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OLTL Tribute Thread

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51 minutes ago, Khan said:

RE: Pete O'Neill -- In retrospect, it's annoying how the writers made it seem as if Pete was Niki's true love, when history says it was Vince Wolek.

Meanwhile, we both confused Pete O'Neil for his brother Harry, father of Joy, Connie, and Didi, lover of Dorain and Niki, so I'll correct before someone else does.

 

The O'Neil family was flawed, but remember when an entire family would get introduced?

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Were the O'Neil's introduced during that quick time Henry Slesar was co-writing with Sam Hall?  it's too bad that no one asked Sam Hall about that confusing time (the Corringtons then coming in) while he was still alive.  Of course knowing grumpy Mr Hall he woulda just said what a terrible writer Slesar was and left it at that (his comments about Gordon Russell  in Giles' book are hysterical--implying he never wrote, he just sat around drinking and flirting with women and Agnes Nixon had a crush on him so let him get away with everything, etc...  I mean the very fact that OLTL's style changed when Russell passed away proves that obviously he wasn't just HW in name only)

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I thought the writing for Niki was still somewhat layered in the '80s, even if the performance wasn't. Bits like her helping Viki recover from her stroke. 

 

The '95 stuff was when she just seemed to become complete scum. And this was also the start of inviting viewers to laugh at sexual abuse (as it was supposed to be both weird and hilarious that Niki's abuse led her to do things like try to have sex with Joey), which Ron took the ball and ran with in later years.

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One brief comment about the original 1960s DID story--in Agnes' memoirs which I've just re-read for my thesis (and, I'll say it again, are a mess), she does make it clear that she took the Vicki part of that story , and her trauma, very seriously but also saw Nicki as the number one source back then for the comic relief element that Nixon felt was so important for her soaps  (she mentions how she was able to first use comedy when writing Another World and she felt that was as responsible for the rating climb as the Rachel/Alice/Steve stuff).  Nowadays I admit I always find it in poor taste when they use DID stories for comic relief (as arguably Carlivati did)--but I also understand things were different back in '68....

2 minutes ago, DRW50 said:

I thought the writing for Niki was still somewhat layered in the '80s, even if the performance wasn't. Bits like her helping Viki recover from her stroke. 

 

The '95 stuff was when she just seemed to become complete scum. And this was also the start of inviting viewers to laugh at sexual abuse (as it was supposed to be both weird and hilarious that Niki's abuse led her to do things like try to have sex with Joey), which Ron took the ball and ran with in later years.

I must have blacked that part out because watching it when I was a teen, I got no sense that we were meant to find any of it funny.  Of course I coulda been too connected to the material as it was the first time I saw on TV anything dealing with or acknowledging the long term effects of sexual abuse which, bla bla bla, is something I can personally relate to.  Certainly I did think Higley made it distateful and Ron treated it as comedy (it's funny--again the Giles book--that the actors all praise Carlivati to the Heavens--and I think Giles is biased towards him as well--but then they have a random comment from Hillary B Smith where she says that the one time she basically wanted to disown her show she felt so disgusted with it was when Mitch was trying to "rape" his daughter while spouting bible verse and then the electro shock--however they don't make it clear to a reader who wouldn't know that that WAS during the Carlivati/Valentini era--despite the book, which I love, making both men sound infallible.

1 hour ago, j swift said:

So, we all agree that Pete O'Neil was the true love of Niki/Vicky's life; right? (lol)

 

My problem with the reiteration of the DID story was the tonal shift.  Under different writers and producers in the 1980's Niki Smith was an unintended campy performance.  Vicky would throw on a long red wig (wig buying was a previously unknown symptom of DID), look at herself in the mirror with a maniacal smile, and become Niki.  It was more similar to Samantha and her evil cousin Sarina on Bewitched.  It was a plot point in a murder story and later Tina and Maria used it against Vicky to try to hump Clint.

 

When Vicky's DID was re-introduced it was suddenly supposed to be a mental illness storyline, told with some sensitivity, about the origin of her psychosis.  However, in my experience of watching both, it seemed to silly to treat this plot point seriously that had previously been so campy.  Coupled with all of the soap DID tropes, like a sudden different wardrobe for each personality to convey the personality changes to the audience, it felt like it was underestimating the viewer's sophistication about mental illnesses.  Trying to tell a story about the effect of childhood trauma while trapped in a secret room of a mansion is a mix of silly and serious that never worked for me.  Also, unlike alcoholism stories where they are careful to make the character never drink again, or medical stories where they always showed the scar, Vicky psychosis had no effect on the characterization.  She was still  a solid citizen whom others look to for support.  Nobody ever questioned her decisions or treated her differently despite the fact that she went completely unmedicated for years.  It was another 90s attempt to try to be socially relevant but really being a bit insensitive and wound up poorly informing the audience.  

 

Then, when it was repeated a third time with Jessica it was even sillier because now the audience was fully aware of DID, and Jess/Tess did not fit the profile of a DID client.  OLTL had to learn the lesson that once you go to Heaven, the Ol' West and Eterna you should not try to tell sensitive dramatic stories with the same set of characters.

