gwynnega: (books poisoninjest)
It is Henna Day, and the cool henna on my hair is pleasant on this warm day. It's been a way too busy weekend, including lots of apartment cleaning--but on Friday I went with my friend E. to Burbank for a One Life To Live prop sale. They had lots of (expensively priced) furniture and framed artwork that had been used on the show--but I picked up a few inexpensive items (including a framed wedding portrait of [Trevor] Todd and Tea, a framed picture of [Roger] Todd and Starr, the journal Brody kept in the mental institution, the journal Marty kept when she had amnesia, and a letter from Patrick Thornheart to his son Cole in prison!).

[ETA: Forgot to mention that at the prop sale they had giant hilarious David Vickers movie posters: one for Vickerman and one for The Boy With the Chipmunk Tattoo.]

The other day I received my contributor's copy for News Clips and Ego Trips: The Best of Next... Magazine 1994-98. Back in the mid-1990s, Southern California had a thriving live poetry scene, which Next... covered with interviews, reviews, and other features (plus an events calendar). The anthology includes my review of an outdoor Allen Ginsberg reading/concert in Long Beach (1994) and an article I wrote about the pros and cons of poetry workshops. Looking through the anthology is making me nostalgic. Nostalgic for the '90s already? That seems wrong, somehow...
gwynnega: (coffee poisoninjest)
Today is Ron Carlivati's first day as head writer of General Hospital. He has his work cut out for him--Garin Wolf left the show in a shambles, and ABC seems hell-bent on canceling the show this fall. But I am excited to see what he does with GH. I look forward to seeing how he writes for Anna and Robert and Holly, and how the soon-to-arrive OLTL characters mesh with the canvas.

spoiler )

gwynnega: (books poisoninjest)
I've finished the new chapter 17 of the Jo book, and am working on chapter 18.

Word count: 51,657

Page count: 180

It's coming right along (though never as quickly as I would like!).

***

The OLTL finale was brilliant, especially the part where spoiler ). I think I'm currently in denial--I half-expect to have a new episode of OLTL to tune into on Monday. Instead I have until sometime in February to wait for Carlivati & Valentini's General Hospital to kick in (with OLTL characters showing up).

Here's a great article about former OLTL writer Michael Malone. It concludes: "as to whether One Life to Live will indeed live again, he remains optimistic: 'You never know, people might get tired of watching people diet.'"


***

I've been dealing with some stubborn hip/leg pain that is making this holiday weekend a bit less relaxing than it otherwise might be. Ugh.

***

I hear this week's Supernatural was a good one? I guess I'd better watch...
gwynnega: (Default)
From today's very meta One Life To Live, here's perhaps the definitive statement about soap operas, as Victoria Lord talks about the end of One Life To Live Fraternity Row:

gwynnega: (Default)
...but that probably won't be today.

Monday was the first day on the job for General Hospital's new head writer Ron Carlivati and executive producer Frank Valentini (who both made the jump from One Life To Live). Yesterday it was announced that Tristan Rogers will be reprising his role of Robert Scorpio on GH (joining Finola Hughes as Anna Devane). Robert and Anna are two of my all-time favorite GH characters (and there are rumblings that other favorites will return).

Then today it was announced that four OLTL characters--Todd, Blair, Starr, and John McBain--are crossing over to GH!

If this were happening under the previous craptastic writing regime (still currently airing), my reaction would've been: Ugh, don't get any icky GH on these fine OLTL characters! But I have confidence in Ron Carlivati's ability to turn GH around.

Of course, ABC will probably still cancel GH later this year, even if its ratings go up. But at least Carlivati and Valentini are doing everything they can to give it a fighting chance. And if it does go off the air, at least its final months will be enjoyable (which is more than I can say for the past many months!).
gwynnega: (Default)
From the NY Post: NYC's soap bubble bursts: As 'One Life to Live' goes off the air, an era ends for Gotham's most over-the-top storytellers

If One Life To Live weren't going off the air on Friday, I would be happily rhapsodizing over yesterday's episode, in which Viki and other characters are caught between heaven and hell with such returning (but currently dead) characters as Megan, Luna and Gabrielle. I'm still going to rhapsodize over it, but it's a bitter pill to swallow that next week, at the top of its game, this beautiful, 43-year-old show will be replaced by yet another lifestyle talk show.

I love how easily OLTL slips into fantasy mode. Someone who's watched this show a lot longer than I have could write a fascinating essay about its various forays into time travel (during SOAPnet's recent OLTL marathon, I saw one of the eighties episodes where the Buchanans travel back to the Old West), Viki's three trips to heaven--and I guess I could count the Manchurian Candidate-ish Tale of Two Todds as fantasy.

