Tuesday, July 30, 2013

TV Spot Tuesday: SOAP!

When SOAP premiered on ABC on September 13th, 1977, I was not allowed to watch it. I remember it came on fairly late at night (9:30 on Tuesdays), and I must have been getting ready for bed at that time. Still, to this day I have no idea if I wasn't allowed to watch it because of its time slot or because of its content. A few years later, when SOAP went into syndication, our local channel showed it nightly at around 7 pm or so. I was older and wiser, being all of nine or ten at the time, so I guess my parents thought it might be alright to let this kid give this incredibly smart series a go.

I have no idea what Bert is talking about, but I bet it's funny!
As a kid, I loved it mostly because Burt Campbell (Richard Mulligan) was insane and adorable. From believing he could make himself invisible, to alien abductions to becoming sheriff (!) of Dunn's River, Connecticut, it was virtually impossible for me not to grin when he was on screen. However, while Burt may have been the original draw for my young-person-brain, I was also getting into some rather heady stuff. Alongside all the infidelity, prison breakouts and baby possession, SOAP worked mostly because it understood the connection melodrama has to raw human emotion. Jody Campbell's (Billy Crystal) struggle to become not just a father, but recognized, respected and accepted as a gay man who is a father, wasn't without its bumps in the road, but was told with a lot of heart and introduced issues that many of us had probably never considered. There was also Danny's (Ted Wass) awakening to racial intolerance when he dated Polly (Lynne Moody), and the ongoing hilarious, but also heartbreaking tale of Chester and Jessica's I-love-you-I-hate-you-saga. Oh, and then there's the episode where Benson leaves. Tissues please.

Jimmy Baio = adorbs
But nothing was as tragic and as haunting for me as the death of Elaine (Dinah Manoff). In her agonizingly shocking and sad final scene, she dies in Danny's arms not long after he realized that he really did love her. To this day, I still get choked up when I think about it.

More tissues, please
And that was the beauty of SOAP, which ran for four glorious seasons. They understood how to walk the fine line of outrageous stories told with simple but very real feelings. I know most people think of SOAP as a spoof of the daytime drama, but it was really an all out glorious tribute, all done with a big smile and bunch of hearty laughs. That's good television, indeed.

Did you know there is an upcoming book about SOAP? Visit Soap! The Sitcom That Broke all the Rules for the deets.

Here are some SOAP promos:

Peter's Murder (aka an good excuse to look at Robert Urich):

A look at Elaine and Danny:

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Happy Birthday Bert Convy!

Anyone who visits my blog has probably, ahem, noticed how much I adore Bert Convy. His unflagging likability and boyish good looks have always impressed me, and he was a mainstay of my more formative years. Whether I was participating in the pop culture phenomenon of The Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders movie or simply enjoying his goofy mishaps as the host of Super Password, I have adored Bert for most of my life. However, I didn’t really fall in love with him properly until just a few years ago when I saw one of his celeb contestant turns on Password Plus, which was airing on GSN. Jaw firmly dropped to floor and amore was in the air. After that moment of oh-my-gawd-hotness, I wanted to watch and re-watch everything Bert has done.

Turns out, he was just as wonderful as I remembered and even moreso.

I found I kept turning to him in times of despair simply because he always makes me smile. He seemed like the obvious mascot for my blog because this is one of the other places I turn to when I want to shut out the world. Hey, two great tastes, right? Well, as much as I adored Bert as a gameshow host, I was only beginning to discover his work in the tele-film. The gorgeous dark haired actor played everything from aggressive lotharios to louses to second fiddle comic relief, and he was great in every role. I thought since it’s Bert’s birthday today, I would take a look at some of the TVMs I’ve seen and loved.

Death Takes a Holiday (1971): I’ll be honest, I haven’t seen this TV movie since I was but a wee Amanda By Night, but it’s one of my earliest memories of watching not just a tele-film but any film. What I remember most is the story, which is about Death falling in love with a mere mortal. This is a remake of the well-regarded 1934 film of the same name, which starred Fredric March and it originally aired on ABC on October 21st, 1971. I seem to recall that it had a romantic and dreamy atmosphere and that Monte Markham was pretty divine in his role as Death. I’ve had a copy of this movie on vhs for forever and so I should really just watch it again. Plus, Bert looks super cute in it!

