Trufax (for the uninitiated, that means "true facts"): An '80s power ballad can make anything and everything that much more awesome. Such was the case this week on OLTL, when the show broke out the big guns for Bo and Nora's wedding. No more teens singing dodgy covers, no more obscure alt-rock or warbly indie chicks we've never heard of -- this week we got no less than frickin' Cheap Trick and "The Flame" to sing our collective lovebirds off the screen on Tuesday! I seriously started looking around for Patch and Kayla because all of a sudden I thought this was an episode of DAYS from 1987 or something, and that at any moment veteran characters from that program would turn up with actual storylines. Yes, Bo and Nora are the one true Mr. and Mrs. Buchanan again, power ballad and all; they're reunited, and it never felt so good. But Bo and Nora finally letting love rule was only the tip of the iceberg this week, a week full of false confessions, secrets revealed, unfortunate couple-name portmanteaus, and yet another hunky teen I've never seen before. Prepare yourselves, boys and girls, friends and neighbors, because this, as always, is my Two Scoops.
As I've probably made clear, I found Bo and Nora's wedding follies and triumphant reunion to be a delight from start to finish. Yes, the comedy in the previous week was a little broad with the screwball antics, but that is a time-honored tradition on soaps and it's certainly not something Bo and Nora are unfamiliar with. Everything turned out all right because families, friends, and the community banded together with a kind of connection and a texture that you can't quite get on any type of program other than the regular daytime soap opera, where you see these people day in and day out, living their lives. Even truly intolerable characters like Rex and John were suddenly interesting as they chipped in to help save the day, because they were part of a larger whole, acting as one after years of being side by side.
I've watched a lot of soap weddings, so I've seen a lot of over-the-top craziness with the decor and the love montages and so on, but this is the first full-blown big-time affair in ages that I've really felt good about. In this potential twilight era for soaps, the pomp and circumstance at the altar is usually saved up for couples I don't care for, or ones that have been oversold. Not so with Bo and Nora. I believed their vows to each other and their retelling of their story, because I was there with them every step of the way, and unlike with some other couples now big on daytime, the way they remembered it is actually how it really happened. When the journey is valid and an audience hasn't been talked down to, the viewers will be there for you when the characters exchange rings and make it official, as opposed to spending most of the wedding episodes waiting for it to end or for the focus to shift to other characters, something I've often done in the past. Bo and Nora earned their big day all over again, and it was well done all around. It's just a pity few other major stories on the show at the moment are as well-constructed as this event was.
It wasn't all burgers, oldies, and good times for House Buchanan, though -- take for example Clint's "Have Shotgun Will Travel" moment, as he threatened to blow David away for driving his beloved "Kimberly" out of town. Aw, Clint, I miss her too. I hope the sudden mention of Kim means the door is still open for her return, as I think that was a great romance for Clint, and I'd rather gnaw my own arm off than watch him reunite with Viki and tear her away from poor Charlie. More on them in a bit, but suffice to say, Jerry Ver Dorn always makes the most of what he's given, even though he's had precious little of late since he is not 21 years old with a washboard chest and no discernible connection to the show. Clint with the shotgun is never not funny, and it livened up the wedding. Hopefully we'll see more of his story soon.
The sorrows didn't end there, either. Take poor Matthew, who, let's face it, took it straight in the face from Danielle during their ill-timed break-up. I doubt there is more of an emasculating, knee-to-the-junk line in the world than "that's when I knew we'd be friends forever!" Ouch. I winced along with the rest of the remaining viewership, but I couldn't help guffawing a little. To the writers' brief credit, they didn't play stupid by having Matthew follow that up with something clueless like "what are you saying?" -- any guy or girl, any orientation, knows exactly what that turn of phrase means. And with that, I'm kind of done with Danielle. Where exactly is her character going? To Nate Salinger? Who cares about him? Not me.
Dumping a core child on his supercouple parents' wedding day is not the way to endear me to a new youngster, or her new boyfriend, and I find it troubling that both Matthew and Destiny, both real teens, both not magazine pin-ups, are being relegated to the Miscellaneous File as we're expected to glom onto Dani with Nate, who could both be sparkling-smile toothpaste models. I think Kelley Missal's very talented, but at this point, I have a lot more connection to the other two "uncool" kids than to Dani, since they have more history with the show and, frankly, more character to bring to bear. Eddie Alderson's traveled leaps and bounds as a young actor, and his performance this week during his breakup scenes was stellar, brimming with visceral anger -- why is he not being acknowledged as a young find on par with his sister or other ABC youth finds of the past? Does a kid have to be rapidly aged with pecs of steel in order to be recognized in 2010?
