Letting go of preconceived expectations can be difficult for a soap fan but sometimes it has to be done.
First order of business: Daytime Emmy Award Nominations for One Life to Live.
Congratulations to Susan Haskell and Bree Williamson for their well deserved daytime Emmy nominations in the lead and supporting actress categories, respectively.
Kudos are also extended to One Life to Live directing and writing teams for their nominations in their respective categories. One Life to Live also had a strong showing in the technical categories for Costume Design, Lighting, Live and Direct to Tape Sound Mixing, Makeup, Multiple Camera Editing, Original Song (We All Fall Down), and Technical Direction/Electronic Camera/Video Control. In total, One Live to Live garnered 11 Daytime Emmy Nominations.
In a recent interview with Damon Jacobs, Kassie DePaiva gave this advice to soap fans:
“Just remember it’s a soap, y’all! You’ve got to get through the things you hate to get to the things that you love. You’ve got to see the challenges; you’ve got to see the conflict. If there were no Martys or Teas to put a thorn in Blair’s side, how boring would that be? Blair always ends up with the short end of the stick, but eventually she knocks somebody in the head with it.”
The divine Robin Strasser, also made remarks in her hotline address to her fans that were, in my opinion, erroneously interpreted to be chastising certain fan bases, while I considered that she was merely imploring all viewers to let go of their preconceived expectations of exactly how the stories should be told, and to allow themselves to become caught up in the stories and swept away by the drama.
So with Ms. Strasser’s and Mrs. DePaiva’s comments in mind, and in my relatively new role as a columnist, I’ve made a change in how I view the show each day. I don’t fast forward (much). I sit down and watch the entire thing, because it’s simply unfair to comment on that which I do not watch. It’s been a difficult transition, because like you, I am a fan who wants my favorites to be featured everyday, and I experience the same annoyance you probably do because those other “unnecessary” characters are hogging the screen while those I love are languishing on the back burner or are propping other characters. I have to fight the urge to fast forward. I’ve discovered, however, that I enjoy the show so much more when I just sit back, relax and watch with no expectations (not to be confused with low expectations), and not only do I enjoy the entire show more, but I also discover little nuggets that are so surprisingly delightful that they’re like the almonds in a Hershey Bar, making my viewing experience decadently sweet, as well as nutty fun. I highly recommend it. So with my new perspective firmly in place, here’s my current take on One Life to Live.
Bo/Nora/Clint: I’ve never really liked Nora. Her persistent moral superiority in the face of her own character flaws is sanctimonious and I hate that in a soap character. The one saving grace for her is she’s so painfully vulnerable to Bo. I’ve never doubted that Bo and Nora are the loves of each other’s lives, but as often happens in real life, they hit a wall when Nora deceived Bo about Matthew’s paternity that is so high they can’t get over it, so low they can’t get under it, and so wide they can’t get around it.
Unlike many “Bora” fans, I’ve just accepted that these soul mates will never be reunited, but they will always share a deep bond that can never dissipate. That bond is a major part of what makes Nora and Clint intriguing for me. Clint is such a guy! He’s simple. He’s motivated by hunger, thirst, lust and the search for power. He’s so incredibly flawed, in fact, douchy in a lovable, bumbling kind of way, that he reminds me of Ray Romano’s character in Everybody Loves Raymond. As much as I loved the scenes with Bo and Nora because they respected the depth and the angst this pair has shared and will always share, the juxtaposition with this week’s proposal of marriage from Clint to Nora was absolute gold. The visual image of Clint sauntering into Natalie’s “no men allowed” bachelorette party and gallantly dropping to his knee to propose, displays Clint at his absolute douchiest.
Nora’s obvious embarrassment, combined with Viki’s and Roxy’s reactions, and the awkwardness that ensued heightened the giggle factor. Then Clint admitted that “Bo made him do it” and I was rolling on the floor laughing. Then his tender admission that he knew he’d been unlikeable for the last year and that he was jealous but his reason for proposing was because he loves Nora and wants to spend the rest of his life with her and he promised “it won’t be as boring as it sounds” as he yet again dropped to his knee and asked her to marry him, was as sweet and romantic as comedy can be. I don’t want to see Clint humiliated or hurt by Bo and Nora. They had their chance and they blew it.