Love Boat II (1977): This movie, which originally aired on ABC on January 21st, 1977, was a second attempt to get the Love Boat series off the ground. A lot of the cast members from that show first pop up here, including Bernie Kopell, Ted Lange and Fred Grandy. The film itself is pretty amusing, but also disjointed, with stories starting and ending at the beginning while others don’t start until the halfway mark or even later. I forgot about some of the passengers until they popped up again towards the end! Bert is Ralph Manning, a lothario type who attempts to court the ship's cruise director Sandy (an adorable Diane Stilwell). Despite his love-em-and-leave-him attitude, Ralph has decided that he’s ready to settle down with Sandy, but she obviously has her suspicions. He also semi-courts Donna (Diana Canova looking gorgeous as usual), so you can see that perhaps Sandy is right in her hesitation to walk down the aisle with Ralph! Forever charming, Bert is perfectly cast as the lovably sleazy guy whose heart might be in the right place, but whose libido isn’t! The other stories are great too and Craig Stevens, Hope Lange, Robert Reed, Ken Berry and Lyle Waggoner also hop aboard the horniest boat in the Pacific for hijinks, hilarity and heavy petting! 

Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery (1978): It’s so funny to me that Bert played semi-sleazy throughout his career. Since I knew him mostly as a game show host, I always thought he was Mr. Affable Laugh A Lot Guy, but he had a nice range as an actor, playing, ahem, the field, so to speak. In this film, which originally aired on NBC on November 1st, 1978, Bert revives his lovable lothario role in an effort to embody the swinging 70s in this overwrought and soapy drama. It’s not one of my favorite Bert TVMs, but it does sport a reunion for he and Robert Reed who also appeared in Love Boat II (but I’m not sure they had any scenes together), so there’s that tidbit. And Bert looks pretty damn good (no surprise). Click on title for a full review.

Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders (1979): This movie, which aired on ABC on January 14th, 1979, was a lighthearted romp that was supposed to give viewers a look into the hardcore world of cheerleading. It’s dog-eat-dog, but with more thigh muscles. Released during the era of Jiggle TV, it certainly embodied all the tropes of 70s anti-feminism, although Jane Seymour said she took the role because it gave her an opportunity to play a contemporary woman. I dare say she took the part because she got to play Bert's main squeeze, but you know, that’s how I roll… Jane plays a hot reporter who is sent undercover by her boss and lover (Bert) to infiltrate the insides of cheerleading, which is sure to be captivating for all. But all she seems to come across are a lot of white go-go boots and not much else, so Bert decides to write the article himself. Drama ensues. This was an extremely popular film, and a sequel sans Convy was released in 1980.

Ebony, Ivory and Jade: This tele-film, which originally aired on CBS on August 3rd, 1979 appears to be a pilot film for a Charlie’s Angels type show about a rich guy who works for the government and lures a singing and dancing duo into his espionage ring. They really just want to perform, but yikes, they aren’t so good at it. Bert is a bit of a goofy James Bond type and the whole affair is silly but fun, despite the fact that none of it makes a lick of sense. Bert would take on the real Charlie’s Angels that same year in the infamous Love Boat Angels episode which initiates Tiffany Welles (Shelly Hack) into the fold. It also brings Bert back to the Love Boat, but I think I’m getting off track.

Jacqueline Susann’s Valley of the Dolls (1981): Hmmm, this is a remake that misses all of the campy charm of the original, choosing instead to play it straight as an arrow, but with more neon and Lisa Hartman. Bert is fantastic as Tony Polar, the sweet actor who has a degenerative brain disorder that he doesn’t know about! This creates a mountain of heartache for Jennifer (Veronica Hamel), and melodrama ensues… and ensues… and ensues. I won’t lie, I enjoy this remake, but mostly for the cute guys and 80s clothes. I do miss the humor (whether intentional or not), but will never consider watching this as three hours wasted. Click on title for full review.

Help Wanted: Male (1982): I’m kind of obsessed with this movie. It’s got Suzanne Pleshette as Laura, the driven media mogul who just wants to have a baby. Her boyfriend Skip (Convy) is shooting blanks, so she looks to one of her employees, the uber-gorgeous Johnny (Gil Gerard) to impregnate her. Help Wanted is delightful. It’s got a breezy and fun script and Gerard and Pleshette share a wonderful chemistry together. Convy is hilarious as the sometimes overly-confident but sweet ex who fights for Laura’s hand. Of all the movies on this list, this is the one that gets the most action on my television (and for the record, the above image is my desktop wallpaper). Help Wanted was recently part of my TV Spot Tuesday series, so click on link to watch a promo and read about the movie.

