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 Two Scoops: April 30, 2007 columns
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Robert S. Woods
Connecting the dots
For the Week of April 30, 2007
Tragedy has a way of bringing people together, and in the wake of Jamie's accident, that is exactly what transpired.
Tragedy has a way of bringing people together, and in the wake of Jamie's accident, that is exactly what transpired. This scenario highlighted what is undoubtedly one of every parent's worst nightmares, since all it takes is a split-second for disaster to strike. Kamar de los Reyes turned out stellar performances this past week, and we watched Antonio experience the gamut of emotions in an attempt to cope with his daughter's life hanging in the balance. I could feel R.J.'s blood simply boiling as he exploded into the hospital, demanding to know how this tragedy ensued. The scenario unfolded in an effective manner, balancing the devastation and helplessness felt by family with their ability to temporarily shelve long-standing grievances and rally behind Jamie. Sometimes the best way to drive a point home is through subtlety, and this was no exception. For instance, watching Nash peer through Jamie's hospital room window as Jessica comforted Antonio spoke volumes, since this reinforced Nash's stance as the odd man out. This was certainly more effective than watching Nash and Jessica paw one another in scenes that followed. What was the point in that? We know they can barely keep their hands off one another, and their actions were the impetus for this tragedy. These interludes knocked the intense drama surrounding Jamie's accident down several notches for me, because they just seemed to cheapen and minimize the actual event.

We witnessed an interesting dimension of Todd emerge as he struggled with the past and questioned his capability as a parent, while growing closer than ever before to learning the truth about his missing son. He began to have self-doubts and wonder if his child might actually be better served by growing up with an adoptive family. As much as I've had my fill of the Todd/Blair seesaw, I enjoyed their connection this past week. While Todd was grappling with his shortcomings as a father and reflecting upon his youth, Blair revisited the horrors of her childhood, which included coping with a mentally ill mother and being bounced around from one dysfunctional foster home to the next. I actually ceased viewing Todd and Blair as exes engaged in a continuous game of cat-and-mouse, and instead saw two adults baring their souls, sharing painful memories and questioning their proficiency as parents. There was also an interesting parallel between Todd and Antonio that emerged. When you strip away the fine details, we saw two men struggling with their inadequacies and fears over their competency as parents.

I've concluded that Bo and Rex make a much better couple than Rex and Adriana ever will. I cannot fathom why the writers locked Rex into this humdrum pairing, and I'd much rather watch the father-son dynamic and friendly banter he and Bo have cultivated. I enjoyed their scenes last week as Rex burst into Bo's office, seeking advice and resolving to seek vengeance against Tate. Incidentally, Tate's appearance on "The View" and public declaration of love for Adriana (which included jumping off the couch and screaming like a fool) qualifies as one of the most ridiculous scenes I've witnessed in thirty years of viewing. The concept of utilizing its top rated talk show as a plot device was actually very clever on behalf of the network. What's unfortunate is that ABC wasted this idea on two characters that most viewers could care less about. Imagine what would've happened if Todd went live on "The View" to plea for information about his missing son. Suppose that Viki and Dorian made guest appearances, discussing some fascinating medical news that pertained to Llanview Hospital, and a huge blowout ensued between these two staunch adversaries. Scenes could have stretched several episodes and maximized what truly was a witty (albeit self-indulgent) concept. If we're lucky, the next time Tate and Adriana share a limo, the driver will keep going and neither character will be seen or heard from again. Meanwhile, why not test the waters between Rex and Talia to see if any sparks fly?

I was pleasantly surprised by my reaction to the conversation between Viki and Vincent, when he approached Viki out of concern for Natalie and to offer insight into her perspective. As I watched them interact, the fact that the writers failed to connect him to R.J.'s character was simply glaring. Their conversation also opened the door to utilize a prime piece of history and I cannot believe the writers fell asleep at the wheel. When Vincent was speaking to Viki about how angry he was over the white supremacist group targeting Llanview, Viki responded that she hoped she would never experience that kind of hatred again and see it manifest itself in town. Longtime viewers remember the story of Carla Gray, an African-American character who initially pretended to be Caucasian to blend into Llanview's social structure, before finally embracing her heritage and battling racists for equality. Why in the world was that not further discussed and why isn't this crucial piece of show history being woven into the arson storyline? I'll take this one step further by questioning why no one possessed the foresight to link Evangeline to either Carla Gray or Ed Hall, potentially reinstating one of Nixon's legacy families back on the canvas. That would've created a whole new dimension of Evangeline's character and given Renee Elise Goldsberry some serious material. The possibilities in terms of the arson storyline are endless, but remain suppressed by sloppy and apathetic writing.

