Dispatches from the sickbed

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OLTL Two Scoops: Dispatches from the sickbed
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The week of July 27, 2009
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Téa agreed to take Matthew's case, which gives her at least one story angle which does not involve lusting after McRapey, er, Todd.

Yeah, no fancy title, sorry, I'm way too preoccupied with my sore throat. You know how you get sick sometimes and you can't always tell if the pain is coming from the back of your throat or your ear region? That's where I'm at. Oy vey. So, point being, please bear with me as I'm under the weather, yet I was gone recently, and I feel it's my obligation, nay, my sacred duty to bring y'all your Two Scoops anyway. Perhaps a scoop and a half this week. Oh man, I need some Ibuprofen. But it could be worse, couldn't it? Couldn't it? I could have knocked up a psycho who defaced my girlfriend's Mini-Cooper (more on that in a moment)! I could be dating a deeply closeted hunk! (Actually, sign me up.) I could be suing my parents for the right to let an arrogant doctor do some crazy hand jive on my damaged spinal cord! I could be marrying my true love's brother, who keeps saying things like "well, if there's no court date then why shouldn't we get married tomorrow?" I could be facing all these things our favorite Llanviewites faced this week on OLTL, but instead, I just have a bad sore throat. So really, let's just do the Two Scoops and be grateful that unlike Blair and Téa, we do not have to move in with a rapist.

Okay, first of all, we must discuss The Best Storyline Ever On Television, Or Perhaps, In Narrative Fiction Itself. Yes, that's right, you know of what I speak, it's the saga of Stacy. Not only did Stacy attempt to get Rex to ravish her atop a stranger's fur coat in a cold vault - true romance! - she also trashed Gigi's car a la Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction. And just for the record, about that car? Unless I'm deeply mistaken, that was a frickin' Mini-Cooper. As I recall, Madonna drives a Mini-Cooper, or at least, she claimed to in her terrible song "American Life." How the heck can Gigi, the single mom and waitress, afford to ride in that kind of style? Is she a drug mule on the side? I was thrilled when Gigi beat Stacy like a drum, but unfortunately our Ms. Morasco could not close the deal, and Stacy survived her fall down the OLTL studio stairwell, only to discover - as all stairwell divers do - that she is pregnant. Judging by the timeframe, I am guessing Rex is the only man who could have fathered Stacy's unholy spawn, even though they only had sex like three days ago. Because that's exactly what this story needed: A pregnancy. I can't think of anything more exciting. No, really. Meanwhile, Rex continues to avoid telling Gigi the truth, and I fully expect him to try and go all Billie Jean when Stacy busts out the truth. And...no, you know what? I'm sorry. I can't. I don't even care. This story is ridonkulous. It's gone past ridic and is now into ridonk. I don't care that Stacy is pregnant. I don't care what Rex does. I just want it over. I'm sure the horrible truth will send Gigi into Schuyler's arms, but that poor sweet guy is just going to get his heart broken in the end. Just make it stop, OLTL. Matter of fact, I will write you an ending, right now: "INT. REX'S LOFT - DAY: STACY and EXTRA #1 stands in front of REX and GIGI. STACY: 'I have to leave now. This extra is my baby's daddy. We're going to colonize Mars. Goodbye, cruel planet!' Stacy and Extra #1 leave arm-in-arm. Rex turns to Gigi. REX: 'What's for lunch?' END SCENE." Done! Cut, print, air! Can you tell I just took DayQuil?

Now it's time for another episode of Téa: You So Crazy! It's a comfort to know that while I struggle with a mere sore throat, nothing short of nuclear detonation will keep Téa Delgado down. A frathouse fell on her? No problem. Our girl was styling and profiling out there on the gravel lane with Matthew and Destiny this week, sashaying along on her cane with verve. "I'm walking across this grassy field in no particular direction - who cares, I look sexy while doing so!" Téa: Why You So Crazy? Fortunately, Téa agreed to take Matthew's case, which gives her at least one story angle which does not involve lusting after McRapey, er, Todd. I always love Téa in the courtroom; she brings a crazy pizazz to things, and totally makes me believe she is a legal shark out for blood. Sometimes, you get soap lawyers on daytime who don't really sell it, but with Florencia Lozano versus Hillary B. Smith, you know it's on til the break of dawn. Anything that allows Téa to cultivate more independent charater avenues divested from the endless romantic "follies" with Todd and Blair is a ticket to freedom, and I think this plotline has a lot of possibilities. Unfortunately, Todd remains a factor, and both Blair and Téa were still mired in his story wasteland this week. Yes, the Rapecapades continued as Téa and Blair had a hellacious catfight over their shared man, then trashed his house. I wished the ladies would've gone all the way and totally torn the place apart in a moment of female bonding, but sadly they ended up turning their agita back on each other once more. At the other end of the battleground, Blair continues to get trod upon by Todd, and now she has to deal with Téa moving in, which strains credulity even by soap opera standards. Téa told Todd she had no interest in being part of "a harem," yet she's clearly going to accept his key anyway, and with Todd popping to present the ladies with cryptic "gifts," this whole thing is starting to resemble a really skeevy episode of "The Bachelor." ("Téa, will you accept this sweatband?") Why can't both Blair and Téa be liberated from this hot mess? Todd's character needs some kind of re-invention, and debasing all the women on the show as he smirks is not going to improve matters. At least give Blair a modicum of the freedom Téa's been allowed by pursuing the story with Matthew's lawsuit.

