How WATCH ABC Changes Will Affect Viewing of 'GH,' 'The View' and 'The Chew'; Shows Also on Hulu Plus

How WATCH ABC Changes Will Affect Viewing of ‘GH,’ ‘The View’ and ‘The Chew’; Shows Also on Hulu Plus

 
My View of Llanview

My View of Llanview: March 15 Edition

Photo: Errol Lewis/SON

Monday, March 15 2010 12:07 AM ET | By Scotty Gore

(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — Cast firings, on-set injuries, actress meltdowns, and legal issues have made for a busy start to the month of March in Llanview.

It may seem difficult to believe now, but exactly one week ago I stared at my computer screen trying to come up with a topic for this edition of my “One Life to Live” column. I debated doing yet another rant on how much the show sucks right now, or about the continued lack of continuity, or even how the soap is making a mockery of its own history (yet again). Needless to say, I choice to wait a few days to see if I could come up with a better idea. Then it happened.

The proverbial poo has hit the fan. Not once, not twice, but several times over. This left we with a similar, yet different problem. I still wasn’t sure exactly what topic to focus on, however, this time it was because there were too many things I could write about. So, instead of focusing on only one or two, I thought I would try to touch on as many as possible. So indulge me and my ramblings for a moment, if you will.

This past week proved to be a busy one for the Llanview revolving door. Several cast members were either given their pink slips or demoted. Those on the chopping block included Scott Clifton (Schuyler) and Brett Claywell (Kyle). In addition, a recurring cast member, Scott Evans (Fish), learned his character will be phased out as well. Also, Austin Williams (Shane) and Tika Sumpter (Layla) were bumped to recurring status (the latter reportedly due to her own choosing). And rumors ran rampant that nearly all the Evans family might soon be wiped out with a stroke of the writers’ pen.

While some have referred to this as a bloodbath, I choose to look at it more like “One Life to Live” doing a little spring cleaning. True, at least one of those who will soon be saying farewell to Llanview (Scott Clifton) has been involved recently in a front burner storyline. However, most of the cast demoted/fired this week have largely been backburnered for some time, and can be only be considered as supporting players, at best. With the exception of Tika Sumpter (who joined the show in 2005), all of those mentioned in the preceding paragraph have been with the show for no more than three years. So it’s not as if “OLTL” has been firing veteran cast members left and right. Had that happened, then I think this cast purging could legitimately have been called a ‘bloodbath.’

Furthermore, aside from Clifton, none of those listed appeared in more than 30% of the 250 new episodes that aired in 2009. And, if you think solely in terms of airtime, it makes sense to get rid of some of the dead weight among the show’s already bloated cast. Specifically, demoting Austin Williams from contract to recurring status is logical, considering his age and his character having very little importance when it comes to advancing storylines. Let’s face it, no matter how could of an actor you are, no one needs to be on contract with a soap opera when they are thirteen-years-old. And I happen to like the little guy, but I have to agree with “One Life’s” decision on this one. As for Tika Sumpter, she’s practically been recurring for the past few years anyway, so this news, too, should not come as that big of a shock. Same with the infrequently used Evans clan. With regards to Scott Clifton I think the writing has been on the wall for his character for a while now. Schuyler seems to have no viable options left for a love interest, since Stacy is dead, Kim and Rachel will both soon be leaving town, and Gigi is hooking back up with Rex. That leaves him the odd man out.

This brings me to Brett Claywell and Scott Evans. Again, on paper, writing out the characters of Kyle Lewis and Oliver Fish makes sense, when speaking strictly in terms of airtime and ties to the canvas (outside of baby Sierra Rose). But of course we can’t always go by how things look on paper. It’s one thing to say that all of those fired/demoted last week were just simply dead weight. However it’s a whole another issue considering that nearly all of them represented a minority (black/gay) in Llanview. That shifts the focus entirely to speculation as to why all of show’s minority characters were reduced to “supporting characters” and “wallpaper” to begin with.

Moving along, none of these cast changes have resulted in quite the backlash as the firing of Claywell and Evans have had. Known as ‘Kish’ they make-up Llanview only same-sex couple. As one “OLTL” fan, ‘J’ tells me “The only reason I started watching ‘OLTL’ was Kish and after both Oliver and Kyle’s (Brett and Scott) storyline is over, I will not be watching ‘OLTL’ anymore. It’s nice to know that the Mitch character, a religious nut job who electro shocks and wants to have a baby with is own daughter ‘resonates with the mainstream (‘OLTL’) audience’ more than a committed gay couple, is just startling to me. I could keep going down the line to other ‘resonates with the mainstream (‘OLTL’) audience’ like Todd the rapist (how many kids from different women does he have?) but I’ll save my time. Signed, a hocked off viewer.”

Those opinions are shared by many in the gay community. GLAAD issued a statement urging “OLTL” to reconsider, and ABC sent out a press release trying to do a little damage control. And to add further insult to injury, “One Life” won the GLAAD Media Award for Best Daily Drama in the same week they fired the actors who play the only two gay characters on the show, which has a gay man as both its Head Writer (Ron Carlivati) and Executive Producer (Frank Valentini). Talk about irony. And, while not gay myself or a huge fan of ‘Kish,’ I still feel that the soap made a very bad move by phasing the popular couple out. One that they will probably soon regret. We tend to forget that “One Life to Live” was born out of diversity. In 1968, Carla Gray passed herself off as as white woman. And when she kissed a black man viewers (who didn’t realize that she was, in fact, a light-skinned African-American), jammed the ABC phone lines with comments. One Texas TV station even dropped the show for a time. But where is that “OLTL” now? Nothing more than a distant memory I’m afraid. It appears now that the best we can hope for is a recurring police department secretary and a virtually dayplayer jack-of-all-trades doctor at Llanview Hospital. If anything, we have moved backward, instead of forward.

And, as if all that wasn’t depressing enough, who could forget Farah Fath’s (Gigi) online meltdown last week when she gave a virtual middle finger to “95% of the posters at TWOP [Television Without Pity] and SON.” Now, given the fact that mentioned Soap Opera Network specifically, I’m not going to say much about the issue (obviously, since I’m on staff at SON). But I will say this. Public figures (actors, politicians, teachers, doctors, etc…) have to learn how to properly take constructive criticism. It is the price you pay for putting yourself out there for everyone to see. I do the same thing with every article I write, realizing that some people hang on my every word, while others wait for me to make a misstep. That’s just part of the job. Fath just needs to accept that. Furthermore, it is one thing to critique her acting talents, but to personally attack her as an individual (or anyone for that matter) is totally uncalled for, and you will never see that happening in any of my columns. And, while I have never much cared for the character of Gigi, I have always been proud of the fact that Fath and I, along with Kassie DePaiva (Blair), can all call Kentucky home. And, despite how she may have attacked this past week, we are both still Kentuckians, and I am proud of what she has accomplished.

Lastly, Brandon Buddy (Cole) suffered a slight injury to his right hand last week while taping scenes with Trevor St. John (Todd). It should be quite interesting to see those scenes when they air. And Nathaniel Marston (ex-Michael) pleaded guilty to resisting arrest, following a 2007 incident involving several cab drivers and police officers in Manhattan. I can remember writing the initial article for SON the day after the altercation took place. I feel the same way about it now that I did back then. It was quite sad to see Marston blow the second chance ABC and “OLTL” given him when they re-hired him less than a year firing him back in 2003. Granted, ABC was forced to cave in the face of overwhelming fan opposition to the firing, but still it was just an all around messy situation. But I’m glad to see that at least he is getting help for his anger issues, and is trying to get his life back on track again.

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 column.

Congrats to “Nancy” for correctly guessing the identity of last time’s mystery character. The conman was named Dante Medina and is daughter was, of course Gabrielle (whose native country was Argentina). Her ex-lover was Max Holden, and his new girlfriend was none other than Tina Roberts. And, later Max would pretend to be the son of Asa Buchanan, in order to try to gain control of the oil tycoon’s vast fortune.

In case you missed the clues, here they are: This conman father appeared on the canvas briefly nearly a generation ago, along with his daughter, who would eventually become romantically linked to a suave man that would a decade later pretend to be the son of someone else. When we first met them, the daughter’s old flame was visiting her native country with his new girlfriend. Eventually the woman’s crooked father, who was a drug lord, was murdered, and the girlfriend of his daughter’s former beau was presumed dead following a terrible fall.

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 character from “OLTL’s” past, this time with a bit of a twist. See if you can figure it out. Good luck!!!

This real-life country music singer appeared on “One Life to Live” as himself several times in the early 1980s, where he took to the stage of the Grand Ole Opry with a certain young lady (who was involved with both a father and son), made her singing debut.

So who is this mystery music man from the past? I’ll have the answer in the March 30th edition of “My View of Llanview.” Extra credit will be given if you tell me the identities of the woman (and the actress in the role), along with the father/son she was once involved with. 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 March 29th. One woman reveals a shocking secret. A second turns to another for help. Someone faces a medical emergency. A young man ventures down a dark path, while other’s world is rocked. A forgotten lover struggles to do the right thing. And a shot in fired on someone in Llanview, but who?

Well that’s concludes yet another edition of the column. My apologizes if this column seems to ramble on more than usual. It’s been a very long day, and I am exhausted. Plus a lot of college basketball action and losing an hour of sleep didn’t help me any either. Hope everyone out there remembered to “spring forward” today. 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.



My View of Llanview: February 28 Edition

Photo: Errol Lewis/SON

Sunday, February 28, 2010 12:01 AM ET | By Scotty Gore

(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — Time travel and memory loss storylines lead soaps down a slippery slope due to a little thing called SORAS.

During the February sweeps, “One Life to Live” featured Mitch Laurence giving his daughter Jessica Brennan electroshock therapy, effectively wiping out her memories of the past thirteen years of her life. Now thinking it is 1997 and that she is a senior in high school, Jessica is flabbergasted to discover just how much everything has changed since she was roaming the halls of Llanview High.

Sounds intriguing doesn’t it? Not, not really….especially when you consider the fact that Llavniew has been infested with a plague in recent years and shows no signs of recovery. The name of the disease is Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome, and hardly anyone in town seems to have built up an immunity to it.

Granted I understand that “One Life to Live” is by no means alone in infecting their characters with SORAS. In fact, the soap opera genre has been using the plot device for decades with varying results. And it is likely to continue to exist for as long as daytime dramas remain on the air.

However, “OLTL” is going one step further and highlighting their own inconsistences due to SORASing by incorporating them into “back in time” storyline. What do I mean by that? Well, here is an example. A few episodes back, Marty probed Jessica’s memory by asking her what (and who) she remembered. Disturbed by her answers, Marty then asked her what year she thought it was as the cameras panned out into the hallway where Viki, Clint, and Brody were discussing Jessica’s condition. Marty leaves the room and informs them that Jess doesn’t remember anything past her senior year of high school.

