Editor's note: Be sure to check in next week when Michael offers his picks for the Best and Worst of 2010
It's hard to believe, but another year is almost over, and it's time to reflect on what happened on One Life to Live. There have been good stories, bad stories, and some that fell somewhere in between. That being said, I give you my picks for the best and worst of 2010. Since I like to end on a positive note, I will save the best for last.
Worst of 2010
Jessica loses her memory: This story was painful to watch from the beginning. It started with Mitch viewing Jessica as a "vessel" that could carry his child and using electroshock therapy to control her. It ended with a teenage-minded Jessica being taken advantage of by Robert Ford. In between these two horrifying events, we were forced to watch Jessica lose several years of her memory and return to high school to get Cristian back. She didn't act like the Jessica we knew when she was 17. Instead, she was an immature, spoiled, manipulative teenager that quickly wore out her welcome. I am glad Cristian ultimately chose to stay with Layla and that Jessica's baby is Brody's instead of Robert's (at least for now). Without loose ends, this story can be forgotten, and that is the best thing about it!
Eli's Reign of Terror: I liked Eli when he first came to Llanview, and I liked him even more when became romantically involved with Blair. It was great to see Blair with someone who wasn't Todd and who took her mind off of Todd. However, it didn't last long, since the writers ultimately decided to make Eli a crazy murderer, making Blair look like a fool again. At first, I thought it was clever to make Eli a villain, but I was wrong. He became a cartoonish villain with his uncanny ability to do anything at any time. The worst part of it all was that he didn't have a strong motive. The whole story felt slapped together, as if he had randomly been chosen to be the person who killed Melinda, pushed Marty, etc. Matt Walton did a great job with playing the good guy and then the bad guy, and I was sorry to see him leave, but Eli needed to go.
Hannah kidnaps Starr and Hope: Starr and Hope have already been kidnapped too many times in their short lives, but Hannah kidnapping them right after Eli kidnapped them was one of the worst. It was hard to watch Starr not even try to fight Hannah, when she had the opportunity. Watching her and James dig their own graves while Hannah looked the other way was even worse. They could have overpowered her and didn't. I don't really care about James as a character, but I hope the trend of Starr being a victim of things ends soon. She's been through a lot and should be able to fight back. I hope Starr is headed in a new direction soon.
The Arrival of Nate/Inez Salinger: In a year of many comings and goings, I still don't see why Nate and Inez Salinger need to be in Llanview. Nate was forced on us without much of an introduction. He put Dani in danger, almost cost Todd a lot of money, and consumed lots of airtime when we barely knew him. It's difficult to accept a new character in a situation like this.
As for Inez, I haven't liked her since she arrived in Llanview. Her very first act of motherhood we saw was when she accepted money that she knew Nate had obtained illegally. Since then, she's told her life story to anyone who would listen and quickly become the subject of all of Bo and Nora's conversations. Now, she's doing Clint's dirty work because he is threatening to implicate her sons in Eddie's murder. They are already suspects, so it's a weak threat, yet she is still obeying Clint's orders. In the new year, if these characters will be on for the long term, I hope they are given a better purpose for being there.
Kelly's Return: I don't know what happened, but Kelly's return to Llanview was awful. Having Kelly investigate her mother's death wasn't interesting. We didn't know Melinda, and we weren't even sure it was murder for several weeks. To make matters worse, Kelly became a pushy, self-absorbed person that made me want to hit the fast-forward button. Now that Kelly is in a different story, she is much more enjoyable, but I don't understand how a character with such a long history in Llanview was brought back with a weak, poorly written story.
Roxy isn't Rex's mother: Parentage is changed frequently on this show, and that was a big theme this year. While I have grown to accept that just about everyone will eventually have different parents at some point, I didn't like that Roxy turned out to be Schuyler's biological mother instead of Rex's. Rex was devastated and left on his own, while Schuyler and Roxy didn't get to know each other because Schuyler went to jail. It felt wrong, especially in the moment. To add to my frustration, I've always liked Roxy and Rex's bond, and that hasn't been completely restored since Rex learned the truth. We also haven't seen Roxy much since that happened, and it's a shame to diminish the talented Ilene Kristen's role on the show.
Greg is Destiny's father: Making Greg Destiny's father would have been a great idea, if it had been done long before Greg's exit from Llanview. As with Roxy and Schuyler, the new connection can't be explored because Greg is gone. Now all we have is a bitter, angry Destiny who is determined to shut her biological grandparents out of her life, and they are rarely on the show themselves. I would have liked to see the whole Evans family deal with the truth and Destiny's reactions to it, but that won't happen.
