Last week, the fans of One Life to Live learned that Llanview’s long running soap within a soap, “Fraternity Row” had been canceled and the beloved characters of the town all have a special affinity, or deep rooted connection, or feeling, about their favorite daytime television show.
With brilliant and clever writing and performances abound that were not only humorous and deeply touching, but are also mirror-reflective of how millions of viewers are feeling about the cancellation of the 43-year-0ld OLTL too! In fact, there is a line spoken by Ilene Kristen (who is doing a star-turn as Roxy in this storyline) that “Fraternity Row” is being canceled after 43 years too! But where at first you might think it was played for laughs, it really isn’t, if you look at it. In fact, the set-up is quite unique. And we, the audience, are in on the bitter joke, as at times the story is just as heartbreaking as the shows real-life cancellation.
Ed Martiin, media critic at HuffingtonPost.com and JackMyers.com posted a blog at Media Post over the weekend with some commentary on “Fraternity Row” mirroring the ending of One Life. Here are just some excerpts!
Martin stated: “At first blush, it may appear that this brilliant bit of reflexive storytelling is being played for laughs, especially because it has so many of the show’s adult characters in tizzies of varying intensity. After all, “Fraternity Row” is just a TV show (or in this case a show-within-a-show), right? Not really. Apparently it’s as important to the fictional characters on “OLTL” as “OLTL” is to the real people who watch it. There is nothing funny about the end of a soap opera, especially one that has entertained millions of people on a daily basis over the course of five decades. It leaves those people just a little bit less interested in broadcast television and a little less apt to commit to something else that might be taken away from them. It is also a terrible loss for the dozens of hard-working people in front of and behind the cameras.
The many reactions by “OLTL” characters to the end of “Fraternity Row” have been priceless. Perhaps it’s because news of the show’s cancellation hit — on the cover of Soap Opera Weekly, no less — just after the shocking revelation that Brandon and Brianna, “Fraternity Row’s” hottest young couple, were actually brother and sister. This stunning plot turn left its fictional viewers more riveted than ever by their beloved soap and certain that its ratings would rise.
One of the most interesting aspects of this story is that many male “OLTL” characters have been outed as closet soap fans who watch their shows on different platforms, just like the many men in real life who are rarely included in formal audience measurement for daytime dramas. They include evil teen preppie Jack Manning (who admitted to watching old “Fraternity Row” episodes online), hunky conman Cutter Wentworth (who stopped a rattled waitress from spoiling the surprise about Brandon and Brianna because he was going to watch “Fraternity Row” that night on SOAPnet) and ruthless business tycoon Clint Buchanan, who watches the show the old-fashioned way, when it is actually on broadcast television.
It was eccentric hairdresser Roxy who first saw the headline about the show’s cancellation on the cover of Soap Opera Weekly and emitted a scream, the likes of which soap characters usually reserve for news that a loved one has died. “It’s not just a TV show! It’s family!” Roxy wept. “My mom Stella passed it down to me, and I passed it down to [her kids] Natalie and Rex, and you bet that Rex is passing it down to [his son] Shane.” In that moment, she pretty much expressed the emotions that millions of people are having during this decade’s ongoing soapageddon. Eventually Roxy regained her composure. “There’s no use in crying just because some empty suit thinks ‘Fraternity Row’ is for the birds,” she sighed.