RYAN: Just when I got over being giddy over the nostalgia from OLTL's milestone 10,000th episode, I was treated to a stellar week of build-up to Lindsay Rappaport's "Woman of the Year" banquet. I mean, honestly, how much better has this show gotten in just a mere two weeks' time? There are a myriad of great scenes I could point out to illustrate how much newly-anointed Head Writer Ron Carlivati pays attention to history, but what has struck me most of this week is the increased attention paid to its women on the show. Lindsay, Marcie, and Nora all played key roles in this week's banquet. Starr and Blair are sharing some truly authentic and realistic scenes as mother and daughter. Roxy continues to push the limits with her illegal gambling that is taking place after-hours at "Foxy Roxy's." And Dorian has been showing signs of...well...compassion for Clint. My point is that these women, all of them, have always had a distinct and unique presence on the show (individually and collectively), but I suppose this week I really noticed the attention that was paid to their strength of character and their individuality. For instance, when I first started to hear the spoilers about Lindsay being Spencer's killer, I couldn't fathom how in the world the show was going to convince me that Lindsay is a killer (and one who obviously has to be redeemable since Catherine Hickland is remaining on the show). Guess what, Denise, they pulled it off! I was right there with Lindsay the whole time feeling her pain and actually starting to believe that she thought in her mind that killing Spencer was the right thing to do for Marcie. Do you think that Jen's death actually made Lindsay a little crazy and it just has been brewing for all this time---erupting with Spencer's stabbing?
DENISE: Ryan, I have a hunch we're due for many twists and turns before this story wraps up! First of all, Cat Hickland deserves huge props for turning in stellar performances last week. I also ran the gamut of emotions as we watched Lindsay unravel from her guilt and pain - and it was marvelously executed. Honestly, I was so thrilled after spoilers previewed Lindsay would be arrested for Spencer's murder, if for no other reason than to receive reaffirmation that Hickland was edging closer to the front-burner after a ridiculously long absence. The only possible motive I came up with at that time was Lindsay's maternal instinct in relation to protecting Marcie. What will be fascinating is learning HOW Lindsay came to know Spencer's role within Michael and Marcie's lives in terms of Tommy, and what ensued pursuant to that. You hit the nail on the head: it's incredible how much OLTL has improved in a mere two weeks, and while the greatest work still lies ahead, we are definitely on an uphill climb. I also applaud Carlivati for wrapping up Higley's storylines in a manner that is meaningful and provides yet-to-be-determined payoffs. We're also seeing a multitude of characters woven together in interesting ways and beginning to flourish in their development. For instance, I'm finally hopeful that Natalie is receiving some direction and regaining her backbone - and it's about time! Though I still don't buy Miles' "I was raised by wolves and want to buy the world a Coke" act, and while the jury is still out on Jared, what I've witnessed in relation to Natalie's character exemplifies what I'm seeing across the board. Female characters are already emerging stronger and swiftly shedding their collective victim "skins". Here's something else I noticed. We've seen more flashbacks on this show in two weeks than I can recall seeing in months, and that's significant because Carlivati is deliberately using history in his storytelling. What a refreshing change! Speaking of flashbacks, how wonderful were those that Nora reflected upon as she was presenting Lindsay with the WOTY award? Were those not priceless, vintage memories and ones that summarize why this rivalry made an indelible mark on daytime?
RYAN: I thought the exact same thing about those Nora/Lindsay flashbacks. Talk about clever writing! Nora says, "We got down and dirty together" and flash to their stint in a dumpster. "She really knows how to needle me," Nora continues with a flash to the infamous mind-erasing drug that Lindsay used on Nora. What a brilliant venue to remind viewers of the long and tumultuous road that these two adversaries have faced. But on to Natalie since you brought her up---she has mostly been a very "forgettable" character to me (despite my affinity for Melissa Archer). But, like you, I think I'm starting to see tinges of Natalie coming into her own. Although I'm not a fan of her relationship with Miles (I'm not a fan of the character, period), I am very much interested in seeing what her relationship with Jared has in store. While we're on the topic of the show's recent depiction of women, how about the mother/daughter relationship between Blair and Starr? I cannot even start to tell you how refreshing it is to finally watch a conversation between these two during which the TRUTH is actually used! When Blair held up Cole's boxer shorts and asked about them, instead of concocting some lame excuse that any intelligent person wouldn't buy in a million years, Starr went the untraditional soap route and told the truth! Blair wasn't happy, but you could tell she appreciated Starr's willingness to be upfront with her mom, despite how embarrassing or incriminating the truth could be. Seems to me like mother could take a lesson from daughter!
