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

 
Columns

My View of Llanview: February 29 Edition

Blowing off steam
Friday, February 29, 2008 8:35 PM| By Scotty Gore

(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — My latest rant on Llanview’s current state.

Hello once again everyone. Hope you are as glad as I am that spring is just around the corner. I can hardly wait for the warmer temperatures and short wearing weather to return to my little corner of the planet. I am also looking forward to spring break, which unfortunately will likely be shortened this year because of days missed for snow and ice. There is even talk of us going to school on one or two Saturday’s in March. Which would be virtually unheard of for elementary, middle, and high school students in the U.S.A. these days. But anyway, I guess it beats going to school in the middle of the summer. Anywho, it’s time to talk a little about “One Life to Live.”

I have so busy with resume writing and lesson plans recently that I am still playing a little catch up on my “OLTL” viewing. However, I have watched all the episodes surrounding the “Go Red” Ball. I have to admit that I think they did a really good job with the costumes. It was nice seeing everyone all dressed in red. “OLTL” has some very beautiful women as part of their cast. And it was nice
to see several of the vets, such as Erika Slezak, Robin Strasser, and Hillary B. Smith involved in the a major storyline. Sure, at least half of the episodes were about Jared and his plight, but still I thought it was pretty nicely done. Although I am not particularly fond of Mr. Banks, I have to admit that he is starting to grow on me. I’m not sure why, but he is. Jared is actually one of the few newbies that I honestly care for. And that’s saying a lot.

When the going gets tough, add new sponsors? I guess cash must be in short supply these days around ABC Daytime, because there have been several product placements recently on “One Life to Live” alone, not to mention “All My Children” and “General Hospital.” Those three daytime sudsers have been hawking everything from Campbell’s Soup to V-8 Juice to the Oscars, and Big East College Basketball. I guess the next thing we’ll see is Roxy Balsom doing a commercial for Vitameatavegiman. I mean, come on, are they [i]that[/i] desperate for new sponsors? I can understand the logic with the soup and juice, what with the “Go Red” Ball to promote healthy heart care, but still I thought it was a bit over the top. And the Oscar mention happens every year, when Rex talks about the never seen celebration at Ultra Violet. Give me drama and good writing any day over a sixty-minute infomercial.

While we’re on the subject of the ball, can Jessica get anymore stupid? She is acting like she just fell off the turnip truck yesterday (in the afternoon, just before 5:00 pm). It was one thing when she got herself committed to St. Ann’s, it
was stupid, stupid, stupid when she broke Allison Perkins out of St. Ann’s, but it was absolutely, totally moronic to watch her beg for her life like a little baby when threatened at gunpoint by Allison. Granted, she was being held at gunpoint
(and I would probably do the same thing), but Jessica has always been more strong willed than that. She used to be more independent and tough than she is now. I blame that partly on that immature pretty boy husband of hers, however I also blame that on her family for allowing her to become a total wimp and spoiled little brat. I found myself rooting for Allison in those scenes, and was somewhat disappointed when Jared stepped in to help the little scaredy cat.

Speaking of Allison, I have to ask several important questions–”Was that it?” Was that the whole point in bring her back? To make Jared look like a hero, and to taunt the audience with a secret not even the writers themselves probably don’t
even know yet? And then to place Llanview’s beloved evil psychopath in a coma hovering on the brink of death? If so, then all I can say is, “what a waste!” I’m certain the writer’s strike had something to do with little gaff, but still it makes me wonder if anyone ever had any plan in place whatsoever when called Barbara Garrick and asked her to return in the first place. Maybe I’m alone in my thinking, but this return appears to have had no purpose other than to serve as a stunt which obliviously did not work. How do I know this? Just look at the ratings. “OLTL” is near the bottom once more. I love Allison Perkins just as much as the next person, but sometimes no matter how much air fresheners you spray in the bathroom, the place still smells like crap. Literally.

Now don’t get me wrong, “OLTL” is much improved than it was just one year ago. And the veterans are receiving increasing amounts of airtime and storylines. However, the ratings still have not recovered. But then again, neither have the ratings for the other two ABC soaps. How Brian Frons still has a job is beyond my level of understanding, and apparently everyone else’s as well. When the network you are in charge of loses over three million viewers in one year, you would think the person in charge would be reassigned to flippin’ burgers at McDonald’s, but not good ole Frons. Instead, he is still employed by the alphabet network and STILL in his present position. It almost leaves one to believe that perhaps ABC is deliberately trying to sink its daytime line-up. If so, they are likely trying one of two options–either they are allowing Frons to do whatever means he deems necessary to continuously flush their soaps down the drain, or he really is that clueless, and thinks that his ideas are it on a stick, with the ABC brass knowing better but going along for the ride in an attempt to kill two birds with one stone if the soaps get cancelled and Frons finally gets canned. Either way, it doesn’t look good. And even if ABC is not intentionally trying to destroy their daytime programs, it still leaves a viewer to wonder why he hasn’t lost his job already. Perhaps a higher power than I can answer that question. Calling Errol, paging Toups…where are you. hahaha…anyway, he needs to be fired, like three years ago. And, as if you couldn’t tell, ‘like it on a stick’ is my new catchphrase. Man I need a life.

Saving the best for last, it’s time to take a quick look at some of the plotlines coming up on “OLTL” a couple of weeks down the road. A cop may lose his fortune when victims of his family’s wrath sue for damages. A protective father refuses to allow his daughter anywhere near her boyfriend. The beau of Llanview’s leading lady learns the truth about her long-standing feud with another. A younger steps back out into the world for the first time since losing her son. A local artist may be hired to design a new label. One of Llanview’s most hated women comes clean about her scheme. And the town’s newest father and son duo gain the upperhand on their blackmailer.

