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Photo: Errol Lewis/SON

Tuesday, June 15, 2010 12:01 AM ET | By Scotty Gore

(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — The lazy days of summer are beginning to take their toll.

The hot, humid days of summer (or technically late spring, since summer doesn’t officially arrive for a few more days) have made Llanview a boring place and me even lazier than usual, if that’s possible. So, instead of writing yet another column about how much “One Life to Live” sucks right now, and how it is being overrun with newbies and no-talent hacks, I’m going to step into the time machine 365 days and take a look back at a few excerpts from my column exactly one year ago, just to see how much (or little) the show has changed since that time. So here goes…

“My first pet peeve with “OLTL” right now is the unnecessary canning of two-thirds of Llanview’s McBain family. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not a member of the ‘I heart the McBains’ fan club, however, I did think it was a mistake to get rid of two decent characters when Llanview is overflowing with characters that need to be taken out by a serial killer. But Marcie and Michael were different. They actually had substance, and ties to the canvas. They were characters that fans recognized, and understood. Furthermore, neither ate up a tremendous amount of airtime, having been placed mostly on the back burner for the past year.

Even so, Chris Stack and Kathy Brier are two very talented actors that “One Life to Live” will soon regret sending off into the sunset. Mostly because their presence on the canvas will be missed. But also because of the endless stream of newbies and cardboard actors taking their place on the television screens of “One Life” fans. I guess this means even more screen time for characters like Stacy Morasco, John McBain, Starr Manning (Kristen, honey, I love ya — but you need to try just a little harder to really sell it to the viewer), and Cole Thornhart. Yea…just what we need. Where the hell are Viki, Clint, Nora, Bo, Dorian, and the rest of the vets when you need them? I guess ABC believes that they have trained us fans to prefer Stacy over Viki. Wrong. If Stacy were to go missing from Llanview tomorrow I would order a cake to celebrate. Maybe Gigi can just throw some holy water on her and get it over with.

At least fans can take some satisfaction in the fact that at least Marcie and Michael got there happy ending. I suppose that, much like the song immortalized by the Disney movie “The Prince of Epypt,” miracles really do happen ‘when you believe.’ I was so thrilled when I saw the pregnancy test setting on the table. Finally, they are getting the child they have longed for. What a fitting ending to their story. Hopefully, “OLTL” will wise up one day and bring Marcie and Michael back, along with their child. I wish both Chris Stack and Kathy Brier only the best.”

Well, after reading that, all I can is “McBain’s who?” One year after firing both Brier and Stack, it’s almost like they never even existed in Llanview. Also, the vets remain on the backburner. And characters like John and Starr continue to hog most of the airtime…but at least Stacy is out of the picture. Always look for the silver lining.

“My second pet peeve right now is the seemingly endless stream of musical guests. Okay, I admit, it was kinda fun when the show would have a big name musician perform once a year, but now they are booking musical acts every few months. Are they that desperate for more revenue and an increase in viewers? Maybe they could have Starr feeding Hope more Cheerios, or perhaps Carnation Instant Formula or Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup instead. Plugging real-life products on the show (and no, I’m not referring to Have-a-Seat Hemorrhoid Cream of the Toaster Tarts Todd fixed for Téa) would seem like a more logical way to boost show profits. It is also a great way to add some reality to a show, although it can easily be overdone. A little of this goes a long way.

But just take a look at the facts. Since New Year’s Eve alone, there have been five separate musicial artists/groups to appear on “OLTL,” including Lionel Richie’s upcoming performance. The others included “Puddle of Mudd,” “The Plain White T’s,” “Rachel Yamataga,” and “The Pussycat Dolls.” The list grows even more when you factor in those who performed last year, such as “Snoop Dogg.” Each of these guest appearances has done relatively little to boost the show’s already sagging ratings. Instead, it may actually to have the opposite affect if “OLTL” continues to overload its yearly music quota. Fans may simply start viewing it as a bad attempt at stunt casting and begin tuning out in droves. As ABC learned a few years ago the game show “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?,” there is truth in the term claiming that ‘you can have too much of a good thing.’ When the expanded to show to about three or four nights a week, interest soon waned. And when that occurs, it can be difficult to lure those viewers back.”

