Hi Everyone, and welcome to another round of, "What will they think of next?" I missed our annual Best/Worst love-fest, so here it is: Llanview's Best and Worst for 2006! We'll kick it off with Llanview's Best Couple Award.
Easily, the best couple of 2006 was Tess and Nash. The continued explosion of Tess onto the Llanview canvas was one of 06's best and brightest highlights. Bree Williamson showed her amazing acting chops, and for the first time, I found myself really impressed with Higley and Company's ability to add depth to an existing OLTL character. Before Tess, I wasn't really all that invested in the Jessica Buchanan character. She was kind of a background character - first as Viki's little post-35 surprise, and then as the Juliet to Cristian's Romeo. Remember how cute Erin Torpey and Yorlin Madera were?! I admit, I took the Jess re-cast pretty hard. It's a good thing I wasn't in cyberspace at the time. Some folks think I'm mean now. Whoosh! Not even close to back then . . .
BUT, the evolution of Jess has been pretty astounding. Looking back at the emergence of Tess, I have to say that OLTL's writers found a really creative way to combine giving Jessica a much-needed vacation with introducing an whole other Buchanan character, without losing much of anything in the bargain. I still wish Jess had never gotten together with her first lover's older brother. That just seems twisted. Yeah, yeah, I know it's a soap and it's fiction . . .blahblahblah. I don't care. Still seems twisted.
Tess and Nash were great from the start. I love the playful side of Bree Williamson's acting. Through Tess, she plays the perfect little coy flirt that you either want to be or be-with. She's the perfect foil to Nash's strait-laced wanna-be-good-boy. I never bought the good-little-boy thing with Nash, not for a minute. How could I? Yes, the blond hair and the cherub twinkle can be a bit disarming, but if you thought that he'd always used his powers for good, . . . man, I am sooooooo so sorry for how surprised you were when you found out that Claudia was telling the truth. That one had to have hurt, pretty bad. Maybe Claudia ending up in the loony bin had finally convinced Nash to be good by the time Tess came along, but no way was this beautiful, sexy little mystery gonna be his moment of enlightenment. The thing I instantly loved about Nash is the fact that Forbes March makes it easy to know Nash's background from the moment you first look at him. Yet, even though Nash is so easy to peg, I find that I still want to know about the people who raised him. But not yet. It's like getting to know Evangeline in the days before Layla. Hm . . . maybe that's why I like seeing him with Layla now. Oh, but that's now. We were talking about 06.
Nash and Tess, Best Couple of 2006. They were sassy together, playful, flirtatious, and then . . . slowly and easily . . . they were in love. I like the way they fight and I like the way they love each other. Jury's still out on Nash and Tessica. She's quite a handful, isn't she?
. . . [cue drumroll] is Jess' ex and Evangeline. UUUUGGGGGG!!! (she says as she beats her head on her tabledeskstation) She also says, "killitkillitkillit", but then she'd be digressing . . .
Yesterday, today, last year, fiftyfivehundredmillion years from now, I'll still be yelling, "PLEASE STOP THE MADNESS," everytime a fleeting image of Crange floats into my poor and wrecked little mindspace. Everyday . . . everyday I come closer to ordering a miniskirt and a set of pompoms and sending them to the writers because if they're gonna continue to write Evangeline as a friggin' rah-rah, then at least they can put her in a shish-boom-bah and make us all happy. She. Is. Brilliant. Why is she wasting time and energy on this dislocated rebel-without-a-clue? Please . . . "O Powers That Be, I pray thee that thou wouldst take this most awfulest, most offensiveth . . . moat outeth mine eye, so that I mayst seest thine angel Evangeline with someone with . . . O, TPTB, more her . . . caliber, O TPTB. Please, O TPTB . . . have I offendeth thee? What can I do to appeaseth thee? If thouest wouldest granteth this requesteth from thine own humble servant, O TPTB, I willest ever be-eth in thine debt for forever . . . or, until Llanview perisheth, whichever cometh firsteth. Thanketh thou, O TPTB. Ay-mayun."
