This week seems to be one of endings, but the finale that saddened me most was the halt to the 4+ decade long run of the ABC
soap opera daytime drama, One Life to Live. I can't remember when I began watching OLTL. It was some time around Judith Light's infamous courtroom breakdown scene and the reappearance of slain sleazeball Marco Dane in the form of his here-to-fore unknown twin brother, Dr. Mario Correlli.
One Life to Live went to the twin well fairly often. I'm not sure if there was an instance prior to Marco being revived in the form of his better behaved twin brother (who in actuality was the one who mistakenly murdered--Marco just assumed his identity post-mortem), but there were certainly numerous examples after that. One of which was Ty Treadway coming back to play Troy MacIver following the death of his character Colin MacIver. The writers managed to get "Troy's" shirt off in less than five minute after his return to the show. Well done! Unfortunately, Troy managed to stay fully dressed after breaking out of Statesville to terrorize Nora one more time before the show's finale.
It's a popular trick to kill off a popular character and then bring the actor back as that character's "twin." One time OLTL killed off a popular character, but rather than conjuring up a previously unknown twin, the actor was recast in another role on the show. But get this--he was a walk-in meaning when the character he originally played died, his soul was transferred into the body of another character on the show whose soul had moved on. It was kind of frustrating that characters would interact with Michael McBain (even his soulmate, Marci) and not recognize that he looked EXACTLY like Al Holden.
Of course some twins come back from the dead looking totally different than the original character--like when OLTL recast Todd Manning from unconventionally attractive Roger Howarth to pretty boy Trevor St. John. Initially, TSJ was playing Todd Manning so in most cases a voiceover stating, "The role of Todd Manning is now being played by Trevor St. John" should have sufficed--but noooooooo. The writers had to come up with some convoluted back story that Todd, who had always hated the scar branding him as a former rapist, had been beaten severely and had gotten reconstructive plastic surgery that made him look like another character--whose identity he assumed for months until he revealed the truth of his real identity (and major surgery) to his daughter Star.
If that wasn't enough for fans to swallow (and we were pretty open to swallowing exceptionally far-fetched plots including time travel, characters coming back from the dead multiple times, characters going off to summer camp and coming home ten years older, alter egos, evil twins, questionable paternity, etc.), the writer brought the original actor back about six months ago and rewrote Todd's back story to include another unknown twin who was brainwashed and surgically altered so as NOT to be identical to explain what Trevor St. John had been doing for the last eight years.
The Todd/Victor story was about the only plot point left dangling when the last episode aired yesterday. At one point it looked like OLTL would have a future online, but those plans have since fallen through. Several of the actors/characters are migrating over to General Hospital, so if you still need to get your fix of John McBain or Todd Manning, you still can do so starting in February.
For those who wrinkle their noses and shake their heads wondering how people could be so invested in a "soap opera," ask yourself: Did you make sure to set the DVR so as not to miss an episode of LOST? Are you sucked into season two of Boardwalk Empire? Grey's Anatomy fan? Private Practice lover? Thirsting for Game of Thrones? I'm willing to bet somewhere on your must-see TV watchlist, there's a soap opera or two lurking...