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ATWT: Soaps’ most controversial love triangle is a hit

Incisive scrutiny is a survival tool soap fans have mastered and relied on because we’re often instructed how to feel about a storyline instead of allowing love stories to naturally progress. Falling in love with a couple as they fall in love is one of the most beautiful and more natural experiences in daytime TV, but often, soaps are impatient and force-feed us the destination instead of inviting us along on the journey.

Not sure what was in the soap water this past week, but a plethora of new love stories on had me swooning: The fight for Holden’s heart on As The World Turns required some suspension of disbelief in the beginning, but last week, I admit I fell for this burgeoning love triangle hook, line and sinker. Who can blame Carly, really; Jon Hensley is McDreamy from those beautiful, sad eyes to the tips of his toes.

Emmy winner Maura West and Carly have been reborn after suffering through a contrived breakup with Jack last year. West is finally being written like the misunderstood vixen she was born to play, especially during her unexpected romp with Holden in New York. Later, when Holden confessed to Lily he was having an affair with her best friend, Noelle Beck finally morphed into Lily, a new Lily, but Lily all the same. Simply put, Beck was heartbreaking. And Hensley was no slouch in the acting department either. He has another real shot at winning an Emmy Award next year if the idiots in charge pay attention.

Most notably, this love triangle makes karmic and cathartic sense. For years, Holden has bullied Lily into becoming a Stepford Wife (what is it with these prehistoric Snyder men?). And now, the former stable boy is learning quite brilliantly that no one’s perfect, most of all him.

When P&G hires a capable and honest publicity department, my first request will be to interview head writer Jean Passanante. Do we even know what this woman looks like? Does she even exist? I’m dying to ask how she can be brilliant one minute, and so bad the next? ATWT has to be the most frustrating show to watch on the planet! These days, however, it’s been a sheer joy to watch with the exception of the Paul-Meg and Chris-Alison disasters.

The only problem with this storyline is I can’t help but wonder how it would all play out if Martha Byrne were playing cuckolded Lily.

Top 3 Actors to Watch:

1. Eric Braeden (Victor, Y&R)

2. Jon Hensley (Holden, ATWT)

3. Phil Carey (Asa, OLTL)

Top 3 Duos to Watch:

1 Victor and Sabrina, Y&R

2. Reva and Josh, GL

3. Holden and Carly, ATWT

—tie — Owen and Felicia, B&B

Top 3 MIA Actors:

1. John Enos on Y&R as Bobby Marsino

2. Hunt Block on ATWT as Craig Montgomery

3. Larry Bryggman on ATWT as John Dixon

Top 3 Soap Moments To Watch:

1. Thursday: ATWT’s Luke and Noah discuss who’ll be the bottom and the top when they finally “do it” in 10 years. Personally, I think it’s pretty obvious.

2. Tuesday: Tabitha pronounces Norma and Mrs. Wallace man and wife on Passions.

3. Monday-Friday: Y&R, baby!

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I guess Nelson really wants to interview Jon....the slurping is at an all time high. *cough* IMO, it ain't Jon making it work, and I haven't seen anything emmy-worthy from him yet.

I must have missed the part where Carly was "fighting for Holden's heart..." Telling him to go back to his wife is a curious way to accomplish that---especially for Carly.

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Here's a different spin on the subject from Lynn Liccardo...http://www.redroom.com/blog/lynnliccardo/don%E2%80%99t-shoot-messenger%E2%80%A6

don’t shoot the messenger…July 21, 2008

or the actor. In this case, it's As the World Turn's, Jon Hensley, who's been dodging bullets on the boards since last Thursday's (17 July) big reveal. (For those not up-to-date on this fakakta Carly-Holden storyline, look here and follow the links within.)

It's not that bad acting and bad writing are mutually exclusive; in combination, it's not a pretty picture. It's just that sometimes it can be easy to mistake bad writing for bad acting.

Re Hensley's acting, most of the on-line complaints are variations on a single theme: "He can't emote." I don't that know he can't emote, but he doesn't emote; he listens, in fact, some of his strongest acting is when he's not speaking, but listening and reacting silently. For those of us who appreciate subtlety and subtext, that's a good thing. But it does make Hensely something of an anomaly among soap actors. In a recent Soap Opera Digest piece on the Daytime Emmys, critic, Michael Logan, pointed to Hensley as the kind of quality actor whose subtle style eludes those judging Emmy reels, on the rare occasions they actually get nominated.

