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« Shocker In Port Charles: Self Awareness! | Main | Ho-Ho-Horrible »

December 19, 2011

The Greatest Hour Of My Life

Oh, am I overstating the case? Well, if this isn't your first visit, you know I'm a tad prone to hyperbole when I get excited. But really, I'm still floating around the room and dancing little jigs about today's episode (and you're lucky you're not here because my jigs do not look pretty).

Today was the special OLTL episode that doubled as a full Fraternity Row episode, and there's really nothing to snark on because the show did such a lovely job snarking on itself. And there's nothing to really pick apart and critique because it was a stand-alone episode that doesn't impact the actual plot of One Life to Live. But it would be criminal to let the episode fly by without giving it at least a little of its due. I'm tempted to start going crazy making screencaps, but there simply isn't enough time since I'd be doing practically every frame today's show. I will try to be economical.

There was nothing that really didn't work for me today, so let's start with some of the standouts in terms of actors:

  • David A. Gregory. Yes, you read that right. The actor behind the character I've spent the most virtual space whining about over the past year was a major standout. All three of the Ford boys' portrayers were hilarious and clearly having a great time (like everyone else) as the "Mazda" brothers (tee-hee), but Gregory really impressed -- dude knows how to parody what he was brought on this show to do. Comedy is his friend, and I was psyched to see it.

Fordmazda

  • Erika Slezak. Shocker, I know. As German maid Gilda and her tougher alter ego Matilda, Slezak masterfully overplayed both roles (with an impeccably overdone accent for both). Not that there was ever any question, but she proved today that she remains Queen in any genre.

Gilda

  • Melissa Archer and Michael Easton. I name them together because they were very much a package deal as possible siblings and lovers Brandon and Briana today, and they played off each other perfectly. Archer as Briana, the Chairman of the Deltas, did a classic soap-acting lampoon full of exaggerated pauses and pointlessly sultry deliveries (my favorite: "These kids just need a little ....guidance," with heaving bosom and the word "guidance" being delivered ridiculously late and breathless in a way that made it sound like porn) while Easton played Brandon as the total antithesis of his type as the uber-preppy "Leader Emeritus" of the Alpha House. He was never without his tennis racket and they were in the background of half the scenes with Brandon giving tennis pointers and Briana absolutely captivated.

Brianabrandon

(How hot was Melissa Archer in that dress? See, wardrobe?! Hot!)

  • Roger Howarth: I know. Shocker again. Howarth went in a slightly different direction from everyone else. He, too, parodied cheesy soap acting, but he parodied it as an actor who was doing it particularly horribly. And it was fantastic. Not only could he not effectively deliver one single line naturally, he also kept having trouble hitting his mark and understanding where to look or how to fill those scene-ending "holds," and he was caught "looking" just about every time a scene started. Priceless, and obviously it was helped along by that darling outfit and the hair. Oh, the hair! They went full mullet, y'all. Dash Dunning is all business in the front, all party in the back.

Dashdunning1

 

I almost feel guilty not just listing every actor in the episode because they were all so wonderful and clearly over the moon to be doing what they were doing, but I have to exhibit a little restraint here. So now let's get into some of the greatest moments:

  • The DNA test jokes. There were, of course, no fewer than three necessary DNA tests during the course of the episode, and M. Povich, the lab guy (played by Nick Choksi/Vimal), naturally almost mixed up all the samples about thirty times. And the tests came back in minutes! And of course they came back with little red ribbons on them, which he handed out like awards.
  • The constant shirtlessness motif. OLTL poked good fun at itself for its over-reliance on shirtless men, not only by requiring each person showing up for a DNA test to remove their shirts for absolutely no reason (which everyone thought was "gratuitous"), but also by making fun of their guiltiest shirtless pleasure, the Fords. Each Mazda brother stopped in a hallway and arbitrarily removed his shirt and struck a pose before entering a room. Really, the only one missing from the shirtlessness-overkill gag was Cutter. It led to some happy moments.