I somewhat disagree--it worked for me and I think the show DID manage to get away from the Rauch camp under Gottlieb/Malone/Griffith into *some* semblance of a modern take on the 1960s version (at least kinda...)  But I completely get your point (and remember, it was this era where I started to watch the show was a 12 year old--only seeing clips of older stuff thanks to the "Megan Death Flashback Week" :P ) and as I said, even St Nixon treated it as comedy when she was playing Nicki (although not dark comedy as Higley et al. would--Nicki just wanted to basically have the fun that Vicki, due to her father, would not allow her--nothing more or less).  I would argue though your point that under Rauch, Nicki was "unintended camp"--I have to think O'Shea at least was aware of the camp during that era.

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I don't remember that HBS comment at all! I'll have to go back and look.

 

I think the approach to Niki was in part a product of the times and the evolving public understanding of mental illness. I understand Agnes' intent and I understand fans loved Niki in the '80s, etc. But the fact is Niki and DID as explained in 1995 is exactly how they would come to be. It's not a joke, it's not funny. There is no other plausible explanation for (theoretical) DID - I knew that even as a child. It always goes back to sexual abuse, and Victor had been well-established pre '90s as a philandering man of secrets.

 

Do I think Niki could be sympathetic and somewhat dimensional - yes, I understand why fans liked that and I don't have a problem with that Niki as far as she went in the 1980s. I have a problem with her being presented as a semi-functional part of Viki that the rest of the cast of characters could all just roll with as a person in her own right. Do I think stories in the 2000s, etc. took Niki too far? Yes. They sometimes presented her sympathetically - a hallucination of Niki, the only 'mother' Tess knew, helping her give birth to her (miscarried) child in 2008 - but for the most part her stories were crass and ugly. Tess should never even have existed, and the Niki caper in 2002 may have been entertaining but should have been written for Tori. Though tbh I wanted Viki's DID completely retired after 1995. It should have ended there, period.

 

ETA: I did find the HBS quote. I would quote it but I only found out years later Jeff Giles was not happy we (mostly me!) quoted liberally from the book on here back in the day. I should have known better. I never wanted to hurt his sales, it's just a fantastic book.

Edited by Vee

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I agree with everything you say Vee ;)  Didn't know that about Giles.  I corresponded with him briefly after the book on FB and he seemed pretty laid back but every so often would take offense at seemingly random things.  Regardless, the book truly is a treasure. 

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I'm not the author of course but I thought you did a fine job of only sharing certain tidbits while repeatedly asking people to buy the book. If not for you I never would have even heard of the book. 

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I wasn't the only one, but I think overall we all posted a bit too much, lol. It's def an essential buy. I only wish someone could do the same for the P&G soaps. Kim Zimmer's book is the closest we have, and it's candid but still a bit polite/cautious on certain details.

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For what it's worth, I thought Viki and Sloan were incredibly elegant with one another, all of that camel hair and mink. The General and the Lady of the Banner, undoubtedly Viki's best match with a man of her "station".

 

 

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12 minutes ago, SFK said:

For what it's worth, I thought Viki and Sloan were incredibly elegant with one another, all of that camel hair and mink. The General and the Lady of the Banner, undoubtedly Viki's best match with a man of her "station".

 

I thought they made a handsome couple, and Erika and Roy obviously liked working together. I was mostly just surprised they were intended to be a very sexual couple as I never really felt that way with them. 

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I always viewed Vicki/Clint as a couple from opposite sides.. that realized over time that they were too different to truly stay together for the long haul.  He came from a more male/macho family where the man was the head of the household while Vicki was raised in upper society, and since her father expected a son.. had groomed her to take over once he passed so she was used to being the one in control.  I often think Meredith (if the show hadn't killed her off) might have made a better match for Clint.

 

Sloan, to me, represented what Vicki thought she should have been with.  They had a lot in common, they were intellectually drawn to one another.. but I never viewed them as a sexual couple, but a couple brought together due to friendship, mutual interest, and intellectual attraction.  In the real world, Sloan would have been her end game.. but in soap opera land.. it was Clint sadly.

 

I know Clint came in right before Joe passed away, but was the plan always to pair Vicki with Clint.. or did that come about because the two had chemistry?  I know the show tested Clint with Pat and Dorian when he first came on...but I would imagine Vicki didn't even think to look at Clint in that way for awhile.

 

 

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IIRC, the original plan was for Bo to be with Viki and Clint to be Dorian (or Pat).  However, as you say, Soaplovers, TPTB recognized the chemistry between ES and CR and changed gears.

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Am I correct in remembering that Sloan's opposition to the AIDS quilt and his homophobia toward his dead son were resolved in the course of an episode?  I recall Sloan voicing his opposition all summer, then Andrew lectured him, and he was instantly down with the cause.

 

I wonder if his quick change of mind was meant to rally support for his relationship with Vicky and make him a viable partner?

 

I disagree about the differences between Clint and Sloan.  Clint may have evolved into a jerk, but he started as a well educated journalist who rejected the macho ethics of his father. 

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Just now, j swift said:

Clint may have evolved into a jerk, but he started as a well educated journalist who rejected the macho ethics of his father. 

 

Right.  That was the central source of conflict between Clint and Asa (and between Asa and Bo).

 

Linda Gottlieb and Michael Malone made a serious error in making Clint so homophobic during that storyline.  I feel like that, plus CR's offscreen troubles that kept him away from the show for awhile, really helped TPTB lose sight of who or what Clint had been up to the point.

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