Love Thy Neighbor (1984): Linda (Penny Marshall) has a tough choice to make – should she stay with her philandering husband Mike (Convy) or should she take up with her obsessive-compulsive neighbor Danny (John Ritter)? Normally I would totally be Team Bert, but after Mike runs away with Danny’s high-maintenance wife Sally (Constance McCashin), only to come crawling back after Sally dumps him, made him somehow seem less appealing. Love The Neighbor, which originally aired on ABC on May 23rd, 1984, was a runaway success, leading the Nielsen’s for the night, and who could blame people for tuning in to see two great sitcom actors (and Bert, of course) tackling the heady and relevant topic of divorce? It’s a sweet movie that is more drama than comedy, but fine performances all around and a fairly realistic script make it worth a go.

I know the Convy is no longer with us, but he left a behind a wonderful filmmography and his work and presence will always be in my life. Since he's made for surch an adorable mascot for Made for TV Mayhem, I thought it was only right to celebrate the actor/gameshow host/awesome man today.

Friday, July 19, 2013

(Re)Construction Worker Wanted: Reconsidering Joe Gerard on Rhoda

This post is part of Me-TV's Summer of Classic TV Blogathon hosted by the Classic TV Blog Association. Please visit the Classic TV Blog Association's website to view more posts in this blogathon. You can also go here to learn more about Me-TV and view its summer line-up of classic TV shows.

After the first two successful and extremely hilarious seasons of Rhoda, the writers decided that a complacent and married Rho was not in the makings for sitcom-bliss. In a December 1976 issue of TV Guide, one of Rhoda's producers, Charlotte Brown spoke about the difficulty they were having with creating storylines. She said, “Sometimes we’d sit around for days to think up a single story with some conflict that could focus on Rhoda.” This led to the third season separation storyline where Joe decides to tell Rhoda that he’s been "feeling restless" and wants the couple to live apart. At the time, David Groh, the actor who played Rhoda’s husband Joe Gerard, thought it was a great avenue to explore. In the same TV Guide article, Groh commented, “At first I thought there would be a divorce and I’d be out of the show altogether. As it is now, with just the separation, I’m getting a chance to do some real acting for a change. There were times last year when I was reduced to the role of the wife in the old situation comedies, just walking in and saying, ‘Hi, babe’.”

However, Groh’s contentment with the change in the series was short-lived. In a March 1977 interview with the Associated Press he was asked if the divorce story was a mistake. Groh replied, “Without a doubt. They’re tampering with something the public went for.” He even received letters from fans of the series who wanted to see the couple reconcile, because the separation was a “big downer.” Groh was told he was being written out because if appeared in an episode, the ratings would go down.

Rhoda had ranked in the 6th and 7th place in the Nielsen's for the first two seasons, but fell to #32 during the third season. While it bounced back a bit in the next season, the show was cancelled mid-way through their fifth year because of the horrible ratings. Losing Joe was an obvious mistake. Of course, Rhoda, the series and the character, was successful and continues to resonate with audiences because of Valerie Harper’s chaotic but pitch-perfect portrayal of the self-deprecating beauty who always felt like she landed in second place. I could watch Rhoda eat a sandwich for an hour and feel entertained (granted, her relationship with food only adds to my viewing pleasure). But the series also featured a bevvy of delightful supporting characters, Joe being one of my favorites. It doesn’t hurt that I have a pretty big crush on the actor, who embodies everything I love about 1970s machismo (also, he reminds me of my husband, whose look is also comprised of 70s finest). But aside from drooling every time he appeared on screen, David Groh made Joe charming, even when he was frustrating.

Me-TV Promo for Rhoda: 

The couple met in the very first episode, and sparks immediately flew. In one of the promos for Me-TV, Rhoda tells Joe she’s from Minneapolis and he playfully replies, “Oh yeah, I could tell from the accent.” This sets up the fun, if impulsive, courtship the couple would enjoy. Joe was all to often the straight guy, but his deadpan delivery made for some chuckle worthy moments, such as the one I just mentioned.

