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 Two Scoops: September 26, 2011 columns
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Michael Easton
Living dead girl
For the Week of September 26, 2011
This past week, John confessed to Roxy that he still loved Natalie. That must be the fifth time he's said it in eight years.
...So did we all call it or what? It's frickin' Stacy in that bed. Stacy frackin' Morasco. Lord help us, I can't even. Can't. Even. She's totally going to turn out to have Gigi's face now or something, too, because she's so crazy that even after that ice bath she learned nothing about her foolish choices -- hence Cutter being like, "Whoa, you left a lot of details out! No one can see her face!" -- and I just, what? Why? No. What purpose does bringing Stacy back serve when the show has less than five months left on ABC? I like this storyline with Cutter and Kim, I do, but Rex bores me into a coma, and Stacy -- well, people finding and interacting with Stacy again is not exactly a huge incentive for me.


Yeah, hey, I know. I know. I realize events in Llanview this week couldn't exactly compete with what was going down at the 1:00 p.m. Eastern hour, and we'll talk about that other program a bit at the close of this column, but this is the OLTL Two Scoops and so we must face the business at hand on what I found to be a relatively "off" week on either side of the Pennsylvania Main Line -- some of it interesting, some of it just silly, and some outright dull.


Like, say, Kim and Echo fighting over a stuffed beaver. I don't care what the show calls it now to avoid a stream of off-color jokes -- Morris is a damn beaver. They wrote him as a beaver in the past, it's obviously a beaver according to my eyesight, and I know my furry woodland creatures. Kim is blackmailing Echo with a stuffed beaver. And that's fine, America. I guess Kim Zimmer is just happy not to be doing another time-traveling painting storyline or changing her clothes behind a lean-to in rural New Jersey. But I actually like her and Amanda Setton together, not to mention Josh Kelly, so hey, I'm down with it. But Terri Conn is kinda the downer of this makeshift sitcom, isn't she?


Aubrey II/Kristine is kind of the "Joyce DeWitt on Three's Company" here, wagging her finger at the others and moralizing. "I know I've spent years seducing men and stealing their inheritance, but how dare you guys extort money?" Shut up, Kristine. That's what happens when you give up your daughter, Jenny Wolek. She comes back as a priggish born-again schemer. I like the idea of Kristine as this legacy character -- I still assume she is Katrina Karr's daughter -- but in practice, she's a bit of a damp squib now. Still, it's better than the all-seeing, all-knowing, all-powerful Aubrey of early 2011. God, she was unbearable.


Meanwhile. We have Andrew Trischitta as Jack. Again. Some more. Jack and his stilted line delivery and his distinctly implausible "I Was A Teenaged Ear-Witness" tale. Do you guys ever notice that whenever he retells this whole story, he lapses into this whole "dramatic rendition" as he recites Victor's last words? It's hilarious. "And then...I heard him speak! 'Who's there? Oh, my God! What the hell are you doing here?'" He gives it his all, which is...not much. And I laugh every time. But unfortunately Mayor Evil Dinah #2 has forced Bo to take Jack's testimony at face value -- possibly she's just grumpy because Glenn Close stole her baby over on Damages -- and so Todd has once again been thrown in the pokey.


I think Roger Howarth is giving these scenes with AT everything he has -- there's a combination of tenderness, paternalism, grief, frustration, and anger, a combination the Todd of eight years was too immature to manage but one that this Todd, humbled by his imprisonment and forced to reflect, can deliver. It's great work on his part, and I think Trischitta is straining manfully to meet RH and Kassie DePaiva's (and Kristen Alderson's) good work accordingly, but he's just not capable. He tries, bless him. Even Jessica Morris improved a bit as Jen Rappaport, so maybe there's hope for him. Maybe.


Just about no one in Llanview believes Jack's story, which makes this plot turn a bit tiresome. Blair is trying to coax the truth out of him, but Shane knows he's lying because, of course, he was the one to clobber Jack outside Victor's Casa Del Rape. Oh, he's doodling pictures of murdering Victor Lord, but I don't believe Shane did it. How many child killers can OLTL have in one year? Oddly enough, though, this is all peanuts compared to Michael Malone's old plan for the Carlo Hesser murder mystery -- he wanted little Al Holden, who would've been about six or seven at that time, to be the one who plugged Carlo back in '92, and was only stopped due to network veto.


