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« Soap Blog Coalition | Main | Literally Without Speech »

April 09, 2010

Look Kids, Train Wrecks Can Be Fun!

This show is exhausting.  With the studio move and the mass cast exodus and the new Associate Head Writer and the endless, endless rumors about the show's impending demise or reduction or revamping, watching it feels very different from how it used to.  I used to watch this show and just have opinions about the stories or the actors or the characters, but now it's hard to watch without thinking about all the behind-the-scenes drama.  If we didn't know that Robert S. Woods is not leaving the show, Bo getting shot might've had more impact.  If we didn't know that we really have seen the last of Kim and Rachel, we might be wasting time waiting for their returns.  If we didn't know that three characters who are currently neck-deep in the current storylines are on their way out within days, we might be experiencing... excitement?  Hope?  Alas, it just feels like a train wreck, albeit a train wreck with some fun moments.

On the plus side, it's not all bad.  

Blair eli

Blair has a ridiculously adorable new haircut and is having an actual grownup relationship with Eli, who actually seems to consider himself the lucky man he is (also: "Keep your hands off Elijah's spatula.").  Kim and Clint's final scenes together were terrific.  Fish finally has his baby and the Fish/Kyle/Sierra nuclear family couldn't be cuter.  Bo and Nora and Matthew have had compelling moments.  Tea is acting as an attorney instead of a Todd-addict.  Starr is laying down some law.  

I'm trying to hang on here.  But so much of the good?  Is about to end.  Fish and Kyle and their hilariously precious baby?  On their way out.  What on earth is lacking in this storyline?  Who thought it wouldn't be a great story to have these two young men negotiate life with an infant?  It would be gold.  And Roxy and her newly-discovered son Schuyler?  Comparing notes on the messes they've made of their lives and standing together?  This isn't material worth pursuing?  So far their scenes together have been magic ("Yay team."), and while I remain spoiler-free and have no idea how this will unfold, I do know it won't be explored because he's leaving us.  It's just... sad.  I find myself weepy at these scenes and not because they're good or bad but because they're just so temporary.

Roxy sky

Here's where I have to voice concern for Ilene Kristen.  Roxy no longer has any biological ties to the canvas (once Schuyler is jettisoned in whatever unfortunate manner they so choose for him), she no longer has a best friend (once Kyle is written off -- next week?), so I worry.  I will be crestfallen beyond all comprehension if they write her off.  I've long found Roxy to be one of the most interesting characters on daytime television, which may sound strange but hear me out!  She's a lush but not in a "social issues" kind of way -- they're not sending her to rehab, they're not putting her on the wagon, she's just an old gal who still likes to hit the sauce and sometimes it gets her into trouble and sometimes it doesn't.  That's actually kind of brave writing to suggest that she is a better person than she used to be, but not because she's in recovery, just because.  She's made a heap of reprehensible choices in her life but has a huge and resilient heart (and while that sounds like a few other women on this show, she doesn't have the built-in benefit of a huge and powerful family), and lives her life with utter humility.  She does run the local beauty salon and official hotel-for-transients, so here's hoping that keeps her in town.  Plus, if Roxy gets written off, so does Morris the beaver!  This is not an option.

And what are we left with?  Most of the scenes between Todd and Kelly feel like no one even wrote them.  Seriously, it's like those beginning drama classes where you and your scene partner are told where the scene needs to begin and end and nothing else, and the improv ends up being a whole lot of repeated phrases and long pauses to fill the time. 

As for Jessica, I just... I don't even... I mean what the motherfuck?  I cannot.  I confess to having thought this storyline was kind of cute at first -- reminding us of Cris and Jessica's former relationship, giving Cristian screentime, thereby giving Layla screentime, etc.  But no.  Instead, amnesiac Jessica is allowed to dart around town (and freaking high school!) as if she isn't mentally ill, scheming against Natalie and for Cristian, and is apparently not in any sort of psychiatric treatment.  Her mother left town, her father is barely ever around (except to pick her up from school when she, you know, misses the bus), mostly it's just people talking to her as if she just needs to be talked into being an adult rather than be in serious therapy.  Why are we watching a show about an adult man trying to win back the heart of a mentally ill woman who has the mind of a child?  And a grown woman jealous that her boyfriend is spending time with said ill woman with the mind of a child?  This has somehow turned into a story about "Is she going to pick Brody or Cris???"  I mean... what?  She's sick!  Why is she in high school?  Why does no one care about it other than being worried about the Cris/Brody issue?  And why does this personality have absolutely jack shit to do with who Jessica was at 18?  Is this yet another alter in her multiple personalities?  Fess?  Less?  Big fat Mess.

