Double The Soap Wedding, Half The Guests

by | February 11, 2011 at 2:13 PM | Deep Soap

Double Wedding Interruptus

I think the majority of soap weddings should now run a crawl on the bottom of the screen: “Ridiculously small guest list due to budget cuts.”  That would stop me from grumbling about all the characters who should be in attendance but are not.  Plotwise, Natalie (Melissa Archer) and Jessica’s (Bree Williamson) interrupted double wedding on “One Life To Live” was made of awesome.  All three — three!!! — of the paternity test lies were revealed. Thanks to Vimal’s (Nick Chocksi) decision to tell all — and Clint’s (Jerry VerDorn) inexplicable inability to get him to shut his mouth — everyone knows everything… well, almost.

Unfortunately, the wedding party consisted of only Vicki, Charlie, Bo, Nora, Rex, Gigi, Joey, Aubrey, Kelly and Cutter. Why wasn’t Matthew (Eddie Alderson) there with his parents?  Given his close relationship with Clint, and his knowledge of Rex’s paternity, his reaction would have been interesting. Todd (Trevor St. John) has always had a soft spot for Jessica.  No way would he miss his niece’s wedding.  John’s brother Michael would have flown in for the occasion. Other characters who were MIA include Roxie, Blair, Starr, Kevin, bachelor/ette party attendees Shaun and Vivian, and the rest of the Llanview police force, who would have showed up for a wedding involving three of their coworkers. Thursday’s episode featured numerous characters offering up lame explanations for why they were not there. Given the Buchanan family’s wealth and social status, there should have been hundreds of guests, and armies of bridesmaids and groomsmen, or at least a couple dozen extras. It flies in the face of soap convention, but I would love to see a wedding where the bride and groom are contending with crazy Aunt Mildred or a friend of their parents that they secretly hate but felt obligated to invite.

As it was, the guest list was limited to people who were directly affected by the paternity test reveals and Kelly and Cutter, who also needed to be there for plot purposes.  The resulting apocalypse was awesome even though it lacked the impact of the whole town finding out at once.  First, Rex and Charlie were both devastated to learn that they were not father and son. Kerwin did a spectacular job of conveying the moment poor Charlie’s spirit broke. Rex was appropriately gobsmacked, while Natalie felt bad for Rex, yet was pleased that they were biological siblings now.

Before anyone had time to fully process the information, Vimal blurted out that he also switched Jessica’s paternity test, taking care to mention that Natalie also had a paternity test. There is still a little wiggle room given Vimal’s previous uncertainty about which test he changed, but it appears that the show is going with the scenario that causes maximum emotional carnage.  Robert (David Gregory)ho appropriately has a new job dressing up as a giant phallic symbol, is little Ryder’s daddy. Brody (Mark Lawson) is Liam’s biological father.  Poor Ryder. No child deserves to have Robert for a father. The character of Bobby/Robert oh, heck, just call him Ford worked so much better when he was an unrepentant sleaze that we were supposed to hate than as an allegedly nice guy who made a few mistakes. Were we really supposed to think that because he did a competent job of babysitting Hope for a couple minutes that he ought to be a father?

I like that Jessica was portrayed as hurt that Brody kept this secret from her and appalled that he slept with her sister rather than acting like he cheated on her. Jessica is the only character who has been completely honest throughout this entire saga, and she has been rewarded with the worst possible outcome: having a child with a man who took advantage of her mental problems. No man on daytime wants to be a father more than Brody. His line that “In a couple of mi went from being a father to not being one. I had a son, and now I don’t” was gutwrenching, but it seemed clear that this couple’s relationship could be saved. Or at least it would be salvageable if Brody were not the father of Natalie’s baby.

John (Michael Easton) and Natalie’s epic implosion made me realize how much slack I had been cutting Natalie just because I like her and think John deserves whatever bad karma the universe sees fit to hand out to him. Her one little lie led to keeping Brody in the dark about the paternity of his child, kidnapping Marty and possibly ruining her relationship with her sister and the rest of the Buchanans. It’s a good argument for taking the David Letterman approach to handling potential blackmail. If she had just come clean, she would have been able to put her own spin on the situation. However, John’s reaction reminded me of why I continually wish that a piano would fall on him. “You made me go through all this. I went through it with you–the pregnancy and the christening and going to the classes. I fell. I took the bait. Every time, I took the bait, and like an idiot, I fell for it. I fell in love with that kid!”  John has been unenthusiastic about marriage and family all along. Even if Natalie had not been a lying liar who lies, all along John has acted like he was tricked into marriage and fatherhood. He brooded his way through lamaze classes. Natalie didn’t force him to propose, which he did with a distinct lack of enthusiasm. Natalie deserves to lose everyone in her life but the equally morally compromised Clint, Roxie and Rex (remember, he is keeping quiet about David rotting in a Moroccan prison so Gigi can keep her college scholarship), but I don’t have nearly as much sympathy for John as I should. Even if it turns out that Vimal was wrong, and that John is the father of Natalie’s baby, I can’t root for them to get back together.

Watching With the Stars

Brenda and Sonny’s wedding on “General Hospital” is going to have all the guests, bells and whistles that OLTL’s lacked.  It’s also getting all the promotion. ABC.com is hosting chats with actors who are going to play major roles in the wedding the week of February 21st.  The first three chats are timed to coincide with when the show airs on the East coast.  The final two are live for those of us in the Pacific Time Zone, so almost everyone will get the opportunity to chat with the cast while the show airs. Here’s the schedule:

February 21st at 3PM ET           Watch with… Laura Wright (Carly Jacks)

February 22nd at 3PM ET           Watch with… Vanessa Marcil Giovinazzo (Brenda Barrett)

February 23rd at 3PM ET            Watch with… Steve Burton (Jason Morgan)

February 24th at 2PM PT            Watch with… Maurice Benard (Sonny Corinthos)

February 25th at 2PM PT            Watch with… Kimberly McCullough (Dr. Robin Scorpio)