For the Week of October 11, 2010
After a long, arduous summer of Teens, Teens, and More Teens, One Life to Live is setting it ablaze in a glorious bonfire in which a bunch of umbrella stories smash together like a ten-car pile-up.
No, they most certainly are not. After a long, arduous summer of Teens, Teens, Teens, and Also Some More Teens, OLTL is setting it ablaze in a glorious bonfire in which a bunch of umbrella stories smash together like a ten-car pile-up, and this week we got the beginning of what I can only pray is the endgame for the entire Eli/Ross/Dani/James/Starr/Cole/etc. mash-up madness. It was a wild and crazy week in Llanview full of youth in revolt and jeopardy, not necessarily in that order, and we're going to dissect it piece by piece, step by step, crazy twist by crazy twist. Also, Kim Zimmer!
Put Her On A Milk Carton
Okay, so apparently Danielle is the center of the universe. Several other storylines stopped dead and blew off-screen just to service her flight from parental injustice this week, and wham! All the Ford brothers got in on the act to save her from the dreaded Billy Warlock. This, to James, clearly proved that Bobby Ford is meant to be World's Greatest Dad to Jessica's baby; I personally remain skeptical.
Sure, I get the point of all this -- enhance the Ford boys' presence on the canvas, strengthen Starr and James's bond and finalize everything with Todd, Danielle, and Téa. But I just can't get into it -- it's teens doing stuff, teens in charge, teens pushing relationships, which I don't care about. Kelley Missal's a fine young actress, but her bonds with Starr, Todd, and especially Ancient Nate seem very forced to me still.
Then, of course, there's Eli Clarke, the Boogeyman of Llanview. This is officially tired. I'm not sure if I've said so to you guys before, but trust and believe, it totally is. Did anyone follow his rationale for shooting Wee Ross, other than the plotline no longer needed him? When Ross popped out of the water I almost decided that he was in fact a Highlander, a prince of the universe who could only be killed by decapitation set to the music of Freddie Mercury and Queen. Unfortunately, he then croaked right there on the docks, but you and I and the American people know that this can't keep a good Warlock down. He'll be back on your daytime screens soon -- somewhere you least expect, I'm sure.
Anyway, in the past year, Eli's taken out Ross, Greg, Invisible Melinda, most of the under-five-lines day players, and a nonexistent babysitter for Hope, and now he's onto the predictable end to these sort of retread supervillain stories we've gotten in the last few years -- a hostage situation involving characters who are on too much. Huzzah! It's just nothing new to me. Next will come some sort of sewer cave or warehouse or impenetrable fortress for John and/or Todd to infiltrate and save the day. Maybe James or Ford will get in on the action. Yadda yadda yadda, can we move on, please? I've had enough of this over-the-top craziness, and I just want to forget I ever heard the name "Bennett Thompson."
Still Crazy After All These Weeks
Who could have predicted after months of lying and scheming that Hannah O'Connor was still all Crackers McGillicuddy? Answer: Me! I never bought that nice act. After a brief attempt at sanity and a pretty lame quickie redemption, OLTL seems to have turned back down the lane on this character, as Hannah increasingly goes all Fatal Attraction on Cole and Marty again. Now she's rummaging through Marty's files, and we know that can't end well for anyone. Of course, it was only a matter of time before Cole fell for Hannah's "crazy coed" charms -- yet we know actor Brandon Buddy is leaving, so while I've never been Cole's biggest booster, I question what the purpose is of totally assassinating Cole's character right before his exit from the canvas. Who does he want? What does he want? What is his purpose on the program other than futzing around making trouble for the bigger storylines and making Starr and James's emotional intimacy look better by comparison? Honestly, Hannah's another character I'm ready to see the back of.
I Don't Like People Playin' On My Phone!
If Todd was keeping it real like those folks on Chappelle's Show, that's what he'd say when he gets crank-called by his presumed-dead wife. Unfortunately, Todd and Téa got blocked at the pass by what has to be the most obnoxious, idiotic hospital nurse I have ever seen. She's so desperate to keep her job in this lousy economy, she will never let Téa talk to anyone, ever again, in life or recorded history! As Florencia Lozano continues with her off-Broadway play, Téa's scenes mostly consist of gasping for breath and croaking out words like "Todd," "Danielle," and "Where am I?" It's getting more than a little tiresome, but as Greg has just awoken to croak out her name himself, hopefully it will end soon.