Joe owned the New York Wrecking Company, and often collected pieces of the buildings he tore down. He gave Billy Glass (Jack Gilford) a piece of the men’s room from the original Madison Square Garden, and once gave Rhoda bingo balls from a church he demolished. I found that small character trait to correspond perfectly with Rhoda's visual flair. They both seemed to be attracted to stuff and things (for lack of a better phrase). He lived modestly until he married Rhoda and they rented out a gorgeous apartment in Brenda’s building. He was divorced and had a young son, and his failed marriage made him antsy when it came to popping the question.

Rhoda and Joe were married in the eighth episode, which was aptly titled Rhoda's Wedding (OAD: 10/28/74) This episode was, at the time, the second most watched moment on television (surpassed only by the birth of Ricky Jr. on I Love Lucy). It was an incredible episode, probably best remembered for Rhoda running through the streets of New York in her wedding dress because Phyllis had forgotten to pick her up! The joke was repeated when Phyllis (Cloris Leachman) also neglected to pick up Mother Dexter for her wedding on Phyllis’own series.

One of the most progressive aspects of their marriage was that they were complete equals. Both were business owners (Rhoda started Windows by Rhoda at the end of season one), and the couple shared different problems but worked them out in a surprisingly mature, and sometimes perhaps in a little un-Rhoda-like fashion. Well, not so much in Mucho Macho (OAD: 9/25/1975) when the couple squared off in an adorable nerf-club match. Underneath the talks about how to make the marriage work, there were always doses of passion and humor, which of course, is totally Rhoda!

For the most part, Rhoda had settled into wedded bliss, but the show kept up with her insecurities as the couple faced various challenges. In Rhoda Meets the Ex-Wife (OAD: 9/15/1975), Rhoda handles the encounter with style and grace. Marian (Joan Van Ark looking stunning) is everything Rhoda is afraid of. It may be no mistake that Marian is close to the name Mary, as she is also uber-chic, if a lot more removed than Rhoda’s old Minneapolis BFF. Through her usual self-deprecating wit, Rhoda is able to warm Marian up a bit, but in the end, she realizes that what the ex has to offer isn’t what Joe is looking for. When Marian asks Rhoda to give Joe her best, Rhoda quips, “I’ll do better than that, I’ll give him my best!”

The tables are turned in Strained Interlude (OAD: 1/20/75) when Rhoda’s old boyfriend asks her to meet him for a date. Joe asks Rhoda if she would be uncomfortable if he met up with someone from his past and she reminds him that she is indeed uncomfortable every time he sees Marian. In this episode, both Rhoda and Joe work through these issues, and Joe is able to begin letting go of his jealousy. Rhoda, of course, continues to struggle with her insecurities and delivers a knockout monologue about the woman Joe might be with in the episode A Night with the Girls (OAD: 12/1/75). It turns out Joe was running late because of a flat tire. Oh Rhoda! We love you because we understand you. 

Yet, underneath all that vulnerability was a pretty strong marriage. In the episode The Party (OAD: 10/6/1975), the couple host a gathering. The set-up is very realistic – a bunch of people who have little in common end up at a party where nothing seems to go right. Each couple is revealed to be suffering from their own issues, but Rhoda and Joe have this chemistry that you can practically peel off the walls! The episode takes a shocking turn when Susan (Beverly Sanders), Rhoda’s old high school chum, reveals that she thinks her husband has turned her into a baby making machine. Conversely, Rhoda and Joe show off their unbridled passion for each other during a group-encounter session. To me, this is an episode that really defines Rhoda and Joe’s marriage. It feels solid and secure and sexy as hell!

However, the seeds had already been planted in the second season opener, Everything I Have is Yours, Almost (OAD: 1/27/75), where Joe reveals he has been seeking professional help because he has a hard time dealing openly with his emotions. This issue will arise in the sad separation episode from season three, simply titled The Separation (OAD 9/20/76). Joe admits that something doesn't feel right (a recurring theme throughout his run on the show) and wants to live separately. Groh only appeared in eight more episodes and the couple quietly divorced, leaving Rhoda to spend the next couple of years shooting zingers at the many new cast additions.