Well, that’s all for this edition of the column. I hope you enjoyed this edition of the column. My sincere apologizes for this column not being any longer. However there is only so much time in the time. I’ll try to write more next time.
Have a great weekend everyone, and hope you enjoyed this extra day of February. That’s all for now; please be sure and join me again on March 15th See you next time. Take care and stay safe.

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

Pictured: My View of Llanview courtesy Matt Smith/Soap Opera Network



My View of Llanview: February 15 Edition

Looking back
Friday, February 15, 2008 11:28 PM| By Scotty Gore

(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — Another look back at “One Life to Live” over the years.

Hello all. I hope everyone had a safe and wonderful Valentine’s Day, and that it was everything you dreamed of and more. How is everyone? Hope life has been treating you kindly. As for me, I am in the process of putting together my student teaching portfolio at the moment, something which has become a rather cumbersome task. But really, I am enjoying student teaching so far. The kids are great (well most of them anyway), and I like their enthusam. However, as you can imagine, planning lesson plans and making out tests is a time consuming task. And so, because of that, I’m afraid I haven’t a great deal of time to devote to this column at the moment. For that reason, I felt that it would be appropriate if we took one last look back at some memorable moments from “One Life to Live’s” nearly fourty year history.. And now it’s time for “A Blast From the Past!”

This go around we are powering up “One Life to Live” time machine and transporting ourselves back to a time when hippies ruled and groovy was cool to say. That’s right, we’re heading back to 1969.

It was on October 1969, when this article, entitled “The What’s Happening Now Serial” appeared in After Noon TV. I have chosen to include this article because it reflects back on “OLTL’s” first year on the air back in 1968.

On July 15, “One Life to Live” celebrated its first anniversary. This show, in the course of one year, has become one of the most popular soaps on afternoon television.

Encouraged by Bill Kimbrough, the D.A. (Justin McDonough) to do volunteer work, Meredith Lord (Lynn Benish) took a job in an orphanage and met Wendy (Jan Chasmar), an orphan girl who has had a serious operation.

Jan is one child who will never have the problem of shyness. She’s already adjusted well to TV work.

Hospital aide and everybody?s friend is Sadie Gray (Lillian Hayman). She has come to see Larry Wolek, (Mike Storm), who is in the hospital after an accident. Sadie tells Larry about the day that Vince and Viki ran away.

One lovely day in the park for Sadie Gray, Wendy and Meredith Lord. When Meredith was very ill, she broke up with Larry Wolek because she did not want to be a burden to him. Now she is well, but Larry has been forced into marrying Karen Martin (Niki Flacks) because she is pregnant.

Vince Wolek (Antony Ponzini) is in love with Niki – the split personality of Victoria Lord (Gillian Spencer). The other part of Victoria’s personality, Viki, is in love with Joe Riley (Lee Patterson).

Viki had agreed to marry Joe Riley, but in the middle of the wedding ceremony the personality of Niki came out. Vince wants to marry Niki. Though she likes having fun, Niki is not crazy about the idea of getting married.

Now, while the time machine is still powered up, let’s jump ahead to 1985 when the “OLTL” theme song was the highly popular ‘Tour of Llanview’ version and Peabo Bryson was gearing up to add lyrics to the theme in only a few short months the following the year. It was alos a time when Andrea Evans was at the height of her popularity on “OLTL” as the rebellious Tina Clayton Roberts.

It was on August 10, 1985, when this article, entitled “It’ll take more than a bubble bath to clean up Andrea Evans’ act as daytime’s diva of dirt” appeared in People Weekly. The article was written by Alan Carter and takes a closer look at both Andrea and Tina.

As daytime’s answer to Alexis Carrington, Evans doesn’t wear dresses as fancy as Joan Collins’, but she certainly wears fewer clothes than any other actress in the afternoon soaps. For one recent shower scene, even the ABC censor visited the set. “I thought the scene was very sexy,” insists Evans. “People were coming up to me for weeks after that scene and saying, ‘Were you naked in there?’ and I’d say, ‘Well, do you wear clothes in the shower?’” Despite her sass, in Evans’ case the answer is affirmative: She wore a body stocking for the scene. With Evans, ABC’s One Life To Live has undressed for success, now ranking a strong third in the competitive daytime soap ratings. “She makes a tremendous difference to our show,” says producer Paul Rauch. “Her ability makes her go beyond the ordinary viper. In large part, she’s responsible for the show’s recent success.”

Evans sees herself as “a tigress,” which is in marked contrast to the “scared doe” one reporter called her four years ago. At that time the University of Illinois theatre graduate was making news by marrying her older (30ish) “One Life” co-star, Wayne Massey. They Valentine’s day ceremony took place in Evans’ hometown, Downers Grove, Ill., and was attended by her mother, Audrey, a piano teacher at Chicago’s American Conservatory of Music, and her father, Robert, a semi-retired apartment building manager. “I was very young then,” says the strawberry blonde. “I depended upon Wayne quite a bit. He took more control of things and I was like a scared doe. Now I’m on my own. The scared doe doesn’t exist anymore.”

Having played Tina Clayton since 1978, Evans left “One Life” in December 1981 with Massey, and the couple moved to Nashville. While Massey pursued a career as a singer (he now duets with his new wife, country crooner Charly McClain), Evans took it easy for a year. Then she landed the role of Patty on CBS’ “The Young and the Restless,” which is filmed in Los Angeles. “I don’t think it’s possible to run a marriage across the country,” says Evans, and hers didn’t travel well. The couple divorced last year.

