(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — With “One Life to Live” nearing the end of its run on ABC Daytime, the list of returning former cast members is increasing. And, while the list is impressive, it is lacking one important ingredient for long-time fans of the soap.
With the exception of Judith Light, who is rumored to be making an appearance as Karen Wolek in the near future (which has yet to be officially confirmed), no one (character or actor) from the first two decades that “One Life to Live” was on the air are said to be on the list of possible returns (and no, Tina’s recent return doesn’t count). But this is hardly a new development. The same thing happened more than years ago when “OLTL” celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2008.
While this decision ignores nearly half of the show’s history and legacy, I can see where the writers are coming from in a sense. Aside from older, long-term fans who have watched the show since almost since its inception, and history buffs who like to research the early goings on in Llanview, the majority of today’s “One Life” fans likely have no connection to characters like Carla Gray, Steve Burke, or Elieen and Julie Dennison. Furthermore, several of the actors who played those characters back in the late 1960s and early and mid 1970s have since passed on. And, many of those characters would either no longer have any friends or family currently residing in Llanview or, if they did, no obvious reason to contact them now when they haven’t do so in twenty or thirty years anyway.
Even so, it would still be a nice way to honor the entire 43 year history of the show, and not just the last 23 years of it, especially considering that “One Life’s” early years were filled with storylines that were deemed rather controversial, ground-breaking, and unheard of it for its time, such as the light-skinned Carla Gray (whom the audience thought was white) kissing a black man. That kiss alone prompted an ABC affiliate in Texas to drop the show from its daytime schedule at one time. Or Cathy Craig, a young girl hooked on drugs, whose counseling sessions took place with real-life drug addicts in New York City’s Odyssey House. Even the soap’s original name “Between Heaven and Hell” was deemed too controversial by the show’s sponsors, prompting creator Agnes Nixon to compromise and go with a more traditional title.
That being said, I realize that the show’s last two decades have also had their fair share of controversial and socially relevant plots like the homophobia/AIDS storyline, Viki’s battle with breast cancer and enduring a heart transplant. But it was the success of those early storylines noted above the paved the way for the show to condition on with similar types of plots years later.
How interesting would it be for several of these characters who were last seen in Llanview twenty-five, thirty, or even thirty-five years ago to suddenly walk back into town? Even if Viki is the only person some of them recognize, what a nice nod to those long-time fans and to the show’s history that would be. It would also be a treat for newer viewers to finally see a character they may have only heard or read about suddenly onscreen interacting with Llanview residents we are more familiar with. I know it would be me, having been born more than a decade after “One Life to Live” aired its first episode, and I’m sure it would be for many others as well.
That’s not to say that I won’t enjoy seeing Gabrielle Medina, Lindsay Rappaport, or Alex Olanov returning once more, or that I haven’t like seeing Tina and Cord back in Llanview again. These were some of the characters I grew up with over the years. But is would certainly be interesting to see some of those I didn’t grow up coming back as well. With Tina, Viki, and Todd all together again, imagine if we got to see their other siblings Meredith and Tony again (even if only in spirit form) for instance. Sadly however, I’m sure that “OLTL” likely won’t even mention the names of many of these older characters in the final months. But even if they don’t much of those first twenty years of Llanview will live on through the “OLTL” anniversary books, Youtube videos, and old photographs. And that is better than nothing for a show that has been a part of my life for more than a quarter of a century now. However, I will be really ticked off if the show doesn’t ask Michael Storm to appear a final time as Dr. Larry Wolek. Just sayin’.
Moving on, congratulations to”Kelly” and “CBRVA83,” both of whom (for the most part) correctly guessed the answers to the trivia questions from the previous column. In case you missed the clues, here there are again with the answers: 1. What was the name of the episode of “Kate & Allie” that Frankie Faison (Richard Evans) appeared on, and what character did he play? Answer: “The Bad Seed;” a detective. 2. What legendary television star does Melissa Archer (Natalie) consider to be her role model? Anwer: Lucille Ball 3. What U.S. city does Florencia Lozano (Téa) say that she wouldn’t like to live in? Answer: Los Angeles.
Now it’s time to shake things up a bit and do some more trivia. 1. What small role did Peter Bartlett (Nigel) play in the film “Meet the Parents?” 2. To which magazine has Andrea Evans (Tina) served as a contributor? 3. What former “Andy Griffith Show” actor did Barbara Rhoades (Irene) co-star with in a 1968 Western, and what was the name of the movie? I’ll have the answers in the November 15 edition of My View of Llanview.
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. Will a wedding go off without a hitch? Someone is discovered passed out. One man’s past catches up with him. And wedding bells ring, but it may or may not be who you think.
Well that’s concludes yet another column. Have a great week everyone! Have a safe and ghoulish Halloween and don’t eat too much candy.
