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« Partying Like It's 1995 | Main | Our Latest Soap Opera Digest Column »

September 29, 2010

Fathers of the Year and Mediocre Kids

Once again, Monday's show was a complete train wreck this week.  In television, when you're really, really, really lucky, you stumble across a kid actor who is good enough to sustain a front-burner storyline, and once in a blue moon you stumble across one who can carry one.  In my opinion, One Life to Live found that blue moon last year in Eddie Alderson -- he more than pulled off Matthew's paralysis story.  Under more typical circumstances, you get yourself a good casting director who can find a nice little set of perfectly competent young actors who have some screen presence and maybe even a spark of chemistry with someone else.  And there you have a nice battalion of supporting cast members.  In the under-25 crowd, OLTL has something resembling that. 

HOWEVER.

The story editors would disagree with me, vehemently.  They are apparently under the impression that they have an ensemble of spectacular child prodigies who are more than capable of carrying the vast majority of front-burner storylines on this show all by themselves.  In fact, I'd be willing to wager that if you introduced someone new to this show in the last few months and asked them who the lone lead character is, they'd probably tell you without hesitation: Dani.  Danielle Rayburn, that's who!  Star of the show!  And I don't mean to insult Kelley Missal, who I think clearly has talent and is highly competent, but Abigail Breslin she is not (I know, I know, I couldn't think of another Oscar-nominated munchkin other than Tatum O'Neal, the chick from that New Zealand whale film, and a certain now-grown-up actress I do not enjoy who is currently on a certain vampire program on the television, so that's what I got), and her character Dani certainly isn't exciting enough for the show to revolve around her.  But still, Nate, Todd, Ross, Blair, Destiny, Darrin, Tea, Shawn... the list goes on.  It's all about her.  And when it's not about her, it's about some other characters in the under-25 set and frankly the whole thing is just unbearable.  Many of the episodes feel like a junior soap opera (including the quality of the acting and writing), and people, I'm not going to pretend like I never watched Swan's Crossing and Fifteen (I most certainly did), but I'm pretty damn sure I wouldn't have stuck with either of those year-round, five-days-a-week in one-hour broadcasts.  I mean Ryan Reynolds is cute and all, but there cannot be a living soul who watched him in that mess who could've predicted he'd end up a movie star.

I mean, driver's ed?  This is a soapy story?  Two heterosexual gym rat brothers who sit around talking about the girls they loooooove day in and day out?  Has that ever happened in the world?  Oh, and can someone (perhaps as Dorian did) mention to Langston or Starr or James or anyone else who's all up in arms or feeling guilty about Ford getting fired that he was fired legitimately?  For something he in fact did do?  No one doctored any photos to get him fired.  He did it, he knew he would be fired if found out, and was found out.  Them's the breaks, douche.  And my heart's really bleeding for him that it's hard to find film-related jobs in Llanview.  Then leave.

And oh no!  College is hard and expensive!  Poor Gigi.  Violins.  (Oh wait, sorry, we can't overuse the violins as they are needed for every fucking time Inez appears on screen.)

And I can't even get into Cole and Starr having the same poorly-acted argument for the 376th time this year.  (Do you have feelings for Ford/I love you/That's not what I asked you/Do you have feelings for Hannah/That has nothing to do with my feelings for you/Do you have feelings for Ford/That has nothing to do with how I feel about you/That's not what I asked you/But I love you/I love you/But/ad nauseam.  You know, in case you missed an episode.  You're welcome.)

The point is, I need some freaking grown-ups.

Of course the grown-ups are being written as children now anyway.  Even though we are inexplicably supposed to be rooting for Todd in this custody battle for Dani (which, by the way, on the Todd/Dani end often feels more like the world's most inappropriate love triangle), he tried to kidnap her and go on the run with her against her will.  Because this is Todd, who would "walk through fire for his children" except for the three that he'd totally leave behind because he has a new favorite (she's shiny because she's new!).  Oh and then he threatened to break all of Dr. Greg's fingers if he did not testify on his behalf at the custody hearing.  Because Todd is a really good dad.  And tell my why again that Ross can't just stay in Llanview instead of Tahiti now that he's apparently gotten all outstanding charges against him dropped?  Oh yeah, because he is a character in opposition to Todd.  Todd who only does bad things because he's a poor desperate soul!  But everyone else does bad things because they're eeeeeevil. 

But no matter.  Anything is worth it for the messiah child. The messiah child who, by the way, has time during her "five-minute walk" to the courthouse to re-style and change the part in her hair.

