It was hard to make myself sit down and write about the final episode of One Life to Live -- not just for the obvious reasons (e.g., not being able to stop rocking and weeping), but so much has been written and said in the days since that it feels like it would be impossible to bring anything new to the discussion. Luckily I've been away for a few days and completely oblivious to most anything that was said and have really only experienced listening to a podcast of an interview with Ron Carlivati (which I'd highly recommend if you haven't heard it already), so while I may be repeating what has been said a million times, hey, at least I won't know it. Yet.
And so now, this is ostensibly my final post ever about One Life to Live. I'm hoping to occasionally chime in with other things the actors or writers are working on, possibly cover a classic episode every once in a while, and I will cross my fingers that when it's Emmy time they'll at least get, I don't know, one single solitary nomination for something that I can discuss here. And I will still be covering The Bold & the Beautiful and will start pitching in with the General Hospital coverage.
But since this is the final regular OLTL post, I did want to thank you guys before I dive in. I jumped into this whole Serial Drama thing late in the game and felt very welcomed, and I've enjoyed all of your insightful and hilarious comments over the last couple of years (and considering some of the crazy-internet-people comments you always see on other sites, people have been remarkably restrained and civil when they disagree with me, so I count myself lucky!). I've also gotten comfort from a lot of your comments in the final few weeks (and I hope in some ways this blog did a little of that in reverse, too!) as well as some incredibly sweet emails from many of you. So I thank you for that. It means a lot to feel a part of a community where we all understand the place this genre has in our hearts, and where we don't have to feel like we need to apologize for it.
Reasons I am compiling lists about General Hospital rathern than doing the professional thing and writing about General Hospital using things like "sentences" and "paragraphs":
For the, what, 50th time (I'm grossly underestimating things, I know), Sonny Corinthos was shot and the show wasted an absurd amount of time making it seem as though Sonny's life was actually in danger. Things more likely than the show doing us all a solid and writing Sonny off of the show:
1. Spinelli speaking an entire sentence in actual English, without referring to someone with a cumbersome nickname.
2. Alexis getting a storyline of her own.
3. The Chew and The Revolution being ratings successes and cultural phenomenons.
4. Making it through one day without reading a particularly embarrassing Lindsay Lohan headline (crashing a Golden Globes party? Girl...)
5. My suddenly not finding all of Aaron Rodgers's State Farm commercials not adorable--I can't explain it, he charms me. Don't tell all of the Giants fans I am surrounded by!
Things I hate about Ethan (besides his retconned existence, because that is obvious):
1. The way he responds to any of his scene partners asking a question with a bizarre braying laugh. "I need your help," says Luke. "GUFFAW", says Ethan. "Are you living at Wyndemere?" asks Lulu. "HAHAHAHAHA," says Ethan.
2. The fact that he is giddy about having sex with an amnesiac on the floor at Wyndemere.
3. The face he makes when reminiscing about having sex with an amnesiac on the floor at Wyndemere.
4. The way he smugs about town lecturing others about Spencer family history and the Spencer-Cassadine feud as if he knows anything about anything.
5. The way he was practically agog at Lulu going by Lulu Spencer-Falconeri, as if hyphenated last names are unusual and as if that particular hyphenation is even that long and complicated.
(Edited to add -- at the beginning because I don't want to add anything to what I've shared below at this point -- because a lot of you have asked: Firstly, thank you for asking! Yes, I will continue to write for Serial Drama after OLTL goes dark on the air. I may well write some thoughts on classic episodes and on future endeavors of all our favorites, and I will also continue to cover B&B here on the blog. Additionally, I will soon begin to add to Mallory's awesome coverage of GH, not only because some of our Llanview-ites are making the trip to Port Charles, but also because I've been watching GH religiously for over three decades and have thoughts on it that go beyond our Soap Opera Digest column. Let's all hope it sticks around and that some random magic will bring OLTL back, too, in some form or another! I'm going nowhere, and thanks so much for your support! More information on this to come, I promise. Now, onto the Sads. --L.)
This is just about it, folks. I want to first say that I can't make any promises about when I'll get the post up for tomorrow's One Life to Live series finale (there, I said it, now leave me alone!!!) because frankly I don't know that I'll be in writing condition for... really, for days after the fact. I will at least post a quick message, probably with shaky hands and a broken heart, just to check in and make sure we're all holding up. I just need to put that out there so that nobody yells at the computer too much! I'm predicting I will be a very-low-functioning human at best. Bear with me.