Much as I hated Crystal Hunt as scheming stripper Stacy Morasco, I cheered when she (well, her spirit) reappeared on Monday to try and usher Clint into hell--and cheered again when she (and the spirit of cheerfully vile Eddie Ford) dragged villainous preacher Mitch Laurence to hell. Actually I felt a bit sorry for Roscoe Born's Mitch...maybe because it looks like this really will be the last we see of him.

gwynnega: (Default)
Here's a great Michael Logan interview with Erika Slezak: Erika Slezak Goes to Heaven One Last Time on One Life to Live

And how is it possible there's only week left of One Life To Live? Gah. This week's episodes have been so much fun, with an epic prison break releasing a whole bunch of OLTL's criminals to wreak mayhem. Among said criminals: Roscoe Born as creepy preacher (and purveyor of the iced tea of evil) Mitch Laurence! And today it was revealed that spoiler! )

As Sara Bibel said in her Deep Soap column today: "This is the first time in soap history that a show is ending on such a creative highpoint. The final weeks of AMC were great, but they were all about fixing the damage that had been done to the show. OLTL has been, on the whole, good for the past few years and great in 2011. When I watched the New Year’s Day marathon on SOAPnet, I was struck that the current OLTL is as good as the episodes of the 1990s. I can’t say that about any other soap. If I did not know that the show was going to be ending in a week, it would seem like it was launching a lot of major storylines. Granted, at the time the finale was filmed, everyone involved believed the show would continue, but this feels so different than all of the times I have watched the lowest rated soaps on the air essentially raise the white flag, give everyone a thrown together happy ending, and fade to black. The circumstances surrounding the cancellation of OLTL are unprecedented and it’s a shame that nobody outside of the soap fandom is paying any attention."

To which I can only add: Damn, I will miss this show. And if ABC thinks I am ever going to watch The Revolution (despite Tim Gunn's presence), they are sadly mistaken.
gwynnega: (coffee poisoninjest)
It is Henna Day as well as the first of the year, and the henna is on my head. I'm watching the One Life To Live tribute marathon on SOAPnet (currently an episode from the early nineties). For brunch I had scrambled eggs and caviar. A good start to the new year.

A very happy 2012 to you all.
gwynnega: (Default)
I'm not loving the new LJ changes (though I gather I'm not seeing a lot of 'em, because I force my default style on everyone's comments pages).

In a few hours, I will be on vacation. Yay!!! Happy Hanukkah to those of you who celebrate.

In a few weeks, One Life To Live will be off the air. Waaaah. But in the meantime, OLTL continues to be such a delight. Monday's entire show was devoted to Roxy's dream of finding herself in the world of Fraternity Row (OLTL's soap-within-a-soap). I could write pages about this hilarious episode, which pokes fun at OLTL's Two Todds storyline and DID storylines ("an unfortunate non-hereditary ailment I inherited from my mother") and the gratuitously shirtless Ford brothers (here called the Mazda brothers), and which features bravura performances by pretty much everyone involved, including Erika Slezak as sweet housekeeper Gilda (with Frau Blucher German accent) and her malevolent alter-ego Matilda, and Roger Howarth as the mulleted Dash Dunning (who may not actually be the Real Dash Dunning). And the end of the episode turns on a dime from the hilarious to the bittersweet, as Roxy and David walk through the empty studio corridor after Fraternity Row's final taping...

gwynnega: (Default)
Here's a great Michael Logan interview with Ilene Kristen (One Life To Live, Ryan's Hope, the gal in my default icon) on OLTL's cancellation and the Prospect Park fiasco.

In other news, we're supposed to have another bout of Big Old Winds here in LA. If my power goes out again, I'm gonna be pretty cranky.
gwynnega: (Default)
In which Prospect Park continues to degenerate from heroes of the soap genre to mustache-twirling villains: yesterday Variety reported that Prospect Park is still shopping One Life To Live and All My Children. The kicker: "one of the options Prospect Park is said to be considering is bringing in an overseas firm to turn the shows into a co-production. That may or may not allow the shows to circumvent the unions, which couldn't come to terms with Prospect Park on compensation for talent on both sides of the camera."

I.e., Prospect Park may be hoping to do some union busting. This would be 1) disgusting and 2) stupid, because none of the actors, writers, crew, etc. for these shows would opt for a non-union deal. For a great, scathing take on these developments, here's a post by Lana Nieves: Occupy Your Conscience.