Evans returned to One Life last January. “I’m more confident,” she explains. “I’m able to have fun with the character and have fun with myself.”

Like Tina, she’s also shrewder than she was in an earlier incarnation. In the tradition of her trade, Evans likes to shave four years off her past and give her age as 24. She insists that there is a typo in her college records. While in college she entered and lost the miss illinois pageant back home. “I’m not against beauty pageants,” she says now, “but I’m torn because I tend to be feministic in a lot of ways. Is feministic a word?” Savvy about cross-promotion as well as self-promotion, Evans recently signed with the Elite agency as a model. On the subject of romance, she is circumspect. Her current man is a publicity-shy L.A. producer. Though her marriage couldn’t withstand long distance, this relationship “gets a lot of help from GTE Sprint, People express and MCI,” says Evans.

The steadiest males in her life are still Grompit (a nonsense word used by her father) and Uff da (a Norwegian expletive). The dogs even accompany Evans to work. “They sit in the makeup room under a sign that says, ‘Permanently reserved for the Evans boys.’ Bob Woods [a "One Life" co-star] said that if he’s ever reincarnated, he wants to come back as one of my dogs. Of course he said that after he found out they sleep with me.” Arf, arf.

And lastly, we’re moving full steam ahead to 1991 and look at an article honoring Erika Slezak on her twenith anniverary with “One Life to Live.” The article, which was written by Michael Logan, appeared in a March edition of TV Guide, and was entitled “Brain surgery, blackmail and amnesia … Erika’s a true soap survivor.” I felt this article would be appropriate since Ms. Slezak celebrates her 37th anniversary on “OLTL” next month.


This week, Erika Slezak celebrates her 20th anniversary as the Queen of Unsolved Miseries – a title no other daytime diva comes even close to owning. As Viki Lord Buchanan on ABC’s “One Life To Live,” Slezak has endured the requisite suds tragedies (murder charges, kidnapped kids, custody battles). But she has also suffered through some humdingers, including pornographic blackmail, an 8-year memory lapse and a slutty split personality named Niki. During brain surgery, Viki had an out-of-body experience that put her in Heaven. She has also regressed to the Wild West. And visited the lost underground civilization of Eterna, where she discovered a daughter she didn’t know she had.

Lest we feel too sorry for Slezak, it should be noted that she’s won two Best Actress Emmys for her troubles – and is currently being touted for a third. And, at age 44, she is having the time of her life. “I’m lucky – there are only a few parts that have ever lasted this long!” remarks Slezak, who thought she had died and gone to Heaven when she landed OLTL in 1971 – at a whopping $190 a week. “Some days I wonder why nobody’s caught on to me. I still feel like that nervous little girl who walked in here with no TV experience.”

Though Slezak (the granddaughter of Metropolitan Opera legend Leo Slezak and daughter of actor Walter Slezak) seemed chromosomally destined to shine, she has never ventured into primetime or feature films. And while she’s a graduate of London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, her most notable extracurricular activity since joining OLTL was a series of Sunsweet prune commercials. “I cling to the soap because it affords me the best of both worlds,” says Slezak, referring to life on Long Island with her spouse, Broadway veteran Brian Davies and their children Michael, 11, and Amanda, 9. “The show lets me off for school plays, field trips and Parents’ Night. I don’t think there’s another job that would give me that freedom.”

Or such outlandish theatrics. Still Slezak claims she’s prepared for another decade on “OLTL”. And she doesn’t think her storylines are that screwy. “The show has done others that were more far-fetched – like the time several characters had mind-control devices implanted in the backs of their heads. I wasn’t involved in that one.” That’s comforting … but is she bragging or complaining?

Moving back to the present, I have a few quick comments. I like how “OLTL” has brought back Allison Perkins. She’s one my favorite Llanview psychos. It’s also a pleasure to see Viki’s long time maid Lois grace our screens again. Although, she is often talked about on the soap, we hardly ever get to see her. She is truly a sight for sore eyes. Call me crazy, but I’ve always thought it would be interesting if they hooked her up as a love interest for Nigel. Just imagine the secrets and gossip those two would have to talk about. But, is it just me, or was Olivia Sklar’s hair always brown? But when we saw her this week, it looked red. Hmmm…she looked better as a brunette. Now they need to put a face with Dorian’s “Cook” that we always her talking about as part of her domestic staff. Moving along, why does Nash suddenly have a ponytail? Honestly, why? I think it looks stupid and tacky. Why not just give him a haircut? Afterall, this is 2008, not the 1990s when ponytails were at the height of their popularity. Just give him a haircut and be done with it. And I have to give “OLTL” praise once more for continuing to utiliize their veteran castmembers and characters. Give up the good work people! Also, I’m still not sure what to make about the possiblility of Snoop Dog recording a new “OLTL” theme. A part of me can’t help but wonder if he is a Dorian fan or a Viki fan. Makes you think, doesn’t it?

And, saving the best for last, it’s time to take a quick look at some of the plotlines coming up on “OLTL” a couple of weeks down the road. A husband and father decides to move his family far away from Llanview. A vineyard owner meets with his new partner. A psycho slips into a coma. A young couple begins putting their lives back to together again. And a secret stealer is caught red-handed.