If they had stopped right there with it, the timeline would have been a little more workable. Without mentioning a specific year, the writers could have tinkered with the storyline details a little and fudged a few numbers in order to make this thing perhaps somewhat salvageable.

Then came the big mistake…..someone said that Jess had lost all her memories of the past thirteen years, making it 1997 in her foggy mind. Houston we have a problem. Now the SORASing comes back to bite the writers in the butt. And, as if that weren’t bad enough, Jessica tells Marty that she didn’t know she had a son. That’s strike one. Although the viewers know that 19-year-old Cole Thornhart was not on canvas back in 1997, and was a creation of the writer’s imagination in 2006. However, on the canvas, he “supposedly” existed back them. So, if we use the soap’s current timeline (as well as logic) here, that would make Cole about six years old in 1997. So wouldn’t Jessica remember her best friend’s six-year-old son? To add further insult to injury, Jessica wasn’t actually born until 1986 so, realistically, she would have only been about nine herself at the time….even though the writers had aged the character to the point that she went from diapers to adulthood in only nine years. See where I’m going with this?

SORASing is a necessary evil on soap operas. On the old hand it toys with history and continuity. But on the other hand it is important because it allows writers to speed up the aging process to create to more dramatic storylines. After all….it is not very beneficial to allow a soap character to age naturally from birth all the way through the cycle of life. But the kiss of death is dropping in specific dates and going back in time (whether it be time travel, memory loss, or rewriting the past). Not only does it insult the viewers, but it also creates plot holes large enough for a car to fall into. 

All of this seems lost on the powers that be at “One Life to Live,” however, because this isn’t the only SORASing storyline mess they have gotten themselves into at the moment. Of course I’m referring to Todd and Téa’s suddenly teenage daughter Danielle. Passing off a fifteen-year-old as the love child of a couple were last together only seven years ago (at the time) is ridiculous, especially when it had been repeatedly referenced on the show just weeks and months before the character was first introduced last year, that it had only been SEVEN years since Todd and Téa made love while stranded on the deserted island with Ross Rayburn.

And while the subtle inside jokes the writers have occasionally snuck to the dialogue lately are at the very least a nod to the viewers that they understand their frustration, they only serve to make the show look more stupid than it has already become lately. While I did get a snicker watching Jack tell Danielle that he was expecting her to be his younger sister (and about eight-years-old), the scene left me shaking my head. There is very little on this show that actually makes sense right now. And this storyline is definitely not one of them.

Getting back to Jessica for a moment, it should be interesting to see just exactly how much artistic license the writers will take with storyline, and just how true they attempt to stay to exactly what (and who) was going on with the show back in 1997. Depending on exactly what when in that year they go back to, Jessica should remember only the following characters: Viki, Clint, Bo, Nora, Renee, Nigel, Dorian, Blair, Carlotta, Marty, Todd (which should interesting if they remember that he looks different than the last time she saw him), Kelly, David, Cristian, Tea, Rachel, Addie, and Mitch (please remind me if I am forgetting anyone here). For a refresher on the storylines from that year, click here.

I keep hoping that “One Life to Live” will start to pull itself up from its bootstraps and give me something positive to write about again. But so far it has only continued to disappoint. Perhaps the Ides of March will usher in some changes for Llanview. In the meantime, I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed.

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 column.

Congrats to “Judy Moss” for correctly guessing the identity of last time’s mystery character. The answer was Dallas Jones, who was portrayed by Loyita Chapel, the wife of Robert S. Woods (Bo Buchanan). And their son Tanner Woods appeared at the end of the 1968 storyline (2008) in a few scenes as a young Bo. Perhaps I’m making these things too easy, ha ha.

In case you missed the clues, here they are: This woman began dating one of the Buchanan boys “across the big pond” more than a decade ago. She returned to Llanview with him shortly thereafter when he was about to become a grandfather and his “Pa” is about to marry a woman for the second time. Six years later she returns to town again when the Buchanan heir came back to help his ex-wife deal with a major issue that arose with their child. They broke up when she blamed his problems on his former spouse, and promptly headed back to London. Two years later, she came back to Llanview again, only to find her old boyfriend dating someone unexpected.

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 character from “OLTL’s” past. See if you can figure it out. Good luck!!!

This conman father appeared on the canvas briefly nearly a generation ago, along with his daughter, who would eventually become romantically linked to a suave man that would a decade later pretend to be the son of someone else. When we first met them, the daughter’s old flame was visiting her native country with his new girlfriend. Eventually the woman’s crooked father, who was a drug lord, was murdered, and the girlfriend of his daughter’s former beau was presumed dead following a terrible fall.

So who is this mystery woman from the past? I’ll have the answer in the March 15th edition of “My View of Llanview.” Extra credit will be given if you tell me the identities of the man’s daughter, her ex-boyfriend, and his new squeeze. 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 March 15th. Kelly is angered by Todd’s latest actions. An infant is in danger once again. Has someone lost the woman he loves forever? Two people want a certain young lady to remain in Llanview. A woman fights for the man she once loved. And two forbidden lovers can’t seem to get enough of each other.

Well that’s concludes yet another edition of the column. I hope everyone is staying safe and warm. Thank goodness spring is just around the corner, although I am more than ready for summer at this point. Thanks for reading. 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.



My View of Llanview: August 15 Edition

Saturday, August 15, 2009 1:00 AM ET | By Scotty Gore


(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — Moving on up to the west side… “One Life to Live” inherits the soon-to-be vacated studios of “All My Children” early next year when that soap moves to Los Angeles. But is the move good news for “OLTL,” or the kiss of death?

Unless you’ve been living underground the past few weeks, you have likely heard the news that ABC Daytime is shifting production of “All My Children” from New York City to Los Angeles beginning in December, and that “One Life to Live” will move into its sister soap’s much larger current studio in Manhattan, in an attempt to make both soaps more cost efficient.

Since the announcement, critics have argued that moving “AMC” cross country to be closer to the network’s longest running soap “General Hospital,” seals the fate of “One Life to Live,” since it will be left as the broadcaster’s only remaining New York based soap. But does it really?

Unlike some of my fellow staff members and posters at SON, I am a relative outsider when it comes to the interworkings of a television network. For all I know, ABC could make good on the rumors that “One Life to Live” will be cancelled next year and be replaced by an annoying talk show. It’s certainly plausible. However, I think that there is a more logical approach to this issue, one that involves common sense. Perhaps I’m just being naïve in my thinking, especially given the fact that common sense and ABC Daytime are more often than not like oil and water. Only time will tell whether I or my cynics are correct, however I feel that certain people are trying way too hard to read more into ABC’s announcement than is really there.

With regards to “AMC’s” bi-coastal move and “OLTL’s” intercity relocation, I am of two minds. Upon first hearing the news, I got the impression that ABC was doing what the broadcaster felt was necessary in order to keep its three-hour weekday afternoon soap block in tact. When you think about, it makes sense. “AMC” is regularly over budget, while “OLTL” is routinely under budget. By moving the former to West Coast, they can save money on production costs and tighten the show’s budget. It also gives a boost of confidence to “OLTL” by giving them a larger studio, which will provide them with more room for sets and props. Also, unlike CBS and NBC, ABC appears committed to preserving all three of their daytime dramas. ABC could have effortlessly announced the cancellation of one or more of their soaps last week, since they are all owned and produced by the network. But instead, they revealed their commitment to convert both “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” to High Definition format early next year. And upgrading to HD doesn’t come cheap. It is reported that ABC spend at least $3 million to convert “General Hospital” alone to HD. Plus, think of the moving expenses for relocating all of “AMC’s” sets, costumes, and equipment from New York to L.A., as well as the added man hours needed to move “OLTL” down the street. If ABC were ready to cancel either soap, why relocate both of them and upgrade them to HD?

Once I began to digest the news, I started to develop a second theory on the decision. I began to wonder if ABC was using “All My Children” as a sort of guinea pig, in an attempt to test the waters as to how successful a 3,000 mile move from one coast to the other would be. Perhaps the network has long-range plans of relocating all their soaps to L.A., and chose “AMC” first either because they thought it was the strongest of the two, or because they considered it to be more in danger of cancellation than “OLTL” at the moment. Either way, “AMC’s” success or failure in L.A., could ultimately decide “OLTL’s” future.

Regardless of which, if either, theory turns out to be true, there is certainly no doubt that the era of the daytime soap opera is nearing extinction. Gone are decades like the 1950s and 60s when more wives and mothers were homemakers and most families could receive only a handful of stations on television. Now we are in the age of increasing technology, digital television with hundreds of channels, and a majority of women entering the work force to help support their families.  Faced with those facts, it is inevitable that soap opera ratings would decline. Too add to the problem, viewers are no longer forced to watch each episode of their favorite soap in suspense, wondering what will happen next, given how easily one can read weekly and monthly previews for that particular soap on Internet websites dedicated to soaps (such as SON) and in magazines. In some ways, the American soap opera is becoming as outdated and unnecessary as the British royal family. Despite the fact that the British monarchy no longer has any real political power or influence, they remain hugely popular and a symbol of rich tradition and history. In my opinion, soaps suffer much the same plight.

In conclusion, I wouldn’t count “OLTL” as being out just yet. I think the show still has a lot of ‘Life’ let to ‘Live,’ so to speak. Remember that things aren’t always as appear to be. In 1977, Ken Olson (president and founder of Digital Equipment Corp.) commented that “There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.” A Western Union company memo from 1876 states that “The telephone has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication.” Royal Society president Lord Kelvin believed in 1895 that “Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible.” In 1943, Thomas Watson, Chairman of IBM, said that “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” And in 1899, Charles H. Duell, Commissioner of the U.S. Office of Patents, was quoted as saying “Everything that can be invented has been invented.” In other words, the critics aren’t always right. Who knows, we may all look back at this debate nine years from now and think, as “OLTL” marks its 50th anniversary, how stupid people were back in 2009 to believe that the show was about to be cancelled. Hindsight is always 20/20.

To reiterate, I’m no network insider, only a boy from south central Kentucky who grew up watching “One Life to Live,” quickly becoming a devoted fan of the show, whose dedication ultimately landed him a position of the staff of Soap Opera Network covering the characters and fictional town he idolized since childhood. I admit that I am somewhat bias in my thinking that “OLTL” is in no immediate danger of cancellation. However, a closer look at the facts provides some weight to my argument. If I’m wrong, I’m wrong. It wouldn’t be the first time, and it likely won’t be the last time either. But something about all this just leads me to believe that “OLTL” isn’t leaving the airwaves anytime soon.