Proof of this prediction about tomorrow is that I probably still need time to be able to talk about today's episode, so we're going to compromise. First of all, you can watch Viki's speech about soap operas here. I feel like that says it all. Let's try it here too:
I'll transcribe it here, but I want the various accompanying visual images preserved here as well because it was so masterfully done. This is one of the most beautiful sequences I have ever seen and heard on a soap opera in my three decades of viewing (and catching up on earlier history, too!). When am I going to stop crying? Ever? Anyway, here's what Viki had to say about OLTL and soaps today, under the guise of speaking of the internal soap, Fraternity Row.
Viki: Megan actually passed away nearly twenty years ago, but I still to this day get stopped on the street by Fraternity Row fans who remember the characters that she played. And some ask how she's doing or will she ever return. But I must tell you that there are times I get so caught up in the show that I find myself wondering the same thing. The fans are so loyal, so passionate, so invested in their stories. I always ask how they started watching Fraternity Row. Some of them were stay-at-home mothers taking a break before their children came home from school. Others? Were college students, with free time between classes. Many of them inherited a love of the show from their parents and their grandparents, who were long-time fans themselves. I remember the first time I tuned into Fraternity Row. I was hooked, instantly. I needed to know what would happen next to these fascinating people. Would the hero and the heroine find their way back to true love? Would the villains get their comeuppance, or would their crimes go unpunished? Would loving families overcome their obstacles, or would their troubles become too difficult to surmount? Ultimately, that's what soap opera is about. Families. Close families, rival families, even families that are unexpected. Or the ones we choose for ourselves. And when a show is lucky enough to be on the air as long as Fraternity Row has been on, these families become extensions of our own. The audience might be upset when a favorite actor leaves. But they're always willing to welcome a new one, even when that new one is quite different than the one being replaced! [I wanted to leave this speech without comment, but when they showed Kassie dePaiva here quite poignantly, my heart grew three sizes. --Ed] After all, this is a place where people come back from the dead, go off to grade school in the morning and come home from high school in the afternoon! Because for every new face, every new couple, every new family, there are long familiar faces. Some who have grown up before our very eyes. And a few more we hope to watch grow up. We know them so well, they've become our friends. We yearn for their happiness, especially when it's hard-won. We laugh as they laugh, we cry as they cry, and we can't imagine doing without them. And when things are at their very worst on the show, that's when we seem to enjoy them the most. There's just one thing we have to do to keep them in our lives. Tune in tomorrow.
TECHNICALLY, I requested that all of this happen--in an upcoming Soap Opera Digest column, I bemoaned the sad state of love in Port Charles. "Romantically bankrupt", I called it, on account of the seeming allergy this show has to things like "love" and "splashy weddings" and "couples with genuine romantic chemistry". And now General Hospital has given me a week in which SO many conversations have been about love and marriage and sex, and there has been banter and flirtations and all of it...
...all of it is immensely upsetting, actually. Either I am impossible to please or the General Hospital powers-that-be are incapable of following anything but the most specific of instructions and even then, they'd find a way to ass it up.
Think I'm exaggerating? You thought wrong!
Disturbing: Anthony is still forcing Tracy to marry him! But this is "wacky", not "menacing and probably illegal"
What started off as a sexual harassment story disguised as comic relief has turned into an opus of threats and blackmail, as Anthony is blackmailing Tracy into marrying him and blackmailing Maxie into planning the wedding, because it wouldn't be a wedding in Port Charles if it weren't laced with danger and threats of violence/ruination. I basically hate everything about it, especially the way it wastes the considerable talents of Bruce Weitz and Jane Elliot, who both deserve better than this. I also hate myself because Anthony made me laugh-out-loud cackle on multiple occasions today--the way he immediately said "Bless you" when Tracy sneezed, his wide-eyed "That many?!" to Maxie's remark that there were a bazillion things to do, the unhinged way he hummed "The Wedding March" and made the universal symbol for "Gonna cut a bitch"? I think I am starved for hilarity.
No real shocks today on the episode, and let's face it, we've all been reeling from a certain news item today so it's hard to concentrate. And sometimes I feel like I'm just sapped emotionally. It's been so intense for so long now, I'm just exhausted. So I'll be brief(ish).
Gigi had applied on Shane's behalf to an art institute in London (named after Phil Jimenez -- very cool!), and he was accepted. Looks like the Gigi, Rex, and Shane departure story is going to be a move to London so Shane can delve into creating comic books! Sweet as can be, and a good exit story for three people who were not slated to continue online.
But poor Roxy! Of course she'll be happy for her grandson, but she'll be so lonely!
In other "cleaning up shop for those not continuing online" news, Shaun (Sean Ringgold was going online) broke up with Vivian (Kearran Giovanni was not) because she won't marry him, and Starr and James called it quits because she'll never be in love with him the way she was in love with Cole. (In that case, neither Alderson nor Rodriguez were going online, but I'd wager that they split them up to keep Kristen Alderson available to bring her back into a major story if it became an option.) And Starr got her own exit story later in the episode when Rick made a pitch to her that will be a major advance to her pop music career (Snooze.).
