When One Life To Live began
it's “Love Center Project” storyline, fan reaction was highly negative, but I was always hopeful, because OLTL
has a habit of making the impossible work. It turns out my first instincts were correct and One Life pulled it off
Jen (Jessica Morris), Riley (Jay
Wilkison), Shannon (Danneel Harris) and Marcie (Kathy Brier) all failed classes (how convenient) following a very troublesome
school year, so President of Llanview University, Victoria Davidson (Erika Slezak), came up with a community service project
to give the students their credits while helping the community at the same time. The wacky Roxy Balsom (Ilene Kristen) was
also thrown into the project (as the house mother) following a botched insurance scam, and to top out the cast of characters,
they added several other stereotypical characters to mix with the already established cast.
OLTL head-writer Michael Malone’s
knack for writing young, explosive and diverse characters is well proven here. Their scenes where the characters interact
are endearing and witty at the same time. Ilene Kristen brings spark to every storyline she’s involved in, and nothing’s
changed here. She brings the group together with her off beat tough love and Marcie’s understanding; upbeat attitude
has helped soften the mood in the house.
Since Joey (Bruce Michael Hall)
left town following a failed marriage to Jen, she remained depressed for a while, until Riley became a close friend. He too
was reeling from a break up with troubled singer Sarah “Flash” Roberts (Shanelle Workman). They were the most
unlikely pair, but they took things slow and helped each other grow as people. Jen stopped being the town slut, and Riley
stopped doing drugs and cheating his way through college. They also found new passions, Jen making documentaries and Riley’s
music, both of which have been integrated in this storyline. When thrown into the love center project, living under the same
roof proved difficult, as they had to decide where to go with their relationship. Where we are in the story, they still haven’t
committed to anything, but Riley still keeps a distant eye on Jen and in ways is playing hard to get. Both seem afraid to
move forward in fears of ruining their friendship.
One of my
only complaints about this storyline the inclusion of Shannon McBain. She doesn’t really serve a purpose, nor does she
bring anything to the storyline. Since the character arrived on the canvas, she hasn’t exactly clicked with viewers
or fans, and I definitely think they need to cut their losses with this one. The
new characters (and actors) in this storyline outshine her, and are much more worth talking about.
On paper they
sound like stereotypes plucked right from MTV’s The Real World, but Malone and each of their portrayers have
brought their own personal quirks and realisms to their respective roles. Here’s a brief rundown of each.
Niles) – The flighty but lovable bulimic girl, who’s very self conscious.
Nick (Will Bozarth) – The sexist, homophobic job that only cares about sex and partying. He also has a crush on Jennifer,
but she of course, wants nothing to do with him.
Mark (Matthew Cavanaugh) – The closeted gay guy who’s worried about what people will think of him once they know he’s
Hudson (Tarik Lowe) – The stuck up smart guy
who doesn’t think he deserves to be there. He’s repeated said the only reason he failed his classes is because
he had an unfortunate bout with Mono. Nobody in the house really liked him due most in part to his stuck up attitude, but
he’s slowly evolving into a more likeable person.