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"Reflections by Jill" - A Weekly Commentary on OLTL
July 30, 2001
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Since it’s summertime and we know that we have to endure certain hardships on our favorite show due to the fact that actors do need to take vacations (bah humbug!) and we have to accept the influx of “younger” storylines, I think TPTB should take advantage of some of the resources they are definitely NOT USING!  By the way, are a lot of teenagers sitting home to watch soaps in the afternoon, or even taping them and watching at night?  I’d really like an answer to that question.

At any rate, since the summer sometimes drags for us “old soap watchers” (and by “old” I only mean experienced, intelligent and oh so wise…LOL), I would like to talk this week about UNTAPPED RESOURCES!

Now at one point or another in the last couple of years we have been exposed to snippets of various relationships that for one reason or another were not pursued, or were not given enough airtime to really take off.  I am going to begin with a relationship that I felt was slow in taking off, but has proven to be very appealing and that is the relationship between Cristian and Jen.  This relationship is proof that with time spent working on a relationship, it becomes worth watching.  Since I always admit when I am wrong, I have to admit here that for quite a while, I did not see the chemistry between these two, and slowly they have begun to win my heart.  I think that Jessica Morris is growing into her role and in very large part I credit David Fumero for his fine portrayal of Cristian.  I am so glad he’s staying on the show.  I don’t think he has ever really been given the chance to shine and although I loved him with Jessica and still have pangs of wanting them back together, I have come to like the pairing of Cristian and Jen.  A lot of what I like about Cris and Jen is the way Lindsay has been thrown into the middle of their relationship.  Having him stand up to Lindsay and seeing her try to keep her daughter away from the “criminal” is priceless.  My favorite part of last Friday’s show was when Lindsay said to Cris, “If you do anything to harm my daughter, you will have me to answer to.”  And Cris’ response was, “How could I ever compete with you?”  Have truer words ever been spoken?  I am loving the interaction between Lindsay and Cris…and Lindsay sure doesn’t need to have Nora as her conscience hanging over her shoulder in that white suit any more when she has Cris in real life to keep her on her toes.  I also love the interaction between Lindsay and RJ where Lindsay tried to enlist RJ as an ally.  Have you noticed that whenever Lindsay ties to suck him into her schemes, he winds up looking like the good guy?  Leave it to Lindsay to make a thug look innocent!  RJ’s comments to her are always funny and what’s even funnier is how they go right over her head.  She has no clue that she’s a bigger criminal than the ones she’s accusing…LOL.  I died laughing last week when she decided to “forgive” Bo and Melanie…is she for real?  I’m glad Cristian has the guts to stand up to her.  As Martha Stewart would say, Cris taking on Lindsay…IT’S A GOOD THING!

OK, now we’ve been teased with a few very good relationships that need airtime to grow and move forward.  Apologies in advance to my readers who are devout Bo/Nora fans, but I love the Sam/Nora relationship and would love to see it move forward.  Although I have received a lot of mail from fans who just don’t see Larry Lau as Sam, especially as Ben’s older brother, I have to say that I really like Larry as Sam and I can even tolerate him as Ben’s brother…maybe not his older brother, but I think Larry is a good actor who can hold his own and is making the role his…and I also never worry about anyone that Mark Derwin has to work with as Ben, because he always shines in any scene and he has the ability to make anyone he works with shine as well.  Of course, this does not include Erika Slezak, who shines the brightest of all on her own!  She needs no help in that department and the Derwin/Slezak team is blinding! 

Oh yeah, I was talking about Nora and Sam…wasn’t I?  Geez, you have to stop me when I go off on those Ben/Viki tangents folks…you know I can’t easily stop.

Anyway, yes, I love Sam and Nora and I think the most interesting thing that should be pursued is Lindsay’s involvement with them.  Gee, have you noticed today that I am giving Lindsay a lot of credit?  Could she be growing on me?  I am sure, however, that whatever she’s going to do to Cris to ruin his reputation will renew my desire to see her in handcuffs.  But getting back to Sam and Nora, Hillary Smith and Larry Lau are wonderful together and I am getting the feeling that Lindsay is going to go after Sam just to make trouble for Nora.  After all, aside from Todd, who doesn’t really live in our world anyway, Lindsay is the only one who believes that Nora knew all along that she killed Colin.  I think Lindsay figures that kidnapping Nora and letting everyone think she was dead didn’t work….and drugging her didn’t work….so what’s she left with?  I think she’ll try to seduce Sam one of these days…very soon…and the only thing remaining to be determined is how much she takes it out on Nora when Sam turns her down.  I can definitely handle seeing more of Sam and Nora…so writers…keep these people working.

