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My View of Llanview: January 15 Edition

Photo: Errol Lewis/SON

Friday, January 15, 2010 12:01 AM ET | By Scotty Gore

(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — Are changes afoot behind the scenes at “One Life to Live?”

Contradicting information, bizarre omissions and lazy writing have some left “One Life” wondering what the hell is going on in Llanview in recent weeks and months.

God may be all knowing and powerful, however, Mitch Laurence is a close second. The former cult leader and self-proclaimed man of the cloth seemingly has his pulse on anything and everything related to anyone who is anyone in Llanview. He knew about the souring of Rex and Gigi’s relationship, and even that Danielle was really Todd Manning’s biological daughter. But yet, he has no clue that Stacy’s baby’s father isn’t even Rex. Which makes his claim that the baby will be his “blank slate” all the more ludicrous. Granted, Mitch does have minions strategically placed all over town to feed him much of the confidential information, but that doesn’t change the fact that he is clueless when it comes to his own “grandchild.” How realistic is that? About as much as Danielle suddenly being older that her half-brother Jack, who was born before she was, I suppose.

Furthermore, why did Mitch have no reaction to seeing Todd face-to-face for the first time is returning to Llanview? After all, Todd did have plastic surgery back in 2003 to make him look exactly like Mitch’s brother Walker. And along those same lines, why is Roxy so afraid of Mitch now when she was more than ready to jump the bones of his other brother Miles, just a few short years ago? I mean, it’s not like Roxy didn’t know that Miles and Mitch were brothers or that Mitch was a psychopath. She seemed to have no problem whatsoever with it. Now all of a sudden she is extremely frightened to even hear his name. Apparently, the fact that Miles and Walker even existed has either been forgotten by the writer’s or disregarded by them. Either way, it leaves a rather large plot hole in this particular storyline.

First it was reported that he had signed a new contract with “OLTL.” Then we were told that he was only returning for five episodes. But just how long is Dan Gauthier really back for as Kevin Buchanan? Are the writers even sure at this point? Who knows? But one thing that I am sure of is the fact that they will more than likely screw it up, just as they have all the other recent returns of(minor and major) past characters to Llanview in the past three years. I dare anyone to name even one return that was even a little successful….go ahead. I dare you.

Moving on, what has happened to the episode titles that have set “One Life to Live” apart from all other daytime dramas? For more than a year now, we have been treated to the unique, creative, and amusing titles following the soap’s opening credits. However, as of this week, they have mysteriously disappeared. Even so, they continue to be used for various functions at abc.com, including day-to-day sneak peeks, episode recaps, and when each day’s full episode of “OLTL” is uploaded to the site. They seem to be appearing everywhere but in the actual episodes themselves. While I’m not sure exactly what is going on with regards to the missing titles, I (along with many “OLTL” fans) have grown somewhat fond of their quirkiness and hope that they will soon return.

As if the sudden termination of the episode titles wasn’t strange enough, here are a few other things to consider. Despite the fact that the “More Life to Live” episode bumper can still be seen at the mid-point of each episode, no new deleted scenes or behind-the-scenes footage have been uploaded to abc.com in more than two months, aside from the partial reposting of how Cristian Vega’s artwork is created and Hillary B. Smith seeking advice from the show’s costume department on what to wear to a Christmas party. “One Life to Live” and ABC had been fairly consistent with posting a brand new batch of bonus scenes on a bi-weekly basis, with style reports and other special features filling in the gaps on the off-weeks. However, all of that has changed as of late, even though the special feature is still being promoted both on the website and during each episode of “One Life to Live.” Huh?

Furthermore, when was the last time ABC updated any of the information on the “OLTL” homepage at their MediaNet website? Although the network has always been slower than molasses with regards to adding the biographies of new cast members to the page, they got even lazier during 2009. So, just how far behind are they? Well, here’s a good example. Jason Tam joined “One Life” as Markko Rivera in May of 2007, and he is still not listed on the website. In all, about half of the current cast isn’t even listed on the page. Along the same lines, there have been no new photo shoot images of the cast posted (with the exception of the couples shots of Brett Claywell and Scott Evans), since October of 2008. And spoiler images of upcoming scenes have not been been uploaded in months. Instead, ABC/”OLTL” appear to have gotten into the habit of posting images of scenes that have already aired instead. To make matters worse, “All My Children” and “General Hospital” continue to upload images of upcoming scenes on their MediaNet pages on a regular basis. What is up with that?