Well, that’s all for this edition of the column. I wish I had more time to write an in-depth analysis of the current state of my favorite soap, but I will in a special edition of my column on February 29th, when I look back on “OLTL’s” ‘Go Red’ Ball and determine how big of a splash it made in Llavniew, and with viewers. See you next time. Take care and stay safe.

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

Pictured: My View of Llanview courtesy Matt Smith/Soap Opera Network



My View of Llanview: January 30 Edition

“One Life,” Many Issues
Wednesday, January 30, 2008 5:40 PM| By Scotty Gore

(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — A look back at how “One Life to Live” handled social issues in the past.

Hello all. Hope life is treating everyone well. I am now off and running with my student teaching at my local middle school. Thus far it has been it has been rather interesting. I’m finally starting to learn all the students’ names, which is a big help. Student teaching can be tons of fun, but it is also very labor intensive. I have lesson plans to write, assignments to grade, and chapters to review for tomorrow’s social studies classes. So, due to my somewhat overwhelming workload at the moment, I have decided to go a slightly different route with this edition of the column. Since it’s been awhile since we’ve done this, I felt that it would be an appropriate time to do it again. And so now it’s time for “A Blast From the Past!”

This go around we are powering up “One Life to Live” time machine and transporting ourselves back nearly thirty three years to a time when disco, large hair, and bellbottoms were considered cool and groovy. That’s right, we’re going back in time to 1975 to revisit an article highlighting “OLTL’s” emphasis on topical issues ranging from drug abuse to sexually transmitted disease and the Vietnam War.

It was on March 23, 1975 when this article, entitled “There’s a schism in the world of the Grand Old Soap Opera: Life can be beautiful/relevant” appeared in the New York Times. Written by Anthony Astrachan, this article focused on how soap’s were changing their format in order to tackle many relevant issues. I have chosen to only include excerpts of the article which feature “OLTL,” due to the fact that since is a column centered around that soap and not “As the World Turns,” “Another World,” or “All My Children,” which were also discussed in the article.

Cathy Craig was a teen-ager who experimented with drugs and was cured of her incipient habit at Odyssey House. She went on to become a reporter for her hometown newspaper, the Llanview Banner, and wrote a nationally syndicated article telling nice people what to do when they get venereal disease. She turned some of her newspaper experiences into a best-selling book of short stories that won feminist praise. She has borne a child without a husband but is enthusiastic about being a “single parent” rather than an “unmarried mother.” On a national television talk show, she looked meaningfully down at her bulging belly and asked the interviewer, Melba Tolliver, to call her “Ms.”

Cathy Craig is not a real-life feminist but a character in a soap opera, ABC’s “One Life to Live.” It’s recipe for dramatic entertainment includes a large dose of realism, ranging from real-life drug treatment centers like Odyssey House to real-life television personalities like Melba Tolliver. It makes quite a contrast with the classical canon of daytime television drama embodied in CBS’s “As the World Turns.”

… The contrast between the two programs shows what James Thurber once alled “Soapland,” like American society as a whole, is torn between the need to keep up with changing realities and the desire to stick to tried-and-true formulas that have never expressed reality – to tell it like it isn’t. The search for relevance has led daytime drama to deal with social issues like drugs, venereal disease and the Vietnam war, to take feminist positions on questions like abortion and women working, and to bring blacks and ethnics into the WASP population of Soapland.

…”One Life to Live,” which seems the most consistently innovative soap opera, has a recurring feminist story line in the adventures of Cathy Craig. Dorrie Kavanaugh, who plays Cathy, feels that the program has not gone far enough, even though she regards it as the best on the air from the feminist viewpoint. She says the best script she has been given was her childbirth sequence, alone in a snowbound resort cottage with a male newspaper colleague. When he sees her in pain, he says, “Be a brave girl.” Between deep contractions, she replies indignantly, “Don’t call me a girl! I’m a woman.”

Miss Kavanaugh is only half pleased that Cathy could go to bed with another male character, Joe Riley, without being in love with him. “Before, we couldn’t say ‘Yes,’ now we can’t say ‘No,’” she commented. “That has nothing to do with human liberation. I play a character as though she’s liberated, but she’s 28, she lives with her parents, she went to bed with a man once in her life and got pregnant – is that so liberated?”

…Racial attitudes are also changing, a dozen years after the peak of the civil rights movement. Many programs have one or two black characters to put the networks’ employment of actors in compliance with the Federal law. “One Life to Live” has gone one step further by making its black characters really important in the story line. Ed Hall, a black police lieutenant, has been written out temporarily because the actor who played him, Al Freeman Jr., went to Hollywood. He will be replaced. Ellen Holly, who plays his wife, likes the Ed Hall role because it calls for a black that comes on like Carey Grant instead of the macho gangsters – like Superfly – who have become models for black children. Miss Holly has been described as a mixture of three racial strains, and there was no doubt that she could pass for white when the story called for it. In the process of deciding to admit she was black, she had romantic involvements that required her to kiss first a white man and then a black, making a Southern red-neck equally indignant about both when he wrote in to protest. Usually, daytime drama shows only two or three blacks in an all-white world, and their problems tend to be classified as human rather than racial. The amount of realism remains a matter of dispute.

“One Life to Live” also tries for a greater degree of realism in having an important set of characters that are both blue-collar and ethnic, whereas most soap operas merely drop in an occasional Italian or Jewish name to add what is thought to be a desirable touch of the exotic. “One Life” also had a Jewish- Christian marriage (until the Jewish husband “died”) with one-liners about Christmas and Hanukkah.

