August 18, 2009 — Part 1By Mala Bhattacharjee Posted: Aug 18, 2009
Good soap isn't just about one thing or the other. Truly good soap is a collaborative effort between talented writers, actors, directors and crew. If even one of those elements is off, it does make a difference. You can have the best script in the world, but a weak actor may not be able to sell it. A stellar actor can sell dreck, but you still know it's dreck. And sometimes, the right camera angle is all you need to make a scene resonate...and the wrong one is all you need to make a viewer seasick!
And all of that pontificating on my part boils down to yesterday's OLTL being incredibly watchable. I loved Blair and Cris talking at Capricorn, Bo, Nora and Matthew at the courthouse, and Roxy reaching out to Rex. Heck, I hate having to admit this, but Stacy and Kim cracked me up as they compiled the list of Stacy's baby daddies. And, of course, there was Kyle and Fish. Of course.
The Serenity Springs locker room, with its tight, cramped quarters proved to be the perfect reflection of Oliver's discomfort with his own skin, and the camera emphasized how much bigger he is than Kyle ... if only so the script and the actors could showcase that physical strength had no bearing on how emotionally weak he felt. Fish's verbal denials of his pull to Kyle was accompanied by the fear and heartbreak in Scott Evans' expressive eyes. And Kyle's hoarse, fierce whisper and the way he physically reached out to Oliver, acknowledging how difficult this struggle is for him, was wrenching.
It would be so easy to write these scenes flat, with both characters being selfish and only concerned with their own needs. But Kyle was willing to put his feelings aside for Fish, whose own compassion took the form of how desperately he held into Kyle's hand and leaned in to his touch. That's the kind of thing that only enriches a story that's already being told well.
And while I'm flailing over story and grounded characters and great scripts, I have to talk about B&B's Bill Spencer, Jr. When did Don Diamont become my Kryptonite? Never having been a Brad Carlton gal — not even when he was in badass Navy SEAL "I will snap your neck with my thighs" mode — I am flummoxed by how Bill has gotten under my skin. Just like he's gotten under Katie's.
Diamont's Bill has this wonderful combination of confidence, arrogance and tentative vulnerability.
Bill: When I say that I want something, I mean that I want it in my name: money, property, Forrester. But I don't want you in that way. I want you under my eyes. I want you in my arms. Maybe you look like a doorway to someplace I've never been, to feelings that I've never experienced. I know you're going to hurt me. That's right, it can be done. You see, I'm going to go about this all wrong, and then I'm going to drive you away. I'm going to lose you. And don't tell me I won't. And then I'll close up like a fist. And knowing all that, I still find myself thinking...I need you, Katie Logan. And I've never needed anybody.
I mean, good gravy, it's no wonder Katie's a goner!
That confession left me an inarticulate mushpile, struggling to remember what I was working on. Again, proof that when you have the right actor, the right dialogue, and a crew who knows how to showcase that combination to its best advantage, you get some brilliant results!