Take care, and until next time remember, we only have “One Life to Live”…
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — “One Life to Live” parodies “Look Who’s Talking,” but does it mean the end of Llanview as we know it?
In the October 7 episode of “One Life to Live” a dog and a baby were shown communicating with one another in adult voices. In the scenes, doggie David Vickers “told” little Liam that John McBain was really his father and not Brody Lovett, as nearly everyone in town currently believes.
And, while the scenes campy and somewhat amusing, some “One Life” fans have already taken to Internet message boards vilifying the show and claiming that it was finally the moment that the show “jumped the shark.” Various comments have ranged from embarrassment to disgust to threats of never watching the soap again are becoming increasingly common.
After reading and following the rather bizarre uproar and flack over a couple of scenes from just one episode of “OLTL,” it confirms my hypothesis that soap operas are a lot like politics. Every election year many voters seem to develop selective amnesia when deciding which candidate or party deserves their vote, seemingly forgetting why they were voted off of office in the last election.
Much the same can be said for soap operas. If “OLTL” fans think that a baby and talk “talking” to one another is bad, then how would those same fans react to some of the show’s more outrageous storylines from the past 40 years? Did “One Life” not “jump the shark” with the secret underground city of Eterna, or Viki going to heaven not once, but twice? Or what about the time travel plot from the 1980′s when Clint went back in time to the Old West, or three years ago when Bo and Rex were transported back to 1968, but yet were still able to communicate with the present day by using a cell phone? And what about Viki conveniently forgetting about the births of two of her children, including a daughter whose twin was conceived by a different father?
If that’s not enough to convince you, then what about when Victor Lord returned from the dead nearly three decades after one of his daughter’s alternate personalities supposedly killed him, to claim his granddaughter’s heart? Don’t forget Margaret Cochran’s 12 month pregnancy. Or, more recently, with the Stacy “back from the dead with plastic surgery to make her look like her sister Gigi” storyline, or how Todd’s mother was able to fake her own death, control a government facility in Louisiana, brainwash one son into thinking he was someone else, and hold her other son prisoner for eight years while torturing him on a daily basis?
And let’s not forget how the writers made a point of reminding viewers that Téa and Todd had sex on the tropical island in 2002, when she returned to town in 2009 with a suddenly teenaged daughter which he was the father of? Or how Jack Manning aged at least six years in less than a month? And don’t forget how Marty and Patrick’s 16-year-old son Cole returned to Llanview in 2006, when he really should have been their 8-year-old daughter, based on Marty and Patrick’s exit storyline from 1997?
I realize that all soaps occasionally age characters to fit storyline purposes, however they, along with the other examples I listed above, showcase only a few of the times from over the years when the show actually did “jump the shark.” Many of those storylines were a lot more outrageous then a couple of scenes involving a dog and a baby communicating with one another. Heck, it isn’t even the first time an animal (either alive or dead) has “talked” on this show. Back in the 1990′s, Todd’s parrot Moose chatted with him on a regular basis. And in 2009, Morris the Stuffed Porcupine was heard talking to viewers. So why should doggie David Vickers and baby Liam conversing with one another cause such an uproar, be so difficult to deal with, and insult viewer intelligence any more so than any of the other storylines over the years have?
My point is that, while the scenes may have been a little embarrassing for some fans, it is by far not the worst thing “OLTL” has ever done. It was just some harmless fun on the show’s part and was largely just cute and amusing. No real harm done. It’s not the end of the world….’Life’ will go on….
Moving on, congratulations to “CBRVA83″ and “Mary,” both of whom correctly guessed the answers to the trivia questions from the previous column. In case you missed the clues, here there are again with the answers: 1. Kassie DePaiva (Blair) appeared on what game show before joining “OLTL” and who was the daytime celebrity (and future co-star) was she paired up with? Answer: “Body Language,” Catherine Hickland. 2. What two wars did the late Phil Carey (Asa) serve in? Answer: World War II and the Korean War. 3. What is John-Paul Lavoisier‘s (Rex) real last name? Answer: Seponski.
Now it’s time to shake things up a bit and do some more trivia. 1. What was the name of the episode of “Kate & Allie” that Frankie Faison (Richard Evans) appeared on, and what character did he play? 2. What legendary television star does Melissa Archer (Natalie) consider to be her role model? 3. What U.S. city does Florencia Lozano (Téa) say that she wouldn’t like to live in? I’ll have the answers in the October 30 edition of My View of Llanview.
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. A former couple remembers the good old days. A child makes a troubling discovery about their parent. Two old flames find themselves in a compromising position. And one family is ordered to appear in court.
Well that’s concludes yet another column. Have a great week everyone! Stay safe and warm wherever you are!
Take care, and until next time remember, we only have “One Life to Live”…