In an issue that had made headline news over the last several months, we are talking about the rash of teen suicides via bullying, One Life to Live has decided to tackle the issue head on.
And how are they doing it? Using Shane Morasco (Austin Williams), Gigi and Rex’s son as the victim, and making the SORAS’d Jack Manning, Todd and Blair’s son the bully! Makes sense if you ask us, and now in an exclusive reveal with TV Guide, OLTL’s head writer, Ron Carlvati fills us in on some of the details and the arc of the story that is really set to kick-off on February 22nd, when the anonymous bully is revealed as Jack ( played by newcomer, Andrew Trischitta). Carlivati explains the set-up and the rationale. Here are a few excerpts below!
Carlivati on how Echo (Kim Zimmer) found out about the bullying early on but failed to report the problem to Shane’s parents, thus ignoring the warning signs: “We have a responsibility when we tell a story like this to help the audience learn what they should do in such a situation, but that doesn’t mean we don’t show our characters making the wrong choices. The situation will get worse for Shane as we move into the spring. At first, we’re centering the story on the kids but as we move forward — I’m already plotting this into May sweeps and beyond — it’ll also become a story about the parents. How much do you monitor your child? How do you keep up with your kid in this difficult era of the internet? Should Shane’s parents, Rex and Gigi, have seen the warning signs? What about Jack’s parents? Sometimes these things are happening right under your nose and you’re not aware of it.”
Carlivati on why the decision not to make the victim in the storyline a gay teenager, when so many real-life incidents were gay kids picked on at school which led to their suicide. “It seemed more important that we not tell a gay story, though that’s not to say that certain kinds of gay slurs won’t come up as the story progresses. It’s important to say that kids can be targeted by bullies for any number of reasons. Shane is artistic, he’s into comic books, he has asthma, which keeps him on the sidelines during gym, and he’s a sensitive kid. He’s been targeted just for being different. And it becomes a group thing. Once the other kids start piling on it doesn’t really matter what the reason is because he’s become a target. He’s somebody they can get to. It becomes a herd mentality. This has been a real challenge to write because Austin is such a great actor and makes it all so heartbreaking to watch. I feel mean putting poor little Shane through so much pain. I can’t imagine there’s anyone in our audience who doesn’t feel for him. It’s tough stuff, but it’s important to get the word out.”
So what do you think of Jack Manning being the Cyber-Bully? Let us know.