The End of a Soap Era: The Most Memorable and Questionable Plots on One Life to Live
January 13th may have been just any other ordinary day to many, but to soap fans it was the end of a long running era as the long running ABC soap One Life to Live aired its last episode.
Many fans of the show, that began on ABC in 1968, wondered if the decision to cancel the show was a mistake on ABC's part when the writing and the acting was better than ever. A rumored online relocation went up in smoke recently and left the finale with some storylines hanging. Overall, the finale was an emotional culmination of the soap's history and future beyond ABC Daytime. Here are a list of five of the show's greatest storylines and five of their less than credible ones that happened in the past and more recently. Read on to see if you agree or disagree with the list.
The Tale of Two Todds- Many fans wondered secretly if Trevor St. John, who joined the show in 2003, was really Todd or someone else in disguise. Much to the surprise of many, that was actually the case. Last year, fans were treated to the reappearance of Todd's original portrayer Roger Howarth and were given excellent scenes of St. John and Howarth duking it out for control over Manning's life. Okay, the story may have been a huge stretch in logic about Todd being kidnapped and tortured by the CIA while his surgically altered/brain washed twin Victor Lord Jr. took over his life. It was nice to see Howarth bond with his TV sister Erika Slezak and his TV daughter Kristen Alderson again in some sadly touching scenes. The show threw in a murder mystery (Victor's death) and a romance cut short by the finale (Blair and Todd's reunion) along with an arrest warrant. The true came in the very end of the show when it was revealed that Victor wasn't dead after all, but audiences will never get to know what happened next due to the cancellation.
Viki and Dorian's Friendship/Rivalry- The long standing feud/friendship between Viki (Erika Slezak) and Dorian (Robin Strasser) started over a misunderstanding and delivered some soap worthy fight scenes that would make Joan Collins and Linda Evans jealous. They've fought over money, men and many other things. One scheme had Dorian go after Viki's son Joey (then Nathan Fillion) to drive her crazy, but it ended up being a genuine relationship. The women were caught in a triangle with Clint Buchanan (Jerry verDorn) and a strange connection with con man David Vickers (Tuc Watkins). The funniest situation occurred when Dorian walked in on Viki and David in a seemingly compromising situation when it was further from the truth. A series of comedy of errors that proved Strasser and Slezak can make any material near gold. The women ended on a high note when Strasser left the show early and will be always remembered for giving Life a touch of class.
David is Bo's Son- Many would wonder why this story would be included here, because it originated from such a silly premise that involved Rex Balsom (John-Paul Lavoisier) and Bo Buchanan (Robert S. Woods) travelling to 1968 when the Buchanan saga truly began. A teenage Bo is going off to Vietnam and Asa is at the height of his scheming ways. Rex and Bo travelled back to that time period by a sheer freak accident. They run across David Vicker's mother Emma (Farah Fath) who bared a striking resemblance to Rex's lady love Gigi. This silly fantasy went on for far too long, but it brought Rex and Gigi together and gave David a connection to the long standing Buchanan clan. Instead of being Asa's son, it turned out that Rex and Bo changed history and con man David Vickers (Tuc Watkins) became a Buchanan. It was nice to see the hilarious actor add some humor to the Buchanans and be more than Dorian's better half. Another great addition to the Buchanan clan that somehow fit perfectly, even though it made very little sense.
The Liam Paternity Storyline- The storyline clearly went on for too long and was one of the worst kept baby secret ever because almost everyone seem to knew before the relevant cast members. This storyline gave the popular couple Natalie Buchanan (Melissa Archer) and cop John McBain (Michael Easton) a real complication as they dealt with Natalie's betrayal broke their hearts and her sister Jessica's (Bree Williamson) as well. It brought some drama for months to come and revealed Clint's misdeeds all at once at Jessica and Natalie's aborted double wedding. It was fitting for the big reveal to be at Natalie and fake baby daddy Brody's(Mark Lawson) wedding that never one. The truth came in the form of a piece of paper delivered by David Vickers, the dog that is. The cancelled wedding also gave the opportunity for Cord to marry Tina for hopefully the final time.
Returning Faves- The one benefit of the show's cancellation is that the show brought back some of the soap's longtime favorites to help bring the show to a close. Kim Zimmer came back as Echo and Roger Howarth's return were big draws. Erin Torpey's brief return, who originated the role of Jessica Buchanan, helped usher out David Fumero's Cristian Vega. John Loprieno (Cord Roberts) and Andrea Evans (Tina Lord) reprised their characters' complicated relationship to give fans a happy ending that they long deserved. Hopefully, this will make up for the 2008 Mendorra debacle that almost ruined Evans' Tina and was just pointless in the end. Any appearance by the hilarious Tonja Walker's scheming Alex Olanov is a slight relief as the lights went out in Llanview.