How refreshing were the chat scenes with Viki, Nora and Marty? These women share a great deal of history, and I enjoyed seeing them exchange quips and memories about lost loves and broken hearts. I also enjoyed the follow-up scenes at Asa's mansion. Sadly, they were bittersweet because I am still heartbroken over the loss of Phil Carey and how his departure marks the end of an era for OLTL. I would truly have enjoyed watching Asa mentor Natalie and groom her to take over BE, and Phil's loss will create a void that cannot be filled. Yet my mood turned from somber to curious as I watched Clint and Nora interact, and a thought suddenly occurred to me. How ironic would it be, after months of watching Viki and Dorian battle it out for Clint, if he and Nora ended up connecting unexpectedly? Just bear with me for a moment. It doesn't matter what side of the fence someone is on in relation to which woman should win Clint's heart. The fact of the matter is that this triangle has been hyped and stalled for months, with little forward movement whatsoever. Worse still, all of OLTL's veterans are trapped in halted storylines and are not effectively connecting with one another onscreen. So imagine the possible ramifications if Clint and Nora, who just so happen to be living under the same roof, suddenly find themselves in a romantic entanglement that neither one expected!

Perhaps Viki would realize that Clint is her soul mate and actively pursue him. Maybe Bo will realize he has unresolved feelings for Nora, and isn't happy that his brother shared more than coffee with his ex-wife. Perhaps Dorian would utilize every weapon in her arsenal to win Clint's heart. Maybe Lindsay will use this ripe opportunity to play both Buchanan brothers against one another. Perhaps R.J. won't like any of this and have some emotion stirred as a result. Maybe David and Roxy will join forces in hopes they have something to gain by inserting themselves into the equation. This doesn't even begin to touch the conflict that Clint and Bo and Viki and Nora would need to work through in order to reconcile their relationships. Meanwhile, who knows how Clint and Nora might redefine themselves as a result? Conflict drives story, and this scenario would certainly create a ripple effect for everyone in Llanview. I don't evaluate a couple's viability by whether or not two characters have staying power. Instead, I examine what they bring to one another and how their interaction impacts the canvas and creates an umbrella of story. It's actually quite surprising the writers haven't ventured down this path sooner, considering the history and relationship these two characters share. So I say throw Clint and Nora together and let the chips fall where they may, because OLTL continues to waste these consummate professionals by failing to adequately write for them and by hyping storylines that never progress. These storylines need a serious jump-start, and this is an effective way to do it.

Though I am disenchanted with the influx of teens on my screen, I am enjoying the high school musical scenario for three reasons. First, I'm delighted that the writers are finally giving Kathy Brier something substantive to do. In fact, I would like to see Marcie's role in relation to teaching and her involvement with Llanview High greatly expanded. Second, I am blown away by Kristen Alderson's voice and she is truly a plethora of talent. I can watch Starr all day long because of what Kristen brings to the role. Third, students and teachers across the country are battling inflated bureaucracies in an effort to keep the arts in their school curricula. This is a major issue within the educational arena, and OLTL could do a huge public service by emphasizing that aspect of the storyline. In that regard, I am incredibly relieved ABC shelved the high school hostage plot that should never have been developed in the first place. Our nation continues to heal as a result of the Columbine massacre, and in light of what just transpired at Virginia Tech, the value of such a horrific storyline does not outweigh its insensitivity. In fact, this is shock value television at its ugliest. OLTL would be much better served by carving out a substantive story on teen depression, and I take comfort in knowing that the network recognized this storyline was unsuitable and is re-working things accordingly.

Have a wonderful week!

Denise


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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