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The Good, The Bad, The Fugly: May 4 Edition

The Good, The Bad, and The Gugly: May 4 Edition

The debut of the newest editorial at TVSourceMagazine.com – The Good, The Bad and The Fugly.

The latest ratings have been released and my fears have been confirmed. One Life to Live appears to be coming off the rails. I don’t know who is responsible, or more accurately, who can be held blameless, but I do know that the show I couldn’t wait to see this time last year has become almost a chore to sit through presently. All soap operas present a blend of story types and the mix is usually not all that different. Budding romances, established “soul mates” finding their way back together, heroes battling villains, and secrets that are in various stages of being exposed all are key components.The combination of those elements was so strong this time last year and the stories were far-reaching and impacted many characters.

Last year the stories for characters I don’t even care about were engaging.  Yet I do find there are things I continue to enjoy, although it’s becoming harder.  Here’s my take on the good, the bad and the fugly of One Life to Live.

THE GOOD

The KAD Serial Killer story has provided a lot of twists and turns that make it an intriguing mystery. Remove the deeply buried John and Marty romantic undertones (I’m not seeing it. Are you?). The mystery is keeping me engaged and I’m interested in who is killing all these people and what the motivation is. The surprise return of the original rapists is an interesting twist and I appreciate Carlivati’s nods to the groundbreaking story of Marty’s rape.

Bo and Nora make me sigh.  The way they looked at each other as they commiserated over their son’s return to school in a wheelchair conveyed the deep bond they share.  Bo and Nora have a tumultuous history and each has scarred the other over the years, but that doesn’t minimize that they shared such a profound love for one another and Matthew is the living testimonial to that love.  I was crushed when they didn’t share a kiss.  You know they wanted to.

Cristian and Layla epitomize the slow burn I love to see in daytime romances.  Layla’s open hostility toward Cristian for the way he treated Sarah is so true to her character.   She’s always been the most loyal of friends and that, combined with her fiery personality, have made her one of my favorite characters.  I think these two are beautiful together and I can’t wait to see what comes next.  I hope their story will be threaded into some of the main stories.  I don’t like to see two characters interacting in a little bubble with minimal crossover into the main themes of the show.

Jessica and Brody are a little too sweet for my taste, but it seems that a lot of fans are finding this is the couple to root for, and as it’s one of few budding romances on the show, I’m not complaining.

Langston and Markko bring the heat, in my opinion.  I’m rarely engaged by teen stories, but the youngsters’ sexual yearning for one another is palpable, and I’ve enjoyed watching their relationship develop.  It’s time to see Langston and Markko take center stage in the teen stories.

Todd and Tea aren’t exactly romantic, but they’re twisted enough that they intrigue me in a 9 ½ Weeks sort of way.    There is this entire undertone going on in every interaction they share that keeps me drawn in.  I can’t figure out who is using who or to what purpose but I’m certainly watching and waiting to find out.

Jared and Natalie continue to engage me, in spite of the repetitive secret keeping, and never-ending guilt.  I’m not happy that yet again they are keeping a secret that’s bound to blow up in their faces, and their guilt is becoming a bore, but as one internet poster said “The way Jared looks at Natalie and the little touches between them make me wonder how she ever gets any sleep.”  It’s time for One Life to Live to capitalize on one of the components that made last year so much better than this year and give Jared and Natalie a story that’s not completely chained to Jessica.  From what I’ve seen, the Jessica fans would appreciate that as well.

THE BAD

The Baby Swap Reveal should have been ended sooner, or it should have become this seed that was planted so it could be sown far down the road, perhaps when most the audience had forgotten the facts and it could have been resurrected to create a huge dramatic umbrella story.  This story has such far reaching impact on so many characters it’s a shame it’s been allowed to fizzle.  All the pointed references to “hope” have dashed mine, and everyone in the story has been forced to behave in such stupid ways.  The day to day discussions between Jared and Natalie about “Should we tell?  No we can’t.  But we must.  Tell who?  We can’t.  We won’t.  The secret will never be revealed” are virtually identical to those they had last year surrounding the “unclecest” secret, and even those of us who like that couple roll our eyes.

I realize when Starr and Cole learn that “Hope” lives, it will probably be the road to their reunion but I really don’t care.  It’s also probably going to be the path to destruction for Jessica and cause her to splinter again and I, for one, never want to see her alters again.  Marcie’s baby rabies have been the center of her story for far too long and this just extended it.  Jessica lost the love of her life, and although she doesn’t know it, she lost their child as well.  It’s a huge slap in the face to the fans of Jessica and Nash and it was unnecessary.  This is one of those stories that should end.  Pronto!

John and Blair had potential before Marty was introduced into the mix.  The actors have chemistry.  They were fun, romantic, sexy, but all that was tarnished when John’s former girlfriend was found alive and the story became about this supposed connection between John and Marty that the audience never really saw develop.  The entire John and Marty romance has basically been force fed via third party characters and through one recast, and now a retrocast and the audience still hasn’t bought it.  In the process, Blair has become a sidebar in her own love story and that’s an insulting proposition for arguably one of the premier leading ladies on the show.  Furthermore, this triangle is a weak repeat of John’s previous story with Evangeline and Natalie and it does not stand up to the inevitable comparison.

Michael Easton, in an interview from December 2007, when asked what he wanted for his character in the new year, responded “to say those three words and mean it.”  John’s inability to say I love you has been at the center of his romances for years now, and it’s no longer mysterious or sexy.  His demons have been eradicated.  Multiple explanations for why he can’t open up and give his heart completely have been provided.  It’s time to allow the damaged soul to be healed.

THE FUGLY

Perhaps my greatest disappointment is the story surrounding Rex’s paternity.  Rex and Gigi aren’t inherently a horrible couple.  In fact, I found them quite root worthy in the early days, but the heavy handed promotion of the love that transcends time has turned many viewers off, including this one.  Their stories have gone from bad to worse ending with this latest Morasco Fiasco.  The introduction of Stacy has been botched.

The story of Shane’s leukemia should have centered on Rex’s paternity as its focal point, a story I’ve been waiting to see from the time it was hinted that Rex could be Paige and Spencer’s biological child, and I was excited when Alison Perkins returned with her secrets, but then the story was derailed by the writer’s strike. How Rex’s paternity has become so diluted it’s just a plot point for Stacy to manipulate everybody is beyond me. That doesn’t even sound interesting on paper and the execution is worse. I’ve loved seeing more Roxy and Ilene Kristen has delivered excellent performances, but Rex is barely a factor in this story. It’s all about Stacy and her obsession with Rex that has its roots in him picking up her books back in high school?

When will One Life to Live learn that new characters should be the catalyst to drive stories for our favorites?

THE CLOSING

Thanks for checking out the column. I look forward to hearing your thoughts as well over the coming weeks.