Anatomy of a Rivalry (And So On)
It's not that there isn't plenty to mock on this week's One Life to Live. Todd tried to make out with John, yesterday's "classic" episode made us wish for the better show this once was, Todd was ready to give up on his daughter, his granddaughter, and the mother of most of his children -- but when he heard Tea was alive and in that building, he mustered up the strength of Hercules and saved the day! On Monday they got part of the way through a major reveal in which Greg casually mentioned that he killed Destiny's birth mother (I'm not sure why we needed this detail since Destiny had already reacted as if the thought of being adopted was a FATE WORSE THAN DEATH), and today was Thursday and we've yet to have any follow-up. Apparently the Evans family was cool to let it marinate for a day before they probed any further. I can't really blame them, their son the world-famous surgeon does still need to (a) occasionally remind himself and his patients that brains are not feet and (b) run down the hallway having a temper tantrum to let off some steam. OLTL's on a tight budget and if they don't let Greg take his time making his confession, lord knows what kind of damage he might do to the set. Oh and we also learned that when one has a great deal of money and chooses to use it by being generous to a good friend on her birthday, one has deeply questionable values. Important things we've learned lately!
I digress. A lot. Back to business: a good rivalry on a soap can be a fun time. Even when it's between two characters I like, even when it's cattier than I prefer to see women behaving. Melissa Archer and Susan Haskell are certainly both capable of bringing plenty of spark to a scene, especially when the claws are out. So while part of me thinks that Natalie and Marty are both above whatever pettiness is about to ensue in their rivalry, there have been some good moments of "coincidence" that make them vulnerable to one another and privy to one another's darker secrets. Here's the part that I resent: the very beat upon which this rivalry was set up all wrong was a plot point designed only and entirely to absolve John McBain of any culpability for anything. Ever.
I'm talking about the fact that John left his serious live-in girlfriend just a couple of weeks after she was pushed down a flight of stairs and lost their baby. Marty was still grieving when they split and was for some time after. No man would've gotten away with leaving a woman in this situation, especially to get back together with a (recently-widowed, I might add) ex-girlfriend, so they did what they usually do on this show -- they took it out of John's hands completely. They had Marty go to John and announce to him that what he really wanted was Natalie and she was "releasing" him. Naturally, they even had him resist this until she damn near forced him to walk out on her and immediately reunite with Natalie. Turns out upon doing so, he may very well have impregnated her... I don't know, that very night? The next night? So while John and Natalie are together not because John picked Natalie over Marty but because Marty picked Natalie over herself for John, there's a catty rivalry nonetheless because now Natalie is walking around (adorably) preggers by John McBain, a position that all women alive supposedly want to be in, and a position that was tragically taken from Marty. Marty, who essentially is down to zero ties to the rest of the canvas, so I can see who's likely to win this battle if anyone actually does (if Marty's complete dangerous menace of a son counts as a tie, she's even worse off than I thought), is now being nasty and jealous and intrusive because she's upset about a situation that she created. It's a strange train of logic. But as I said, the two actresses have some serious fire in their scenes together and I am holding out hope that said fire can work it hard enough to overcome a bizarre beginning to this mutual semi-competition. However, I'll continue to resent that the bizarre beginning only existed to make John look better in that he never has to ever make a damn decision.
Some good things have happened:
Ford is bleeding internally!
Natalie bonded with her uncle Bo!
Crazy Hannah took a no-return trip to Crazytown, Delaware and made Hope more likable to me than she's been in virtually her entire post-adoption-reneg tenure on this show. Here's how:
The Crazy Lady made Hope a Jack-O-Lantern for the holidays! So adorable.
Also, when forced at gunpoint to bury James alive, Starr began by dumping dirt directly on his middle rather than trying to buy time and starting at his feet. I can't blame her, it's how I'd handle a Ford brother, but considering her alternative is Cole, I'm not sure I'm on board with her decision-making.
Well, Happy Halloween, Serial Drama readers! I leave you with this wondrous sight.