  FRPDripsoffdashshirt

Dashface
(That face slayed me.)

Lorrainemazdas

  • Pretty much every single thing about their send-up of the Two Todds story. From relentlessly mocking the vague "undisclosed location" set, to taking an appropriate jab at that "it" that Todd's captors kept blathering on about for months when we knew full well no one had yet decided what "it" was, to the inspired casting of Shaun in the "prisoner twin" role (complete with the trademark Todd Manning scar!) and Destiny in the "Irene" role, to the acknowledged absurdity of the motivation for the retconned backstory in the first place (Destiny: "I never wanted this but I was single mother forced to raise a child all alone! What choice did I have but to join a rogue branch of the C.I.A.?"), to the bit about how unlikely it is that these two could be twins (everyone ignoring that Dash was white and the "other" Dash was black, and instead opting to focus on the height and eye color differences which, let's face it, we all picked apart mercilessly!), to the focus on the utter implausibility ("she's an evil genius, anything is possible!").

Undisclosed location

Shaunasscar


Destiny

  • The fun with OLTL's wildly inaccurate portrayal of D.I.D. (Jessica's character Roxie: "It's an unfortunate non-hereditary ailment I... inherited from my mother."), including the silly "shifts" of alters brought on in seconds by a headache and indicated by an exaggerated vocal change or a new prop (Jessica's character trying to change alters by grabbing M. Povich's conveniently-located spectacles and "Moon" and "Jane" preventing it by simply stopping her from putting the glasses on was effing priceless).

Glasses2

  • Even the way they came back from commercials was a delight, with Jerry verDorn adorably delivering progressive variations on the "And now... even more Fraternity Row!" voiceover.
  • The deliberately badly-staged soapy slap between Dani's character "Jane" and Jessica's character was hysterical.

And of course, it wasn't to last. Roxy woke up from her wonderful dream, the lights were low and the colors were muted, and David was there to bring her back into reality.

David: Hey listen, I know how much that show meant to you but... it's over. Let's get outta here.

And the two of them took one last look at the set and then walked down that long, long corridor, saying goodbye to Roxy's beloved soap for what she believes to be the final time.

Setwalk1

Setwalk2

Setwalk3

Setwalk4

And just at the very last moment, they grabbed each other's hand to walk out hand-in-hand because David and Roxy knew how much each other's hearts were breaking. Or, indulge me here, quite possibly because Tuc Watkins and Ilene Kristen knew how much each other's hearts were breaking.

Setwalk5

Setwalk6

Or maybe it's because Tuc Watkins and Ilene Kristen knew that my heart was breaking?!

Oof.

What a gift. It wasn't just a big, fat thank-you card to the viewers, it was a big thank-you card to the cast and the writers and the crew and the directors and the art department and everyone else. They broke down the literal fourth wall for a moment and, in doing so, broke down the figurative one just a little bit, too, letting us know they know we're here and it matters -- love every storyline or hate every storyline or somewhere in between, they know we're here. I can't think of a better word for it than "sweet."

And because I'm getting maudlin, I'm bringing the mood back up with this final image of Peter Bartlett as Fraternity Row's Nigella!

Nigella

Fabulous.

Thank you, Afternoon Television Program!

So I know I didn't even begin to touch on everything. What did I miss? What were your favorite moments?

Comments

That was the single greatest hour in the history of ever. No hyperbole!

But, seriously, that was so ridiculously awesome I can't even begin to say. I think my favorite thing was the accents. I particularly loved FL's Betty Boop, but they were all great.

I think we got as close to a Todd/Blair/Tea threesome as we're ever going to get.

That last moment with TW and IK walking hand-in-hand? SLAYED ME!

Everything. Everything was my favorite moments. The entire cast was brilliant.

But RH channeling AT (just a little ) was wonderful. Also loved that he called himself Dash Durham and had to be corrected by the FR police, adorably played by FL and KDP. And that he used his finger to make a tear when he said "sadly."

