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« Sucks So Good Open Post! True Blood 4.10, "Burning Down The House" | Main | A Letter to Nora Hanen Gannon Buchanan »

August 29, 2011

The Post-Irene Blues

I have to tell you guys something. I'm feelin' blue. I really am. One Life to Live, which has had me on such a high recently, really brought me down today. I'm trying to sort out why. I think a lot of it has to do with the pacing. There's so much to be mined from this Todd/Victor story, and I don't mean "for years to come!" even though that's certainly true, but I really only mean this very plot. Victor trying to learn who he is, Todd trying to reclaim his family. Even just the very basics could fill months of gripping character-driven drama. And I'm not unsympathetic to the fact that the show is just plain broke and working under the crap conditions of a cancellation, and I'm not unsympathetic to the fact that contract arrangements couldn't be worked out to make both Trevor St. John and the producers happy and that the resources just weren't there to go back and re-work something that reportedly had already been re-worked twenty times when St. John offered to stick around. I'm not. It's business, it sucks. But I just... thought we had more time

I try to avoid spoilers like the plague because they ruin the experience for me, but I don't need spoilers to see that today's episode was clearly setting up a "Who Killed Victor?" plot. And I don't want it. I don't want this character-driven storyline (I realize the Irene tour-de-exposition is not character-driven and is absurd, but it's the fill-in to get to the present day and is hardly the point) to turn into a paint-by-numbers plot-point-driven whodunit. When will we have the time to relax into this? Todd hasn't even had a real discussion with anyone yet! What about Sam in this? Dani and Todd haven't even been face-to-face since the reveal. Shouldn't Victor and Blair have a real conversation? Victor and Viki? My head is spinning! This is too fast. We're missing all the good stuff. Do we really have to wait till some attempted-murder or actual-murder mystery is solved before we can get to the good stuff? How long will it take?

I'm probably overreacting. But I worry, I do! And look, the silly "it could be Todd! it could be Rex! it could be Brody! OH EM GEE THERE'S A THUNDERSTORM!" is perfectly fun classic soap stuff, but not yet! That's the kind of stuff to toss in to distract us when there's not already miles worth of terrific, quieter, engrossing drama right at our fingertips. It's just not the time.

This is not to say that today's scenes between Irene and Victor weren't a lot of fun. They were.

Irene
Victor
Victorirene

I mean she really is one hell of a demon mother. But Irene is a temp, you know? This is not who I want to be seeing Victor in scenes with before St. John's departure from the show.

And then we've got Kim, who for me has been a bright spot, is now offically dulled by the probability that her return has something to do with stupid old Stacy.

Kimstacy

I mean there's a way to ruin a perfectly good and fun return to the show. Make it all about the thing that kept Kim from blossoming in the first place!

And then we had the Buchanan twins both being total bitches. It wasn't even a fun fight, and I'm just on nobody's side. First of all, I have no idea why Natalie is treating Clint like he's some injured puppy who needs her protection from the big mean stripper. Natalie! Your father can handle himself with women -- he's Clint Effin' Buchanan. He knows what Kim's about. And then she made a big nasty show of calling up Brody, a man she knows full well she doesn't love, in front of Jessica and confirming that they should move in together immediately (really, Natalie Lord/Buke? You can't get a room for a couple nights to get away from the sister you hate?). And then Jessica? Jessica entered the room while slow-clapping. That's basically the fastest way to lose my sympathy right there if I were anywhere close to having any in the first place. I can't deal with either one of them right now if this is the only crap they're pulling; I can't think of a single reason why either one of them is in a position to be so insufferably smug right now. They have a right to be pissed at each other, but the delivery is wearing thin, y'all!

Smugnat2
Smugjess
Smugnat3

Oh good, a catty smug-off! I am on the edge of my seat.

