Not going to lie (NGTL), people: We dodged a bullet. As some of you know, Robin Strasser (a.k.a. Dorian Lord) has been in a grueling contract dispute with OLTL for several weeks now, and rumor had it that she was going to announce her departure yesterday afternoon on her phone hotline. Thank your deity of choice that didn't happen, and that La Strasser's negotiations with ABC Daytime are continuing. Again, not gonna lie: If Robin Strasser had up and quit yesterday, this week's column woulda become "Two Scoops, Three Gin & Tonics, And A Six-Pack Of Heineken." (Yes, that's right: I'm a cheap date.) We would've had a right proper Irish wake together amidst the HTML coding, and then I'd probably have gotten fired. It would be me and Robin Strasser, all up on the unemployment line together, eating the government cheese, going to workshops at the Department of Labor together, rearranging my resume so it doesn't look like a haiku, learning a fine American trade like glass-blowing or carpentry or how to dispose of toxic waste. And you know what? That would've been okay. I don't have pride. Robin Strasser, I want you to know that if we had had to haul drums of toxic material in and out of the East River together to make ends meet, I would gladly have helped you pin back your hair. Because you're Robin frickin' Strasser, and I... am not. Recognize, ABC. That's all I'm saying. Recognize. So, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, be sure to hit up those OLTL comment lines and official email addresses, telling them how much you love your Dorian Lord. If you tell them you're under eighteen, that probably carries a lot more weight. Just saying. Look, just tell them you're Miley Cyrus. Who's gonna know?
So I've been away for a couple weeks due to real life commitments, and in my absence you had an incredible fill-in writer, Laurisa, who I want to thank for doing such a bang-up job. She was far more coherent than my stream of consciousness babbling, and she probably has better hair than me. Unfortunately, as we all know, absolutely nothing happened in the last two weeks, so it's kind of difficult to think of an angle for this round of Tacky Theme Week. My brain is positively barren, even more than usual. Oh, well - I guess we'll just catalogue this week's events using various classic Michael Jackson songs, clumsily applying their meanings to the current storylines. No real reason. Anyway, point being, fear not, folks. Like the title says, you are not alone. I am here with you. On the Internet, though. Not literally there. That was a misnomer, I can't back that up. Here now are your Two Scoops: Captain Eo Edition. (Did you know the villain in Captain Eo was Anjelica Huston, under all that makeup? I know, right? Go on, check the IMDB. That makeup scared the crap out of me as a kid. And Thriller, forget about it. I left the state when that video came on. Cat eyes, MJ. Those big cat eyes. That wasn't right.)
I Want You Back or Don't Stop Til You Get Enough (Stem Cells)
First off, Rex, Gigi, Stacy, and the best story EVAR. Oh my God, I could watch this dynamic forever, couldn't you? This just never gets old! Nothing makes your male lead more sympathetic after he schtups his girlfriend's psycho sister than for him to spend the week blaming his girlfriend in a series of long, tedious conversations. "I didn't know, Gigi! Why didn't you tell me? But seriously, I don't know! Everything's chaaaanged! You should keep apologizing to me, take the pressure off!" I agree that Gigi handled this thing stupidly to begin with, but for Rex to harangue her and sit on his hands for days on end when we all know he crossed the streams (see: Ghostbusters) with Stacy was the height of bull. It seems like it's not an ABC Daytime soap these days unless at least one man is bawling out a woman for "faithlessness" and "betrayal;" it's a nasty trend on Brian Frons's programming, and I don't like it. And then Rex had the nerve to clock poor Sky for telling the truth. Without Schuyler, Rex and Gigi would still be lovelorn fools at the mercy of Llanview's very own "Dirty Diana." Rex should give him stem cells! Just for no reason! Bottom line, Rex's behavior continues to be terribly obnoxious. I hope he admits the truth to the fairer Ms. Morasco next week, but I'm not holding out much hope for this dismal affair. I wish I could fast-forward to their finding the stem cells and Stacy getting hers, as I can't stomach the character any longer. Such are the perils of being a daily daytime viewer.
The Girl Is Mine, Along With Your Entire Musical Catalogue or Do You Remember The Time When We Fell In Love, And Then I Got With Your Brother?
