Why Today’s One Life To Live Reminds Me of the Glory Days of Guiding Light

One Life to Live

By Patrick Erwin

I’ve been writing about soaps for a while, but  I am a relatively new daily fan of One Life To Live. Yes, as Marlena has observed, some of us soap viewers are boarding the OLTL lifeboat, and I, for one, have bought my ticket!

Guiding Light logoI watched OLTL a bit here and there (especially during the first Malone years), but I  am really drawn to the quality of the show now. What could I possibly say about OLTL that has not been said before — about the writing, the characters, the pacing? Nothing, that’s what. So instead of trying to recap OLTL, I decided I’d try to tell you why I’m loving OLTL so much … by talking about Guiding Light.

Huh, you say? Work with me here.

With apologies to The Golden Girls‘ Sophia Petrillo, I say: picture it — Springfield, 1990. The show was slated for some major changes. Pam Long was running into network interference, and she and GL parted ways. At the same time, several of GL‘s biggest stars were leaving: Kim Zimmer, Grant Aleksander, Beth Chamberlain and Michael O’Leary, to name a few. (This was back when big front burner stars leaving GL was called “a big deal”. Now, when that happens, we just call it “Tuesday.”)Maeve Kinked

Okay, maybe the show wasn’t in danger of imploding — it had a strong cast (Maeve Kinkead, Maureen Garrett, Michael Zaslow, and the divine Beverlee McKinsey, to name but a Rober and Hollyfew). It also had the steady hand of a great producer (Robert Calhoun, who also did great work on As The World Turns, and who, sadly, recently passed away). But new writers plus a loss of some very big names did indeed present GL with an uncertain future.

And yet, over the next several years, GL would experience a renaissance similar to OLTL‘s revitalization. It was at this time that GL created some of its best episodes ever. And, like OLTL and current headwriter Ron Carlivati, much of the success of those changes could be laid at the feet of the writing team — mainly, Nancy Curlee, Stephen Demorest and James Reilly (yes, THAT James Reilly).

What did GL do that made it, for a time, so much stronger? Well, the writers looked at the canvas long and hard. They added a number of characters all at the same time — always a tricky proposition — but they did so across the canvas, adding a bratty ingenue (Bridget) to one story, a love interest for Frank (Eleni) to another part of the canvas, and an illegitimate son for the wounded, mercurial Roger Thorpe. By pairing the newbies with existing characters, we got to familiarize ourserlves with who they were AND we also got to see new aspects of the people we already knew and loved.Gigi

OLTL and Carlivati have made similar efforts with similar results. Other shows today seem to flood the screen with so many new characters that you can watch entire scenes and not know who the hell anyone is, but many of OLTL‘s newer characters have been paired with familiar faces. Charlie and Gigi were introduced through Viki, and both soon became fan favorites. The show did something unexpected but brilliant with the character of Jared, JaredCharlie’s son — he initially was played in a different part of the canvas, then his tie to Charlie was revealed. (And to up the ante, a connection between Charlie and Rex was teased as well.)

Another strength that the two writing regimes have shared is an ability to pick up the threads (no matter how messy) of the previous writing team. Part of the magic of that time on GL was how so many of the loose ends of the Roger/Mindy affair and of several other stories were repositioned and tied together, eventually culminating in the magnificent scenes with Alexandra tearing into Roger at the Springfield Country Club. Those scenes impacted several other characters — Ross, Holly, Billy, and Vanessa, to name but a few. Umbrella stories like the Springfield blackout (Reilly’s brainchild) also brought the cast together and spun story into new and exciting directions.

Carlivati’s OLTL has also used history and loose ends to inform his writing — including the bold move of killing off Asa, and the subsequent drama of Asa’s illegitimate son (who we now know is Tuc WatkinsDavid Vickers). The culmination of THAT story has affected so many people in Llanview I could hardly list them all. David is now squarely in the Buchanan mix, while Natalie standing by Jared’s side makes her the outsider again and reignited her initial feud with sister Jessica (whose alter Tess is back in town).Bree

Perhaps the smartest thing both teams did was to move their star players front and center. Beverlee McKinsey was one of the finest actress who ever appeared on GL, but for several years after the death of Alexandra’s son Lujack, she was a supporting player. Her initial romance with Roger was somewhat out of character. But the subsequent betrayal and dissolution of that marriage, as well as her discovery of son Nick McHenry, catapulted McKinsey back to the front burner. She may have been too regal and manipulative to be the “heart” of the show, but Alex once again was a big part of GL.  (The Alex/Nick/Mindy story was, ironically, shades of McKinsey’s Another World storyline with Mac/Rachel/Iris.)

