An Open Letter to Anne Sweeney, Co-chair, Disney Media Networks and President, Disney-ABC Television Group

Dear Ms. Sweeney:

I am writing to strongly protest the current Todd and Marty storyline on One Life to Live. It’s in effect the long delayed second chapter of a story that began in 1993, when Todd was the leader of three college students who gang raped Marty. The two chapters couldn’t be more shockingly different in intent.Todd and Marty 

The 1993 chapter, though brutal,  was told with intelligence and sensitivity, shedding light on the humanity and compassion gained through this tragic crime. It deservedly won numerous Daytime Emmys. The current chapter — in which an “amnesiac” Marty was kept in captivity again by Todd for five months,  fell in “love” with him and begged him to have sex with her (which he did) — lacks any such redeeming insight. Instead, it is simply revolting.

Starting with the hackneyed soap opera device of amnesia, the current writing team seeks to exploit the audience rather than enlighten it. The current story extends ancient rape myths (“I raped her because she wanted it”).  The story’s aim is far from social issue education. Rather, it is the  [Read more...]

One Life To Live’s “Tarty” Controversy: It’s Not Over Until It’s Over

Thinking Fans Comment Update:  Melanie isn’t buying the “poor Todd” routine … Jenn misses the days when “soaps relied on love and chemistry” … and more. See Comments below.

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My friend, television journalist Ed Martin called me last week to congratulate me on my Todd and Marty: Way Beyond Merely Disgusting column, noting the amazing number of responses (53 and counting). It inspired Ed to write his own response in his own column on JackMyers.com. I’m encouraging all TFs to read it because, for his television business site, Ed brilliantly and with great clarity analyzes the choice to air the controversial Todd and Marty story as a deliberate network programming move.Todd Marty

Ed recognizes that the story offends women viewers and emphasizes the folly of the network in airing it, considering that the majority of One Life to Live‘s audience is women. That’s an awful lot of viewers to risk losing!  He also scoops Marlena on another piece of OLTL misogny: the frequent close-ups of Jessica’s dead baby in another story aired at the same time. Ed writes:  ”I don’t believe women want to see dead babies in their entertainment. Not ever.”

Ed has his opinions as a longtime viewer of OLTL, and this is where we differ.   Despite the offenses he clearly sees, he still likes — no — loves the melodrama of the story and calls it great soap opera  But Ed insists [Read more...]

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...]

Rape Stories: Days of Our Lives Shows That “No” Really Means “No” This Time

By Patrick ErwinDays of Our Lives

For all its onscreen and offscreen turmoil, Days of Our Lives seems to have a few stories working for it right now. One of them is Chelsea and Stephanie and the sorority girls dealing with the aftermath of the campus rapist, Ford, who raped Stephanie and Cordy and threatened Chelsea. Initially, the story didn’t seem too promising. The setup of the story was rushed (what story isn’t, nowadays?) and the rapist, Ford, came off as a one-dimensional buffoon.

[Read more...]