My attention has not been 100% on General Hospital lately.
And not just because the last few days have been kind of excruciating. Although they totally have! (Like, I did not think it was possible that Garin Wolf could make Sonny more repulsive than Bob Guza did, but ahahaha… I was wrong. So very, very wrong. Congratulations? I guess?)
No, the real reason is that I’ve been seduced by another soap. I swear I didn’t mean to! But there are two Todds in Llanview. Two Todds! How’s a girl supposed to ignore soapy goodness like that, I ask you?
This is what I love about this genre, honestly. Because I haven’t watched One Life to Live regularly in over a decade. But I was still able to tune in for the big Todd reveal and follow 80% of what was happening.
(History lesson: one summer way back when I was a wee 8th grader, I watched all three ABC soaps. But when it was time to go back to school, my mother made me choose just one to keep up with. One Life to Live wasn’t even really in the running at the time — it was all about my love for AMC’s Sarah Michelle Gellar vs. GH’s Karen and Jagger. And we all know how that battle turned out. Sorry, Buffy! I still love you best!)
Anyway, what’s happening now? Is ridiculous. It involves: betrayal, a retconned faked death, secret CIA facilities, secret twins, brainwashing and plastic surgery, a lot of villainous monologuing, a revisit of several major stories from over twenty years ago, and has pulled in over half the current cast in a completely organic way.
In short, it is COMPLETELY AWESOME.
So, Todd Manning! I have complicated feelings about him. One of the first episodes of OLTL I ever watched was him leading Marty’s gang rape. To say this story was formative to my young, proto-feminist brain would probably be an understatement.
And yet… he was still weirdly compelling? Then later, I got all into him and Téa even though he was still kind of a gigantic abusive asshole who treated her really badly. But Téa! So pretty and smart and I wanted her to save him from his damaged self and why couldn’t he just admit he loooooved her, right? (I don’t even know, you guys. I probably would have waxed poetic over Twilight back then too.)
Every now and then over the past 8 years or so in the supermarket line I’d see pictures of the new Todd and something inside me would rebel because… wow. That is not the Todd Manning I want to beat to death with a shovel and/or see live happily ever after in a seaside shack with a hot lawyer lady. (Feelings! Strong, conflicting feelings!)
Then recently, I heard all this bullshit through the grapevine about NewTodd shacking up with an amnesiac Marty and forgetting to mention he once raped her and boy, I had (completely unconflicted) FEELINGS about that development.
Which brings us around to the past two weeks.
I love that they’re using out of character stuff NewTodd has done like the Marty rape revisited or endangering his nieces as evidence that something hasn’t been quite right with him. Way to turn around controversial writing choices and work them in your favor, writers! And I’m sure I’m missing half the nuance since I haven’t even been watching for ten years, but I didn’t really have to know every detail of the last decade to feel his reaction in my bones when Starr confessed that he shares a grandchild with Marty Saybrooke.
But really, every part of the reveal has been soap gold: Starr testing OldTodd with trivia in prison; Jack refusing to doubt the only Todd he’s ever known; Tea and Blair leaning on each other and then going from zero to full on, old school cat fight in five seconds; Jessica confessing she’d sensed something was off with NewTodd months ago. And then there’s Vicki:
I have such a soft spot for a solid sibling relationship, and Todd’s surety that Vicki would be the one person to support him no matter what hits all of my buttons. I love their gentle bickering and her maternal care giving while still recognizing his flaws. Most of all, I love that this show doesn’t banish it’s older ladies to France or endless medical conferences or mentions on the PA.
Speaking of which, Dorian Lord is my favorite, always and forever:
That’s right, girl. You just go right on high fiving all the awesome, 70-year-old sex you’re still having!
In conclusion: I promise to return to your regularly scheduled mocking very soon. But if there’s a hint of contentment lurking behind the hate (seriously, Sonny SHOT Robin. Shot her! And then mumbled his way out the door without even an apology! Haaaaaaaaaaaate) just assume I’m still enjoying the One Life to Live afterglow and don’t pay it any mind.