At OLTL, Carlivati listened to viewers and critics and wisely put Viki — who indeed IS the heart and soul of OLTL — back where she belonged — front and center. He also gave her a great new love interest in Charlie Banks. Charlie brings out a sense of fun and joy in Viki we haven’t seen since she was with Ben. OLTL is also one of the few shows that is playing other vets as well, with the Clint/Nora romance. Jerry ver Dorn and Hillary Smith seem wonderfully matched.Beverlee

Now, as much as I’m loving OLTL, it’s not perfect. I still see too much focus on what I call “The Dukes of Darkness” — Todd and John. There are some mismatched couples (I don’t get Bo/Lindsay, and agree with Marlena about the character of Lindsey being out of gas).  And I’m a bit worried about OLTL‘s tendency to have its present resemble its past a little TOO closely. (The 40th anniversary stories sound fun, but some of them are rather blatant copies of past OLTL triumphs.) Of course, GL wasn’t perfect either. It was toward the end of that period (and after producer Jill Farren Phelps joined GL) when the show felt the one-two punch of losing McKinsey and making the boneheaded decision to kill off Maureen Bauer.

But whether it’s 1990 or 2008, the ingredients for making compelling shows we’d want to watch five days a week are pretty much the same. Tell us a story about people we love played by actors we admire. Season lightly with new characters and new flavors to keep the actors, and us, on our toes. Let the past inform (but not overwhelm) the present. And create characters — and then honor those characters, who they are, and what they do (or more importantly, would NOT do). Those steps are making OLTL soar these days — and ALL the other shows should take notice. Many of them, including GL, can hardly afford not to. 

Comments

  1. Thanks, Patrick, for your thoughtful, funny article! Yes, I can picture Springfield 1990; Beth not a pod person, Reva yelling “I’m coming, Bud!” Other than the big hair, life was pretty good then.

    You are so right on with how writers/producers can change a show. Right now I’m watching Ryan’s Hope on Youtube (I’m planning a blog about the show for its anniversary next week) and it’s the Pat Faulken Smith era. I’m sorry, but there’s some people I see and I think, um, who are you? What are you doing here? Where’s Maeve and Johnny?

    I’ve been hearing over and over how great OLTL is — I’m just scared I’ll get disappointed all over again. Anyway, great article!

    Patrick says: Thanks, Jennifer! It’s hard not to be wary when so many shows have broken our hearts, isn’t it?

  2. Fabobug says:

    Well said, Patrick!! I wish every EP and HW would read this blog!

    The only thing I can possibly add to this is how both GL (then) and OLTL (now) utilize intelligent humor to add to the storyline. I remember when Spaulding dinners were ripe with clever humor, right down to Ginger and her wisecracks. Buzz, Blake & Ross, Bridget all frequently had a chance to be quite serious and funny.

    With Rex and the Infamous Pole, David and his not-so-dumb quips, and Roxie’s mishandling of the English language, OLTL is now utilizing laughs to deepen story telling and “reveal” aspects of the characters. Visiting Springfield these days just makes feel sad, and nothing else.

  3. Kenneth says:

    Patrick, I so miss those days on Guiding Light. The show is dying right before my eyes, and I get very emotional every time I watch each episode. The show is quickly burning off its last years (or year) with one disaster after another. Why can’t anyone involved at GL realize that?

    Patrick says: Kenneth, I think the affection for GL runs so deep that people really want to believe it will get better. Soaps creatively tend to run out of gas at the end of their lives; unlike books and movies, which have endings with closure and payoff, soaps don’t always have that luxury.

