Wrong is Right

By Marlena De Lacroix

I have to say I almost choked when I heard that Frank Valentini and Ron Carlivati were re-signed to One Life to Live.  Isn’t this show dead last in the ratings and going even further south?  Aren’t they the duo that made Dorian a Valley of the Dolls shrew, had Todd sleep with Marty his prior rape victim, exiled the only gay couple given a major sex scene?  It just blows my mind that these two have been rewarded with another two years of the show.  At least someone thinks there are two years of the show left.

I guess we should all heave a sigh of relief that these guys, these sexist, misogynistic  executives haven’t pulled an anti-feminine stunt in the last six months.  Can the mysterious presence of ghost headwriter Jeanne Passanante have had some influence here?  Of course, sticking up for Passanante, who gave away Reid’s heart (in an act of heroism, courage and love) is akin to sticking up for Hugo Chavez or Bin Laden these days.  Someone at the show who is female has evidently spoken up.   Bravo to whoever the woman in white is.  Mr. Frons hasn’t  conquered her yet.

Instead Valentini and Carlivati have signed up some pretty major soap names.  I’ve already kvelled about Jon Shipp (couldn’t they have also brought back James De Paiva’s Max?)  And of course, the grand entrance of Ms. Zimmer.  I was never a Zimmer fan, especially of tacky, wacky Reva on Guiding Light, but when she showed up at Viki’s door, didn’t you think she’d shout “‘Howdy?” a la Minnie Peal in her hat with the price tag hanging on it?  It’s too early to grill Zimmer, since so many on-liners seem to love her.  A friend of mine calls her Mammy Yokum.  I say, kidding aside, she is a multiple Emmy-winner.

We’re stuck with the biggest invasion of kids since the Mouseketeers.  Save for Destiny, the kids on this show are just so unappealing, with the Fords auditioning for Minnie Pearl’s back-up band.  James and Bobby and whoever they are remind me of the early endless strings of Joeys and Kevins that have dotted One Life to Live history.

And so we’re left with Todd shooting Eli in a plot that made no sense whatsoever.  If Tea wanted to spare her daughter and husband her “death,” then why did she play dead?  Were Eli and his brother after Todd’s $27 million dollars, ceded to him by Michael Malone oh so many years ago? No one ever mentions it anymore.  Todd has to support Blair, a newspaper and a host of kids, as there soon will be two Todds.  Which one will be the more sexist?


  1. I will admit I snuck a glance a few times this week to see how Kim Zimmer did this week as Echo. I thought she did a good job. I see some of Reva in Echo by her mannerisms and zest for life. I guess what has appealed me to Zimmer’s acting style is the energy and deep emotion she portrays in her characters. Her character of the dean of a college in a Hallmark movie last summer was a little more low key. I think it was “Freshman Father.” I did have to laugh at Zimmer and Jessica Leccia’s scene about possibly knowing each other (from Springfield with Echo saying the “s” in Springfield before seeing Charlie).

    I think it is neat so see her act opposite Erika Slezak and Robin Strasser. I hope the writers write a good story. Only time will tell. Once you are Reva Shayne it is hard for an audience to accept you in a new role but I hope she captivates the audience again.

    I agree with you on the killing of the gay characters. They had a good thing going with this story. I am kind of amazed that Ron Carlivati of all people would abolish a gay couple in his cast unless it was an executive overide on that decision. Conspiracy theory be damned I guess the saying goes. It was a big mistake because Kyle and Fish’s love scene was sweetly done. It was a proud moment in daytime history to witness when so much is wrong with the genre.

    Now for the rest of the show, I wasn’t feeling it. I did like Destiny too but the Ford brothers I couldn’t appeal to even with them walking around shirtless. Shirtless actors doesn’t mean appealing actors either.

    As a Guiding Light fan, it is kind of different. Could I imagine Clint and Echo (Reva and Ross) having sex or in bed together…not really. Just don’t put Kelly and Clint in bed together as a GL fan that is all I ask…:)….cause I don’t think they are related on OLTL.

    But for the most part my assessment of this show wasn’t exactly great for the most part. I guess I may have to stick with the mostly consistent Y&R.

  2. horselover says:

    I really think ABC needs to replace Brian Frons as President of ABC Daytime in order for the ABC soaps to get better. I’m not sure why he stills holds the job. Can’t ABC promote him or something?

  3. I really did not understand the statement about Tea (i.e., If she wanted to spare her husband and daughter her “death,” why did she play dead?) Tea did not play dead, she actually thought she was dying.

    I hope Echo starts referring to Charlie as C.B. or Charles, because “Chuckles” reminds me of a clown!! Oh well.

    Marlena says: Tea went away to die and didn’t tell her husband or daughter where she was is the situation I am referring to. Her family was told that she was dead, which was part of an evil Eli plot, I suppose. The whole thing was very muddled. A really dumb plot not befitting the actors or the audience.

  4. I switched over to One Life to Live after As the World Turns ended and have been disappointed in the product. Half the characters wander around Llanview aimlessly with no discernible storyline, and everyone else is tied up in the ridiculous Eli fiasco. Apparently, Eli is responible for the Swine Flu, half a dozen murders, kidnapping, fraud and every other crime imaginable.

    I might be able to get into the story if anything Eli did was interesting or made any sense, but the only thing I can do is laugh at the absurdity of Eli’s escapades. I’ll keep watching until the end of October and then I’ll drop the show.

