As part of his efforts to bring an oral history of “One Life to Live” to page via the upcoming book “Llanview in the Afternoon: An Oral History of ‘One Life to Live,’” entertainment writer Jeff Giles has been posting numerous interviews and snippets of interviews from his time speaking with writers, producers, cast and crew members as they told of their experiences working on the ABC drama series. One such interview/story was posted earlier today on the books official Facebook page, which highlighted a moment in the life of Patricia Elliott (ex-Renee Buchanan).
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”…
Despite not having regularly watched “AMC” since childhood, I made it a point to watch the show’s final episode on ABC last Friday. And, while I was out of touch with most of the recent storyline (like how or why Dr. David Hayward kept many of Pine Valley’s supposedly deceased people alive for several years), overall I enjoyed watching that episode. And it made me hope and wish that when “OLTL” airs its final episode on the network in January that it would get similar treatment.
However, that optimism came to a screeching halt when I watched the first episode of “One Life” the following Monday on a post-”All My Children” ABC Network. What a major disappointment to see episode begin with Ford in a hot dog food asking bystanders in Angel Square to “sample his wiener.” At first it made me wonder if the writers were trying to be clever by throwing the scene in right after the first episode of “The Chew,” an infamous new show all about food, had just aired. But I seriously don’t believe they are smart enough to do something like that, especially considering that its not the first (or probably the last) time Ford has been seen in that very same hotdog costume.
I suppose those scenes involving a meat packing Ford (ha!) and troubled Buchanan twit Jessica were more likely to appease the pair’s dozen or so fans. Yes, nothing says love like an heiress flirting with the guy who raped her when she was suffering from a mental illness, while he is dressed up as a giant wiener. And what a nice follow-up by showing a carefree Jessica then jumping rope with three middle school-aged girls. Just warms your heart doesn’t it? I know it does mine. When I watched those scenes all I could think of saying was “well bless her heart.”
But I suppose it can’t compete with the classics like Todd leaving Téa naked out in the cold, and her hitting him in the back of the head with a shovel. Or Victor Jr. (back when he still thought he was Todd) falling in love and sleeping with an amnesiac Marty Saybrooke, the same woman Todd raped years back. Love is many splendored thing, I suppose.
I find refreshing to see just how far “One Life to Live” has come over the years. In 1968, the show was filled with controversial stories such as interracial couples and drug abuse, prominently featured poor and middle class families, and characters representing different ethnic groups and religious backgrounds. Now, forty-three later, we have a man prancing around town in a hotdog outfit, a guy helping his brother’s ex-girlfriend find her long-lost mother by making a porn flick with her, three shirtless brothers frequently hanging out in a sauna, a paranoid idiot receiving notes and “visits” from his dead girlfriend, and a little boy holding a grown woman hostage against a motel room door armed with only a Spiderman costume and a can of silly string. You’ve certainly come a long way Llanview! Stay classy!
However not everything is negative on the show right now. There is still some good on “One Life to Live.” Cord and Tina are a site for sore eyes and so is doggie David Vickers. I think he is much cuter and smarter than his namesake. Todd (yes the same one I mentioned above) cracks me up. Roger Howarth does rather well with comedic material in my opinion, and the majority of his scenes always put a smile on my face and leave me chuckling a little. And I always enjoy it when Natalie knocks Princess Jessica down a few pegs. I mean it’s not as if she doesn’t deserve it every now and again.
Moving on, no one guessed (either correctly or incorrectly) the answers to the trivia questions from last time. So I’m going to give you a second chance to place your answers. In case you missed the clues, here there are again: 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? 2. What two wars did the late Phil Carey (Asa) serve in? 3. What is John-Paul Lavoisier‘s (Rex) real last name? I’ll have the answers in the October 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. Someone is threatened. One family member extends an olive branch to another. An unlikely couple grows closer. And one man comes up with a new scheme to get what he wants.
Well that’s concludes yet another column. Have a great week everyone! Stay safe and enjoy the beautiful fall weather.
Take care, and until next time remember, we only have “One Life to Live”…
“OLTL” fans have reason to be optimistic about the show’s future after it leaves the ABC Daytime line-up in January. Ratings for the show continue to be solid and holding steady above “AMC” and “General Hospital.” Casting wise, the soap is an upswing. Hot on the heels of Roger Howarth‘s return to Llanview, comes word that several others, including Andrea Evans (Tina), John Loprieno (Cord), Kathy Brier (Marcie), Chris Stack (Michael), and possibly Tonja Walker (Alex) are on their way back as well. Rumors are flying that Prospect Park may be focusing more on “OLTL” than “AMC,” something which “One Life” never really experienced under ABC. And four of the show’s leading stars, including grand dame Erika Slezak (Viki), have already agreed to remain with the show when it transitions to the online distribution company in a few months (the others being Kassie DePaiva [Blair], Ted King [Tomas], and Michael Easton [John]).
Meanwhile, “All My Children’s” future seems less certain. Aside from strained negotiations between Prospect Park and “AMC” leading lady Susan Lucci (Erica Kane), there have thus far been no confirmed reports of any members of the show’s cast either being in serious talks with the company or signing on the dotted line to continue with the show. Furthermore, it appears increasingly more apparent that “AMC” may get the same treatment from Prospect Park that “OLTL” has gotten for years now from ABC.
