Loyalty. Integrity. These are two strong words often used in connection to individuals who are respected and admired. In the world of daytime dramas, these words aren't used too often to depict the familiar faces we see on the screen every day. This fault lies squarely in the hands of the writers, whose job it is to honor each character's integrity by maintaining consistency and making sure that each character makes choices and decisions that not only make sense but also reflect his or her relationships with other people. Too often, writers rely on gimmicks or "events" to propel a story forward; consequently, characters react and make choices that drive the story rather than focus on the conflict of that character. In a week that was often lackluster, I was surprised to watch some scenes that not only showed characters loyal to one another but ones that maintained the integrity of particular individuals. That is a step in the right direction!
First, I could never understand how Antonio could be so dense and not see what was right under his very nose: a blossoming relationship between his wife and his newly formed "friend" Nash. On the one hand, how could I not respect the fact that Antonio was demonstrating mountains of loyalty to his wife by recognizing the fact that she has a child with the man that her alter-ego fell in love with before integrating her two personalities? On the other hand, how could I not be frustrated by how foolish and naïve he was in believing that he could actually be friends with this man and also encourage him and his wife to spend time together in hopes of fostering a better relationship for the sake of their child? There hasn't been a great deal of mistrust or trepidation on the part of Antonio, and I have felt for a while that the writers were exposing him to be a chump because Antonio is smarter than that. He knows better.
So with that in mind, I was extremely pleased to see Antonio confront Nash this week in the hospital about whether or not he was having an affair with his wife under his nose. Even though Nash denied it and concocted a weak, lame excuse that he still cannot stand her and simply tolerates her (and Antonio appeared to buy it), I am appeased for now in knowing that Antonio has at least opened his eyes to the possibility of an affair taking place. And despite giving Nash the assurances that he believes him, Antonio will now be paying closer attention to the time that Nash and Jessica spend together, and he will be more cautious (I presume) in encouraging them to be in situations together that might lead to an intimate encounter. Good for the writers in giving Antonio some integrity. Even though I am not a fan of Antonio and Jessica as a couple, I am happy to see that when Jess and Nash ultimately end up together (which will obviously happen down the road at SOME point), Antonio will walk away from the broken marriage with some integrity.
Second, I was simply ecstatic to see the loyalty and commitment that Asa showed to Nora and Matthew this week. Frazzled and upset by the loss of her house, Nora has been so preoccupied with hearing back from the insurance company so that she may receive her check and work on finding a new home for her and her son. Matthew has been holding up the best that he can, despite the devastation of losing irreplaceable photos and videos of Jen, a sister to him for many years when he believed that Sam was his father instead of Bo. So it was so gratifying to see wonderfully written scenes during which Asa explained to Nora and Matthew that they are Buchanans, and his house is their house. What is especially poignant is that Asa has always had a soft spot for Nora, and he has respected her integrity as a lawyer and her feistiness as a woman. She's a "spitfire" as Asa would call her. His compassion and outpouring of generosity and love to her is a nice nod to their long history together, and even though she is no longer married to his son, Asa still regards Nora as part of his family. It was a short yet important scene when Nora got down on her knees and hugged Asa on the couch. Family loyalty is an important part of OLTL, and to see it honored is fantastic.
Speaking of Nora and Matthew's individual losses, I also loved the integrity the writers continue to show the Lindsay/Nora relationship. These two have shared a strenuous past, that is for sure! Lindsay has changed a lot in the last few years, especially since the murder of her daughter, but she is certainly not on the path to sainthood! Nora knows this, and she continues to be wary of her adversary's intentions. So when Lindsay unexpectedly showed up at Asa's with replacement photos and videos of Jen for Matthew as well as replacement photos of Sam for Nora, Nora was flabbergasted! How could THIS be the Lindsay that she knows to be a viper? But in another brilliant move, the writers have honored the history and the ever-changing relationship that these two share. Lindsay isn't perfect, but she is changed. She can have tender moments like this that are genuine and sincere, and it doesn't mean that she wants to suddenly be Nora's best friend. Nora can be appreciative of the sentiment and still know that she will NEVER be gal pals with Lindsay but also question the motives of her arch rival. As I said, this is a complex relationship between these two women, and the groundwork is being set for the Battle Royale of the decade once Lindsay makes a play for Bo and Nora decides she's going to throw her hat into the ring as well. But kudos to the writers for honoring the integrity of these characters and this relationship.
