Busted to Blissful ~ December 2006

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Oakdale's CarJack to CarSi and Llanview's Cole


In this month's soap opera Busted to Blissful, Soapdom's Lesleyann Coker is fed up with As the World Turns, but she couldn't be more delighted with the turn of events on One Life to Live.  What on ATWT has busted Coker's bubbles? What is it about OLTL that has put her in bubblicious bubble bliss!  Read on...
Do You Agree? Dish Busted to Blissful with Lesleyann Coker Right Here!

Maura West (Carly, ATWT)BUSTED ~

ATWT’S Carly and Simon Generate Heat

I didn’t expect to like the romantic relationship between Carly and Simon on As the World Turns.  As a CarJack fan, I thought I would never want to see either Carly or Jack with anyone else, especially not after the whole Julia debacle.  However, thanks to the heat generated between Maura West (Carly) and Paul Leyden (Simon), I have become a believer in the phenomenon that is CarSi.

You might wonder then, why I’m writing a “Busted” on this topic.  The answer is simple -- CarSi is a pairing that was always slated to be brief, thanks to Leyden’s impending exit from the show.  Maybe the powers-that-be didn’t anticipate the chemistry these seasoned pros would have together.  It should have been obvious though, because pairing Carly with Simon makes perfect sense in hindsight.

Even though Carly settled into domestic bliss with Jack and their three kids several years ago, it didn’t mean she completely abandoned her carefree, devil may care attitude.  It was always a part of her core.  Her feisty spirit might have been buried for awhile, but it was still lurking there underneath, like a caged animal trying to break free.  Jack recognized this aspect of Carly’s personality a long time ago, and realized he just couldn’t deal with it any more, which is why they ultimately divorced a few months ago.

Of course, now Jack has seen how unfair it was of him to love only parts of Carly.  He’s come crawling back, willing to accept her, flaws and all.  In typical soap fashion, now it’s too late, and Carly has chosen Simon.  When she explained to Jack that it was just too hard to be with him, because she was always trying to be someone she wasn’t, it rang true to both Jack and the viewers. With Simon, Carly can finally be herself.

The true genius of this new couple is that they’re like opposite sex mirror images of each other.  Simon said as much to Carly when he told her he had never met anyone else who reminded him so much of himself.  To the rest of the world, Simon and Carly look like schemers and con-artists, but to each other, they see nothing but excitement and fun with a kindred spirit.  They’re always on the lookout for their next adventure, and celebrating the high it gives them to get away with things.  For Carly, her relationship with Jack was work.  With Simon, the relationship is effortless.

It’s not Jack’s fault he can’t be a fly by the seat of your pants kind of guy, because it would go against the very grain of his straight-laced cop nature.  I think that’s what makes this storyline so compelling - Carly and Jack are two people who love each other but cannot change themselves to conform to the other’s expectations, and shouldn’t have to.

Simon challenges Carly in a way Jack never could, which manifests itself in everything from the writing to the acting. With this new partnership, West looks like she’s having the time of her life, and there is a sparkle in her eye and a sass in her voice that has been missing for a long time.  Leyden also looks reenergized.  In Simon’s relationship with his ex-wife Katie, he had to hide a part of himself to protect her, and with Carly, everything is out in the open.  He doesn’t have to worry if Carly’s psyche is unable to withstand the truth.  Carly can give as good as she gets, and is more than capable of taking care of herself.

ATWT should give Leyden whatever he wants to return after West’s maternity leave, so this dynamic duo can have a chance to realize their full supercouple potential.  If Leyden doesn’t want to come back, then shame on ATWT for starting something great they can’t possibly finish.

Trevor St. John (Todd, OLTL)BLISSFUL ~

OLTL Utilizes Its History

The big reveal on One Life to Live that teenage Cole is the son of Marty Saybrook is genius on so many levels.  It’s a real treat whenever a show can reward long time viewers with a stroll through its own history, and the more characters involved, the better.

The history this particular story encompasses is long and complicated, and ties the past to the future through two generations.  When Todd was in college, he raped Marty, and they have both suffered the consequences in the intervening years.  Flash forward to the present, and Todd and Blair’s daughter, Starr, is a Freshman in high school.  She develops a crush on Cole, a Sophomore transfer student who is the star quarterback of the football team, and unbeknownst to everyone, also happens to be Marty’s son.

Cole has a dirty little secret -- he has been taking steroids.  In a moment of ”roid rage,” he attacks Starr for being a tease and leading him on.  He doesn’t rape her, but definitely scares her.  The police are called, and Starr has to go down to the police station and make a statement.  Then Cole’s mother enters.  Of course, Todd and Blair think Marty put her son up to the attack as revenge for what happened.  Marty assures them this is not the case, and has to explain the sordid truth about her past with Todd to her clueless son.  This also makes for an awkward conversation between Todd and his teenage daughter.

The show is brave to reintroduce one of its most controversial storylines of all time to a new generation of fans.  The fallout from this story has been a goldmine for the actors, too.

Trevor St. John (though he wasn’t playing the role at the time of the rape) has owned every scene he’s in, as Todd tries to reconcile the person he was in the past with the person he is today.  Not only for himself -- but for his daughter.  The always reliable Kristen Alderson has shone in her first real adult scenes, while Starr struggles with how the father she adores could do something so heinous, and how she can still love him anyway.

Christina Chambers had the difficult task of taking over for Emmy winner Susan Haskell as Marty.  She has managed in just a short amount of time to display a quiet yet forceful inner strength, critical to the character.

The always mesmerizing Kassie DePavia (Blair) has come out swinging against her longtime nemesis, Marty.  Since DePavia is the only original actor of the three pivotal adults in this storyline, her conviction to the material really helps make it work, and sells the story to the rest of us.  If Blair is hopping mad, then we’re hopping mad too.

Could the story have been ratcheted up a notch with Haskell as Marty and with a stronger teenage actor as Cole?  Absolutely.  But by revisiting the past anyway, OLTL has taken a chance that has paid off .  All it took was competent actors, fascinating character development, and referencing the show’s vast storytelling history.  Other shows should take note of this winning formula.

Lesleyann CokerAbout the author:  Lesleyann Coker is the co-author of Boob Tube, a forthcoming novel that goes behind the scenes of the soap opera industry.  She was previously a reporter for Soap Opera Weekly Magazine.