Rating the New ‘One Life To Live’ Characters
This week, two new actors debuted on ‘One Life To Live.’ Tom Degnan is the latest actor to assume the role of Joey Buchanan, the youngest and most idealistic of the Buchanan boys. So far, Joey has returned home to visit his family for Thanksgiving, having hug-filled reunions with his mother Viki (Erika Slezak) and his sister Natalie (Melissa Archer). We also met his new girlfriend Aubrey (Terri Conn) who bonded with Kelly (Gina Tognoni) when they were seated next to each other on a flight. The irony is that Kelly has decided she wants Joey back and blabbed about their great starcrossed love for the whole flight. Then Joey and Aubrey had supposedly hot sex.
It’s impossible to tell based on a couple episodes how an actor is ultimately going to gel in a role. However, I’m not going to let that stop me from making some snap judgments.
Joey is a tough role to play because the character is so associated with the original adult Joey, Nathan Fillion, who if memory serves was awesome but not the polished star he is today. OLTL even gave Fillion a shout out in Monday’s episode when Eddie (John Wesley Shipp) hilariously told Bo (Robert S. Woods) that he knew Bo did not have a case against him because he watches ‘Castle.’
Degnan’s Joey seems young, closer in age to the Ford brothers than to Kevin and Kelly. He definitely can act. His daytime experience as one of ‘As The World Turns‘ numerous Adam Munsons is the perfect preparation for taking over another frequently recast role. However, his Joey just does not seem like he has the charisma or the sex appeal that would leave Kelly pining for him, years later. Seeing him get naked in a hotel room in his second full episode did nothing to convince me of that. He’s perfectly attractive, but so is everybody else in Llanview. He seems like a really nice guy that a woman would stay friends with after the break up, not the man she would find impossible to forget. Dan Gauthier was more swoonworthy in the few episodes we saw him reprise the role of Kevin, the Buchanan brother that Kelly’s just not that into, than Degnan has so far.
Conn, in contrast, immediately impressed me. Though both characters are perky, her Aubrey is miles away from her ATWT character Katie. She conveyed that she is a smart, sexy woman with a hidden agenda. It is tough to not only play a seemingly sweet character with a dark side. It is even more difficult to differentiate her from the rest of the characters on the show who fit that description. OLTL knew exactly what is was doing when they cast Conn in this role. My one quibble: I am not sure how I feel about her new hairstyle. The bangs are a little unflattering. I trust that the usually stellar OLTL hairstylists will fix it soon.
My bigger quibble is with the storyline. The character of Kelly has floundered since she returned to Llanview. It seems as though the show jumped and the chance to bring Tognoni back as the character she originated without having a storyline in mind. She flirted with Todd and a random British guy. She seemed to be on the verge of breaking up Rex and Gigi’s relationship. Then, suddenly, out of the blue, she decided she and Joey were meant to be. Enter the instant love triangle. So far I am more interested in who Aubrey called on the phone to inform that she had made it to Llanview than I am in Kelly’s quest to win the heart of Joey 4.0.
Y&R Meanders Through The Big Easy
‘The Young & The Restless’s‘ New Orleans location shoot is a great idea. It is about time that the show visited the city where, if local Nielsen ratings are to be believed, nearly everyone watches the show. Y&R has been showing its most popular markets a lot of love lately, most notably with all the shout outs to Canada. While it has become common for soaps to do small scale location shoots near — or even in the parking lot of — the show’s studio, a multi-episode visit to a far-flung location is increasingly rare.
The director has done a good job of showcasing the architecture of one of America’s most beautiful cities. The city’s tourism board must be thrilled that a television show is portraying the city as something other than irreparably ravaged by Katrina. Including New Orleans native Christian LeBlanc in the storyline even though his character of Michael does not have much of a motivation to be there is a nice touch. The numerous scenes of people wandering around the city may not have been scintillating drama, but they were an enjoyable travelogue.
The portrayal of New Orleans culture, however, is somewhat cliched. Sharon (Sharon Case) has already checked into a inn that allegedly is haunted, joined a funeral procession, visited both a Voodoo fortune teller and a graveyard.
The storyline is equally unoriginal. Believing that she is on the verge of losing her mind after seemingly resuming her shoplifting ways, the newly engaged Sharon decides to get out of town for a while. Adam, who is being framed for murdering his not remotely dead wife Skye, also heads to New Orleans to avoid the cops. Since Sharon is such a delicate flower, everyone she knows must find her before she falls into Adam’s clutches. Nick claims to be concerned for her safety. Given that when Sharon and Adam finally met in the aforementioned graveyard it took him approximately thirty seconds to seduce her, I think he was really aware of Sharon’s inability to say no to any attractive man who comes her way. He could not have predicted that Sharon would be influenced by a voodoo fortune teller’s ominous Tarot card reading.
On one hand, it’s an incredibly silly plot point for a character who has never displayed any kooky, New Age tendencies. On the other, it’s completely in character for the impulsive, easily influenced Sharon. I am not entirely sold on Sharon and Adam’s relationship, but their sex scene was pretty hot. Y&R’s New Orleans adventure will not go down as one of the great daytime location shoots, but it’s a pleasant visual winter vacation.