Meanwhile, Jessica's brother-for-three-weeks Rex is now without parentage again, so I guess he'll have to use his superior P.I. skills to track down his real mother and father.  OH I CANNOT WAIT.  THAT'S GOING TO BE RIVETING. 

But if that's not up your alley, you can watch recently-widowed Natalie moon over John McBain, a ship that has sailed so far away from her that apparently it's made its way completely around the surface of the Earth back to the other side of her.  Didn't John drop Natalie for Marty?  But now Natalie's the one that got away?  Isn't Marty pregnant?  Wouldn't a better storyline be to actually have John show some growth as a character and a human being and navigate his way through a real adult relationship and fatherhood?  Or I suppose they could just recycle the same effing story they always do for this guy, who unfathomably is consistently being fought over by more than one awesome and beautiful woman.  

I'm finding it difficult to stay optimistic.  I don't mind the Langston storyline lately, I rather enjoy that she's behaving in a completely unsympathetic manner, all for a guy who's going to unapologetically give her exactly what she deserves in the end (there will be some glee in that karma), but not being bothered by a story is pretty faint praise.  And this upcoming high school musical is going to be excruciating, isn't it?  It is.  It is literally going to hurt.

At least we have the occasional moment of glory.  Destiny saying to Todd, "Back up off me, freakshow" did earn the show a tiny extension of good will from me.  Really, if Todd has to be on my screen, any day that someone insults him appropriately is a good day for me.

And on that note, Destiny out!

Comments

ha ha, love the freakshow line. blair's hair IS super cute!!!!!!!!!!

I can understand a show looking at low ratings and wanting to make changes. It makes sense (which is why GH never does it). But it seems like whomever was making the changes on OLTL decided that, rather than take a scalpel and excise what was wrong in stories, they instead grabbed an axe and hacked off a whole section of the show, fertile ground being thrown out with the barren. So much of what OLTL is losing were the actual interesting parts of the show.

And they've been replaced by dull pairings, recycled pairings, and stories that try the patience. Characters with clear growth potential are on their way out the door, while characters long driving viewers up the wall (Rex / Gigi) remain to get front burner stories.

It's a shame that during a critical time for this show and its future, someone is making that decisions that does the show no favors.

First: Ooh, snap!

Secondly: Everything you've said is spot on. Killing what's good and nurturing what's bad seems to be the game plan for OLTL. Pretty sure once Kyle and Fish sail into the sunset I'm dropping this show.

Totally agree with you, Louise. I'm having trouble watching right now, because everything I enjoy is ending within the next few weeks, so the scenes just make me sad, sad, sad. Also having anxiety attacks over Roxie's future.

I can't even.... Kish and baby. My heart can't take it.

On that happy note, though -- can "Back up off me, freakshow" please become the standard character address for Todd?

Great job, as always.

I refuse to watch the high school musical. Redonkulous.

"Back up off me, freakshow" is so going to be my new ringtone.

I recently started watching soaps again and at first OLTL was my favorite. Kyle, Fish, Roxy, Kim, Clint, Blair, Eli, Cris, Jess, Brody, Rachel, Destiny... They all rocked. I mourned the loss of Jared because I watched when he first came on but had to stop, and I adored him. But it was okay because almost everyone else on the show rocked. I even managed to watch Tood onscreen without vomiting and stay awake through Gigi and Rex's scenes.
But now... I turned it off. It became a hassle to watch every day and there's a 99.9% chance that ANY good left on the show will be destroyed.

I LOVED hearing about the "Back up off me, freakshow" line though. Anyone know where I can watch it?

Uh... I don't think John dumped Nat for Marty. Nat got really clingy or something after the whole John was presumed dead thing, and then the whole compromising her integrity covering up evidence that would lead to John in Spencer's murder? If I recall correctly it ended up being a mostly mutual go our separate ways thing.

So, yeah, after all these years I'm still on the John and Natalie train, or rather: boat. Who'd have thought?

I share your pain, Louise. What was so excruciating about this week was how absolutely wonderful so much of it was (Kyle and Fish and Cris and Layla cooing over Sierra, Roxy and Sky, Eli and Blair) but knowing that most of it will be GONE in a few days. The show CAN still be good; it's choosing (or being forced, depending on how you think) not to be.

