One Life to Love

August 23-27 1999

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One Life to Love is a weekly (schedule permitting) look at the ups and downs, highs and lows, and ins and outs of life in Llanview.

I was on vacation the past two weeks, so wasn't able to opine on 8/9-23, but I can't resist weighing in on certain story developments.

As thrilled as I was with the baby Megan storyline (which brilliantly mined the show's rich history and impacted nearly every existing relationship in Llanview) have I been disappointed by this new out-of-the-blue serial rapist plot. It's pure exploitation and a cheap way to up the emotional ante in certain storylines. Surely there was another way for Tea and Roseanne to work through their troubled history than via near rape and gun violence? Not to get overly PC, but was anyone else disturbed by the fact that a) Tea got the gun from R.J. (negative racial stereotype), b) she managed to fend off the rapist with a gun she'd never been trained to use (NRA propaganda), and c) Roseanne's accidental shooting of her aunt paved the way to newfound familial bonding (not even on Jerry Springer!) -- ugh!

On the plus side, the story is moving along rapidly and the new emphasis on fleshing out the rapist's character is sound storytelling. The story has (thankfully) shifted from a repetitive and unpleasant series of near-miss assault scenarios to a character study and detective story. I find Kevin McClatchy's (FOJ, natch, but doing a good job) nerd-psycho genuinely creepy and the twist about the fake tattoo was a good one (but why did he switch designs, thereby revealing that the tattoo is fake?). Thus far, none of the characters has actually been raped, just menaced, but I have a sinking feeling that state of affairs won't last. Not a spoiler, just conjecture, but possible victims include Sophia (that tired and offensive rape-as-redemption ploy) and Grace (to elicit sympathy for an unpopular character). Of course, the clear choice would be Kelly, since the rapist has fixated on her, but I think that would be too obvious. And from way out in left field, I have a nagging fear that Dorian also might be victimized, but I could do without the dubious irony of that particular twist.

I thought the encounter between Dorian and Viki in the Banner offices was their best yet. Dorian was dignified yet willing to prostrate herself before Viki by submitting a written public apology to be printed in the Banner. Naturally, Viki refused and Erika Slezak imbued her character with a devastating mixture of anger, disgust, and icy contempt.

Apparently, the high-and-mighty Victoria Carpenter is not above taking a page from brother Todd's playbook and turning her newspaper into vehicle to pursue personal vendettas. What would Clint say? And how about Viki's new fascist newsroom policies -- declaring contact with Dorian off-limits to her staff during working hours? Somebody call the Llanview chapter of the ACLU!

Not to sound like a broken record (or the lady's publicist), but Robin Strasser continues to bring wonderful new dimensions of vulnerability to Dorian at her current low ebb. Of course, no one wants a goody-goody Dorian (what a waste!), so when RS gives us flashes of Dorian's old high-handed manner (when she railed at Bo for refusing to take her seriously), it's like old home week. It does this fan's heart good to see Dorian's always sharply honed self-defense mechanisms kicking in again. Kudos to the witty stylings of OLTL's wardrobe department. Red has always been one of Dorian's signature colors, but these days as the official "Scarlet Women of Llanview," it's all she wears.

So, who is gaslighting Dorian with these macabre pranks? It *seems* out of character for Viki (but not Jean Randolph), it's a bit subtle for Asa, and Will's not that slick. Lindsay is a possibility, but her denial sounded legit (though she's such good liar, who knows). I'm definitely intrigued.

Lawdy, but that Lindsay is a deliciously manipulative opportunist. First she guilt trips Nora into leaving town to give Sam and Will breathing room, then she tells Sam that Nora has deserted him -- what nerve! This character is a fascinating mixture of self-interest and self-pity with a delightfully devious tart twist. I like the new warm and easy rapport between the former Mr. and Mrs. Rappaport, but that kiss -- what a surprise (and a nice boost for Lindsay's ego)! An even bigger surprise was the fact that Lindsay broke away from their clinch first. What's *really* going on here?

Ages ago, when it became obvious that the show was bound and determined to bust up Bo and Nora, I was mad. But I have to admit that from the ashes of one of my all-time favorite couples has emerged one of daytime's most believable and effective quadrangles: Bo/Nora/Sam/Lindsay (or is it Bo/Lindsay/Sam/Nora?).

The character of Rae Cummings has gone from being someone I very much wanted to like (I like Linda Dano and wish her success post-AW cancellation), to someone I cannot abide. I was appalled when she butted into Viki and Jessica's mother/daughter spat and began lecturing them. I keep waiting for Viki to put this Nosey Nelly in her place, but it ain't happening. My negative reaction really went into overdrive when she tried to tell off Dorian. Watch it, lady! Dorian may have to take her lumps from Big Mama Viki, but not from this busybody Janey-Come-Lately. I'll admit, I wasn't watching OLTL when Dorian supposedly "stole" Herb away from Gretel, but I seem to recall that Dorian and Herb had a pretty good relationship. Rae's starting to look a little loony running all over town accusing other women of snagging her fellas. Seems like the relationship lady is blind to her own negative behavioral patterns. Tsk, tsk...

Sophia was much more fun as Dorian's protege than she is apprenticed to Rae "pull yourself up by the bootstraps" Cummings. Bossy ol' Rae won't be happy till she's squelched every ounce of Sophia's mischievous moxy. BTW: Has anyone else notice that Rae is all doe-eyed sympathy with the fellas but comes down hard on most women? Boo!

Bernie the loveable street philosopher made a return appearance to bolster Bo's wavering feelings for Lindsay. Their little talk provided some fresh insights into Bo's attraction to Lindsay (as the anti-Nora) -- a weird mixture of lowered expectations and co-dependency. It was nice to see Andrew get a few decent scenes as he worked double duty on forgiveness issues with Viki and Jess.

Couples, couples, couples. Will and Jessica. Do I like it or not? If forced to choose, I'd say Jessica and Will are a better fit than Jessica and David Fumero's Cristian (best fit, IMO, was Jess and Yorlin Madera's Cris, but let's not dwell in the past). Jess and Will seem to understand and listen to each other better, though Jess and Cris seem more mutually gaga (perhaps, those offscreen rumors are true). What I'm completely sure about is my distaste for Roseanne's hysterical level of neediness for Cris. I must confess, I was shocked at Jessica's double standard and rather imperious dismissal of Cris. Yeah, he slept with Roseanne (twice), but he and Jess were broken up at the time and considering the fact that he stood by her all through the pregnancy, accident, and aftermath, I think she should've been more understanding. BTW: I love, love, love Erin Torphy's new 'do!

Kevin and Grace remain fast-forward fodder with a vengeance while Kelly and Joey seem to be going for some kind of record in the fight-and-makeup sweepstakes. Just about the only thing this volatile couple can agree on is their love for each other. Still, I've got a soft spot for these two.

Sorry Blendie fans, but Ben is a bore. There I've said it. The one interesting thing about him was his original predicament (on the run from the mob and his mystery relationship to Sam), and now that that's been resolved, he's just a cuddly one-dimensional stalwart female fantasy figure. On one level I'm amused (heaven knows the airwaves are full of male fantasy figures), but it's just not good drama and ES deserves a more challenging romantic partner. Maybe Skye will spice things up a bit.

Till next week!



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