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« How's The View From That High Horse, Luke? | Main | They Hem and They Haw, But the Hair is All Wrong »

December 07, 2011

Getting a "Thank You" Note Through the Airwaves

I wanted to post yesterday after the terrific launch of the mini-storyline of One Life to Live's soap-within-a-soap Fraternity Row, but I was a little too exhausted by life. Luckily today ramped it up, and my giddiness is still intact. Well, my bittersweet giddiness. 

I don't even know where to start. 

Yesterday's intro? Was a scene from Fraternity Row, complete with opening credits.

FR

Clintwatches

FRopeningcredits

Throughout the hour, we learned gradually who in Llanview is a viewer and how they watch it (Starr: DVR, Cutter: later on SoapNet, Viki: every day, live, Noelle: at work, Kim: in prison!), what kind of viewer they are (Clint: closet viewer who's smart and hypercritical of the writing, Roxy: her whole heart in it, always able to make an excuse for it even when it fails, Shaun: the always-complaining viewer who's constantly threatening to quit watching for good who doesn't get why the characters aren't just allowed to be happy for a while!), and who their favorites on the show are. They had great alternating scenes emphasizing the absurdity of soaps -- two lovers on Fraternity Row discussed being siblings while Gigi had a ridiculous conversation about how Dr. Fascinella wouldn't change her face back in the "real" world.

Shaun complained about stupid plot devices and Roxy argued that people look back on them fondly, even the ones they complained about at the time. Viki and Clint complained that it was "criminal" that the show was shut out of awards season last year. Clint reminded Viki of the time she played a nurse, very briefly. (Viki: Oh, that's ridiculous. I was terrible. Oh, my God. If there's one thing I'm not, it's an actress.) This led to a beautiful discussion of Viki's relationship with Megan, which led to more than a few Louise tears. (What? I'm way too cool to weep about a soap, I never said that!)

A waitress at the Bon Jour Café likened Gigi's amnesia situation to a FR character (Gilda!). Then right after Roxy filled Rama in on the storylines (subbing "Eternity" in for Eterna, "since Lorraine came back from the dead the second time," etc.), she learned from Soap Opera Weekly that the show's been canceled.

  SOW

Oh no! Is that cover not amazing? "Southwest General: Shocker" is as awesome as that photo of Briana and Brandon being all hilariously sultry. The "New Prospects in the Park for Soaps" was a bit sad since, of course, when they made this episode the whole Prospect Park thing was still a go (which it still might be, but my heart can't take looking in on it anymore).

And today was even more generous. Because today, we not only got a big "thank you" from the show, the executives who canceled the show got a big "fuck you."

We started with Nigel's and then Roxy's heartbreak over the cancellation. 

Roxy: (sobbing) This can't be happening, Fraternity Row was supposed to be forever; now it's not just gonna be there anymore! 

Rama: It's okay, you adjust. I mean, after all, it's just a TV show.

Roxy: It is not just a TV show. It was not just a TV show when Lorraine and Derwood went back in time and they filled in for Paul Revere and it was not just a TV show when Breaux and Maura (tee-hee) water-skiied over a tidal wave to get to their wedding, and now it's not just a TV show. It's family. My mom Stella, she passed it down to me, and I passed it down to Nattie and Rex, and you betcha that Rex is passin' it down to Shane.

Oh man. I mean we viewers talk about discovering the show and what it meant to us in terms of familial relationships and personal milestones through the years, but it's just doubly touching to hear that come out of the mouth of a character we've been through so much of it with, you know? Every day it becomes clearer and clearer that I'm not going to be able to handle this like a grown-up, not in the least. And then...

Roxy: There's no use in crying just because some empty suit thinks Fraternity Row is for the birds!

And then she announced that she's got to save the show. She even turned down a drink! Who knew a soap cancellation would finally be Roxy's motivation to get sober?

