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It’s the end of the year and a time for reflection, so instead of writing a normal Blissful to Busted column, Lesleyann Medeiros takes a look back over the past year in soaps. Following is a list of her picks for the most blissful and definitely the most busted, storylines, characters, actors and events of 2002 for each soap. We'll do this network by network, beginning this week with ABC Daytime soaps.
ALL MY CHILDREN:
Blissful Return: Maria
When Edmund and Brooke managed to get through their wedding without the newly arrived Maria interrupting, viewers knew the fireworks would be imminent when Edmund eventually learned the truth. His new wife Brooke had already learned that his presumed dead wife, Maria, wasn’t so dead after all, and omitted Maria’s return from the part of the vows, ‘Does anyone know of any reason these two should not lawfully be joined together?’ Uh, yes, how about the groom is still married to another woman?
After five years off canvas, Eva LaRue (Maria) seemed as if she’d never left, blending seamlessly into her scenes with her real life husband John Callahan (Edmund), and Julia Barr (Brooke). She also has great chemistry with Aiden Turner (Aidan). This Maria might not remember everything about her past yet, including her love for Edmund, but she’s just as much fun to watch.
Busted Exit: Ryan
The writers had the unenviable task of writing fan favorite Cameron Mathison (Ryan) off the show this summer. Even though they were obviously leaving the door open for the character’s return, the way Ryan left wasn’t believable.
Ryan had always been a volatile character, never one to shy away from confrontation. So, when he found his fiancée Kendall (the mesmerizing Alicia Minshew) in another man’s arms on their wedding day, the logical next scene should have been an argument as she tried to explain her well meaning but misguided actions. Then if Ryan chose to leave anyway, it would have made more sense. Yet the writers had him slink out of town on his motorcycle without ever looking back, without even so much as a goodbye to his new found father Chris. This wimpy departure did the character and the fans an injustice.
Blissful Reunion: Sonny and Brenda
When Vanessa Marcil’s Brenda finally broke free of the ship where she had been held captive by Alcazar, viewers anxiously awaited her next move. It couldn’t have been any better.
The first time Sonny (Maurice Bernard) laid eyes on Brenda, who had been presumed dead for four years, it was in the same church where he’d left her at the alter on their wedding day.
As if that wasn’t enough drama, as soon as their eyes met, shots rang out and Sonny went down. It was all a set up of course, but Brenda didn’t know that. Her heartbreak at failing to reunite with Sonny and warn him of the danger was palpable.
Her near meeting with Sonny had everything a soap fan could desire – originality, mystery, drama, romance, tension and heartbreak. It made her eventual reunion with Jax following his wedding to Skye, seem all the more cliché.
Busted Triangle: AJ/Courtney/Jason
GH squandered a major storyline opportunity when sparks began to fly onscreen between Alicia Leigh Willis (Courtney) and Steve Burton (Jason). Willis already had great chemistry with Billy Warlock, who plays her husband AJ. A compelling triangle should have been born.
AJ and Jason are brothers and bitter rivals, and having Courtney torn between the two would have been realistic and captivating. Willis has sizzling chemistry with either man, and Warlock had finally been given the opportunity to step into leading man status after years as a backburner bench warmer.
All of that changed when GH went ahead and had AJ hire Coleman to stalk his wife while he was at out of town. The plot never made sense, as AJ supposedly loved his wife and she loved him. Now that she knows her husband was the one behind her terror, she understandably doesn’t want anything to do with him. And GH has inexplicably ruined a potentially great triangle.
ONE LIFE TO LIVE:
Blissful Character Transformation: Jen Rappaport
For the first two years Jen Rappaport was on OLTL, her character was a boring goody-two shoes, a poor man’s Jessica Buchanan, if you will. Jen even hooked up with Jessica’s former boyfriend, Christian.
And while Jen and Christian were promoted as a great young love story, their portrayers Jessica Morris and David Fumero, just weren’t catching fire together.
Fast Forward a year later and nice Jen is no more. Jen is completely self absorbed, an evil schemer just like her mother Lindsay. The apple doesn’t fall far from this tree. The character transformation has been believable not only considering that Jen is Lindsay’s daughter, but because of all she’s been through. Jen was stalked by a mad man and her mother was sent to prison for a litany of crimes, all in a matter of months. As if that wasn’t enough for a young girl to endure, her beloved boyfriend Christian went off and fell in love with her arch rival, Natalie, right under her nose.
