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« Do's and Don'ts in Port Charles | Main | Countdown to the Emmys Day 2: Outstanding Younger Actress »

June 21, 2010

The Components of Cruel and Unusual Punishment

At this point I'm almost impressed.  For a show that so recently gave us three episodes in a row of a great wedding and a number of storylines involving the serious vets to, literally overnight, change gears so drastically and focus almost entirely on the youngest and most insipid characters, including a number of people we don't even know -- I mean it's almost masterful.  They successfully spun gold into shit.

It's almost hard to put into words because, well, words take effort and it's impossible to care.  And it's not as if I'm not trying -- I watch every second of the show, and I cover it here at Serial Drama.  I like doing that, I truly do!  But this? 

Today, we spent much of the episode doing this:

Starrphone

Colephone

Seriously, for about five segments, they had a phone conversation.  While I'll admit that Brandon Buddy (who, by the way, has just announced he's leaving the show) did a pretty nice job playing the emotion of the phone call (and emotion isn't generally his strong suit), it's a phone call.  This is not high drama.  It's never going to be.  Oh and plus, to add "tension," Another New Dude was lurking in the background the whole time.

James

Riveting.  And then Starr and Another New Dude had some idiotic argument, as if we're supposed to have any sort of emotional investment in an argument that Starr is having with a complete stranger.  Linking him to Ford, a completely one-dimensional character that's been an amusing diversion for a year but certainly has no depth and no rootability, is not going to help.

Speaking of Ford, we also got the joy of numerous segments in which Ford almost named his attacker -- I mean they even sank so low as to have him actually say, "The person who attacked me... is..." and then cut to commercial.  I'm pretty sure a skit I wrote once in the second grade to promote diversity used that exact "suspense" technique. (And even then, the audience was pretty bored.)

Oh yeah, and this horribly devastating thing happened today.  This couple broke up:

Kellyreed

And she slapped him!  He broke her mother's weird giant vase!  Heartbreaking, I tell you.  I'm sure you were all crying as hard as I was that this love story for the ages came to such a sad end.  And yet again, we got a few seconds of the only situation in which Kelly has been remotely appealing since her return:

Kellyshaun

With Shaun!  For real, she actually smiled -- multiple times.  She touched him... almost warmly!  And because it appears that we're stuck with Kelly for the foreseeable future, I am going to have to suck it up and root for this pairing if for nothing other than to get me through an episode.  Sadly, he had a phone call with girlfriend Vivian today, so he's not available -- not that women who sleep with their step-sons are going to see a thing like that as a deterrent, but I just worry that it's not anywhere on Mr. Carlivati's radar. 

Meanwhile, Gigi's hair has gotten blonder and weirder and worse, and we were subjected to some sort of Morasco/Balsom family bonding scene that I tried desperately to stay awake through, but had little success.

Gigi

Such a pretty girl.  I just don't get it.

What do we have to look forward to this summer?  Is it all going to be the teen set?  Are we gearing up for junior varsity, all the time?  God forbid tomorrow puts Dani and Other New Dude front and center again.  I must've missed the day when someone explained to me why Fish, Kyle, and Schuyler were too old to be as interesting as all these "fascinating" new cookie-cutter faces.  I admit that, for me, Hannah is one bright spot, but I haven't decided yet if it's just the actress. And she doesn't exactly seem to be headed toward long-term story, whatever that is around here these days.

Divider

On the bright side, the non-attempts to even pretend to hide Bree Williamson's pregnancy are getting more and more hysterical by the way.  I wish I could get sharper screencaps for you guys because this was just too much today:

Jesspregs1

Jesspregs2

Why in the world did they have a very pregnant woman lean forward

Bit of a bummer, though, that what was essentially a directing misstep was the brief highlight of the episode.  It's going to be a long, long summer, isn't it.  Good thing I love baseball and warm weather.

Destiny out!

Comments

I'm tempted to just mute the TV and check out the hottness that is Another New Dude.

Sadly I think it's pretty much a rule by now that soaps focus on teen and college-age characters during the summers, in a desperate bid to attract young viewers who are on their summer vacations.

You know, for a writing team that's been pretty good with character nuances and with handling the vets, it's surprising how one-dimensional the teen and college-age characters usually are. Cole is the Platonic ideal of bland. Langston, I think, has a lot of potential, but they've largely ignored her character's two unique traits - her relationship with Dorian and her being an aspiring writer (which is often told but not shown) - and she's been defined mostly by her romantic relationships. Starr isn't as bad off as Cole, but nothing's done with the fact that she basically comes from the union of two troubled families and her relationship with Todd isn't as conflicted as it could and should be; instead it just shifts back and forth from blind loyalty to total rejection, depending on what best fits the story. Markko's really the only one who comes across as deep and realistic at all, but sometimes I wonder if that has more to do with acting chops than with the writing.

enjoying your recaps as usual, even if i've never seen the show. love the screencaps!