The blue-collar couple on this program also provide something else that is a rarity in the old- fashioned kind of soap-opera humor. It tends toward slapstick, as in a scene in which they test a waterbed when they set out to buy furniture for their new home. But even the middle-class WASPs in “One Life” are capable of wit by Soapland standards. Joe Riley is painting the carriage house that he and Victoria Lord Riley Burke Riley are remodeling. When Viki applauds his work, Joe says, “Michelangelo, eat your heart out!” She deadpans, “I thought he only did ceilings.”

“One Life to Live” and “All My Children” were both created by a woman who cheerfully takes credit for much of daytime drama’s new willingness to face social issues – Agnes Eckhardt Nixon.

…Mrs. Nixon likes to introduce into the soaps not only such relevant issues but scenes and people from real life. One of her favorites was the Odyssey House sequence in which Cathy Craig went for her drug cure on “One Life to Live.” Doris Quinlan, the producer of “One Life,” still speaks proudly of that story. The show spent five days on location at the real Odyssey House in 1970. The cameras shot Cathy with the black and Puerto Rican youths there, and the writers spread the footage over a summer’s worth of episodes intended to deliver the message to young people home from school or college. Actors on the show speak of the excitement in the fan mail of that period, and the ratings went up slightly. (Ratings have actually gone down when other soaps showed less realistic drug sequences.) Amy Levitt, who then played Cathy, says the management thought the Odyssey House youngsters interfered with the entertainment values of the show. She resented what she regarded as a diversion of the story from the ghetto kids to a blue-eyed blond hero with whom Cathy was made to fall in love. Miss Quinlan says, however, the sequence lasted its natural life, ending at the same time as the summer and the Odyssey House footage.

A venereal-disease sequence followed some time later. Dr. Larry Wolek spoke on the subject at Llanview High, which made it only natural for Cathy, his step niece, to write an article on the subject for The Banner. Mrs. Nixon wrote the “article” herself from research with William D. Schwartz of the Communicable Disease Center of the U.S. Public Health Service in Atlanta. Mrs. Nixon says that more than six thousand people wrote to ABC for copies of the article – an enormous response, especially considering the fact that “One Life” subordinated the V.D. theme to the continuing, disease-free romances that are the living matter of all soap operas.

Moving back to the present, I have to give “OLTL” an A+ for its use of history and past characters and cast members. Since last summer, Tuc Watkins (David Vickers), Tonja Walker (Alex Olanov), John Loprieno (Cord Roberts), Dan Gauthier (Kevin Buchanan), Nathan Fillion (Joey Buchanan), James DePaiva (Max Holden), Christine Jones (Pamela Stuart), Ann Hamilton (Aunt Corrine Balsom), Tari Signor (Margaret Cochran), and Barbara Garrick (Allison Perkins), have all returned for short
guest stints in Llanview. Now if we could only get these people back either recurring or on contract: Thom Christopher, Michael Storm, Laura Koffman, Wortham Krimmer, and Andrea Evans. Do you realize that it has been ten years since the character of Tina Roberts has been seen on “OLTL?” I say it’s way past time that we bring Viki’s baby sister back home to Llanview.

And, saving the best for last, it’s time to take a quick look at some of the plotlines coming up on “OLTL” a couple of weeks down the road. On the run with two nuns, a psychopath finds what she’s looking for at a dead man’s grave. One new couple have a difficult time focusing on their jobs. A pair of newly independent souls attend a ball together. An overzealous individual is anxious to get his/her hands on someone else’s secret. And someone is in for the shock of his or her life.

Well, that’s all for this edition of the column. I wish I had more time to write an in-depth analysis of the current state of my favorite soap, but alas I’m afraid I just don’t have the time at the moment. But there’s always next time. Since we won’t meet again until February’s most cherished holiday, I hope everyone finds love this Valentine’s Day. And if any of you ladies are single, I’m in the book. I’ll be awaiting your calls. Hahaha Take care everyone, and I’ll see you again on February 15th.

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

Pictured: My View of Llanview courtesy Matt Smith/Soap Opera Network



My View of Llanview: January 15 Edition

What happens in Texas doesn’t stay in Texas.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008 8:45 PM| By Scotty Gore

(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — A look at the Bon Jour Cafe hostage crisis.

Happy 2008 everyone, and welcome to my first column of the New Year. I hope everyone had a safe and wonderful holiday season. I don’t know about you, but I am glad the holidays are finally over. It was nice while it lasted, but it such a relief when things got back to normal once more. After a couple of busy evening of burning the 9 pm oil (haha), I have finally gotten caught up on my “One Life
to Live” viewing for the month. I have been so busy lately since starting student teaching on January 3rd. Until the end of the school year, I have working with about 112 sixth grade social studies students. So far it has been a mostly rewarding experience, however I am still a little nervous about taking over the teacher’s classes and doing my own thing for a couple of months. So we’ll see how it goes. Well, enough about my ‘new’ life. Now let’s talk about another life…”One Life to Live.”

I know that certain people occasionally like to think that since I am a “OLTL” fan that I’m just going to gush and praise the soap whether it deserves it or not. It’s true that I am somewhat biased about the soap I have grown up watching, however, that doesn’t mean that I cannot or will not complain about it when I see something I don’t like. After all, this is column reflects only my opinion of “OLTL.” I recognize that not everyone has the same views on the show as I do, although it would be awesome if they did. Just kidding. We all like different things, and that’s okay. Just imagine how boring and dull the world would be if we were all liked exactly the same things. Six billion people with identical personalities walking around unsupervised is scary to even think about. So it’s good to be different, it helps make the world a better place. Much like “OLTL” these days. It is different from the other ABC soaps right now, in my opinion, because it is good. And just because the ratings are low doesn’t necessarily mean the quality of the show has deteriorated.