But perhaps the biggest question mark recently regards ABC’s decision NOT to broadcast “OLTL” in HD at this time, and their delay in moving the soap into “AMC’s” vacated New York City studios. Many fans have considered these two decisions as proof that the network is letting “One Life to Live” die a slow and painful death by not investing in the show’s future. Although ABC claims that they have to wait until their contract with the “AMC” crew expires before they can move “One Life,” the delay is nonetheless aggravating. Although it is a plausible explanation, is in an accurate one? Or is the network simply trying to use it as a smoke screen to distract fans from what is really going on? With ABC one can never be certain. And, as far as I’m concerned, their decision to upload full episodes of “AMC” and “OLTL” to abc.com, while a nice gesture, doesn’t amount to a hill of beans considering everything else that has transpired in the past six months.

Lastly, will “One Life to Live’s” record low ratings prove to be the final nail in their coffin? The last several weeks, the soap has been dead last in both Households and Total Viewers (even lower than the recently cancelled “As the World Turns”). As bad as that is however (and believe me, it is reason for concern), there is some light at the end of the tunnel. “OLTL” still manages to to hold its ground in several key demo groups, which television executives tend to focus more than the total number of people watching their shows. Even so, “OLTL” needs a huge ratings boost and quick. But at least fans can take some solace in the fact that “General Hospital,” ABC Daytime’s crown jewel, isn’t doing much better than “OLTL” lately either. I know that makes me feel better anyway. And don’t even get me started on what is going on with “All My Children’s” ratings recently.

What bugs you about “One Life to Live” these days? Be sure and drop me a line…I would love to hear from you, and I just might use your comments in an upcoming comment.

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Thanks to some renovations with the SON website, no one was able to guess the identity of last time’s mystery character from “Llanview Who Am I?” (or read my last column for that matter). For that reason, I am giving you guys and gals a second chance at it. Here goes…

In 2000, this grandson of a former long-time, well respected police captian, returned to Llanview to follow in his grandmother’s footsteps as Assistant District Attorney. However, his checkered past with the Pennsylvania Bar Association quickly caught up with him. Facing review, his old law school friend Sam Rappaport came to his defense, even calling his friend’s grandfather to take the stand. With his grandson exonerated of all charges, the grandfather promptly disappeared again. The young man would remain in Llanview awhile longer, even flirting for a time with Rachel Gannon, before leaving town as well.

So who is this mystery man from the past? I’ll have the answer in the January 30th edition of “My View of Llanview.” Extra credit will be given if you tell me the identity of the mystery character’s grandparents and how they are tied into one of “OLTL’s” very first storylines. Until then make your best guesses and give me your feedback on the column. Also don’t forget to tell me what bugs you about the show these days. I love hearing from fellow “OLTL” fans. And don’t forget to check out my Twitter page for all the latest OLTL news and information at SON.

Now, before I wrap up this column, I’m going to look into my crystal ball and give you a quick sneak peek at a few things coming up a few weeks down the road. These are for the week of February 1st. Schuyler decides to set the record straight. Stacy is desperate. Mitch decides that a certain person is expendable. Jessica fights back. Dorian and Charlie’s plan hits a roadblock. And trouble brews high atop Llantano Mountain.

Well that’s concludes yet another edition of the column. Thanks for putting up with my insentient ramblings and rants once more. I hope that everyone is having a great start to the year and that the best is yet to come. Take care and God bless.

And until next time remember, we only have “One Life to Live”…

“One Life to Live” airs Weekdays on ABC. Weeknights on SOAPnet. Anytime on ABC.com and SOAPnet.com. Check local listings.

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