Standout performances

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RYAN: Do you know one way I can tell that the actors over at OLTL are both ecstatic and enthusiastic about the changes taking place in the writing department? Everyone is trying to nab that Emmy nomination by pulling out all the stops and really sinking their teeth into the material that they are given! For me, several performances stood out this week. First, Kathy Brier as Marcie is really showing true leading-lady potential in her portrayal of the mother torn between fighting for her son at all costs and restraining herself for the sake of appearances to the court. Who can't sympathize with the situation that Marcie has been placed in? Regardless of "whose side" you take in the custody battle, Marcie isn't to blame for what happened. She has shown unconditional love and support for that baby for a year and a half. And Brier's performances reflect that angst and pain. She wants to keep Tommy at all costs, so the gloves are starting to come off as shades of the original Marcie start to emerge. For me, though, one of the week's highlights was when she and Todd had that confrontation in the classroom following her suspension (or "indefinite leave of absence"). To say I was mesmerized is a total understatement! Kathy Brier and Trevor St. John were never two actors who shared much screen time at all, but this showdown between the loving and protective mom and the former "kidnapper, murderer, and rapist" (as Todd put it) was blockbuster! Brier infused confidence and guts into Marcie as she stood up to Todd and declared she wasn't threatened by him. Even as he yelled that he would "get that kid" (interesting term of endearment for one's son!), I believed that Marcie was one formidable opponent for Todd. In particular, when he leaned in and puckered up his lips to her after she leaned in towards him to say he doesn't scare her, she nailed him with a slap I haven't heard on screen in years! Ding, ding, ding...Round One goes to Marcie McBain!

DENISE: Ryan, that scene was seriously intense! Very few people have the courage to do battle with Todd, and Marcie has shown unwavering force and conviction despite Todd's intimidation tactics. Vegas odds say Michael and Marcie's marriage won't survive either his deception or this custody suit, but I remain hopeful that their characters will. If Marcie won "round one", Todd indeed emerged victorious from "round two" of this fight. I honestly wasn't certain if his marriage to Blair would actually culminate, and when he interjected and stopped the wedding momentarily, I shared Dorian's train of thought when she uttered to Clint, "Here we go again..." I've said numerous times that I'm tired beyond belief of the Blair/Todd seesaw, but the irony is that somehow these characters seem destined to be together. Their union is self-destructive, twisted and ill-fated, yet somehow and in some way, they always find their way back to one another. So while I'm not jumping on the Todd/Blair bandwagon just yet, the manner in which Carlivati is penning these two has piqued my curiosity. He's encouraged me to question whether or not this couple has any mileage left to explore, only because of how innovative and rich his writing has been thus far. I must also say how much I enjoyed Kassie DePaiva's performances last week. She is one of the most underrated actors on daytime television and it's mind-blowing that she has yet to be rewarded with an Emmy. Blair's character has been beaten down and raked over the coals more times than I can count, and yet DePaiva always puts forth one-hundred percent and never ceases to captivate me. I have always enjoyed the Blair/Dorian/Todd dynamic, and Dorian was certainly true to form last week! She simply couldn't resist the opportunity to plan an elegant, whirlwind affair, and it was hysterical how Dorian quickly shifted from vehemently opposing the marriage to micro-managing the entire engagement. Robin Strasser's comedic genius grows richer with time and if anyone is capable of pulling off the task of whipping together a first-rate wedding, it's Dorian!

RYAN: DePaiva has always been an underrated superstar; you're right, and her performance from the "Live Week" episodes a few years back still stands out as among the very best in OLTL's history. I'm not so sure I feel like this wedding is a good idea, but my hunch is that this "fake" marriage will eventually morph into the real thing, and at this point, I just don't see Todd and/or Blair romantically paired with anyone else currently on the canvas---so I say go for it! And I would be totally remiss if I didn't pay special tribute to the unbelievable and spectacular performance of Catherine Hickland that is lighting up all of the message boards and sending Emmy buzz throughout the entire soap community. Talk about a knock-out performance! What I really liked about Hickland's confession as Lindsay is that it wasn't overplayed; no scenery-chewing going on here. She allowed Lindsay to be viewed as tired, someone desperate for the truth to finally emerge. When she cried out, "I did it; I murdered Spencer Truman," I could see Lindsay's shoulders lighten as the weight of the world was taken off her back! Hickland infused vulnerability into her character, and the ending moments with her son picking up her catatonic body out of the courtroom left an indelible impression in my mind. Whether or not Lindsay is faking her breakdown, Hickland had the opportunity to showcase her talents once again and to remind us how effectively Lindsay can carry a heavy storyline. I assume that her absence from the screen during the rest of last week is the start of Hickland's short hiatus from the show, and when she returns Lindsay will have another secret and another major story arc. I can hardly wait!

