Mothers and their children reigned supreme last week as Mother's Day fast approached and binding ties were strengthened. Poor Viki simply cannot catch a break, not even for her special day. This woman has inarguably endured more trauma pertaining to her children than any other character on daytime television. First of all, her daughter, Megan, succumbs to the effects of lupus. Then she learns she has an adult daughter she never knew about, missing Natalie's childhood in its entirety. Meanwhile, her two sons are off conquering the business and spiritual worlds somewhere. She now learns that not only did Jessica inherit a predisposition to DID, but that she used heroin and infected herself with a potentially fatal virus while her alter retained control. This doesn't even begin to cover Viki's own problems, which would fill an entire column in and of themselves. So I must confess that I'm more curious at how Jessica's condition will impact Viki than anyone else. Will we see a reemergence of Niki Smith? Will Viki's health take a turn for the worse? Or will this crisis bring Viki and Clint full circle and closer together?
I'm not thrilled about seeing yet another female character languish in a hospital bed. Yet I've come to accept that it is easier for this writing regime to render women ill and bed-ridden than actually write compelling material for them. That aside, I did enjoy the family dynamic which emerged last week. How wonderful was it to see Natalie and Viki connect in a meaningful manner? Natalie is incredibly intuitive, and she was able to immediately sense that something was deeply troubling her mother and respond to that. After a tumultuous beginning, these two women have cultivated a tender bond and genuine friendship, and it was truly wonderful to see Natalie comfort her mother as Viki expressed her deepest fears and emotions. I'm also glad that Clint finally appeared at his daughter's bedside, because I was starting to wonder if he would be part of this scenario at all. The scenes between Jessica and Clint were also very touching and really complimented the Viki/Natalie interactions. It's truly unfortunate that we don't see the family dynamic more often on this show, because last week reinforces just how important this is to character growth and storyline development.
As I watched Jessica and Nash, the fact that she and Antonio were mismatched from day one was simply glaring. Jessica's latest health crisis would've packed serious punch if Nash and Jess had previously been united, because then it would seem like a cruel twist of fate for this star-crossed couple to endure after beating the odds to be together. I did enjoy their interactions last week and the chemistry between Bree and Forbes continues to pop. I also enjoyed when Nash entered the hospital chapel and bartered with God to spare Jessica's life. As much as I find Paige's character completely useless, her words to Nash were actually quite heartfelt and touching. Here is a woman who never had the opportunity to be part of her son's life, and she is spending her first Mother's Day visiting his gravesite. Whether the scenes between Nash and Paige were foreshadowing or coincidence (my bet is on the former!), they provided for a somber moment that mirrors reality more often than we remember.
There is undoubtedly no mother on OLTL's canvas who is more colorful or animated than Roxy! While I am irritated by the writers' constant failure to generate material for Ilene Kristen that is worthy of her depth and talent, she is a laugh a minute. How funny were the scenes between Roxy and Rex at Ultraviolet? Roxy's malaprops are truly hysterical and her presence has repeatedly infused a sense of humor into an otherwise dark canvas. I long for the days when Roxy and Rex were the scheming, conniving mother-son duo, and seeing them together makes me realize how tame Rex has become while under Adriana's spell. I simply cannot imagine how Todd will prevent himself from killing Rex once he returns to town, after events unfold and he finally discovers Rex's role in the TJ debacle. There was something about the writers' decision to involve Rex's character in this scenario that I disliked from day one. Rex is a con and scoundrel by nature, and while I can see him hustling gamblers at casinos or plotting takeovers of competing nightclubs, his involvement with Michael in relation to TJ's parentage is rather sordid. Actually, "outing" Tate last week was more consistent with Rex's true nature than anything the writers have put forth in ages, so there may be hope yet.
