With Dena Higley having one foot out the door and Ron Carlivati poised to slam the door firmly behind her, OLTL seems to be in that "in flux" state right now. A great many stories seem to be gladly wrapping up (Antonio and Jessica's marriage), and other stories seem to be generating more steam by the minute (Sarah Roberts and her inevitable intrusion into any one of several existing relationships). I've enjoyed watching the show this week, and I like the direction I think the show is headed towards. What I've chosen to do this week is to give you my Top 10 Random Thoughts from among Llanview happenings (in no particular order).
1. Who knew that Rex and Cristian could make such a great team? During the interrogation of Sarah Roberts, these two guys had me laughing one minute and guessing the next as I tried to deduce who Sarah would ultimately sink her claws into first: Cris or Rex (my money is on Cris). It's refreshing to see Cristian brought to the younger set as I haven't really found his character to necessarily work in his storylines with Natalie (post-prison) or Evangeline. I already feel as though there is a refreshing "newness" to Cris's character as he interacts among younger actors, and I'm anxious to see how his newfound relationship with the daughter of a classic Llanview vixen unfolds!
2. Speaking of the introduction of Sarah, it appears that some newbies work, and some don't. I'm a big fan of nu-Sarah, but I'm not a fan of her money-grubbing boyfriend. When Tina and Cord's daughter was first introduced to viewers several years ago in the incarnation of "Flash," I absolutely despised the direction the writers opted to take her in. I wasn't a fan of the singing, and I wasn't a fan of the way the character was portrayed. This time around, it appears that there is a 180-degree spin in the way Sarah is being presented to us. Not only in her appearance (from hair color to clothing style) but also in her attitude, Sarah is one independent young lady! While she definitely retained a lot of that independence from her first visit to Llanview, she now shows all the makings of a Tina Lord-in-training. I only wish that this character wouldn't be an island on her own. We've never had a chance to meet her grown brother CJ, and Tina hasn't been around to Llanview in too many years to count! This idiot boyfriend of Sarah's though, is another story. The slimeball "all I want is a quick buck" routine gets old fast, and this one-dimensional secondary character certainly can't make for someone with longevity (or someone we'll want to see stick around). I am hoping he is just a catalyst to reintroduce Todd to the canvas, because I can't see him making a lasting impression for too long.
3. On a similar note, some villains work, and some don't. Miles Lawrence is a joke! Do the writers honestly expect me to take him seriously? From his questionable antics with the ladies to his blackmailing of Marty into marrying him, Miles is a pathetic excuse of a villain. When he and Cole were in the storage room staring over Todd's unconscious body, I thought he was the least intimidating person who could possibly be standing in front of that kid. Heck, Cole could have blown air and knocked the guy over. Not very threatening at all. And as much as Paul Satterfield deserves solid work, enough with the Spencer visions! That man infested my screen for much too long when he was alive; now that he's dead, I'm trying to put that period of Llanview history out of my mind. Let the guy rest in whatever semblance of peace he can get.
4. Isn't it refreshing to have some honesty between a couple---i.e. Marty and John? Seeing Marty FINALLY come clean in many areas to John was as compelling to me as watching her lie. I don't know why writers always think that lying and creating conflict are the only ways to make characters or couples interesting. Sometimes playing the honesty card and watching two people bond over the truth or react to it or scheme to do something WITH that knowledge can be just as intriguing. I hope that John's knowledge that Marty doesn't even like her husband, much less love him, takes this couple to a new level. As I've said a million times (and I must start sounding like a broken record, I know), I'm not a fan of nu-Marty, but I am a big fan of Christina Chambers! I like her and Michael Easton's characters together...so, I just will continue to pretend that when he calls her "Marty" it's some other "Marty" and not "Marty Saybrooke." There is and will always be ONE Marty Saybrooke---and that is Susan Haskell! My hope is that if I keep saying it, it will come true.