Meanwhile, as OLTL hurtles towards its final episode (which airs on January 13th), it is engaging in some awesome meta. On Tuesday there was a brilliant and hilarious episode in which the whole town watches Fraternity Row, the soap within the soap which originally appeared on OLTL in the eighties. Various OLTL characters reel at the show's plot twists. Then, at the end of the episode, Roxy (Ilene Kristen) reels to discover the soap has been canceled! On yesterday's show, Roxy begs Clint Buchanan to resurrect the show, but he mouths ABC's party line that the show's time has come (even though he was watching the show with the rest of the town the day before, delivering my favorite line of the episode: "These damn writers are messing with my Brianna!"). Roxy tells him not to be so condescending and storms off to save her beloved show.

gwynnega: (Default)
It's been a very aggravating week for me, but a fantastic week for what's left of ABC Daytime. On Thursday it was announced that OLTL head-writer Ron Carlivati and producer Frank Valentini are taking over the helm at the currently craptastic General Hospital. The dreadful Garin Wolf will be demoted to script writer. I'm very surprised--I had fully expected ABC to let Garin Wolf drive the show into the ground. It may be that ABC fully intends to cancel GH next year and merely wants it to go out on a high note. Even if that's true, I'm thrilled at the prospect of what Carlivati and Valentini will do for my once beloved show. I wonder if they will be able to convince Jonathan Jackson and Kimberly McCullough not to jump ship. Unfortunately, it'll be awhile before any Carlivati-penned episodes will air, and there'll be more Wolf lousiness to wade through in the meantime.

Then yesterday soap-killer Brian Frons, who presided over the destruction of ABC's soaps and SOAPnet, announced he was stepping down from his position as head of ABC Daytime. And there was much rejoicing.

argh

Nov. 23rd, 2011 12:11 pm
gwynnega: (Barry Ryan)
'One Life To Live' and 'All My Children' dead: Online plans canceled

At least OLTL will go out on a high note in January (unlike General Hospital, which is being gutted beyond recognition). I still hope someone else tries to pick up OLTL, but it doesn't look good at the moment.

ETA: Prospect Park Announces Suspension of Effort To Bring ALL MY CHILDREN and ONE LIFE TO LIVE Online
gwynnega: (Default)
I guess I'll start with the bad/the ugly, which, as usual these days, is General Hospital. Recently I ranted about the show's execrable misuse of Robin Scorpio's HIV storyline. Unsurprisingly, Kimberly McCullough, who has played Robin on and off since the mid-1980s, is opting to leave the show. She has a burgeoning directing career, but Jason Thompson, who plays Robin's husband Patrick, revealed recently in an interview that he and McCullough were deeply unhappy about the recent storyline, and that McCullough nearly chose to walk rather than play it--so I'm assuming the crappy writing is a factor in her departure. With Jonathan Jackson leaving too, I have a palpable sense of what was left of GH's soul leaving the building. (Michele Val Jean, the member of GH's writing team who should have been made head writer instead of the floundering Garin Wolf, has also jumped ship, and is now writing for The Bold and the Beautiful.)

Also in the realm of the bad: last week One Life To Live finished taping its shows for ABC. OLTL, which is in excellent creative shape, goes off the air in January. Now there are rumors that Prospect Park, which is supposed to continue the show online, is having budget problems, and that there will be a delay in getting the new OLTL off the ground. I really hope it's only a delay.

The good: Days of Our Lives, which was craptastic until recently, has been improving by leaps and bounds, and now they've kicked the show into high gear by reigniting the love/hate pairing of Sami/EJ. I can only compare them (and their sex scenes yesterday) to season six Buffy/Spike. The scenes also gave a nice nod to show history, in that Sami's son Will (who is about to have a major coming-out story) walks in on his mother cheating with EJ, just as, almost twenty years ago, teenage Sami walked in on her mother cheating on her dad (resulting in years of Sami mayhem).

Also good: I know I have some As the World Turns fans on my FL, so for those of you who may not know about this: there is now an ATWT five-DVD boxed set and a Christmas in Oakdale single DVD for sale. I'm hoping this will be a trend, and that more classic soap stuff (besides Dark Shadows, which is already available in its entirety!) will be released on DVD.
gwynnega: (coffee poisoninjest)
[Well, I started writing a post about random stuff, but apparently I had another anti-GH rant in me, even though I already ranted about it recently!]

Weather: We're mostly been having Actual L.A. Autumn, and are supposed to have some rain tomorrow.

Writing: I'm in a good mind-set re: the Jo book, i.e., totally engrossed by it. (When I'm not in a good mind-set re: the Jo book, I think: OMG I am STILL writing That Damn Book?) Looking forward to working on it a lot this weekend.

One Life To Live: Awesome. With each passing day it becomes more clear how stupid ABC is for opting to let this show go, and how smart Prospect Park was to snap it up.

Days of Our Lives: Surprisingly awesome. Until recently it was the worst soap opera on TV, which just shows how quickly new head writers can turn a show around. Like OLTL, DAYS is doing what a good soap should--telling multi-generational stories with a nod to show history AND fresh twists. (And Matthew Ashford, newly returned to the show, is doing a tremendous job with a PTSD storyline.)

