I must admit that I'm surprised. Having just recently joined the message boards only several months ago when I tried to experiment a cohesive link between this column and interaction in that board area, I have been amazed at the polar opposite opinions that I find in various threads. With regards to One Life to Live, its stories, its actors, and definitely its writing, there is very little middle ground with viewers who participate in the message boards. There is definitely a love it or hate it feeling found there, and that's quite surprising to me considering that I have found the show to be remarkably better (and it keeps getting better) than it has been in such a long time.
I'm not quite sure why there are so many who literally despise the show and the writing right now; I truly believe that the writing has been spread out among most of the cast. No longer are we in the days of one person dominating the entire show (i.e. Sonny Corinthos over on GH wins the honor there), but now there is a story involving nearly all of the cast in one way or another. Sure, some characters receive more airtime than others, but I don't think anyone can argue that OLTL has an array of different stories going on right now that include a number of different characters. With such a large cast, it's inconceivable to think that a writer can craft a story for everyone, so with realistic expectations like that in mind, it's fair to examine the current state of the show and appreciate that Dena Higley is making an attempt to find places for almost everyone on the show in one way or another (no matter how small that role might be at any point in time).
With that being said, as I allow my mind to wander over the myriad different stories that have been playing out, I see the hallmark staple of soap operas all over the place: lies, lies, and more lies! So many stories involve one person lying to another or someone keeping a secret from someone else. Lies create conflict, and conflict makes for good soap opera viewing, so it goes without saying that with more lies comes more suspense and fun for us!
One big secret taking a prominent place this past week was the one John has held onto for probably close to a year now: the truth that the person sent to jail "impersonating" Cristian is actually Cristian himself. Starting a full-fledged relationship with Cris's former wife, Natalie, John wants to clear the slate and come clean to Nat about this deep, dark secret. But Cris himself is becoming concerned about Natalie after reading about her recent ordeal with the Killing Club murderer in the papers. Will Cris give John permission to tell Natalie about his true identity? Will Natalie turn back to her former husband or stay with the new man in her life? Will someone else beat John to telling Natalie the truth? All of these questions and more linger with the lie that hasn't been revealed yet.
In connection with Cristian's return to Llanview is news that Carlo Hesser, apparently Cris's new jail buddy, has some kind of hold over Cristian. Since his triumphant return to Llanview (at least I was hoping it would be that!), Carlo was unceremoniously duped into taking the rap for kidnapping Blair and thrown in jail. I never could buy the fact that Carlo would first of all take Asa's offer of forgetting about the $30 million that Carlo stole in exchange for killing Blair.
Carlo has gone years and years spending that money and not worrying about Asa or his "approval." So why would it matter now? Since when would Carlo Hesser be concerned with letting bygones be bygones? It never made sense. And to allow himself to fall into such an easy trap and be caught by the police just didn't make sense. I'm now anxious to see what connection he has to Cristian. Is Carlo somehow connected to Tico Santi and the brainwashing that was done on Cris? Is Carlo manipulating Cris in some other fashion? Will Cris assist Carlo in getting out of prison and wreaking more havoc on Llanview? Hopefully, these questions will be answered soon with Carlo's arrival (again).
Then there is the looming secret that Margaret is pregnant with Todd's baby (we think). First of all, I just don't understand why Todd isn't truthful with Blair about the fact that Margaret is pregnant. After being so forthcoming with her about being forced to have sex with the lunatic, I'm surprised Todd doesn't admit to Blair about what he has discovered. Be that as it may, Spencer is now in the thick of things since he now knows the secret. What he will do with this remains to be seen.
Will he somehow use the knowledge and the fact that Todd is lying to Blair for his own purposes? Will Blair flip out on Todd (again) for keeping a secret from her? According to fall spoilers, Todd and Margaret have one final encounter that ends in tragedy for the crazy lady...will everyone figure out her secret before this? Speaking of Margaret, the secret that she and Ginger have a connection is sure to add more complexity to this story. One lie builds up upon another one in this saga, and the ripple effects of Margaret's actions will surely affect more than Todd and Blair!
While Spencer has been on the show for several months now, we still do not know about the secret he is sharing with David and Paige. Somehow blackmailing Paige into accepting the chief of staff position at the hospital can't be a good sign. Paige is clearly lying to Bo about the real relationship she shared with Spencer, and there are many more twists and turns to this story. Who is Spencer's real target? The Cramers? His brother? The Mannings? The Buchanans? Those answers have yet to be revealed. I'm still not a fan of Spencer -- I think it was a drastic mistake to thrust him on the show so heavily at first -- but hopefully his secret and the lies that he has been giving everyone along with his cohorts will be worth the endurance.
Then there is the big lie that Tess is holding from Nash: that she has a multiple personality disorder. I can understand her making up the lie about Jess being her "dead" sister when she first met Nash, because she didn't really share much of a bond with him, and her story is too complicated to tell a complete stranger; however, with setting up a new place to live with him, I think it is important for her to share the possibility that she might not be there one day when he comes home!
With the threat definitely present that Jess could emerge as the dominant alter any moment, Tess faces quite a dilemma! Does she tell the man she's starting to fall in love with that she has this serious split personality condition, or does she continue to lie to him and risk the reappearance of Jess at any point in time? It's a very fine line that she is walking right now. But will Nash stick by his gal if/when he finds out? Will Antonio get to Tess and spill the beans himself? Will Jess reappear and ruin everything between Tess and Nash? This lie definitely has the potential to cause some real harm!
This brings me to another message board discussion topic! What lie do you think will have the deepest ramifications for characters in Llanview once it is revealed? Besides the ones fully discussed here, one could also factor in Nora's keeping her medical condition a secret from Bo or that Asa and Blair are lying to everyone about his role in her kidnapping or that Renee also lied to the police about Carlo's supposed role in the ordeal. There are surely other lies as well, but think of the one that will do the most damage and have the biggest ripple effects on people once it sees the light of day. Feel free to discuss the lies in Llanview in the message board area!
And as we enjoy the break from reality on OLTL, we must all send our prayers and thoughts to those affected by Hurricane Katrina, especially in New Orleans. It's a great tragedy that will also have ripple effects on the entire country for quite some time to come.
Enjoy your week,