Post-prison riot blues

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OLTL Two Scoops: Post-prison riot blues
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The week of December 12, 2005
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As mastermind behind the attempted prison break, Carlo used his best mind games and manipulations in order to have the inmates work for him and also have the prison guards do some handiwork.

I never thought I would see the last of that stairwell!! I'm serious, folks, I thought I was going to go insane if I had to endure one more scene between John and Cristian battling to stay alive during the recent prison riot! I am certain that I read somewhere that producers indicated that the prison riot scenes would span a period of 12 episodes. I certainly didn't count, and I teach English and not math, but if what we saw equated to 12 episodes, those were the looooongest 12 episodes I've had to watch.

What started out as as a fun gimmick quite frankly turned tedious very quickly. I love any storyline involving Carlo Hesser, but this one tested even my patience (and I'm among the biggest Carlo supporters, as my long-time readers know). As mastermind behind the attempted prison break, Carlo used his best mind games and manipulations in order to have the inmates work for him and also have the prison guards do some handiwork. That part of Carlo's villainous demeanor remained in place. What did not resonate with me was his desperation. Carlo was never a desperate man, and I felt a lot of frustration and desperation show its ugly head as everything started to go wrong for Carlo. Why so much debate about killing Cris or John or Natalie? Not that I necessarily want any of those characters killed off, but Carlo is a renowned mob lord (the word "boss" is too tacky for someone of Carlo's dignified presence); he isn't known for dragging out decisions or actions. For the purposes of drama (and dragging out a story to 12-plus episodes!), I can see why the writers dilly-dallied around in having someone, anyone, kill these people who were causing his plan to fall apart in front of him. But Carlo Hesser was about to escape from prison. No, he NEEDED to escape from prison-why was playing games with these people such a priority? Having Natalie choose the man she wanted to live?! Please! Was it dramatic? Absolutely. Was it in the essence of Carlo to play such games? In the right time and place. But this was the not the time nor the place---Carlo had to realize that there was a team of sharpshooters and policemen outside the prison walls waiting for him to break out. He didn't have time to waste on having Natalie pick one man to live. It was silly and served little purpose. I promise to say one last thing about Carlo: his exit was great! Winking and saying, "Until the next time" made me smile and made me excited for the next time that the writers choose to bring this powerful man back into the fold of Llanview.

This brings me to Cristian. I've never been a huge fan of the character, but I tolerate him and sometimes enjoy his scenes. With that said, I found his reunions with Antonio and Carlotta to be moving and emotionally charged. Poor Carlotta and Antonio have been down this road before-believing that Cris was dead, then alive, then dead, now alive again. How do they keep track? Do they have a scoresheet somewhere? I shouldn't joke, though, because these scenes were among the best of the week. To see Antonio share some tender scenes with his "brother" and be happy that he is alive and well was refreshing for me since Antonio has been so consumed in Jessica's life these days. And Carlotta! If anyone deserves a little happiness in Llanview, it is Mrs. Vega. I'm glad that Carlotta had a chance to look into Cristian's eyes and realize that this was her son whom she was staring at. Neither she nor Antonio cared one bit about the reasons for the deception of the so-called "death;" both were just happy to have this man back whom they both have loved and missed for over a year. I'm pleased that there are no hard feelings here.

But then there is Natalie...I've really been holding back when it comes to the character of Natalie, but this week I really had my fill of her. Since discovering that Natalie is really a Buchanan, I have found the character to be completely re-written from the feisty spit-fire who first came to Llanview. I can't pin-point exactly what it is about her (and, for the record, it has nothing to do with Melissa Archer, who I find to be just pleasant in the role), but I do know that this character bores me in almost every scene she is in. I fast-forward and then feel guilty for doing so (because of my duties in providing thorough commentary on the whole show, even Natalie scenes), but I just cringe whenever she is on the screen. This week, in particular, I became especially infuriated with her for taking such a holier-than-thou approach to John and Cris keeping the "big secret" of Cris's identity from her. Okay, okay, I get that she's really angry that her husband has been alive for the past year, held in jail, and pretending to be someone else. I get that. But, Natalie, HE IS ALIVE! Your husband is alive! That is a reason for celebration and excitement, not angry and resentment. If Cris's own mother and "brother" can completely see past the fact that he deceived them, then why can't Natalie? If she has a reason to be angry at someone and feels the need to position it somewhere, then John is that person. Even though he was being a loyal confidant to Cris (which is completely respectable), he started sleeping with his wife and still kept the secret (that part I have trouble justifying). So, any anger that must be unleashed should be directed at John, not Cris. As the week continued on in this direction, the more angry and frustrated I became at the writers for making this character completely distorted from what she originally was. Ugh.

Now on to the other odds and ends that have been on my mind this week...


1. Just so that I prove to you that I can find the good in something that I dislike, I would love to see Natalie and Michael pursue a relationship over Nat/Cris or Nat/John or Michael/Marcie. I think that there is solid chemistry there between the actors. The way he has shown so much compassion for Natalie made for some good scenes this week.

2. Could it be that our Nash is maturing and thinking for people other than himself? I'm a big Nash fan, so that isn't a put-down. Rather, I'm pleased to see that the character is being fully developed and not written in a one-note fashion. We are starting to see another side of Nash, and his honest conversation with Jessica about his life with Tess and about the possibility that the baby is his was quite a turn-around. His later confrontation with Antonio, not so mature...but it's all about baby steps!

3. I wish Bo would just go and adopt Rex! Who knew that there would be such rooting value in these two buddies? When Rex mistakenly thought Bo died (because the room was empty) and crumpled to the ground really showed the level of love that Rex feels for Bo. These two friends have a deep understanding and relationship that is sure to be explored more fully.

4. Jerry Ver Dorn proves more and more each day that he is on screen that he is the full embodiment of Clint Buchanan. I can't rave enough about this recast. I thought I'd be one of the hard-core Clint Ritchie fans in a complete uproar over this recast, but this has been a seamless transition. Clint's presence in Llanview is refreshing!


1. Hugh who? This character is completely forgettable to me, and his scenes with Marcie put me to sleep. Zzzzzzzzzzzzz.

2. Hillary B. Smith still isn't signed to a contract? She's been rumored to be on the set of another daytime drama? The old saying goes, "You never know what you have until it's gone." I'd love it if none of us have to attest that this saying is true in the case of Smith and Nora. Are the producers kidding us that the money used to put Layla and Hugh on screen is worth more than paying Smith what she deserves for her years of service?

Enjoy your week,

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