Over in the LPD drunk tank, though, things are finally picking up. Amazingly, it has taken Undead Irene (who appears to be made entirely of balsa wood, or is that just her performance?) eight years to figure out that hey, my son has absolutely no idea what the hell I am talking about or looking for, I should probably try something else. "It's a microchip, Todd! Bring me my microchip, win your freedom!" Oh ho ho! Little does she know, this ain't Roger Howarth's first rodeo.


He had a far more ridiculous microchip storyline over on ATWT, back when they had to undo like half of his run on the show because he was such a poor recast. "Paul Ryan has a microchip in his brain, guys! That's why he did all this! Shhh, look over there!" I still don't know whether she means to say that Todd actually deliberately stole her precious microchip himself or if he stumbled upon it by accident, because Todd sure doesn't seem to have a clue what she is referring to. All I know is Irene has watched too much Alias, and not the good episodes either. But I was never a big fan of that show. If a giant red ball of Jello from beyond space, time, and destiny shows up in this plotline, I am out.


Back at Casa Del Rape, it took a heartfelt plea from Dani and a disturbing/erotic dream to get through to Téa and convince her to go see Todd. She's totally going to defend him. And I'm glad, because her argument with Dani late in the week was just ridiculous. "He's not like Victor! He did all these horrible things! Like sleep with me just the once, and leave me on an island!" Yes, Téa, he did, and yet you married Victor twice thinking he had done all of those same things, plus re-rape Marty and nearly steal his grandbaby to raise in some tacky eco-friendly house in New Mexico. The only difference is Victor chose you over Blair and took you downtown. That's why her argument fell on deaf ears for me, because you could tell that was the real crux of her complaint. I do think that dream is the only time Todd and Téa fans have ever gotten a real "morning after" scene, though, so kudos to them.


I grinned with Todd when she showed up at the jail. This is what Téa does: she protests up and down, tells everyone who will listen that Todd is a cancer and a plague on society that should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, and then she signs up to be his lawyer or refuses to divorce him. That's the game. At least, that's how it went the last time they were married. Wait, did Téa actually go through with their divorce before the hostage situation in 1998? You know, I honestly can't remember. I thought the glass coffin thing was a renewal of the vows and of their commitment to each other.


Anyway, I'm glad they did those Dani scenes with her and with Todd. I thought Kelley Missal played it right, because at this point, how many times can they do the "Dani meets her father" stuff? She was open and willing to listen, and I found that refreshing, and I thought she and Howarth were nice together. I especially liked how giving and gentle Todd was with her. His interplay with his children has been fascinating this time around in terms of how it's matured. So let's hopefully see more of that soon. I also really like how Starr has stepped up to corral everyone for her father. She hasn't had that kind of steel in her spine in years.


And then there was Brody and Natalie's engagement. Whatever. Why waste my time? What a terrible idea. These characters are all being wrecked in the slowest, dumbest storyline ever, and I doubt it's going to lead back to any couples I actually like. I've been over John and Natalie for a good seven years, I can't stomach Jessica and Ford on any level, and I suspect Brody is still doomed, so that little Brody/Jess dream on Friday was just sadistic for me, since I was quite a fan of theirs.


Can we just wrap this up, please? Remember the old Chappelle's Show sketch, where he had some sort of clock radio or something which just flashed "WRAP IT UP" at people in digital letters every time he was bored with what they were talking about? Every time this storyline comes on, that's what I do. I pull out the WRAP IT UP box and glare at the television in a meaningful way. I suggest you all try it at home. It's cathartic.


So John confessed to Roxy that he still loved Natalie -- congratulations, emotional zombie. That must be the fifth or so time he's said it in eight years. Nice job, bro. You are not Gary Cooper, that don't impress me much. These are adults; that they should have to be forced to admit their feelings when John is pushing forty, or that Natalie should have to eavesdrop in on the conversation, desperate for a word of encouragement, is just juvenile and exhausting to even think about watching. I can't be bothered.