For those of you unable to figure out the answers to the trivia questions from my last column, here they are (correct answers in bold): Question #1: In 2000, Nora Hanen was presumed dead following what type disaster? a) car crash, b) train explosion, c) plane crash, or d) boating accident. Question #2: For what reason was Todd Manning pardoned for his crimes in 1994? a) Blair Cramer seduced the governor into pardoning him, b) Larry Wolek discovered a brain tumor that made Todd not criminally responsible for his crimes, c) Todd rescued Marty Saybrooke, CJ Roberts, and Jessica Buchanan from a car accident, or d) Todd agreed to testify against mob boss Carlo Hesser. Question #3: What caused Clint Buchanan to go blind in 1987? a) He was shot in the head, b) He developed a brain tumor, c) A bomb exploded in his face, or d) He was trapped in a chemical fire at The Banner. And Question #4: Which South American country did Jenny Wolek flee to in 1975, in order to work at a convent? a) San Alicia, b) San Bernardo, c) San Carlos, or d) San Daivo.

Now it’s time to play “Llanview, Who Am I?,” a new feature where you have to use the clues to figure out the identity of a mystery character from “OLTL’s” past. In 1969, this young lady arrived in town with her widowed father, who became a dedicated doctor at Llanview Hospital. When her father decided to remarry, she became very angry and eventually developed a drug addiction. She was sent to Odyssey House, in an attempt to clean up her act. She eventually entered into a relationship with Viki Lord’s ex-husband Joe Riley (while Viki was married to Steve Burke), and became pregnant with his child. Upon giving birth it was discovered that the child had a congenital heart defect, which she had inherited from her father Joe. The medical issue was unknown to everyone except Viki and the doctors. While at Llanfair, the baby began to have difficulty breathing, prompting Viki to rush her to the hospital. Along the way, she was involved in a serious car accident and the baby girl died (Viki slipped into a coma for several months). The baby’s mother blamed Viki for her daughter’s death and vowed revenge. She eventually married Viki’s brother Tony, who became concerned for his wife’s welfare and urged her to seek professional treatment. In 1976, she completely snapped and kidnapped Viki and Joe’s (who had recently reunited) newborn son Kevin, and placed him up for adoption. Eventually a friend found out the truth and persuaded her to contact her doctor father, who flew to Arizona to retrieve his daughter and return her to Llanview. In 1978, she left Llanview for good and moved someone out in the western U.S., never to be heard from again. 

So who is this mysterious character from the past? I’ll have the answer in the August 30th edition of “My View in Llanview.” Until then enjoy the remainder of the summer and stay safe. Best wishes.

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

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


Discussion: My View of Llanview: August 15 Edition




My View of Llanview: July 30 Edition

Thursday, July 30, 2009 1:01 AM ET | By Scotty Gore


(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — “One Life to Live” in black and white.

The recent arrest of Harvard Professor Henry Gates and the ensuing debate on racial relations in 21st century America, warrant a look at the present state of diversity in the make believe land of Llanview, Pennsylvania.

Looking back through the “My View of Llanview” archives from 2008, I came across my column from exactly one year ago today. It was in that edition that I first examined the color, or lack there of, on “One Life to Live.” I thought it appropriate to examine the progress (if any) the long-running daytime drama made in the year that followed.

As you may recall, at this point 52 weeks ago, “OLTL” could claim only one African American actress on its contract roster, and only a handful more on recurring status. Tika Sumpter (Layla Williamson) remained the soap’s token representative for people of color. In terms of other minorities, 2008 saw less than a half dozen actors of varying ethnicities, such as Latino and Middle Eastern, and even fewer appearing on the show on a recurring basis.

But that was then, and this is now. Thus far, 2009 appears to be a banner year for minorities, homosexuals, and mixed couples than its predecessor. With the additions of Daphnée Duplaix (Rachel Gannon) and Terrell Tilford (Greg Evans), “OLTL” now has three African-American actors on contract with the show, and placed in frontburner storylines. In addition, the black supporting cast as grown as well to include characters whose careers are as varied as bodyguards, doctors, lawyers, and drug counselors.

However, sticking points do remain. Although the presence of Markko Rivera’s parents Ernesto and Aurelia help maintain Llanview’s Latin flavor, both characters appear two-dimensional and stereotypical, as conservatives and devout Catholics who are not afraid to disinherit their only son should he go against their religious beliefs. While standing up for what you believe in is moral and admirable, and generates necessary conflict for the show, at the end of the day it must be remembered that your children are your children no matter what. Even when they misbehave and adhere to their own set of morals and beliefs as they search for their own identity, they are still our flesh and blood and worthy of forgiveness. However, I’m afraid that “One Life to Live” will continue to represent these two characters, particulary Ernesto, as stubborn and unwilling to change.

I feel that what “OLTL” needs to shake things up is a good race relations type of story. Something edgy that borders on the controversial, much like the Carla Grey storyline in the early years of the soap. But simply having a character pass themselves off as being white, or promoting an interracial relationship and/or marriage, is not as taboo in 2009 as it would have been back in 1968. Also “OLTL” needs to shy away from penning another white supremacy storyline, given the debacle that was the ‘One Pure People’ storyline of 2007, featuring ex-professional baseball player turned underwear model turned arsonist and bigot.

Instead, it needs something more intense and attention grabbing. Perhaps they could take a page from “All My Children,” which recently featured daytime’s first gay marriage. Maybe once Kyle Lewis and Oliver Fish finally get back together, they could get married and attempt to raise a child. Homosexual couples in this country have a very difficult time in adopting children, which “One Life to Live” could explore.

In addition, “OLTL” could also delve into homelessness and the hardships the recent recession has placed on middle and lower class blue collar working people. I’m not talking about taking on roommates to help pay the rent or not being able to afford a college dorm roof after your parents have kicked you out of the house. Instead, I’m talking about being so hungry and desperate to feed your family that you would steal food, being forced to live out of your car because the bank repossessed your home, and losing your entire life savings because you lost your job. Those sorts of socially relevant storylines is what “OLTL” needs to tackle. Other avenues they could investigate could include depression, self-mutilation, suicide, transsexuals, firefighters, politicians, and religion. While I realize that may seem like a hedgepodge podge list of sorts, they are all topics that could potentially lead to some rather juicy and intriguing storylines. After all, this is a soap that has already tackled issues such as DID, sexual abuse, rape, heart attacks, and homosexuals throughout their history.

That is the type of diversity that “One Life to Live” needs more of these days. In terms of racial and ethnic diversity the show appears to be building a solid foundation, however, it remains lacking in terms of social diversity. Perhaps the show will recognize that in the years to go, and gradually feature more of those types of storylines that mirror society.

“The most peculiarly American of soap operas: the first serial to present a vast array of ethnic types, broad comic situations, a constant emphasis on social issues, and strong male characters,” wrote Christopher Schemering in The Soap Opera Encyclopedia. Creator Agnes Nixon’s original vision for “OLTL” was that it would be “built along the classic soap formula of a rich family and a poor family,” but that it would also feature “ethnic and socioeconomic diversity,” as she Nixon was “tired of the restraints imposed by the WASPy, noncontroversial nature of daytime drama,” according to Schemering.

“‘One Life to Live’ has always been at the cutting edge of daytime drama. From the day of its premiere in 1968, the show straddled social, ethnic, and racial boundaries to both popular and critical acclaim. Its focus on families — the blue-blooded Lords, the working-class Woleks, the Irish Catholic Rileys, and the Jewish Siegels — reflected America’s diversity as never before seen on daytime television. Today, after thirty years of awad-winning storytelling, these multifaceted dynasties continue to tackle real-life problems and to entertain generations of audiences,” wrote Gary Warner in his 1998 book ‘One Life to Live’: Thirty Years of Memories.

And “Agnes Nixon intended to title her new show ‘Between Heaven and Hell.’ Religion would be playing a role in the lives of varied characters, which included an Irish Catholic and a Jewish family. While the title captured the darker, edgier feel of late afternoon soaps like ‘Dark Shadows’ and ‘The Edge of Night,’ sponsors found the title a bit to controversial. Nixon compromised with ‘One Life to Live,’ an ironic title given the fact that its signature storyline, Victoria Lord’s (then Gillian Spencer) multiple personality disorder, revolved around a woman literally leading a double life.

On July 15, 1968, ‘One Life to Live’ debuted on ABC in the 3:30 time slot, nestled between ‘General Hospital’ and ‘Dark Shadows.’ Agnes Nixon prided herself on the show’s ethnic and economic diversity. The four core families would be the blue collar and Polish Woleks, the Irish Catholic Rileys, the very upper-class Lords, and the Jewish Siegels. In an article that appeared in the New York Times shortly before the show debuted, Nixon emphasized the fact that the show would be featuring black actors in prominent storylines, a feat being done almost nowhere else on television. The character of Sadie Gray, an African-American (played by Tony winning Lillian Hayman), held down a prominent job, heading the housekeeping department in the hospital. As with the best of soap opera characters, references were made to some secret involving Sadie’s long absent daughter,” stated Gerry Waggett in The ‘One Life to Live’ 40th Anniversary Trivia Book, published in 2008.

As the preceding quotes indicate, “One Life to Live” is a soap rich in history and diversity. After decades of lagging behind their daytime counterparts in terms of racial and ethnic characters and storylines following its rather controversial start, it is certainly refreshing to see that the show is at least attempting to make some inroads in that particular area and trying to return to their roots.

If you missed my original column on “OLTL’s” colorless storytelling of 2008 and would like to read the article, click here.

In conclusion, I believe that “One Life to Live” is heading in the right direction. However, as the old saying goes “Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get ran over if you just set there.” In order to remain relevant, “OLTL” will need to continue showcasing Llanview’s rich diversity and expand upon it. And they must stay true to Agnes Nixon’s original concept if they want to survive another 40 years. After all, that’s just good storytelling.

For those of you unable to figure out the answers to the trivia questions from my last column, here they are (correct answers in bold): Question #1: In 1998, which supposedly deceased villain was Dorian Lord’s guide during her trip to hell? a) Mitch Laurence, b) Marco Dane, c) Carlo Hesser, or d) Victor Lord. Question #2: In 2001, Max Holden interrupted Asa’s marriage to Gabrielle Medina, mistakenly believing that he was marrying which one of his many ex-wives? a) Alex, b) Blair, c) Becky Lee, or d) Delila. Question #3: How much money did Todd Manning promise to give his lawyer Téa Delgado is she married him in 1997? a) Half a million dollars, b) $1 million, c) $5 million, or d) $10 million. And Question #4: What political office was Kevin Buchanan elected to back in 2004? a) mayor of Llanview, b) lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania, c) state senator, or d) district attorney.