In a lot of ways, Hensley reminds me of Kyle Chandler, who, once again, was not nominated for a primetime Emmy for his work in Friday Night Lights. A few weeks back I talked about Ginia Bellafante and her disdain for soap actors here. But this quote from that piece in the Times, "Kyle Chandler, an actor viscerally aware of his character's psychological limitations," very much applies to Hensely, and the current situation his character faces.

A little recap: Holden returns home from a supposed business trip. Before he sets his bags down, and apropos of absolutely nothing, he confesses to his wife Lily, not just that he's having an affair, but with whom, her best friend, Carly. Here's a typical board response from soapfan on Media Domain: "I just did not feel Thursday's show. Holdumb really is a cad and a half for giving up Carly's name so easily." She goes on to characterize Hensely as, "a crappy actor, he looked like he was just spitting out lines he memorized without putting any emotion or ‘acting' in it." The response from Bertha: "I thought Holden did an incredibly stupid thing. What was he thinking?"

The last line says it all. No one watching knew what Holden was thinking, and that includes Jon Hensley, which is why he seemed to be "just spitting out lines he memorized..." As I said at the beginning: "sometimes it can be easy to mistake bad writing for bad acting" This would be one of those times.

All actors need to be able to find the emotional beats in the script, especially actors who don't "emote." In the over 20 years Jon Hensley's been on ATWT, the writers have provided him with some wonderful material, in particular, his scenes with Liz Hubbard and Holden's children. So clearly, there are writers on the team who can write to his strengths. But, not this time. Setting aside the amphetamine-fueled pacing of this story, the Lily-Holden scenes in the 17 July episode were among the worst-written I've even seen. Filled with recap, the sole purpose of the scenes was to inform Lily of the affair, thereby moving the plot forward. But, the dialogue provided no opportunity to plumb the long emotional connection between these two characters.

There been a lot of talk about the fact that Lily is now played by Noelle Beck, who's barely been on the show two months. The recap-filled scenes did her a real disservice, as well, and as a poster on Television without Pity noted, "I think the reveal scenes regarding Holden and Carly would have played out much better if Jon Hensley had been given more time to adjust to NB's version of Lily."

The reason for all of this - I was wrong - you can't set aside the pacing. If writers had allowed this story the necessary time, everyone would know why Holden did what he did. (Actually, if this story wasn't so contrived, and there was some anticipation and all that other good soap opera stuff, Lily would have found out in a more dramatic, less obvious way, but that's another post.)

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See I think Hensley was a better actor at the beginning of his time at ATWT. His acting on Thursday was pretty bad. I think part of it is not having Martha to play off of. But Hensley should have known he had to bring it to sell this crappy storyline. And he didnt bring it. The scenes fell flat. I cant believe Goutman and Co. didnt see it during taping. But to be honest Hensley bad acting has been going on for some time. The scenes with Maura were so bad as well.

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OLTL at 40: Ridiculous, Repetitive, and Righteous!

Will this 40th anniversary ever end? I feel like we’ve been talking about this damn milestone since spring! Oh right, we have. Wouldn’t it have been smarter to spread out these comebacks and homages throughout the year? This way, we could actually enjoy the storylines we’re invested in instead of being held hostage by Carlo Hesser.

Why am I not interested in watching One Life to Live this week? Because every plot point and twist has been revealed by the soap to the press! Stop it, already! The reason why I’m psyched about Y&R this week is because I have no clue what’s about to happen!

How can you pay tribute to OLTL’s past without including Judith Light (ex-Karen), the Woleks (oh, how I miss my Wanda), Didi O’Neill and Sarah Gordon (Bo’s true loves), the Gannons, Sadie and Carla Grey, and Fraternity Row/The Daisy Awards? OLTL didn’t just air in the ‘80s, you know! Moreover, when was Mendorra ever a highlight in the soap’s history? Below are a few of my burning questions regarding the current state of One Overzealous Life to Live:

Worst comeback of the year? Andrea Evans as Tina! Though I must say, Evans has never been better despite the dodgy material. She’s so polished as an actress this time around and her growth has been a highlight to watch. In the hands of a lesser actor, Tina and her Passions alter ego, Rebecca could easily be mistaken for each other but Evans has made them two distinct characters. Sigh — I heart Evans.