I don't understand why the 'suits' haven't gotten this basic concept - teens don't tune into soaps to see other teens. Yeah, if the story is good, they'll watch, but they tune in to see good stories, it doesn't matter the age of the person. This idea that teens are only interested in teens during the summer is ludicrous. I was a teen watching shows because of Luke / Laura, Anna, Barbara / Tom / Margo, Iva / Lily - age isn't the factor.

I lament the loss of Death Vase: The Vase That Kills People simply because I was hoping it would take a few more people out before it was caught. Reed was definitely at the top of the list of potential victims of Death Vase: The Vase That Kills People.

One Life to Live has basically become What Show Am I Watching? Who Are These People?

Ford the Younger reminds me of *someone* and I cannot say who because it shifts chameleon-like in an infuriating dance of insanity.

On the upside, We Love Soaps has an interview with Matt Walton (Elijah Clarke) and he previews that we're going to get some family history of Eli's coming out soon (along with him and Blair getting even closer together... yay!)

So that's something. Right? At least it's not the Parade of Strange Yet Identical Faces Pretending to be Teens... Why Do We Care?

I quite agree with you guys about the blandness of the characters and non-need for Teen Scene All The Time in the summer. Especially now with DVR and SoapNet (for now anyway) and the internet, kids who watch soaps don't just watch them in the summers, and adults who watch soaps don't want to quit for the summers.

And frankly in my teen summers, I was tuning in for Viki/Clint, and to see what Tina was up to. If there were front-burner teen stories in those days, I certainly don't remember them and they're certainly not why I watched.

Dandesun, that's so true, that vase was perfectly positioned to off Reed sometime soon, what a shame. But glad to hear we have a little more Eli backstory on the way! He is always a fresh of breath air (and I sure hope that in his backstory they don't forget that his brother is Ross, the way they forgot that Kyle was Rebecca's brother).

Ha! I'm pretty sure I meant "breath of fresh air" up there, but hey -- either one would be a nice change of pace.

Louise, again you've stated what I've been thinking.

Rex and Gigi: The only thing to look forward to is how many new faces Rex can mug (you should really do a special on screencaps with all his faces), and what new horrible hair color or style Gigi will be donning.

Teen Set: I love Hannah. I think her as a slightly off psycho (its worked for Todd all these years), slightly disturbed (worked for Jess/Bess/Tess), but not as violent as Todd, would be great. Plus, she's so cute. I'd love to see her redeemed to some degree, and see where this story line leads with her being set up to take the fall in Ford's beating.

I was really excited to see Jessica Leccia (the other awesome half of Otalia) on my screen the other day. She is the only reason I'll pay attention to the completely unoriginal brooding-boy-from-the-poor-side-of-town Nate. I think Marty is free and I can see a connection already. Now, they just have to meet, hah.

I agree with Dandesun on Langston. She's had so much potential and it's wasted on her love life. I blame that on the boringest couple she and Markko seem to only be allowed to orbit, Sole. ::Sigh::

And the idea of Starr having a major storyline with a stranger? ::SIGH:: She's on the run? ::SIGH:: Wasn't she on the run with Cole last summer? ::SIGH::

I look forward to more Eli and Blair. And I even look forward to ex-Greenlee and David, with ex-Greenlee's sister? and Matt.

And I was cheering when Reed left. I agree, we're stuck with Kelly, but thank goodness the greatest love story that was never told is over. At least, that's what I hope.

And, Ford the Younger reminds me of... a young man with amazing abs and is in a movie franchise about insipid teens... hmm... who could that be?

I'm with you, Louise: incredibly astonished by how fast this show went from "OMG!" to "OMG, this is so boring and I don't care!" I mean, it was pretty dire right after The Purge when it was obvious the writers were blindsided by all the firings and had to basically wrap up storylines and characters they were obviously planning to continue with and set up for the future in about three days flat, and the show was hacked to death in the editing room, but then with the musical (shut up, I loved it!) and then the wedding, I thought we had turned a corner back towards Good Town. But noooooooooooooooo; instead we get a deluge of insipid newbies and teen stories I don't care about (I almost never care about teen stories, though). *sigh*

Totally agree with you, too, about Shaun and Kelly. I actually love Vivian and wish we saw more of her instead of some of the newbies, but if Kelly's gonna stay, they're going to have to pair her with the one man she's shown even a smidgen of chemistry with: Mr. Shaun Evans. Sorry, Viv.

Thanks for the recap.

Kelly is so boring. It's summer time which means its teen time.

I guess it's time to send Frank V. another e-mail with my likes and dislikes about OLTL.

Isn't Vivian Greg's ex-fling? I'm so confused.

Aww, I actually think that emotion is what Brandon Buddy CAN do (he is the BUSINESS at crying & emoting & generally acting hurt). It's the other stuff, like enunciating & correctly pronouncing his lines that he seems to have trouble with. At times he's all mumbles.

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