One thing that makes “OLTL” good right now is the variety. There is something for virtually everyone. It’s hard to praise the show here without sounding like a Public Service Announcement, but I will give it the old college try. Older and/or longtime viewers can enjoy seeing the veteran characters and actors they recognize and have followed for years. Young adults can follow the exploits of Llanview’s under thirty crowd. And teen viewers can find entertainment by watching the high school crowd. These are only a few examples of the entertaining things to see right now on “OLTL.” Hmmm…..maybe I only gave this the old middle school try. Upon reading what I just wrote, it sounds more like an infomercial where I am trying to sell a product to the five people watching at three o’clock in the morning. Yikes! Anyway, here’s the gist of what I am trying to say. “OLTL”
is pretty damn good right now period.

What makes it so good? I think the number one and two reasons the sudser has been at the top of its game the last few weeks has been in large part due to the powerful
performances of Erika Slezak and Kathy Brier. One could just feel the emotion in the Cafe hostage scenes. Although I have to admit that the storyline has drug on for much, much too long, it left me speechless nonetheless as Marcie finally realized that she had reached the end of the line. Say what you will about Marcie Walsh McBain, but above all else she loves baby Tommy. And what mother in her right mind would not fight for her child. I know what you’re thinking. Technically, he’s not her son…he’s Todd and Margaret’s son. However, she and Michael have raised him since he was only a few months old. They adopted him, thinking he was an orphan. He was the center of their world. And it was even harder for Marice, knowing that she couldn’t have kids of her own. She only wanted what she thought was best for ‘her’ baby. And with all the deadbeat parents out there today, you have to at least admire her for that. My heart goes out to her and Michael. I only pray that they will have a miracle, and somehow Marcie will end up pregnant. Again, I realize that some of you have grown tired of seeing Marcie on you television screens, but have a heart and try putting yourself in her shoes. Wouldn’t you have done the same thing, or at least something similar? I’m not trying to excuse what she did, but I have trying to explain it. Sometimes letting go is the hardest thing you can do to someone or something you love.

Speaking of the McBain family, has Chris Stack not made an impressive debut as Michael? Wow. At first I was skeptical, however I am quickly warmed up to his portrayal of Michael, and am left thinking “Nathaniel who?” Stack has the made the role is own, and has great chemistry with Kathy Brier and most others he comes into contact with, except for Michael Easton, but then again, who does? While I miss Nathaniel Marston and his roles of Al and then Michael, I am really digging Chris Stack’s version of the better McBain brother.

After nearly thirty-seven years and six Emmy’s, Erika Slezak can still deliver when the occasion warrants. I was on the edge of my seat as she tried to talk Marcie out of doing something she would regret. You could tell that her words were really beginning to have an impact on Marcie. And when she started having heart problems from all the stress and not having her medicine, I felt like calling 911 myself. Watching her expressions and movements in those scenes, it looked as if she were truly having a heart attack. I was spellbound by her flawless performance.

Call me crazy, but I am starting to like the thought of Clint and Nora dating. I’m glad they’re taking things slow with them, and not having them jump into bed after the first kiss. I think it’s sweet how they’re worried how others will react to their budding relationship. Who says romance is dead? I think if Clint can’t be paired with Viki, then Nora is the next best thing. And I’m also glad to see that hell has thawed back out after it froze over when Clint was dating Dorian. I still can’t believe he even had the gall to ask her out considering all the pain and suffering she has put him, his family, and Viki through over the years. As for Nora, keep her away from Bo. They were a fun couple back in the day. To quote a popular rock and roll song whose name escapes me at the moment, “But that was yesterday, and yesterday’s gone.” Meaning they [i]were[/i] great ten or twelve years ago when they were married, but times have changed. They have both moved on; so it really makes no sense to go back and try and recreate something that hasn’t been there for more than a decade.

And now for some thought from the peanut gallery. First, although Jared is not actually a Buchanan, it is still creepy to see the unhealthy relationship between him and Natalie. In many ways, it reminds me of the creepy vibes I got from watching Cole and Marty share scenes together. Second, it is great to see Dorian involved in so many different storylines. And it’s also a pleasure to see Addie. Third, since we have been seeing more of the veterans lately, where has Bo been? His only function these days seems to be in police station scenes and as Lindsay’s babysitter. Fourth, I pray that they don’t pair Langston with Cole. That boy sucks the life out of anyone and everyone he shares scenes with. Just look what he has done to Starr. However, while I don’t like the potential Langston/Cole match-up, the thought of a Starr/Markko relationship intrigues me. I like Markko; he’s a good kid. In fact I like all the teens except Cole, and sometime Starr (depending on what type of mood I’m in). Fifth, Gigi is my favorite newbie, followed by Charlie and Shane. Young Austin Williams is a cute little boy and a good actor for someone his age. I hope we see more of Shane and Gigi soon. And sixth, Jessica needs the stupid ness slapped out of her. She should have been ashamed of how selfishly she acted as her mother was being held hostage.

Well, that’s all for this edition of the column. It’s not a masterpiece, but I don’t think it’s half bad for something I wrote in about twenty minutes. haha. But there’s just so much to do for school. I have lesson plans to write, names to learn, and homework of my own to do. I’ll try to write a more in-depth column for January 30th. In the meantime, keep enjoying “OLTL” and take care of one another. Have a great week and stay warm.

