I must thank everyone on behalf of Ryan and me for the wonderful feedback following last week's column! We received such positive response that we have now decided to incorporate the joint commentary format on a regular basis. The whole concept of developing the Two Scoops "roundtable" emerged with hopes that we could transition column content to the SOC forum and further dialogue with all of you. This is such an exciting and crucial time for the future of OLTL with Ron Carlivati's recent promotion, and we will never be at a loss for subject matter, that's for sure! We shall continue refining the column and may even expand our discussion down the road to include some of you as guest commentators in our roundtable analysis. Our goal is to create thought-provoking discussion, put forth as objective an analysis of OLTL as possible, and last but certainly not least, entertain you. We want to create defining moments that empower and inspire as we join together and battle to reclaim our show. So again, thank you for the overwhelming support and please look for another joint commentary from us next week.
I wish to spend a moment discussing the Emmys because OLTL had a vested stake this year. I thought the actual ceremony was a big "snoozefest" all in all. The highlight for me was seeing various OLTL cast members on the red carpet beforehand and listening to some of the interviews solicited thereafter. I especially enjoyed the support Ron Carlivati received in the way of vocal reinforcement from the actors, which is something Ryan and I touched upon last week. My heart went out to our cast and crew, because many of them made the cross-country trek with reasonable hopes that OLTL would take home the Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series. We know the show submitted both Todd's execution and John's funeral for Emmy consideration. While Todd's execution was gripping and chilling, I simply didn't think John's funeral was much to write home about.
Yes it was touching and somber, but I just don't think it packed the Emmy-winning punch that the show had hoped - especially since we knew full well that Easton had re-signed with the show by the time it aired. Nothing else put forth last year was Emmy worthy and while I feel for the cast and crew, I don't believe OLTL earned top honors. I also believe that had OLTL won, it somehow might've legitimized Higley's tenure and that would have unnerved me to no end. I would much rather OLTL take home the statue after Carlivati cleans up the canvas and develops some compelling and well-executed storylines that utilize the cast and crew to their fullest potential. Am I glad that OLTL went home empty handed? Absolutely not. However, I do think the fact that ABC was virtually shut out of the Emmy race sends a strong message.
As such, "Prom Night: The Nightmare" is perhaps the best example of how substandard material can drive a viewer right into a twelve-step program. WHAT were these people thinking? How anyone of import thought that a week of this would be entertaining is absolutely beyond me. This is Disney mentality at its best, whereby it takes thousands of dollars and countless man hours to develop, choreograph and execute umpteen musical numbers for the sole purpose of promoting a CD. Let me preface by saying that the younger actors who participated in "Prom Night" are unquestionably multi-talented. That aside, the musical sequences were absolutely horrible and didn't do justice to the level of talent contained within these young actors. This resembled "Alice-in-Wonderland-meets-RENT" with some bizarre compilation of song and dance that mimicked the Disney channel at its worst. I realize the network is desperately trying to court the younger demo which is home from school this summer. I understand that - but a week of this? Are you kidding me?!
I might've walked away with a different opinion on last week if the entire cast participated in an episodic fantasy scenario. This brings me back to "Babes Behind Bars" and character swapping stunts of the Tomlin era, and that was lots of fun! How about doing another "Live Week" again? The cast was absolutely phenomenal during that week and the writing was cutting edge. My point is that I enjoy a deviation from the norm every now and then, simply because we have such an incredibly talented cast and I like to see them assume other personas and roles. The truly bizarre aspect is that the musical numbers were inserted in between Bo interviewing Kirk Harmon, Lindsay giving interviews at the gallery, and John interrogating David. You can't do both in the same episode because it simply doesn't work. Either make it pure outrageous fantasy or don't do it at all. Carlivati's work can't start hitting the screen soon enough as far as I'm concerned.