DENISE: When I say I was blown away by Catherine Hickland's performance, that is a huge understatement. She rendered me utterly and positively breathless, and transported me back to the good ol' days when we were treated to these moments on a regular basis. Success is certainly the best revenge and I'm hopeful that the Emmy buzz now surrounding her will reinforce to the network what fans have known for years. The burning question is whether or not Lindsay is faking her condition, and I cannot wait to see how events unfold! I still believe there's more to the story than meets the eye and that Lindsay and Spencer shared a deeper connection. Perhaps it's wishful thinking, but I always thought it would've proven explosive to reveal Lindsay as the impetus behind Nora remaining comatose for so very long. My theory is that Lindsay might've approached Spencer after she first learned the truth about baby Tommy, and offered to suppress his secret if he would agree to keep Nora in her current medical state. Lindsay's motive would've been fueled by her desire to keep Nora away from R.J., who she perceived as a threat to their relationship. The dynamic might have shifted as Lindsay grew closer to Marcie and Michael, after which point she would've approached Spencer and attempted to renegotiate her arrangement with him. Spencer then refused, which would account for Nora awakening and the events that followed. Exploring this angle would accomplish several things. It would be a nice "nod" to fans of Hillary B. Smith and her character, and make Nora's ridiculously long absence from the screen count for something. Since it appears Carlivati is moving towards a Bo/Lindsay coupling, the timing is ripe to deepen Lindsay's connection to Spencer. Imagine Bo's reaction if he pursues a relationship with Lindsay, only to discover that she was responsible for whether his ex-wife and the mother of his child ever took another breath. This would generate unlimited offshoots of story and exploit behavior that is consistent with Lindsay's character. It would also fuel the Lindsay/Nora rivalry and accelerate the snail's pace at which this feud is being rekindled. I really like how Carlivati is using Lindsay as the basis of conflict between Dorian and Nora as far as Clint is concerned - especially since Viki has always been Dorian's primary nemesis and served as the greatest threat to her relationship with him. Talk about a strange twist of irony! Clint and Nora were joined by fate and circumstance, and as a result, their newfound closeness was fostered slowly and therefore feels natural to me. Nora and Clint are emerging as an accidental pairing and I'm very intrigued as to where this will lead. It's certainly a refreshing change of pace after enduring countless forced pairings, and I'm anxious to see what Carlivati has mapped out for these characters.

RYAN: Your theory about Lindsay's involvement in Nora's coma is certainly plausible, but I would hate for the show to go back and relive Lindsay's manipulative side. I really like the softer, more remorseful and humble Lindsay we've been seeing shades of most recently. I'd hate for her "transformation" to be short-lived, especially after her revelation in court that she saved that dress she wore on the night of the murder just to prevent someone like Marty from going to jail for Lindsay's crimes (why she kept that dress was always a burning question for me!!). Speaking of Marty, I have to comment on the firing of Christina Chambers. It is certainly no secret to anyone who reads my column that I have felt from the moment she appeared onscreen that Chambers was completely miscast for this role; however, despite that, I have enjoyed the actress and the warmth she brings to the screen. I wish the show had found "the right fit" for Chambers, because I could definitely see her in some OTHER role for OLTL and continuing to have a relationship with Michael Easton's character. Nonetheless, the show's producers have deemed that it is time to end Chambers' run as Marty Saybrooke (hopefully paving the way for the character's original portrayer, Susan Haskell). Despite her firing, Chambers is really quite good at her craft. She knows how to mix vulnerability, anger, stubbornness, and humor all at the same time. If it were not for the fact that I had trouble envisioning her having a near-college-age son and being involved in the infamous gang rape storyline back in the 90's, I'd be up in arms about this casting announcement. But I think that Chambers will definitely be snatched up by another show very soon. Her appearance, her acting style, and her affability are all tailor-made for daytime television, and she will not be unemployed for very long. I sincerely wish her the best of luck and hope she realizes that she had a lot of support (even by those who may have felt she wasn't right in that particular role).

