Last week, I had the pleasure of discovering Monroeville, Pennsylvania, a sweet and sleepy little township just outside Pittsburgh. I was there for a conference, where I got a little R&R to boot, and the people there were just the nicest folks I'd met since I left WV in 2001. I was very touched by the friendliness and welcoming attitudes that we were greeted with, and I plan to go back soon and check out that mall!
But of course, I could not let my travels interfere with my One Life To Live. That would be just . . . almost sinful . . . Decadent, even.
So, okay, I was sinfully decadent one day, but you know I was faithful all the rest. Right? I had to be, especially since this was a great week for watching The Women of Llanview. In my personal - and wholeheartedly biased - opinion, I think that Llanview has some of the classiest women in daytime television. There is just a richness of depth and complexity in the characters and their relationships that keep me watching, regardless of how often I wanna smack some of the writers and producers at times. Now, I won't say which day I missed, but I will say that the rest of the week was pretty interesting. I have to thank Odessa, Cheryl, and the Soap Central staff for writing such detailed recaps, because they are really, really helpful! Thanks, to all of you!
The Women of Llanview
Natalie doth protesteth. Too much?
Yes, methinks the lady doth protesteth too much. Okay, maybe my Shakespeare's a little rusty, but Natalie's "oh-no-not-with-Vincent" is about as old as the dirt God played with before the Big Bang boomed. I think that Vincent . . . intrigues her, which is a good thing. It's nice to see her in wide-eyed wonder about something other than the McBainster. She seems genuine in her cautious curiosity about Vincent, and cautiously curious looks good on her. I remember when it almost looked like she would hook up with Michael, before he and Marcie solidified. There was a dance in her eye, both with Cris and with Michael, that hasn't been there in a long time.
That's about the right-aged man, for her, I think - that Michael/Cris-ish age. I think that although Vincent might be just a smidge too old for her, too, it's still a way better match-up than the one she had with John. And in reality, just as I never bought that John would ever choose her over Evangeline, I never really bought that choosing John over Cris was especially true to Nat's character, either. I have to honestly say that I never saw her as bobble-headed until she went bobble-over-boots for McBain. Her IQ dropped, like, eighty-eight points, immediately.
That said, what was with Nat's recent "trying to get over John" thing? He's been dead (for all intents and purposes, thank-you-TPTB) for what, maybe a month or so? Her grieving almost-widow thing is - yes, mercifully short, but also - about as believable as her crying jags. Every time she starts, I just wanna go, "Dig, girl . . . keep digging . . . yea, you're almost there . . ." It was believable when Cris "died", but not with John's "death".
There seems to be a men-who-die-but-don't thing with Natalie. She's like the kiss of fake-death! Frankly, I dunno what's worse: watching her dead boyfriends rise up like Lazarus or watching her dry-heave sobs every time anybody but Vincent says, "Boo". Go, Vince! I liked their kiss, too. It was the best "it-was-a-accident" oops in a long, long time.
Go Cole! He really digs Starr, and I'm liking the way that Todd puts the fear of death in the boy. Todd's look that says, "All that stuff they say about me is true" is great, and Cole's reaction to it is very believable. He knows that he's basically taking his life into his own hands by kissing Todd Manning's kid, but Starr is no wallflower-daughter, either. Cole hasn't even heard the Starr Manning Adventures yet. I hope he stick around for a bit.
Oh, and I'll bet that a little Starr will go a long way in helping him get off whatever it is his friends are hooking him up with. If the child of Todd and Blair isn't on the road to becoming rehab-bound, then nobody should be.
And yet our little girl is growing up, and it will be most fun to watch Todd navigate Starr's growing independence from him. I mean, she's always been quite fierce on her own, but in just a few years, she'll be legally on her own. He's already finding it difficult to stay one step ahead of her. Remember her recent "amnesia" antics? Took him a little while to figure out that she was faking it. I can't wait to see her defy some admonition or other he tries to throw at her.
Of course, as I'm writing this, I'm thinking of the cute little bundle of Hannah Joy that I got to hang out with in Pittsburgh this weekend. Wish you could see her. She's almost two, and her little smile just lights up the world. When she's Starr's age, I think everybody - family, church, faraway church family - will have shotguns at the ready for any boys a'come a-knockin' whenever she comes to visit. Or girls. Whatev. Shotguns. At the ready.
Why is it that defiance always looks sweeter when it's somebody else's kid that you get to watch from a distance?
The Blair Affair
I like her better when she's not pathetic. I think she just needs to walk. Todd doesn't fall for women who beg for it. Or him. He favors strong women. Yea, Blair might get Todd to kiss her, even sleep with her. But I think that if she wants him to love her, she needs to take a walk. Not with some other guy. Just . . . walk. He's being an ass. He's being insulting, condescending, and dismissive. No matter what she's done, she deserves better than that - and if that's all he can give her, then in the words of Madonna, "You can do much better, baby, on your own".
You know what I'd like to see? I'd like to see her wake up one morning, pack up her and Starr and Jack, and move into her own place. Not to Dorian's or somebody else's digs. Her own space, decorated with paintings from Lindsay's gallery. I would love to see Blair talk to Starr like the grown-up Starr that Starr is becoming, and tell her that no matter how much you love and care about someone, you should never lower your self into begging for that person's affection and attention. Starr picks up a lot of cues from Blair, and I was even struck by the resemblance between Kristen Alderson and Cassie DePaiva in their kissing scenes this week. (Very nicely done, by the way - actresses, writers, and tech people.) I'd love to see Blair grow a spine, and in doing so, making sure that Starr doesn't lose hers while she navigates adolescence. Important little real-life tidbit. No intent to suspend anyone's suspension-of-belief there.