Hope you enjoyed those questions, and that they didn’t prove too difficult for you. Now time for this week’s trivia challenge: Question #1: In 2000, Nora Hanen was presumed dead following what type disaster? a) car crash, b) train explosion, c) plane crash, or d) boating accident. Question #2: For what reason was Todd Manning pardoned for his crimes in 1994? a) Blair Cramer seduced the governor into pardoning him, b) Larry Wolek discovered a brain tumor that made Todd not criminally responsible for his crimes, c) Todd rescued Marty Saybrooke, CJ Roberts, and Jessica Buchanan from a car accident, or d) Todd agreed to testify against mob boss Carlo Hesser. Question #3: What caused Clint Buchanan to go blind in 1987? a) He was shot in the head, b) He developed a brain tumor, c) A bomb exploded in his face, or d) He was trapped in a chemical fire at The Banner. And Question #4: Which South American country did Jenny Wolek flee to, in order to work at a convent? a) San Alicia, b) San Bernardo, c) San Carlos, or d) San Daivo. I’ll have the answers in the August 15th edition of the column. But if you are stumped and can’t wait, you may want to consult a copy of The ‘One Life to Live’ 40th Anniversary Trivia Book by Gerry Waggett. Just a suggestion…. but one you might find useful (except when trying to figure out first question, which I came up with myself. However the answer to it can be found elsewhere in this column).

That concludes yet another installment of “My View of Llanview.” Hope everyone is having a wonderful summer, and that the kiddies are all ready to go back to school very soon. Thanks for reading, and please join me again on August 15th for more thoughts and opinions on Llanview.

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

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


Discussion: My View of Llanview: July 30 Edition




My View of Llanview: July 15 Edition

Wednesday, July 15, 2009 12:35 AM ET | By Scotty Gore


(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — A look to both the past and the future.

One of the best things about posting this bi-monthly column on the 15th and 30th of each month, is that it presents me with a unique opportunity every July 15th to pay homage to the soap I grew up with on its anniversary.

Without getting into the whole history of the show as I have done in past columns (and will soon delve into again with the re-posting of an article I wrote for SON in honor of the show’s 39th anniversary back in 2007), I would like to take a moment to recall the rich and endearing legacy that is Llanview and “One Life to Live.”

What began in the mid-1960s as an alternative plan for creator Agnes Nixon following the original rejection of the concept that would later become “All My Children,” “One Life to Live” was born and premiered on ABC on July 15, 1968. Considering the ‘Life’ the show has led in the 41 years that have followed, I can only image what the show would have been like had Nixon been allowed to keep her original title of “Between Heaven and Hell.”

It is difficult to comprehend just how many characters and actors (contract, recurring, dayplayers, extras, and special guests) have graced the “One Life to Live” studios during the past four decades. Some were more memorable than others, but all hold a special place in the hearts and minds of the more ardent “OLTL” fans. So, congratulations “One Life to Live” on 41 spectacular years, and here’s to many more years to come. Happy anniversary “OLTL!”

Speaking of the countless characters who have called Llanview home over the years, one of the best known is Dorian Cramer Lord, perhaps the second most recognizable character on the show (after, of course, Erika Slezak’s Victoria “Viki” Lord Davidson). Although she is one of five actresses who have tackled the role of the dastardly town villainess since the character first arrived in Llanview in 1973, Robin Strasser has become the most identifiable to many current and long-time “One Life” fans.

The evolution of the character known as Dorian began nearly five years after “OLTL’s” premiere, in April of 1973. First portrayed by Nancy Pinkerton, Dorian took a job as a doctor at Llanview Hospital, and almost immediately began having an affair with one of her married colleagues, Dr. Mark Toland. But it would be a few years before the character really took off when, in an attempt to get back at Viki (whom she blamed for helping to get her relieved of her duties at the hospital following the accidental death of one of her patients and the ensuing cover-up), Dorian married and became the personal nurse of Viki’s powerful father, Victor Lord. Following his death in 1976, Viki accused her new step-mother of murdering her father, and would continue to do so for nearly twenty years until the truth (or was it?) was finally revealed that Tori, one of Viki’s six alternate personalities, actually did the deed.

This and many other plot twists and turn over the years has given Dorian countless numbers of storyline opportunities, which added layers upon layers of depth to the character, who has developed into the exact opposite of the ultra sweet Viki (in a sense, the anti-Viki). The relationship has led much of the drama on “One Life” for decades. In 1974, Dixie Carter (best known as Julia Sugarbaker on the 1990s sitcom “Designing Women”), stepped into the role of Dorian for several months while Nancy Pinkerton was on maternity leave. After leaving the show in 1977, Pinkerton was replaced by actress Claire Milas. Strasser then took over the role 1979 and remained until 1987, when she was replaced by her erie look-alive Elaine Princi two years later. Strasser later returned to “One Life” in 1993, and left again in 2000, before returning the latest time in 2003.

Despite Strasser’s long tenure with the show, which has spanned roughly half of “OLTL’s” 41-year run, she apparently isn’t immune to getting the shaft by soap and network executives. In recent weeks, the actress has been imbattled in a no-win situation with her employers. In an era where ‘younger is better’ has become the industry norm, the 64-year Strasser, who has always had a flare for the dramatic, feels that she is being squeezed out. ABC has reportedly offered her a new ‘take-it-or-leave-it’ contract complete with a huge paycut. As a result, the soap vet has been taking a time out to mull over the offer, before announcing her decision to her legion of fans and supporters on her hotline.

As “One Life to Live” viewers anxiously await her decision, it provides a chance to examine if and how Llanview could survive without the character of Dorian Cramer Lord. Despite the fact that Dorian has become what some may call a ‘legacy character,’ one who has a long history with a particular show and has developed countless ties and connections to various other characters within the show, “OLTL” could (and has) survive without the head of the Cramer family on canvas. ‘Life’ would go on, with the other veteran cast members and characters picking up the slack, as was the case in both 1987 and 2000.

However, that certainly does not mean that Dorian’s absence would go unnoticed. Llanview without Dorian Lord would create a huge void that would be difficult to fill. What would become of her family (Blair, Starr, Addie, Langston, etc…)? Who would Viki have to spar with? In short, what would become of the countless others Dorian has interacted with throughout Llanview? Dorian is a historic character and would be a tremendous lose to the show, much like when Asa Buchanan was written off. Even nearly two years after the show killed off the character, his absence is still strongly felt while watching the show. Removing Dorian from “OLTL” would have the same impact. It’s not like disposing of characters who have only called for a couple of years. Instead, a stupid move like this could cause a ripple effect that could result in the dismissal of other veteran castmembers and characters as well.

I’m by no means a television executive or insider, but it’s seems common sense to me that having a nice balance between younger and more mature castmembers on a show makes it more watchable and enjoyable, then if the cast was made up of nothing but pimple-faced teenagers and attractive young adults who couldn’t act themselves out of a paper bag. It’s often the older castmates that become the voice of reason on a show, and create a sense of stability. And, despite what the network brass may tell you, younger people actually enjoy watching older, more established actors on a show as much, if not more so, then people their own age. Take a close look at the weekly soap ratings sometime, and you will notice that on days when veteran castmembers are featured, the ratings tend to go up. I suppose one could say the bump was simply the result of more older viewers tuning in to see characters they actually recognize, but I have my doubts. It is more likely a combination of the two. And the powers that be should rejoice when the ratings go up for their shows, regardless of the reason. But, in reality, they’re not because all they care about is the young 18-34 year old demographic. Even though I myself fall into that particular age range (I’ll be 30 in December), I do not consider myself a part of specific demographic, mainly because I detest most of what advertisers and television programmers think I want to see. Perhaps I’m just different from others my age, or maybe (just maybe) these idoits have the wrong idea about what young people want. Either way, I enjoy seeing characters such as Dorian, Viki, Bo, Nora, Clint, Addie, Nigel, and Renee much more than Stacy, Rex, Gigi, Starr, and Cole. There are a few exceptions however. I adore Langston and Markko, as well as Marcie and Michael (damn “OLTL” for getting rid of them). However, in general, I prefer to watch the older actors and characters, and wish the sudser would bring back more faces from the past, especially those who called Llanview home back before I was born. I would pay good money to see that.

Well, it appears I have drifted off topic, instead finding a soap box and climbing atop it to spout my latest incoherent ramblings about things that grind my gears right now on “One Life to Live.” I tend to do that a lot as I get older, concerning just about anything in life that makes me mad. I suppose it’s just a sign that I’m becoming more set in my ways as I advance in years. I have found that I can be as stubborn and hard-headed as ever as I approach thirtysomething. At any rate, please just look over my madness and ignore me as I’m sure most of you often do anyway. Ha ha

In conclusion, I believe that “One Life to Live” has become somewhat stable in the weeks since my last column. It hasn’t gotten much better, but it also hasn’t gotten much worse. Even so, I take some solace (and a great deal of enjoyment) in the news that “OLTL” has been ABC’s top rated daytime drama for two straight weeks. I bet Brian Frons nearly crapped his pants when he saw that ABCD’s red-headed stepchild passed up the baby (“All My Children”) and the crown jewel (“General Hospital”) on the faltering network’s daytime line-up. Looks like that $3 million investment to broadcast “GH” in HD really paid off. Ha! I just hope “OLTL” can keep it up. Shame that the main reason it is highest of the three is because it sucks less than the other two, and not because the quality is so much better.

For those of you unable to figure out the answers to the trivia questions from my last column, here they are (correct answers in bold): Question #1: Back in 1988, Ursula Blackwell rigged something to blow up on Tina Lord when she remarried Cord Roberts. But what was it? a) the church, b) the bouquet, c) the wedding cake, or d) the horse-drawn carriage. Question #2: What were the names of the two warring gangs in Angel Square in 1996? a) The Arrows and the Prides, b) The Bullets and the Hawks, c) The Cutters and the Wolves, or d) The Diehards and the Falcons. Question #3: How did Margaret Cochran blackmail Todd into sleeping with her back in 2005? a) She threatened to kill Blair, b) She had kidnapped his children, c) She threatened to set fire to the bed in which he was tied, and d) She threatened to turn evidence against him over to the police. And Question #4: In 1976, what sport was Brad Vernon a professional in? a) baseball, b) football, c) tennis, or d) golf.

Hope you enjoyed those questions, and that they didn’t prove too difficult for you. Now time for this week’s trivia challenge: Question #1: In 1998, which supposedly deceased villain was Dorian Lord’s guide during her trip to hell? a) Mitch Laurence, b) Marco Dane, c) Carlo Hesser, or d) Victor Lord. Question #2: In 2001, Max Holden interrupted Asa’s marriage to Gabrielle Medina, mistakenly beleiving that he was marrying which one of his many ex-wives? a) Alex, b) Blair, c) Becky Lee, or d) Delila. Question #3: How much money did Todd Manning promise to give his lawyer Téa Delgado is she married him in 1997? a) Half a million dollars, b) $1 million, c) $5 million, or d) $10 million. And Question #4: What political office was Kevin Buchanan elected to back in 2004? a) mayor of Llanview, b) lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania, c) state senator, or d) district attorney. I’ll have the answers in the July 15th edition of the column. But if you are stumped and can’t wait, you may want to consult a copy of The One Life to Live 40th Anniversary Trivia Book by Gerry Waggett. Just a suggestion…. but one you might find useful (except when trying to figure out first question, which I came up with myself. However the answer to it can be found elsewhere in this column).