All these years later, and I still can’t get over the fact that Joe and Rhoda didn’t make it. In terms of reflecting the culture of the 1970s, it would be hard to deny divorce rates weren’t rising, and the series captured that. Certainly, Joe and Rhoda had a fast, whirlwind romance before jumping into marriage. But it just doesn’t sit right. In my Rhoda-luvin’ eyes, I see her romance with Joe as lovely, real and wonderful to watch. As daring as television was in the 1970s, I personally think it would have been more radical to have them work through their issues and get back together. Maybe I’m just a romantic at heart, or maybe I just see a lot of myself in Rhoda (and some of my husband in Joe) and I am blinded by their chemistry. I recently watched the Mary and Rhoda reunion movie and remember my heart breaking a little when I found out that Rhoda had a baby with another husband. Ah, what could have been.

After Rhoda, Groh starred a comedy series in 1978 with Joan Hackett called Another Day. The show was short-lived however, and Groh admits that he received mail from bitter fans who wondered why he left Rhoda! Afterwards, he continued to work steadily as a character actor. My second favorite role of his would have to be his scary turn as D.L. Brock on General Hospital from 1983 - 85. I remember thinking, "That's Joe?!?" 

Promo for Another Day: 

I haven't seen the full run of Rhoda in a very long time, but I remember enjoying the series after Joe left, although it took some adjustment. I'm thrilled that Me-TV is running Rhoda, so I can relive all the happiness and heartbreak again. Maybe Joe got tired of saying it, but every time Rhoda graces the screen I am tempted to say, "Hi, babe." 

Rhoda Trivia: Did you know that when Rhoda and Joe moved into Brenda's building in 9-E is Available (OAD: 11/11/74), they were renting from the guy who would go on to chase Harper around the desert in the creepy made for TV movie Night Terror?

I hosted a Valerie Harper Blogathon a couple of months ago. If you are interested in reading more about Harper or Rhoda please click here.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Columbo: The Most Dangerous Match

This post is part of Me-TV's Summer of Classic TV Blogathon hosted by the Classic TV Blog Association. Please visit the Classic TV Blog Association website to view more posts in this blogathon. You can also go here to learn more about Me-TV and view its summer line-up of classic TV shows.

Excuse me, ma’am.

After the success of the tele-film Prescription: Murder, it seemed inevitable that Lt. Columbo would be invited into our living rooms as often as possible. However, Peter Falk originally declined a reprisal of the cunning detective, instead choosing to focus on a theatrical career. Columbo’s creators, Richard Levinson and William Link also had some doubts about the viability of making more episodes. According to their incredible behind-the-scenes book Stay Tuned, the filmmakers claimed they were “unconvinced that Columbo was the stuff of series television.” However, Sid Sheinberg, the head of Universal Television, disagreed. At the time, Sheinberg was putting together something we all came to know as The NBC Mystery Movie, which was to feature several rotating series that would air throughout the season. Columbo, McCloud and McMillan and Wife made this format an incredibly successful venture between Universal and NBC, and while each series has garnered much love and respect, nothing has come close to the phenomenon of Columbo. It went on to win several Emmys and was resurrected in the late 1980s and again in 2003, with Falk reprising his role as Columbo one final time in the fantastic Columbo Likes the Night Life. That’s a legacy that few other shows have been able to reproduce.

A huge part of Columbo’s charm came from Peter Falk, whose crumpled trenchcoat and beat up Peugeot 43 stole our hearts. The series was also decidedly un-70s-cop-show-like. Levinson and Link weren’t interested in creating a typical series, preferring instead to design a mythical Los Angeles, where the affluent committed a myriad of violent crimes. Critics called it a “slight subversive attack on the American class system in which a proletarian hero triumphed over the effete and monied members of the Establishment.”

Creating a non-violent cop show was also a novel approach. Levinson and Link had decided, “Columbo would never carry a gun. He would never be involved in a car chase (he’d be lucky, in fact, if his car even started when he turned the key), nor would he ever be in a fight.” It was because Columbo never carried a weapon but had no problem confronting killers on a regular basis that I came to see the detective as completely fearless and extremely confident, despite the rumpled hair and pocket fumbling.

For seven seasons in the 1970s, our favorite tousled detective made us all wait with bated breath as he asked just one more thing. This was no easy feat, as the series employed the "open book" mystery format, which meant the viewer knew who the criminal was from the outset. It was watching Columbo pursue the killer that kept us coming back for more. Columbo was magnificent, magnetic in his own unkempt ways, and above all else, he was blissfully entertaining. And after all of these years, he still lingers in our consciousness.

