D.I.D. Edition, Part 2: I Hate This Show
(Continued from Part 1: I Love This Show)
Everyone has different favorites, and character they love or hate for a million different reasons, but I feel like this storyline has a little something for everyone... to loathe. I would love to hear from people who are enjoying this, I honestly would. It would make me feel better.
Everyone who watches daytime knows about SORAS (Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome). It doesn't bother me. There's not much story potential for kids between the tiny-and-cute (and therefore generally kidnappable) stage and the old-enough-to-date-and-cause-trouble stage. Starr Manning is unusually un-SORASed (by a couple of years only) because Kristen Alderson worked out well because of the awkward ages and basically grew up on the show.
They've aged Jack a few years (I'd say we're supposed to read him as about 12), but not too many since Starr is supposed to be much older than he is (and even fairly young audiences will remember how old she was when he was born, since his birth was a major story they love to ignore now). And they aged Sam a couple of years because clearly they found the cutest, most wonderful kid (twins, actually) to play him and just turned Sam into that age.
All three siblings, regardless of minor changes, have kept the same birth order over the years. Because to do otherwise would be somewhat insane.
And yet here she is. Dani. Danielle. Daniela. It depends on who's talking. Fifteen years old. Two years younger than Starr. Two years younger than Starr. Which puts her about three years older than Jack.
For those of you who are new enough to not find this infuriating, here's a nutshell of why this is lunacy: when Jack was born, Todd thought Max was the biological father, and because he is such a catch who should totally have two badass super-hot women fighting over him, he handed the newborn infant off to a stranger and said, "Get rid of it." He then told Blair ("then" the love of his life) her baby had died. Later, when he found out the kid was really his, he went out and found Jack and brought him back to Blair, pretending that Jack was an orphan and they could adopt him. Blair eventually found out the whole thing in May of 2002. I remember it was May of 2002 and I'm sure many, many others cannot forget that it was May of 2002, because as a sweeps stunt, OLTL had a week of live episodes. The three major standouts in this week of live episodes were: the campiest most embarassing version of Niki Smith that Erika Slezak ever played, Florencia Lozano (Tea) and Patricia Maucieri (Carlotta before she accepted the gays) breaking character and bursting out laughing in one scene (after some flubbed lines), and (the bizarrely non-Emmy-winning) Kassie de Paiva having to play the Dead Baby Lie reveal for a week straight, live. Seriously, she cried and raged for a week straight on live television.
This led to Todd having to skip town. This is how we know Ross Rayburn. Todd then hired him (along with enlisting Tea's help, because she's super) to kidnap Jack and Starr, but that didn't work out so well and all three of them (Todd, Tea, Ross) ended up Stranded On An Island In The South Pacific (in a lengthy and strange storyline in which Tea was able to do full makeup and blow-dry and set her hair daily, but they struggled to find food while spooky music played). Naturally. This time on the island was when Todd and Tea apparently conceived Danielle.
Danielle, who is three years older than Jack. Jack, who was the reason Todd was on the run, and who was kidnapped by a hired Ross, leading to the island story. Which is when Dani was conceived. Dani, who is three years older than Jack. Jack, whose birth and kidnapping is the reason she was conceived. Three years... before he was born.
I am angry. SORAS all you want, soaps, but don't forget what storyline was tied to the kid's birth. If they all of a sudden made Matthew 25 so he could be a hunky leading man, they wouldn't expect us to accept a Bo/Nora reunion in which they discuss Nora having slept with Sam twelve years ago, would they? They wouldn't make Matthew 38 and then still refer to the younger Rachel as Nora's child from her earlier marriage to Hank, would they? Or would they?
