One Life To Live’s Todd and Marty: Way Beyond Merely “Disgusting”

Todd and Marty 

Susan Haskell as Marty, Trevor St. John as Todd — ABC Photo by Heidi Gutman

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Thinking Fans Comment Update Nov. 9:  Miajere laments the misogyny in daytime … Christian in Boston is disgusted by Todd’s elevation to “redeemed and tortured anti-hero” status … Steve protests Todd-Marty story exists “for no other reason than shock value” … and more. See Comments below.

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By Marlena De Lacroix

It’s disgusting. Which is what I think all the columnists and most fan posters in the soap community are saying after seeing amnesiac Marty Saybrooke sleep with her one-time rapist Todd Manning on One Life to Live Thursday afternoon . But disgusting doesn’t begin to describe this descent into exploitation and audience insult.

If you care about soaps, this story is way, way beyond disgusting.  And if you are still trying to figure exactly out why they are dying, come with me and have a long look at this story in the context of soap history.   

Years ago soaps were about love, family and relationships.  They were ridiculed in the outside world because their storylines sometimes stretched reality.  To combat this, and show how smart and valuable soaps were, Agnes Nixon invented the idea

It’s a nasty punch in the face to women, still the majority audience for soaps … and to make it worse, TPTB don’t even see it!

of exploring educational social issue stories, which in the 60s she introduced on Guiding Light,  when a character, Bert Bauer, had uterine cancer.  Dozens of great issue stories later, a writer new to daytime, Michael Malone, brought the new character of Marty onto OLTL, and one night in 1993 Todd  (then only known as Frat Boy # 2) and two of his college buddies raped her.

At the time I disliked the story.  The characters had no ties to the OLTL canvas (Todd had not been made Viki’s half-brother yet), and the story lacked [Read more...]

Theater Review: One Life To Live’s Peter Bartlett in What’s That Smell? The Music of Jacob Sterling

Peter Bartlett

By Marlena De Lacroix

Wednesday night I LMAO and in addition laughed so often I had tears and mascara running down my face. I attended a preview of  What’s That Smell? The Music of Jacob  Sterling, a “comedy with vocal selections” starring David Pittu (Tony nominated for Is He Dead?)  and our own beloved Peter Bartlett (Nigel, One Life to Live).

It’s the life story of the fictional Jacob Sterling (Pittu), a bad, bad, very bad almost-made-it Broadway songwriter and lyricist.  In his awful, awful  oeuvre are the musical-ization of Private Benjamin and a musical version of La Femme Nikita named Madame Death. Pittu sings and [Read more...]

Do You Love or Hate it When Soaps Repeat Their Histories?

Thinking Fans Comment Update July 31:  How to repeat soap histories? Melanie counts the ways … James cheers the Reva/Josh movie wedding … while esther is generally unimpressed by retreads … and more. See Comments below.  

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By Patrick Erwin  

Each of the eight daytime soaps on American network TV these days has a substantial history. The Bold and the Beautiful is the youngest at 21, Guiding Light the eldest at 71. Collectively, this is a rich history. And I’m all for calling on the past to inform current storylines.

But there’s a curious trend emerging this summer, and I’m not sure what to make of it. A few shows have gone beyond revisiting history — they actually seem to be reliving the stories in a way we haven’t really seen before. The stories we’re seeing are often [Read more...]

On the Soap Shrink’s Couch: One Life to Live’s Dorian Cramer Lord, Part Two

Thinking Fans Comment Update:  CeCe says Dorian should leave Llanview … cher wonders if Dorian is ready for therapy … Dale tries to imagine a “good” Dorian. See Comments below.

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Part 2 of a 2-part OLTL 40th anniversary appointment!

By Damon L. Jacobs 

When we left off on Friday, we discussed Dorian’s symptoms which are consistent with Paranoid Personality Disorder.  As a Thoughtful Fan pointed out on this page last Friday, Marlena herself wrote a wonderful column back in 1998 about how the Dorian facing-her-past storyline  of ‘97-’98 accurately illuminated the tenants of traditional Freudian psychoanalytic therapy.  She faced her painful history, gained insight, and literally killed the mother that had been perceived as a source of so much dysfunction.  But I submit, did this insight make Dorian happier?  Did it help her gain peace?  Did it improve her relationships?  Change her behavior?  I’d say no, especially based on her behavior in the last six weeks, which is arguably worse than it’s been for a very long time.

In order for Dorian (played by the cherished Robin Strasser) to truly heal, I would recommend [Read more...]

One Life To Live at 40: How Has One Life Changed Your Life?

One Life to Live original

By Marlena De Lacroix

One Life to Live‘s 40th anniversary is next week.  I’ve watched the show for 39 of those forty years, so it’s been a big part of my life!  And it has meant a tremendous amount to me.  Thinking Fans, I’m interested in how OLTL has affected your life, what it has meant to you, your evaluations and memories of the storylines which have meant the most to you personally.  How has One Life changed your life?

Here’s my One Life to Live story:

I am 14, maybe 15, a latchkey kid in Queens, New York, watching TV after a day of high school.  I’m watching ABC, waiting for that weirdo [Read more...]

The “New” Guiding Light: Give It a Chance

By Patrick ErwinRobert Newman

Guiding Light has gotten an awful lot of ink lately — not over storylines or any actor or actress, but because of some substantial changes in the way the show is made and produced. Many mainstream press outlets have reported on these changes — giving them another opportunity to poke fun at the soap genre – or try to administer last rites.Beth

A lot of fans have bombarded Internet message boards with their intensely negative reaction over these plans, and considering the track record for GL (and, frankly, all the shows) over the last few years, it’s understandable that they’d be wary of this new innovation. “Innovation” in this genre often seems like a synonym for “fixing something that isn’t broken.”

But I have to admit, I’m approaching these changes with an open mind. I’m really intrigued by the possibilities. And I’m also being realistic. I mean, let’s be blunt and [Read more...]

On Soaps, Multiple Suspect Murder Mysteries are So-o-o Done!

 By Marlena De LacroixStephanie shot

I have grown so tired of the soap opera convention known as the multiple-suspect murder mystery storyline.  Of late, they’ve become meaningless, predictable or, even worse, totally incomprehensible.

The multiple-suspect murder plot was only done to perfection on the old full-time soap mystery show Edge of Night.  But the plot only became really popular on other soaps around the time [Read more...]