Here are my standout picks for last week, "Prom Night" not withstanding:
A New Dynamic Duo
John McBain and David Vickers are, without a doubt, my favorite new "couple" on the canvas. How hysterical are these two together? First of all, I would beg, borrow and steal to make Tuc Watkins a permanent fixture in Llanview. He is a one-man comedy show and his amazing sense of timing and humor only reinforce that he is one of the most underrated actors on daytime. I love what Watkins and Easton bring to one another's characters and hope to see much more of this in the future. I must also say that David and Dorian just get better with time. It doesn't matter how much Tuc comes and goes because these two still have the "it" factor. Worlds collide and sparks ignite when Robin Strasser and Watkins share the spotlight, and someone needs to acknowledge this by reconnecting these two whenever the opportunity arises.
A Rising Star
I grow fonder and obtain a higher level of respect for BethAnn Bonner with each passing week. This time has come to ramp up Talia's role on the canvas after a well-paced introduction and carve out some meaty back story for Bonner to sink her teeth into. I'm up for an Antonio/Talia pairing but also want Bonner to get her own story. While the rumor and speculation is that she will eventually be tied to the Buchanan clan, I'd much rather see her woven into the Lord or Cramer dynasties. I think it would be especially interesting to watch her Middle-Eastern heritage create a wrinkle within the WASP framework of the Lord dynasty. This is also an excellent way to build towards reestablishing Llanview's core family and reintroducing Nixon's stronghold of diversity on the canvas.
I had a heartwarming flashback to OLTL's heyday after watching Bo and Nora actually execute roles that define their characters. While most of us agree that Bo lost serious brain cells with each stroke of Higley's pen, Bob Woods keeps working this character and there isn't a day that lapses when I don't view him as "The Commish." I like to see Bo interrogating suspects, mentoring his officers in matters of life and love, and most of all, actually executing the role of Commissioner of Llanview. The same holds true for Nora. I'm hoping Hillary B. Smith finally has an opportunity to strut her Emmy-winning stuff and as such, that Nora is repositioned in the courtroom - which is right where she belongs. Bo and Nora's connection to the legal realm served as the basis for their love story and consequently endeared them to thousands of fans. Have they lost their "edge" or is the magic still there? You be the judge.
Three Generations of Cramers
The Cramer women have been beaten down, left at the altar, stripped of fame and fortune and keep coming back for more. They are genetically engineered to fight and anyone who stands in their way will be ripped to shreds and torn asunder. They rule with their hearts and love with every fiber of their beings, and possess no tolerance for weakness or indecisiveness. This is why I have high hopes that Carlivati will follow through on his commitment to zeroing in on the Cramer legacy. I simply can't get enough of watching Dorian, Blair and Starr banter and quip. Perhaps most humbling is watching Starr's transition from that of a child to a fiery young woman, whose Cramer blood runs deep and who now serves as a contentious sparring partner in matters of life and love that befall these women. All we need to do is swap Adriana for Cassie and I'd be one happy camper.
There is something very special about the bond shared between Viki and Starr. I can't quite put my finger on it, though the unique chemistry between Erika Slezak and Kristen Alderson that has been nurtured throughout the years is a huge part of it. Watching Viki counsel Starr to follow her heart and later affectionately wipe the dirt off her prom dress was more than a literal occurrence - it was symbolic on many levels. Viki has always been a voice of reason and safe haven in Starr's tumultuous world, and in some respects, I think Viki recognizes much of herself mirrored within Starr. Both women are strong-willed, free-spirited and deeply passionate about those they love and the principles which define them. The relationship between Viki and Starr is truly something special and I hope we continue to enjoy these moments for years to come.
The brief interaction between Antonio and Cristian reminded me how deeply their sibling bond has been tested over the years. Their relationship has taken serious hits, with shared women and family secrets all but ripping them apart. David Fumero and Kamar de los Reyes have nonetheless convinced me that family comes first in the eyes of the Vega men. They are brothers in the truest sense of the word and their relationship impacts the canvas more than we realize. What I enjoy most about their sibling bond is the unspoken word that indeed speaks volumes. Forgiveness is always granted and pride is ultimately placed aside when both men struggle because one is the other's lifeblood. Art mimics life as theirs is truly one of the best sibling stories around.
Ryan and I will definitely return next week with a joint commentary as promised - so fasten your seatbelts and hang on for the ride! You just never know WHAT will happen when the two of us sit down together...
Have a wonderful week!