Different Columbo episodes have yielded different results, although the show is rarely disappointing. Everyone has a favorite episode. Mine is The Most Dangerous Match, which positions the endearing detective against a deaf chess player who has attempted to kill his rival. Airing on March 4th, 1973 during Columbo’s second season, The Most Dangerous Match stands out for many reasons. First, the attempted murder was especially brutal. Tomlin Dudek (Jack Kruschen) falls into a giant trash compactor thanks to some clever footwork from his nemesis Emmett Clayton (Laurence Harvey, who died just a few months after the episode aired). The idea of what Clayton had attempted to do has always haunted me. It is so utterly heartless, especially considering how gentle and kind Dudek appears to be. Second, for whatever reason, this is the episode I remember best from my childhood. I couldn’t have known it at the time, but I grew up and became somewhat fascinated with Harvey’s low-budget cannibal exploitation flick Welcome to Arrow Beach. He finished the film as he was dying, and it stands as a unique, bizarre and strangely moving swan song for the actor-come-filmmaker. I also fell in love with Kruschen in another exploitation film called Satan’s Cheerleaders. And there’s just simply not enough space to fully explore my love for Lloyd Bochner, so let me just say… well, I adore him. In short, this episode gave me my first glimpse at several actors I would come to admire and love.

The Most Dangerous Match may have been inspired by what was christened The Match of the Century. In 1970, a chess competition pitted the USSR against what was dubbed The Rest of the World. The USSR took the championship. More than a chess match, The US and the USSR were knee-deep in the cold war, and juxtaposed against the Dudek vs. Clayton match, it represents more than a competition, or bravado. The political implications weigh heavily on Clayton’s shoulders, as we see in the bizarre opening nightmare sequence.

And then there is the second match that the affable, but cunning Columbo invites Clayton to participate in – that of the wills. What Clayton has going for him is that he’s pretty darn cold-blooded (i.e. using a trash compactor as a murder weapon). It’s interesting to note that his upcoming match with Dudek causes him more nightmares than the attempted murder. Surely, anytime Columbo is assigned to a case, the culprit’s days are numbered. However, Clayton is able to pull a fast one on Columbo, managing to finally kill off Dudek before he can wake and pinpoint his attacker. It only further establishes Clayton as calculating, and perhaps sociopathic, so watching his eventual comeuppance comes with a great sense of relief.

The second season of Columbo also marks a new addition to the series. Levinson and Link had been forced by the network to create a companion character and they wrote, “Steven Bochco was writing a script and we asked him to introduce a new member of the Columbo family – a dog. He gleefully complied, inserting a nameless mongrel into his teleplay... The dog looked like a blob of Silly-Putty, and in scene after scene it remained so totally inert that it almost seemed to be stuffed.” The dog first appeared in the second season premiere, Etude in Black, which featured John Cassavettes as a murderous orchestra conductor (and which is, coincidentally, my second favorite Columbo episode). Columbo’s dog is an important player in The Most Dangerous Match, as he helps Columbo understand how that creepy trash compactor works! And I should add, that’s the most active I think the dog has ever been!

My only quibble with this episode is the location. One of the major fascinations the grown-up version of me has with Columbo is the set design of those large, palatial, oh-so-70s mansions that the canny detective interlopes. The hotel that Clayton and Dudek are staying in is pretty darn groovy, but this episode is missing that little touch of vintage chic that I have come to expect from the series. But indeed, that is a minor quibble. The Most Dangerous Match is utterly fabulous in every other way. It’s cat and mouse perfect, wonderfully cast and thanks to the creepy choice of murder weapon, I’m still terrified of trash compactors.

Oh, and one more thing... As for the detective himself, Columbo is nothing short of sublime.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

10 Reasons You Should Be Watching All My Children and One Life to Live

Lust, sex, betrayal and fabulous hair are all synonymous with soap operas. And All My Children and One Life to Live have lost little of that sometimes-elegant/sometimes-tawdry luster during their movie to the internet. The stories have been running for a couple of months now, and there is a lot to love about what’s going down in Pine Valley and Llanview. OWN will be airing the first 40 episodes of both shows starting tomorrow, July 15th (or you can watch them all on Hulu by clicking here and here) so I thought I’d compile a list of my favorite ten things to look out for:

If you haven't been tuning in tomorrow, here's what's great about One Life to Live 2.0:

Viki and Dorian are the world’s greatest frenemies: When Erika Slezak and Robin Strasser decided to come back and reignite one of the greatest rivalries on television, you could literally see the sparks flying. And their story gets rolling immediately. You can say Viki exposed Dorian in a scandal or Dorian nearly destroyed Viki by releasing false information, but whether you are Team Viki or Team Dorian, there is no denying that this one of the greatest clashes in television history. Victor Lord would be proud.