Clint was in denial about the cancellation and talked about how the soap business feeds on rumors, and how it's just not possible because the show's in great shape! (Apparently there are no Fords on Fraternity Row!) Nigel asked Clint to host a party celebrating Fraternity Row... hey, that's not a bad idea. Too bad 90% of the people I know just roll their eyes when soaps come up (though I've made it pretty clear since cancellation that they might not be safe doing that around me anymore, and I think some of them are starting to get the not-so-subtle hint).

Roxy ran to Clint to try to get him to save the show, hoping that perhaps Buchanan Enterprises could buy the show, and talked about how all the fans need to put aside their differences and work together, and how the show's been on for 43 years and how are we even supposed to sit through this episode? I mean it's awesome and it's a big thank you to us for watching, of course, and it's great. I'm just not made of steel here, people! Good grief!

Roxynigel

Clint turned Roxy down, of course, because there's no money left to be made from Fraternity Row, with she rightfully disagreed. (Clint made the whole "it's an institution whose time has come" argument that Roxy said was as condescending as we've all wanted to call the people saying that to us for the last eight months. An argument I'm sure the creative team -- including those who wrote the lines -- at OLTL has wanted to punch in the mouth for the last eight months every time someone has smugly spouted it.)

Now, sure, there have been other storylines the last couple of days. The scenes between Viki and Clint have been dynamite. I've always been on the fence about Viki with this Clint because I loved their friendship so much, but no longer. I did love Clint and Kim together, but damn! Clint and Viki, they got it. Jerry verDorn and Erika Slezak have terrific chemistry, and I love that they're starting this with conflict rather than just having them magically and comfortably and quietly reunite. Anyone who makes Queen Victoria drop the nobility and look genuinely, honestly vulnerable and injured? Oh, she's done for.

The main focus this week has been on Gigi, Cutter, Rex, Aubrey, and Kim, which... eh. It's fine. It could be a lot worse, and I do enjoy the Gigi/Cutter and Rex/Aubrey dynamic (which we'll likely lose soon once the truth comes out), but honestly most of the scenes have been other people finding out things we've known for a while and I find myself wishing they could have really lifted the story by writing Alex Olanov into it for more than just a couple of days. And as for whatever's going on with Neela and Shane and Jack, well, I won't pretend to care that much (despite being full of good will for the show today, obviously), but I will say I'm glad they didn't just let it go forever that Jack managed to get away with killing someone (and no, it doesn't matter if the person he killed was a nice person or her mean sister).

But at the end of day, what a lovely gift to the viewers. And especially to those of the viewers who didn't take the cancellation sitting down; it's clear that really meant a lot to the folks over at OLTL and this was a really lovely thank-you note.

Comments

Everything Fraternity Row is gold! I know there are other storylines out there right now, but other than anything Todd/Tea/Blair related, all I seem to remember is the wonderful Roxie, and Clint and Higel, and Noelle and her pies. And all the secret fans of Fraternity Row, be they at Llanfair, the cafe, or at Roxies.

Roxie's comments about the "empty suits" who cancelled it, and then her impassioned plea to Clint was pitch perfect. It can't be any coincidence that Clint's response sounded almost word for word what Oprah and others have said. There are more than one person who is getting the middle finger salute.

But my favorite is the feeling that Ron C. and Frank Valentini made explicit, what we've all said, about how the shows feel like family after all this time. And they're showing the fans as devoted and fierce. There's a real sweetnes around this. And some wickedly good humor.

I have to say, though, that as much as I'm loving it, there is such a bittersweet feeling, too. These scenes were written and acted when we still believed the shows would live on. That is still a real kick in the pants.

Soaps are family! Jeez. I can't count the number of times during my school years and afterwards when I turned on my TV to see what was going on with Jenny and Brad Vernon, Karen Wolek, Erica Kane, Elizabeth Webber, etc. I started watching soaps decades ago because my mother was watching them and I was suppose to have been taking a nap!...lol

All of the references to Fraternity Row was awesome! I've watched OLTL live, VHS, DVR, Soapnet, online at ABC, YT and read the various soap magazines and online recaps just to stay on top of my "stories".