Jen’s decision to fight fire with fire and use Al to become pregnant, and pass the baby off as Christian’s seemed trite at first. However, when Al threatened to expose the truth on her wedding day, she eerily and calmly told him she would make sure there was no baby if he did.
Jessica Morris has taken a dull character and made her fascinating to watch. Other actors on OLTL stuck in the same boat with boring characters (paging Seth and Keri), should take note.
Busted PR Stunt: One Life to Live’s Live Week
What started out as a great idea, turned into a dud, as the ratings clearly reflected. Instead of a slight bump for OLTL the week the live shows aired, the ratings actually went slightly down.
This in part is due to the actors. They were all so thoroughly well prepared and rehearsed, that no one made any major flubs. After all of the press attention, and some actors even threatening to mess up on purpose, the most visible flaw was some fast camera angles and a dress strap on Sheri Saum that wouldn’t stay put. Those kinds of barely noticeable mishaps wouldn’t be enough for a first time viewer to tune in again. And the story which reached a climax with Blair learning that Jack was really her son, was hard to follow if you didn’t know the back story. The same goes for the surprise twist of Max wakening up in bed married to Roxanne, after a drunken evening in Vegas. Without knowing the character’s histories, the significance of the event was lost.
OLTL should be applauded for breaking out of the mold and trying something new, but this stunt just wasn’t it.
Blissful Arc: Torn
This arc had it all – unrequited love, good vs. evil and a stunning finale where our hero and heroine were reunited on a dramatic location shoot.
When Livvie first came upon Rafe in the woods and realized the angel had amnesia, it seemed too good to be true. The good girl turned hell raiser (literally) schemed to keep him away from his true love Allison, whom she blamed for her father’s presumed death.
It didn’t matter a bit to Livvie when her father turned up alive. She maintained her vile plan, pretending to be Allison, because she had fallen in love with Rafe herself. She even went so far as to marry him.
Throughout the arc, the near misses of Allison and Rafe kept the story moving forward because you knew sooner or later, they were going to come face to face.
When that moment finally arrived, as Rafe came to Allison’s rescue in the hospital, and brought her out of a coma with a kiss, we expected him to of course know her as his true love. It was a brilliant twist that he wasn’t quite sure why he’d kissed her, and that his amnesia didn’t instantly disappear.
Erin Hershey-Presley was marvelous as Allison came to the stunning conclusion that not only did Rafe not remember her, but he was married to her enemy.
In the end, Allison and Rafe were reunited (was there ever any doubt?), and everything was as it should be. But for awhile, Torn kept us guessing, which is what any good soap should do.
Busted Arc: Secrets
At first this arc was interesting with the three strangers and their mysterious watches descending into Port Charles’ midst, and immediately insinuating themselves into our favorite character’s lives.
But as they were slowly revealed to be angels on a personal mission to fill the fifth chair in heaven, it became a guessing game which character was going to die.
No actor’s contract appeared to be up, so the answer wasn’t clear cut. It seemed surreal when Eve was revealed to be the occupant of the fifth chair, and ascended to heaven after a car crash, thus leaving the show.
To kill off Julie Pinson as Eve, was to kill off one of two remaining interns from the original cast (Nolan North’s Chris being the other). It seemed like PC was trying to make a final break from its own uneven past with this move, and it wasn’t a good message to send fans. The fact that an original cast member and fan favorite was sacrificed to make room for newbies and their airtime, wasn’t any secret.
~Take the Busted to Blissful Poll!~
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Results of the last Busted to Blissful Poll
1) Did the Sheridan/Luis reunion on Passions leave you cold?
Yes 85% No 15%
2) On AMC, did you like the way the character of Maria was re-introduced?Yes 59% No 41%
- Busted to Blissful ~ 2002 Wrap Up~ NBC Daytime
- Busted to Blissful ~ 2002 Wrap Up ~ CBS Daytime
- Meet the Author! Busted to Blissful with Lesleyann Coker
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