On Friday a show I have watched on and off for two-thirds of my life will air its final episode. I’m still having a hard time wrapping my brain around it. I’m trying hard not to spoil my enjoyment of the last couple weeks by focusing on how it’s being replaced by a reality show designed to profit from women’s low self-esteems. I’m trying not to think about the fact that it will almost certainly end in a cliff hanger because it was supposed to migrate to the internet until that all got fucked up.
Instead I’m focusing on why I’ve loved the show so much. And since there’s no one here to commiserate with me in person, you gentle readers, shall have to listen to it. Here, in no particular order are some of my favorite things OLTL has given me/us over the years:
- Sassy black Mel. Okay, when I explain this one to you, you’re going to think, “That’s insane! Why is this on a list of good things.” You’ll just have to trust me, it was. It shouldn’t have been. It shouldn’t have worked, but bizarrely, it did. Back story: Sometime in the mid to late 90s Dorian, the grande diva of the show, was married to a man named Mel Hayes. A wise cracking alcoholic he was a better match for Dorian than perhaps any of her other mates (she’s had a lot, it’s a soap opera). Well he died (maybe. I think it was one of those “we never found the body” soap deaths which can always be undone, except, of course, the show ends in five days). For the show’s 40th anniversary they decided to bring him back as Dorian’s conscience; he convinced her that even she wasn’t evil enough to let her arch-frenemy Viki die. Evidently the plot device worked so well, TPTB decided to continue it. Only the actor was unavailable or too expensive or something, so they did the only logical thing: Have late middle-aged, Irish American male Mel Hayes played by a sassy young black woman. And strangely enough it worked. It was awesome. (Until they ruined it, but we’re being positive here).
- Shirtless David Fumero. Yes, yes, it’s exploitative to have a man on the show just so he can take off his shirt regularly. Deliciously exploitative.
- For that matter, Detective Price in the sauna. I will maintain till the end that if they had started inserting one scene of Max Tapper shirtless each week, we probably could have saved the show.
- Bo and Nora’s first wedding. Performed by Little Richard.
- Bo and Nora’s second wedding. Which included tomato juice baths, hair dying accidents and a touch of happily ever after.
- Dorian’s clothes. When I am… more mature I’m going to turn Dorian Cramer Lord into my fashion icon.
- Asa’s funeral. No, not the real one, though it was also awesome. I’m talking about when Asa faked his death in 2001 and all his ex-wives showed up to his funeral. It also was full of heart and inside jokes. Blair saying she was a completely different person when she married Asa (it’s funny because she was: At the time she married Asa, Blair was Asian, by the time this funeral took place she was a blonde with a southern accent.) And Natalie barging in in a red dress declaring herself to be Asa’s real granddaughter. That is also good soap.
- A ret-conned history in which Bo Buchanan and Snoop Dog are friends from way back. Because it makes me happy.
- The line “I was shooting blanks, just like Kevin Buchanan.”
- The Killing Club Killer storyline. The execution (poor word choice) wasn’t the greatest, but you have to love any time you have a serial killer story line where the villain turns out to be an evil literary agent. As if that wasn’t enough it gave us the beautifully soaptastic “I thought it was you!” scene between John and Natalie (after he thought she’d had her head shoved in a deep fat fryer. Seriously.) And it provided for the elimination of a bunch of obnoxious undergrads—which is sometimes a fantasy of mine. (That’s a joke, Big Brother)
- Roxy’s Fraternity Row fantasy sequence. I know at least one of you happened to see this, but those of you who didn’t, if you ever watched the show at all, you must find this on YouTube, because it was that awesome. Full of inside jokes, but still generally funny enough you didn’t have to get them all. And it took me from literally laughing out loud to kicking me hard in the shins and making me cry in the final moments. That’s good soap.
I could sit here all night and the list would keep growing. But I have to teach in the morning. If any of you have favorite moments, feel free to share in the comments.