Can We Get To It Already (or Victodd's Moonlighting)
There are paternity storylines that go on for months or years or even decades on soaps and they work just fine, so why is it that "Who Is Liam's Father?" feels like the longest, most drawn-out paternity story in history? Well, I came up with a few possibilities. We know who Liam's father is, for one thing. We've known for a long time. And even before that, we "knew" the big secret that it was Brody. It's just been going on too long. When it was revealed that Matthew was really Bo's son, for instance, we didn't know that. It was years after the fact, but we hadn't been waiting for that reveal and getting tired of it. It was a surprise. This was lovely.
The other issue is that this story is about how this piece of information is the only thing that's keeping this allegedly "meant to be" couple apart. It doesn't make anyone look good. John, who would have had every right to fall out of love with Natalie for her lies, fell right back in love with her but couldn't do anything about it only because he thought she had a child with another man. Dick. This isn't his issue anymore, and I do admit that being reluctant to make a play for a woman who's about to marry someone else is actually fairly admirable -- when you don't take into account that "inaction" is actually John's default mode in anything relationship-related. And Natalie is marrying a man she quite consciously does not love and obviously isn't in any sort of denial -- she told her mother that John's "apparent lack of interest" was enough reason to marry a man she doesn't actually want to marry. Also not sympathetic.
And Brody is doing exactly what was done to him -- lying to keep a man away from his own son to get what he wants, and now being self-righteous with John about it to compensate. Not sympathetic.
So there's no real triangle here and there's no one to really root for, and we're still dealing with the fact that "Will these two crazy kids ever get together?" is hinged entirely on paternity, which is incredibly irritating and antiquated. I know it's a soap staple, but usually it's more like, "If these two crazy kids knew they shared a child, they'll have to be back in each other's orbits a lot more and maybe finally realize they still have feelings for each other!" Now that's something I can work with on 21st Century soaps. But this "all the couples will rearrange themselves lickety-split when the truth is revealed" current running under all these is tedious. And a reminder that the biggest storyline of 2010 and the beginning of 2011 was all for naught anyway.
Yay joylessness! How fun and soapy. Or something.
This storyline also brought us Ford sharing a scene with Princess David Vickers.
Princess David Vickers came off as the significantly more complicated and nuanced character.
And how very big of Ford to admit that, although Jess isn't Tess, she's okay after all. Like that's some huge concession on his part. He should be kissing her effing feet for not pressing charges and for allowing him into her home with access to their son. Oh, Ford. Please take a leap into the Llantano River.
Louie's back! He's alive!
He's apparently been hiding out in Pine Valley and Corinth (he smartly avoided Port Charles). But Louie, isn't everyone in Corinth pretty much dead?
And Todd in his scrambling-to-cover-for-himself mode is very much reminiscent of his 2001-2003 self, the one that initiated, got busted for, and dealt with the aftermath of the infamous Dead Baby Lie. It's almost a relief to finally see Todd in this familiar mode instead of the sad, too-careful man we've seen since his return. I'm loving the varying layers.
Yesterday I made it out to see now-potential-dead-father-to-be Victodd's alter ego Trevor St. John's new film In the Family.
As movie-going experiences go, I have to say I picked the wrong time to go. There's this thing about matinees in the city -- they're so often populated by under-bathed elderly folks looking for something to do indoors, and they tend to speak loudly to the characters on the screen. It was a packed house and yet I had to move seats twice because I was too close to the door, and latecomers kept using my shoulders as some sort of a comfort and a vault by which to catapult themselves to available seats in the dark. I migrated to the front row, and it was one of those indie houses where the screen is the size of a postage stamp, so while it wasn't as bad as the front row of one of those mega-multiplex auditoriums, I still had to sink down pretty far to see the screen.
The film was terrific. There were some frustrations: the style of cinematography was very, very tight shots. This made it hard to get my bearings because not only was I in the worst seat in the house for being able to take in the whole picture, but he rarely gave us an establishing shot so that we could really even understand the surroundings. There were actually entire scenes between two people in which the camera never left one person, so I couldn't always understand where the other character was supposed to be. I understood the intended impact of this and would have appreciated it had it been used more sparingly.
It's hard to synopsize the story because the inciting incident happens fairly late in the (quite lengthy) film, so I'll try to stay broad: two men share a child, one of these men dies, and a custody problem emerges. It sounds like it could be fraught with melodrama, but it was quite the opposite; this was a quiet, understated film. A wordless scene concerning the simple opening and preparing of a Coca Cola and a Miller Lite was actually one of the more remarkable few moments I've seen on screen in a long, long time.
Taking place in Tennessee, it was fun to see Trevor St. John with a nice Southern accent (and I couldn't help but wonder if he ever borrowed some inflections from our favorite Tennessee-adjacent-Kentuckian, Kassie dePaiva), and there was no Todd or Victor anywhere in sight. His performance was sturdy and strong and subtle in all the best ways, and he more than deserves the accolades he's gotten for this. Gina Tognoni also had a small but memorable role as a nurse having to deal with balancing the "family only" hospital rules with the reality of a de-facto same sex marriage that's not by the books but is very much family nonetheless.
Patrick Wang, who starred, wrote, and directed the film was in the lobby afterwards and my heart went out to him -- he got his share of people just walking by or people congratulating him, but he also got cornered with a truckload of unsolicited criticism, mostly for the length of the film (admittedly I had no idea it would be as long as it was and had to do a mad dash uptown for a play with no time for dinner in between... I hope my theatre-going companion wasn't too distracted by my growling tummy). Perhaps it's just that I'm a writer and know what it feels like to have people march up to me after a show and tell me everything that's wrong with my play, but it made me so nervous for him. I realize I sit here in this space and semi-professionally offer up unsolicited criticism of OLTL on a regular basis, but it's not like I stand in front of the writers and directors and actors reading my thoughts on this blog out loud to them! And I know, I know, he was standing right there opening himself up to it, but it just seemed... rude. What can I say.
Whoa. Serious digression. Unforgivable almost. Point is, Trevor St. John was damn good in it and I hope this leads to wonderful things for him! I think it's only on one screen in NYC now through Thursday, but I'm sure it'll get a DVD or On-Demand release soon enough and I really do highly recommend it.
Off to go cheer on those bad-ass marathoners.
Enjoy your extra hour, Serial Drama readers!