The bright spots
For the Week of May 28, 2007
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After a week of cancer, comas and carbon monoxide poisoning, it's getting hard to find the bright spots on One Life to Live.
After a week of cancer, comas and carbon monoxide poisoning, I am desperately searching under every rock to find the bright spots on OLTL! First of all, let's tackle Jessica's liver cancer. Honestly, I find myself possessing very little empathy for Jessica. This is what happens when a storyline runs at a snail's pace. This is also what transpires when the writers take a core character and attempt to reinvent her. I've always held a soft spot in my heart for Jess because she is Viki's daughter, despite my love-hate relationship with her over the years. Viewers literally watched her grow up onscreen and as such, I am devastated at the annihilation this character has suffered under Higley's pen. While I'm relieved that Jessica FINALLY had the decency to do the right thing and level with Antonio, any impact of this big "reveal" was simply voided by the excessive length of the storyline and the disgust I feel for Jessica's character at present. I thought Tess and Nash were one of the hottest couples ever to hit our screens, but things just spiraled downward from there.
I was able to find three bright spots that emerged from Jess' latest crisis. First, Robert Montano deserves a huge pat on the back for stepping in for Kamar de los Reyes and doing an amazing job with Antonio's character! If ABC was smart, the network would snatch him up and place him somewhere on its daytime canvas immediately. Second, huge kudos go out to Jerry verDorn as we watched an emotional Clint struggle and attempt to come to terms with his personal feelings of helplessness. Though I don't care for the diluted, indecisive version of Clint the writers are penning, verDorn consistently makes the most of what he is given. Finally, I am delighted that Viki and Clint and Viki and Dorian are placing aside personal differences to work together in an effort to help Jessica. I am also hoping the writers surprise us and reveal through Viki and Clint's research that Jessica is actually Clint's biological daughter. Erasing Mitch Laurence as Jessica's father is one rewrite I wouldn't mind seeing.
Now onto Evangeline's coma and REG's exit from the canvas. There isn't a large enough sigh I can evoke to encompass my outrage and disgust at the network's unwillingness to give Renee, the character, and her fans a more respectful and appropriate send-off. I'm also convinced Hillary B. Smith's Nora would have received the same "here today, gone tomorrow" treatment if Smith and ABC hadn't come to terms late last year. If viewers have seen the last of Evangeline and must remember her in this state, how incredibly sad! More poignant were the reactions Evangeline's loved ones elicited in response to her lapsing into a coma, however fleeting. I was moved by Bo's feelings of guilt and anguish, as he certainly felt a sense of personal responsibility after OPP again eluded the police. I was especially touched by Nora's reaction, because history repeating itself is a cruel twist of fate, as this time roles were reversed and she was on the outside peering in.
I was also stirred by the exchanges between Layla and Nora and Layla and Cris, as well as Lindsay's response which genuinely seemed sincere. I was, however, completely bewildered by Cris' reaction, which was barely addressed onscreen. This was a clear and deliberate attempt on behalf of the writers to nullify the importance of Evangeline's character to the canvas and to Cris. It doesn't matter whose side you're on in terms of Evangeline's romantic life, but she and Cris shared substantial history and not enabling Cris to grieve was a slap to fans of this pairing. Worse still, why wasn't John an emotional wreck? How much significant history did John and Evangeline share with one another? This doesn't even begin to address her relationship with Todd, as viewers may never see these two share scenes again. Talk about unfinished business! Do the writers honestly think we're going to simply forget about actors and their characters if they drop off the canvas one day? How glaring was Phil Carey's absence as Nigel and Viki interacted at Asa's mansion?
Further, the bantering between Nora and Lindsay in the hospital was truly odd and misplaced. I am a huge fan of the Lindsay/Nora rivalry and love to see these women spar with one another. I am also delighted to see Nora's strength and fire reemerge, and am eagerly awaiting Lindsay's claws to surface from retraction. However, their quips seemed in poor taste and out of place considering the severity of Evangeline's condition and grave tone it inflicted. Even more bizarre is that as I watched both characters interact, I felt they had somehow reversed roles. Nora uttered dialogue that seemed ripe for Lindsay, while Lindsay in turn stood there, completely subdued and virtually silent, which is totally out of character for her.
Speaking of "out of character", Miles has quickly worn out his welcome. I simply cannot help but view him as a poor excuse for Mitch Laurence. Mitch is one of daytime's most notorious and fleshed-out villains, and watching Roscoe Born work his alter-ego's schemes and machinations always had me riveted to the edge of my seat. In contrast, I find Miles' level of "creepy" more aggravating than anything else. As I watched him plot how to play hero to Marty, I kept thinking to myself how OLTL has truly bottomed out. If this is the best the writers can do to compel and entertain us, we have serious problems. What would be compelling? Trade Miles for Mitch and Tina, and then we have ourselves a show.
I'm attempting to be patient with the high school musical, because though the timeline is seriously off, this is in great part due to the massive rewrites. That aside, what was with the sexual innuendo that the dance coach articulated in relation to one of the students (Markko)? That scene seriously unnerved me, because while it had nothing to do with anyone's sexual preference, it had everything to do with someone of authority behaving inappropriately towards a minor. We live in a day and age where teachers are constantly under scrutiny for their behavior and this was highly improper. This is the same writing team that was supposed to present a thoughtful and responsible Columbine-inspired storyline? I think not, which reinforces why someone made the right call by pulling the plug on that story before it hit our screens.
Finally, all who regularly post on the OLTL board are well aware that the viewing majority holds a serious level of discontent with the current state of the show and how the network treats its actors - especially in terms of its vets. There is a fan-based initiative running that has garnered much discussion and support since its inception in 2006. This effort is the C.H.E.R.I. Initiative, which unites fans of Catherine Hickland, Hillary B. Smith, Erika Slezak, Robin Strasser, and Ilene Kristen. This writing intensive campaign targets key executives from the Disney-ABC hierarchy, as well as program sponsors and members of the soap media. Please contact me for further information on C.H.E.R.I. and I will be happy to provide that for you, as well as the link to its newly-launched website. Fans have returned countless actors to the front-burner over the years and characters were granted new life because of diehard viewers who continued to fight the fight. Organized initiatives may not be for everyone, though one clear advantage is that they pack a punch in numbers and have streamlined the outreach process. The bottom line is to make your voice heard, because your piece of correspondence could be that one component that represents a bright spot and serves as a catalyst to change.
Have a wonderful week!
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