This is part one of a special two-part year-end Two Scoops showcasing the best and worst of One Life to Live in 2009. In this edition, Dawn offers her thoughts on the hits and misses. Click here for part two, where Michael offers up his thoughts on OLTL's tops anfd flops.
We've put together a special year-end list of the top ten most-read Two Scoops columns over the past 12 months. To check out the list and see what came out on top, please click here.
K.A.D. serial killers: I wish soap operas would stop doing serial killer stories. The problem is, they all end up being the same. Frivolous characters are killed, and the killer turns out to be someone who isn't even on the show, or a minor character. This story fell into that pattern, as we were expected to believe that Rebecca Lewis and Powell Lord came up with an evil plan to bring Todd down after 20 years. The story didn't make sense, it was boring, and very little came out of it. It seems like this story was written just to put Todd and Marty would end up in the same room so Marty could regain her memory. I am sure there were better ways to do this and that the serial killer angle could have been skipped completely.
I think it's time for the writers to stop revisiting the rape that happened 20 years ago. Todd and Marty are connected because of Hope, so their relationship should be more about that now. I don't feel the need to constantly revisit the frat house and terrible things that happened there. Marty has rebuilt her life and moved on from that, and the writers need to do that too.
Talia's dramatic exit: BethAnn Bonner is a great actress, and her character, Talia, was a breath of fresh air when she first joined the show. It was great to see a woman on the Llanview police force that was tough and didn't constantly need to be saved by John McBain or by anyone else. She took her job seriously and wasn't easily distracted by bright, shiny objects like so many other characters are. However, it seems like the writers never knew what to do with her, perhaps because she wasn't the typical female character, so they just stopped writing for her.
I wish they had found something to write for her instead of making her a senseless victim of a bad serial killer story. I don't believe that they couldn't find a story for her, especially after they made her Carlo Hesser's daughter. That development was introduced poorly, in the dreadful Mendorra story, but I am sure giving Talia a villain for a father could have led to a wealth of interesting material for her. Talia had so much potential, but it was never realized, and that is a crime.
The demise of Gigi and Rex: I liked Gigi and Rex when they first got together because they shared an interesting history. I remember thinking that connecting the two characters during the Paris, Texas, story was a terrific idea. However, I started to like them less once Stacy arrived in Llanview. Stacy was obviously created to be the obligatory big obstacle that all happy couples must eventually face. We all knew one was coming for Gigi and Rex, but Stacy had an especially strange effect on Gigi and Rex, as they each began to do stupid things because of her. Even after Stacy's fraud was exposed, and Gigi and Rex realized they had both been played, they still continued to mess things up.
After Stacy blackmailed Gigi into giving up Rex, Gigi and Rex seemed to stop using their brains. Gigi decided to lie to Rex because she was afraid he would ruin things for Shane. Meanwhile, Rex knew there was something wrong with the way Gigi was acting, but became too easily distracted by Stacy. Once Rex learned that Gigi was forced to break up with him, he couldn't get past it and focus on the fact that Gigi was a frightened mother, which motivated her actions.
As a result, Gigi started spending a lot of time with Schuyler, and Rex turned into the typical, jealous boyfriend as a result. After they learned that Stacy was pregnant, their relationship suffered even more. I hate how the writers turned a good couple into a slow-moving train wreck. At this point, I don't care if Gigi and Rex stay together, and that's sad.
Stacy's ridiculous obsession with Rex: I didn't like Stacy when she pretended to be Gigi at the Go Red Ball, and I had a feeling I never would. However, I decided I should give her a chance. My first inkling about her was right! Stacy turned out to be one of the most one-dimensional characters in recent history. The show was obviously trying to fill the void left by Lindsay Rappaport, but Stacy Morasco doesn't come close.
The main problem with her character is that her motivation never made sense. Rex might be a good guy when he wants to be, but her obsession with him was way over-the-top. Stacy and Rex were never a couple, and Rex barely knew who Stacy was, so her claims that he was meant to be hers were creepy. She became a crazy, desperate woman once her obsession with Rex was revealed, and it took way too long for the writers to give her a vulnerable side.
The writers didn't help this character by having her blackmail Gigi with Shane's life so that Stacy could have Rex. It made her look like a cold, heartless, selfish witch that didn't deserve to have so much as a pet rock. Watching Stacy manipulate Gigi every day for months was painful and only made me despise Stacy even more.
Crystal Hunt is a great actress because she was able to make me despise Stacy, and I am sorry to see her lose her job. However, Stacy has been in Llanview for too long, and I am glad the show is cutting its losses with this character.
Starr and Cole take over: For the first half of the year, I felt inundated by Starr and Cole. It seemed like they were on every day and were put into storylines that felt too advanced for them. The lowest point was when Cole randomly proposed marriage, and Starr used her usual method of emotional blackmail to get Todd and Blair's permission to marry him. Thankfully, Starr came to her senses and called the wedding off, but watching them up until that moment was painful.
