No, no, no. If you've read the title to my column this week, don't think you're hear to listen to baseball chatter. I do realize that OLTL has started its foray into the arena of boxing, but I'm not here to talk sports with you. Rather, I'd like to focus on the metaphorical homeruns that are being knocked out of the ballpark by some fantastic and phenomenal actors and actresses working on this show. Many may argue that the writing this past year has been less-than-stellar, but few can disagree that when a meaty story or an important plot point emerges, the talent on this show gives it 200% and makes even the weakest storyline in general appear enthralling!
I would be remiss if I didn't begin this column by praising "Hallelujah!" for Nora's sudden awakening from her coma. After six months, this town and the show's long-time viewers have been patient…too patient…for our beloved Nora to open her eyes. Finally, we've been granted our wish. Although it's too soon to expect her to jump out of that hospital bed and start interacting with her friends and family, it was nice to see that she understood what Spencer was explaining to her in regards to her condition. It's also poignant to watch Matthew interact with his mother and make sure she knows how much he misses her and wants desperately for her to get better. I also hope this will now urge Bo to spend more time with his "ex" and become less focused on that spineless wimp of girlfriend he has in Paige. And I'm not here to praise Smith's superb "hospital bed" acting talents, but rather it's nice to see young Eddie Alderson as Matthew get time to express his emotions and become a more integral player in what is sure to be an emotional recuperation story for Nora and her family. The groundwork has only just been placed for this. I have great hopes that this will be similar to the story done many years ago when Viki had her stroke and had to slowly build back the use of her body.
Speaking of Viki, it was a stellar week for Erika Slezak and her on-screen ex-husband Clint (played by Jerry Ver Dorn). To see the way that these two actors commanded the screen every time they were on it was amazing. No matter what your preference may be regarding Tess or Jessica and no matter what you may think of the pacing of Jessica's D.I.D. storyline, few would disagree that the way Slezak and Ver Dorn presented these torn parents was nothing short of breathtaking. First, Viki has always had a long-standing battle with her inner-demon in the form of Niki Smith. To see Slezak masterfully take Viki to a confrontational level with her alter-ego and then fight back Niki's compelling need to be the dominant personality was sublime. One moment she was sobbing and heartbroken at believing she was largely at fault for exposing Jessica to the man who molested her, and the next moment she was angrily accusing Niki of being just as culpable for what happened to Jessica as the man who made the videotape. I would imagine Viki feels just as deeply about what happened to her own daughter as what happened to her as a child at the hands of her father, Victor Lord. Slezak made that very clear in her performance, and I couldn't take my eyes off of her one second.
Ver Dorn portrayed Clint in a somewhat similar fashion, although Clint was depicted as having to be the strong one-the one who has to keep the family from disintegrating from right before his eyes. I'm sure that as young Jessica's "Daddy," Clint just wanted to isolate himself from everyone for a while and just crumble in emotional grief, but Ver Dorn allowed Clint to deal with his family in a strong but firm manner. He had to console Viki yet help her fight off the temptation to slip into Niki Smith. His proclamation of love for her may have been romantic in nature or it may have been a love of the family-kind (we'll find out about that much later, I'm sure), but Ver Dorn allowed Clint's connection to Viki to be ever-present, even if Clint Ritchie originated the role that made the super-couple famous. He also had to deal with getting Tess to come back so that she could receive some help; I'm sure that Clint's time to deal with the devastating truth about his daughter will come, but for now he has remained the Buchanan in charge of restoring the family.
And Forbes March has even stepped up his performance a notch as Tess's first true love, Nash. Tess and Nash's relationship has long been one of frivolity and fun, but it reached a new plateau when Nash found a moment to watch the infamous videotape depicting exactly what happened to Tess as a little girl. The emotion and the pain and the disgust in his eyes were unbearable to watch, but March brought an intensity and an emotion to his character we haven't seen before. Eyes brimming with tears, Nash lambasted Clint for not being there for "Tess" when she needed him most. Even when Clint reassured Nash that he had no idea what was happening to her, Nash shouted, "You're supposed to be her Daddy. It's your job to know." Wow! Powerful stuff there. The performance was top-notch and the writing was top-notch. THIS is why we watch One Life to Live!
1. On the heels of Clint declaring that he "loves" Viki comes a continued flirtation with Dorian. I LOVE the notion of a Clint/Viki/Dorian triangle when the Jessica story becomes more tame. Viki and Dorian have always shared a tumultuous past, and this would certain stir the pot, so to speak, even further!
2. Speaking of Dorian, I loved the scenes between her and Tess. The idea that Dorian would help Tess stay in control in exchange for Tess's help in Dorian's snagging Clint made for an interesting twist. THUMBS DOWN!
1. The boxing location scenes add a gritty feel to what Cristian is doing, but really? Do the powers that be really think that their main demographic of women 18-34 will really care about Cris boxing? Some of us may enjoy it in moderation, but in an era when the shows are fixated on demographics, is this the wisest direction of the story?
2. Have I mentioned lately how much disdain I feel for Spencer?
3. Heather Tom is such a gifted talent…why is she being wasted right now on a few lines in random episodes? She needs a meaty storyline pronto! This whole Duke-Kevin-Kelly mess needs to end.
Enjoy your week,