Viki and Dorian: It's on . . Or, is it?
I loved Friday's epi, watching Viki roll her eyes at Dorian's so-obvious-yet-so-classy Clint-wiggle. I have to say that watching Buch Boys be clueless is a lot of fun, especially when it's Clint. He reminds me so of those really cute, rugged, Stetson-wearing types who still give me shy giggles every now and again. You know, the kind who will never understand us girlie-girls - and we like it that they'll never, ever, in a million years, "get it", or get what it is with us.
Dorian is the ultimate one-of-us girlie-girls. Viki, well she's more hardy, more apt to go muddin' on a four-wheeler. She's like the Gretchen Wilson to Dorian's Shania No-Last-Name-Required. While Viki's rolling her eyes, Dorian's blowing her nails dry. While Dorian's licking her chops, Viki's engaging in intelligent discourse. Viki digs in her heels; Dorian digs in her nails. So, Clint, old boy . . . do you want the not-shy-about-it Redneck Woman or that one who lets you make her Feel Like A Woman? Hmmm . . . What would Asa do?
Another thing I enjoy watching in the Viki-Dorian Dialogues is the way they interact when they have a common cause - for instance, the Buchanan/Cramer baby, Zane. Zane? Well, at least it's not Spike. Zane Cramer Buchanan. Scary. But I digress . . .
I loved watching the way that Viki and Dorian each held back just enough to keep from having to be the one Kelly yelled at, but still letting just enough through to zing the other. Well, okay, so Dorian zinged more than Viki did, but Viki's a good zanger when she wants to be - and you have to be a good zanger to contend with Dorian's zings. Thick skin doesn't help much if you can't sling and arrow a few of your own right back at her.
Their relationship is like an onion: well-layered, fun to peal, and makes you weep and giggle all at the same time.
Evangeline and the Contenduh
So, okay, I'm hanging out in the hotel room with my best friend, Aimee, who doesn't watch OLTL. I know - such a sacrilege! Anyway, Aims doesn't watch the show, so I knew that I could get a relatively unbiased opinion from her - relatively, because she does read this column. So I asked her to watch the five or so minutes of Cris and Vange with me on Friday. Her exact words: "They have about as much warmth and fuzziness as that wooden cabinet over there." So, it ain't just me.
Cris, dude, listen. You're dating a fabulously intelligent, sumptuously gorgeous little angel named Evangeline. And she's a lawyer. If she's concerned about a big case, couldn't you just put your puppy-like affections aside for a moment and tell her that she's a fabulously intelligent and brilliantly beautiful attorney who can handle whatever this trial throws at her, even if it means that she will only be able to consult on the prosecutorial team if the trial's venue gets changed? Well, at least Todd knows how to tell her that. Props to Todd.
I think that I will totally hurl cookies if Cris pops the question and Vange says yes. Even if I wasn't suspending my suspension-of-belief, I'd say that marrying Cris would be such a huge step down that if she goes down any further, we'll be watching her do her scenes from China. Really, I'd rather see her pop out on the other side of the world than marry Cris. My stomach wheels are already churnin'.
Vange, go hang out with Nora. More often. We miss Nora, you miss Nora . . . make us all happy: Hang out with Nora. Often.
And all the rest . . .
The other women of Llaview - Marcie, Lindsay, Roxy, Layla, JessTess. . . and okay, Adriana and Claw . . . er, I mean, Claudia - are a kind of window dressing. Background characters that make the rest of the story interesting. In some cases, that's unfortunate. Marcie will probably get more prominent, though, as the where-are-they-now shines on Little Tommy McBain and His Mysterious Parentage. Wonder if TPTB will do a Jesus thing and make Todd the god who lets his kid grow up mostly human instead of somewhere on Mt Olympus with a bottle of nectar perched in his mouth. Or, I know, they could make Margaret into one of those people like Nat's boyfriends and resurrect her in time for a custody battle. The possibilities are mind-boggling, aren't they? Also, JessTess is making a re-surgence, but I'm hoping for . . . well, you know: Less Jess! More Tess!
We haven't done this in a little while, now, have we?
I loved watching Cole stand up for Starr, everytime he got a chance. I don't know what it is about this kid, but I really, really like him so far. Also, I loved Todd and Starr's heart-to-heart about her having to deal with junk from his past. That scene was especially sweet to watch.
I loved that Spewster's not a Buchanan Boy. Asa's glee was a treat to watch - although I hated him calling Spewie and Davie's mom a ho. That was just wrong. Plus she's dead. Ain't nothin' wronger'n a dead ho, 'cept callin' her a dead ho. 'Course, David didn't help any, did he?
I loved Tessica squeezing Nash's hand and her recent spate of Freudian slips. C'mon, Tess . . . just a little more . . . you're almost here . . .
I hated sitting through yet another week of the JessTess Stepford Wedding show. Mostly because I can't stand Antonio and I can't stand JessTess with Antonio. Less Jess! More Tess!
I hated Blair confronting Evangeline over Todd. Or maybe I'm just tired of watching Blair wiggle her butt for a man who treats her with such disdain as Todd does.
I hated watching Rex prancing around in his underwear. Sorry if he does it for you. Love Rex, but even in boxers, he just ain't that studly.
Well, happy people, that's it for me this week. My trip home included a slight case of food poisoning, so between the Jell-O and chicken broth, I'm hoping that the little hamlet of Llanview will provide a welcome respite from feeling both green and blue at the same time. Conventional wisdom says: If it's sat out for more than an hour and contains mayo, never, ever eat it anyway - because no matter how hungry you think you are, it's never as bad as how hungry you'll be on a diet of Jell-O and chicken broth.