Young and Restless’ Missing Links and One Live To Live (Apparently) Rises From the Ashes

By Marlena De Lacroix a.k.a. Connie Passalacqua Hayman

I’ve basically cheered on most of the changes made in The Young and the Restless these past three months.  Characters like Nick, Phyllis and even Sharon have been fixed by giving them more clarity and strength. The new sets, like Avery’s living room/kitchen and Nick’s bar, are awesome.  Ditto the new music and lighting. Happily the dialogue has improved, too. A much needed housecleaning broomed out a half dozen characters that won’t be missed. Under its new leadership, Y&R has had one classy facelift.

Peter Bergman
Tour de force as struggling pill-popper

The only problem I see is that I have trouble getting through many episodes. Where’s the excitement?  The improvements are nice, but I’m still waiting for a story that really interests me. The only plot that’makes me want to tune in every day is Jack’s pill problem.  Much of the credit goes to Peter Bergman for his tour de force performance.  But the secret of the plot’s success is that it has moved very fast. In less than three months, Jack has moved from addiction, to self-directed rehab, to recovery.  The sprightlier storytelling fits in with what I wrote about in my last column:  we’re in the Internet age, and up until now the only other soap that has really stepped up the storyline pace is General Hospital.

This was not an easy change for Y&R to make – it’s always been slow-moving.  Asking Y&R to move fast is like asking a fish to walk. I’m tired of [Read more...]

One Life to Live: Still Surprising After All These Years

By Ed Martin

One Life to Live showed me something last week that I haven’t seen in 30 years of soap viewing: A mass wedding of two dozen gay couples. This show has pushed the envelope in a number of crazy ways since the ‘70s, sending its characters to heaven, to an underground city and careening through time. What a pleasure it was 

OLTL‘s comedic elements are greatly appreciated and should not be taken for granted. Daytime executives and show-runners seem to have forgotten that funny characters and comic set pieces were de rigueur during the glory years of General Hospital and Days of Our Lives, the two soaps that commanded the largest young audiences (while keeping veteran viewers engaged, as well) during the genre’s heyday.

to see the show execute a storyline that was out of the ordinary without being out of this world. It was a stunt, to be sure, but despite [Read more...]

Marlena Returns Monday 8/31 to Review Daytime Emmys

Hi, everyone! What a week!  Moose and I had to cancel our August vacation to take good care of our 12-week-old puppy, Nigel Bartholomew-Smythe.  And then my computer crashed, and it took days to find and set up a new one.  Today I realized that the Daytime Emmys are Sunday!Nigel BS  I will also be resuming regular postings now that my  official summer-long hiatus is over.  As you all know, I couldn’t resist posting a bit this summer and the promised Part 2, to “Marlena’s Summer End Review, Part I” will appear here next week.

Darling readers who may have looked  here for Emmy predictions,  forgive me. I didn’t do them this year.  I was  offline all week.   I assure you I will have plenty to say about the awards and the broadcast itself Monday.

Meanwhile, here’s a picture of our beautiful beagle, Nigel  (yes, named after the One Life to Live character, played by Peter Bartlett. )  The first Emmys I wrote about and attended were in 1980; whoever thought a puppy would upstage them 29 years later?

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           

Contest: Win a Pair of Tickets To See Peter Bartlett in What’s That Smell?

What's That Smell?

By  Marlena De Lacroix

In honor of our first anniversary, Marlenadelacroix.com is delighted to have two tickets to the hit off-Broadway show What’s That Smell? The Music of Jacob Sterling to give away to some lucky Thinking Fan, compliments of the show’s producers,  The Atlantic Theater Company.

The hilarious satire on musical theater, written and performed by David Pittu with original music by Randy Redd, enjoyed a sold-out run at Atlantic’s downtown theater, and now has moved to the New World Stages, 340 W. 50th St., in Manhattan’s midtown theater district.Peter and Pittu

Pittu shares the stage with Peter Bartlett, a veteran character actor who is well known to Thinking Fans and is one of Marlena’s all-time favorite actors. He’s played Nigel Bartholomew-Smyth, the butler, on One Life to Live since 1991.  Here’s my review of What’s That Smell? I can sum up my reaction in one word: LMAO! And you will, too.

To win the tickets, plus an autographed playbill, just answer all six of the questions in the quiz below and send us your answers in a comment. The deadline is midnight Sunday EST. The winner will be announced early next week.  In the event of [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...]

Why One Life To Live’s Back to the Future Story Was a Bomb

Gigi and Rex

Thinking Fans Comment Update Aug. 28: Aaron enjoyed “1968″ for its fun, escapism and heart … while Christian in Boston found the acting embarrassing … our own Soap Shrink discovered a compelling psychological adventure beneath the silliness … and more. See Comments below. 

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By Marlena De Lacroix

What did I do to deserve two Farah Faths on my TV screen? That’s what I thought last week when I tuned in One Life To Live to see a scene set in 1968, in which Rex (who was Bo) was in bed with Emma Bradley (Farah Fath), and in walked Gigi (Farah Fath), who had just journeyed back to that year a la Michael J. Fox in Back to the Future.

You have be an OLTL fan to understand all of the above. And even if you are, as I am, a regular viewer, the show’s six-week fantasy time travel story, in which the actors normally playing Bo, Rex, Gigi and other regular characters showed up as antecedent  Buchanan family members circa 1968, seemed both charmless and nutsy.   Why a soap in this minuscule-rated soap year would take such a huge risk to do a crazy time travel storyline like this during the crucial summer viewing months is beyond me.

Yes, the kickoff of this story (Bo and Rex get hit by lightning and are hurtled back to 1968, the year OLTL premiered) worked well as part of the two-part episode 40th anniversary celebration back in mid-July.  But why oh why [Read more...]