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 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.
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!