  4. esther says:

    Interesting concept, no matter how offensive I find it, LOL. That time period of GL (more circa 1991-92 for me) was golden. While I find OLTL to be the most watchable show NOW. … it pales by light years to that time on GL.

    Beverlee was put front and center but believe it or not, she didn’t like that. She felt she was being worked way too many days a week, asked to be cut back and JFP refused. Though we all know JFP reaped what she deserved after that, but I digress.

    I guess to me, quality is what I’m willing to dub to tape/DVD — nothing from OLTL has made it (at least, not since the courtship of Bo and Nora). Pretty much tons of GL circa that time period are all blissfully on DVD now. Again, I find OLTL watchable … not keep-able.

    None of the performers on there can touch the cast GL had then, including Erika (sorry Marlena), whom I’ve found hammy for so many decades. Hammy is a good word for most of OLTL’s preformers for me. GL was nuanced, sublime … exquisite.

    To me GL fell off the tracks a bit with that horrible summer of ’92, when it lost Beverlee, Kimberley Simms, Sherry Stringfield and soon Leonard Stabb. And I believe James Reilly, too. GL, to me, never recovered.

    But I will thoroughly disagree with you, Patrick, on the killing of Mo Bauer being a mistake. The subsequent stories with Michelle and Holly were some of my all-time favorites. GL’s mistake was not replacing her as the heart of the show. Someone else needed to become the heart. Michelle was poised, but then they recast with Rebecca Budig and well … ’nuff said. A new woman for Ed should have been the new “heart” of the show and the Bauer family. Eve was too unbalanced to fill that role … Holly, too. GL could have bounced back. They just screwed it up.

    Patrick says: Esther, thanks for your amazing comments. You have me convinced and in agreement on the point about Maureen Bauer’s death. The thing that really hurt the show was that no tentpole character took her place — not ever in the 15 years since that story played out. (Ross and Blake would have been my vote for the “new” Ed and Mo.) I think that many people can agree that OLTL hasn’t yet reached the highest heights. But it IS encouraging to me that Carlivati has, at least, shown a lot of promise and says that he writes what he thinks fans want to see. For a lot of other shows, whether it’s truth or just perception, we don’t FEEL very much like anyone is listening to us about what we want to see.

  5. Dale says:

    Hi, Patrick, loved your post! OLTL is not perfect, but it does give loyal soap viewers a haven from guns (GH), cheap jack production values (GL) and unrealized potential (ATWT).

    And how about we give Ron and Co. a chance with the 40th anniversary stuff before we judge it? I am sensing that the redux of Heaven, Back To the Future and the Iguazu Falls are a big wink and hug to faithful viewers, and that the current OLTL regime will spin its own unique fall out and follow up to the big events!

  6. As I expected it would, Patrick, your piece perfectly compliments my recent piece on OLTL.

    Also wanted to note that just a few years before Robert Calhoun steadied the GL ship, he set things right at As the World Turns by hiring Doug Marland and taking the show back to its (and soap opera’s) roots — pretty much what you said in your last paragraph:

    “Tell us a story about people we love played by actors we admire. Season lightly with new characters and new flavors to keep the actors, and us, on our toes. Let the past inform (but not overwhelm) the present. And create characters — and then honor those characters, who they are, and what they do (or more importantly, would NOT do).”

    One more thing: When soap operas deviate too far from their roots, they get in trouble. When they get back to basics, they thrive. The problem is that while many viewers will return when things improve, many will not, and new viewers never seem to make up for those who’ve been lost. So, ultimately, all this back and forth has been a losing proposition for soaps.”

    Why don’t TPTB realized that to survive, soaps have to become something other than soaps, despite so much evidence to the contrary? Maybe TPTB really are insane, in the clinical sense of that word, of course:)

    Patrick says: Lynn, you know you and I agree on that point — a soap is a soap and is most entertaining when it sticks to basics.

  7. Cindy says:

    I really do believe OLTL and Ron Carlivati are about as overhyped as anything in entertainment in a very long time. If OLTL is a reminder of GL, then it should come as no surprise that GL is at the bottom of the ratings. Once the smoke and mirrors and hype wears off, shows, like everything else tend to rise or sink to their natural level.