The whole show was brilliant, over the top perfect parody. I laughed until I cried...then I just cried. Apparently, so did IK, if that close-up of tears was real.

One I had on my list that wasn't on yours was David Gregory's Mazda brother wearing a shirt that said, "Alpha Male".

And all the Eternity jokes at the beginning. "I thought I had lost you for eternity, but you were in... Eternity."

I wish we would have gotten a FR opening. We saw the beginning of one a few weeks ago, I wonder if they just didn't finish that.

But pitch perfect in everyway. Oh, Oh, the Shawn Dash reveal was done so great. You mentioned the scar, which was wonderful, but the way we saw his feet and then an extreme closeup of the cheek.

Any chance FV/RC will bring this sense of humor to GH, or is it too far gone? Any chance this will be the episode they show for one of the holday pre-emptions, The monday after New Years would be about 3 weeks, which is ll the time ABCD needs to repeat a soap, right?

Shawn and Destiny were my favorites today though I loved it all. I loved them spoofing the Todd story and it's ridiculousness.

UO though - I thought ES was a little painful to watch. Loved ME though and the constant racket swinging.

Kudos to the cast and crew of OLTL for today's episode it was truly entertaining.

On a shallow tip:#shirtlessrogerhowarth

There was nothing, nothing I didn't love - and that, for the very first time included the Ford brothers. And sleazy Rick.

I think I laughed hardest at Nigella - and Mr. Bartlett sure took that role and ate the scenery with it. GO, NIGELLA!

And I waa thrilled that Ilene Kristen got to lead an episode.

And the ending, with Roxie and David walking off the set, after she found that earring - broke my heart.

Ok, I admit I haven't watched the show pretty much since Megan died. But I have started watching again since the cancellation was announced, mostly out of curiosity. I have only one word for todays episode. Gold. I am writing this comment thru the headache brought on by hysterics from watching it (D-nah test anyone?). Even though it was a parody it reminded me of how fun and exciting soaps used to be, and how I actually learned how to program my VCR in elementary school just so I wouldn't miss anything. It made me a little teary eyed when it was all over. It feels like the end of an era. Well, all I can say is thank God for You Tube and all those lovely folks who saved their VHS tapes. Keep uploading, I'm watching.

I loved all of it. Every last bit. From "It" to the Shaun Dunning reveal to M. Povich to "he may be cheating on me...with me". And the color palate was as bright as the show. Yes, the ending was wistful, but damn, it was worth it.

Oh that's right, shan231, the "D-nah test" was a nice one!

What a fun day. The directing, the design, just... everything. What a blast.

Spazzo47, I do think RC will lighten GH up. I think it'd be impossible not to, he has too much of a sense of fun -- which that show so desperately needs. And yeah, I was kinda hoping for a full FR opening credits, but hey... I guess they poured enough into this episode!

My favorite part was Tea's character, because to hear that voice coming out of FL's mouth was just shocking. I didn't know that was physically possible. I loved her just being confused in the background and adjusting her boobs.

Also, sleazy Rick is actually really cute as a nerd! Who knew?

This was actually the single greatest hour in televsion history. EVERYONE was incredible, even the Mazda brothers. Now I want Fraternity Row to be an actual show!

I really enjoyed this fake soap within a soap!! OlTL really gave the audience and there cast/crew something wonderful to be reminded of how great the show has been the last few yrs. a great thank you and in a respectful really funny way. It was FANTASTIC!! I loved it, and it shows y fans will miss this well written show. great job.

I couldn't wait for Monday and, boy, Monday sure did deliver! I loved today's episode so much. So many great moments, just too many to recap. I think Sean as Dash's twin produced the biggest laugh out of me. Sean Ringold was perfect but also SO loved Florencia Lozano's take on a ditzy, oversexed woman. She was fantastic and a complete 180 from Tea Delgado. Ilene Kristen just wows me. The ending broke me down. My heart sank because of the end of OLTL but it was pitch-perfect in the shot of Ilene and Tuc's walk and hand-holding. My sinking heart is somehow full of gratitude.