Don’t you think summertime would be a great time to bring back Larry Wolek?  I sure do.  You know, he could be visiting some poor, beloved patient in Angel Square and just happen to be passing Carlotta’s diner at the very moment that he was so hot he just had to stop in for a Coke.  Hey, don’t you think that could be the start of a great relationship between Carlotta and Larry?  I’ll be fair…I’ll even agree to let the writers throw in some of the teens in the background, filling up the diner.  I think this is a relationship that could be very nice and could tie in even more characters.  I will never stop wanting TPTB to bring Larry back and I love and miss Carlotta in the lives of her kids, as Viki’s friend, and as a citizen of the part of Llanview that I miss seeing.

How much have you loved Starr lately?  I love her relationship with Viki and they need to have a lot more scenes together.  I like Viki’s involvement with Todd’s current situation and I would love to see Starr stay with Aunt Viki and Uncle Ben while her loopy parents work things out….and I’d even let Todd move in, too…for a while.  After all, he and Ben do get along so well…bahahahahahaha!  I loved watching Viki interact with Starr while Ben looked on in amusement.  And how funny would it be to watch Starr try to wrap Uncle Ben around her little finger?  I’d pay money to see that.  Couldn’t you just see Starr behind the bar at Crossroads cutting people off who have had too much to drink?  A word to the wise, Uncle Ben…make sure you know where your credit cards are at all times!

And one comment about Todd and Blair…can they please get it together already?  How many times are they going to shoot themselves in the foot and mess things up?  They need to work things out and if Todd could stop lurking around corners and misconstruing everything he hears, maybe he could just spit out his true feelings and get his act…and his family…together.  And Blair, just spit out the truth about that baby already.

What is going on with Bo and Melanie?  These two ran head-on into some kind of a relationship and then wound up engaged.  I really liked these two together and I would love to see this relationship slow down a bit…have them date…spend time together…get to really know each other.  I think the engagement was a bit premature, but I do believe they love each other and are good for each other.  Their relationship needs a lot more on-screen time.  I think Bo is a very romantic leading man…still…and TPTB should give this relationship a fighting chance…no time like the present!

Speaking of Bo, this guy has a brand new brother…and one he actually likes and respects.  I definitely think that with all the vacation time Erika Slezak has coming up, that it would be a great time to explore the relationship of Ben and Bo as brothers.  LOL…last week some of my readers didn’t quite appreciate my desire to see Ben and Clint explore their brotherly relationship…so this week I’m going for Ben and Bo…and I don’t even have on any protective gear.  As Bo once said to Ben, they are good men who come from bad fathers…they didn’t know at the time that the bad fathers were one and the same.  I’d like to see them bond as brothers.  I’d also like to know what the heck happened to Ben and Renee.  When are we going to see this wonderful relationship flourish?  Renee sure has nothing better to do these days than spend time with her son…so let’s get busy on this writers.

And what are we going to do about Dr. Rae Cummings?  I am hoping that having her teach a course at the university means that TPTB want to keep Linda Dano around and are looking for something for her to do.  I think a career in education is fine, although I preferred her working at The Banner.  AND WHERE THE HECK IS THE BANNER THESE DAYS?  Anyway, how about if we have Hank Gannon teach a course in criminal justice, right next door to Dr. Rae’s class.  Since I believe my pleas to keep John Bolger on the payroll have fallen on deaf ears, and since I adore Linda Dano, I say that if we can’t keep John, then why not pair Rae with Hank.  He could walk over to her classroom to borrow some chalk and it could be the beginning of a great relationship.  I have seen sparks when these two talk to each other and I say, “SOMEONE STRIKE THE MATCH.”

OK, now with great hesitation, I am going to suggest a lot more airtime for the following non-romantic couple.  Before I mention them, I just want to say that you can feel free to be mad at me.  After all, I feel free to write whatever strikes my fancy, so I expect you to do the same.