I have to agree with a friend that thinks we're seeing Gigi again because the actress and JPL are on Dirty Soap and since the actors are Frons "pets" that means we're going to see them come hell or high water.

Wasn't Snoop Dogg "supposedly" part of the Fraternity Row cast in the beginning back when Bo was the EP? As much as it pains me when he is on the show and the cast breaks in to "Snoop Speak" I think it would have been fun to have him on there for that since he is a fan of the show and he and Bob Woods are friends. :) This is one of those episodes that was so good that I am starting to believe the RC and FV will indeed take GH off with some class and dignity.

Dawn, I agree. While (obviously!) I don't love or even like all the decisions that the FV/RC combo has made over the years, their love for the genre has always been clear even when it's not working the way I want it to.

Ladybug, yeah, I think the old guard's always been big on Rex and Gigi so we've got them till the end. The bright side is that since this seems to be the dominant story right now, it might not be by the end. After 43 years, Rex and Gigi shouldn't be the headline story of the last few days of the show, and thankfully it looks like they won't be.

Ron, very bittersweet. If this storyline ends with Fraternity Row getting "saved" and going online, I can't be responsible for the actions I might take in my heartbreak.

The only thing that could have made any of this more perfect is if they would have shown Megan and Summer performing at the Daisy Awards. I heart that clip so much.

Im thinking someone needs to host an online viewing party on finale day. I think the only way I'll get through it is to go through it with my vitual friends. Maybe there can be a Clicki viewing (live), a Starr viewing (some time later for the DVRers) and a Cutter viewing party (later on Soapnet). People can attend any or all and give their reactions as the show runs.

Here's to those shows! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JNMlqzNLroA

I love this whole new storyline though I feel like it may be hard to watch if they reference or allude to the hopes PP were offering.

Anyway I just wanted to bring you this Louise - Kassie plans on featuring an old Todd and Blair clip on her webpage every week and briefly about it. Here's the link: http://www.kassiedepaiva.com/mlLibrary.html

She also posted that she's been watching youtube videos of Todd and Blair - lol. She linked this mvid on her twitter. Maybe it will help you in the withdrawal plan you previously mentioned. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6TS4Dold_78&feature=related

LB, I saw that, and I love it! I noticed it the other day and immediately said, "Holy crap, KdP is handling the end of OLTL the exact same way I am... obsessively going over old YouTube clips!"

I just could not love her more.

The pessimist in me is thinking she's doing it to soften the blow because Todd and Blair don't reunite or end up together. But I don't care about the reason really - it's a great gesture and I love the clips she picked.

I loved every bit of this! These epis have made me laugh and cry.

How ADORBS was Viki ranting about Clint??? "He kissed me!"

First AMC, not OLTL. I can't believe I'm grieving like this all over again.

It's very apropos to have Roxy fighting to save the show. IRL Ilene Kristen showed up at a protest in front of Lincoln Center at the ABC Upfronts after the show was cancelled. Talk about art truly imitating life. She was there with Colleen Zenk from ATWT. I was there, too, when Brian Frons walked by with a sneery smile on his face. Thank you Ilene and writers. This is the only soap on the air with a visible sense of humor and I can't tell you how sad I am at the thought of not being able to watch Viki and Clint's relationship bloom slowly. Damn those cheap suits at Disney

It was PURE LOVE LETTER & I was grinnin' ear to ear!!!
& unashamedly teary-eyed!
What a TREAT to see VIKI getting all flustered & hurt... it almost seemed like she was going to go NIKI SMITH for a moment!
Didn't NOELLE's pie look gooooood?!?!?!
I must be getting even more sentimental in my old age (or as we near The End), because I don't even mind NEELA & JACK!
& KIM.... that Amanda Setton is a CARTOON of GORGEOUSNESS!
Each of her eyes are, like, three feet wide!
...& from me, that's an ultimate compliment!
Of course ROXY is my favorite; not only do I love her, but I'm PROUD of her!

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