Speaking of the youth movement, let's take a look at the endless Ford/Hannah story maze, and its latest addition to the mix. Because Nate apparently wasn't enough in the junior beefcake competition, now we have James, he of the mechanic's biceps and pointless connection to Ford! Actually, truth be told, I'm not gonna lie, James was pretty hot, and he is significantly less creepy than Nate. There is a distinct and no doubt intentional Taylor Lautner vibe wafting off this guy, and the contrast between him and poor Cole was made all too clear as they cut back to our Mr. Thornhart feebly working out in his jail cell and greeting Hannah in a tank top. Good luck with that, Cole.
It remains to be seen whether young James is backed by a talented actor; he certainly is handsome, and could be viable with Starr. I'd give almost anything to end the torturous saga of Starr and Cole at this point, but James is hardly off to a good start by being connected solely to one of the most purposeless and unsympathetic characters in town, and by bringing with him yet another round of OLTL's latest story handicap, Anonymous Mobsters. Our last foray into "Anonymous Mobsters" was mere weeks ago, during the unspeakable sojourn into the past with Rick and Lili and their Atlantic City nemesis; this story appears to be just as cliché and uninteresting. Why do I care whether mobsters were after Rick and Lili, or James and "Bobby" Ford? What does this have to do with anything I watch the show for? There were a million ways to bring these attractive young additions onto the show that would have allowed for more fan goodwill, such as tying them to existing longtime characters or even families, but the ongoing torrent of fresh young faces in stories that are built solely around them and the other youngsters is making me ache in my bones -- and I'm not even thirty! Even if James spends the next two weeks shirtless, it's his story, not his abs, that are supposed to inspire me. Please note: This does not mean I will refuse an invitation to view his abs.
As James makes off with Starr and Hope with his lounge lizard pursuers on his trail, the Ford story continues spinning out every which way; Markko and Langston are off the hook after Ford's awakening and Langston's foolhardy "confession," but they're no closer together, nor should they be, honestly. I was pleased to see Ernesto and Aurelia Rivera again, but I find it sad that they were pretty much proven right about Langston, and that Aurelia has gone all Crucible on Dorian and Langston when she was the more tolerant and kind of the two last year. Still, Dorian calling Markko a violent punk was totally uncalled for; we all know that sweet kid couldn't hurt a fly, and Dorian knew Langston was in the wrong. What she told Charlie was correct -- she had coddled Langston, and hadn't taken enough responsibility. I liked Langston and Markko's relationship but I can't imagine how it could recover from this. I wish all these characters could find some peace with each other, but I don't see it on the horizon.
Then, of course, we have Hannah, still my number one subject for being Llanview's serial batterer, and apparently she's Todd and Marty's as well. I found Marty's confrontation with Hannah to be a bit abrupt and ill-phrased; there had to be a way for Marty to slowly worm her way into the girl's confidence, but I suppose playing this story out carefully in a series of evolving scenes would've given Susan Haskell too much screen time that could be better spent on, say, Nate and Danielle. I did like Marty blowing Todd off after telling him about her confrontation with Little Miss Psycho -- Marty should only cooperate with Todd on the shakiest of truces at this point. Sooner or later, Hannah's going to blow -- the question is, how dim is Cole going to be, and does he still believe her story?
This being summer in Llanview, though, it's not just the kids behaving like kids. Take the Viki/Charlie/Dorian/David foursome, all but at each other's throats thanks to Dorian's ongoing obsession with Charlie. At this point, May or Lord might as well slap a fake beard on the poor man's face and stick a fedora on his head to complete her Vertigo-style freakout, with her as Jimmy Stewart and Charlie as a bewildered Kim Novak, reliving her marriage to late, lamented alcoholic Mel Hayes. For the love of Helen Gallagher, Dorian, enough! I can't take this anymore, and it's beneath her character. OLTL has been toying with Dorian and Charlie for close to three years, and no one is interested, yet they keep pushing the button. One hopes that this time, with the welcome return of David to the scene, it will lead to Dorian exorcising her infatuation and opting for a true-blue reunion with her ex, but I have my doubts as, once again, Tuc Watkins' contract status appears to be up in the air.
