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.