Starr and Cole belong on the show in some capacity. They are the children of major characters, but they aren't ready to carry the show. If the writers let Cole and Starr act their age, they won't fall into the worst category next year!
Langston and Markko's angst: Neither character offends me, but it seems like the writers went out of their way to give these two several plot points that would only slightly resemble relationship angst. Far too much time was dedicated to Markko and Langston talking about and buying condoms. I already saw those scenes on Dawson's Creek; I don't need to see them on One Life to Live.
As for the issue with Markko's parents, I felt bad for Markko because he had to deal with a demanding father and a demanding girlfriend. However, I still couldn't bring myself to get too interested. I knew Markko and Langston would stay together. The story was predictable, and I knew that Markko's parents would come around.
Finally, Langston demanding to know who Markko voted for was ridiculous. I am glad that Langston eventually dropped the subject and supported Markko. She was starting to act way too much like Starr, and we already have one in Llanview!
Ray Montez leaves Llanview: When the Montez family first came to the show, I didn't like them because I felt like they were the new Santi family. In many ways they were. While I am glad Vanessa and Lola are both gone, I think it was a mistake to write out Ray Montez. He and Dorian had an amazing spark together, and their relationship should have been explored. Since it looks like the writers can't to commit to David and Dorian in any meaningful way (which may be out of their control), taking Ray Montez out of the equation was a huge mistake. Dorian and Ray had a lot of untapped potential, and it was nonsensically wasted.
Todd and Blair's eternal custody fight: While it was contrived to force Todd, Blair, and the kids to live together, the judge's rationale made sense. Todd and Blair constantly use their children as pawns in their relationship, and the children suffer because of it. Blair constantly states that the children belong with her, but never gives a reason. She acts like it's an unspoken rule and that Todd is supposed to accept it. It's not a shock that this angers Todd!
I can see why Blair thinks she runs a more stable home. Todd does all kinds of things that lead to upheaval and chaos, but she needs to understand that the children love Todd too, and he is their father. I would love to see custody of Jack and Sam not be an issue in 2010. Since Starr will be 18, she won't be up for grabs anymore, but Jack and Sam don't need to constantly be a bargaining chip in Todd and Blair's relationship. I don't want Todd and Blair to get back together, but I would love to see them work together and focus on the well-being of Jack and Sam. If we could go a full year without a custody hearing, it would be a wonderful thing!
Téa's obvious secret: I hate to put this in the worst category because I have enjoyed Florencia Lozano's return to the show, but Téa's secret was obvious from the start and took way too long to be revealed. After just about every character in Llanview told Téa that she wasn't a mother, there was little doubt that she was one. I can forgive the rapid aging of Dani, but the amount of time that it took for the truth to come out was unbearable.
The other problem with this story was the fact that Téa did just about everything wrong that she possibly could. She kept the truth from Ross and Todd, she thought it was a good idea to tell Todd about Dani after marrying him, and she waited so long to tell the truth that the whole thing blew up in her face with two angry men and a very angry and distraught daughter. I like Téa and love watching her in the courtroom, but she made an enormous mess out of her life and out of Dani's, and she has a huge mess to clean up. I hope Téa is able to make amends with both Todd and Dani in 2010, but she is ending this year on an incredibly bad note!
Writing commercials into dialogue: I realize that the economy is still bad and that businesses are scrambling to make money. However, having characters describe products on the show cheapens the dialogue and breaks the momentum of a scene. Hearing Téa describe soup with low sodium or hearing Roxy talk about the virtues of a peanut butter cup just don't fit in with the dialogue of a drama. We are already inundated with advertising with mounting commercials and with graphics in the corner of the screen during shows. Advertising does NOT belong in a character's dialogue!
Best of 2009
Marty remembers everything: While I consider the K.A.D. redux to be among the worst of 2009, I thought the scene where Marty remembered her life was great. Susan Haskell did a terrific job of showing Marty's reaction to each memory, and it turned out to be quite emotional and powerful. While I am tired of Todd and Marty being thrown into scenes together, I thought this was one of the few scenes that was appropriate. It's only fitting that Todd would help her remember the truth after he filled her head with lies for so many months. It was also interesting to see how being in the recreated room affected both of them. While I liked this scene, I hope this is the last visit to the K.A.D. house!
Charlie and Viki get married: I liked Charlie and Viki's relationship from the start, and it was great to see them get married. It's a shame that they had to share their wedding with Clint and Nora. I am glad one happy couple came out of that awkward wedding! I am glad that Viki married Charlie because it was about HER and her life. She is usually so busy focusing on her daughters' crises that she rarely takes any time for herself. I am glad that she and Charlie got a big wedding and that nothing stopped them from tying the knot. It looks like Charlie and Viki are about to encounter their first obstacle, as Charlie has started drinking again, but hopefully they can get through it!