DENISE: I couldn't agree more - and I must admit that I was gravely concerned about Starr's character during Higley's tenure. I love Starr because she is unabashedly Lord, Manning and Cramer. We've watched her mature right before our very eyes, and I'm truly stunned that the Academy has failed to recognize Kristen Alderson with an Emmy statuette after years of stellar work. What a dynamo! I was also thrilled that Carlivati utilized history and incorporated the fiasco involving Margaret and Todd into Starr's dialogue with Cole. This directly played into what transpired for Lindsay, Michael and Marcie at the WOTY banquet. I also noticed an interesting dynamic in relation to John's reaction upon discovering that Lindsay killed Spencer. We actually saw John wrestle with conflicting emotions over arresting Lindsay (who performed a service for the town of Llanview IF, indeed, she is Spencer's real killer) in order to free Marty. This was further intensified by placing his relationship with Michael and Marcie on the line in order to uphold justice. The potential fallout from all of this is endless! That aside, I do have two major grievances to air. WHY hasn't anyone noticed that Viki is missing? This has been very disappointing, especially in light of the attention paid to her character last week. I find this a huge oversight that negates some of what the writers attempted to accomplish by reestablishing Viki as the show's foundational character during the 10,000th eppy. My second grievance is as follows. The fact that Ilene Kristen is a comic genius is indisputable. That said, I am seriously tired of seeing Roxy drunk (or working her way towards drunkenness) during every onscreen appearance. Surely there must be a way to give Ilene some substantive storyline material that showcases her dramatic aptitude while still parlaying her comedic skills!
RYAN: Okay, first, before I get to my dynamo idea I have about Roxy, I just read an article somewhere from Carlivati about Viki. Apparently, it's intentional at the moment that nobody is referring to Viki. Everyone is going to wonder where she is, why they haven't heard from her, etc., but this ties into her big story when she returns. Just a little tidbit of information for ya! Now, here is my idea involving Roxy. I recently read an article indicating that SOAPnet is open to exploring other possible original programming for its cable network involving spin-offs of current ABC soaps. Right now, "GH: Nightshift" works great as a hybrid between "E.R." and "Grey's Anatomy." How about "OLTL: Night Court" becoming a hybrid of "Law & Order" and "Night Court?" Here is my premise: quite a number of Llanview PD's officers (who typically work the nightshift) get busted during their shift at Foxy Roxy's participating/condoning/supporting Roxy's late-night/after hours gambling. As a result, Bo fires them. The problem is that until all of these officers are replaced (i.e. equating to the number of episodes SOAPnet wishes to produce), there is a shortage of manpower for that nightshift and Bo asks that the rest of the department including Antonio, John, Talia, and even Bo himself (along with some recurring regulars a la the three student nurses on "GH: Nightshift") put in extra hours to cover these shifts until replacements are made. Also, when Roxy comes before the judge, she is ordered to pay a fine and do so many hours of community service. Bo suggests that since she is the reason behind his losing his men that she should put in those hours during the nightshift at the LPD answering phones and the like. By including her in every episode, she becomes the "Epiphany" of OLTL...the smart-cracking comic relief of the show! Every episode would then feature self-contained stories involving those who have to come in before the judge during night court for various crimes/offenses. You could also involve Nora in episodes as well considering she is the D.A. What do you think?
DENISE: First off, that is wonderful news about Viki! I'll defer to Carlivati on this one and give him the benefit of the doubt for right now, simply because I believe he deserves it. Now onto your idea for an OLTL-based SOAPnet spin-off - which I happen to think is brilliant - I read that as well via Raven's column, and am very excited about the prospect of OLTL going primetime. This tells me TPTB have confidence in the fact that OLTL is on the right track and are willing to hedge their bets. Mark my words - this show is going to be ABC's number one ratings producer within the next twelve months. What we've seen from Carlivati thus far is classic soap fare, and he is just getting started. If Brian Frons is serious about this primetime endeavor, I think using the police station/courtroom scenario as a premise would make perfect sense. You could even weave in Viki and Todd via the Banner and The Sun, and the possibilities are limitless. How hysterical would it be for Lindsay to be sentenced to some type of community service/probationary work program (as things unfold in relation to Spencer's murder) - and have her working in direct contact with Nora via the DA's office? Sure, it's outlandish - but this IS a soap after all. My point is that I love the path I've seen Carlivati take these women on thus far. We're seeing them embrace strength and renounce victimization, and I am thrilled. So if the network is serious about spinning off OLTL into primetime, I hope those in charge sit back and allow Carlivati to generate a product that is thought-provoking and rich, and that which is fueled by the collective fortitude of Llanview's women.
Have a wonderful week!
Ryan and Denise