One Lousy Week For ‘One Life To Live’

Susan Haskell on One Life to Live (ABC)

Susan Haskell on One Life to Live (ABC)

Susan Haskell Leaving “One Life To Live”

Two years ago, Susan Haskell won the Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Leading Actress for her performance as Marty Saybrooke on “One Life to Live.” Now, according to We Love Soaps, her character is being written off the show. I have mixed feelings about this departure. On one hand, Haskell is a brilliant actress. It’s ridiculous that she is leaving while unpopular newbies like the Ford brothers, Deanna (Nafessa Williams), Cutter (Josh Kelly), Aubrey (Terri Conn) and, as much as I enjoy her, Rama are sticking around Llanview. Marty has been part of the show, on and off, since its glory days in the early 1990s. Her frat house gang rape is one of the show’s all time greatest storylines. However, her character has been floundering since the controversial 2008 storyline in which her rapist, Todd (Trevor St. John), brainwashed an amnesiac Marty into falling in love with him. It should have written Todd, rather than Marty, into a corner. But the show opted to gloss over Todd’s actions rather than return one of the show’s most popular characters to the diabolical villain he used to be. Marty quickly moved on from the worst kind of abuse and resumed a dull romance with John that began when another actress was playing Marty.

Marty’s son, Cole (Brandon Buddy), was recently written off the show, leaving her with no connections in Llanview. However, when Marty had a nervous breakdown after John (Michael Easton) dumped her for Natalie (Melissa Archer), then proceeded to attempt to blackmail Natalie about lying about the paternity of John’s child, she was riveting. Since the truth has come out, she has been languishing in St. Anne’s. Given that half of Llanview has been in a mental institution at one time or another, it would be relatively easy to declare her cured and move her back into Llanview society, but there are no obvious storylines for her. I read a rather inspired suggestion on a message board that she blackmail Clint (Jerry Ver Dorn) into marrying her, then the two of them end up falling in love and redeeming each other, but that’s obviously not where the show is headed. It’s a waste of Haskell’s talents to leave her on the backburner.

Conspiracy minded viewers might wonder if this is ABC’s plot to get Haskell’s husband, Thorsten Kaye, to return to “All My Children.” He left when AMC moved to Los Angeles because he did not want to be away from his family.  With Haskell off OLTL, she could move to L.A. with him, and AMC could have its most popular male character back at a time when it may be fighting for its survival.  I’d like to see Marty go out with a literal bang. I hope she sneaked out of St. Anne’s and shot Todd, because revenge is a dish best served cold.

Watch Kourtney Kardashian on OLTL:

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Four Reasons I Dislike OLTL This Week

Oh, “One Life to Live,” when you’re good, you’re very, very good. When you’re bad, I have to restrain myself from chucking my television out the window. This week, you’re not just bad, you’re infuriating.

1) David and Dorian’s Wedding Is A C-Storyline on an Episode Devoted to Stuntcasting

D&D are one of the show’s most popular couples. Fans have waited nearly a decade for them to marry. David has left Dorian at the altar twice, both times against his will. The chemistry between Robin Strasser and Tuc Watkins is so great that viewers have continued rooting for him despite Watkins’ numerous departures due to his successful primetime career. Monday, they finally got married. Instead of being an epic event, it was an afterthought in a silly episode dedicated to Kourtney Kardashian and Wendy Williams guest appearances. David rushed through his vows so he could leave town again.

2) Two Newbies, Zero Interest: Deanna and Rick

Here’s what we know about newbie Deanna Forbes: she used to date James (Nic Robuck). That’s it. All she’s done since she arrived in Llanview is read his MyFace page. Here’s what we know about Rick (Austin Peck): he directs low budget porn, and tries to recruit people he meets into appearing in it instead of say, holding auditions for people who might actually want to be porn stars. Tuesday, these two characters who have been in less than ten episodes met. Rick wants Deanna to be in his porn flick. I wasn’t sure why I was supposed to care. I don’t know if Deanna is a schemer or a saint, an exhibitionist who would enjoy getting naked on camera, or a naive girl who is going to get in over her head. I certainly don’t care if Rick completes his dirty movie. It’s soap writing 101 that newbies need to interact with longterm characters for the audience to invest. This was just baffling.

3) Bad Acting All Over the Place

OLTL has a great cast. You wouldn’t know it from all of the lousy performances in the past two days. Monday, Kourtney Kardashian proved that being on a reality show is not adequate preparation for being a dayplayer on a soap. Her monotone line delivery was cringe inducing.  Austin Peck was terrible on “Days of Our Lives,” then shocked everyone by doing a great job on “As the World Turns.” Maybe it’s the sleazy character he’s playing, but his acting skills seem to have regressed. SORASed Jack (Andrew Trischitta) is far too wooden to be the menacing, complex villain that he’s supposed to be. Newbie Nafessa Williams, who plays Deanna, is green — though I’m sure she’d improve if she had scenes with experienced members of the cast.

4) Robert Ford’s Continued Abuse of Jessica Being Deemed Sympathetic

If OLTL wants to turn Robert (David Gregory) into a romantic lead, then he needs to stop abusing women. I was sickened when he tormented Jessica (Bree Williamson) until her Tess personality came out just because he wanted to keep his biological son in his apartment. I would be okay with Robert as a love-to-hate character. He is after all a grown man who seduced a high school student, and slept with a woman he knew was mentally ill and incapable of giving consent. For a few minutes, I thought Robert’s continued abuse of Jessica meant that the show has finally cut its losses and was making him a straight-up villain. Instead, he later lamented that taking advantage of a woman’s severe mental illness — and preventing the mother of his child from getting the treatment she needs to be a good parent — made him “feel like crap.” I suppose we’re supposed to find him sympathetic because he does not takes pleasure in what amounts to psychological torture.

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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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