Asa Buchanan. In fact, we should have an award named for him. The Asa Buchanan Award. I like it. Anyway, Asa's comeback was the best simply because it moved me the most. It was a real-life comeback for both actor and character, and I loved the way Phil Carey interacted with Eddie Alderson. They must be pretty close in real-life because I don't know that the kind of grandpa/grandson intimacy that Asa and Matthew share can be effected through acting. As far as I'm concerned, the more Asa/Matthew scenes we get, the better.
The Shoulda-Stayed-Dead Award
This one goes to Cristian Vega. I liked him better as a memory of what he was before he got resurrected. I liked him as an artist. I even liked him as a gang member. Now? Not so much. He's hotheaded, immature, and he's got the worst I'm-so-macho timing I've ever seen in my life. But, benefit of the doubt, being stuck in the middle of nowhere and getting a classic Carlo Hesser treatment might tend to do that to a fellow. So, okay, maybe he's doing really well for a guy with only half a brain. But he still shoulda stayed dead.
Best Resurrection Award
Trevor St. John, hands down. Todd Manning got the lethal injection with his worst enemy standing by his side, and then got resurrected by that same Dr. Psychopath - yet, all the while, Trevor kept himself totally in Todd-form with every response, every word, gesture, and every eye contact. There is never even any hint of compassion or even grudging respect when Spencer's name is mentioned to or around Todd, or when Trevor has to share a scene with Paul Satterfield. In fact, if I saw Trevor and Paul fighting in the Green Room, I'd run and get the pompoms so I could cheer for Todd . . . er, Trevor. This was never more evident than when Todd found out that Spencer was the one who'd brought him back after the injection. I think it was the absence of gratitude that got me. Confusion? Yes. Gratitude to Spencer? Not a bit. I loved Todd's resurrection, and then his reunion with Starr. Very nicely done.
The Hardest Working Psycho Award
Spencer Truman/Paul Satterfield. This guy had PSYCHOPSYCHOPSYCHO blaring from his forehead from Day One. Of course, one can not always tell a psycho by looking at one, because hey, it's not the ones in the hospitals we need to worry about, as my mom reminds me. But in Spencer's case, there were bells and whistles, blaring red stop lights, and a Voice From Beyond that said, "Stay away from this one. He's a doozy." He just slithered all over the place, leaving his ew-aura everywhere he touched. This guy didn't just have a past; he had an agenda, and not a nice one at that. I didn't want to run the other way. I wanted to haul ay-ess-ess the other way.
Paul Satterfield has played Spencer Truman to the hilt. Could his name be more ironic? I'm a word geek - could ya tell? - so I looked up the word spencer. A man of steadying truth, that's roughly what Spencer's name means. How opposite can one be from his own name? There is not a thing steady or true about Spencer Truman. This man has so many twists and turns that I'm finding it really hard to say goodbye to him. Ooh, maybe next year, he'll get the Best Resurrection award. Won't that be fun?
Y'know, I sometimes wonder how actors are able to take such huge leaps from who they are into who their characters are. Well, at least I'm hoping it was a leap for Paul. But then again, he is one of us who's not in a hospital.
Best Psycho Award
Maggie C. She's psychotic even when she's sane. She's living in Bangkok - who knew she spoke Bankgok-ese? - and she's this calm and sedate accountant . . . with the Psycho Glint. Would I have hired her to keep my books? Only if I could know for a fact that she was not off her meds. And believe me, Maggie C always needs meds. Always, like Janet-from-another-planet always. I want to see the prescription, the record of refills, and I want to count the pills in each and every bottle, every single day. Maggs doesn't just need sedate, she needs to be sedated. That little TJ kid, the one who's got Maggie for a mama and Hot Toddie as his Daddy: PLEASE let him continue to be raised by the M&Ms. He'll be sweet and thoughtful, and - if we're lucky - only a little bit strange. I'd hate to have to award him Best Psycho in ten years. Though, we may not be able to help it. He might just earn it.