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

Pictured: My View of Llanview courtesy Matt Smith/Soap Opera Network



My View of Llanview: December 30 Edition



My View of Llanview: December 15 Edition

“One Life” goes primetime
Saturday, December 15, 2007 9:30 PM| By Scotty Gore

(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — How feasible is a “One Life to Live” spin-off centering around John McBain?

Hello again everyone. Hope everyone is having a great holiday season so far. I also hope that you are having better weather than I am at my house. Life has been like an underwater world here recently with rain, rain, and more rain. I keep hoping for some snow by Christmas, but it looks less and less likely with each passing day. So, if any of you are unsure what to get me for Christmas, I have an easy answer as to what I want. Just pray that it will snow on my old Kentucky home for Christmas. Maybe if we all do it, my wish will come true. But anyway, enough of my vain attempt to get a snow high. Now it’s time to look at “OLTL.”

Earlier this month, ABC Daytime President Brian Frons talked with TV Guide about the possibilities of spin-offs for “One Life to Live” and “The Young and the Restless.” In the interview, Frons stated that he has already discussed the issue with “OLTL” Executive Producer Frank Valentini; however plans are on hold until the writers’ strike has been resolved. He also says that “One could easily imagine an ‘OLTL’ spin-off focusing on Michael Easton’s character, John McBain, solving a mystery for 13 weeks—a serial killer or whatever.”

I can sum up my reaction to that in one word, WHAT?!?! Well, maybe two words, HELL NO! Even though that response needs no further explanation, I’m going to give one anyway. For starters, there are two major flaws with Frons’ last comment. However, before I question Frons’ sanity, let me comment on the prospect of “OLTL” getting a spin-off.

Personally, I think it is about damn time that “OLTL” is getting a spin-off. I for one am sick of “General Hospital” always getting everything handed to them on a silver platter. In my opinion, it is an honor for “OLTL” to be chosen for a possible spin-off. Now when I say that I am not referring to any specific characters or storylines, instead I am referring to the idea of a spin-off in general. It’s long past time that an ABC soap other than “GH” receives some attention. I may be in the minority, but I have to give Frons at least a
small amount of credit for choosing “OLTL” as the next spin-off worthy ABC soap.

However, that is where I draw the line at praising Brian Frons. As mentioned earlier, there are two major flaws in his argument. The first is Frons’ unhealthy obsession with Michael Easton and John McBain. If, as Frons claims, the character of John McBain would make an “OLTL” spin-off successful, then why hasn’t he done the same for
the daytime version? While one could easily argue that at least part of the reason for “OLTL’s” ratings decline in recent years is due to the slow death of soap operas, one could also argue that blame for the faltering ratings can also be blamed on the invasion of new and unnecessary characters such as John McBain. It is a proven fact that Michael Easton cannot carry a show. To support my claim, just look at “Port Charles.” As the soap began to focus more and more on his vampire character, the lower the ratings began to drop. There are eerily similarities between “PC” and “OLTL.” In the last couple of years, Michael Easton has been thrown into nearly every single storyline, most of which had no real connection to his character whatsoever. He has routinely been at or near the top of the list for airtime throughout his stint at “OLTL.” And what effect has
his on-air presence had on the ratings you may ask? Well, a look at the ratings shows that “OLTL” ranks near the bottom of the eight soaps on the air. So then, if Michael Easton and John McBain are so damn popular, why are “OLTL’s” ratings the toilet? If he has the appeal that Frons claims he has, then why isn’t “One Life to Live” as popular as “The Young and the Restless” or “The Bold and the Beautiful?”

I understand that the actor does have a small, but very vocal group of fans and supporters; however, he also has twice as many opponents and critics. And why should they care about a spin-off that focuses mainly on a character they despise? Much the same way that a pissed off person won’t vote for a candidate that ticked them off, many soap fans won’t watch a soap that gives them the finger. And for the few years, “OLTL” has done just that for many loyal fans who have been left scratching their heads and wondering how is it that a character that has only been on “OLTL” since 2003 has become the center of the nearly forty-year-old daytime drama? I’ll have to admit, I’ve asked myself that exact question more times than I care to count or remember. Thinking back, I wonder how, oh how that “OLTL” managed to survive all those years (thirty-five years in all) without John McBain and his brooding demeanor. It’s scary to think that we could have missed seeing his dead daddy, who oddly enough had more airtime some months than many of the show’s
veteran cast members, and the deceased Spencer Truman, who came up back to haunt Mr. McBain on numerous occasions. And need I even mention Katlin and Marty? I think not.

While I realize that the round about way in explaining my earlier comments, I think I have made my point. Before I continue, I want to apologize to any Michael Easton/John McBain fans that I may have offended by my preceding comments; for that was not my intent. Now, let’s examine the second flaw in Frons’ argument about a potential “OLTL” spin-off. Show of hands on this one. Who wants to see John McBain, or any member of the Llanview Police Department for that matter, botch another crime scene? The LPD couldn’t even find Waldo if he were wearing glow-in-the dark underwear and standing two feet in front of them. I mean, seriously, when was the last time that they actually solved a crime without any outside amateur assistance? If Lindsay hadn’t confessed, they would have never figured out who murdered Spencer Truman. We still don’t know who killed Mitch Laurence. The LPD’s
track record speaks for itself. I wouldn’t even ask them to help me find my grandmother’s false teeth.