5. As much as Spencer's character never worked because he was thrust onto our screen only to eat away at the time which should have been to veterans, Talia's character is becoming a bigger success every day because integrating a character SLOWLY really works! I love the slow progression Beth Ann Bonner was given to play with her new role. She was in only a handful of scenes for a week at a time, and she gradually and naturally became a more prominent figure in the police station (and to the other characters) as the arson story "heated up" (sorry, couldn't resist that pun!!). And the chemistry between Talia and Antonio is palpable! FINALLY Antonio has a chance at a relationship I can actually be interested in seeing him pursue. I think the conflicts will make much more sense if they remain job-centric with this blossoming couple than if it comes from any other external place. Having her be a close a friend to him and supportive during his divorce, Antonio will find that Talia is going to be a force with which to reckon! I also hope that with a potential new relationship comes some more backstory with this character. There is a lot of potential with Talia to make her the next heroine of the show!
6. Tuc Watkins needs to be given the moon and the stars! This guy has been completely underrated for so long, and seeing him mix it up with Viki at Llanfair all week was one comedic romp after another. Although the ladies were probably drooling all over their remote controls, I actually had had enough with one shirtless scene after another----did the show have to pay so much to lure him back that they had to skimp on his wardrobe budget?? But who knew that Tai Chi would be so much fun?! Erika Slezak certainly isn't the ideal romantic partner for Tuc Watkins, but they sure do make a great comedic pair! The banter and the way that David flirted with Viki in order to make Dorian jealous cracked me up every single time. But what is also so great about the way he is being used right now is that we are being treated to the classic fun and antics of David and will soon see him embroiled in a more serious storyline involving Jessica. It's a fantastic way to utilize this actor's amazing diversity in talent.
7. Nora's still got that spitfire in her! For too long, Nora has seemed to fade into the wallpaper. That feisty personality and toe-to-toe action with someone has been lost...until this week when she squarely stood off against Dorian after a conversation with Clint when Nora gave him an "I told you so" speech about the destruction Dorian could do to Clint. When Dorian walked in unexpectedly, the two women both stood firm against one another. Knowing the history between these two women (Nora reluctantly defended Dorian when she was on trial for Victor Lord's murder), this direct and, at time, awkward conversation between both of them was reminiscent of the Nora we all know and love. I'm telling ya, the more scenes like this that I see her thrown into, the more I'm convinced the stage is being set for a Clint/Nora flirtation.
8. I really liked the bond between Lindsay and Marcie who has been a surrogate daughter to Lindsay. Ever since Jen's death (which, thankfully, the show doesn't just forget by sweeping under the carpet), Lindsay has been lost. Her tender relationship with Marcie (even helping her shop for her wedding dress) and her devotion to baby Tommy gives us the "grandmotherly" side of Lindsay (oooh, maybe I shouldn't say that---Lindsay as a grandmother???), and this is a nice development in the character. Don't get me wrong, Lindsay is still best when she is manipulating and scheming (especially against Nora), but it's great to see these "shades" of her so that she isn't one-dimensional, like so many vixens often are.
9. Isn't it so refreshing to see Blair and Starr talking calmly about Cole? It's sooo much better watching them engage in a conversation about her day (involving Cole) in a casual, calm manner like other mothers and daughters rather than the constant arguing we too often see. As I was listening to them, though, my mind starting thinking when the next conflict would come which would stop this cordial peace-treaty...and it soon came once Blair got information that Todd was at Marty's house! One can only imagine what decision Cole will make in regards to Miles and Todd which will once again impact the way Blair views him. Cole and Starr might actually be more tortured as a couple than her own mother and father!
10. With the return of Sarah, my missing Tina and Cord has only grown stronger. I'm thrilled to see that John Loprieno will be visiting Llanview, albeit briefly, in August, but it would only be enhanced if Andrea Evans were to return as well. Seeing such important characters with ties to major families return to Llanview would be such a great way for Carlivati to introduce himself to us as the new head writer!
And with those random thoughts concludes my time with the column for a while. As long-time readers know, every year I take approximately 40 students to some foreign destination for nearly 3 weeks----this week, we depart for China! So I'll be turning the reigns of the column over to Denise and Dawn, who is returning briefly to her Two Scoops duties to help me out while I'm away. After I return in early August, the three of us are off to the OLTL Fan Weekend, so we'll have an update on those events upon our return.
Enjoy your week,