Will someone please explain Bo's obsession with Paige to me? I'll give her a pass on the interactions with Nash, but this is one ineffectual character that continues to consume airtime and grate my nerves. I realize that love is often blind, but Higley has mercilessly force-fed us this character and pairing, apathetic viewer response not withstanding. It doesn't matter whether a viewer wants Bo with Nora, Lindsay, or someone else. The fact is that the writers have seriously dumbed-down Bo's character and pairing him with Paige after all that transpired truly makes him look foolish. Bo has always been one of my favorite characters, but it was painful to watch him virtually beg Paige last week to remain in town and in his life - I mean, it was enough to make me nauseous. This man is the Police Commissioner of Llanview and his significant other has committed so many crimes that she should be in jail right now. Watching their high school "makeout session" and seeing them giggle and fawn over one another like teenagers was belittling. The time would have been better spent in showcasing the family dynamic among Nora, Matthew and Bo, who might've reunited for an early Mother's Day celebration instead. Can't the writers do better than Bo and Paige in terms of putting forth a substantive, quality romance for mature couples on this show?
All I have to say is this. When Todd gets back into town, he is NOT going to be happy! After dealing with his own personal trauma of being stabbed and kidnapped, the discovery that his daughter was nearly killed after continuing her relationship with Cole, and eventually learning about Michael and Rex's involvement with his missing son, look out! I am desperately hoping this is enough to resurrect the Todd Manning we all know and love, instead of the watered-down version we have been spoon fed for months on end. Where is the Todd Manning who would've locked Spencer Truman and Paige Miller in the Lord family crypt, treating them to a slow death upon learning of their involvement with Margaret? I like the subtle nuances that Evangeline has brought to Todd's character and I especially enjoy how he and Viki have cultivated a deeper relationship. However, I miss the Todd Manning who would unleash a wrath so fierce that it could only be rivaled by biblical proportions. Trevor St. John won my loyalty and respect long ago, and he is so entertaining that I'll watch him read from a phone book all day long. That aside, the writers need to stop trying to reinvent his character and take a page from the history books. It's time to see Todd kick things up and even the score with people in his life who have repeatedly scorned him and walked away unscathed.
A topic that continues to dominate Soap Central chatter consists of the network's decision to scrap the Columbine-inspired story involving Henry's character. First of all, I want to thank Raven for initiating a thought-provoking discussion on the OLTL board in relation to this issue. I do not believe there is a "right" or "wrong" in this regard, and as poster sentiment within the topic thread reflected, each of us feels strongly one way or another for personal reasons that are fully validated. I maintain the stance I took two weeks ago, and restate I am relieved that someone at the network grew a conscience and pulled the story. My opinion is that this level of terror is not entertaining, and as such I do not wish to see it played out on my television screen. I might feel differently if I believed the network could execute this story in a delicate and responsible manner, but that is not the case. My heart goes out to the cast and crew, who labored and toiled as these episodes were re-worked, but that is as far as my empathy extends. The greatest tragedy that emerged from these rewrites was the loss of Henry's character, which truly held great promise.
Why do the writers kill off every young character whose portrayer has serious potential at future front-burner status? Another prime example that comes to mind is Shannon McGinnis (ex-Ginger), who was a fireball of energy and talent and would've been a perfect match for JPL's Rex. Jonathan Groff possesses an extensive resume and that was reflected within the powerful and chilling performances he put forth as Henry. Actually, a future pairing of a toned-down Henry with Starr would've worked marvelously. It was rather delicious to see Starr give Britney her comeuppance in a public forum, and I'm relieved to see Starr biting back after being suppressed in this mismatched union with Cole. The response levied by Britney's parents was so predictable, and exposing these two for the materialistic and irresponsible people they are gave insight into why their daughter behaves as she does. Perhaps the best aspect to emerge from the rewrites consisted of the tender scenes between Blair and Starr. These interactions not only carried through the Mother's Day theme, but highlighted the deeper, more meaningful bond between these two that has evolved with the passage of time.
Finally, on behalf of Ryan and me, I want to extend Mother's Day wishes to all the Moms in our SOC community. Yours is the toughest job that exists, and your influence is both inspiring and far-reaching.
Have a wonderful week!