Jessica learns the truth about Chloe: I didn't like the baby switch when it first took place, but the resolution to the story led to some terrific material for Jessica and Viki. The scenes with Viki coaxing Jessica to remember what happened to her baby were emotional, intense, and heartbreaking. We got to see Erika Slezak work her magic, and we got to see why Bree Williamson earned an Emmy nomination last year. I still think the baby switch was a lazy story and didn't need to occur, but I was captivated as Jessica realized that Chloe wasn't hers and did what she could to make the situation right.
Marcie and Michael's exit: I was sad when Michael and Marcie left Llanview, but I liked their happy ending. Characters on this show tend to exit in a dramatic manner, so it was great to see Marcie and Michael get good news before they left. I also liked that we got to see Marcie and Michael with their baby after they left Llanview. I hope these characters can return to Llanview every once in a while. They were both on the show for years and shouldn't be completely forgotten.
Matthew and Destiny's friendship: I am glad that Matthew has Destiny for a friend. I have enjoyed watching their friendship develop. Destiny has proven to be extremely loyal, and she isn't easily swayed by peer pressure. After Matthew had to endure being ridiculed by his peers, Destiny was there for him when no one else was. Matthew was also there for Destiny after Shaun's surgery, and it is obvious that they genuinely care about each other. Of course, Dani's presence is creating some obstacles, as Matthew seems VERY confused about how to behave around both girls, but I still think Matthew and Destiny make good friends.
Cole's accident: This turned out to be an interesting story because it affected so many characters. Cole's bad decision to drive under the influence of drugs did many things. It proved that his drug problem was very serious, it awakened dormant parental instincts in Marty, it paralyzed Matthew, and it created a rift between Marty and Nora. This story was well written, emotional, and intense. While Cole's rehab program didn't seem that serious, he felt guilt and remorse about injuring Matthew and admitted that he had a problem.
Matthew sues Bo and Nora: I never thought this would be in the best category, but it ended up being a well-constructed story. I understood where all of the characters involved were coming from, which is always important. I admit that I was initially disgusted when Matthew decided to sue his own parents, but then I realized that I understood why he was doing it. I also understood why Bo and Nora were against the idea of Matthew risking his life to walk again. I even understood why Bo and Nora took Matthew to London, even if I didn't like it. Since Matthew appears to have forgiven Bo and Nora, I guess I can too. I am glad the story had a happy ending, and it created some interesting conflict.
Bo and Nora reunite: It took a decade for Bo and Nora to realize that they still love each other, but I guess it's better late than never! Honestly, I wish Nora hadn't married Clint, and I really wish she hadn't denied her feelings for Bo right before the wedding. However, she ultimately made the right decision in finally admitting that she still loved Bo. Nora has the bad habit of convincing herself that the safer option is what she really wants, so I am glad that she didn't let that habit keep her from being with Bo.
While I didn't like that Bo and Nora declared their love while Matthew was miserable at boarding school, I am glad that they finally admitted the truth. I am also very happy that they didn't have an affair behind Clint's back. They acknowledged that cheating harmed their relationship and realized they couldn't do that to someone else. That was an important moment for Bo and Nora, and it proves that they are truly ready to move forward together! I can't wait to see what happens with Bo and Nora in 2010!
Mitch Laurence returns as Rex's father: I am usually against bringing characters back from the dead, but I can accept that Mitch is a character that will never die. He has re-energized the show, and it's entertaining to watch him taunt everyone and chisel away at their self-confidence. While I don't like that Jared was sacrificed for Mitch's story, I think Mitch will create a lot of trouble and conflict for everyone in Llanview, which could be very interesting.
I think most people guessed that Mitch was Rex's father a long time ago. However, it really was the best choice. Rex has been shaken by the news that his father is an evil man, and he has to accept that Mitch's blood saved Shane's life. He also has to deal with the fact that Roxy has been keeping this from him for years, which creates conflict in his relationship with her.
So far, it's been interesting to watch Rex deal with knowing the identity of his father, and I am sure it will take a long time to accept the truth. I think that this development will take Rex in an interesting direction and save him from the awful story that his relationship with Gigi has become. Anything that does that has to be a good story!
A lot of good things happened on the show in 2009, and I hope that this trend continues with even better things in 2010!
Until next time, please be sure to check out the other year-end Two Scoops columns for other soaps. All of the columnists are taking the next two weeks to reflect on the best and worst of 2009. It's definitely a fun read -- even if you aren't familiar with all of the soaps!
Plus, feel free to head over to the Soap Central message boards and join in the discussion about the highs and lows of the year gone by. And, if you're feeling prolific, start your own blog and offer your own take on the Two Scoops' best and worst edition. If we like what you write, you might just see your comments posted here!
Until next time,