Kourtney Kardashian Breathes New Life Into ‘One Life’

Kourtney Kardashian on 'One Life to Live' (Photo: ABC)

Kourtney Kardashian on 'One Life to Live' (Photo: ABC)

Terrifying Thought: Stunt Casting Kourtney Kardashian Worked

I hate to out this in the universe, but I think stunt casting Kourtney Kardashian on “One Life To Live” might have worked.  The ratings are out for her horrendous guest appearance two weeks ago – part of the worst week creatively for the show in a long time. OLTL was number three for the week in the all important Women 18-49 and Women 18-34 demographics, gaining +0.1 from the prior week in each.  The prior week, they were tied for fourth place among Women 18-49.  The Monday, March 28 episode garnered the show’s biggest audience of the week, with 2,581,000 people tuning in to watch.

As depressing as it is to consider, enough viewers of “Kourtney and Kim Take New York” on the prior Sunday may have tuned in to watch the reality star’s appearance on Monday to make a difference. From a strategic standpoint, this is how to make stunt casting work. The night before, the reality show chronicled Kourtney’s appearance on the soap, showing her struggling to memorize her lines and complaining about having to kiss David Fumero. By tuning in Monday, Kardashian fans got to see the resulting train wreck. It was like a two part series.

Why did Kardashian succeed at attracting viewers where James Franco’s stints on “General Hospital” and the recent crossover between “All My Children” and “Hot in Cleveland failed? Perhaps it is because, unfortunately, the Kardashians have more rabid fans, or more of their fans are willing to watch daytime soaps.

OLTL got plenty of bang for its buck when Kardashian claimed on the March 31st episode of “The Tonight Show” that her on-screen kiss made her feel like a prostitute.

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The quote was picked up by dozens of gossip blogs. That’s more publicity than the little soap that could has gotten in ages. It remains to be seen if any of those new viewers will keep watching the show. But if the Kardashians can help OLTL stay on the air, I say let the whole family stink up a few episodes.

Women of a Certain Age

The most compelling storylines on daytime last week all revolved around women over the age of 49 – the veterans that fans love and network executives often think are “too old.” It is probably just a coincidence, but I’d like to think that maybe The Powers that Be are starting to realize that putting actresses that are the same age as the majority of soap viewers front and center is good business.  Somehow, in a genre that is watched primarily by women, older men never seem to have problems getting major storylines – as Eric Braeden and Tony Geary can attest.

The epic confrontation between “One Life To Live’s” Vicki (Erika Slezak) and Echo (Kim Zimmer) over Echo’s affair with Charlie (Brian Kerwin) was all the richer because Echo also slept with Vicki’s then husband Clint (Jerry VerDorn) back in the 1980s. Between the two of them these two actresses have won ten Best Actress Daytime Emmys.  So it goes without saying that these scenes were a tour de force for both women, as Vicki first caught Charlie and Echo in flagrante delictico, then gave the unbearably pathetic Charlie the heave ho, then told off Echo. Slezak managed to make the word whore sound patrician, while Zimmer managed to bring a desperation and vulnerability to Echo even as she crowed about winning Charlie. It’s hard to imagine two 25 year-olds pulling off a scene like this:

Viki: Rewriting history is so easy, isn’t it, echo? Reuniting with your family. That’s not what brought you here. It was Charlie. Don’t bother to apologize because what you did was not ok.

Echo: Well, I’m flawed, Viki, but you know what? Charlie is, too, which is probably why we connected, which is also why maybe in the end, he chose me. We’re not all perfect like you.

Last week, I lauded the contributions of fiftyish Hillary B. Smith and Kassie DePaiva to the Eddie Ford murder and teen bullying storylines. The middle aged women were front and center in a week that also gave the teen characters meaty material. Multi-generational storytelling – it is possible. And desirable. DePaiva’s Blair begs an interesting question: does a character count as fifty if the fifty year old actress who plays her looks fifteen years younger?

The same quandary holds true for “All My Children’sDebbi Morgan, who is 54(!) years-old, despite still being able to pass for thirtysomething. She, along with co-star Darnell Williams is making the dark, twisted storyline that has blind Angie, who is unaware that her baby was stillborn, raising a stranger’s baby, far more intriguing than it has any right to be. She manages to make the anvil filled dialogue like “…There’s a saying. ‘You don’t choose your children. Your children choose you.’ They’re like these little teachers that come to us when we need them” poignant rather than hackneyed. I’ll take Angie over the trials and tribulations of Greenlee (Rebecca Budig) and Madison (Stephanie Gaschet) any day.

On “The Young & the Restless,” Nikki (Melody Thomas Scott), who despite secretly falling off the wagon and being pursued by a sleazy younger ex-boyfriend who is desperate to prove his interest in her is sincere, is only on a couple days a week, and is far more interesting than her whiny daughter Victoria (Amelia Heinle) or perpetual victim Sharon (Sharon Case). Here’s Nikki’s reaction to Katherine’s (Jeanne Cooper) suggestion that Nikki comfort Victor after Sharon’s murder conviction. “The man has a perfectly good trophy wife. That’s her job.” Ha!  Y&R just hired 48 year-old Genie Francis for a major storyline. I hope it is the start of renaissance for Genoa City’s mature women.

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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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