And while it was great to see Blair finally get a scene with Jack regarding the fact that he, you know, accidentally murdered his classmate's mother, it's been so bizarrely displaced by the Two Todds story that it just didn't feel organic. All of a sudden Jack feels awful, awful bad about what he did and is starting a memorial scholarship fund? In Gigi's name? What? And yes, I completely understand why Blair is jumping on this now that Jack is finally showing some remorse, but it seemed to come from out of nowhere. Beyond the one visit to Shane and now this bizarre scholarship plan, he hasn't spent a whole lot of time thinking about it beyond being appreciative that his Uncle Victor bought his freedom. Someone should let him know about the other teenager in town who's getting away with murder because his parents fixed it that way for him. Oh wait, that kid's in a coma. He could go to talk to coma-Matthew in Philly!

But all is not lost! Something truly spectacularly did happen today! It went something like this:

Brodyliam1
Brodyliam2
Liam found Brody's name tag! Liam really likes Brody's name tag!

Brodyliam3
A lot!

Brodyliam4
And then he found Brody's badge!

Oh my god, y'all. So cute. I swear, if I liked babies I would totally go out and buy one right now.

(This was all especially amusing in light of Victor having hilariously called Brody "Lovette" today for some reason.)

I may very well change my mind tomorrow. I've been prone to drastic feelings about this show lately and, to be fair, today was the first chilly day and I often get blue when the summer ends.

Divider

Because I am turning into a bit of a nutjob while getting sad about having to say goodbye to Dorian and getting ready to say goodbye to all of the others gradually, I spent much of my "stranded by Hurricane/Tropical Storm Irene" weekend taking a trip down memory lane. So I've decided that when time and energy permit, I'm going to start including post-scripts on my OLTL posts here that take us to a stop on memory lane that's worth re-visiting.

Today? Starr's awesome early-millenium cartoon dreams. Man, I loved the crap out of those. Remember??

Dream4
 Yay, happy Manning family!

Dream3
Uh-oh, not so happy anymore. Now they're fighting over Starr again!

Dream1
They made up! Hooray, happy Mannings!

Dream5
Until that bitch Gabrielle shows up to try to ruin everything.

Dream6
No matter! Starr fixes it when she electrocutes Gabrielle with her kite!

Regiskelly
Starr even went on Regis & Kelly in her dreams!

I loved those cartoon dreams, they were so clever. And such a good way to keep us from just rolling our eyes at a bratty child smack dab in the middle of a "forgotten older sibling" storyline. Not to mention the deft juxtaposition with Starr's father Todd's own bizarre imaginative dreams at that time. His dreams included a young ghost boy with an identical scar to his showing up to haunt him for having lied about Blair's baby having died, complete with full song and dance numbers by everyone who knew about Todd's big Dead Baby Lie!

Todddancenumber1
Todddancenumber2

Those were the days!

Comments

LOL - having not seen those things before, I love the trip down memory lane.

Hurricane Irene allowed me to go further back to when Blair and Todd met, all the way up to Ireland. Before this project, I only really wanted RH as Todd because I don't like how lazy TSJ got with the role in recent years. You see, TSJ was my first and only Todd for the longest time. Having watched those early TnB clips, I can see why people wanted RH back as Todd so badly. Early TnB (as friends and spouses) was amazing. And the best part - they talked!!! Why don't characters just talk anymore instead of do things only to serve a plot?!!!

Which ties in with your other point - the show is going too fast. Too much plot, not enough actualy emotional fallout. I too am upset about the lack of character interaction, especially Blair and Victor. That man has been in her life for 8 years. That's about the same amount of time real Todd was in her life because he was 'napped. I sense Blair's pissed at Victor but I have to guess that through KDP's performance. She has virtually no role in the story she ushered in. They're writing her and Tea as if Todd wasn't gone for 8 years; that he was missing for like a week. I hope once Victor dies (or "dies" - does anyone ever die?), this story slows down. I really need for people to react more appropriately and they haven't been so far.

I am glad she and Jack talked. The bullying storyline was dropped too quickly and Blair's lack of involvement was dumb.

I mean, Hurricane Irene gave me the time to go watch clips from even further back when Blair and Todd met (I also watched some of the Todd scenes from the aftermath of Marty's rape - very easy to see why RH became more than a day player). I'm looking forward to watching post Ireland, Tea and Todd, and then Todd and Blair again. Especially to see Todd and Starr.

