Short cuts

I’ve been distracted over the last few days – unfortunately, the drama quotient in my real life is exceeding the drama I usually see on my TV – but I wanted to share a few quick observations with you.

MOST WELCOME SCENE: Beth’s recent scenes with Frank and the Coopers on Guiding Light. I know not everyone was enthralled by the Beth/Coop story, but their affair and his death DID happen.

Beth was looking a whole lot like a callous bitch to me over the last few weeks; I understood that the reunion helped her reconnect with the things she loves about Phillip, but she seemed to forget about Coop at record speed. (Exhibit A: “Hey, old friends and ex-husband, let’s all go to the restaurant my dead boy toy’s family used to own. Won’t that be fun?”)

I was glad that GL showed us that Coop was important to Beth, and that she’s still grieving him.

A TALE OF TWO SOAPS: I keep trying to watch One Life to Live, and I have to agree with many of its fans – much of the show is excellent. I think Stacy breaking up Rex and Gigi might be the laziest plot point ever, but overall, the show is well-written and engaging.

I was enthralled by watching Erika Slezak and Robin Strasser together holding vigil outside of Blair’s hospital room. The history, the context of those scenes and the subsequent scenes with Addie thanking “Dorie” for taking care of Blair when she couldn’t were just beautiful.

But I just cannot, cannot enjoy the character of Todd. Listen, Trevor St. John is magnificent, and he re-energized Todd and gave him more years of story than he may have had otherwise. But my enjoyment of OLTL flies out the window when Todd is on.

I know TSJ and Todd have lots of fans, and I don’t mean to rain on their parade. I know Todd inspires fierce debates. And watching a messy, damaged person try to make peace with their world can be compelling drama. For some reason, I just can’t get on board. Many people think Todd is still salvagable or worth rooting for, but I believe he’s beyond redemption.

I have the same issue with Y&R – no matter how magnificent it is, I’m so over Victor Newman that I just can’t enjoy – or believe in – much of what he does, and it brings the show to a complete stop for me.

Speaking of OLTL: if I can be shallow for a moment; John-Paul Lavoisier (always a consistent, great performer) looks incredibly handsome with his new haircut.

200 KINDS of CRAZY: That was my reaction to the announcement that Jamie Luner was joining All My Children in the role of Liza Colby.

Understand, I’m not hatin’ on Ms. Luner. She was fun and bitchy in Savannah – any soap would be wise to hire her.

But as the press release from ABC said, Liza is “200 kinds of crazy” and returning to Pine Valley. Which sounds nothing like Liza – who was never crazy, but more a cool, calculating force to be reckoned with.

I can understand why AMC would want the character back, but this turn of events makes me wish all the more that Beth Ehlers had been cast as Liza. Beth physically resembles Marcy Walker, who originally played Liza, and it would have been fun to see Beth play a bitch (or at least, a character with those tendencies). Instead, she seems adrift and at sea as Taylor, a character with few friends and no family. It’s hard to root for a character like that (see under: Reese Williams). We Guiding Light fans know Ehlers can knock great material out of the park (as well as turn poor material into gold), but I wish she’d have been given a meatier role like Liza.

AMC would be wise to take a look at the recast success rate at As The World Turns. Recasts are hard enough, but if you completely reinvent the character and ignore the character’s existing history or personality, you end up pissing fans off. It’s a tough choice, though; playing a new character didn’t do Ehlers any favors, either.

HURTS SO GOOD: I know we’ve talked a lot about Guiding Light’s “Otalia” a lot lately (here and here), but today’s scenes were exquisite. I usually shy away from hyperbole and voice-of-God pronouncements, but Crystal Chappell is delivering some of the finest performances of her career in this story. (Yes, I’ll say it: Emmy-worthy.) She’s portrayed a wide range of feelings about Natalia – and about the uncharted territory of her feelings – and she’s hitting every note perfectly.

Today’s scenes with Robert Newman (Josh) also reminded me how great Josh and Olivia were together. Josh was, for lack of a better word, unambiguously horny today, and the scene between the two had chemistry to spare. Guiding Light would be wise to involve Josh in Olivia’s journey – as a friend. They went through so much ugliness on their first go-round; it would be great to see them reconcile that and really be there for one another.

And those scenes also remind me what an underappreciated actor Robert Newman is. Josh probably needed a rest after the unpopular pairing with Cassie, but here’s hoping Josh (and Newman) get a new story soon.

The stories for “Bud” have tended to fall into one of two categories: (a) his love for Reva, or (b) his involvement with women who are not Reva and who are, or were mentally unstable. (Like Sonni, Annie, Olivia and, yes, I’d throw Cassie in there.) I’d love to see Josh fall in love with someone who’s warm and stable and ready to make him happy.

14 thoughts on “Short cuts

  1. you know, i too was taken by that scene between beth and frank as i was watching it. i love those tiny little scenes that reference history even recent history.

    but monday’s episode was so chockablock with great scenes (with the exception of marina and mallet, which is like watching paint dry, and daisy, who’s too stupid to live:) that i totally forgot about the beth/frank scene when i wrote my post.

    thanks for reminding me.

    and, lots of real-life drama for me too!

    Lynn, I completely agree re: Marina and Mallet. And, as someone recently noted elsewhere, if you don’t know what’s happening next in their story (or who baby Henry is) you haven’t been watching soap operas for very long. If we’re lucky, that reveal will break them up.

  2. I agree Patrick. Crystal is knocking this storyline out of the park and showing why she is without a doubt the finest method actress on daytime television. (in any medium if you ask me).