DENISE: I wholeheartedly concur with your thoughts pertaining to Chambers and we saw this coming from the moment she stepped onto the canvas. As a seasoned soap viewer, I'm always saddened to see any actor released from the show - especially when he or she was miscast for a particular role from the get go. We often forget that this is someone's livelihood and while this business brings no guarantees, I don't enjoy seeing an experienced actor cut from the roster and out of a job. I certainly wish Chambers the best of luck and am confident that her next role will fully utilize her skills and experience. If ABC didn't release Chambers to pave the way for Haskell's return, I see no point in pursuing Marty's character any further. It will be very interesting to see how John's character emerges from this chain of events as well. I also have a hunch that we may endure yet another recast in terms of Sarah's character, or that the character may be written out altogether. Justis Bolding is fresh-faced and unquestionably talented, but I simply don't feel she's right for the role. Watching her interact with David Fumero last week reinforced my opinion that Bolding's version of Sarah comes across as too youthful and not edgy enough to successfully tangle with Cris or Rex on a romantic level. Farah Fath allegedly read for the part of Sarah, which I think would have suited her well, so I'm perplexed as to why the show created a new character for her while giving the part of Sarah to Bolding. John Brotherton continues to impress me as Jared, and while I'm a huge fan of Forbes March, Nash's character is in a precarious position right now because I see much more storyline potential with Jared than I do with Nash. In fact, if Nash and Jessica disappeared from the canvas tomorrow, it would probably be months before I even noticed. Melissa Archer continues to delight, as I watch Natalie grow more self-confident and assertive with each passing week. Archer puts forth one hundred percent each and every time and I was thrilled to see Natalie's fighting spirit emerge once again. She is determined to fulfill Asa's legacy at BE and prove all the naysayers wrong, and I really enjoy how Carlivati is penning her character. Subtle shades of vulnerability emerge, as when her credentials were questioned by that BE staffer, yet she suppressed her insecurities and responded with strength, wit and refused to be spoken to in a demeaning manner. Natalie and Jared are cut from the same cloth in many respects, and each is using the other as leverage for personal gains while fighting a budding attraction, so the dynamic between them continues to interest me. I also enjoyed the scenes with Brotherton and Patricia Elliott, and Elliott is someone who is infinitely talented and grossly underused. She can deliver one line in an episode and steal the entire show, proving that standout performances are not always gauged by high drama and cataclysmic events. Elliott can render a viewer breathless with as little as a haunting glance or a soft-spoken word, and this reinforces her stance as one of daytime's elite. Carlivati has promised we will continue to see more of Renee as time progresses, and I remain optimistic that this gifted veteran actor will be woven back into the fabric of OLTL's canvas and that Renee will indeed carry on - which is exactly what Asa would've wanted.

Finally, the board is currently abuzz with chatter over the confirmed list of attendees for ABC's upcoming Super Soap Weekend. Most distressing is the conspicuous absence of veteran actors from the lineup, which is incredibly disappointing though not surprising in the least. In fact, Susan Lucci is the only veteran actor from ABC Daytime who is confirmed for the event to date. Actors must receive invites from the network in order to attend SSW, and as the list of attendees is still a work in progress, now is the time to make your voices heard. Join us in writing both Disney-ABC and Colgate-Palmolive (SSW's official sponsor) in requesting that OLTL's veterans be acknowledged and granted an opportunity to pay tribute to their fans at this year's event. Please contact us if you need network or sponsor contact information, and we will happily email that to you.

Have a wonderful week!

Ryan and Denise

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Two Scoops is an opinion column. The views expressed are not designed to be indicative of the opinions of Soap Central or its advertisers. The Two Scoops section allows our Scoop staff to discuss what might happen and what has happened, and to share their opinions on all of it. They stand by their opinions and do not expect others to share the same point of view.

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