Liam playing Brody's name tag was like the cutest thing that's every happened on this show.

The rest was suuuper choppy.

OK I am apparentky still missing something because Victor JR scenes are still barely registering for me,aside from the blinding rage I get everytime he talks about holding on to his life.I have no desire to see him on screen for one more minute, the only I am not looking forward to about his death is the double the amount of screeching both Tea-ugh and Danyella will be doing because you know this whole two Todd things is about them and not about Blair or Starr or even Todd.
I did think KDP was amazing with Jack today imagine jack spending time with his mom who has always put him first.

I agree with you Louise. Why are they rushing into a murder mystery when they have so much other potential drama they could develop? I realize that Roger Howarth holding a gun is illogically sexy, but there are other things they could do!
For example, Todd didn't ask Tea why she was still sleeping w/ Victor? The '90's Todd would have been upset, even if he didn't want to be w/ her anymore. An old fashioned T&T screaming match would have been more entertaining than Vic/Todd being shot for the 2nd time this year.

And why hasn't Vicki called for a family mtg/dinner? That would have shown everyone's point of view and laid ground work for Victor to leave town in an emotionally powerful, nonviolent way. Instead characters wander around town muttering "I dont know how I feel about this" to people who have no connection to the story.

I know a show has lost me when I start focusing on things like wardrobe. Is KDP singlehandedly bringing back high waisted slacks? Yes, anything w/ that much material and pleats must be called slacks. lol

I see what you're saying, Louise, and I don't disagree, but this was always going to happen. I mean, the show was going at such a terrific high that even a slight drop to "pretty good" was going to feel like the bottom dropping out. Deep breaths, everyone! Deep, cleansing breaths!

If we only had scenes of Mark Lawson surrounded by children 24/7, my life would be perfect. And if he were shirtless and/or working out every once in a while??? Even better.

As for the show in general, I think that their storyline ideas are pretty good, but they lack in execution. The bullying storyline had so much potential in showing why Jack was a bully, why he picked Shane, how Shane dealt with it, and how Jack was ultimately punished for what he did and everyone's reactions to it. Instead, we get some awesome scenes with AW/FF/JPL only to have it dropped for a month before it's picked up again and Jack ultimately kills Gigi. We should have seen him get arrested for it and if they didn't want him to go to jail, then Jack should have gotten probation, community service, and mandated therapy. We don't have any of that.

And then there's the Two Todds storyline with so much potential that could play out for years. And yeah TSJ is leaving, but they aren't having him be in scenes with a lot of people he's interacted with for these past 8 years when they would obviously have something to say. Blair should definitely be more involved with both Victor and Todd than she has been. Viki should have some alone scenes with Victor.

I hope that the uneven flow of the storylines will be fixed when PP takes over.

Andrea, I like the way you think re: Mark Lawson.

About the bullying storyline, though, I disagree. It's still going on, though in a low-key, subsumed-in-other-storylines way. And I like that it hasn't turned into "and then everyone became friends" kumbaya-fest. The truth is, bullies don't always get the comeuppance they deserve and the bullied don't get perfect closure.

I admit that today's show was less of a high than the previous couple of weeks. But I still count each and every Ford Free day as a blessing. So there's that. And we had TSJ, who I think is very good right now, we had RH who is just excellent, we had Clint. and we had Tea and Blair. Pretty good in my book. The bad was there too - who on earth wants to even REMEMBER Stacy?? Or Gigi? IMO the best thing she ever did was donate her heart. I don't want her back because I don't care. And I've seen enough of Rex and his twitches adn his glares which I guess are supposed to convey emotion. All they convey to me is constipation. Rex, get yourself some HaveASeat. Kimmie was never more than a so-so character for me, probably because she was integral to that ghastly Stacy/Rex crap.
Jessica and Gnat fight - again. Who cares? Vicki should find out what happened to her real daughters, because these two don't deserve to be.

The pacing was slower today, and I want more TSJ and RH than it looks like we might get, but still, it's the best show out there.

BN, very true regarding bullies. I just kind of wish that they would be more consistent with showing scenes about the bullying. With the shooting coming up, I think that'll be hard, especially in regards to Jack's side of things.