I love, love, love the relationship between Ben and Jessica.  Ouch…I think I might need a couple of stitches.  OK, OK…I KNOW HE’S NOT REALLY HER FATHER!  Obviously, I realize that Jessie has a father who is alive and well, however the relationship she has developed with Ben is wonderful.  She has him when her father can’t be there and he truly does love her like a daughter.  I felt so sad when, in her eyes, he let her down by revealing what she told him about Will during the trial, and I sincerely hope to see lots of airtime for these two so that they can patch up their relationship and so that Jessica’s faith and trust in Ben can be restored.  I believe she knows that he was doing the only thing he could do, and that she will come around and take him back into her life.  She’s too much like her mother not to.  It’s a testament to the strength of her relationship with Ben that she got so upset at his so-called betrayal.  If she didn’t care for him so much, she wouldn’t have been so hurt…in my very humble opinion.  I think Jessica needs a father figure in her life and from the moment she met Ben, even before she knew who he really was, she could talk to him comfortably and sensed what a good person he was.  And hey, how long can she stay mad at a guy like Ben?  I love the fact that Ben has bonded so well with Viki’s children and since he doesn’t have children of his own (that we currently know about….yikes!) it’s beautiful to see how he has taken on Viki’s kids as his own…his bond with Jessica and his friendships with Joey and Kevin.  If we’re lucky enough to get a new Joey and Kevin any time soon (hint, hint), I hope they give lots of airtime to Viki’s family.  I never get enough of that stuff.

It is quite obvious that this summer is a big set up for the hatching of Asa’s latest plan and to tell you the truth, aside from the fact that I hate the way they portray Gabrielle, I think Asa faking his own death could be quite a fun storyline to watch.  Of course, since it’s Max that he’s setting up, it doesn’t bother me too much, but I think it will probably drag in Ben, Viki, Blair…and could be quite interesting. 

Oh, I can’t leave you without a word on Gabrielle ("The Pretzel," as I so fondly call her).  Speaking of relationships and the way women relate to men…do TPTB think that we want to see women on soaps portrayed as Gabrielle is?  Don’t the vast majority of soap viewers still consist of women?  Do you find it just a bit degrading to watch her contortions?  Can she not even sit on a couch without twisting her legs into those unnatural positions?  Does she have to gasp for air every time she speaks to Max?  I really hope someone is going to answer these questions for me?  I mean…come on…Fiona Hutchison is a beautiful woman who could easily seduce Max without 100 visits a week to Frederick’s of Hollywood…don’t you think?  And isn’t she cold and uncomfortable in those lacy things that crawl halfway up her….ummm….posterior?  LOL….I can just imagine all the email I’m going to get from the thong wearers of the world.  Listen, I can name a few people on OLTL that I’d like to see with that much skin hanging out….but they’re not women (Oh boy, I could write a whole article about that subject)…and that kind of attire is definitely funny once in a while…but not every day.  I should pay better attention to the credits, because I’d love to know if it’s the male directors or the females who get Gabby into those horrendous positions. 

Well, we’re halfway through the summer now and we’ve had to endure a lot of episodes that I could have lived without…although for some reason, I always watch anyway.  We have Seth….what is his story?  Do we care?  He’s a bit creepy, in my opinion.  We have Al, who needs a girl in the worst way…should we be surprised, considering who his real daddy is and the fact that his new daddy has had 100 wives?  I guess one-track minds run in the genes.  We have Natalie, who I’m not so sure is pure as the driven snow.  She’s too interested in Jessica’s money and background…and why does she keep popping up to save Jessica?  Could she be related in some way to Seth?  Plenty of our sidelined favorites could be woven into these summer storylines to make us care more about what’s going on.  The teen storylines standing on their own do not really work for me.  Maybe we could have Asa teach a course at the university on hog-tying, or goat roping…that could be fun.  I know…Gabby could teach yoga to an all-male class.  Can you just imagine the sign-up sheet for that class?  But seriously, summers would be so much easier to get through if the people we cared about were more involved.  It’s very scary to me that the best storylines going on right now include Lindsay.   That’s our Lindsay…a girl for all seasons. 

My sincerest hope is that when the fall rolls around, I will be writing about how much I am enjoying the new storylines that the writers have just been saving up.  If the writers are listening, that is my fervent hope…AND MY DEMAND AS A LOYAL FAN!!!!!

See ya next week….


Since I love a good “give and take” of opinions, this week’s Feedback section is dedicated to several people who have varying opinions on my articles…none of which concur with mine…LOL!  I love hearing from all of you and welcome your comments, whether you agree with me or not.  The fact that I have bought stock in Kleenex because you hurt my feelings so badly is not important…LOL!  KIDDING!!!!!!  Keep writing….you all make my day!

