Seriously, that's exactly what the outdoor shots of the Llanview University campus look like. I mean, there ain't much to it -- a few rocks, a few shrubs, a bench or two, maybe one building that I have seen. It's just like they say on the Oprah show -- "never let an attacker take you to a second location, somewhere wide-open, wooded, and unusually devoid of people." Llanview U. is that second location. Little creepy. I'm thinking Zodiac, Donovan, "Hurly Burly Man."
Yes, Serial Killer Second Location University was hopping this week on OLTL -- Langston got Ford fired, Starr and James shared (yet another) kiss, and Gigi and Cris made fast friends. Meanwhile, the teens seemed to loiter around the general area -- oh, come on, we all know it was the same place -- just to save money. By teens of course I mean everyone but Matthew, who the show wants us to believe has turned into Clint's eeeevil helper monkey. But more on that shortly, as we begin our look at the week that was.
To sum up the Fordly pursuits quickly and mercifully, I'll say that the only bright spots in that mess for me this week were Starr and James's continued chemistry in the face of silly writing, and the continued presence of Llanview University Dean Buffy's Mom. Poor Joyce Summers died of a brain tumor in the fifth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but veteran actress Kristine Sutherland is in Llanview to prove that even if you were on an immensely popular primetime show for years, you still gotta make that paper. Good to see you, Buffy's Mom, even in a useless role. As for Starr and James, well, Starr did everything but beg James not to leave their, uh, "platonic friendship" this week, but James took the high road while Starr remained about knee-deep in denial. At least Starr's finally admitted her feelings. They're still a cute couple, and they have an easy chemistry. Can we get this show on the road, and possibly kill the other two Ford brothers?
Speaking of those not-so-delightful hunks, what were they up to this week? Well, Ford continued his agonizing crawl towards some sort of "redemption" storyline as Langston began to regret setting him up to get fired. I still find myself unable to care about anything that happens to him, even as he and Inez fumble towards a peace treaty. Seriously, can his fanbase be that big? Not since Jen Rappaport have I been so baffled by a character's sudden rise to prominence. I was delighted to see Markko on Friday, who I was sure we'd never see again, but after the amount of times his name has been dropped lately, I should've expected it. Why can't Lang just get back together with this much more attractive, charismatic, compelling guy? Jason Tam has a pretty good body. Do they have to have some sort of "Ab-Off" Competition to win her love? I am willing to serve as judge. I shall be impartial, fair, and largely sober.
Nate -- well, everyone knows how I feel about him. He looks like he founded Serial Killer Second Location University and uses it for that intended purpose often; come to think of it, when was the last time we saw Roxy or Sam? Maybe he ate them and buried the bones in that gravel parking lot everyone uses, then headed back to Serenity Springs to do some more reps. Why is Nate here other than to put his burly arms around Dani? Why should I care that he and Bobby both share a love of film? Nate's cinematic taste isn't even very good! And frankly, Destiny and Darren's roles onscreen continue to irk -- they're fun characters, but they're simply foils for white leads, nothing more. I'd like to believe Greg's secret means more investment in the African American characters and their stories, but I've been burned before.
Having gotten those darn kids out of the way, at least for the moment (we'll discuss them a little more when we get to the custody story), we can now move on to more interesting pursuits. One story I am loving right now is the plotline I have come to know as "A Pimp Named Clint Buke." You must say it as all one phrase -- "A Pimp Named Clint Buke" -- when speaking of or addressing him! Yes, A Pimp Named Clint Buke kept his pimp hand strong this week, and showed the lowly peons of Llanview who was the real silver-haired mack as he cackled at David's jail photos and played Three Card Monte with that "Live and Learn Grant" until Rex said uncle and kept quiet about his discovery in the Buchanan Enterprises offices. At every turn, you could see a devilish twinkle in Jerry verDorn's eye, and I half-expected him to blurt out, "U MAD, REX?" or "What did the five fingers say to the face, son? SLAP!"
It's obvious verDorn is enjoying Clint's hard turn back to the Asa way of doing Buchanan business, and I'm right there with him. With Viki happily paired with Charlie, and Bo and Nora's roles on the show secure (or so it seems -- more on that in a sec), Clint would be an amiable guy with nowhere to go had his character not taken on these new dimensions due to the pressures of the family empire in the wake of Asa's death. I also find it poetic that the son who ran from Asa is now most like him. And to be honest, I'm just having fun watching him torment lots of people in his morally gray way.
The story isn't totally perfect, mind you -- first, there's the Matthew issue. I still don't buy Matthew turning into the evilest rich kid ever overnight and coldly dismissing everyone in favor of "Uncle Clint;" while Eddie Alderson plays this dark side very well, it feels false and calculated to spotlight other teens instead. I'd rather see Matthew more obviously torn between Clint's world and his parents'. Also, Inez is easily the most boring character on soaps right now, excepting possibly Marissa on AMC, and at least she is in an interesting storyline. I can't imagine why Clint is into Inez, and what's worse is the fact that the show definitely seems to be dancing around Bo being interested in her too. I can't stand his passive-aggressive approach to her and Clint. It's not funny, it's not intriguing, it's not cute, especially when Bo and Nora just got remarried after over a decade apart. Stop it, OLTL. Stop it now. A Pimp Named Clint Buke deserves a cooler lady on his arm. I'm sure y'all can name a few possibilities.
