OLTL Writer Sounds Off On Rape Retelling

ONE LIFE TO LIVE Head Writer Ron Carlivati is the first to recognize that the idea of a rape survivor living under her former rapist’s roof isn’t easy to digest, but in the 9/2 issue of Digest, he reminds viewers that Marty has no memory of the gang rape involving Todd, and insists that the curious relationship between the two couldn’t happen under any other circumstance. Read on to hear more about what the scribe has to say regarding Todd’s motives and his take on viewers’ reactions.

Soap Opera Digest: It’s still unclear what Todd really has in store for Marty. Why did he take this woman into his home without telling anyone?

Ron Carlivati: He made a very spontaneous decision in the moment when he realized that Marty didn’t know who he was … and he sees this opportunity to maybe start to shape her memories not only about him, but of John and Cole, who he cannot stand. Then, he starts to get something out of it. He’s got nobody and is all alone in this house, and here’s this woman who seems to be very grateful for him and he starts to be able to talk to her. He’s getting something different than he thought he might have gotten out of it. He starts to see this opportunity for redemption and possibly for forgiveness.

Digest: But that can’t go on forever.

Carlivati: Obviously, it’s all going to blow up in smoke. All the time I think Todd is thinking, “Is this all going to come back to her?” But talking to her becomes a little bit like a drug for him; he starts to get addicted to it. I think he sees this gift that she doesn’t even remember and she doesn’t see him as this horrible person. And I think you might know that it’s wrong when you have an addiction; you might know that you’re headed for disaster, but I think you push all those other things out of your mind. And I think that’s always sort of been the case with Todd. He doesn’t always worry about the consequences. I think what makes this story great is you’re not exactly sure what he’s doing. We purposely didn’t give him the talk-to so he could say, “Well, I’m using her for this, this, this and this. This is why I took her.” I think it’s more interesting to watch the two interact and not know exactly what he’s doing, especially because it changes from week to week to week. Digest: What do you say to viewers who cringe at the idea of a friendship or something more between these two?

Carlivati: I’m not quite understanding the resistance to exploring their relationship if she didn’t know. I think I would want to hear more about it. Some of that is a reaction to just hearing Todd and Marty in the same sentence or seeing them in the first day or the week of the story. I’d be curious to know if they feel that way now. She doesn’t know who he is…. I have yet to meet someone who didn’t think the rape story was the one of the best stories that ONE LIFE TO LIVE ever did, but if I said, “Hey, I have an idea. Let’s have three guys hold down Starr and rape her, what would everyone’s reaction be?” They’d say, “No, I don’t want to see that.” That doesn’t mean that we don’t sometimes tell stories that aren’t sometimes difficult to watch or shocking. They always have consequences, but I think you can’t be afraid to tell a story if it’s a good story.

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