Listen, Erika Slezak, Robin Strasser, Brian Kerwin, and Tuc Watkins are all delightful together, and I laughed a lot, particularly at David's naked tai chi, but in the final analysis, this silly love roundelay with them scheming to make each other jealous is beneath these veterans, and seems to suggest a persistent strain of thought at ABC Daytime, the misbegotten idea that the viewers only want to see the vets if they're behaving like adolescents in a tissue-thin plotline. There has to be something equally lighthearted and fun, yet also intelligent that they can all get up to together, perhaps something involving the Banner or this new City Center Charlie is building. They're a great quartet, but this is strictly kids' stuff.
Everybody loves a lover, it seems, and this week in Llanview, there were more lovers than we could shake a Buddhist walking stick at. On top of Bo and Nora and the older couples, we had Rex and Gigi deciding "We Don't Have To Take Our Clothes Off," which is just as well as long as their airtime continues its gradual descent to more reasonable levels. If they keep soft-pedaling the couple I might be able to, somehow, enjoy them again. Kelly and Reed made the same choice, but Reed still seems like a major-league creeper to me; if he's not the bad guy in this endless Melinda story, then there really is no point to his existence, and Kelly's return will continue to flounder, which is unfortunate as she had great hair this week.
Blair and Elijah, on the other hand, kept it real, loud, and in living color, to the point that poor Shaun had to break out his iPod and earbuds to maintain proper decibel levels. Eli is clearly totally devoted to Blair, and his declaration of love and potential future marriage interest was touching. It's a bizarre and exhilarating experience to be faced with a new romantic possibility for Blair who is not either Todd, Max, or a roving psychopath sent to town to make Todd look better to the audience; I wasn't sure such unique, non-evil characters existed for her, but Eli is a real keeper. Blair is wise to be slow to commit after being burned so many times, but I think she's got a gem here. This is one of the single best new couples the show has had in a year; it's one of the few therein which are still on the show (spill some wine in memory of Kish and Clint and Kim, please), and they shine even with the slimmest of filler material. Maybe it's just as well that this love story has "no story," because it keeps them off the radar and heating up the screen. Plus, they got the Cheap Trick montage! That equals quality.
Reviewing this week's lovers, I can't leave out Jessica and Brody, or John and Natalie. My feelings about the latter couple have been made abundantly clear, but it was at least good to see some love in the afternoon on all sides of the equation, as opposed to violence and death, or more sexual abuse for Jessica. Unfortunately, their story moved not an inch this week -- people kept alluding to their secrets, Brody and Natalie to their one-night-stand and Jessica to her wild night with Ford, but nothing came out of their mouths. I still don't believe Jessica walloped Ford, and I also don't believe she's actually going to tell Kelly about it. So that's a big snooze so far. I would be happy to see Jessica go back to work at the Sun, except I can't see why she'd work for Todd after everything that's happened in the last two years, and I doubt Jessica will ever have a story focused on her as an independent and capable adult, as opposed to more stories about memory loss and trauma. Nothing's happening here and it's a waste of several fine actors.
Last but not least, let's not forget your friend and mine, though, Téa "Not Dead Yet" Delgado. She got a few good licks in this week, threatening to bring the power of the Latino community down on John for his lethargic-at-best police work; Téa's never better than when she's being the legal eagle, and Florencia Lozano was in her element. There is literally no other lawyer on soaps I'd trust more than Téa to get the job done -- almost all the others are blithering incompetents, though Nora was okay before she went to work for the D.A.'s office, a surefire loser's slot on daytime. Unfortunately for our Ms. Delgado, her secret's about to come out, as Todd's broken into Greg's office and found her file, which means that hopefully something, anything, will happen in that story soon. But am I looking forward to Todd and Téa's soppy, self-serving reunion meant to once again soften Todd's sharp edges? Not really.
Oh, there were gripes, there were grumbles, there were bumps in the road, but all in all, it was a week for love in Llanview, love and cheesy power ballads that make everything all right. Good times were had, Bo and Nora are reborn, and for that, at least, I couldn't be happier. I'll see you guys next time, and until then, please remember there is no such thing as "Charlian."