But it's always fun to see Rick, who was thrilled by her recent tragedy and how marketable it makes her!
Neela apologized to Jack for turning over his confession tape to Shane and then admitted she'd been falling for him. These scenes seemed more like laying groundwork for a longer arc had the show continued on, so they didn't exactly have me on the edge of my seat. I also understand that Andrew Trischitta (Jack) has an adoring teen girl fanbase, so you know, you gotta give 'em some crumbs and show the boy with the purty hair!
I'll get right to it because this one was pretty simple.
The cold open was perfect. Opening on a headline about Cole's death, we immediately assumed Ford had lived. Then they pulled a little switcheroo. Well-executed and, quite frankly, a relief. Not a relief because of the obvious (completing the Death By Chandelier!) but because I don't know that we can all take sitting through the real-time news and grief scenes. They told those stories deftly in flashbacks (we're well-versed in Jess Grief, we all saw Nash's death and her learning about Chloe's death, and while Bree Williamson was terrific in those scenes, it's enough for my lifetime, I remember how it goes... not to mention how little I wanted to see her pour out the same degree of grief for someone so much less significant to her than Nash or her daughter). And this meant we got to see Ryder!
Aww. Once again, OLTL's munchkins make everything just a little bit better.
Now, regarding the death of Ford, I think they did a good deed. Not just because OMIGOD DEATH BY CHANDELIER! but because it really is a decent compromise. Considering how obnoxiously passionate we soap viewers all are about our opinions and our favorites and how we're just so sure things should be, obviously it's impossible to please the whole audience -- but it's just as impossible to even please a majority of the audience. With Ford's death, a character who wasn't heading to the online version (when that was a thing... ah, the good old days) who has only had ties to our long-term characters for a very brief time on this show has passed away. His fans only lose two days with him and get to hear all sorts of teary-voiced proclamations of what a wonderful guy and a hero he was at the end, and the rest of us got DEATH BY CHANDELIER! It's win/win. (I'm sure there are still angry people, but when is that phrase not true.) And the remaining Ford brothers got a sentimental scene together.
Which was a nice gesture, since these guys had been so front-and-center and then (mercifully) sidelined and (here's hoping) really do not have any place in the final couple episodes of the series, so it was a fair thing to do for the actors who, of course, are not remotely responsible for how infuriating the Ford Invasion was. So... that's a wrap on Fords, then, right? Right?
I like to think we're smart enough people that, when General Hospital promised us that Kimberly McCullough would exit the show in a "poignant and must watch storyline", we all scoffed a little and mentally prepared ourselves for the exact opposite, because our definition of "must watch" has literally zero overlap with General Hospital's definition of the same.
So it's not that I'm SURPRISED by this. It's just that I am REVOLTED, SORT OF.
Robin: I just want you to know down the line, if it were to turn into something more, I would be happy that Patrick found love again. I'd be happy for you, too.
Elizabeth: Why are you talking like this?! This is crazy!
Robin: Because Patrick deserves to have a full life and if I'm not here to see it, I hope you will be.
"Please sex up my husband when I pass on. It would really put a smile on angel-me's face". THIS is the "poignant" and "must watch" way you write off an enormously popular character? YOU KNOW WHAT NONE OF THOSE WORDS MEAN!
I may go more into depth on some than others, but I will cover each of this week's episodes in at least some minimal fashion. Because how could I not.
Just a few thoughts on today.
The Angels. I loved the match-ups. I knew who Gabrielle and Megan would be "paired" with, but I was confused about Luna. And of course they matched her with Cole -- she was one of Marty's closest friends (although come on now, that dialogue about not knowing if she could forgive Blair? She did so on her death bed.). It was very sweet.
I loved that Gabrielle wouldn't be a completely benevolent angel. She still wanted Bo for herself. Doesn't make her a demon, just makes her something somehow close to her living self.
Natalie weeping over her mother and father, especially the "Mommy?" moment when she realized Viki had no pulse, about killed me. Melissa Archer rocked it again today. Woman's been on fire lately.
And she got to be the to pull the trigger on the fatal blows to Mitch today! I have to say, this was one note that was a little "off" to me from the other day -- Mitch tortured so many characters on this show and one of them deserved to be the one to put him away once and for all, and none of them are John McBain. Today was a great little "fix" to that.
Earlier today I applied my speechlessness and Percocet-induced haze to a B&B post where I let the pictures do the talking because, really, there were no words. And I'll try again now for One Life to Live. Here, though, the phrase "there are no words" has a very different meaning. The good kind.
Life is good.
Blair woke up! (Guess Jack is still upstairs sleeping soundly.)