Finally, how could I not comment on the return of David Vikers? Tuc Watkins' humor and presence are sorely missed on a show often filled with gloom, doom, and heartache. It's fun to see David's wit and sarcasm. It's even more fun to see the interaction between him and Asa, as it seemingly appears that David could be the one responsible for Spencer's demise. Here is the thing—I like that the writers didn't just forget about the fact that we all saw Asa make a call to someone the night of his Anniversary dinner seemingly appearing as though he hired someone to kill Spencer. To discover that Asa offered David money to kill his brother provides a myriad of storyline opportunities down the road.
To begin with, playing off of the animosity that brothers David and Spencer shared is brilliant. Even though David was away from Llanview (and I still find it hard to believe that David snuck into the hospital without anyone detecting him), reminding us that Spencer really put the screws to him for years is a key storyline point. Also, if David is indeed Asa's son (rather than Spencer, as he initially though), this sets up a wonderful, complex situation for the two characters to play from. David following through on this at Asa's instruction is really the kind of loyalty that Asa expects from a Buchanan son (nevermind that this is murder we're talking about!). But that small snafu aside, David and Asa in cahoots is a brilliant stroke of genius, and although I don't necessarily buy that David is in fact the one who actually committed the crime (I didn't see Friday's episode because of my trip to Florida: see below), I do think that the writers maintained the integrity of this scoundrel who would do just about anything for money. Bravo! Let's just hope that Tuc Watkins can be lured back to Llanview for a longer stay.
In essence, what I'm trying to say is that I'm still not jumping for joy at the direction this show is still pursuing; however, with that said, if the writers continue to honor a character's integrity by honoring the past and not just having a character react to an event but to an innate feeling that makes sense within the CONTEXT of the event, then viewers will be placated. More character-driven stories are what is needed to propel this show out of the doldrums and into a much more interesting place.
CHARITY EVENT UPDATE:
This weekend I was fortunate to get out of the blustery cold winter weather that I have been subjected to in the east and travel to sunny and warm Tampa, Florida for the Big Brothers/Big Sisters charity gala featuring Cat Hickland, Hillary B. Smith, Forbes March, David Fumero, Walt Willey (Jackson from AMC), and Rodney Van Johnson (from Passions). What another great opportunity to see old friends from the Soapcentral message boards and loyal readers of the Two Scoops column (shout out to "TashLover"!).
What is so special about events like this is that it provides all of the loyal and devoted fans of these shows a unique opportunity to spend a few hours with the actors who bring to life these characters that we invite into our homes 5 days out of a week for an entire year. Fans have the chance to get up close and personal and spend some quality time interacting and socializing with these fabulous and talented actors.
Here's the low-down of what fans had a chance to experience: a rip-off of "I Wanna Be a Soapstar" during which attendees' names were drawn at random to act out a scene with one of the male celebs (the guys were acting as Sonny Corrinthos from GH while the female fans acted opposite them as Carly). With only minutes to prepare "their lines" the two acted out a short scene using cue cards, and the audience later chose their favorite pair. Great fun! In addition, there were loads and loads of door prizes that surpassed thousands of dollars, and there were more questions that I can remember. Key questions surrounded whether Nora and Bo would be reunited or whether Paige murdered Spencer or would have a nervous breakdown and leave the show. The actors were obviously tight-lipped about plot points, but they had great fun speculating what MIGHT happen and asked fans to give them their own thoughts of what they might like. Several fans also were adamant about the validity of Internet spoilers, and everyone had some great fun poking fun at what pieces of information are supposedly "leaked" via the wide world web!
The bulk of the time, however, was spent interacting one-on-one with these actors. With just over 100 people in attendance, there was plenty of time for fans to sit down and casually spend time with all of the actors who were not only accommodating but also generous. Cat Hickland, Walt Willey, and Hillary Smith all made significant contributions or matched very large auction bids that all went towards the Big Brothers/Big Sisters charity. To see the outpouring of generosity and commitment to charity was awe-inspiring and impressive.
I continue to reiterate that if you have opportunities to meet these classy actors at luncheons or events, go ahead and do it. Not only will you get a chance to show your appreciation towards them but you will also get to meet other fans with whom you can share your own thoughts and feelings about the show!
Enjoy your week,