Also, why doesn't anyone mention that Brody and Natalie bought Rex's old loft? It's not a new place, you guys. It's Rex's loft! Oh, I digress; I guess that's not important at all, is it? Fine. Téa does have the real paternity test results among Victor's personal effects; I guess that counts for something, right? If Téa is responsible for wrapping this mess up, I'll even forgive her that fake cancer storyline. Man, that went on forever.


Did we mention the Fords over in the sauna, whining about their love lives? No? Good. No interest in hearing Nate bitch and moan about how he had to do porn, or listening to Ford cry about missing his psychotic imaginary wife. All those guys need the James Lipton Solution -- when he was writing Another World in the '60s, he piled a bunch of pointless characters onto a bus and drove them off a cliff. Can we do that here? Maybe someone can suffocate the Ford brothers next time they go to the sauna. That can be the next murder mystery! The ghost of Gwyneth Alden from Loving can be the culprit.


Okay, yes, this has gotten random. What else have we got? Oh, yes, Baz left town. He'll live in our hearts. I kind of liked that metrosexual kid, but his story was so lame. I'd still rather watch his bitchy Eurotrash attitude than suffer any more of the Fords. Maybe they'll bring him back with something more interesting on Prospect Park OLTL. I can't believe he thought working with a porn producer was the best outlet for his music. See, that's something you end up regretting weeks, not years later, like back in the '60s when Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys thought it was a great idea getting involved in the musical career of Charles Manson and the "Family." Well, maybe it's not totally the same thing. You get the picture though, right? Right.


So that's our week, vaguely diverting as it was. Fear not, because things are picking up. Next week, we've got Tina. And Cord! I'm jazzed; I hope you are too.


Despite some humdrum days in Llanview, I think we were all a bit distracted this week. For many of us, our attention was directed elsewhere, towards the 1 PM hour, and the last five days of All My Children. It aired its final network episode yesterday, on Friday, September 23rd, ending on a cliffhanger and an appropriately Gone with the Wind moment for Susan Lucci's Erica Kane. AMC and its vision of home, hearth, family, and community was fiercely guided and protected by Agnes Nixon; she had guarded its bible for years, developing OLTL for ABC, and creating hardscrabble vixen Rachel Davis and mother Ada on Another World, where they served as prototypes for Erica and her long-suffering mother, Mona.


Her success at AW, GL, and OLTL allowed Nixon to make AMC a reality, and she spent decades developing Pine Valley into a full-blown world unto itself, the quintessential soap, surpassing OLTL and many other soaps in the public consciousness and embedding Erica Kane into American pop culture. Susan Lucci became the face of daytime drama as we know it, and with AMC's passing from ABC -- mishandled, mistreated, and sorely underestimated by network and cynical media alike -- modern television has lost something it has only just begun to realize it's taken for granted.


During its run, AMC tackled abortion, the Vietnam War, plastic surgery, AIDS, race relations, homosexuality, cancer; it stared down issues that primetime TV feared to address. Like the rest of the soaps in daytime's glory days, it paid for the primetime hits dollar for dollar, day after day, unsung and underappreciated. Maybe that's why Prospect Park Media's licensing deal for AMC and OLTL has happened so swiftly, why these shows are getting a second chance at life, and I'm so very grateful they are.


I grieve for AMC's passing from the network airwaves, but I know it's going to a better, if different place. None of us know quite how Pine Valley will look when next we step inside its city limits, but I'm anxious to find out how Friday's cliffhanger resolves. I wept with Agnes Nixon as she wept for her show on The View, but I hope she didn't cry too long or too hard.


AMC to me has always been a sunnier, warmer, more overtly optimistic show than OLTL, whose original title was "Between Heaven & Hell." Through tragedy and triumph, it was perhaps closer to Agnes Nixon's heart than her other works, and she made it into an incredible, treasured piece of serialized television, a gem not soon forgotten. They were all her children, but they belong to all of us now, too. When it comes back -- when they come home, when we come home, I'll see you all there. AMC, its cast, crew, and fans have all my love and admiration. Meanwhile, I'll see the rest of you back here in Llanview in two weeks. Peace.

Michael

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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