Tessica's DID was this year's best-ever storyline. I found that it painted an almost surreal portrait of how coo-coo-for-cocoa-puffs can run in families. Mom's got the eye thing going, Tessica's got the rip-off-your-shirt post-integration party, and twin sis is . . .well, a redhead. Nat will always be my favorite Angry Redhead Chick, even though she was quite the little bobblehead in 2006.
Seriously, though: Tess' emergence and the circumstances that caused it were very well handled by the OLTL writers, actors, and crew. Not only can and does DID run in families, but things like memory lapses and uncharacteristic behaviors often affect people in not-so-pleasant ways. The actors did amazing jobs giving life to what most of us only know as words on a page. Their characters were very believable, especially Viki and Clint's reactions to the horrors that their child faced and Jessica's struggle with do-I-wanna-remember versus better-not-known. Integration can be a scary thing, and I think that Bree Williamson portrayed that with a really high degree of professionalism.
The storyline did get a bit drawn-out, especially there at the end. (Remember Integrate Already!!!!) Acerbic wit aside, it was still the best because it is often harder to portray the truth than it is to portray fiction, and the DID storyline accomplished this most major feat.
Worst Storyline, Period
Adriana's kidnapping. Isn't this where she earned the nickname Ritalin Minnie? Or was it before that? Either way, Adriana - or, RitMin as I like to call her - got on every single last nerve I had, and she even got on my nerves I had stored to get me through the Winter! UG! I swear, everytime she opened her mouth, I just wanted to swack her. No reason. Just because. Like, sssswwhhaaack, there she goes against the wall! She was like . . . you know those little paddleball sets they used to sell - the ones with the little ball attached to the paddle with a way-too-thin rubber band? I loved those things because if you learned to hit it just right, the ball would go sailing across the room, the rubber band would break, and the ball would land squarely in the lunch of that loudmouth who shot spitballs at you during yesterday's recess. RitMin, get the connection?
And, to add insult to injury, The Kidnapping served as a pre-cursor to RexiAna. It was so great watching Rex get sucked in by Little Miss Moppet. Not.
BUT, this situation is redeemable. I read this week that Melissa Gallo and David Fumero are off-screen love birds. I say put'em together on-screen! Yeah! That way, we've only gotta watch one bad couple instead of two! Yeah!
The Todd Manning Award
This award goes to the actor whose character stays truest, regardless of circumstance or obligation. It is named for its first recipient, Trevor St John and Todd Manning.
In Todd Manning's world, if he likes you, he likes you for life, even if he gets mad at you or makes you mad at him. It's a lot easier for Todd to hate a person than it is for him to like that person. And when Todd hates, Todd hates for life. He also hates through death and resurrection, as surreal as that sounds.
Trevor St John has recreated Todd in his own image. Almost all characters go through some sort of evolution, and Todd is no exception. But his evolutions are very subtle, and only people like Viki and Starr really see Todd's truest truth - the one that he doesn't even tell himself until he has no choice but to admit it to . . . well, Viki and/or Starr. He keeps his enemies fairly close, but he doesn't let anything separate him from the love of his kids. Todd is not unnecessarily cruel, except when the situation makes that a fair exchange for some slight done to him. For instance, Chinese Water Torture. Yes, Todd was a bit overly cruel, but he was justifiably so. Spencer had literally played God with Todd's life, so for Todd, it was your-mind-for-my-life. A little drip-drip revenge wasn't even half of what Spencer should've gotten. I call that a more-than-fair exchange.
Trevor St John has succeeded in making Todd a stable character whose stability does not affect his unpredictability. As the saying goes, the only predictable thing about Todd is his unpredictability. And so, for that reason, Trevor St John is awarded the Todd Manning Award for Excellence in Keeping a Character True-to-Form.
