One Life To Live Ups the Stakes, But Does It Dare Fire Superstar Slezak?

Erika Slezak

Thinking Fans Comment Update: Cherry Ames declares, “OLTL is so good in some ways, but in other ways it’s just sick and sordid and as bad as reality (global recession, wars, mass killings in Darfur and Sudan, Octo-mom).  I want something more uplifting and positive” … while Beth predicts, “Forcing Erika Slezak from OLTL, in my view, is something that the show would never be able to recover from. There is no heart in this show any more, and I do see the reason is becaue Viki Lord is missing in action” … and more. See Comments below.  

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By Marlena De Lacroix

Double jeopardy!  This week One Life to Live makes history by doubling the plot stakes as the lives of two children are seriously imperiled.  After a car crash, young Matthew Buchanan, the son of Bo and Nora,  will be paralyzed from the waist down.  And young Shane, the son of Rex and Gigi,  will be diagnosed with cancer!

The message boards will undoubtedly be full of hosannas from viewers who love the intensity of the drama.  There will be  calls for Emmy nominations all around to honor powerful performances. Dipsy Farah Fath (who plays Shane’s devoted mom) will be declared the new Jodie Foster.

Historical note: In the old days of traditional soap operas, writers like Irna and Agnes and Bill in the 50s and 60s would never do one story like this involving tragedy to a

These days, the only thing that can balance out the strippers, and the blow jobs, and the show’s general lack of class, is the one character who epitomizes class — namely Viki, as played by  Ms. Erika Slezak. 

young child, let alone two at the same time.  Why?  In those days, it was understood that the majority of the audience was young mothers, and one story like this would so upset and [Read more...]

On the Soap Shrink’s Couch: One Life to Live’s Todd Manning

Thinking Fans on Todd: Marilyn Henry says, “I do not understand how some fans see him as sexy or hot. He is cruel. Sick. Unfeeling for others. As such, he is dangerous” … while Dale agrues, “Just because I and others find something of worth in watching Todd does not make our opinions any less valid than yours, or Marlena’s, or Joe Blow’s” … and more. See Comments below. 

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By Damon L. Jacobs

What do you call someone who is capable of committing abhorrent crimes against others? What do you call a man who can rape another person, attack a blind woman, lie to his own wife that their newborn is dead, kidnap a woman who is presumed dead by her friends and family, and then plot to fake his own grand child’s death?  If you live in One Life to Live‘s Llanview, you call that man Todd Manning . 

If you’re in the therapist’s chair, you call that person “Antisocial.”  When most of us hear the word “Antisocial” we think of someone who doesn’t like to socialize at parties.  But in clinical terms, the term refers to an individual who is capable of

Todd doesn’t truly want to atone for his crimes, he doesn’t authentically want to stand up and do the right thing. He just wants his “pizza,” i.e., Marty’s love.

committing horrendous violent crimes against others without any sense of guilt or remorse.  They can lie, cheat, rape, even kill, without batting an eyelash.  The only type of regret they express is when [Read more...]

Asa, Ace of Characters: Phil Carey Remembered

phil carey 

Thinking Fans pay their respects to Mr. Carey: Dale says, “There’s a big hole in Llanview these days named Asa Buchanan. His presence is still very much felt, but it’s never going to be the same” … and Steve recalls, “What made Asa so real was that he truly did love his family, even if he showed that love in the wrong way” … while James adds, “I hope Phil and Bucky are up in Heaven having a good ol’ time” … and more. See Comments below.

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By Marlena De Lacroix

Any executive  producer of today’s desperate-for-ratings soaps would pay a ransom in gold and maybe sell his/her soul, too, for an actor like Phil Carey.  An actor who, on his debut, instantly grabs the viewer’s attention; is immediately  talked about everywhere by all soap fans; is charismatic, funny and charming, and has both sex appeal and a real  edge. 

So it was that great ladies who ran ABC Daytime back in 1979 (Jackie Smith, Jozie Emmerich) knew exactly what they were doing when they cast veteran movie and primetime actor Carey in the role of Asa Buchanan on One Life to Live. One of the

We longtime One Life To Live fans almost don’t need the old tapes.  We can practically see Phil Carey’s scenes in our minds.

first things they had fifty-something Asa do was parachute from an airplane into the birthday party of his barely twenty-something new beloved, Samanatha Vernon. How’s that for a grand entrance?