Wanna know what I do when I miss the real Dorian and the real David? I watch the spectacular, memorizing true portrait of Dorian and David titled Bernard and Doris (Rent it. Trust me, you will thank me and name your firstborn after me; in fact, don’t ever read my column again until you see it). After watching B and D, you’ll also realize there’s only one actress who could ever play Dorian other than Robin Strasser and that’s Susan Sarandon.

Why is Emmy winner Thom Christopher (Carlo) overacting? This isn’t Passions, brother! Tone. It. Down!

Why isn’t Marcy Rylan (Lizzie, GL) playing Sarah Roberts? I’m sorry but I could play that part what should be the role of a lifetime much better than this hair model. Sarah is Tina and Maria Roberts’ offspring, people! This imposter is not the precocious Sarah Roberts I fell in love with when Hayden Panettiere played her. Which gives me a great casting idea! Couldn’t ABC steal two more stars from their rival network? Because Daniel Cosgrove (Bill, GL) would make me cry a River Carpenter on OLTL. Hello — that’s another Lord-Cramer feud waiting to happen if Sarah and River fell in love.

Wouldn’t it have been hilarious if Mia Korf (ex-Blair) did a cameo of some sort since she was involved in the oddest recast in daytime history?

How long is Kevin Spirtas (Jonas) sticking around? This character belongs in Harmony, not in Llanview.

Want a break from this tirade? OK, here it is: isn’t the dialogue on OLTL still the best in the business?

The reason why head scribe Ron Carlivati can’t write camp? Because he’s talented, dammit! The very definition of camp is when bad writing and bad acting accidentally merge to create an entertaining spectacle. Trust me, the king of camp, The Bold and the Beautiful’s Bradley Bell really thinks he’s writing Emmy-worthy material!

Remember that BE/CE/DE/EE takeover? I really thought Carlo Hesser was the mastermind! Carlo lost the love of his life, Renee to Asa. And the best revenge would have been stealing the deceased patriarch’s company instead of playing cat and mouse with Cristian and Sarah.

After successfully getting Lindsay off from murdering Spencer, why would Ron C. burden Lindsay — and us — by positioning her back to ground zero? With all my heart, I thought Ron was going to surprise us by having Bo finally grow a couple and tell Nora off and marry Lindsay despite the truth. If that had happened, Bo would have finally realized everyone’s human and in that moment, he would have finally overcome his daddy complex and his infuriating righteousness (don’t even get me started on that hypocrite Nora). Alas, I was wrong. Remember when Bo used to be a confident, independent hero in the ’80s? Also, why is everyone forgetting that Lindsay saved Blair from being raped by Spencer? In Llanview, the women are tarred and feathered for their crimes, while the men score a get-out-of-jail-free card, like Jared. And p.s... where the hell is Timothy Stickney (R.J.) during this embarassing debacle?

Wasn’t the incomparable and classy Catherine Hickland (Lindsay) the only saving grace in that story mess? I love her more than words can ever express. Hickland has no idea how fiercely talented and deliciously malicious she is!

Another break from the rant of the decade? No one, no one does a location shoot better than OLTL.

Why hasn’t Viki realized Tessica is back? Hello, stupid much?

Who deserves an Emmy next year? The OLTL editing team!

OK, back to my rant… why was I overjoyed when Viki died in that car crash? I only wish Nora was in the car, too!

Wouldn’t it have been more inspired and creative if Dorian and Viki were slipped ecstasy like Frances Conroy on Six Feet Under? Imagine that conversation!

Why do I want to strangle that little s---, Shane?

Next week on OLTL? Dorian is Viki’s father! And Lindsay is Clint’s father! And Rex is Cord’s father! And Cole is Todd’s father! Discuss… but don’t call me because I’m busy watching Y&R.

GH: Killing off Logan

Do I really have to explain killing off a promising legacy character such as Logan Hayes and firing a big find like Josh Duhon? Yeah, I thought not. Personally, I don’t understand Brandon Barash’s (Johnny) appeal… and if anyone should have had a knife rammed into him over and over again, it’s the mob punk.

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I'm not a regular watcher and not as invested in the show like lots of peeps are here. I do think "That Triangle" (and Margo catching Emily in her bra and panties in her kitchen) are giving ATWT a whole lot of buzz right now. If Martha Byrne were still playing Lily, the buzz might even be greater.

^^ And woah, Nelson is certainly turning on OLTL.

ITA with him on Josh Duhon's firing and killing off Logan. Boneheaded move by Mob Hospital.

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