Today's show was hilarious. I loved everything about it, especially Roger's OTT "soap" acting, and Destiny as evil Irene. It was obvious that the entire cast was having a ball and I'm thrilled that they were able to shake off their characters for one episode and let loose. When TW and IK did their final walk, I had a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye. It really hit me - OLTL will soon be over.

This episode was every crazy and campy reason of why I've love soap operas since I was a toddler. All we needed was a back from the dead villain.

Thank you RC, writers, cast and crew!

TW's and IK's long quiet walk off the set had me in freaking tears! Sobbing I say!

RC, I only hope that you can still save TFGH.

I know that we would be sad not to have certain plot resolutions and whatnot, but did anyone else wish just a little that this was the final episode. Not that the final episode was now (obviously), but that it could be something whimsical and fun and with a perfect ending. Perhaps it's only because I fear the inevitable disappointment down the road (based on the end of AMC), but the sense of contentment at the end of this show was just complete.

Okay, enough being a downer. When the camera panned up to reveal Sean, I almost literally did a spit take. Wonderful!

Bravo OLTL! Bravo! I laughed until I cried and even liked the "Mazda" brothers scenes.

Shaun and Destiny cracked me up!

It is 1:15 in the morning here is Phoenix and I am just now looking at this. I'm surprised I haven't woken up my daughter with my outright laughter. This episode is fantastic. It makes me once again ask the question......Why is this one cancelled and GH is still around????

I loved it. I loved FL being Betty Boop. I loved KdP being awesome and rocking those boots with that trench that made me wonder what was underneath. I loved RH doing pretty-but-dumb shockingly well. I loved everyone. I have always had a soft spot for AP since DAYS and I'm so glad he was on today and showed that he really does have a great range outside of sleazeball.

And seeing Nigel in drag is something I can cross off my bucket list. Thank you, Show.

I actually might have been less insulted by this entire storyline if Roxy weren't the protagonist of the story. If it had been Téa, Blair, or Natalie, it wouldn't likely be so offensive.
That being said, I found Florencia Lozano, Sean Ringgold, Shenell Edmonds, and Kelley Missal to be the only watchable ones today. Really there are not many with range on this show - or any NY based soap since they now seem to hire based upon looks instead of hiring trained theater actors, for the most part. Florencia Lozano seems to be a lonely exception.
I don't think it's an accident that the two who can act in the 'extended teens' (with the notable exception of Eddie Alderson) are the two Florencia Lozano has coached - Kelley Missal (who has developed immensely since she started) and Shenell Edmonds (who has improved so much in the last few months).
I am glad the actors had fun.
The writing in the first "Fraternity Row" themed episode was so obvious in the "Look! we're poking fun at ourselves, see, see?" that I suspect there is more than a little bit of insulting the audience oh so cleverly disguised.

But they were making fun of themselves. Quite overtly. That was the point. How was this a cleverly disguised way to insult the audience?

OLTL has MOSTLY trained theater actors in the cast, just not in the teen set.

Yes, so they could do exactly what you just said.

I disagree.

But how did it insult the audience? I don't get how spoofing themselves insulted us.

I find everything about Roxy and David to be offensive.
The story showed pretty much every offensive stereotype for the soap fan imaginable and the person held up as the heroine of the story is a joke, a lush, an abusive mother, an idiot. I fail to see how this can be a tribute.

Some people need to lighten up! The show was a complete spoof on all the stereotypes you've ever seen in a soap. Am insult? Only to someone who thinks the genre is Shakespeare and shouldn't ever be taken lightly. I loved every minute of it. Nigel in drag, the Mazda brothers,and particularly Roger Howarth as the spectacularly BAD Dash Dunning. Only a very good actor could be that terrible.

Oh, because I didn't like it I need to lighten up? Well, I also obviously know nothing about anything then.

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