Asa was bigger than life and a Big Bad Daddy when he arrived in Llanview from Texas to live with his sons, Bo and Clint.   The easy thing to think was [Read more...]

Clint Ritchie and The Buchanan Years Remembered

Clint Ritchie

Thinking Fans salute Mr. Ritchie: Steve misses “the easy chemistry between Erika Slezak and Clint Ritchie” … Dale says he “brought a fresh masculine sensibility to Llanview when the town was filled with bluebloods” … and more. See Comments below.

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By  Marlena De Lacroix

How sad it is for One Life to Live viewers that Clint Ritchie passed away this week at age 70.  

When his eponymous character Clint Buchanan galloped in from the west to take over The Llaniew Banner newspaper and later the heart of its owner, the show’s main heroine, the widow Viki Riley, he really became part of the fabric of the show and remained so for the next twenty years.

The foundation of his character was a throwback to old movie heroes like John Wayne and James Stewart — a truly good man you can depend on.  A quiet hero,  a true American.   Clint was the strong shoulders a troubled woman like Viki needed to lean on sometimes to be able to pick up the pieces of her shattered life (most notably her DID, which exploded in the

At the end of the 90s, the actor who was not happy with the modern misunderstanding and direction of his hero character quit OLTL and rode off into the sunset.

mid-80s and in the early 90s).  I always admired that the character Clint adopted her sons and always treated them as if they were his own.  And I actually bought him as a newspaper editor — a member of the rare breed of men (and women) I’ve known in real life who are [Read more...]

Soap January: Bombs Away!

Deidre and Drake

Thinking Fans Comment Update: Steve‘s take on AMC’s “January stunts” is “I don’t know if I can think of a more blatant example of the type of heartless sickness that has wounded soaps” … and S. Woods adds: “The crud on offer from these soaps is giving tastelessness a bad name” … while Twb6y optimistically doesn’t believe John and Marlena are really gone for good … and more. See Comments below.

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By Marlena De Lacroix

Each year, I have January off from school and I snooze, do some quiet reading and graze the minimally eventful pre-sweeps soaps.  Not this year.  Too often I’d see something on a soap that would surprise me, shock me or even out and out disgust me. I’d scream! I’d yell!  Every other day!

What is going on in this soap January?  I have a feeling the approaching end of the genre may have to do with the frantic state of all the soap activity on and off screen this month.  Every soap wants to save itself. Every soap is desperately doing whatever it can to hold on to viewers.  Hence, many soaps may be acting more out of panic and fright than thinking calmly and rationally.  For, how else can you explain the following January soap bombs?

Deidre Hall  and Drake Hogestyn get fired and leave Days of Our Lives for good. Does anyone remember the soap parody film Soapdish from 1992?  In it a soap headwriter played by Whoopi Goldberg is asked to bring back a dead character she

No, no,  not even the freezing winds of January could  render my longtime beloved soap operas … so disgustingly crass!  

had previously decapitated.  “How can I bring him back?” she says, “He doesn’t have a head! How can I give lines to a body running around without a head?” Kinda sums up the absurdity of Ken Corday getting rid of [Read more...]

On Soaps, Suicide Is Rarely Painless (Even for One Life To Live’s Todd)

Todd

Thinking Fans on the roof with Marty and Todd:  John isn’t convinced Todd jumped out of remorse … Steve cringes at soaps’ attempted suicide for pity stunt … while Damon L. Jacobs (our Soap Shrink), on the serious side of the subject, points out the greater risk of suicide among gay teens … and more. See Comments below. 

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By Marlena De Lacroix

I was truly shocked and remain so by last Monday’s episode of One Life to Live in which Todd attempted suicide by voluntarily jumping into the Llantano River from the roof of the Palace Hotel.  His enraged two time rape victim/love object Marty had lured him there and dared him to jump. He was spared an icy demise, however, when John rescued him.

Suicide for Todd? Pretty radical!  In his decade and a half in Llanview, sociopath Todd has never shown any remorse over any of the awful things he’s done, including his crimes against Marty. What really puzzles me [Read more...]

