Midsummer migraine

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OLTL Two Scoops: Midsummer migraine
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The week of June 6, 2011
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One Life to Live has basically destroyed Marty's character. She's a raving psychopath who killed her therapist, tried to butcher Kelly, and threw Natalie off a roof.

What a crazy week of ups and downs, "wows" and "whats?" Seriously, it's just like those old promos always used to say: "Miss a week, miss everything." Though in this week's case, I guess it's just "miss a day," because if you went out to make a sandwich on Thursday or Friday, you could have easily missed Tomas informing us all that -- hold the phone -- Patrick Thornhart is alive and well and living in an undisclosed location, which vaguely resembles Statesville Prison or a poorly-lit section of Llanview Hospital. WHAT?! So apparently the CIA, or WSB, or whoever is keeping a bunch of soaps' latest and greatest stored in this extraordinary rendition facility. Who else is in there? Frankie Frame? Maureen Bauer? Meredith Lord? Megan? Gabrielle Medina (please say yes)?

I don't have a problem with them possibly resurrecting Patrick for Marty's exit story, but there are some huge issues here. Number one, it came out of frickin' nowhere. All of a sudden, "Oh, Patrick Thornhart? He's alive, we got him eating government cheese in the broom closet! Let's just fly him home." What? There was no foreshadowing for this whatsoever, no setup, we just pick up one day with "Patrick's alive, time to reunite him and Marty."

Number two, an even bigger problem: Unless OLTL pulls a rabbit out of the hat, Thorsten Kaye is not going to be appearing as Patrick. In fact, I don't think anyone is going to appear onscreen in the role -- we're just going to have stunt doubles and strategically placed brooms with wigs on them, posing as the back of Patrick's head, sitting mute, like when Luke used to go visit the back of Laura's head in the kookyhouse on General Hospital and kept talking to a yellow mop. So it's an invisible, offscreen reunion, which might, if we're lucky, use some spare footage of Kaye from AMC, or some old audio clips -- what the hell is that?

Finally, and equally pressing, there is the issue that OLTL has basically destroyed Marty's character. She's a raving psychopath who killed her therapist, tried to butcher Kelly, threw Natalie off a roof, and has been on a psychotic rampage for weeks. Ten minutes before she got the news about Patrick, she almost killed Natalie on Todd's lawn. Now we're supposed to accept that she's okay upon hearing about Patrick, and that this is a happy ending for her character?

Marty needs help, or failing that, we need to hear how she suddenly went mad -- maybe evil CIA drugs? -- and hopefully get the murder of Dr. Buhari pawned off on someone else. I want a happy ending for Marty, a character I grew up watching and rooting for. I loved Marty and Patrick together. But this is easily the most rushed and amateurishly produced plot twist I have seen in a long time. If you're not going to use the actors or allocate the time to do something right, you don't do it at all.

All sorts of ridiculousness went down this week, but the cool stuff mostly had to do with this "Two Todds" farrago. To paraphrase Frankie Goes To Hollywood, when two Todds go to war, only one can score! Okay, that was a reach, I admit it. Seriously, though, Roger Howarth's Todd headbutting the guard was pretty awesome. That's how the Todd I remember did business, as opposed to playing house with his rape victims before re-rapin' 'em! You could tell he was totally thinking of pulling a Jack Bauer on 24 and cutting that guard's hand off to use it on the door.

Howarth's Todd is on the move, headed back to Llanview, and I find it ironic that once again he's winging his way across the seas thanks to Patrick Thornhart. There's an odd symmetry to it, after what happened with Todd and Patrick in Ireland in 1995. Still, this story is a mess if Thorsten Kaye isn't around to play some of it. Trevor St. John's Todd was still at his sleaziest this week, though, smirking at Marty and being as insincere as possible as he tried to get her to accept his deal. I'm ready for Howarth's Todd to come in and pound him -- yet I love St. John's villainy here, and want to know the truth about him. I could get behind both Todds co-existing once we know the truth, as I think Trevor St. John plays the scheming, nigh-sociopathic bastard so well.

Then there was...well, everything else, pretty much. First of all, Matthew. I refuse to believe that daytime is going to give me yet another tired iteration of the GH "BJ's Heart" story and kill Matthew and give his heart to Clint. I refuse. It will not occur. I cannot deal with that, and quite frankly, if this show were not going off the air and that were to happen, I would quit watching as a result. It's the most foul, loathsome idea I've ever heard, a massive waste of a beloved young character and a talented actor, and I pray they've got a swerve planned here to keep Matthew alive.

