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