DENISE: Dawn, you and I have spoken at length about how we are starved for a return of the family dynamic on OLTL. We're not alone in that thought, judging by the dialogue that has transpired on SOC about the subject these past few months! Ron Carlivati has professed in various interviews that he is committed to showcasing the veteran actors who serve as legacy characters for core families. He has also stated that it's equally important to "pass the torch", or so to speak, and carve out stories for future generations of characters that emanate from these legacy families. I deeply believe that he will live up to this commitment and also take great comfort in the fact that he is invested in the show, its history and its characters. As part of this, I hope to see Carlivati reestablish the Lord dynasty on the canvas. The Lords are not only Nixon's founding family, but I feel they were virtually eradicated by various teams of writers throughout the years. Viki's character has nearly been decimated by this, and Carlivati is promising that Viki will have her own "adventure" as one of his first orders of business. What's your take on where the Lords stand and how do you think Carlivati can reposition this family dynasty front and center once again?
DAWN: Giving Viki her own "adventure" is definitely a good start. She needs something to do other than spar with Dorian and worry about her children. Her family has so much history, and it shouldn't be forsaken for her children's problems. I think bringing Tina Lord back would also be a good way to revive the Lords. I know people want Tina back, based on the number of threads about her I've seen on the boards for the past few months. Andrea Evans is the true Tina, but if she isn't available, maybe someone else can play the role. Since Sarah is back in Llanview, it makes more sense now than ever for her to come back. A final way of bringing back the Lord dynasty could be restoring Todd's relationship with Viki. They used to share some wonderful scenes and conversations, and that has been pushed to the side recently. I feel the same way about Viki and Starr. They have a great relationship, and we don't see it nearly enough. While Starr is more associated with the Mannings, she is Todd's daughter, and she is the future. Along the same lines, I would like to see the Buchanans brought back in full force. While Asa's funeral will be a sad event in more ways than one, it will be great to see the Buchanans reunite. I hope this sad event is the catalyst for a revival of the Buchanans on a regular basis. How do you feel about the Buchanans coming together to say goodbye to Asa? Can this event be the catalyst for a meaningful story for the Buchanans?
DENISE: I must say that I would love to see Andrea reprise her role as Tina! I would further trade Miles for Mitch and beg John Loprieno to remain on as Cord. I also completely agree about how Todd's link to the Lord dynasty has been downplayed, and his relationship with Viki deteriorated into fleeting moments that insulted both the characters and OLTL viewers. You raise an excellent point about Starr, because she carries both the Lord and Cramer dynasties within her blood, and these are Llanview's anchor families. In fact, Starr and Matthew are arguably the two most significant characters on the canvas, in terms of the relationships that intersect because of their parentage. I must admit that I'm not happy with the direction the Buchanan clan has taken these past few years. While I adore this family, they have run amok on the canvas and are part of the reason why the Lords have been driven out of business. I still have very mixed feelings about Asa's impending death. I simply don't think that killing off a core family's patriarch is ever worth its weight in terms of potential storyline. It also begs the viewer to question whether Phil Carey might've been amenable to accepting recurring status, now that we have a competent scribe at the helm and one who has committed himself to reestablishing the family dynamic. That aside, I would much rather OLTL give Phil a fitting send-off and reunite the Buchanan clan in Asa's honor than turn him into a menacing, grimacing ghost, ala GH's Alan Quartermaine. That was quirky and fun for a few weeks, but it isn't so amusing months later. So I'm curious to see if we will yield any permanent returns as a result of those being showcased for Asa's funeral, in the way of Dan Gauthier's Kevin, Jimmy DePaiva's Max, etc. I think that Carlivati's first "test", or so to speak, will come as a result of how Asa's death is handled, what it creates in the way of story and how the overall canvas is impacted. On that note, I feel that the Cramer women - whom I adore - need another direction in order to strengthen their position on the canvas and provide a balance for the Buchanan men. Something I entertained was connecting Nash to the Cramer clan in order to rev up conflict and because I liked what I saw when Robin Strasser and Forbes March connected recently. What other angles do you think Carlivati can work in order to take the Cramer dynasty in another direction?