I actually think Victor's death/"death" might give the bullying storyline some closure. As much as I don't particularly want Jack and Shane to be buddies or anything, they might bond over dead parents. And with Victor's "death," the Mannings will have "paid" and I can see Shane regretting the reality of pay-back. We'll see.

Bebe Piper, so true about Blair's high-waisted slacks. I truly do not understand her wardrobe lately, and the memory lane jaunts aren't helping since they used to dress her like the bombshell she is.

waiting for wow, it's not even so much St. John's departure that I'm lamenting, it's that a murder mystery gives us no chance at Todd trying to get his family back and really, really talking to them. It's all going to be about suspects and loyalties. I need everyone to chill out on this show for a minute, you know? And talk.

Ron, I am hoping that somehow Tina's return will facilitate Viki slapping some sense into her daughters. Somehow.

Louise, I completely agree with you re: Todd/Victor. I'm not even a regular OLTL viewer, but I've been sucked in by the two Todds storyline. I've never liked either Todd as a character over my years of on-and-off viewership, but right now, both actors are excellent, and I'm fascinated by the potential for Victor, an identity-less man. Making a ridiculously fast jump from this sophisticated umbrella story to a cheesy whodunit is a terrible waste, and I can't believe the producers haven't done everything they can to keep the story going longer.

Oh god I couldn't even watch the Blair/Jack and Victor/Jack scenes because of Andrew Trichetta's HORRIBLE acting. That kids drives me NUTS. Although I hate to see Trevor St. John go, I wish he would take Andrew with him.

I think you're so spot on about the loss of a character driven plot in favor of an uninspired murder mystery. When Tea suggested that Todd #2 get to know Todd #1, I thought we could see at least one really good scene where the two hash things out, if not a richer story arc. Instead we never really got such a moment and then today we had the classic/uninteresting first-person murderer camera shot (Victor even said "what are you doing here?" to the camera--come on!).

Lazy. Lazy. Lazy. So, Victor is killed off instead of Irene slipping away from the authorities and nabbing her son?

Since it was a forgone conclusion that TSJ is gone, why didn't the writers go for the "Irene Manning gives him the triggering keyword that turns him into the assassin plot?" He's already been brainwashed and is obviously mostly crazy at this point.

Victor takes a gun while under brainwashed induced orders to kill Todd. Victor, Todd, Brody, Shane and Jack all converge in the Manning living room either with plans to kill Victor or protect him. Victor pulls out the gun and fires at Todd, but Shane is in the way. Brody shoots Todd to disarm him, but kills him. Jack see Shane in the line of fire and pushes him out of the way.. thus getting a non life threatening wound.

Wrapped up nice and simple. Victor is dead. Jack is shot but redeemed. (ick) Shane now has room to forgive. Brody fired in the line of duty and his secret is now safe! Voila!

Instead we will have the murder mystery and I DO NOT WANT! Oh well.

The problem with the "mystery" is that it isn't really a mystery at all. There are (so far) three suspects and the show's trying their damnedest to convince you that one of them is the killer. But...

- No way Todd is the killer after all the trouble they went through to place RH back in the role.

- While I don't think he's getting anything close to a happy ending, the heavy-handed attempts to make Brody look guilty as sin means that he's innocent.

- Rex? Nah, he's got a sloppily-written future reconciliation with Clint and the possible return of his wife/sister-in-law/whatever to deal with, so it's doubtful he's gonna have time to juggle a murder rap as well. And again, the heavy-handed music cues and hilarious sidelong glances mean that he's most likely innocent as well.

- Oops, almost forgot about Tomas. Of course, so has everyone else in Llanview, it seems. But the fact Blanca Dayplayer called him out as the murderer pretty much confirms that he had nothing to do with it.

Now, who's left on the canvas would have a reason to kill (or "kill") Victor, has the means at their disposal to do so, is firmly established as being evil, cunning and a bit nuts AND is a fairly minor character who can easily be written to boot? Hmmm...

C'mon, do they really think we're THAT stupid? It was obviously Madame Delphina!

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