Danihair1 

Danihair2 

These things, they seem so simple.

It's just exhausting.  What else is there to say?  Did anyone catch Amanda Setton (ex-Kim) and Melissa Fumero (ex-Adriana) on Gossip Girl Monday?  Remember the old days?  Yeah.

 

Comments

This show has no soul right now. Focusing everything on the teens and newbie teens at that is bad storytelling. Dani wasn't even here a year ago and she, along with her mother and father, own a significant portion of it.

The Fords? I have no words. Oh, wait... I do. GET OFF MY SHOW!!

Why is this Clint goes evil and does dastardly things to David all about REX?! Shouldn't Dorian assemble the Cramers and have a big Cramer vs Buchanan THROW DOWN? THAT would be worth watching.

But no, we get Todd/Tea's Perfect Love and Perfect Messiah Child That Everyone is SO INVESTED IN. We get Fords, Fords, Fords and more Fords and... wait, there's MORE FORDS!

Just awful.

HEee! FIfteen and Swans Crossing? Take me back to junior high! Not to mention who would have predicted Sarah Michelle Gellar would become Buffy the Vampire Slayer out of the Erica Kane lite that was Syndey Rutledge. (What I totally didn't buy the dolls and watched every episode..nor do I know a You Tube site that allows you to watch every episode from a truly crappy VHS to YouTube conversion. Not me. Nope. Don't know what you are talking about there!)

OMG a Swans Crossing and Fifteen mention?! Holy happiness!

"And oh no! College is hard and expensive! Poor Gigi. Violins."

This. Why the hell is Gigi still here???? She was pointless from the beginning. What did she think college was going to be like. First, she has no money, then she gets money, but her classes are too hard so she's going to drop them and take art b/c she's an instant expert. Then, she didn't have money again and is all "I want to go to school! I must learn!" Now she's going to be Cristian's assistant. She does realize she has to take other classes besides art at some point, right? She's the worst. She complains no matter what. I mean, life must be so hard what with Rex giving her money for school (which the writers seem to have forgotten), sharing parental duties with him, and living on Viki's property (I'm guessing she doesn't pay rent). Yep, her life is definitely in the pooper.

I won't even get started on the "Poor Ford! Some vicious person dared to go to the dean about his willingness to have a relationship with his student regardless of the rules." What is with Langston's guilt and James' need for revenge. He did it, idiots!

OMG..."Fifteen!" That was probably my first soap!

This write-up was scathing and hilarious and hialriouly scathing.

I totally get what you are saying about Bobbiepoo leaving. Without divulging too much I'm a screenwriter who lives in a small town like Llanview. Now when people ask me what I do I say that I'm a screenwriter who would like to work for soap operas.

There is the whole waitsoapoperasarestillon?!?!?!?! look and then the whatthehellareyoudoinginthiscrapfestofasmalltown?!?!?!?! look. You see there aren't a lot of jobs for screenwriters in a small town.

I seriously get the funniest looks from people. They really think I've lost my mind. It's the simple things in life that amuse me. (Of course the hottest thing in town is the local farmers market which has like 8 to 10 vendors.)

The moral of this story is that Ford needs to get the hell out of town. He can bitch all he wants about how much it sucks to not have a film related job in Llanview but if he wants one he has the money and contacts to go out to New York or LA.

Is this what One Life has turned into?

I just sent this post to a bunch of my friends as I agree with most of what you’re saying here and the way you’ve presented it is awesome.

You make some good points but the Dani/Todd hating is a bit much. Dani's mother is dead. I don't know if you have lost a parent, but that is not something to make fun of. Dani needs all the support she can get and there is nothing wrong with Todd making her his priority at this time. The other kids have Blair and I'm sure they understand his decision to be there for Dani.

As for the change in Dani's hairstyle, the scene was probably shot on two different days. So that is more of an editing and continuity issue. Not the character's or actor's fault.

As for the Todd issue, I disliked the decision to make a rapist a member of a core family on a soap. They should have gotten rid of the character after the rape trial. I think it was one of the worse decisions ever. But you are the one who is a fan of show that turned a rapist into a hero.

As for the inappropriateness undertones of the Todd/Dani relationship. I have to agree. TSJ and Kelley Missal definitely do cross the line in some of their scenes together. She flirts with him and he checks her out. It does feel icky. But I love both actors they are very smart and talented and I always enjoy their scenes together. I could watch a show with just the two of them.

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