DAWN: I would love it if Nash were somehow connected to the Cramers! I know that the "long lost relative" story was just done with Paul Cramer, but it would be nice to see a new Cramer member that wasn't bad to the core! Nash and Dorian did connect well, and I would love to see them develop a familial relationship. That would also connect Nash to Llanview and make him more than just the winner of the latest love triangle. In terms of the Cramer women, I would love to see Dorian's character have better things to do than chase after Clint and try to meddle in her girls' lives. While Dorian is a meddler at heart, I simply couldn't tolerate that story with her stalking her own daughter last summer. Dorian will go to great lengths to protect her family, but hiring someone to stalk Adriana was a new low. Maybe she can be Chief of Staff at the hospital again or start a new business venture where her family can be involved. I know that things like that have happened in the past, and I think Dorian likes being in charge! It would be wonderful to see her doing something new like that! I would also love for Kelly to return to Llanview. I loved her relationship with Dorian, and her complicated relationship with Blair led to some interesting stories. I haven't seen the connection between the Cramer women since Kelly left and that's a shame. Kelly, Blair, and Dorian are three dynamic women, and their scenes are always so much fun when they are together. Finally, I want to see Adriana developed more as a Cramer woman! She is supposed to be Dorian's daughter, but I see none of Dorian's traits, except for her stubbornness! Sometimes, I don't even believe that Adriana and Dorian are related. Revealing that she was Dorian's daughter has to be one of the most disappointing family connections ever. We barely see Dorian and Adriana together, and Blair and Adriana rarely speak. Surely Adriana can be given a better story than running an underwear company! Adriana is another generation, but with the way she is being written, the future of the Cramers is bleak! Do you think Adriana can be salvaged? Can she become a meaningful member of Dorian's family?
DENISE: I feel horrible each time I write about Adriana's character, because I simply never have anything good to say about her. You hit the nail on the head and one of the main reasons why Adriana never worked is because her character represented a youthful replacement for Cassie. As you said, Adriana is the next generation of Cramers, but her character perfectly illustrates how NOT to perpetuate a family legacy. She was created for all the wrong reasons and beleaguered by sub-par writing. Can her character be salvaged? I think it'll be one tall order to fill, but I'm willing to see what Carlivati has in mind. I think one surefire way to redirect the Cramers is by working Addie's character back into the mainstream. She adds that offbeat, subdued component to this feisty clan, and evokes a side of Dorian which we rarely get to see. The interplay among Addie, Dorian, Blair and Starr would be priceless, and I'm betting there are plenty of Cramer family secrets just waiting to be explored and divulged! Speaking of which, what in the world ever happened to Melinda Cramer? Imagine the potential storylines that would unfold by repositioning Dorian's sister on the canvas! These are the kinds of angles I'd like to see Carlivati work and develop as part of connecting families through the use of OLTL's history. While we're on the subject, why isn't Cassie back in Llanview? Cassie's history with the Buchanans is certainly a long and colorful one. I also think that the timing would be right for her return with Asa's impending death, bearing in mind her history with Kevin, Bo and the Buchanan fold. This would intensify the conflict between the Buchanans and Cramers, and weave the Lords in via Viki and Todd. We need to mix things up with these dynasties and create large scale power struggles as well as storyline conflict for individual characters.