The Great Condom Caper: I enjoyed everything about this story arc. Langston and Markko are hot, for teenagers. Lola is the quintessential woman scorned. Granted, laying her entire evil plot out on MyFace was really stupid, but high school kids do that (really they do). Lola suddenly has real purpose on the show, and she’s a far more convincing and entertaining villainess than some of her older counterparts. I loved the conversation between Dorian and Langston, and Dorian presenting Langston with a chic condom compact purchased in Paris as a little remembrance of “Operation Deflower” was epic Dorian. The best part of all, however, was Ray and Dorian! They remind me of the push/pull dynamic that always existed between John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara. Ray just presses forward in the face of Dorian’s defenses and tough as she is, he is irresistible. Ray Montez, as portrayed by A. Martinez epitomizes what women want in a man. He’s all man. He knows what he wants, he knows how to get it, and what he wants is Dorian. “The way you hated me is the way you will love me.” Such single minded desire and intense determination is hard to resist, and why would you? Swoon!
Jack Manning: I love this kid! I was frankly surprised (but amused) to discover Jack is a lecherous little boy. I always thought he’d been written to have a slightly ambiguous sexual orientation, but the scenes last week in which he caught Tea flashing Todd laid any questions on that score to rest. His savvy is only exceeded by his moxy. He figured out right away that Powell and Rebecca weren’t who they seemed. His protective instincts jumped into high gear when he thought brother Sam was at risk. He took control and conned Starr into staying away when he knew he had to protect her. I’ve just enjoyed Jack so much these past few weeks and hope to see much more of him.
It pains me to say this, because as anyone who knows me is well aware, I love Jared and Natalie and I am loathe to criticize anything about this pairing and their story, but their wedding was perhaps THE MOST anticlimactic conclusion to a courtship I’ve ever seen in daytime. To be fair, the actual scenes played much the way I expected. I thought they would spend the better part of the episode facing the realization that the truth was yet again going to bite them and accepting that inevitability. I also expected they would ultimately decide that whatever consequences they were going face, they wanted to face as man and wife. Yet, I honestly thought there would be more focus on the man and wife part.
We’ve spent what seems months watching Jared and Natalie, put their lives and their plans for the future on hold while they did everything in their power to protect Jessica from the truth that her baby is dead, and it’s been overkill. Now Jared and Natalie’s wedding is just a punctuation mark in the continuation of that story? And it didn’t even rate a period, “The End!” punctuation mark. It was just a measly little comma in Jessica’s story of mental illness. To add insult to injury, the actual wedding scenes were sandwiched between Jessica and Brody’s romantic little dance, and Gigi’s fantasy wedding which made the real wedding appear even more inconsequential. To say Jared and Natalie’s wedding was disappointing would be grossly understating my reaction.
Two things saved the wedding from being a total disaster, in my opinion:
1) John Brotherton’s delivery of the dialogue “I don’t want to go to bed one more night without my wife”
2) The expressions of sheer unreserved joy on Jared and Natalie’s faces as the priest pronounced them “man and wife”.
I’ve recovered from my disappointment, but the question remains “Why?” Was it necessary to pull Jared and Natalie’s wedding day out of thin air, with no build up for some reason yet to be revealed? Is there some story looming on the horizon that requires they be married? If that was supposed to be some sort of payoff for their fans, it was beyond lame.
One of the benefits of my new approach to watching One Life to Live is that when the show is over, the fugly fades. Fugly is forgettable and that’s a good thing. A few notable exceptions follow:
1) The Pussycat Dolls: I hate musical performances on the show in the first place. I’m embarrassed to admit that I actually like some of The Pussycat Dolls’ music. It’s got a beat and you can chair dance to it, but that performance was fuuuuuuuugly! Maybe my opinion is somewhat skewed because their appearance was on a day when we had a stripper at Rodi’s and a stripper at Ultraviolet, so my quota for watching scantily clad bodies gyrate on stage was already filled, but I doubt it. Plus, I thought they were highly inappropriate entertainment for a high school prom. Reminded me of a recent news article I read about a high school in Lancaster, PA (heart of Amish country) where the prom committee ordered shot glasses as favors. Definitely begs the question “Who ARE these Faculty Advisors?”
2) Where is Rex’s father? I hate dangling stories. Last thing we knew, Roxy turned off Rex’s Daddy’s life support system, but he rose from the dead, so to speak. Roxy was notified that “the patient died” but then the nurse who made that call turned to the patient and confirmed that Roxy had fallen for the deception. So while Rex is all tangled up in Stacy’s and Gigi’s deceptions, his presumed evil father is doing . . . what? I am really anxious to move beyond not so clever Stacy’s manipulation of everyone and get to the meat of this story about Rex’s father and I’ve been waiting for this story since Daddy’s existence was first hinted. Unfortunately, I grow more convinced that when we finally do get around to it, I probably won’t care.
Thanks to everybody for checking out the column. If you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I look forward to hearing from you all. I’ll see you in a couple of weeks.