PlanoRes writes: “Hi Jill, I agree with a lot of what you have to say in your latest column - we need more happiness for the couples on OLTL. I will say though, that the problem with some of the couples you cited isn't that they haven't had fun it's that they have no on-screen chemistry.   Bo and Lanie aren't reviled because they don't have fun, it's because they have no reason to be together. What do they have in common? Name one thing they have done that shows that they are madly in love. I have watched (or tried, when their scenes don't put me to sleep) these 2 from day one and can't for the life of me find anything remotely romantic about a married woman who would sleep with a man and not even know his name. In this day and age, it's not only stupid, it's disgusting and certainly not the actions of a woman I want to consider a heroine - or the beginnings of a couple I want to root for. Ditto for Sam and Nora. They can make Sam younger and sexier, but they can't erase the horror of that cabana fiasco. NO honorable man would have done what Sam did to Nora that night and until someone steps forward to say that was NOT a noble thing to do, I will never root for this couple. Nora can burn dinner from now until doomsday and I will NOT see this as a "fun, romantic" couple. Just wanted to present the other side. I have no problem with seeing a lighter side of the characters, but until the pairings make sense, it won't change the way I see them.”

Dear PlanoRes:  Wow, I didn’t know that Bo and Melanie were “REVILED.”  Pretty strong word to describe two nice people.  I think that Bo and Melanie deserve a chance and that they can’t have on-screen chemistry until they are on-screen enough, and getting involved enough for people to care about them…just my opinion.  Regarding Bo and Melanie sleeping together as strangers and Sam and Nora’s “cabana fiasco”, the only thing I can say is that I take everything with a grain of salt.  If I watched soaps to get a lesson in morality, I’d be watching the wrong thing.  I do feel strongly that Sam and Bo are both very honorable men.  Their choices might not always have been the best at the time, but even in real life, we all do things we regret.  I respect your opinions and would love to know what you LIKE about the show.  Please write me again.

Debby writes: “I have to make some comments regarding the character of Clint.  He cannot be recast.  He is one character that was so identified with the actor who played him-Clint Ritchie.   I don't think the dynamic would be there in scenes with Carey and Woods if another actor were playing Clint Buchanan.  Yeah, you better duck!  I am afraid that you may be in the minority in that view.  Okay, you didn't care for Ritchie, that is your right but the character and the actor were pretty much one and the same and should stay that way.  As for any involvement with Viki, nah.  She can have her boy toy....  there are other women out there.”

Dear Debby:  When I write about Clint, I always anticipate getting a great deal of mail that offers the opposite opinion of mine, but strangely enough, I have hardly received any.  As a matter of fact, in the early days of Clint and Viki, I did like Clint Ritchie as Clint Buchanan.  I guess I’ve just moved on and since I have seen several recasts on many shows which I never thought would succeed, I feel that it’s not such a pivotal role that a recast couldn’t work.  And as far as Ben being Viki’s “boy toy”…I often wonder why people who call him that feel that way about him.  Is it his dedication to Viki and her family….his unconditional love for her….his willingness to do anything for her…his wanting to protect her from anything that might hurt her????  In the list of character traits that belong to Ben, I don’t see any that qualify him as a boy-toy…and I think it is an insult to Viki to refer to him that way.

Annie writes: “Jill, I totally disagree with you regarding every thing about Mr. Treadway, First of all he is a terrific actor and second, if it was not for the writers who wrote Lindsay into a corner he would still be on OLTL and not have to come back as some one else. Colin wanted his wife back, he did not want a divorce, so Lindsay promised him if he would help her kidnap Nora, she would get Lanie to change her mind about the divorce.  Lindsay is a slimy XXXX and should be made to pay for all the trouble she has caused.  Again Ty Treadway is a great actor not to mention a real HOTIE.”

Dear Annie:  Did you miss the section in my column last week where I said that because Ty Treadway is such a good actor he made me hate Colin?  I never said he wasn’t a good actor and if he weren’t a good actor, I wouldn’t care one way or the other.  And hey, I totally agree with you about Lindsay needing to be punished for her dirty deeds, but I have to laugh when you say Colin didn’t want a divorce and that he just wanted his wife back.  Do you remember the fact that he was a womanizer from the beginning and that he flaunted his affairs right in his wife’s face…right under her nose, flirting with every nurse in the hospital?  He humiliated his wife every day in front of her colleagues and was delusional enough to think he deserved to have her back.  At that time, we didn’t even know yet that he had slept with his sister in law….Geez…Treadway is a good actor, but glamorizing Colin is laughable.  Colin first agreed to do Lindsay’s dirty work for money to get out of his gambling debts…what a guy!   He may be a HOTTIE to some people, but he’s still as slimy as Lindsay is. 

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