This week's episode
I've found myself feeling such strange feelings of déjà-vu this week. Almost every couple seems to be turn-turn-turning around themes like trust, relationship evolution, new ground/old memories. For instance, Cole thinks that anything worth having is worth fighting for, and many of the other guys like Todd and even Spencer seem to be picking up on that. And Lord knows Marty knows that that axiom is true enough. By the way, nice shout-out to single moms who return to school and raise kids single-handedly, TPTB. That was a nice pat on the back via Cole on Friday!
Speaking of Cole, has this kid got all the right lines, or what? Kudos to his writers! His responses are pretty true of an only-child raised by a single mom, I've found. You know, I like a kid who knows when to back off and how to do that without having to leave the scene. Very nice. I think Marty's my favorite mom this week because she raised a really good kid. I'm over the fact that in reality, Cole wouldn't even be, given the circumstances surrounding Marty and Patrick's exits. He's here, and I like him lots.
And I just love watching him with Starr. I like the depth that the writers are creating for Starr. It's like they're giving her the basis for being a long-term fan investment. With some of the other young characters, I don't know if I'll really care why they become whatever they become as they grow older. With Starr, I know that I'll enjoy the memories being created now, long after she's running The Sun while Dad enjoys his favorite pipe, sitting in front of Asa's old fireplace. Starr and Cole are a good match; too bad Brittany isn't nicer, but then, that's why Langston's got Starr's back.
For the first time in a long time, I really loved Natalie this week. These emotions, Melissa Archer doesn't have to reach for. She knows what it is to be PO'ed at the person you love the most, and she knows how it feels to get tired of trying to be nice to that person, and to just start giving the "A" answer. I, for one, think the "A" answer rocks.
(By the way: Casey, I'm sorry I tried to get you to stop giving the "A" answer. I shouldn't've tried to teach you "B" answers. You were right: "A" answers rock! It's "A" answers all around, from here on out!)
Speaking of "A" answers, I'm glad that R.J. finally gave Lindsay a few "A" answers. Her feud with Nora is old news, and come to think of it, I'm not really relishing the thought of watching her and Nora battle it out - especially if it's over some guy. Yeah, I know, Bo's not just "some guy", but I'd like to see them battle over something important like maybe some piece of legislation Nora sponsors that directly impacts Lindsay's gallery. Wouldn't that be cool? Matthew's class goes to Lindsay's gallery on a field trip and the kids see something that sets Nora off, and BANG! Legislating art. What a great storyline for a soap. It's been done before, but I think that Llanview could do it better.
Hello and Farewell
Farewell to Paul Satterfield, who looks like he may be exiting Llanview soon. Come back with a vengeance, Spencer, if you have to come back at all!
Hello, hello to the temporary Michael McBain, Robert Harte. Is he cuter than life, or what? I'm interested to see how Mr. Harte interacts with Kathy Brier, whether things will be smoother with TempMike than with PermMike. I like the way he plays Michael, too. He seems a little more mature and a little more confident than Nathaniel Martson's Michael. I like him lots.
THANK YOU to everyone who has responded to my poll questions of two weeks ago! I'm loving your responses, and you will be hearing from me in coming days. There's still time to vote; just check my last column for details!
Oh, and that reminds me: I love receiving emails from all of you, and I do endeavor to respond to every one of you. So please make sure to include a valid email address when you write to me. I want to make sure to let each of you know how much I appreciate your responses, and the only way I can do that is if I have a good email address for you.
Finally, our darling little Callie is not so little anymore. She's now a whopping 40 pounds and seven-months-old. But she's still as playful and lovey-dovey as ever and she knows that she is just the most adored puppy in the world! She woofs out wishes for many happy moments for everyone in 2007!
That's it for this week, Happy People! Til next week . . .
Peace, love, and plenty of Papi pops all around,