Paul McCartney in-joke, sorry. But the titles actually apply to two stories - the triangle between Bo, Nora, and Clint, and the developing storyline with Our Rachel and those karmic-opposite Evans brothers. First of all, Dr. Gregory Evans is a very attractive man, but a bit of a douchebag. Can I say that? 'Douchebag?' Because he is one. "This procedure miiiight kill your son, but probably not. Details? You want details? Fool, do I look like a medical textbook? Google it, chump!" And yes, Destiny is a very green actress, but that's no excuse for standing her up so you can pull some at the club. Yet we know where this is going - Rachel's hate for Greg will likely turn to loooovvveee, and gentle giant Shaun will be left in the cold, singing "She's Out Of My Life." I hope it's less predictable than that, because so far I think this storyline has potential; Daphnee Duplaix is excellent as "Ricky" Gannon, and the Evans boys are capable actors. The problem is that we have almost no window into the family, their history, their lives or their true character except the idle bickering. Where's their parents? How did Shaun become involved with small-time operator Vincent (he was Vincent's bodyguard/muscle when he debuted a few years ago), and why does he nonetheless look down on his brother despite that checkered past? How does he feel about dating a woman whose family could've put him in the slammer not long ago? How did he make the choice to go legit? What does Destiny know about her brothers' lives? And will Greg ever develop personality traits other than "smug?" These new characters are compelling and can be fleshed out, but so far they haven't been except for what they're doing at any given moment, in the immediate present, and that's the problem that needs to be addressed. Otherwise, you might as well move any two men in orbit around Rachel, who seems to already have an easier rapport with Schuyler, who's been explored some himself.
Then we have the Buchanan triangle. Clint admitted to Viki this week that he was trying to muscle Bo out any way he could, and his honesty was refreshing. Viki told him he was biting Asa's old style, and she was right; this story reminds me of the old peccadillos with Delilah and Becky Lee caught between father and son. That's a good thing, though, because I feel it brings the Asa-Clint parallel of recent years back into sharp focus. What's missing from this story, though, is real movement from Bo and Nora, who seem frozen in their social roles, unable to voice their hidden feelings. If and when they begin to articulate how they feel, it will be more than this show has dared explore with these characters in close to a decade. I'm willing to wait, though. Some may find this story backburner fodder, slow or minimalist, but I disagree; in real life, people can bury their emotions for the sake of social graces, and I think that Bo and Nora's obvious struggle is very true to reality. Still, they could stand to pick up some of the pace. Perhaps Bo can stand outside Nora's window a la John Cusack in Say Anything, blaring "Give In To Me" on a giant boombox. Just an idea.
P.Y.T.s, Plus A Rapist
Here's an unlikely sentence: Thank you, John McBain. Few could have stopped the Thornhart-Manning nuptials, but you, sir, pulled it off. You can't commit to women or follow the law or wear multicolored clothes or cut your hair, but you can stop this teenage shotgun wedding. So, thank you. Yet I feel weird cheering that Starr and Cole called the whole thing off, because that puts me on the de facto side of Todd, which is not at all where I want to be; his behavior in this situation has been disgusting, just as it's been for, oh, over a year now. Certainly there are a thousand and one reasons why Starr and Cole shouldn't get married, but Todd is hardly in a position to lecture them or treat her as shabbily as he has since this debacle began. After all, less than a year ago, he planned to steal her baby and run away with Cole's brain-damaged undead mom, who he raped, twice. If I was Todd, I'd just sit in the corner and shut the hell up, and be glad no one's castrated me since I entered the house. That's right, I'm not over it. Trevor St. John, Kassie DePaiva and Florencia Lozano all have wonderful, crackling chemistry together, and each gives their scenes their all, but it's as though they are playing a romantic farce, which is not something I can stomach when Todd continues to blithely walk the streets without having even remotely seemed to change or make amends for his horrible crimes in 2008. Imagine if this storyline had played out less than a year after Marty's original rape at the Spring Fling; how would you feel? That's where I'm at. I don't care who gets Todd, I can't believe these women are falling at his feet, and I can't believe the show is presenting this as a light, fluffy romantic trifle for the summer after all they have failed to resolve with these characters. They have chosen to slink away and pretend it never happened; I don't have that luxury as a viewer. Maybe I'm just a stick in the mud, but how it's I feel. It's no reflection on Trevor St. John, who doesn't write his storyline; he's played what they've given him here well, and there's lots of funny moments and witty scenes. But Todd is not as he was, and I get sick of having to try and pretend it's all as it used to be.
So, Cole's out of the pen, but his alternative is twice as exciting: He's going to be on 21 Jump Street, basically, an undercover teenybopper. I liked Cole's rehab storyline, so I'm actually into this if Brandon Buddy continues to surprise me. Bring on the skullduggery with the boys in blue, and the sooner we get Brody in uniform, the better.