Todd continues to react to these traumatic situations with all the energy of a man on hold with his cable company, which tends to lessen my own sense of urgency as a viewer. While I think Trevor St. John and Kelley Missal have an intense rapport, she's bringing a lot more fire to their scenes, especially when Dani briefly believed Todd had murdered Ross. Maybe it's the writing bringing Todd down, but even when he's in action, he seems passive. And as this whole bonkers Eli/Ross/Teens On The Run storyline has consumed his entire family and supporting cast, all I can do is wait it out and hope for something that better utilizes his, Missal's, Lozano's, DePaiva's, and others' talents next. It's not a good storyline when half the cast has to be either helpless or clueless before the might of an improbable villain, particularly one who improbably turned evil despite positive fan reception.
Skyrockets in flight! Yes, Bo and Nora got them some on their hour off this week, and I wanted to take particular note of it because, well, we so rarely see Characters Of A Certain Age do that on daytime anymore, let alone on ABC. It's a rarity, but the fact is these kind of loving scenes between committed partners, where they talk about the issues of the day and discuss their relationship, are what soaps are built on. And Bob Woods and Hillary B. Smith do this stuff so, so well. It's as though their rapport hasn't aged a day, and I never get tired of watching them, even when their material is there to fulfill a contractual guarantee as opposed to furthering a story. At least Inez wasn't watching through the blinds again. Actually, maybe that would've spiced her lame character up. Still: for all the current bum stories we've got, OLTL uses these vets in better, more organic and heartfelt ways than most soaps out there, and I'm endlessly grateful for scenes like Bo and Nora's this week.
Our Poorly Kept Secrets
Brody is right, Natalie: Enough hushed conversations in the dark corners of everywhere. Unfortunately, neither of these forbidden lovers seem to be learning from their mistakes, and both continue to cruise towards oblivion -- when Natalie isn't doing John's casework, she's bitching about long-suffering Marty potentially learning Her Big Secret, and telling Brody his mental health should take a back seat. This isn't doing her character any favors. And when James (stupidly) called Brody "a crazy cop" this week -- shut up, James -- it was practically a neon sign for the writers' intentions in my opinion -- I fear Brody is headed straight back onto the Crazy Train and off the show so we can be dazzled by Bobby Ford Triumphant winning Jess's heart. Who wouldn't root for a sexual predator who all but raped Jessica and just got his job back despite valid complaints of sexual harassment?
Then there's the show's other Poorly Kept Secret. Let's all just say it together, okay: Greg, you are the father. See, was that so hard to guess? I've suspected he's Destiny's daddy for at least a month, and his voicemail password was the last clue to fall into place. I'm actually really going to miss Greg, our chair-tossin' doc with all the manic energy of Joan Crawford, and my complaints about the generally token usage of these characters of color stand, but I did appreciate that the show gave emotional beats for Shaun, Destiny, and even Tonye Patano's Phylicia to play at Greg's bedside. Plus, we got Theo Price. In leather. All day. Nothing wrong with that.
Echoooooo!!! Echoooooo!!! Echoooooo... No, those weren't the walls of televisual daytime reality melting before your eyes last Friday and all this week -- that is the one, the only, the unstoppable-by-conventional-weaponry Kim Zimmer, all up on your OLTL. La Zim has returned to her extremely improbable OLTL role from the '80s -- that of corrupt Countess Echo DiSavoy, a bizarre character with just about as ridiculous a history as anything from James E. Reilly's run on DAYS. But the show seems to have dispensed with a lot of that and turned the down and out Echo into a sort of boozy Reva Shayne by way of the Ivy League -- I could swear that Zimmer is doing some kind of affected upper-crust accent as Echo, and I kind of love it.
Kim Zimmer is a one-of-a-kind personality, and Reva wasn't always my favorite person on GL, but I grew to respect and enjoy her contribution. When Zimmer performs, she gives it about two thousand percent, and her scenes this week with Erika Slezak and Brian Kerwin were no exception, although that "Chuckles" nickname has got to go. Slezak and Zimmer's bitchery was a delight, and I was glad to see Viki actually roaming around town, trying to deal with the Echo Situation by talking to Clint. I'd much rather see Echo clash with Clint again instead of his endless attempts to ingratiate himself to Inez, and I think Kim Zimmer can have a place on the canvas. So long as her story isn't just a series of vignettes with Echo wandering around trying to cause trouble, there's a lot of potential here, and I'm willing to see where it goes.
Okay, that's the week that was. I'll see you in two, at which point presumably the other half of the cast -- Cristian, Rex, Gigi, Langston, Matthew, et al. -- will have returned from their impromptu alien abduction this week and we'll have ended this Eli/Dani/Bennett/Ross/Téa madness and can continue with some of the more promising new storylines. Fingers crossed! See you then.
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