    Ron’s show is a total copy of years ago and there is a much of a newbie presence as there ever has been. An interesting part of soaps has always been crime and redemption. How Ron Carlivati is handling Jared is a perfect example of abuse of the principle of redemption. As far as listening to fans and giving Viki a presence, that is all she has. Her job is still the same: to go to heaven once every 20 years and to prop her children. Charlie is not about Viki, he is about Jared.

    One last note, Carlivati’s systematic character assassination or outright elimination of any character created by Dena Higley is disrespectful of the fans that is so boasts of “respecting.” Because I have no watched the show for 40 years does not mean that my voice does not count. I personally thought Nash was a great character, far better than Ron’s beloved Jared. There was much more story for Nash. Layla has just disappeared and she is a fun character with so much potential; Miles had promise. I digress. I guess while so many are climbing on the OLTL boat, this viewer has climbed off.

    I guess that is why there are channels on the television.

    Patrick says: Cindy, thanks for your counterpoint comments! My comparison was today’s OLTL to 1990s GL, but I get what you’re saying. And though I like what’s happening now, I did express concerns about the show copying past successes. I’m just not sure if that’s an OLTL thing, or — as I suspect — a general mantra for all ABC shows these days.

    Marlena adds: Great letter. Marlena salutes your independent thoughts!! I have been outspoken about being opposed to Carlivati hype since last fall and have been taken much to task publicly for not totally going with the flow. I thought Nash’s death was very strange (backstage politics?) and Layla was a character who grew on me. I am not a fan of Jared (despite his looks and bod) and agree with you TOTALLY that he is getting off too easy for his charade of being a Buchanan son. He and that birdbrain Natalie deserve each other (but that’s a whole other column.) I do think that Carlivati is benefical for the character of Viki (like everyone I loved the diner sequence and her relationship with Charlie). I have been a vocal Viki fan for 35 years and always write a column when I think the character is being overlooked. I am a proud member of the Erika Slezak Fan Club, run by dear friend of decades, Walter Miller Jr.

    Patrick was comparing OLTL to the Guiding Light of the early 1990′s, not today’s show.

  8. Raye says:

    Wonderful analysis! As always, we can count on Marlena and Patrick to “bring it” and intelligently discuss ANY daytime drama. As a 28-year viewer of Guiding Light, and due to my current obsession with One Life to Live, I simply had to respond to this post. At some point, I have been hooked on (or sampled for months/years) every soap opera that has aired since 1980. And watching One Life to Live right now is like watching not just the renaissance of a show, but, I am hoping, the renaissance of a genre. OLTL is telling the kind of interesting and engrossing stories enlivened by characterizations respecting history with acting that is first rate. Something that used to (and should) be the cornerstone of every daytime drama. Plus, it is generating the kind of buzz that generates passion among current viewers while gaining new viewers. And, yes, it harkens back to a day when GL was a classic soap opera; when it could weather the loss of big talent because it relied on strong writing that was spread across a canvas that included more big talent. I miss that GL. But I continue to hold out the tiniest hope that it will return. However, until that time, I will continue to savor OLTL as it provides satisfying nourishment to very hungry daytime viewers.

    PS: I MUST ask, WHERE IS NANCY CURLEE? This genre desperately needs a skilled and imaginative writer of her caliber!

    PPS: My one gripe with OLTL is, outside the Vega men, its lack of true, core diversity. However, I have the utmost faith in Frank Valentini and Ron Carlivati. I sincerely believe they love and respect the genre and want to tell stories that appeal to everyone.

    Patrick says: Thanks for the great response! Nancy Curlee decided years ago to become a full time mom. Here’s hoping she returns to soaps (and to GL).

  9. James says:

    Patrick,

    Glad you’re enjoying OLTL as much as I am these days. OLTL is the soap that I give my full attention to right now. That mean I’m not cleaning up or making dinner or even reading the newspaper like I do with the other soaps. I’m doing nothing else while I watch.

    And your comparrison to GL is an apt one because during those glory days of 1991-1992, it too was the show that got my full attention each night.