There was a lighter note with the Cramer-Mannings this week, though: Starr and Cole listening in on Todd and Dorian's fight about "the illicit sex in this house." Watching the teens freak out as they thought Dorian had their number was a hoot and a half. Starr and Cole are on way too much these days, but their most refreshing, unique moments come when their interaction is not plot-driven, or forced with an artificial storyline; seeing them talking and playing with their daughter, just living life, was the most compelling thing either character has done in some time. Their pals didn't have it so lucky, though, what with Markko's dad actually disowning him. Seriously? For real? How can anyone be mean to Markko? He's so adorable. Mr. Rivera's so reactionary and antiquated that I keep expecting him to wander through other scenes screaming about Nora's "pagan religion," or the loose women in Rex's club.

Let's go back to the topic of Matthew's lawsuit for a bit, though, and discuss the slow car accident that is Bo, Nora, and Clint's interaction. This week, Nora found a new dismayed facial expression as Clint told her to get ready to marry him in the morning: Girlfriend looked like he had just signed her up for the food competition on Fear Factor. Poor Jerry verDorn does his best to sell Clint as a decent man who genuinely loves Nora, but there's no way you can totally side with the guy who wants Nora to get married the day after her kid sues her. I loved Bo and Nora's faux-casual reactions to Matthew's lawsuit, followed by their storming off in a huff to deal with the fallout; Matthew wheeling around large and in charge on his Bluetooth headset was equally priceless. It's a shame the weaker stories on the show aren't as well-crafted as the one with this family has been, but it's now past time we began to dig into Bo and Nora's deeper issues with one another, as they band together to try and salvage their relationship with Matthew. As for whether the lawsuit is right or wrong, I think the best "family conflict" stories on soaps often are the ones where you can see both points of view, and I certainly can here. On the one hand, Matthew feels powerless, and should have more of a say in his future; as someone who underwent grueling physical therapy as a child to improve my own motor functions, I can relate to Matt's predicment. On the other hand, he's still a child, and doesn't seem to have fully considered the risks the procedure poses to him. Yet Bo and Nora left him out of the decision-making process, and Matthew is compelled to act in the most drastic way possible. It's a messy situation all around, but that makes for the best soap opera. I can't wait for the Buchanans to get to the courtroom.

Sidestepping the canvas, you have Matthew's would-be doctor, Greg, and what I continue to refer to as "The Minority Corner." It's like someone just squished Greg, Rachel, Shaun, and Destiny into one tiny box and left them there. It's not that I don't think these characters have potential - I really liked the scenes with Greg and Rachel working together to save one of her charges - but I think when you can see the plot mechanics at work to keep characters (of any color or creed) isolated together, it reflects badly on the written material. Mind you, it's not all bad; Daphnee Duplaix is consistently great as Rachel, and Terrell Tilford's fine, fine physique was on display this week. He also finally got to display some range and passion when he saved Rachel's young friend. I like Sean Ringgold as Shaun, too, but the Evans family remain virtual ciphers to me. Their entire function at the moment seems to be to orbit Rachel and Matthew, and provide them with storyline. What I see here are not bad characters, but characters in search of some depth and background. I've said that before about the Evans brothers, and it remains true. Stop moving these new characters around the established ones like chess pieces, and find ways to make us care about them. At least Rachel seems to have a measure of chemistry with both Greg and Shaun.

Finally, we have, of course, The Kish Affair. My French is rusty; how do you say it in French? L'affaire de Kish? Y/N? Maybe? Who cares, the point is, for my money this is probably the best, most well-constructed storyline on the show, which is peculiar since it focuses on two relative newbies and two supporting characters. Unlike some other gay storylines on daytime today, nothing about the Kyle/Fish storyline feels artificial or forced to me; both men were slowly woven into the fabric of Llanview through other storylines, nor are they monopolizing screen time, either together or separately. Instead of being slammed together by the show as we are ordered to love them, Kyle and Fish are working their way towards each other. Their current interactions are primarily with other, established players, like Layla, Cristian, and Roxy; the mystery, and the dramatic thrust, is on their relationship, but we are being made to wait, as Agnes Nixon once counseled - to anticipate, before truly seeing Kyle and Oliver as they once were, or could be again. Tika Sumpter gave probably her best performance on the show this week as the befuddled Layla tried to unearth the root of Olvier's anxieties about going to bed with her. Layla's always been insecure, a bit of a follower and uncomfortable in her own skin, or in her ability to succeed by her own merits; she knew something was wrong with Fish, and her own pain, confusion, and need was all over her body language and her performance. Scott Evans was also excellent, but the gold star has to go to Brett Claywell's soulful performance as Kyle, telling Cristian a thinly-veiled version of the truth about his ex. "He's a coward who's afraid of the truth," Kyle told Cris (who, it has to be said, had to be really dense not to have figured it out), and you could see his bitterness clashing with the pain in his heart. Of course, Kyle's landlady Roxy is someone who knows something about shame, having fled the scene yet again rather than tell Rex the friggin' truth about his evil father. Roxy makes a great "talk-to" for Kyle; their chemistry really zips. Kyle's a rare, shining example of an imperfect, multi-dimensional, non-saintly, non-cardboard gay character in media, and I hope his layers continue to deepen and multiply. This whole story works for me because of the delicate simplicity of it; there is no plot-driven bad guy like Noah Mayer's father or Michael Cambias, just a tale of two flawed people and the lives connecting with theirs. That kind of realistic simplicity - maybe it's blunt, rather than delicate - is what daytime used to thrive upon.

So that's that, folks; my throat is aching and I'm off to Duane Reade for a refill on Ibuprofen. I hope I lived up to my own rather shaky standards, and I hope you guys are having a healthier weekend than me. I love you all, and I promise to be back hale and hearty in two weeks. Maybe Stacy'll have left for Mars by then. Toodles, and please, always remember: Fur vaults are the only place to store your frozen meats.

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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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