Hmm…the product placement doesn’t seem to be such a big deal at the moment. And thankfully, there hasn’t been as many musical guests year to date as there were in 2009….however, I still loathe writing articles about musicians who appear on the show. Not only do they not get very many hits, but they are also a pain in the behind to put together. I would rather write about prom dresses and high school musicals…if that tells you anything.

“Moving on, do you ever find yourself scratching your head as you watch a particular scene or character? I tend to do that quite a bit while watching ‘OLTL’ actually. Like, for instance, why couldn’t the show have gotten a decent skull cap for Shane when he lost all his hair from chemo? It was painful, but yet hilarious, watching it move and occasionally curl up on the edges during many of his scenes. Furthermore, why does Cole Thornhart always seem to be wearing black socks (and dark colored shirts and pants for that matter)? Whether it is suit, dress shirt, t-shirt, or tank top, his shirts nearly always seems to be a dark color. And anytime his feet venture into a scene (such as when he was going through detox in Starr’s bedroom), he has on black socks. Sorry, but I notice that sort of thing…I’m a sock man. ha ha Also, why does one of Erika Slezak’s eyes always seem to be twitching? Why is Michael Easton almost always chewing gum whenever he appears on camera? Why does Jessica give all her dead babies the middle name ‘Victoria.’ Sure, it’s a tribute to her mother, but why do it twice? We already had baby Megan Victoria, and now Chloe Victoria. And least Bree’s middle name isn’t Victoria as well, ha ha. And why does Trevor St. John sometimes use different accents while delivering his lines, and then smirk at the camera? Too many questions for my little brain to figure out.”

It was scary to read that and realize that I feel exactly the same way about those things today that I did a year ago. Some things never change.

But of all the things from that particular column, this quote just still makes me laugh: “I am anxious to see how the soap will handle their third attempt at a gay romance and story line. Maybe the third time will be a charm and ‘OLTL’ will do a good job with it. However, I have seen many a promising plot on this show go flat, so the seeds of doubt continue to grow in the back of my mind; and I’m sure in many of yours as well.” Yeah…well we all know how that turned out, now don’t we?

Oh that was fun; we should do it again sometime. Perhaps we will. I just grow so tired of always looking for something positive to write about, and so bored with endlessly complaining about how bad the show is. For that reason I find it more enteraining to go back and read old columns and news articles I have written from the past few years. I know…I know…I lead a boring “Life.” Haha

Moving on, congratulations to “guilty pleasure,” who correctly identified last time’s mystery “OLTL” guest star, which was the late NBC News correspondant Betty Rollin. The journalist shared her battle with cancer with Llanview’s own Viki Carpenter, who was fighting breast cancer at the time.

In case you missed the clues, here they are: This former NBC News reporter was visited by a Llanview leading lady a decade ago, as a result of a particular illness that bonded the two women together. This guest star chronicled her illness in a book and helped her mother, who was battling terminal ovarian cancer, end her life. And, on a side note, her husband is a mathematician.

Now it’s time to play another round of “Llanview, Who Am I?,” a new feature where you have to use the clues to figure out the identity of a mystery celebrity guest star from “OLTL’s” past. See if you can figure it out. Good luck!!!

Throughout the 1970’s this man helped “Match” ordinary people up with celebrities, but by 1982, he tackled a far different role when he came to Llanview to play a public official that was in the back pocket of the pariarch of one of the town’s most powerful families.

So who is this mystery celebrity from the past? I’ll have the answer in the June 30th edition of My View of Llanview. 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 July 5th. A child learn the truth about a parent. A promise is made. A father is forced to choose. Two old flames dance around their feelings for one another. Brothers agree to keep a secret. And someone is rushed to the hospital after being injured.

Well that’s concludes yet another edition of the column. Stay cool and safe this summer. Enjoy your time off and take care.

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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