One Life to Love

October 11-15 1999

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I may huff-and-puff about my beloved OLTL on occasion, but for the most part, I find the show consistently innovative and entertaining, barring a few bad patches along the way. Now with that said, I have to confess that this week was a pretty bad one. Not shockingly awful (heck, some bad camp would’ve at least been amusing), but bad in an even more dangerous way -- lackluster and directionless. With most of their major stories wrapped up, OLTL seems to be treading water, relying on gimmicks and sloppy storytelling to move things forward. Most disturbing is the fact that I don't see any exciting new storylines looming on the horizon.

This whole Max/Asa story is strictly "wake me when it's over," nothing makes sense any more -- not Max's pseudo preemptive strike (telling Asa that Sam was going to pay Ester to say that Max is not Asa's son), not Skye's involvement -- nothing. I'm both baffled and bored by the way this story is playing out, and that’s not a good combination.

Why get rid of the only entertaining character in the whole mess? Poor Ester, was it really necessary to kill her off? Couldn't they just put her in a coma for a while? So now we have Skye putting the screws to Max and Blair -- is that supposed to be an improvement? Why wouldn't Max and Blair just call Skye's bluff? Is Asa likely to believe her? And what's with Skye? Why is she such a glutton for punishment? Why does she continually insinuate herself in situations where she's not wanted?

Max's explanations are so lame and Asa is not stupid. I guess we're supposed to think Asa is so delighted to have at least one son he can boss around that he's in denial about the very obvious fact that Max and Blair are hiding something. These two should wear T-shirts that say "I'm with Guilty!" And why does Skye think Blair and Max can help break up Ben and Viki? Skye and Blair's silly insta-feud plays like a bad night on Sorority Row. Pretty sad behavior for two gals on the shady side of 30.

The Asa vs. Rappaports feud is also wearing thin. First Asa hires Will to tick off Sam, then he gets worried that Will's becoming too close to Jessica, so now big-time business tycoon Asa Buchanan is cooking up penny-ante schemes to get Cristian back in Llanview (by having his scholarship cancelled). Of course, a simple phone call explaining to Cris that Jessica needs him would've been 10 times more efficient and effective. And I'm sick of everyone scolding Renee about Asa's behavior. First Sam and Ben and then John Sykes -- it's just a silly way to keep the "suspense" going over who's Asa and Renee's real son.

To counteract Asa’s meddling, Will has cooked up a dopey scheme with Roseanne to keep Cris in NYC by paying his tuition under the table -- huh? Surely, Cris has an academic advisor who would know about the cancelled scholarship? And Will wasn't too smart to visit NYC in the first place. Why boast to Cris about his relationship with Jessica? Doesn't he realize that jealousy is a great motivator?

Continuing with the week’s confusion, Bo and Lindsay had a faux crisis that made absolutely zero sense. Apparently Bo's knickers are still in a twist over the courthouse hostage situation (where he failed to take a shot at Harris for fear he'd hit Sam). Bo refused to discuss the incident with Lindsay, because he didn't want her to know that his actions were motivated by concern for Nora. Then after another little chat with Bernie the homeless philosopher (he really ought to pay this guy a retainer!) Bo realized he was ready to bare his soul to Lindsay, but when he got back to his room at the Palace all his stuff was gone and there was a note that said "If you want to see Lindsay again, go to such-and-such address." So, instead of assuming it's yet another Lindsay trick (which would be obvious to a child of two), he calls in the SWAT team and they break in on Lindsay in the new apartment she found for Bo. Dumb, dumb, dumb. First of all, what happened to the new and improved Lindsay? Why would she pull such a lame stunt (so similar to the one she pulled before), and why wouldn't Bo recognize her handiwork? He really is losing his edge if he thinks someone is going to kidnap Lindsay -- who needs the aggravation?!

Well, the cat is out of the bag, and Dorian now knows that R.J. bribed Judge Peterson to get her a light sentence with no jail time. Actually, R.J.'s actions (bribing the judge with the half-million Dorian gave him) were quite gallant. After all, he could very easily have taken the money and ran or just used it for his own purposes. Instead he helped keep his good friend out of jail. Of course, the both of them are now in a sweat over Tea's investigation. Why? If the cops find out that Dorian withdrew a half-million from her accounts, just explain that the money went to pay off Lindsay's blackmailer. After all, that was the original plan. Who could prove them wrong? And Lindsay would be sure to back up their story -- especially since Dorian has agreed to keep Lindsay's secrets. Problem solved.

Guess what else happened this week? Kevin decided to propose to Grace. Bad idea. Does this guy want to be a three-time loser? I mean, Grace and Kevin have been dating for about a month and can scarcely spend an evening together without some foolish fight. They’re barely mature enough to go steady, let alone march down the aisle! And why did Kevin have to consult with Ben and Sam first -- doesn't Grace know her own mind? Naturally, Grace reacted to Kevin's clumsy proposal with joy bordering on ecstasy. Oh brother!

Well, I guess the news about Jessica really is hush-hush. When she confessed to Kelly and Joey, they both fell all over themselves reassuring her. You know, everyone is so concerned about being understanding and forgiving toward Jess that they're minimizing not only what she did, but (more importantly) the serious emotional problems that caused her disturbing actions. Supporting Jessica does not mean sweeping her problems under the rug or acting like they're "no big deal."

It's a measure of how bad this week was that some of the best moments involved Grace. I actually felt happy for Grace at her birthday party -- what's wrong with me? It was one of the few times the show has really dealt with the rather amazing fact that this woman has grown up living a lie and is now in the process of reclaiming her "real" life. (Though I couldn't help thinking that her princess party hat could do double-duty as a dunce cap.) And I was also moved by Kevin's sweet reminiscence about Asa. One thing you can say for Asa: Once you're a Buchanan -- by blood or circumstance -- that's all he needs to know -- you’re in.

Tidbits and Snippets:

  • I just love Andrew's groovy new look (cropped locks, sideburns, and goatee). I hope the change is for a great new part, this guy’s too good an actor to be stuck in recurring status.
  • Lindsay sure knows how to argument. She never concedes a point and is never at a loss for words. Maybe she should’ve been an attorney.
  • Dorian's been to hell and back, but she's still one smart cookie. I loved the fact that she knew right away that Max wasn't Asa's son.
  • Just wondering... has one of OLTL's leading ladies gotten botux injections?
  • I love Nigel's butch new haircut. I think it inspired him to give Asa a bit of a roasting about Will.
  • My, but wasn’t Nora having a good old time toying with Lindsay.
  • Wouldn't it have made sense for Bo to interview Max and Blair separately?
  • That "hilarious" scene between Ben, Sam, and Kevin really fell flat.
  • Wow, dig Nora's short skirt! This gal's got some great gams -- a regular Nora McBeal!
  • What was that line of dialogue about Jess's therapist moving to Los Angeles -- what does that portent?
  • I believe Tuesday's episode contained the first-ever reference to Mama Rappaport -- what does that portend?
  • They need to liven up Viki's overall look. Those matronly suits and that severe hairstyle really make her look like Ben's mother!
  • I was smitten with Grace's birthday present from Kevin. What a cute pup! (It's Robin Strasser's in real life.)
  • "You and I are at very different points in our lives" is euphemistic soap-speak for "I've got 15 years on you."

Till next week!



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