And does Llanview really, truly, honestly need another serial killer? Didn’t “OLTL” learn their lesson from the Music Box Killer, the Killing Club Murderer, the OPP debacle, and the Daniel Colson bi-sexual murderer storylines? None of those storylines garnered any huge gains for “OLTL,” although the reveal of Daniel Colson’s double life did very briefly push “OLTL” above “GH” in the ratings for a week. However, each of these storylines were drug out for such a long period of time that once they were solved, no one could remember or care who had been killed in the first place. I say all of this because another serial killer storyline would do nothing but damage “OLTL’s” recent surge of momentum and creativity. And I think I can safely speak for all “OLTL” fans when I say that. In my opinion, the only way a serial killer storyline would have any success on “OLTL” right now is if it served as a way to rid the soap of some of the dead weight in Llanview. If it rid us of useless characters such as Cole, Vincent, Layla, Jared, and Nash then I would be all for it. Otherwise, it would do more harm than good.

Now that I have painted such a gloomy picture of an “OLTL” spin-off starring John McBain (which I think would be doomed from the start), let me open the windows and bring a little light back into the room. While making John McBain the focus of a spin-off is a bad idea, it may also be somewhat of a blessing for “OLTL” fans. It could result in the brooding McBain spending most of his time in the prime-time spin-off instead of on the daytime version of “OLTL.” However, that is the only silver lining I see in that particular storm cloud.

If Frons had any clue as to what “OLTL” fans think would make for a successful spin-off, he would realize that ninety-nine percent of them would mention characters other than John McBain. In reality, there are countless viable options for a spin-off. Some possibilities include: Viki, Charlie, the Texas diner crew and Asa’s ranch; The Sun; The Banner, Llanview High School, Llanview University, the LPD (with the focus on Bo); Buchanan Enterprises; the Buchanans; the Cramer girls; Llanview Hospital; and Capricorn, just to name a few. Of those, I think that the most successful would be the one’s that focused around the matriarch of Llanivew, Viki Davidson. If Frons truly wanted an “OLTL” to succeed he would choose from one of
the ideas listed above.

Before moving on, there is one last tidbit of the Brian Frons TV Guide article that seems like a no-brainer. Frons mentions in the article that for the upcoming second season of the “GH” spin-off “Night Shift” he in writing team specifically for the prime-time version. His reasoning? It will eliminate the added stress and pressure on the “GH” writing team, while helping to align the storylines between the two programs. To that, all I can say is DUH! How much sense does it make to have the same characters in the same town leading entirely
different lives on “GH” than they do on “Night Shift?” Just imagine how confusing something like that would be for “OLTL.” For example, what if Asa Buchanan was alive and interacting with his family and friends in the spin-off, but still dead as a doornail on “OLTL?” Imagine trying to explain those plot holes.

Switching gears, let’s briefly take a look at the recently updated “OLTL” opening. It was a sight for sore eyes to finally see an updated opening, which hadn’t been overhauled since January. It’s nice to finally have Talia, Markko, Miles, Sarah, Jared and Gigi in the opening credits; however the pictures were taken before Charlie and nu-Michael joined the cast, which explains their absence from it. I was a bit surprised to see just how fast Marty was removed from the opening, and to see Lindsay’s picture still there. But at least we don’t have to look at Spencer’s ugly mug shot any longer. In addition, I am impressed by the new mid and end show bumpers. I can’t help but wonder if “OLTL” is about to get a new
opening. Why else would they unveil new bumpers, if they were planning on keeping the same old and tired opening? Although, I have not heard or read anything concrete about a new “OLTL” opening, I wouldn’t be completely surprised if one debuted in January. After all, 2008 marks the soap’s 40th anniversary, so maybe, just maybe they will get a new opening in observance of that. And it’s not unlike “OLTL” to update their current opening sequence shortly before unveiling a brand new one. Only time will tell I suppose, and this is just probably wishful thinking on my part, but maybe for once the rumors are true on this one, and “OLTL” will get a new opening new month. Stranger things have happened.

And now, for a little sneak peak at what you expect to happen in Llanview a few weeks down the road. It’s fun in the snow for this new couple. A man receives a Christmas gift from a dead woman. A distraught husband recognizes his wife’s engagement ring on the hand of another. One woman asserts her newfound independence. Two friends share a New Year’s Eve kiss. And, this young man give his “niece” a very special Christmas present.

Before I forget, don’t forget to be on the lookout for a new “OLTL” fanfic coming soon to SONBC. Jay Vanderburg will serve as Head Writer, with yours truly serving as Executive Producer. Look for the new fanfic to premiere in early January, just after the holidays. This date is a few weeks later than the previously announced date of December 20th, and was changed because of the busy holiday season. So, be sure and mark you calendars.

Also, my sincere apologizes for the continued delays in the November and 2007 year-to-date episode counts, but I promise you that they will be posted no later than early next week. Homework, finals, decorating, shopping, and other things have kept me quite busy these last few weeks, but with the Christmas break now upon me, I will have the time needed to get them completed and posted. Again, I apologize for the delay. It’s hard sometimes to keep up with them when you also have a life outside of “OLTL” and SON.

Well, that’s all for now, but before I wrap-up this column, I have a special holiday greeting for all loyal readers and fellow “OLTL” fans…

May the meaning of the season be deeper, its friendships stronger and its hopes brighter; and your heart be lifted in joy at the true meaning of this wondrous season. May you be filled with the wonder, be touched by the peace, and believe in the miracle. Have a safe and wonderful holiday season. Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and Happy Holidays one and all. Love, Hope, & Joy to you today and always.

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

Pictured: My View of Llanview courtesy Matt Smith/Soap Opera Network









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