It was a waste to kill off Drew Buchanan in 1998, a mistake the show later admitted to in print; it would be far worse to kill Matthew, even if the show is being cancelled. That being said, Bob Woods and Hillary B. Smith are playing the hell out of the heartbreaking drama, along with, surprisingly enough, Shenell Edmonds and Kelley Missal, who for my money are doing some of their best work on the show in this storyline. By the way, that doctor on Matthew's case was pretty bitchy. Every time Bo or Nora asked her a question, she looked at them like she was working at McDonald's and they just asked her for one Happy Meal toy too many. Sorry to inconvenience you, lady, it's only their kid's life!

I'm so glad they gave Bo and Nora appropriate beats with Rex and Viki, but I'm more fixated on gunning for Old Face Nate and his Fists O' Death. Now can he leave the show, please? What's it going to take? He's lusting after Deanna, and I fear the unfortunate return of Austin Peck, who knows his secret, will lead to Nate and Dee starring in some sort of amateur porno at the Minute Man Motel. This can only be even sleazier and mind-numbing to watch in practice than it sounds in postulation, so I pray they're not actually going there, but I'll take just about anything to get Chompers McGee off the show.

Fords ruin everything, basically, which is why they have eaten well over half the show. The endless Robert Ford Redemption Tour continued this week as OLTL worked overtime to sell us on Ford: Family Man and All-Around Great Guy. You could see his Super-hearing at work in the Buenos Dias with Gigi and Shane -- "Hark! A child in trouble! I must go to his side!" Spare me.

And of course, we're still being force-fed the Ford and Tess "love story," which is exactly like Nash and Tess's romance except a million times grosser and more exploitative -- he raped her knowing she was ill, and still wants her alternate personality at all costs! "I love that sleazy bastard!" "I love that skanky bitch!" I hate both of you! Get off the show! Who on earth thinks this is a good storyline? Who?

But that's not all Ford and Tess have ruined -- they've also managed to somehow prolong this cockeyed foofaraw with Cutter, Aubrey, Joey, and Rama back at the Buchanan mansion, and now, yes, Cutter is in possession of the Buchanan estate and watching as Aubrey and Rama catfight in the living room. While admittedly, Terri Conn and Shenaz Treasury(vala) did a pretty good job beating the crap out of each other, and Josh Kelly's reaction work was hilarious, every member of this trio has been on the show less than a year, and I can barely be bothered to care if any of them sneeze. They have no real linkage to the canvas, their characters are paper-thin caricatures, and it's just playing at being actual soapy drama, it's not remotely real or valid. This show goes off the air in January -- why are we wasting our time on this? Why am I supposed to apparently want Aubrey to win Joey's love? Why do I care what Cutter's secret is? How can I keep with Rama's ever-changing personality as they make her into more and more of a clown?

Given the unfortunate news about Robin Strasser's early exit -- which I pray can be amended, and that she can be onscreen for OLTL's final days -- and the additional rumblings that Gina Tognoni might be out soon, as well, I suspect Kelly will, in fact, not take Joey back after all. Her passing judgment on Joey is hilarious to me given everything she's done to him, to Kevin, and to the family in the past decade, but hey, what the hell, Saint Kelly's got her problems. What a bust Tognoni's return has been. She's a talented actress, but I think she lives or dies often solely on material, and her stories have been mostly dreadful since returning. They never played the right drama with her, Kevin, Zane, and Joey, and when they did bring Joey in, they didn't handle it right.

Too often OLTL, and ABC Daytime, were looking to put newcomers or returnees with "hot" people as opposed to people it made sense for them to work with -- i.e., putting Kelly with Todd, John, and so on. As a result, Kelly's return has been a mishmash. I hope they do something decent with her before she goes, whenever that is. Hey, she's still got Kevin's number.

Finally, there's the Natalie memory mishegoss. Well, of course she can't remember the tape recorder, and of course Roxy's got it on hand, and of course John is still brooding about Brody and Natalie's kiss, and of course Trevor St. John's Todd won't tell anyone the truth, because this inane secret has to be dragged out for as long as humanly possible and then Ford will save the entire town when Brody turns into a mad bomber or something. Ugh, no. No. Can't we just wrap all this silliness up and get into some more character-based storylines before the curtain falls?

With every week there's the good, the bad and the ugly. I really enjoyed the Matthew medical drama this week, though I'm disgusted by the thought that OLTL could kill the character off; I pray that's not true. And while I like seeing Shane's continual struggle with his demons, I hate Ford being brought into it. Bree Williamson and Susan Haskell did interesting work as women struggling with mental illness -- I was actually captivated by Tess for once in her scenes with Viki at St. Anne's -- but their circumstances in their storylines are so poorly written to me.

And the "Two Todds" storyline, while increasingly nonsensical with the addition of Patrick, at least offers the possibility of some kind of happy ending for Marty, as well as the continued presence of Ted King, and a further definition of the differences between St. John's scheming Iago and Howarth's hardscrabble underdog. Buried under some dreck, there's good to work with here. I hope OLTL gets down to business in June. Bring it. I'll see you kids in two weeks.


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