to her life. After mourning Ben for over a year, it's time for her to move on with her life. In a new form, Ver Dorn might bring some romantic qualities to Clint that were absent before in Clint Ritchie. After being in London for such a long time, Clint surely has changed during that time, so it will be interesting for viewers to see how Clint and Viki rekindle their love for one another and analyze where they go from here. I'm truly excited at the prospect of a new Buchanan beginning, because the Buchanans have been the heart of OLTL for a very long time, and that seems to have been forgotten in recent years by some head writers. Hopefully, Dena Higley will refocus on them.
But Clint's return isn't all that has been happening in the world of Llanview. I cannot end the column this week without making a few other comments on some other happenings:
1. Love the location shots in Todd's encounter with Margaret. Those little outdoor scenes (like when Blair was about to be crushed in the car lot) really add so much to the dramatic nature of a storyline. Seeing what happens when Margaret and Todd face off out in the water will be great fun. Other than the helpless baby she's carrying, who really has nothing to do with any of the fighting that is going on, I sure hope Margaret's reign of terror comes to an end quickly!
2. Rex and Adriana....Thumbs up! Adriana and Duke....Boooring!
3. The next great OLTL supercouple: Rex and Bo! I love, love, love their scenes together. I read someplace that there people were making a connection between Bo's dead son Drew and Rex, and since I read that, I've been noticing more and more that Bo seems to be mentoring Rex a little bit, and I suspect that Bo is definitely seeing similarities in Drew and Rex. If that is the case, I'm even more interested in seeing how this relationship progresses and if Bo reveals to Rex down the road that he has grown to care for him like his son Drew.
4. Love Tess and Nash, but their sojourn away from Llanview is getting a bit tiresome. Sequestering them from the rest of the characters on the show was a bright idea at first (so that we could see their genuine attraction for one another), but now it's time to get them back in the thick of things in Llanview around the people who know Jess/Tess.
Enjoy your week,