DAWN: It bothers me that Cassie is rarely mentioned. She was Dorian's world, but now we are lucky if we ever get to hear her name! Her return could lead to some good storylines, and maybe she could teach Adriana a thing or two! I agree with what you say about Adriana. She was brought to the canvas as a plot point, not as a legacy character, which is a shame. With the way she is written, she could easily be any random person in Llanview instead of the daughter of one of Llanview's most powerful women. She either needs to be more strongly connected to her family, or we need to see less of her. I absolutely love the idea of bringing Addie back on a regular basis. She is often more insightful about what is happening in Llanview than anyone else, and I adore her relationship with Todd. Since it appears that Todd and Blair will reunite, we would definitely get to see Todd and Addie interact! Also, I've wanted the writers to explore the identity of Blair's father. That could be a powerful story if it were written well and gave the Cramer women the chance to bond together. You are right; there have to be a myriad of Cramer family secrets, and revealing them would reposition the Cramers and give Robin Strasser some wonderful material! The possibilities are endless. Since we are still on the topic of families, I would love to see the Gannons return. R.J. is rarely seen these days, and Rachel and Hank could propel some interesting stories as well. Wouldn't it be great to see more of Nora's family return to Llanview? She's been through so much that it would make complete sense for Rachel to want to be near her mother. I miss the days when Hank was the D.A. and Rachel was in Llanview. Anyway we look at it, strengthening the family units on this show could have long-lasting, positive effects on the show's future!
DENISE: I would love to see R.J. back full-force, and having Hank and Rachel return would be wonderful! The Gannons were the last prominent African-American family on the canvas (short of the Grays) to be fleshed-out and tightly woven into the fabric of OLTL. There's also an interesting dynamic because the Gannons link to the Buchanan dynasty via Nora's character, and to the Vegas via Jamie, so the storyline potential is endless. This brings me to the topic of Nixon's core families and questions why the various teams of writers haven't repositioned any of them on the canvas throughout the years? It truly boggles my mind! We have lost the Woleks, Grays, Siegels and Rileys in addition to the Lords. Wouldn't this provide an excellent opportunity to have Mike Storm return as Larry Wolek? He could be Llanview Hospital's Chief of Staff and now is the perfect time to lure him back to the canvas. I'd be thrilled to see Judith Light return for a few guest appearances as well. Instead of creating new families and inventing relatives of existing ones, why not attempt to reintroduce one or two of Nixon's core families onto the canvas and slowly build future generations around them? Kevin and Joey have Riley blood flowing through their veins, and yet the Rileys have all but been forgotten. This is incredibly sad because Joe and Viki were one of Llanview's greatest love stories of all time. Viki and Joe also forged an amazing partnership via the Banner. By the way, who IS running the Banner these days? There are so many storyline possibilities and unanswered questions, and a wealth of Llanview history just begs to be utilized. I think the use of history is crucial to restoring the family dynamic to OLTL's canvas, and it's definitely essential to the longevity and preservation of the show. On that note, this has been lots of fun Dawn, and I'm curious to see how SOC members feel about these issues!
DAWN: I often wonder who is running the Banner myself! That newspaper was such an integral part of the show at one time, and Viki truly loved running it. How much fun was it when the Banner and The Sun were active competitors? We certainly saw Viki more often when she was at the Banner. Perhaps part of Viki's new adventure could be returning to the helm at the Banner. A lot has changed since she was there last, and it would allow her to interact with people that aren't her children! I must confess that I didn't start watching One Life to Live until the early 90s, so I missed the Rileys and the Woleks. However, I would still love to see some of those characters return! I remember Larry Wolek quite well, but he just disappeared one day without warning. Llanview Hospital hasn't been the same without him. If he came back and ran the hospital, then some characters that are connected to him could return. That would be an excellent way of luring back former viewers, and it would let the newer viewers see how great One Life to Live can be! The timing for legacy characters to return is perfect. We have a new Head Writer that has been with OLTL for years, and the show is approaching its 40th anniversary next year. That is quite an achievement for a show, and returning OLTL to its roots would be the perfect tribute. While couples come and go, and storylines don't (or at least shouldn't) last forever, it's the family legacies that can keep a show alive. It has been great fun talking and writing about this with you, Denise! I know that people on the One Life to Live message board will have some interesting things to say about this topic as well!
So there you have it, everyone! We enjoyed sharing our thoughts with you on where things stack up for OLTL in terms of the family dynamic. We have also created a special Two Scoops "roundtable" discussion thread on SOC where we ask you to weigh in on the issue of family ties in Llanview.
Have a wonderful week!
Denise and Dawn