  5. Marilyn Henry says:

    Gee. And I like the show very much and feel it is good soap. The stories are not all great, but most are absorbing and because they overlap or are interesting enough in themselves, you can pick and choose. I don’t mind the Ford brothers as much as some do–they did play them a bit too much at first, but they are slowly fitting into place. I really enjoyed the Eli story, its pace, its suspense, its twists and turns and I only hope they can tie it all together by the end because it was intriguing and had people speculating like mad. And the actor was really doing a great job.

    This is a good show and has some really terrific actors, especially in the veterans (and yes, a few weaker ones in some of the newbies). But overall, this is a show that tries, takes risks, does outdoor scenes, has families and romance, actually has background extras in a cafe or a business, and best of all delves into its history well. I’m not a Zimmer fan (really resented her arrival on Santa Barbara as it threw out the whole concept of the show as the Dobsons had conceived it, and I admit I can barely remember Ekco’s story way back when, but I think I was glad when she jumped off the bridge!) but I’m willing to wait and see what happens.
    In fact this show does an excellent job of ‘what will happen next??!’

    The head writer is still young and can learn and he has already done some remarkable things. Loved when Viki went to Paris,Texas and lots more…
    I suspect he was ordered to drop the gay story–heard they got some very conservative/negative-style mail on it.

    But any soap that uses the vets, uses history and families well, can come up with fresh suspense in the old serial-killer thing, can employ a nice balance of ethnicity, well. they’ve got me. It certainly isn’t perfect, but it’s about the best soap going at the moment.

  6. Cyberologist says:

    I had such high hopes when Carlivati first signed on as HW but I became quickly disenchanted and finally bailed on this show a few years ago. This is a good ole’ boys network and they are making good $$…this is their cash cow and they are cha-ching cha-chinging it all the way through the exit door…

    These guys are making serious bank / tall paper as my students say..that’s why they are smiling ….it must be sweet.

  7. Regarding the renewing of the contracts of Valentini and Carlivati, I think their being resigned by ABC underscores the big problems soaps face on the writing and production end.
    I very strongly believe that what will ultimately be the undoing of what soaps are left on the air is the poor quality of writing which has just been in a downward slide for several years now. And TPTB — Carlivati and Valentini being prime examples — seem to be more resistant than ever to stepping back , listening to viewers and — saying, wait, what are we doing wrong here? Could it be that we have lost some important storytelling elements that made soaps so successful for so many decades?
    Good storytelling is good storytelling. If you provide that, audiences will make the time to watch and their attention will be held, no matter how busy (working women) or how much media (reality shows, game shows, etc)has changed in recent years. I have been a fan of soaps since I was a kid and it truly, truly distresses me to see what is happening to daytime drama.I think there are writers being brought in who have little or no respect for the genre. I think there are network execs who have little or no respect for the audience or the genre and want quick results (something that is actually an anathema to good daytime drama!)
    It’s my understanding that historically head writers of soaps have battled with network heads and advertisers over story. They’ve all always had different goals. But for a long time the Douglas Marlands, Agnes Nixons and Bill Bells, of the business — the creators who felt passionately about daytime drama — apparently won out now and then and got their way. And because you had head writers/creators who held to one vision of what a show was about, you got storytelling that was not only compelling and riveting and character driven, but made freaking sense!!! But as headwriters have lost their power and become more and more accountable to the network people and advertisers, you have gotten soap writing that is simply all over the place as the networks and the ad people desperately seek to attract that younger audience who they evidently feel have the attention span of an ant. If something doesn’t work one week they just ignore all that has happened before and jump to something else. Stories are no longer character driven, so the behavior of the people we thought we knew and who we have watched for years just no longer makes any sense from week to week. Women characters are dumbed down to such an insulting level that one can only wonder whether the men — and it seems to be mostly men — who write and produce these shows actually even like women! And “love” stories are sped up to the point of absurdity, ignoring the fact that what made the most successful soap stories successful in the past was the slow build up. People couldn’t wait to see what happened tomorrow, and God forbid that you should miss that first kiss between your favorite couple, never mind the first time they went to bed! Now it’s often all about the sex. Evidently TPTB believe it is the “hook up” that counts as romance to the younger audience they so very much want.
    I don’t know. I just will never be convinced that what ails soaps could not be fixed with some good writing by people who give a damn about the genre and respect it. Just recycling the same bad writers and producers certainly doesn’t serve it well and seems, in fact, to be guaranteeing its demise.
    Give us drama worth watching and characters worth giving a damn about and we will come — and stay.

  8. anonymous says:

    “And “love” stories are sped up to the point of absurdity, ignoring the fact that what made the most successful soap stories successful in the past was the slow build up. People couldn’t wait to see what happened tomorrow, and God forbid that you should miss that first kiss between your favorite couple, never mind the first time they went to bed! Now it’s often all about the sex. Evidently TPTB believe it is the “hook up” that counts as romance to the younger audience they so very much want.
    I don’t know.”

    I agree. Romances on tv in general seem to be too rushed. You obviously don’t want to drag it out too long either but few recent romances have come close to doing that. I don’t think its a coincidence that the very popular Zach and Kendall took longer than your average couple to get together. You have to make to really develop a relationship and make people wait a little to build investment.

  9. It is sad the viewers could not accept the gay story line. All starr ever does is whine and cry. Give her a happy story line. Dump inez and her boys. David Vickers will be a great asset once again. It is nice to see older actors with story lines. Where I like Kim Zimmer, dump the echo story line!! Why aren’t Gigi and Rex married by now??

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