Marlena’s “Only the Bests” List 2008

New Year'sEve clip art

Thinking Fans’ picks and pans for 2008: Cherry Ames pans Todd/Marty as “the foulest story ever” … DSO816 picks the Angie/Jesse reunion … while Marlene agrees GHNS2 set the bar higher for all soaps … and more. See Comments below. 

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By Marlena De Lacroix

Last year I decided I will no longer do “Best” and “Worst” lists for soaps.  After all, there have been so many “worsts” this year (real life deaths, superstar firings, General Hospital limosex and other tasteless storylines, wasted returns of some soap veterans), why would I want to re-inflict the pain on you?

 So, darlings, here are my “bests.”

General Hospial Night Shift 2 — As I wrote last fall,”If they could bottle this show, they could save soap opera.”  This 2008 soap dared to remember that soap opera is supposed to be about love, compassion, close friendships and the importance [Read more...]

Peter Bartlett Contest Winner Announced

What's That Smell

Marlena and the Atlantic Theater Company are pleased to announce that Trudi of West Virginia (go Mountaineers!) is the winner of two tickets to What’s That Smell? The Music of Jacob Sterling.  She scored the highest of our many entrants in our Peter Bartlett Quiz contest. Our thanks to all who entered.

As you know, Peter co-stars with writer David Pittu in the hilarious off-Broadway musical spoof. He has a fun day job, too — he plays Nigel Bartholomew-Smythe on One Life to Live.  You will laugh uproariously, Trudi.   And we look forward to meeting you!

FYI to anyone interested in seeing What’s That Smell? at the New World Stages, 340 W. 50th St., here in Manhattan: The show will close Dec. 28.

Marlena  De Lacroix  will be back on Wednesday with a surprising soap review.  Will it be naughty or nice?

                                                                                               Marlena

                                                                                               XXXOOO           

The Soap Shrink Interview, Cont’d: Ilene Kirsten On Her Insightful Creations — Ryan’s Hope’s Delia and One Life to Live’s Roxy

Part 2: One Life to Live‘s Roxy

By Damon L. Jacobs

Yesterday, I interviewed the insightful  Ilene Kristen on the creation of her iconic role of Delia on Ryan’s Hope.  Today she talks about Roxy, her current, vastly entertaining character, who debuted on One Life to Live in 2001.

D: How did the events of 9/11/01 shape your creation of Roxy?

I:  I actually got the job the day before 9/11 happened.  But it affected me big time.  I felt I had to go out and entertain the troops.  They would need me, the audience would need me.  I would infuse the comic part but first I would give them the [Read more...]

The Soap Shrink Interviews Ilene Kirsten On Her Insightful Creations — Ryan’s Hope’s Delia and One Life to Live’s Roxy

Ilene Kristen

By Damon L. Jacobs

Ilene Kristen is an actress famed for a having both enormous acting talent and an idiosyncratic sense of humor which helps her to steal every scene she’s in. But behind the wisecracks is a wise soul with unique understanding of human psychology. She’s used that understanding to create two iconic daytime characters: Delia on Ryan’s Hope and Roxy on One Life to Live. When we spoke at length recently, she described how she reached inside herself to create both Delia and Roxy.

Here Ilene talks about how she made Delia so startlingly real over her many years on Ryan’s Hope, during the show’s 1975-1989 run.  In Part 2 tomorrow, she’ll talk about how she made OLTL’s Roxy so entertaining and compassionate.

Part 1:  Ryan’s Hope‘s Delia 

D: So let’s begin talking about Delia on Ryan’s Hope.  The fans who read “Soap Shrink” regularly know the subject of Borderline Personality Disorder comes up frequently.  It is a personality disorder, typified by someone who makes frantic efforts to avoid abandonment.Delia Afternoon TV

I:  That’s Delia in a nutshell.

D: The only thing is BPD didn’t start getting listed as diagnosis until 1980, well after your first run as Delia from 1975-1978.  How did you know so much about Delia and these symptoms?

I:  Well, second to being an actress I would have been a therapist.  I wanted her to be real, so I observed those who were very needy. (RH‘s co-creator, co-headwriter) Claire Labine also wrote a great character description about her mother selling subway tokens, her father being a drunk, only getting love from her brother.  You then see how that manifests in the decisions she would make.  She had no occupation, she just lived in the shadow of the Ryans.  So she was [Read more...]