In this month's Busted to Blissful, Soapdom's Lesleyann Coker has a bone to pick with OLTL and couldn't be more pleased with two characters on GH. What is it about the goings on in Llanview that busted her bubble, and what's so wonderful in Port Charles that has put her in bubblicious bubble bliss? Read on!
OLTL's Daniel is Gay
I have several issues with the revelation that Daniel is gay on One Life to Live. It would have been a lot more compelling to be surprised by this plot twist when the show first aired, as opposed to seeing the secret touted on the cover of a magazine the week before. All soaps are guilty of this tactic, but I think if they spill their big secrets ahead of time, it doesn’t give the viewer any real reason to watch. I, for one, would have been shocked when the door to the hotel room opened and there stood Mark waiting for Daniel, instead of the shapely blonde woman I’d anticipated.
My reasons for not liking this story go far deeper than the leaked plot twist, however. With gay marriage a hot button issue in today’s society, for a show to portray a gay man who so fears coming out of the closet that he has to kill to protect his heterosexual married man image, seems downright unbelievable if not irresponsible. I understand that Daniel is an ambitious politician, and that the number of gay politicians in America who are out are quite few, but did he really have to murder two innocent people? Couldn’t the writers have chosen a more creative way for Daniel to struggle with his sexuality? Intentionally or not, equating homosexuality with murder is a dangerous message.
And speaking of sexuality, Mark Dobies (Daniel) and Matt Cavenaugh (Mark, Daniel’s lover) have about as much chemistry together as a wet dish rag in the palm of your hand. If this is supposed to be the love of Daniel’s life, then couldn’t OLTL cast someone that Dobies connects with? It’s hard to imagine Daniel and Mark as lovers when they barely look at each other when they talk, and their hugs are stiff and awkward. For this plot not to feel contrived there needs to at least be a hint of passion between the actors.
OLTL should have followed the example of All My Children. When daytime’s most famous lesbian, Bianca (the amazing Eden Riegel who would have chemistry with a phonebook) fell in love, first with Frankie, then with Lena, and finally with Frankie’s twin Maggie, sparks flew between the actresses. While we never saw any of these couples in bed together, we saw them kiss and touch, and it was always with affection. Their scenes were tender and believable.
In OLTL’s case, it felt like they were looking for a quick way to wrap up the Paul Cramer murder storyline, and at the same time write Jessica Morris (Jen) off the show. Daniel’s homosexuality felt like a haphazard stab in the dark from writers whose creative juices had suddenly run dry. You can just picture them sitting around a table at a writer’s meeting, and one of them saying, “Let’s make Daniel the killer to hide his sexual orientation, and then have it all surface at his swearing in as Lieutenant Governor!” Personally, I don’t know many people who know the name of the Lieutenant Governor of their state, and the way everyone in Llanview was carrying on, it was like Daniel was about to be sworn in as Vice-President.
The only good I can see coming out of this ridiculous storyline is if the fallout from Daniel’s secrets becomes an acting showcase for Hillary B. Smith (Nora) as Daniel’s stunned wife. Former Emmy winner Smith deserves more challenging scenes than banal girl talk over lunch with Evangeline, and anything that brings Nora closer to Bo (Robert S. Woods) is always exciting.
Isn’t it sad though, that OLTL had an opportunity to tell a real love story about two gay men and instead took the easy way out. It looks like Daniel will get a one way ticket to prison, and you can bet money his lover will leave town -- and the show -- shortly after.
Dylan Cash and Kari Wuhrer Shine on GH
Ten-year-old Dylan Cash has been playing the difficult role of Michael Corinthos, the biological child of AJ Quartermaine and Carly Corinthos and adopted son of mob boss Sonny Corinthos, for four years on General Hospital. Most of his scenes have involved him reacting to his parents’ latest marital mayhem. He has always been a competent child actor, but until recently, never had the chance to showcase his considerable acting chops.
In the storyline where Michael was kidnapped, and then reunited with his father AJ, we were treated to a variety of emotions from Cash. At first he was angry, then disbelieving, and finally as AJ chipped away at his confidence (helped along with altered voice recordings of Sonny saying he didn’t want Michael any more because he wasn’t his “real” son), Cash showed Michael’s hurt and confusion, and then his growing trust and acceptance of AJ and his “truth.” Cash held nothing back, and the viewer felt every new emotion right along with him. Most of all, Cash showed Michael’s overwhelming need to be loved and to feel like he belonged somewhere.
Of course, AJ was ultimately caught, and Michael was returned to his parents. That’s when Cash really turned it up a notch. Due to AJ’s brainwashing, Michael didn’t believe his parents had been looking for him, or even wanted him back. One by one, every adult in Michael’s life explained to him why everything AJ had said was a lie. Michael completely shut down when he realized the truth about AJ. Cash had scene after scene where a sullen Michael stared blankly ahead, with an occasional tear rolling down his cheek. And unlike a lot of child and teen actors currently on soaps, he never over acted or tried to milk the scene for more drama. He could teach some of his peers the adage, “less is more.”
Cash shined again when a traumatized Michael smothered AJ with a pillow, though he didn’t mean to kill him. In the aftermath, Sonny confessed to murdering AJ to protect his son, and was acquitted. Cash played his scenes close to the vest as Michael slowly remembered that he was the one responsible for AJ’s death.
It will be interesting to see where the writers take Michael from here. Cash has just been signed to a contract, so hopefully Michael won’t suddenly morph into a happy, care-free kid, whose only concern is reuniting his parents. If anyone can play the fallout of a shell shocked kid learning to live with his actions and his guilt, it’s Cash. Michael needs some major therapy and Cash is up to the challenge to play it.
Another member of the GH cast who is up to the challenge of the material she has been given, is Kari Wuhrer. I remember Wuhrer from her stint in the 80’s on the MTV game show Remote Control, and she has certainly come a long way.
One of the most challenging roles for any actress on GH to play is Sonny’s (Maurice Benard) love interest. The majority of fans are always going to want Sonny with Carly (now Jennifer Bransford) and won’t accept him with anyone else. In the times when Carly and Sonny have been apart, he has had a one night stand with Alexis, and a brief relationship with Sam. There was also a blink-and-you-missed-it flirtation with his lawyer/decorator Jordan earlier this year, but none of these relationships were able to hold up over time.
Enter FBI agent Reese Marshall (Wuhrer), whose job was to put mob boss Sonny behind bars. Things didn’t go as planned, and she became instrumental in helping find his kidnapped son Michael, as well as becoming one of the few people able to break through to Michael when he was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. In the midst of all this drama, sparks still flew between Reese and Sonny.
So far, they have attempted to consummate their relationship at least twice, and both times have been interrupted by Sonny’s ex-wife, Carly. Sonny has made it clear that he wants a relationship with Reese, but time will tell if she goes the way of his other flings, or becomes a true contender to Carly’s throne.
One thing that’s certain is that Benard has finally found someone else with whom he has combustible chemistry. Wuhrer can more than hold her own with the formidable Bernard, and their scenes together are wrought with tension, sexual and otherwise. This exciting new duo could go far if given the chance by the writers -- and the fans.
Lesleyann Coker is a contributing columnist for Soapdom.com, and co-author of Boob Tube, a satiric novel currently being shopped to publishers that examines what really goes on behind the scenes of the soap opera industry. She is a former reporter for Soap Opera Weekly magazine, and has interviewed over 200 daytime and primetime actors during her career.
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