To both questions: I believe so, yes.
I believe both Alice and Steven had an unrealistic, idealization vision of each other, which was a major flaw in the relationship, and which resulted in all sorts of miscommunication and conflict. Alice's version of him existed a great deal in her head, which actually fit in with the show's theme of living in many different worlds, not just the actual, physical one. I adored the entire story and the characters, as flawed as they were, however. To this day, my stance is that the Alice/Steven/Rachel storyline represented daytime TV at its very best. That being said, I also appreciated the independent, stronger character of Pat Kendall, whom I saw as a grown-up version of Alice Matthews.
I swear that wedding lasted eight solid weeks, not just four. It went on forever.
Yes, Pat accepted a job out of town and left Llanview in 1983, even though the show had clearly been foreshadowing a romance between Pat and Michael Zaslow's David Renauldi. ABC lamely announced that they "had no story for the actress," which was BS, because the writers were already into a new one. There was more to her dismissal than we were told.
Well, she may have been expensive, but she was also hugely popular, and the writers used her continuously and prominantly. Perhaps the "new team" that ABC would later bring in, after JC was axed, wanted her gone. Anyway, it was a stupid mistake to write her off. The show had already lost rhe powerhouse, Judith Light. OLTL needed to hang on to its most popular other stars.
Yes, Karen Wolek revealed the truth during her breakdown on the witness stand in Viki's murder trial. Talbot tried to deny it, but it was clear he was lying. Pat went berserk and attacked him physically. That material on on youtube.
Erica was beloved by virtually the entire audience, good stories or bad. She never dismantled the show. Sonny, not so much. You don't have to like her, but that's the way it was. The reaction to Babe. the Careys, Ryan, etc. in those years was far more negative and tethered to what Brian Frons and Megan McTavish did to the show.