General Hospital: Sucks beyond the telling. What I said about new head writers? I didn't think it was possible for GH to be worse than it was during Bob Guza's final days with the show, but Garin Wolf has proven me wrong. For the first time, I am ready to say that GH, my GH, the show I started watching in 1980, is now the worst soap opera on TV. There are no stories on GH. There is just pointless angst, endless talking about nothing, and occasional bursts of violence, misogyny, and misogynistic violence. Jonathan Jackson is leaving the show, and I can't blame him. He deserves better. GH's viewers (those who haven't already jumped ship) deserve better. The show will probably be cancelled soon, but its soul is already gone. Still, better writing could resurrect it, but that seems unlikely at this point.
gwynnega: (Default)
We've been having a bit of a heatwave in LA--which is preferable to a hurricane, but I'm glad my A/C is working properly. I've been working on the Jo book and reading, watching new Who, etc. I'm glad to hear that my East Coast friends haven't been hit too hard by the storm.

One Life To Live continues to be fantastic. Last week Robin Strasser left the series (though I hope she will return for the web version of the show), and her final scenes with Erika Slezak (and the marvelous montage of their scenes over the decades [at 10:50]) showed that Dorian and Viki are the true supercouple of OLTL. My favorite bit [at 9:22]:

Viki: You know, Dorian, you ARE my friend, and in a very odd way, I love you, and I'm truly sorry if I've caused you pain.

Dorian: I hate you. I hate that you just said that. I wanted to be the bigger person!

Meanwhile, I think Trevor St. John's final scenes with the show are fast approaching. I hope he too returns to the web version of the series. I'm just glad there IS a web version of the series to look forward to when clueless ABC stops airing this amazing show in January.

gwynnega: (books poisoninjest)
Writing: I'm currently working on chapter 16 of the Jo book. Also last weekend I wrote a poem about Bell, Book and Candle (after watching the film on TCM).

Reading: Names by Marilyn Hacker, The Golden Gate by Vikram Seth, and Planet of the Apes as American Myth: Race, Politics, and Popular Culture by Eric Greene.

Back: My lower back recovered quickly, but now my upper back feels knot-tastic. Chiropractor tomorrow!

One Life To Live: The Two Todds continue to be the best thing ever.
gwynnega: (Default)
How I love One Life To Live. The only thing better than two Todds are two Todds + David Vickers.

gwynnega: (Default)
Tomorrow I'm flying to San Francisco to spend the weekend with a couple of friends I first met in a poetry workshop at UCLA about a zillion almost thirty years ago. I'm delighted to be escaping the Los Angeles summer, but I can't quite wrap my mind around the fact that I need to pack for a high of 63 degrees F.

***

One Life To Live continues to be entirely amazing. Today's episode was devoted to the Story of the Two Todds. Much as I love Trevor St. John (Todd of the Past Eight Years), I have to admit that Roger Howarth (Original Todd) has been magical in this storyline, especially now that he's begun to interact with Kassie DePaiva, Florencia Lozano, Kristen Alderson, and Erika Slezak. One of the great pleasures of soap opera (when done right) is how it draws on decades of history, so it's been a delight that the show has begun peppering Original Todd's reunion scenes with scenes from the 1990s (and early 2000s) of him and the same actors. There have been so many less-than-stellar returns of beloved soap actors in recent years (notably Vanessa Marcil's botched return to General Hospital, which may well have cost Bob Guza his job), but Roger Howarth's return has vastly exceeded my expectations.
gwynnega: (Default)
My Readercon report will follow (probably tomorrow, because I'm assuming my jetlag will have finally eased up by then). But first I must post about the two Todds storyline on One Life To Live, because a few minutes ago I noticed that no less than Peter Straub (who has appeared on OLTL as detective Pete Braust) tweeted about this storyline: "Oh, you know who is the real Todd. The angry one." (A joke: they're both very, VERY angry guys.) I tweeted: "How much do I love that @peterstraubnyc is tweeting about the Two Todds on #OLTL? A whole lot." Then Straub replied to me: "Oh, we love the two Todds. Both played by wonderful actors, Roger Howarth and Trevor St. John."

The story in a nutshell: Roger Howarth originally played villain/antihero Todd Manning to great acclaim. When he left the show, the character was presumed dead, but then Trevor St. John took over the role. Rather than a simple recast in which no one acknowledged the actor's different appearance, it was part of the story that Todd had had extensive plastic surgery. But now, eight years later, Howarth has returned to the show. Who is the real Todd?

Personally I want them BOTH to be the real Todd, because they're both brilliant, charismatic actors (though I think St. John may have a slight edge in the acting chops department). In these clips, they face off for the first time:

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