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