This May, ONE LIFE TO LIVE’s hush-hush storyline was to revolve around a hostage situation in which several students — presumably including Llanview’s own Romeo & Juliet, Cole and Starr — were to be terrorized. The storyline would have followed not only those being held at gunpoint (rumor has it Henry, the shy young man played by Jonathan Groff of Broadway’s Spring Awakening, was the character with his finger on the trigger) but the concerned members of the community.
And then, a real-life madman killed 32 students at Virginia Tech University.
As a result, 17 episodes of the soap had to be rewritten and taped. In a press release, executive producer Frank Valenti was quoted as saying, “Out of respect to those affected by this devastating tragedy, especially the families, I felt that it was important to remove this storyline from our show.”
We here at thetvaddict hope that some good comes out of this situation: Namely, that the people in charge of ABC daytime — most particularly Brian Frons — finally take a good, hard look at what they’re putting on the screens each and every afternoon and realize that their soaps have replaced romance with violence. This nixed storyline was an obvious attempt to capitalize on the success GENERAL HOSPITAL had during February sweeps when terrorists took over the Metro Court hotel.
Across the ABC daytime line-up, people tote guns as casually as women do purses. Soaps on the other networks also fall back on violence more often than we’d like, but none so blatantly as those airing on ABC. It is almost impossible to summon up a memory of a recent romantic event which was not marred by extreme violence: As Jax and Carly tied the knot last week, his psychotic brother lurked in the wings and Lulu was caught in the crossfire of a hail of bullets. And last November, when Luke and Laura celebrated their much ballyhooed 25th anniversary by exchanging vows again in a heartbreaking ceremony, the final moments of the hyped-to-the-hills episode featured gunfire and a car exploding.
We can’t help but think that Agnes Nixon, who created the diverse world of OLTL, must cringe when she sees the dark, brooding mess that the once proud soap has become. And we imagine that the former daytime powerhouse can’t even bring herself to watch her other beloved creation, ALL MY CHILDREN, which last week featured a gun-toting Krystal and the assassination of a character who’d spent the past few months trimming the cast.
Anybody remember when ABC’s slogan was “Love In The Afternoon?”