They could've just made this thing so much less rage-inducing by simply SORASing Jack before this storyline was introduced. In fact, I know an actor who might be available:
Look, maybe I'm just biased. Do I want Todd and Tea to have a kid together? No. No, I do not. But what's done is done. That doesn't change the fact that this is sloppy, sloppy storytelling. It's not just the birth order issue either. It's that at the culmination of the KAD retread, Tea cried and sobbed and told Blair that she had a horrible, horrible secret that no one could ever know (especially Todd). That she'd done something awful. Then she cried about it intermittently for the next few months, got several phone calls related to the "secret" that aboslutely terrified her, talked about carrying around some sort of monster guilt, and was mortified by Eli's threats on the matter. Ross showed up and, in this incarnation, is incredibly friendly and laid-back -- a bit of an envelope-pusher and rule-breaker but no monstrous hardened criminal type.
And then in the matter of a few episodes, everything changed. All of a sudden, Ross and Eli are brothers, Ross is a scary, dangerous, violent man (we've seen none of this), Eli thinks Tea is just fantastic and wants to help her out and is a big-time Todd-n-Tea 'shipper, Tea never thought Dani was Todd's kid until recently when she had a DNA test done, still kept it from Todd because she wanted to make sure he "deserved" Dani by loving Tea more than Blair (though somehow if Todd loves Tea more than Blair, Tea doesn't think he'd deserve his kids by Blair any less), and now she just can't wait to tell him he has a daughter because she thinks it'll bring them back together! Tea's new best pal Rachel thinks she should fight for Todd, the man who tried to rape Rachel's mother. Viki thinks Todd should forgive Tea because they belong together. Todd, who apparently "deserves" another kid because he's been so great to the others (stealing babies, faking baby deaths, selling his children, pushing girls down stairs, trying to kill daughter's boyfriend, etc). Because Tea has "changed" Todd for the better. He didn't change for the better for any of his three children, he didn't change after being raped himself, he didn't change for the love of a woman who has forgiven him his most heinous crimes, he didn't change after almost being executed, he didn't change because of his sister's inexplicable devotion. But he changed because of a few sexcapades with a woman he left stranded on a deserted island because he didn't give a crap about her.
(Tea-as-doting-mother is a little creepy, yes? "Come geev your mother a hug, leetle girl!")
It's just lazy. It's as if they looked at what they had, said, "Oh yeah, we had that big dark secret, what can we do?" and had no idea how to pull anything off based on history and based on what they'd actually set up so far, and so they decided to just change everything they'd established, all in the course of a few intolerable episodes. And how will they fix it, and prove to us that we were wrong and should totally be on board with this new story? Well, always start with the go-to lazy storytelling solution: have Viki advocate it. And then, just follow these simple steps:
- Have Blair lie. (Because Blair lying is worse than Tea lying, because Blair's pathetic! See?) Bad Blair = Good Tea.
- Have the least likely people on canvas endorse the Great Love of Todd and Tea... people like Rachel, Eli, Starr, Marty. (That's right, I said Marty. Who is she, his two-time rape victim, to bedgrudge him true love and extra children?! Why wouldn't she want her rapist to live happily ever after with the attorney who got him acquitted for raping her? That would be silly! That's like something Blair would do!)
- Stop caring that people were saying "seven years ago" two weeks ago! Just say "fifteen" now. No one'll notice. No one remembers any of that anyway, right? It was fifteen years ago! Who is Jack anyway? Isn't that just some neighborhood kid who thinks Tea's hot in a teddy? Todd has a miracle child now! Focus, people!
It all makes my head spin. And at the end of the day? I just want to grab thos gals by the shoulders and shake them. Blair, he is not worth it. Tea, he is not worth it. Ross and Eli are both really hot and really single, and I'm pretty sure neither of them are raping, physicall-abusing, baby-stealers/sellers. Oh wait.
And I know not everyone will agree with me on this, but I do want to point out that although it's pretty clear how I feel about the character of Tea, I do think Florencia Lozano is awesome. She is so committed to Tea's complete belief in her own sincerity and righteousness that it makes me hate her even more, but that's a credit to the performance (oh, that cackle!). And frankly, I love her crazy bitch routine when I'm on her side. It's just... been a while.
On the bright side, so far I like the kid. Such a shame about that DNA.