    She is showing, rather than telling, the depth of Olivia’s love and pain. She deserves an emmy this year and next, IMHO.

    I would love to see the show have Liv and Josh as friends and have him help her see that she simply must tell Natalia how she feels.

  3. Thanks for the great comments about Otalia. CC is a phenomenal actress – if she doesn’t get an Emmy for Lead Actress there is something seriously wrong with the system. A shout out to JL too for her portrayal of Nat.

    I would love to see Josh be a great friend to both Liv and Nat, especially as the Otalia relationship blossoms into romance.

    Kudos GL for such a beautifully written and well-acted story.

  4. What a great article! I agree with you on the unredeeming traits of both Victor Newman and Todd Manning, but I still enjoy the banter and general drama that is caused due, oftentimes, to their mere presence. They are usually the center of the drama if not the impetus and that’s necessary to any drama series.

    I loooooooove Otalia and am glad to read your reviews on their story. I am new to the show and very surprised to see how much chemistry Olivia and Josh had today. I only started watching the show because of Otalia, but today, I wanted Olivia to sleep with Josh! That was a terrifying turn of events for me, lol. Any way, until I see Natalia showing some romantic love towards in the same way that Josh did today, I don’t think that Josh should have scenes with Olivia because I will want them together! It’s all very confusing and lovely 🙂

    Hi Mickey, thanks for the response! I know Todd and Victor are villians are are supposed to stir up trouble. I just wish (especially with OLTL and Todd) that he would finally pay for his actions.

    I think I’d have hundred of Otalia fans calling for my head if I were to suggest that GL revisit Josh and Olivia as a couple! But I’ve really liked how Bill and Josh – two people that still care about Olivia – have crossed into her current story. Olivia could use a friend, and Josh would be the ideal one to help her.

  5. I really loved the Josh and Olivia scenes today. I so want them to become friends and support each other. This may be an unpopular opinion, but I want Josh to find someone worthy of him. I don’t think it’s Reva or Olivia – maybe someone new. Here’s to hoping he can find some happiness.

    As for Olivia, CC is totally rocking her scenes and I have never felt so much from an actor as I feel from her. The angst is so exquisite. I’m in awe. GL is really delivering these days.

  6. Today’s show was unbelievable. Crystal Chappell is a force to be recon with. This storyline is showcasing her miles of talent and taken her to a higher level. I agree that pairing Josh and Olivia as friends and confidants would bring their relationship full circle and give both of them a safe, loving friend to lean on. I’m really excited for what’s to come!

  7. I haven’t watched any GL yet this week, so I can’t comment on that. Totally get being uninterested or over a particular character. Todd is a character that I run hot and cold with, this last material, which has decimated his relationship with Starr bothered me a lot. That to me was the biggest factor for redemption (his love of his kids), and that was thrown overboard for Marty.

    With Jamie Luner, I’m kind of horrified, though I don’t have a criticism for her acting. I can’t imagine her as Liza, as a woman who willingly was involved with Adam, and is a peer of Tad/Angie/Jesse. The initial writing for Taylor was too one-dimensional which hurt Beth Ehlers, and along with the ad campaign which alienated people she is at a disadvantage. I actually like that Taylor isn’t a member of a core family, but she should have a stronger tie to it.

    Hope things get better for you (or at least less drama filled) and I say that not because I want more postings BTW.

  8. Loved the Otalia comments. Crystal is a powerhouse actress and shines in any scenes she’s given, but she has gone above and beyond in this storyline. You can feel every ounce of her emotions with just a facial expression. She has the power to pull you into her storyline and hold you captive. You feel everything she feels. When she cries, you cry. When she laughs, you laugh. It’s truly amazing!!

    Also, I have to say that Jessica is knocking these scenes out of the park as well! She and Crystal have so much chemistry that it just melts the screen when they’re on. I can’t wait to see what happens in the coming days, weeks, months, and years. I also look forward to reading your comments on it all as well!

  9. Thanks for showing your love for Otalia….I have NEVER been so invested in any show since Cagney and Lacey….This is what daytime television should always be! I actually feel bad for anyone not watching this SL. We are watching the best parts of people and love.

  10. Patrick, Thanks for saying what so many of us already know, Crystal Chappell definitely deserves the Emmy nod. Her scenes with Robert were incredible today. They played very well off of each other and it would be wonderful for them to have a friendship. Thanks again for your positive comments.

  11. Hey Patrick, I’m here to call for your head.

    Nah, I’m not, I know how hard it can be to not want Olivia to follow through with what she promises in her master class flirtfests. In this instance the despair was just too intense for me to really get into the sexiness though, the pain that motivated each of those gestures and looks… it was so palpable.

  12. wonderful article! thank you for the otalia comments! crystal is indeed a goddess.. her performance on this storyline is astounding!

  13. You are spot on with your comments about Crystal and Robert, Patrick. Crystal is compiling quite an Emmy reel. She conveys so much with her eyes and her inflections. She is teaching a master class over there. Robert Newman is so wonderful. I really want Josh to have a Reva-less story line with someone stable and good for him.

    Thanks for all your good words about Otalia and the show in general.

  14. Watching Crystal Chappell on GL today made me do something I haven’t done in a year – CRY because of television. She was simply amazing, I could see every emotion in her eyes, on her face, in her mannerisms. It was especially poignant because I’ve felt some of those moments in my own life.

    I really love the way TPTB at GL have tended this slow Otalia burn. I’m completely grateful, and more than that, so utterly invested that I was actually pained watching it today.

    If Crystal Chappell doesn’t get an Emmy, it will be a complete and utter robbery. She’s been damn near brilliant for so long.

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