    No other soap in the intervening years has achieved that distinction for me. Oh, sure there have been certain episodes of various soaps that I’ll give my full attention too for the full episode when things are climaxing. But that’s increasingly rare in this era of the almost unavoidable spoiler (although I do try not to read them).

    While I have reservations about some of the plans for the 40th anniversary, if anyone can pull it off, Ron can. He won me over with the amazing way he tied the seemingly individual stoies of Viki as a waitresss and Marcie on the run into a single story so perfectly.

    So, I’m sure he’ll do something that also amazes me. And although Marlena is worried about the treatment of Addie Cramer, I trust that Ron knows what he’s doing.

    I’m along for the ride and look forward to where we go.

  10. Gene says:

    I agree with you, Patrick, that OLTL is resurrects the soap into old school way of thinking and bringing the vets and newbies together without losing fans and the new people who are great actors and bring it. I think some soaps need to get on the ball and start writing great drama and s/ls worth watching.

  11. esther says:

    Hey Patrick, as for Blake and Ross becoming tentpoles…imo, they weren’t of the right caliber. Blake, being much like her mother, should really be the one out causing trouble, not the one who will sit with you at the table over coffee and listen to your problems. While it’s great to be a tent pole/heart of the show character, your purpose is to support….to be the voice of reason — or the voice of the fans. Ed, as a doctor, was perfect for this. I really don’t think anyone else on the show between then and now really has it in them. Lillian is too tainted by Mo’s death (and I know I’m horrible to not cast that same accusation against Ed, but alas, I’m not). Ed was at least tortured by what he did. I never got that from Lillian. Vanessa, for me, should be like Holly, Blake…she needs to make things happen. Alex — the same. Nope, can’t think of anyone on the canvas.

    And I appreciate someone writing who is listening to the fans but they need to have their own clear vision as well. There has to be a happy medium. I feel for Cindy. I don’t like a new headwriter coming in and destroying what the previous regime did. That’s not talent to me.

    Patrick says: Thanks for the follow, Esther — all valid points,
    of course.

    Though I think Blake may have made a good tentpole. She may have been trouble, but she is so similar to some of GL’s other characters (Reva and Harley come to mind) I could have lived with her maturing (which she was allowed to do, but has regressed since).

  12. Chris says:

    Patrick, thank you so much for remembering GL during those golden years. I am glad I am not the only person who remembers the show fondly from that time period. I think my experience of being a GL viewer from that era is why so many daytime and primetime shows disappoint me now.

    With the loss of so many major characters in the early 90s GL should have limped along for months or even a couple of years. Instead the show was in some ways stronger without the angst of Phillip or the drama of Reva. Undoubtedly this was because while GL focused on these two characters quite a bit they also managed to spread some of their storytelling magic around to other characters.

    What I remember about that era as a viewer was that the writers and actors made me feel for the characters. During the delicious Mindy-Roger-Alexandra triangle one could feel something for each character-compassion for the bedazzled Mindy; understanding for the rat Roger caught between his desire for wealth and power with Alex or youth, beauty, and the possibility of a child with Mindy; and rooting for Alex as the woman scorned. Soaps today are so black and white that they rarely let us see more than one point of view in a story. Imagine what the relationship of Sonny and Rick on GH would be like if Demorest, Curlee, and Reilly wrote it.

    I digress. GL was not just magic during that time because of a few key players but because the writers were willing to take risks (Josh and Harley) and they seemed to give almost every character a story (even Frank!). But most importantly these writers and execs remembers two things. First,they respected their viewers. Secondly, they put heart and human motivation in every story. If OLTL can do even a tenth of that I may occasionally tune in as I did during Viki’s stint at the diner.

  13. lucy says:

    I too used to be a GL fanatic and I agree that Mo Bauer’s death which is often cited as the great mistake when the wheels went off the track was not what did in GL. The show had many exceptional years without the character. For instance, I defy anyone to find a more memorable scene in daytime than the one that won Peter Simon an Emmy. The scene when on one knee Ed Bauer told Holly he couldn’t be with her because he was an alcoholic and she was bad for his sobriety.