That concludes yet another installment of “My View of Llanview.” Hope you enjoyed reading this latest installment of my column. Have a great summer, and I hope you will join me again on July 30 for more thoughts and opinions on Llanview.

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

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


Discussion: My View of Llanview: July 15 Edition




My View of Llanview: June 30 Edition

Tuesday, June 30, 2009 12:46 AM ET | By Scotty Gore

(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — “One Life’s” gay stoyline claims its first victim.

“One Life to Live” never ceases to amaze me. For the past week, I have spent countless hours wrestling with what to write about in this edition of the column. I was to the point of just compiling another list of what makes me nauseous about the soap right now, when ‘it’ happened. The ‘it’ in this instance is, of course, the termination of Patricia Mauceri (Carlotta Vega) from “OLTL” because of her alleged refusal to play even a small role in the upcoming gay storyline between Kyle Lewis and Oliver Fish.

When I first saw the headline of another website over the weekend claiming that a “OLTL Actress Fired!,” I automatically assumed that the show had made the biggest mistake in its nearly 41-year history by firing the legendary Erika Slezak. Much to my amazement however, as I began reading the article, my sadness immediately turned to confusion. I realize that there are always two sides to every story, but something about this tale struck me as ‘fishy’ (no pun intended, by the way).

Why get rid of Patricia Mauceri, of all people on the cast, because of her apparent refusal for her character to be a ‘gay friendly Latina mom?’ After all, it’s not like Carlotta has carried, or even played an important role for that matter, in a storyline in years. Instead, quite the opposite is true. Carlotta has become the type of character that is only let out of the attack for special events such as birthdays, weddings, and funerals; it’s not usual for her not to even be seen on camera for several months at a time (guess she’s busy in the cooking flan). Carlotta is not Viki or Dorian, after all. It’s not like the show wouldn’t survive if the character went the way of Miles Laurence and simply just vanished and was never spoken of again.

But still, the news leaves more than a seed of doubt in my mind (and probably many of yours as well). After all, it’s not as if Mauceri has had a long history of refusing to go along with anything gay related. First, she was played a minor role in the gay-themed movie I Think I Do, works alongside gay co-stars (i.e., Tuc Watkins), and is even employed by a homosexual head writer and executive producer. Also, it’s not like she hasn’t been involved with controversial storylines on “One Life” in the past. Nearly a decade ago, Carlotta dated Llanview’s African-American DA Hank “The Cannon” Gannon, and took in a Eli, a young HIV positive boy whose mother had recently died of AIDS, and vowed to raise him on her own (although the character would eventually be dropped). So it’s not like Carlotta Vega hasn’t tackled diversity and social issues before.

While working on my own news article concerning the story, and re-reading quotes and statements again and again, I seem to get the impression that Maurceri’s apparent rejection of the upcoming plot was more so related to her character, and not to herself personally as an actress. I suppose it would seem somewhat out of character in a sense, for Carlotta to suddenly embrace a gay couple and agree with their lifestyle. Perhaps that is what she was trying to tell her superiors at “OLTL” and ABC. Somehow, it is just difficult for me to fathom that she was so outraged by the plot idea that flat out refused to have any part of it. Maybe that is exactly what happened…no one really knows for sure. But something just does not feel right about the side of the story that is currently being told.

For arguments sake, let’s suppose for a moment that the actress honestly felt that the proposed storyline conflicted with her personal and religious beliefs, and that she told the powers that be as much. Although she hasn’t been on contract with “OLTL” for years, she is an ABC employee in every episode she appears in, since she garners a paycheck for those shows. Furthermore, she is employed by a soap opera for pete’s sake. Can any soap star honestly say that they had no clue that being involved in controversial storylines was a possibility when they signed up for the job? That’s what daytime dramas try to do sometimes–push the envelope. It’s the name of the game. Mauceri should have been aware of that when she first signed on to the role on “OLTL” back in 1995.

Delving deeper, how many jobs let their employees choose not to do things, because they claim not to like them. Not very many that I can think of. Most bosses and administrators are all too eager to dismiss an employee if they complain about their job to them. It reminds me of when I used to work at my local Wal-Mart back in the day (before I considered the corporation to be evil). Even though I was (at the time) and Electronics associate, there were times I had to help out and do other tasks outside of my job description as an electronics department associate. For instance, if we were short-handed or a ‘stockman’ called in sick, I sometimes had to mop up vomit, clean the restrooms, or round up shopping carts from the parking lot. Those were not things that I enjoyed doing, especially being outside on the hot asphalt on sunny summer days, but I did them because it was my job. I was told to help out and do those tasks by my boss, the very person who signed my paycheck. If I complained, I knew the result. And it wasn’t pretty. How would I make my car payment, pay my insurance, or buy food? For me it was easier just to ‘grin and bare it’ and keep my job, then to be unemployed and unsure where my next paycheck would come from.

Soap actors do the same thing. I am reminded of two separate instances from “OLTL” where actors have hated particular storylines, but participated in them anyway because it was their job. Clint Richie, “One Life’s” original Clint Buchanan, absolutely despised the fact that the show’s brass had suddenly turned his character into a homophobe during the whole Billy Douglas gay teen storyline back in the 1990s. He later noted that, because of that one plot, he began receiving hate mail for the first time in his long career as an actor. Even Erika Slezak, the matriarch of “One Life to Live,” reportedly hated the storyline where Viki’s son Kevin was hypnotized and instructed to kill his own mother. But, here again, she played it anyway. My point is that we all sometimes have to do things we don’t like — regarding our jobs, families, friends, etc… — but we have to do them anyway. I hate to use the expression countless parents have told their children, but it I think it is appropriate in this sense — sometimes life just isn’t fair.

Don’t think that I am dissing for Patricia Mauceri for apparently having a difference of opinion with her soap bosses, because I’m not. We are all entitled in our opinions on this and all issues and, while we may not always see eye-to-eye, we must learn to respect our own thoughts and feelings. “I may not agree with a thing you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it,” as the saying goes. In a way I admire her for standing up for her beliefs, if indeed that is truly what happened. Either way, I suspect it was mostly just a business decision. Call me crazy, but I just cannot picture Patricia Mauceri arguing herself out a job. Maybe she has a healthy bank account and can survive without the occasional call from “OLTL,” but given the current state of the economy and the sky-high unemployment rates across the U.S., I suspect that times must still be hard for Mauceri and her fellow soap stars.

While hesitant to get swept up in the messy debate on just how much input soap actors should have in the motivation and direction of the characters they portray, I will say this much. I am no ‘insider’ by any stretch of the imagination, however, I will agree that it is a two-way street. First and foremost, characters are created by a show’s writers, based upon their own conception of what they envision them to be like. But, as we all know, sometimes soap change writers like people change underwear, and that can create some serious issue. Since new scribes are often not aware of the original outline or personality of a character, they sometimes write things for them to say and do that our totally ‘out of character’ for that particular role. In those cases the actors, particually those who originated the character, would be the best source of information on how exactly the person they are portraying would react in a given situation, and sometimes make it known to the writers that their character isn’t acting like themselves. As you can probably tell, I’m not exactly picking sides on this issue, mostly because I can see both sides. I am relating it to the real world, however, in that when an employee complains too much, they are told to seek employment elsewhere.

All that being said, I am actually looking forward to “OLTL’s” latest gay storyline attempt. While I am not gay myself, I still hope the soap can get it right, and do the storyline justice for all the show’s gay fans. I pray that they will, but I feel that they won’t. I urge the Ron Carlivati and his team remember that “OLTL” built on diversity. Agnes Nixon’s original concept for “One Life to Live” was that it would be a true reflection of society. And it is nice to see that there are gay people in Llanview, and middle class blue collar workers, Latinos, African-Americans, fat, skinny, young, old, and characters from other parts of the country who speak and act differently. Not everyone in the world is rich, snooty, and white…and it is important to remember that. Hopefully the writers will as well. At least, the show is starting to return to at least as some of their diverse roots with minority characters in recent months.

In conclusion, I have to admit that “One Life to Live” has started peaking my interest again. I think that the show is gradually improving, although it still has a very long way to go until being able to return to its once former glory. And looking ahead at the next few weeks, I belive there is some good stuff coming up. Fans will just have to be patient however. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day. And “OLTL” will not turn from a pile of steaming dog crap to a 10-karat diamond overnight. Change takes time, but it is always constant. And one day soon “One Life to Live” will be a great soap once more.

For those of you unable to figure out the answers to the trivia questions from my last column, here they are (correct answers in bold): Question #1: In 2008, a drunken Rex Balsom performed a striptease just before what musical guest was set to perform at Ultra Violet? a) Snoop Dogg, b) Timbaland, c) The Plain White T’s, or d) Willie Nelson. Question #2: In 1991, for what purpose did Carlo Hesser drug Viki to bring out Niki Smith? a) to kill Asa Buchanan, b) to kill Viki’s daughter Megan, c) to convince Renee to marry him, or d) to burn down The Banner. Question #3: When did Tina discover the entrance to Victor Lord’s secret room back in 1985? a) in the library at Llanfair, b) in the carriage house, c) in the basement of The Banner, or d) in his mausoleum. And Question #4: Back in 1977, how were Larry Wolek and Karen Wolek related before they got married? a) they were cousins, b) Karen was Larry’s stepmother, c) Karen had been Larry’s sister-in-law, or d) No relation. The last names were mere coincidence.

Hope you enjoyed those questions, and that they didn’t prove too difficult for you. Now time for this week’s trivia challenge: Question #1: Back in 1988, Ursula Blackwell rigged something to blow up on Tina Lord when she remarried Cord Roberts. But what was it? a) the church, b) the bouquet, c) the wedding cake, or d) the horse-drawn carriage. Question #2: What were the names of the two warring gangs in Angel Square in 1996? a) The Arrows and the Prides, b) The Bullets and the Hawks, c) The Cutters and the Wolves, or d) The Diehards and the Falcons. Question #3: How did Margaret Cochran blackmail Todd into sleeping with her back in 2005? a) She threatened to kill Blair, b) She had kidnapped his children, c) She threatened to set fire to the bed in which he was tied, and d) She threatened to turn evidence against him over to the police. And Question #4: In 1976, what sport was Brad Vernon a professional in? a) baseball, b) football, c) tennis, or d) golf. I’ll have the answers in the July 15th edition of the column. But if you are stumped and can’t wait, you may want to consult a copy of The One Life to Live 40th Anniversary Trivia Book by Gerry Waggett. Just a suggestion…. but one you might find useful (except when trying to figure out first question, which I came up with myself. However the answer to it can be found elsewhere in this column).

That concludes yet another installment of “My View of Llanview.” Hope you enjoyed reading my “OLTL” thoughts and ramblings, and that you will join me again in two weeks for more of the same. Keep the feedback coming; I love hearing from fellow fans. Enjoy your summer and have a safe and happy Independence Day! Celebrate the 4th of July with fireworks, cookouts, displaying the American flag, and remembering the freedom that we all so often take for granted in this country.