Back up off me freakshow:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gMMml5bomkg

Back up off me freakshow:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gMMml5bomkg

Add me to another still on the John and Natalie ship. They are beautiful together. I want to see John man up and realize Natalie was the one that got away and that he needs her in his life. And I want to see the babies he dreamt of with her come to light. Hint, Hint Writers!
Marty is boring. With John, it is excruciatingly boring. I have never FF John as I do when he is stuck with the Martyr. Does she even have a purpose to be on the show anymore??

After reading and listening to the backstage and political garbage over the past weeks, I was sure we'd never get to see Oliver, Kyle, Layla, and Cris together again, so I felt pathetically grateful for that lovely scene. Diversity in a nutshell, people. And isn't Scott Evans at his least stiff when he's interacting with that baby? I'm so sad.

You're comments are spot on as always. I think that Marty and John are a very boring couple and we can all see the writing on the wall with the reasons they're still together. I don't look forward to John staying with her out of guilt though.

John does need to grow and have an adult relationship with someone else. Roxy is one of my faves and I hope that she stays on the OLTL.

Destiny's follow-up was just as good:

"Touch me again and I will yell stranger, danger...!"

OLTL had one of its strongest weeks ever last week, and it was when Kyle and Oliver were shown. Whomever is responsible for the cuts/writing (Brian Frons) should be fired.

You took the words right out of my mouth..and words I sent to ABC/OLTL by the way. Every story that is worth watching is ending. Every actor that gave great performances this week is leaving or possibly seeing their storyline diminish (Roxy). So incredibly sad that SOMEONE has done this to what was a wonderful soap to watch. I'm done when Kish leave. No more soaps for me and I have watched them on ABC for thirty years! RIP OLTL.

OLTL is imploding. A good chunk of the interesting characters with a wealth of storyline potential and talented actors will soon by gone so OLTL can prop its worse actors.

I came for Kish and will leave with Kish. There is nothing to keep me. I'm not a fan of Gex, Todd, and John.

I completely agree with everything you've said. I have no idea who is making all these cuts on OLTL but they obviously aren't watching the same show we are. Why would you get rid of your most interesting characters and leave behind all the bad ones? What's left are actors who can't act their way out of a paper bag or actors who can act but are stuck in pointless going nowhere storylines. I'll be leaving with KISH as well. Good luck OLTL...you'll need it.

All the signs of backstage trouble are there. Given how gay characters are treated on the other ABC soaps, I really do wonder if Frons and the other Higher Ups were just happy to assume that having a gay couple front and center would drive away viewers, contrary to all evidence.

I'm a little more optimistic than the other commenters. I've seen the show hit a serious slump under Carlivati and recover spectacularly, so I have confidence in him, just not the Powers That Be.

If they write off Roxy I will cry and swear and throw things...it will not be pleasant.

Destiny saying to Todd, "Back up off me, freakshow" - missed this, looking it up right now so I can watch it on a loop. Todd hate makes me giddy!!

An ABC rep said Kish is being fired so they can focus on stories that are getting a more favorable reaction from the audience. I'm scared to find out what those "favorable" storylines are.

I'm also worried about Ron Carlivati keeping his job. It looks to me like JP is moving in to take over as HW and if I'm right about that, then OLTL's as good as dead. JP's already killed two soaps, WHY hire this woman?

All of this would be hilarious if it weren't so sad. I have NEVER watched a show before and found its most enjoyable aspects were ALL getting cut within like a week. I don't know who is making these decisions, but they need firing/ serious help.

Maybe if they fixed it all I'd be lured back, but once kish go I'm not going to waste my time with OLTL.

Brett Claywell and Scott Evans were the best thing that ever happened to this show and their amazing chemistry made Kyle and Oliver a real and believable couple...
theirs was the sweetest most romantic love story on daytime and OLTL has made a huge mistake in ending it so abrupty...after many years of viewing i will be joining the countless Kish fans who will tune out after kyle's last airdate on April 16th and i wont return again until they do...

without Brett Claywell and Scott Evans and the beautiful Kyle and oliver love story OLTL wont be worth watching anymore.i am hoping TPTB realize what a mistake they have made in ending this wonderful story and bring these 2 talented actors back to continue it..until then i will be tuning out....

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