Rachel, Oliver, and Kyle's "Exits": This year often resembled a revolving door when it came to characters coming and going. Some characters, such as Schuyler, didn't have a reason to remain and left in a big way. However, Rachel left Llanview to help her ex-boyfriend in Chicago for a few days....and is still there. Meanwhile, Oliver and Kyle disappeared without explanation. I've felt that the cast has needed to be trimmed for a long time, but I don't know why Rachel had to be included. There has to be a good story for Nora Buchanan's daughter, who has ties to Llanview. Sending her away didn't make sense.
As for Oliver and Kyle, I wasn't as upset that they left as I was that it wasn't acknowledged. Apparently, we are supposed to believe that Oliver still works at the LPD. I guess he works at opposite times of everyone else! Both characters deserved an explanation for their departure, and after all of the uproar over who would raise Sierra Rose, all three of them should be mentioned once in a while! I realize that every character doesn't deserve a grand exit, but the exits should at least be reasonably explained.
The Contrived Cycle of Todd and Marty: Todd and Marty have a long, complicated history, but that doesn't mean that they have to interact on a regular basis. We've seen Marty counsel Todd. We've seen Todd demand Marty's help when he could have just as easily gotten someone else, and there are numerous other examples. Most recently, Todd derived far too much joy from barring Marty from seeing Hope, and now he is convinced that Marty framed him for murdering Eddie, a man she didn't even know. None of these events felt like true moments between these two characters. They felt forced and written to fill time. There is enough drama in Llanview without writing contrived drama between these characters, so I hope the writers either find a better way for Marty and Todd to interact or drop the concept all together for a while.
Best of 2010
Echo DiSavoy returns to Llanview: When it was first reported that Kim Zimmer was returning to One Life to Live as Echo DiSavoy, I had reservations about it. The character she played didn't sound like one that should ever return, and I feared that her story would take airtime away from characters that were already lacking it. However, quite the opposite has happened. Because of Echo's return, Viki has her own story that doesn't involve helping her children through a crisis. Viki and Dorian's relationship is being utilized, and we are learning more about Charlie. It's been fun to watch and has given the show a much needed boost of energy.
Téa thinks she is dying: I never wanted Téa Delgado to die, and even though I knew she wouldn't die or stay dead even if she did, I still ended up enjoying the story. Téa made the most of what were supposed to be her last days. We got to see her take Dani to New York City to for mother/daughter bonding and to learn more about Téa's childhood. We also got to see her let loose and make prank calls and do other things she'd always wanted to do. She also did the unthinkable and bonded with her rival, Blair. I enjoyed watching Téa and Blair become friends, even though I knew it wouldn't last. I am sure they will be sparring again in no time. However, after all of the debates about Todd/Blair and Todd/Téa, it's the relationship between Téa and Blair that interests me most.
Layla says goodbye to Evangeline: I chose this story for the best category because it finally gave Tika Sumpter the chance to shine. I don't know why the powers that be decided to have Evangeline die when they did. I didn't want Evangeline to die and would have been happy to know she was still alive in Maryland. However, random as it was, I think it was written well. Layla and her mother grappled with the decision of whether to let Evangeline die, and I think it was realistic. Many people go through similar situations where they want to do what is best for a loved but simply aren't sure of what the right thing is. This story was powered by high emotion and strong acting. Tika Sumpter was horribly under-utilized while on contract with the show, but I am glad she got a powerful story at the end.
Clint's new attitude: Clint went from being a boring character to being the mastermind behind much of what is currently happening in Llanview. I can't blame him for turning to the dark side. He's had a rough year! While he will never be Asa Buchanan, Clint is doing a great job at being bad. It's amazing how he stays cool, calm, and collected even in the face of his victims. I want Clint's bad deeds to be exposed soon, since too much of a bad thing is, well, bad. However, it's been interesting to watch the new Clint as he has gone after those he dislikes most. Who knew that throwing David in a Moroccan prison would only be the beginning? If any character needed revamping this year, it was Clint. I can't wait to see what happens next and also can't wait to see who exposes his evil plans!
Bo and Nora remarry: I know this doesn't shock anyone, but I think Bo and Nora's wedding was definitely one of the best events of the year. Before the wedding, we got to watch a week of fun, lighthearted humor, and it involved a large portion of the cast. After enduring skunks, green hair, a chipped tooth, and other mishaps, Bo and Nora recreated history by wearing their original wedding attire and saying heartfelt vows. I didn't like everything that happened, such as Clint interrupting the ceremony with his shotgun, but the overall sentiment was right, and Bo and Nora recreated the magic they had a decade ago. It was fun to watch, and brought back good memories of their first wedding. It doesn't get better than that!
Picking the best and worst of a year wasn't easy, but it was interesting at the same time. A lot happened in Llanview last year, and not everything even qualified for the best or worst categories. However, the year is ending on a good note. There are interesting stories, a renewed focus on the veteran characters, and even the return of the previews to signal the beginning of what could be a great new year for One Life to Live. Let's hope the momentum continues!
Happy holidays, and happy new year to everyone!
Until next time,