Clint played mix and match with that grant, but Gigi stayed in school and got to continue her burgeoning career as an artist alongside Cristian. Not sure how I feel about this thing, as it seems so arbitrary. I'm all for a story about a non-traditional student going back to school, but this seems calculated to give Gigi something to do while the show futzes around with Rex and Kelly in weird ways. I'm not sure what was so groundbreaking about Gigi's sketch of a computer and a newspaper, but this is Cristian who has had his art exhibited in the same gallery, and nowhere else, over and over for like a decade, so I guess I'll take his word for it. Worse, a Cris/Gigi thing seems so sudden after the show cruelly dispensed with Layla -- we know they're most likely going to break up off-screen, leaving Gigi to possibly pick up the pieces. What is the point in investing in any of Cristian's relationships? David Fumero has an honest affect and a certain sweet way about him, but when Cris has fallen in love in the last several years, it has seemed interchangeable. Layla seemed poised to break that cycle, but now OLTL is just "on to the next one."
Then there was the continuing saga of the Not Entirely Dead After All Téa. Yeah, she's alive in the Nora Hanen Memorial Suite in Cherryvale, huge shock. I'm glad, but I couldn't even parse Dr. Greg's wacky quack monologue -- "I used drugs to simulate a brain tumor!" And how did the other doctors and nurses miss these prescriptions, Greg? What about all the radiation you pumped her full of? It's so weird and random, I can't follow it, but I'm fairly certain Eli's blackmail material that he's holding over Greg is straight out of a very special episode of Good Times -- i.e., Greg is not Destiny's brother, but her overdramatic father. I hear what you're saying -- "That's not true! That's impossible!" Search your feelings, you know it to be true! And really, Greg, is this tawdry family secret really worth pumping an innocent women full of radiation? What if she grows a beak, Greg? Or a brain-foot? What then? Terrell Tilford is an endless trip in the role, and I'm glad they're giving him more to do, though I suspect our favorite Wacky Doc is not long for the show.
Now that Téa's waking up, maybe this story can finally go somewhere 'cause it sure ain't doin' it back in Llanview. Based on Todd's very muted reactions in these high-pressure, emotionally heavy scenes, I have begun to think of him as Todd Manning: The Robitussin Rapist. I'm not sure if the writers want us to believe Todd is still in shock from Téa's death or what, but he seems to tackle everything with the energy of a cable repairman who's not that into making his next appointment. Meanwhile, Blair stands on the sidelines yowling at everyone about how Todd is fighting for his life and his kids and how dare anyone keep him from his kids and you know what, we've heard it all before, it's just tiresome.
No matter how many outfits they put Billy Warlock in, he will never not look odd as Ross Trois, and with this week came a revelation that steered this story into truly abstract, nonsensical waters -- Eli is apparently planning to kill Ross, too, on top of everything else he's doing. What? Then what the hell is this about? Does he not want to share the money or something? I don't even, I can't -- you know what, someone write in and tell me if they've got it figured out because it no longer makes any sense to me. I'm equally baffled why the show thought it was more palatable for Ross to help serial killer Eli escape in Tahiti, but they decided to give him a layer of "not so bad" by having him not know the truth about Téa. Why?
As for Todd and Dani, well, I still don't really buy their bond, but I do buy Dani being torn. It's typical for Todd to fall back on taking the kid and running, but who knows what he'll do. I had to laugh when Kelly reminded him that his plans always fail. I still feel everyone involved in this, from Kelley Missal to Trevor St. John and onward, could be better served in a far more interesting storyline about, I don't know, Martians landing in the Llantano Mountains. We know how this is going to end.
And then came THE REST. Prepare yourself for rapid-fire infodump and lightning-fast commentary! John and Natalie -- why does John always have to figure out every crime so quickly? And will John ever, ever, ever tell Natalie he loves her? Next! Cole and Hannah -- just do it already, you two, and leave the show, I'm sick of it. Not you, Marty. You stay. I hate when the show tries to pretend these pretty young newbies are "new Martys." Remember when they did it with Jen? Next! Brody is obviously heading down a Travis Bickle road based on his gym freakout. I will never forgive OLTL if they throw him under the bus for Ford. Next! Dorian's wig was the most terrifying thing I've ever seen. It looked like a left-out carrot platter. Why does OLTL continue to debase Robin Strasser by giving her nothing but a series of "Auntie Mame" rip-off skits? Last one! In theory, I like the idea of the show showing us Destiny and Darren on the road learning to drive, but the setup was so random, it seemed like they were filling time because the real stories are only half-written. Also, that Greek Chorus driving instructor guy was really heavy-handed. Hit the subtlety brake, homes.
Infodump over! And with it, this week's Two Scoops. Join me again in two weeks, when Téa will hopefully be walking, talking, and taking names; someone will hopefully have switched Todd's meds; and Inez, Nate, and Ford will all (hopefully) have disappeared into a black hole in space. This is a show with a number of good ideas, characters and stories, it just needs a little work. What say you about the week? Let me know. Love you all, see you in two.