    GL lost it when James Reilly left to do Days of Our Lives and they brought in a new writing regime. The show changed from being focused on several families to being all about Reva to the exception of all the other characters. They show dumbed down. Don’t get me wrong, Kim Zimmer is a great actress and a well deserved Diva in daytime, but they relied on Reva and that red dress far too long and eventually lost almost every other strong character on the show. Loosing Grant Aleskander was another big loss. Combine that with a series of bad writers, who didn’t respect the show’s history and traditions, a willful producer who won’t admit mistakes and you get the current regime.

    Ultimately, the disaster that is GL now isn’t the wretched Ellen Wheeler fault or the talent less Mr. Kreitzman’s. Its Proctor and Gamble’s fault because it no longer seems to care about its product. I don’t know any other network that would allowed the same people to stay in the same position for so long with such little progress. Its about the brand and they don’t care any more.

  14. John says:

    This is a really interesting discussion. I think the most interesting parallel between Carlivati and Curlee, which I don’t believe anyone has mentioned, is that both were fans of the respective shows for which they ended up writing. In some ways, I root for them because they are getting the chance to do something that in another lifetime I might have enjoyed having the opportunity/talent to get to do.

    I agree with those who have said that Carlivati’s tenure at OLTL has not been on par with Curlee’s tenure at GL, but I also agree that Curlee would never be able to do what she did at GL the way soaps are run today. From what I have read, I am convinced there are too many factions involved in the management of these shows now – including far too many non-creative types – to have the kind of intricate stories and subtle character nuance that was happening at GL 15 years ago and more. That said, I am extremely impressed with what Carlivati has been able to do at OLTL, and if Beverlee McKinsey were alive and acting on some soap today, I could think of far worse ways she could be used (or not used, as the case might well have been) than showing up at some corporate shareholders meeting in an over-the-top hat to announce to her enemies that she has inexplicably bought up their company.

    I also think the comparison with Curlee’s early tenure at GL, in particular, is especially apt because some of the things that she and her team did that viewers remember most did not happen right away. I found an old issue of one of the soap mags from the spring of 1991 on E-Bay years ago, and there was an irate letter from some fan about how silly GL had been lately, and citing plot elements like Roger drugging Harley, who somehow had a password he needed to embezzle money from Spaulding, with truth serum. And I remember reading somewhere that Doug Marland was consulting to GL at this time, mentoring Curlee, Demorest, et al. I didn’t discover GL until after JFP was in charge, but I’ve seen some old episodes from when the Curlee team was working with Calhoun and it seemed pretty obvious that some stories dramatically shifted direction – in some cases, I’m sure because JFP wanted to put her own “stamp” on GL but in other cases I believe the changes were genuinely for the better. From what I have seen, I do believe Curlee grew as a writer over the course of her head writing tenure. Suffice it to say, there is no Doug Marland at ABC now to mentor Carlivati, and who is to say that the network would encourage such a thing if he were?

    Carlivati is an interesting case because my understanding is that he was first hired at OLTL after the Disney takeover of ABC, which in my mind was the event that solidified the corporate “writing by committee” model once and for all. The show is not perfect and I may well be disappointed eventually, but I’d like to hope that maybe learning the craft under those circumstances has prepared Ron to do what none of the writers who remember the old way of creating daytime drama have been able to do in over a decade: turn out a consistently engaging, non-insulting product while answering to all of the executives to whom they no doubt have to answer.

  15. Marilyn Henry says:

    Hi Patrick,

    Of course I have my ticket on the OLTL lifeboat and just hope it stays afloat for a good long time.

    I notice some do not think much of it (a VERY few), and are doing the usual complaining about storylines and characters. A soap cannot please everyone all the time, of course, and there will always be quibbles due to differences in what we are looking for in our soap and in our affections for different characters.

    Thing is, OLTL may not be perfect–of course it isn’t–but then I suspect the loudest complainers have not been watching the cheap downer that is now GH. Watching GH makes one embrace the ray of sunshine that is OLTL and give it a free pass on about anything Carlivati wants to do. I mean, it sure can’t be worse than GH, can it? After watching my long-time favorite slowly spiral down the sewer of violent underworld nastiness, OLTL is like a lifeline to soap fresh air and salvation. There are likable characters, older characters, wonderful familiar characters, characters who wear pretty clothes and live in pretty houses and have families and absorbing soap drama in their lives. The actors don’t have to be afraid of ugly lighting, all grey wardrobes, or of scripts that have them getting shot this week.