The Disappointing Ones
The Santini Saga- This mobster centric storyline revealed in 2004 that Antonio Vega (Kamar De Los Reyes) wasn't really a Vega was a blow to the Vega clan that they could never fully recover from. It also didn't help that the Santini's history was far too murky and launched Jessica into a questionable marriage to Antonio's new found mobster brother that ended a lot later than it should have. It also didn't help that Jessica and Antonio's relationship was hard to root for from the start. She dated his brother/cousin Cristian before and had better chemistry with others like the Music Box killer (Matthew Ashford) or Nash (Forbes March). This story was the beginning of the end for the once prominent Vegas who disappeared from the canvas long before the series finale.
Mitch Laurence is Jessica's Father- This storyline rewrote history and made the show's resident villain Mitch Laurence (Roscoe Born) Jessica's biological father. The storyline indicated that Mitch raped Viki on the same night she was with her then husband Clint. As a result, she had twins Jessica and Natalie (who was given to Roxanne Balsom to raise without Viki's knowledge). This revelation threw the once bright eyed Buchanan darling into darkness as Mitch constantly put Jessica into harm's way. In one of Born's later runs, Mitch kidnapped Jessica and ended up wiping away her memory among other cruel things. The finale revelation that Mitch wasn't really Jessica's father brought some touching scenes between Archer, Williamson, verDorn and Slezak as they bonded as an official family. In the end, the repeated twists and turns did very little to make this storyline memorable. It also left a bad taste in everyone's mouth after each of Mitch's cruel tricks was revealed.
Two Gigis- Many fans were shocked when fan fave Farah Fath's Gigi was killed off just before her wedding to Rex. Her death launched Rex into a revenge scheme and a new quest to find his beloved who he believed wasn't dead. It turned out that he was right. It was her scheming sister Stacy (Fath again) who perished by Carbon Monoxide poisoning and not Gigi after getting plastic surgery to look like her sister. This plot line had so many holes that a Mac truck could drive through it. How did Stacy survive falling through the ice? How did she end up in the basement with Gigi? Some of those questions were answered and left new ones. It was wonderful that Rex and Gigi got their happy ending, but it seemed like storyline rehash on the heels of the Two Todds tale. A waste of a storyline and great actors towards the end of the show.
Marty's Return and Demise- Many fans rejoiced when Susan Haskell returned to the show in 2008 after Marty Saybrooke's premised demise in a car accident. She arrived with no memory and was thrown into a stomach turning romance with Todd, one of her rapists from college, that was controversial to say the least. Marty was reunited with her son Cole (Brandon Buddy) and her former lover John (Michael Easton). Sadly, Marty's relationship with John stalled very quickly due to a lack of chemistry and a very intense triangle with Natalie. Marty's decent into insanity and a violent streak that had her almost kill Natalie and Kelly (Gina Tognoni). She was ushered out of town by Todd and reunited with her presumed dead love Patrick Thornhart. The audiences felt insulted that they never got to see Patrick and Marty properly reunite. It also would have benefited if Haskell's real life love Thornsten Kaye made even the briefest of appearances to help tie everything together.
The Ford Brothers- In an effort to add some youthful sex appeal to the show, the Ford brothers were brought on as eye candy. David Gregory's Robert arrived as a ruthless playboy who treated women poorly. He played that so well that it was hard to root for him when the show tried to redeem him. His death barely registered with the audience. Nic Robuck's James was brought on to be Starr's (Kristen Alderson) new bad boy boyfriend, but it wasn't the same as it was with her former boyfriend Cole. The addition of the third brother Nate (Lenny Platt) barely made a dent either. The show should've focused on working with the male characters instead of bringing in Calvin Klein models to take their places.
In the end, One Life to Live had some great moments and performances from some high caliber actors. Slezak earned each of her six Emmys and plenty more. Some honorary mentions were the long standing feud between Nora (Hilary B. Smith) and Lindsay (Catherine Hickland) which brought on some epic battles. The most memorable being in Viki's kitchen in the form of a food fight. One of the worst was the brief crush that Matthew (Eddie Alderson) had on Starr, who was his sister off-screen. The idea was awkward to say the least. Overall, the show glued audiences to some shocking material that included sexuality, rape and many others. It will be a shame not to watch One Life to Live on ABC anymore when it has become a staple for many. At least the memories will live on. Somehow.