Todd and Blair are S-E-X: Seriously. I do not lie.

The reality of single parenting comes through: While I think One Life to Live has probably not delved as deeply as it could in depicting the struggles Natalie and Destiny share as single moms,  there is still a sense of isolation and lonlieness in the stories. The new Matt and Destiny have done a great job of showing the consequences of having a baby too young, and Natalie depicts the sadness that occurs when the other parent is completely absent. That Destiny hangs out less with her old BFF Dani and more with Natalie is perfectly transitioned through their connection to their similar plights. Well played, OLTL.

The return of Bo and Nora: One of OLTL’s super couples is back and according to Bo’s portrayer, Robert S. Woods, this twosome should be strong for some time. It’s true that in soaps no relationship is safe from ruin, but a love this tremendous seems pretty damn unstoppable. They’ve been the shining beacon of joy on the series… and I totally love the Night Bird podcast.

A Dorian-David-Rama Triangle? Bring it on! I am not quite sure where this one is going, and while the idea of David cheating on Dorian burns me a little, I have to admit that I love a good triangle. Or perhaps, this is a quadrangle, because I think Vimal will have something to say about Rama’s romantic future. And when Dorian yells, "Back off, Bitch," and then it starts trending on twitter, you know something good is happening!

Need more scandal? Here is what's great about All My Children 2.0:

The sex-trafficking storyline is seriously dramatic (and traumatic): I don’t even know where to start with this one. From day one, Cassandra, who is Angie’s daughter, has been in utter peril. The Russian mafia has kidnapped her and without giving too much away, every moment Cassandra is on camera is achingly suspenseful. Sal Stowers plays this tragic character to the hilt and you will feel for her through every frame. Heck, even I need therapy now!

Confession: The Russian mob is hawt. Maybe that makes me a bad person, but I gotta go where the heart takes me.

The return of Jessie and Angie: I’m new to AMC, but I’m very familiar with the iconic pairing of Jessie and Angie. They are fantastic in the revival and have quickly become my two favorite characters in soapland. However, I wouldn’t mind seeing Dr. David Hayward put the moves on Angie. What a shakeup that would be!

Zack is Soap Elvis (you know it’s true): I want so badly to be able to take credit for the term “Soap Elvis” but I actually saw Cady McCain (Dixie) using the handle on Twitter (she claims a fan came up with it. Whoever you are, thank you!!!). I know Thorsten Kaye best from OLTL where he played Patrick Thornhart, Marty’s most romantic suitor. Patrick was thought dead for years, but the couple were reunited towards the end of ABC’s OLTL run (**sniff sniff**). As Zack, he is equally as charismatic, even more charming (as if that was possible) and a lot of fun to watch. Are his moves swoon worthy? Why, yes indeed, they are.

Pete and Colby push the envelope: The love scene between nottie-to-hottie Pete and sexy Colby is still garnering attention. It is indeed not the love scene you’d find on a network, although everything is still left to the imagination. If you have a sense of humor and like your soap to have a charmingly tawdry side (and who doesn’t), you will probably enjoy the now infamous scene.

Dixie is grace under pressure: Dixie is mostly hanging on the periphery of the Pine Valley happenings, but she is oh-so-glamorous doing it. Whoever does her wardrobe really knows how to cover every inch of her in dignified elegance. She’s a treat to watch, and I hope she gets a big story soon.

Need one more reason to tune in? July 15th marks the 45th anniversary of One Life to Live! I can't even imagine how many episodes of faked-deaths, switched babies, romantic rendezvous and falsely accused murderers that equals, but damn, that is what I call great entertainment! Happy Anniversary OLTL! And thanks for all the insanity!

Soap Central celebrated the anniversary with a podcast you can listen to here. Check out Jerry VerDorn (Clint Buchanan) and fans as they talk about One Life to Live!

By the way, did I mention that Todd and Blair are S-E-X? Cuz they are!

Note: Most of these images came from the facebook pages for One Life to Live and All My Children. You should stop by and like them, so you can keep tabs on all the scandal!