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

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


Discussion: My View of Llanview: June 30 Edition



My View of Llanview: June 15 Edition

Thursday, June 18, 2009 5:00 PM ET | By Scotty Gore

(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — Miracles can happen when you believe.

I knew there was a reason I was writing this edition of my column a few days later than usual. Well, not really, but the time was perfect nonetheless. It gives me a chance to discuss two of my biggest pet peeves with “One Life to Live” at the moment.

But before moving on to what grinds my gears about the show recently, I would like to take a moment to point out my new logo. Granted it’s nothing fancy, just something I threw together from one of those free websites that allows you to create simple logos for the technically challenged (such as myself). I decided to come up with my own after my ‘search’ for a new look for my column on the Soap Opera Network message boards fell flat. Not a single person offered up their own take on a new logo for my column (bummer). So I decided to go the DIY route. Let me know what you think of it. Again, it’s nothing fancy, and I may change it yet again by the next column, depending on my mood at the time.

Anyway, back to show itself. 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.

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.

On a more personal level, the constant barrage of musical talents invading Llanview is beginning to take its toll on my nerves as well. As a reporter for SON, I find composing articles for musical guests to be the most tedious. Call me old-fashioned, but my favorite type of music is the old time rock ‘n roll of the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s. They don’t make music like anymore unfortunately. That’s not to say that I dislike all music of today’s generation, because I don’t. There is a select group of songs from this era that I can tolerate and, dare I say it, actually like. However, as a general rule, whenever I listen to music (which isn’t extremely often), I prefer the old stuff. That’s great, but it causes me problems when writing articles about a particular musician’s accomplishments, when I have never even heard of them before. Perhaps I’m just too old for my young age of 29, or maybe everyone else in soapland is a bigger music lover than me. Either way, it takes a great deal of patience and willpower as I work on those articles.

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.

As I have mentioned numerous times in this column, I have watched “One Life to Live” since childhood. I have seen a ton of storylines, actors, and characters come and go during that time, including each of the previous two gay-themed storylines. I find it amazing that this type of thing is considered major news considering the society that we live in. I hope to see the day that is a non-event, and just a normal part of life. Perhaps the day will come soon when a gay couple of a daytime soap is perfectly normal, and doesn’t make front page headlines around the country. While I myself am not gay, I see the move as part of the broader controversial, diversified concept that Agnes Nixon had in mind when she created “One Life to Live” more than 40 years ago. Isn’t the goal of many television programs and sitcoms to mirror reality. Viewers want to see people they can relate to. Therefore, it seems hard to fathom that Llanview is seemingly devoid of gays, minorities, and lower class working people (at least there are still a few token African-Americans still in town). Unlike the fictional Pennsylvania suburb, not everyone in life is a rich, white, snooty person.

I suppose one could argue that television’s primary objective is instead to entertain. Perhaps, but that doesn’t mean that diversity should be non-existent. Especially not with “OLTL,” a soap that was once described by Christopher Schemering in his book, The Soap Opera Encyclopedia, as “the most peculiarly American of soap operas: the first serial to present a vast array of ethnic types, broad comic situations, a constant emphasis on social issues, and strong male characters.”

For that reason, 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.

For those of you unable to figure out the answers to the trivia questions from my last column, here they are (correct answers in bold): Question #1: Dorian Cramer had her sister Melinda institutionalized in 1974 for what reason? a) Melinda had tried to kill herself, b) Melinda tried to kill Dorian and her boyfriend Mark, c) Dorian was jealous of Mark’s interest in Melinda, or d) Melinda had become a heroin addict. Question #2: One year earlier, in 1973, Meredith Lord died of a cerebral hemorrhage. But what caused the injury that led to her death? Was it a) She was thrown from a horse, b) Niki Smith hit her over the head with a statue, c) She fell down a flight of stairs while arguing with her father, or d) She fell while escaping from criminals who had taken her hostage. Question #3: In 1984, the O’Neil sisters invaded Llanview. But which of the following was not one of the sisters? a) Alice, b) Joy, c) Connie, or d) Didi. And Question #4: What natural disaster hit Llanview just as Micheal McBain and Marcie Walsh were tying the knot in 2006? a) avalanche, b) tornado, c) earthquake, or d) flood.

Hope you enjoyed those questions, and that they didn’t prove too difficult for you. Now time for this week’s trivia challenge: Question #1: In 2008, a drunken Rex Balsom performed a striptease just before what musical guest was set to perform at Ultra Violet? a) Snoop Dogg, b) Timbaland, c) The Plain White T’s, or d) Willie Nelson. Question #2: In 1991, for what purpose did Carlo Hesser drug Viki to bring out Niki Smith? a) to kill Asa Buchanan, b) to kill Viki’s daughter Megan, c) to convince Renee to marry him, or d) to burn down The Banner. Question #3: When did Tina discover the entrance to Victor Lord’s secret room back in 1985?  a) in the library at Llanfair, b) in the carriage house, c) in the basement of The Banner, or d) in his mausoleum. And Question #4: Back in 1977, how were Larry Wolek and Karen Wolek related before they got married? a) they were cousins, b) Karen was Larry’s stepmother, c) Karen had been Larry’s sister-in-law, or d) Nor relation. The last names were mere coincidence. I’ll have the answers in the June 30th edition of the column. But if you are stumped and can’t wait, you may want to consult a copy of The One Life to Live 40th Anniversary Trivia Book by Gerry Waggett. Just a suggestion…. but one you might find useful (except when trying to figure out first question, which I came up with myself.  However the answer to it can be found elsewhere in this column).

That concludes yet another installment of “My View of Llanview.” Hope you enjoyed reading my “OLTL” thoughts and ramblings, and that you will join me again in two weeks for more of the same. Keep the feedback coming; I love hearing from fellow fans. Enjoy your summer!

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

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


Discussion: My View of Llanview: June 15 Edition



My View of Llanview: May 30 Edition

Monday, June 1, 2009 11:44 PM ET | By Scotty Gore

(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — One step forward, two steps back.

In the weeks since my last column, where I accused “One Life to Live” of no longer even attempting to produce a good daytime drama, the soap has begun to show signs of life.  However, it remains a long way away from a full and complete recovery. 

“OLTL” has become like a horrible car accident in the past few months.  No matter how bad it gets, you just can’t seem to avoid sneaking a peak.  You know you shouldn’t look, but the little voice in the back of your head says otherwise.  Much the same way that someone telling you not to do something, makes you want to do the forbidden thing even more.  Curiosity is a dangerous thing.  Then again, so using the words common sense and Llanview in the same sentence. 

In a town where an alternate personality can always find a pair of glasses in a pinch, a suspended high school science teacher can keep a bag of his ex-girlfriend’s blood in his refrigerator, and a stripper can have her old boss punch her in the face on purpose to gain the sympathy of the man she loves from afar, common sense is the least of the many worries weighing heavily on the minds of the viewers. 

However, despite the sheer idiocy of it all, signs of life are beginning to ever so slowly creep their way back into Llanview.  But, much like the time it takes for a seedling to develop into a mature plant, “OLTL” isn’t going to a 180 overnight.  So before you break out the bubbly and sign the get well cards, take a deep breath, kick off your shoes, and have a nap.  There’ll be plenty of time for celebration when the soap finally gets off life support.   

In the meantime, keep watching “OLTL” with one eye open and the other on the computer or reading the newspaper like I do.  Although that is a step up from a month ago when I mainly used the show for background noise as I worked around the house.  The reason for my slowly increasing interests is a small, but noticable improvement with the overall quality of the show. 

For example, I am honestly enjoying these location shots.  It gives the show a hint of realism that artificial turf, plastic turf, and fake sunlight does not.  I also like the balance between the outdoor shots and the indoor scenes with the various sets. My hope is that “OLTL” will start incorporating more location footage into future episodes.  Just as long as they don’t overdo it, and go the “Guiding Light” route, where it encompasses the entire show.  Too much of a good thing is never good. 

Another sign of life in Llanview lately has been more of the vets, especially Viki.  Granted, she has been little more than a prop during this baby Hope storyline, but still she is getting more airtime.  Without getting into the heated debate over whether or not increased airtime is worth making the character into a prop for other characters and storylines, is another topic for another column. For now, I think we should all be happy that we are getting to see more of Erika Slezak and Viki Davidson on our television screens. I know I will. 

And lastly, a few select characters continue to be bright spots even in the sorriest of storylines such as Markko and Langston.  It made me proud that “One Life” alsways to make it a point to showcase just how much more responsible they are in comparison to Starr and Cole.  I continue to be impressed by how the show is handling their relationship, especially when Dorian called Langston to warn her not to use the condoms she had given her (thanks to Lola’s meddling), before she and Markko had done the deed.  When I first read the previews for that particular storyline, I was concerned that the soap was penning another teen pregnancy storyline.  Forunatley, I was pleasently surprised when “OLTL” did the responsible thing.  It is now wonder that Markko and Langston continue to be the teen couple of choice for many “One Life” fans.  Now if only the rest of Llanview had the scene and responsibility displayed by these two characters, we would have the top rated soap on daytime television, instead of hovering near the bottom of the pack, slightly above the recently canceled “Guiding Light.” 

So, yes, “One Life to Live” is beginning to show some signs of life, even though it remains in critical condition.  There remains much that is wrong with Llanview in 2009, however I believe that (hopefully), the show is slowly starting to rise from the ashes and is no longer scrapping the bottom of the barrel.  Then again, perhaps it is just my bias and loyalty to a show I have watched since childhood that is blurring the line between fandom and journalistic integrity.  Either way, I stand by my statment that “OLTL” is slowly (very, very slowly) getting better. 

For those of you unable to figure out the answers to the trivia questions from my last column, here they are (correct answers in bold): Question #1: In 1980, Dr. Ivan Kipling harbored a secret so disgusting that he was willing to kill to keep it buried. Was it a) he was a Nazi war criminal, b) he frequented prostitutes, c) he had never gone to medical school, or d) he performed experimental surgery on homeless men. Question #2: Back in 1969 who or what interrupted Viki Lord and Joe Riley’s first trip down the aisle? Was it a) a fight that broke out, b) the emergence of Niki Smith, c) Victor Lord suffering a heart attack, or d) a confrontation with Dorian Lord, who claimed to be Joe’s first wife. Question #3: Two years later, in 1971, with Joe Riley presumed dead, Viki first met the man that would become her next husband, Steve Burke. But where did the two future lovebirds meet? a) her father hired him to be her bodyguard, b) she accidentally ran him down with her car, c) he became her new editor at The Banner, or d) she had interviewed him for a story about political corruption. And Question #4: Convicted rapist Todd Manning suddenly found himself pardoned for his crimes in 1994. But why? Was it because a) Blair Cramer seduced the governor into pardoning him, b) Larry Wolek discovered a brain tumor that made Todd not criminally responsible for his crimes, c) Todd rescued Marty Saybrooke, CJ Roberts, and Jessica Buchanan from a car accident, or d) Todd agreed to testify against mob boss Carlo Hesser.