Speculation on the matter was fueled last week by two separate incidents. First, Deadline Hollywood‘s Nellie Andreeva reported that “I hear that Prospect Park may reevaluate its short-term strategy for the two soaps and put its muscle behind the higher-rated ‘OLTL,’ while moving ‘AMC’ to the back burner.” That was followed up by a Soaps.com interview with “All My Children’s” Vincent Irizarry (David) who commented that “As far as I know, no, there hasn’t been. I’ve spoken to numerous actors from the show over the last few days and nobody from our show has been in contact with them. Except for Susan [Lucci, Erica], which we all assumed that awhile ago. So, that’s basically it. They’re moving [forward] with ‘One Life to Live’ right now and that’s certainly their right. That’s what they’re doing and for whatever reason that’s how it happened.”
Furthermore, unlike “One Life to Live,” “All My Children” will have a nearly four month gap between the airing of its last episode on ABC and its first episode of Prospect Park. “One Life” on the other hand, is said to be debuting on Prospect Park the Monday after its airs its final ABC episode on Friday, January 13, therefore maintaining the status quo for “OLTL,” while leaving “All My Children” fans in suspense and impatiently waiting for weeks for their show to return.
Personally, I find all of this extremely interesting, especially since there seems to have been a complete role reversal between the two shows. “One Life to Live” has always reminded me of “The Little Engine That Could,” endlessly trying to make its way up the hill to the top of the mountain (i.e. ratings), while all the more powerful engines (or in this case, the better known soap operas) just keep passing them by until one day when the little engine finally made it to the top after years of chanting “I think I can.” In a sense, it is uncharted waters for many “One Life” fans who aren’t used to their show doing so well. It makes me proud of the soap I have grown up watching for more than two decades now.
However, its one thing to get to the top, but it is quite another thing to stay there. And with the show’s writing, production, and directing crews under Prospect Park still up in the air, it leaves me feeling somewhat concerned, especially given the fact that current head writer Ron Carlivati still seems on track to join the writing staff of “General Hospital” once “OLTL” up production of its TV run in November. Granted, Carlivati isn’t exactly daytime’s best scribe considering “OLTL’s” overabundance of useless characters in idiotic storylines (e.g. the Nate/Deanna/Rick porn plot), and treatment of women characters, but he must be doing something right for the show to be climbing in the ratings as it has been. But like him or not, he does bring stability to the show and often draws upon the soap’s rather rich history (even if he usually twists it to fit his own agenda) when penning tales. Throwing in someone new, especially if they are not very familiar with the show could cause problems. The same can be said for Executive Producer Frank Valentini. For several years now, he has managed to keep “OLTL” under budget while running a tight ship. Finding a suitable replacement may prove difficult.
That being said, I think the show is in good hands with Prospect Park, and believe that it will continue to do rather well. Even so, I am well aware of the potential risks involved in moving an established 43-year-old soap opera from a television slot it has held for more than 30 years to the uncharted waters of online-only distribution. If it works, then wonderful, soaps will have found a new way to live on. If it fails, then at least soap fans can say they tried, and “OLTL” and “AMC” will be remembered for going where no other soaps have gone. Either way, it gives new hope for the daytime serial genre, proving that there may still be some life in the old “stories” yet.
Moving on, congratulations to “CBRVA83,” who correctly guessed the answers to my trivia questions from last time. In case you missed the clues, here they are, along with the answers: 1. What current “OLTL” cast member was the youngest soap star ever placed on contract with a daytime drama back in 2001? Answer: Kristen Alderson. 2. In college, what subject did Ted King get his undergraduate degree in and from what school? Answer: Business from UC-Santa Barbara. 3. What foreign language did Erika Slezak grow up speaking before learning English at five-years-old? Answer: German.
Now it’s time to shake things up a bit and do some more trivia. See if you know the answers to these questions about some of the current and former cast members of “One Life to Live.” 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? 2. What two wars did the late Phil Carey (Asa) serve in? 3. What is John-Paul Lavoisier‘s (Rex) real last name? I’ll have the answers in the September 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. Someone turns up dead. One man risks his life to save others. An unlikely person is put in jail. And one sister makes a shocking discovery about her sibling.
Well that’s concludes yet another column. Have a great week everyone! Stay safe!
Take care, and until next time remember, we only have “One Life to Live”…
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — According to Gina Tognoni during Saturday’s “Girl’s Night Out” event during the “One Life to Live” Fan Club Weekend, her character Kelly Cramer will be departing Llanview on Wednesday, August 24, when Kelly decides to return to London to be closer to her son Zane. Meanwhile, Tom Degnan‘s Joey Buchanan may not be far behind.
In a soon to be published interview with Soap Opera Network, Degnan explains that Joey finally has the woman he loves in his life and he doesn’t plan on giving her up this time, which is why Joey leaves town to be with his lady.
Before Kelly leaves town, however, look for her, Joey, and the rest of the Buchanan clan pay tribute to Asa (played by the late Phil Carey) on the four year anniversary of his death. In addition, look for her to help her fellow Cramer girls give Dorian (Robin Strasser) a proper sendoff as she exits Llanview to launch her Senate campaign.
Tognoni was honored by “One Life to Live” Executive Producer Frank Valentini and show cast and crew as she taped her final scenes on the ABC soap back on June 24.