    I love the humor of OLTL, love that Viki and Dorian have actual stories of their own, love that even the young characters do not seem too obnoxious. And there is a dog! I love dogs–actually I love seeing animals on soaps because real people do have pets.

    OLTL has restored my faith that soaps can turn it around, can survive, can BE soaps again and though they may never command the high ratings they once did, can give us our never-ending story fix every day.

    Long live soaps!

  16. esther says:

    Hey Lucy — thanks for agreeing about Mo (and I agree with you about James Reilly). And I’m sad I have to correct you about Peter Simon — the scene won him an Emmy nomination — but he didn’t win the Emmy. I would have voted for him tho!

    John, I find that very interesting about Marland helping at GL in the 90s, since I would have thought he had his hands full with his writing duties at ATWT. Interesting….

  17. maria says:

    I am not to sure that I can buy into all this hype of the great Ron Carliavati as the savior of daytime televison especially when I fail to see what is so great about his writing. He seems to be recycling old OLTL storylines and not even revamping them with fresh ideas only changing character names. He seems to be going against what the legendary Agnes Nixon envision when creating this diverse show instead focusing on two families, the Buchanans and the Cramers/Lord.

    His diminishing African American characters are a slap in the face to all minority soap viewes who have been faithfully watching the show for the last 20 plus years. I won’t even get into the disrespectful way that Timothy Stickney has been treated. It is funny how almost all of the vets have been giving airtime and storylines except RJ and Carlotta.

    Now Talia is no longer of Middle Eastern descent but rather the daughter of Carlo Hesser and the sworn enemy of her lover and she entered the relationship knowing this.

  18. HI! It’s always nice to run across another soap fan. I’m glad you’re enjoying OLTL, as it’s an awesome show! Looking forward to stopping by here again :)

  19. BL says:

    Patrick, interesting premise, but I never would think to connect GL’s “last glory days” with OLTL of today.

    First off, I feel like too much of OLTL revolves on the new characters you mentioned of Gigi, Charlie and Jared. They’ve all been on canvas less than a year. Rex is all about Gigi now, Viki about Charlie and Natalie about Jared. I don’t feel like I know these characters, so the stakes of the relationships don’t matter.

    Jared and Natalie’s deception in regards to his not being a Buchanan and the fall out have make loathe them together. I just don’t see the rooting value in the pairing. They pilled on Jared’s childhood woes way too thick (dead brother, drunk dad, jailed due to Tess–though that was never really even discussed on screen by Bo/Clint which is strange.) Charlie’s lies make Viki forgiving him at this point nearly impossible, so Dorian kidnapped/drugged him, but that doesn’t change anything. If Viki forgives him right away, other than his sobriety which is very important, Charlie and Jared only lost their jobs. Gigi and Rex’s relationship started off screen (which never helps) and I don’t understand why she is still lying about Shane.

    Of all the soaps on today, I think OLTL is the most consistent day to day/week to week. So while a plot may pop, the characters seem a bit shallow. I know not all of them are deep, but I want more glimpses into how the characters tick. That is one of the ways a show can make me care about the people.

    The only plot I feel that they are giving a tad more depth is Cole/Starr/baby. Hopefully they can figure out a way to balance that (in the other plots) in weeks when the story isn’t in full speed ahead mode (like it was for the first few weeks that the writing staff came back after the strike.)

  20. Matthew J Cormier says:

    I like your comparisons and mostly agree, but i defintely CANNOT agree with the idea that Lindsay has run out of steam as you put it. I believe that she has never been stronger as a character, she’s finally owned up to her actions and plead guilty. I think that this character can only become better and better—maybe they can finally address the past with Sam and Nora and have Lindsay say to Nora “you’re the one that slept with my husband when we were married and you have the gall to blame me for your issues”. I think with a new love interest that isn’t a Buchanan she could flourish again.

    Catherine Hickland has never been better than she has been the last six months.

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