He Says She Is The One, So The Kid Is Not My Son
I was wondering when Markko would finally call his domineering dad on that whole "as long as you live under my roof" thing. But yikes, it takes platinum cojones to grab your girlfriend and head to the boudoir while your parents and the dinner guests are standing right there. You go, Markko! Just beat it! No one wants to be defeated! Dorian's endless stalking and begging all week long was hilarious, and it finally paid off, but all her guests in assembly couldn't put off Mr. Rivera's fury. When she stood up to him, though, I admit I cheered. La Boulaie just got that much more crowded. Who all is living there now? Dorian, Addie, Todd, Blair, Starr, Jack, Sam, Langston, Markko...and if Moe and Noelle move back in maybe they can file for benefits like Octomom. If I was Dorian I would charge Todd rent. Wait, Starr still owns the house, doesn't she? Well, she should still charge. Anyway, all that aside, Markko's earnest devotion to Langston has always made me melt, and this week was no exception. He's such a decent guy for an ABC soap, I'm amazed he hasn't been horribly killed yet.
In The Closet
That one just wrote itself. Yes, we have gay characters again, and it is about frickin' time. I have always said that after Billy Douglas, OLTL should've been the first soap to blaze the trail with a frontburner gay romance, and I've also said that whichever soap is the first to fully integrate and properly promote and shepherd gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender storylines will gain a sizeable, precious viewer base - maybe the last ratings frontier soaps have left. Well, in the last couple years that particular competition has gone from a slow crawl to a sprint, but no show's seemed to really get the hang of it. All My Children has continued to squander Bianca Montgomery and alienate her fanbase at every turn, while Guiding Light and "Otalia" got cancelled; General Hospital ignored Lucas Jones, and As The World Turns gave us Luke and Noah, but have you seen As The World Turns lately? Yet all of a sudden, The Young & The Restless leapt to the head of the pack by having Adam bed down with twinkalicious Rafe, while simultaneously, Thom Bierdz's Phillip Chancellor III returned from the dead as a (not so) proud gay man. I was feeling a bit glum about OLTL's prospects - our last gay-themed story was the horrendously homophobic Daniel Colson tale - and then came "Kish."
Yes, that's right; our adorable Officer Fish is "family," and it seems lab tech Kyle "Smooth Criminal" Lewis has joined the team right along with him. I couldn't be happier, though I feel these characters both need more anchoring to the canvas - both are new additions, with relatively little tying them to Llanview past or present. That being said, Kyle and Fish are dynamic new characters with layers, shadings; Fish is a by-the-book cop and a sweet geek, while Kyle is a morally gray ne'er-do-well who came from a dysfunctional family (the religiously devout Rebecca Lewis was previously said to have been a lonely orphan, so there's got to be a story there). It's not Luke and Noah, where the couple seems prefabricated, sanitized, and without conflict, or worse, at the mercy of the heterosexual characters (Jade, Ameera, etc); instead, Kyle and Fish's mysterious past is more in the vein of how European soaps often treat their "GLBT" characters, giving them just as much drama, deceit and danger as any other storyline on the show. Already, Kyle is pouring poison in Cristian's ear about his ex(?), while cute waiters cruise Oliver at the Palace, purring campy lines like "Is this to your liking?" Meanwhile, poor Layla, bless her heart, seems to be getting dimmer by the day as she chirps, "I have impeccable gaydar! I can always tell when someone's gay!" I'm still trying to understand how she has gone from fashion mogul to lowly receptionist, but maybe I have my answer after that scene. This story is still coming together, but I'm digging it so far; even Layla and Cristian have settled into a good rapport together, but they're not the main event. It's all Kyle and Fish, baby, and their deadly little secret dance. Bring it on. By the way, they dress Brett Claywell (Kyle) terribly on the show. Check him out on Dollhouse; the guy's built.
There you go: Two Scoops, all King of Pop'ped out. I would love to tell you I wore a single sequined glove while writing this, but I'm afraid my pair's in the wash. I did however have a live chimpanzee on my shoulder the entire time. No, really. I'm serious. You can't prove I didn't, can you? No, you can't. That's right, just walk away. No, I'm kidding. Don't walk away, but I am afraid that's it for me this week. It's great to be back, and I hope you have enjoyed all the painfully lame Michael Jackson shout-outs as much as I have. No more, I promise. I love you all; see you in two weeks. In the words of Michael Jackson, shamon! (Or something.)