Busted to Blissful ~ October 2007 ~ B&B and OLTL

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The action on OLTL heats up, while B&B is all wet

John McCook, Eric, B&BBUSTED~

The Bold and the Beautiful has always had a penchant for keeping it in the family.  Brooke has bedded the trifecta of Forrester men, and now her sister Donna has done the same thing.

You would think Donna would get a life - and a man - of her own and not always resort to picking up Brooke’s leftovers.  One man might be understandable if Donna were really in love with him, but for her to bed three of Brooke’s sloppy seconds is not only trampy, it’s downright disgusting.

It was only two weeks ago that Donna was preparing to walk down the aisle with Thorne, and now suddenly she’s in love with his father, Eric.  I don’t buy it.  Even though she was marrying Thorne to get back at his mother Stephanie, she still had some sort of feelings for the man.  Most normal people don’t transfer their affections from their fiancé to their fiancé’s father practically overnight.

Assuming for a second that Donna felt nothing but lust for Thorne, then why is she now in bed with his middle aged father?  Either Donna is one horn dog of a girl, or she is shifting her revenge plans from father to son.  If Stephanie’s blood curdled at the thought of her son, Thorne, with Donna, just think what it will do to her when she finds out her husband has been there done that as well.

Sometimes a May/December romance on soaps can work (surprisingly Jack and Sharon aren’t creepy on The Young and the Restless), or even be super hot, like Joey and Dorian on One Life to Live in the 90s.  However, Eric and Donna together are just gross with a capital G.  He slobbers all over her like a smitten schoolboy, as she expertly weaves her seductive web around him, with the net effect of making the mighty Eric Forrester look ridiculous and naïve.

Once Stephanie returns to town, maybe she can talk some sense into her husband.  Yes, Eric is furious with Stephanie now, and with good reason (she was an inadvertent accomplice in Brooke’s rape), but Eric has always known Stephanie for who she is and loved her in spite of it, or maybe even because of it.  Stephanie has always been an overprotective mama bear when it comes to her kids, and this aspect of her personality is never going to change.  If Eric decides he can’t take living with Stephanie anymore, let’s have it be because of Stephanie’s misdeeds and not because Eric is having a mid-life crisis in his pants.

The only way this triangle could be redeemed is if a rejected Stephanie tried to woo Donna away from Eric for herself.  Donna has better chemistry and more heated exchanges with Stephanie than she has ever had with Eric.  Stephanie in competition with Eric for Donna’s affections would indeed be a storyline worth watching, and if anyone could pull it off, it would be the dynamic duo of Susan Flannery (Stephanie) and John McCook (Eric).

Nathaniel Marston and Kathy Brier, Michael and Marcie, OLTLTrevor St. John and Kassie DePaiva, Todd and Blair, OLTLBLISSFUL~

One Life to Live has outdone itself with a storyline that has been two years in the making.  When Marcie and Michael first adopted their son Tommy, it appeared they would have a happy ending and disappear from the canvas into happy family land which is the kiss of death on a soap opera.  Instead, it was the beginning of an umbrella story that now encompasses most of the cast.

In the intervening years, first viewers, and then various citizens of Llanview discovered that Tommy was in fact Todd’s presumed dead biological son.  Everyone in town seemed to learn the truth before Todd and Marcie, including Marcie’s husband, Michael, and his cop brother, John.

One of the most poignant scenes to come down the daytime pike in years was the scene between Michael (Nathaniel Marston) and John (Michael Easton) where Michael begged his brother to think like a man and not like a cop.  The great thing about this story, as John tried to explain to Michael, is that there are no good options, and someone is going to get hurt no matter who Tommy ends up with.  This is a situation where doing what’s right isn’t always “right,” and there are no clear answers.  Marston and Easton believably argued both sides of the case, letting viewers ultimately draw their own conclusions.

Of course, everyone in Llanview has an opinion and a stake in the outcome of this custody battle.  Todd has a life with his son to gain, and is supported by his wife Blair, and his children Starr and Jack.  He also has his niece Jessica, and Blair’s Aunt Dorian, in his corner.  In the McBain camp are basically the rest of town, including Blair’s cousin Adriana, Rex, Roxy, Christian, John, Marty, and Lindsay, who wanted Tommy to stay with the McBains so much that she killed a man to protect their family and its secret.

Tommy’s custody pits family member against family member and friend against friend.  Cousins Blair and Adriana are on opposing sides, as are teacher Marcie and her pupil Starr.  John (who is dating Marty) and Cole (Marty’s son) want different things.  Former lovers John and Natalie, who is Todd’s niece, are vested in different outcomes, and so are former friends Blair and Marcie and Todd and Rex.

This story works on many levels.  Not only because family and friends are turning against each other, but also because there aren’t any bad guys.  Todd thought his baby was dead.  Marcie and Michael thought Tommy’s parents were dead.  Everyone has a valid reason for wanting to keep the child, and each character’s personal motivation isn’t any less compelling than the other’s.

The acting has been first rate throughout this storyline.  Not only have Marston and Easton shined, but Kathy Brier (Marcie) finally has the chance to shed her sweet aw shucks persona and dig her teeth into some meaty material.  Trevor St. John has been captivating as viewers alternate between loathing Todd and loving him.  Kassie DePaiva has never been better as Blair struggled with her conscience to do what was right, but ultimately sided with her man for better or worse.

The court room scenes, first for Lindsay’s trial and now for the custody battle, have been riveting and made great use of most of the cast.  The tension is only increasing as Marcie discovered her husband has known the truth for a long time and didn’t tell her, and Todd and Blair fight the good fight as newlyweds (for the 7th time).

Even though this plot has been unfolding for two years, it could easily go on for another two, thanks to its intricately woven details.  OLTL should be a shoo-in to win the Emmy next year for Outstanding Writing because of this beautifully written, complex and multi-layered story.


Lesleyann Coker, SoapdomLesleyann 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.