Hope you enjoyed those questions, and that they didn’t prove too difficult for you. Now time for this week’s trivia challenge: Question #1:  Dorian Cramer had her sister Melinda institutionalized in 1974 for what reason?  a) Melinda had tried to kill herself, b) Melinda tried to kill Dorian and her boyfriend Mark, c) Dorian was jealous of Mark’s interest in Melinda, or d) Melinda had become a heroin addict.  Question #2:  One year earlier, in 1973, Meredith Lord died of a cerebral hemorrhage.  But what caused the injury that led to her death?  Was it a) She was thrown from a horse, b) Niki Smith hit her over the head with a statue, c) She fell down a flight of stairs while arguing with her father, or d) She fell while escaping from criminals who had taken her hostage.  Question #3: In 1984, the O’Neil sisters invaded Llanview.  But which of the following was not one of the sisters?  a) Alice, b) Joy, c) Connie, or d) Didi.  And Question #4: What natural disaster hit Llanview just as Micheal McBain and Marcie Walsh were tying the knot?  a) avalanche, b) tornado, c) earthquake, or d) flood.   I’ll have the answers in the June 15th edition of the column. But if you are stumped and can’t wait, you may want to consult a copy of The One Life to Live 40th Anniversary Trivia Book by Gerry Waggett. Just a suggestion…. but one you might find useful.

Well that’s a wrap on another edition of the column. Until we meet again in two weeks, stay safe and healthy, and live your ‘one life’ to the fullest.   

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


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


Discussion: My View of Llanview: May 30 Edition



My View of Llanview: May 15 Edition

Friday, May 15, 2009 12:00 AM ET | By Scotty Gore

(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — Is “One Life to Live” even trying anymore?

For those of you out there who have not abandoned ship already and change the channel whenever the “OLTL” theme music starts to play, this question is directed at you. For many years I have been loyal to this soap, and have been with it through its many ups and downs. But like anything in life, you ultimately look in the mirror one day and ask yourself if it is time to move on.

As noted above, I have witnessed many wonderfully played out storylines over the years (i.e., Viki’s DID), and equally as many horrific storylines (i.e., the One Pure People and who shot John’s father plots). But through it all I soldiered on and remained a Rock of Gibraltar when it came to my soap, “One Life to Live.” However, recently I have began questioning myself as it if may now be the time to leave my Llanview home. While the soap is not as bad these days as I have seen it in the past, there is much that not right on my favorite soap.

It is starting to appear as if no one on the show (writers, actors, directors) is even trying anymore. Nothing makes sense anymore. Baby Chloe being exhumed at night? Starr and Cole kicking back at the prom while waiting for their dead baby to be dug up. Powell driving from Rochester, New York to Llanview, Pennsylvania and changing clothes in less than ten minutes. Dorian’s hairstyle changing from one room to another. Tea suddenly dressed after being kidnapped by Powell, when she was wearing only her bra, panties, and overcoat just before his arrival. Starr believing Jack when he told her that Blair, who had just gotten out of the hospital and could barely stand, running off to watch a movie with Todd. Cole still having a drivers license after causing a horrific accident while higher than a kite and having to go to rehab. PI Rex turning becoming dumber than a box of rocks with regards to Stacy. Starr finding a prom dress and doing her hair and make-up all during one commercial break. John managing to escape from a straight jacket in a locked room at a mental institute. Rebecca being able to impersonate Marty…..apparently, the Sitwell Institute doesn’t run background checks. Justin being so cruel to Matthew, a member of one of the richest families in town, just because he is in a wheelchair. The list goes on and on and on and on.

I understand that it is a soap and it is their job to entertain us. I also realize that soap logic is completely different from real world logic, but still…. Watching “OLTL” lately is about like driving by a car accident. You don’t want to look, but something in your brain says that you just have to, no matter how horrific it may be. That’s how I feel about “One Life to Live” these days. It’s just that bad. However there are a few bright spots such as Markko/Langston, Jessica/Brody, and Matthew/Destiny. But for the most part, this show is starting to take on more water than the Titanic.

It is difficult to fathom that this the same soap, with the same head writer, that was critically acclaimed only one year ago. Llanview had so much promise heading into the summer of 2008. The fallout from Nash’s death, Dorian’s takeover of Buchanan Enterprises, the return on Tina Lord Roberts and the real Marty Saybrooke, and the 40th anniversary episodes, just to name a few. One year later, Llanview has been invaded by Rex, Gigi, Stacy, Starr, Cole, John, Todd, and Marty. The rest of the cast is mere supporting players in this horrible drawn-out nightmare. Pardon my French, but what the hell happened? Aside from likely network interference from Brian Frons, I’m not really sure. As evident from many of the storylines from the first half of last year, we know that Ron Carlivati can be and is in fact a much, much better writer, capable of high quality storylines than the crap we, as fans, have been subjected to during the past few months. It’s just like night and day….or turning a light switch off and on. It’s nonsense. I’ve seen better writing in high school drama productions than on “OLTL” lately.

Speaking of crap……what about this year’s Emmy nominees for Best Daytime Drama? Color me shocked that neither “One Life to Live” (for last summer’s 40th anniversary episodes) nor “Guiding Light” (one last tribute for the 72-year-old canceled soap) were nominated. Well, at least I can take some comfort in the fact that “General Hospital” was shut out as well, meaning no 11th Emmy statue in the category for the soap that always seems to be rewarded no matter how bad it gets (I swear, “GH” could do a storyline about watching paint dry and they would win best drama). I find it very amusing that the recent ratings for “GH” have gone through the cellar. True “OLTL” isn’t faring all that much better, but being in the middle to bottom of the pack has been familiar territory for “OLTL” throughout much of its history, unlike “GH,” who used to set near the top of the ratings.

Otherwise, “OLTL” received only two acting nominations this year which, unfortunately is also nothing new for the red-headed, freckled stepchild of the ABC Daytime line-up. Congratulations to Susan Haskell and Bree Williamson though, nonetheless. With any luck perhaps at least one of the ladies will bring home a trophy for the show. I’ve always felt that, for the most part, “One Life to Live” has always had the most under appreciated cast in daytime. Of course, there are a few exceptions, however most of the cast is rather talented. Not that anyone would know that by watching the show recently, since most of those actors have been placed on the back burner, however.

With that said, I now have found myself at a loss for words. I honestly don’t know what else to say about “OLTL” at this point. That’s just how disgusted I am with the show at this point. I pray that it will get better again soon, and I believe that it will, but it may take some time to complete the transformation. In the meantime, I’ll continue to watch out of loyalty and genuine love for the show I grew up and have watched for nearly all of my twenty-nine years. Doesn’t mean that I’ll always like storylines or the characters, however. But it does mean that perhaps I still have a little “Life” left in me yet.

For those of you unable to figure out the answers to the trivia questions from my last column, here they are (correct answers in bold): Question #1: In 1983 how did Countess Echo DiSavoy earn her unusual nickname? Was it a) because of her ability to imitate voices over the telephone, b) because of her resemblance to her mother, c) because of her unusually deep singing voice, or d) “Echo” was an acronym hor her full name, Eleanor Claire Helena Olivia. Question #2: Back in 1979 who became the first person who figure out that Dr. Mario Correlli was indeed his presumed dead brother Marco Dane? Was it a) Karen Wolek, b) Larry Wolek, c) Dorian Lord, or d) Edwina Lewis. Question #3: Patrick Thornhart was involved with an Irish terrorist group known as the Men of what? a) 8, b) 13, c) 21, or d) 100. And Question #4: Alex Olanov was assigned to locate the missing Sarah Buchanan in 1990 by what government agency? a) FAB (Federal Anticrime Bureau), b) ISB (International Security Bureau), c) WSB (World Security Bureau), or d) The Triple I (International Intelligence & Investigation.

Hope you enjoyed those questions, and that they didn’t prove too difficult for you. Now time for this week’s trivia challenge: Question #1: In 1980, Dr. Ivan Kipling harbored a secret so disgusting that he was willing to kill to keep it buried. Was it a) he was a Nazi war criminal, b) he frequented prostitutes, c) he had never gone to medical school, or d) he performed experimental surgery on homeless men. Question #2: Back in 1969 who or what interrupted Viki Lord and Joe Riley’s first trip down the aisle? Was it a) a fight that broke out, b) the emergence of Niki Smith, c) Victor Lord suffering a heart attack, or d) a confrontation with Dorian Lord, who claimed to be Joe’s first wife. Question #3: Two years later, in 1971, with Joe Riley presumed dead, Viki first met the man that would become her next husband, Steve Burke. But where did the two future lovebirds meet? a) her father hired him to be her bodyguard, b) she accidentally ran him down with her car, c) he became her new editor at The Banner, or d) she had interviewed him for a story about political corruption. And Question #4: Convicted rapist Todd Manning suddenly found himself pardoned for his crimes in 1994. But why? Was it because a) Blair Cramer seduced the governor into pardoning him, b) Larry Wolek discovered a brain tumor that made Todd not criminally responsible for his crimes, c) Todd rescued Marty Saybrooke, CJ Roberts, and Jessica Buchanan from a car accident, or d) Todd agreed to testify against mob boss Carlo Hesser. I’ll have the answers in the May 30th edition of the column. But if you are stumped and can’t wait, you may want to consult a copy of The One Life to Live 40th Anniversary Trivia Book by Gerry Waggett. Just a suggestion…. but one you might find useful.

Well that’s a wrap on another edition of the column. Until we meet again in two weeks, stay safe and healthy, and enjoy the wonderful late spring weather. Aloha!

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

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


Discussion: My View of Llanview: May 15 Edition



My View of Llanview: April 30 Edition

Thursday, April 30, 2009 12:05 AM ET | By Scotty Gore

(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — The journey through our “One Life to Live” has been filled with plotholes lately.

It was Chuck Palahniuk, author of Stranger Than Fiction: True Stories who once said that “a good story should make you laugh, and a moment later break your heart.” I can recall storylines on “One Life to Live” that have actually made me feel that exact way over the years. However, none of those storylines include the ones presently playing out on our television screens.

A story is said to only be as good as the person (or people) writing it, which explains a lot given the current state of “OLTL.” I realize that soaps come with the caveat that we suspend belief and check reality at the door until the hour has passed. Soaps are designed to entertain us and, like many other television series, works of fiction. Fans have adopted this realization over the years, and have developed a high level of tolerance to daytime dramas who have grown accustomed to having characters return from the dead, spirits of the deceased who communicate with the living, children who age several years overnight, and history that is revised and rewritten on a recurring basis.

Even so, if written well, many soap fans don’t seem to mind the glaring improbabilities created by any given storyline. However, when a particular storyline is overwrought with loose ends and unexplained twists and turns, the viewer often times begins to tune out. Which brings me back to my earlier quote. I do not cry or set spellbound on the edge of my seat while watching “OLTL” these days. Nor do I laugh at what is playing out on my screen, unless it is at something that was not meant to be humorous in the first place. My heart does break on occasion while watching the show, but it is not because of any certain storyline. It breaks when I remember how good “OLTL” used to be before it headed down its present slippery slope. More often than not, I find myself simply shaking my head and looking at my watch, waiting impatiently for the show to be over.

As noted above, glaring plotholes are the main reasons for the problems with many of “OLTL’s” current storylines. First, let’s explain La Boulaie. Remember when Dorian signed her entire estate over to her cook Moe Stubbs? If you recall, she did that to prove to David (during his monk stage) that material possessions no longer mattered to her. Of course, Dorian was secretly aware that David was a Buchanan and that by tricking him into marrying her, she would gain control of the vast Buchanan fortune. Well, things don’t always work out as planned. When it was revealed that David was Bo’s son, not Asa’s, and that he was not entitled to the inheritance promised to the old coot’s supposed long lost son, Dorian was left out in the cold. When she tried to convince Moe to give her back her home, he refused saying that he had his lawyers draw up an iron clad agreement. However, he would allow Dorian and her family to live there until they found a new home. But this is where the storyline drops off. Dorian runs around La Boulaie these days like she lord of the manor again, while Moe (or Noelle for that matter), are anywhere to be seen. Dorian appears to be spending money that she no longer has, while living in someone else’s home.

Another obvious plothole involves changing characters identities for no good reason. Why make David Vickers a Buchanan, if Tuc Watkins is only able to commit to the show for a few weeks at a time? Why make Talia Sahid the daughter of Carlo Hesser, only to fire BethAnn Bonner and kill off the character? Why bring Lee Halpern back to the canvas after twenty years only to kill off the character once more? And have Hank Gannon return to Llanview if we is only given about ten lines of dialouge and then promptly disappears again? It makes no sense. As in the case of David, “OLTL” spend months having him run around Llanview like a monk before revealing his true paternity and giving him only one or two scenes with new father Bo Buchanan before high-tailing it out of Llanview. Talk about anti-climatic. Much the way that Dorian agreed to return Buchanan Enterprises to Nora (off-camera, I might add), after the rather dramatic way she stole the company from them, which resulted in Nash Brennan’s death.

Very little in Llanview makes sense at the moment. How can Roxy, an alcoholic that can barely string two thought together, find the brain cells to research life support systems on the Internet while knowing the exact make and model of the one at the clinic, print out the manual, and then override thealarms on the machine and successfully turn it off? Even I wouldn’t think to do something like that. My reaction would probably be the same as any other person with an ounce of common sense–just start pressing buttons, turning knobs, and unplugging electrical cords until the machine went off. And since when do supposedly comatose patients have the option of telling the nurse that they died and not to call the police? In the real world, if someone committed a crime like that, the cops would investigate by dusting for fingerprints, monitoring surveillance cameras, interviewing nurses and janitors, etc…. But then again, this is Llanview, not the real world where there are consequences for every action. Llanview’s motto must be crime doesn’t pay.

While on the topic of law enforcement and security, how is it that John McBain is able to just leisurely stroll out of his jail cell and into the night with no the wiser until after he has already escaped? While I have never been in prison myself, nor have I ever had to visit anyone behind bars, I find it difficult to believe that a cell door could be opened with a small key that looks suspiciously like the one I use to unlock my own back door. Correct if if I’m wrong here, but I am under the impression that most jail cell keys are significantly larger than the common house shown in the episode in question. Also, aren’t most cell doors opened and closed electronically these days as well? Furthermore, where the security guards, survelliance cameras, and screams from other inmates that someone is escaping? John just casually walked down the hall and out the front door. Apparently everyone in the busy Llanview Police Station was just a little too wrapped up in their work to notice him walking out the door only hours after being arrested. Give me a break.

Surely I wasn’t the only one who laughed when Nora told Rachel that her being Cole’s drug counselor was a conflict of interest and that she should excuse herself from the case. I couldn’t believe she said that. Apparently it wasn’t a conflict of interest for her to prosecute Cole for driving under the influence and causing a car accident that partially paralyzed her son. How is one any different from the other? Nora is guilty of the same thing she accused her daughter of. It’s no different than Téasleeping with Todd only to argue later the same day in court that he should not be granted custody of his children. Llanview is full of nothing but hypocrites and idiots.

I see stupid people…and their names are Rex Balsom and Gigi Morasco. Rex has been dumbed down more than half of Llanview was while Tess was running amuck, holding Natalie and Jared hostage, blackmailing Todd and threatening Tina. No one even gave it the idea that the stress of Nash’s death just might have been more then Jessica could handle a second thought. In similar fashion, Rex considers Stacy to be an angel sent from heaven. Yeah, he thinks she saved Shane’s life by donating her bone marrow…I get that. I understand why he would be grateful to her for something he believes she did. But I don’t get him placing her on a pedastal. He must have forgotten that this is the same girl who drugged him and tried to sleep with him just a few short months ago. Maybe he just has selected amnesia. Like he’s probably also forgotten that he is a private investigator. He should have placed the pieces to the puzzle together weeks ago, and figured out the real reason for Gigi’s 180 degree sudden change in personality. Come on Rex…one minute she loves you unconditionally, and the next she is supposedly hopping into bed with Brody Lovett? Just think about that for a moment. Love doesn’t turn off and on like a light switch. There must be a reason for Gigi’s sudden change of heart…some ulterior motive. Something or someone that is forcing her to pretend she doesn’t love you anymore…..hmmm Maybe it’s her sister. You know, the same one who drugged and attempted to seduce you? Come on Rex….not even you are this stupid. A much more believable storyline would have been for Rex to quickly see through Gigi’s lies, confront her, and formulate a plan to turn the tables on her and beat Stacy at her own game. But we can’t have that, can we? It makes too much sense. Therefore it is crazy talk, and must be scrapped.

As if that storyline isn’t moronic enough, how about having Schuyler Joplin running around town with a bag of Stacy’s blood trying to convince people that she’s up to no good. Why would anyone even take him seriously? It makes him look crazy. Honestly, who would want to carry on a civil conversation with a guy waving around a bag of his ex-girlfriend’s blood? That plot is as much of a joke as Cole’s rehab. I mean, really….is that the best “OLTL” can do? Coming and going as he pleases, no one standing over him while he gives a urine sample for his drug test, allowing the sister of the boy he paralyzed in a car accident while driving under the influence to be his counselor? Monkeys with a typewriter could do better than that. And so much for Marty winning any Mother of the Year Awards anytime soon. Wasn’t it just last month when Nora forced Marty to either be a mother to Cole or face charges connected to Wes’ murder? How quickly we forget. Apparently, Marty figures it is more important to track down a killer with her ex-cop former boyfriend, than to stay in Llanview and help her only child kick his drug habit. The same for John….he marries Blair so that she can keep her kids away from Todd, only to flee town a few weeks later to find the KAD killer. If I were Blair, I would kick his behind from Llanview to Canada for that bonehead move.

Even the small things on “OLTL” right now leave me shaking my head. For instance, didn’t Sarah take Cristian Vega the dog with her when she left Llanview back in January? Maybe I’m mistaken, but I seemed to recall the dog being in her arms as she walked away in her final scene. But last week it was revealed that the dog has been living in the apartment with Layla and Talia. How’d that happen? It’s just yet another loose end…one of many. Like, who’s running Foxy Roxy’s, Craze, Capricorn, UltraViolet, and The Banner right now? We see Todd at The Sun, but those other establishments seem to be running themselves. Just more sloppy writing.

However, despite all the negative comments I have presented concerning “One Life to Live” is this particular column, I ultimately love the show. Not necessarily at this very moment…but this is the soap I grew up with and watched religiously for most of my life. I feel a sense of loyalty to “OLTL,” and many of the older characters are like members of my own family. It’s just that I hate what is being done to them in recent years. Being backburnered, acting out of character, being turned into little more than props for many of the newer and overexposed characters such as Stacy, Gigi, John, and others.

For those of you unable to figure out the answers to the trivia questions from my last column, here they are (correct answers in bold): Question #1: In 1982, Tony Lord and Bo Buchanan attempted to mine an alternate energy source. Was it a) gravitomite, b) buchanium, c) solarmite, or d) llanvium. Question #2: In 2002, “One Life to Live” aired a special Fourth of July episode featuring musical numbers in a women’s prison. What was the title of that particular episode? Was it a) “Jailhouse Pop,” b) “Babes Behind Bars,” c) “Cell Block Party,” or d) “Stars in Stripes.” Question #3: Al Holden became a radio disc jockey in 2003, and referred to himself on air as the Voice of What? a) Romance, b) Choice, c) the Night, or d) Reason. And Question #4: Back in 1970, Vince “Vinny” Wolek was arrested after trying to transport some illegal cargo over state lines. But just what was it that he was his precious cargo? Was it a) alcohol, b) babies, c) cigarettes, or d) drugs.

Hope you enjoyed those questions, and that they didn’t prove too difficult for you. Now time for this week’s trivia challenge: Question #1: In 1983 how did Countess Echo DiSavoy earn her unusual nickname? Was it a) because of her ability to imitate voices over the telephone, b) because of her resemblance to her mother, c) because of her unusually deep singing voice, or d) “Echo” was an acronym hor her full name, Eleanor Claire Helena Olivia. Question #2: Back in 1979 who became the first person who figure out that Dr. Mario Correlli was indeed his presumed dead brother Marco Dane? Was it a) Karen Wolek, b) Larry Wolek, c) Dorian Lord, or d) Edwina Lewis. Question #3: Patrick Thornhart was involved with an Irish terriorist group known as the Men of what? a) 8, b) 13, c) 21, or d) 100. And Question #4: Alex Olanov was assigned to locate the missing Sarah Buchanan in 1990 by what government agency? a) FAB (Federal Anticrime Bureau), b) ISB (International Security Bureau), c) WSB (World Security Bureau), or d) The Triple I (International Intelligence & Investigation. I’ll have the answers in the May 15th edition of the column. But if you are stumped and can’t wait, you may want to consult a copy of The One Life to Live 40th Anniversary Trivia Book by Gerry Waggett. Just a suggestion…. but one you might find useful.

Well that wraps up another edition of “My View in Llanview.” A special thanks to all my faithful readers and just a reminder that, as always, I enjoy hearing your thoughts and opinions on both my column and “OLTL.” Enjoy the late spring weather, and stay and enjoy your “Life” to the fullest. Take care. See you next time. Auf Weidersehen and Gute Nacht my friends!

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

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


Discussion: My View of Llanview: April 30 Edition









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