If you are missing One Life to Live right now, or if you have never turned on the show, it is must-see television. Last week’s amazing February sweeps pay-off was a well-crafted intersecting of all the major characters colliding with huge emotional stakes and high dramatic tension and pay-offs. And those pay-offs were so brilliantly executed that it propelled new story for the next several months.
I have to admit when I heard that One Life was going to have the most hated character on soaps, Stacy Morasco, fall through the ice and drown, and that they were going to attempt to make the set look like a lake frozen over in the wilderness near Llantano Mountain, I had my doubts. Many times on daytime lesser soaps have failed miserably to make this kind of setting look realistic and dramatic enough to make us, the viewers, believe what we are seeing. But, I am thrilled to report that what One Life to Live accomplished was simply visually stunning and satisfying and quite a marvel. The show which cleverly titles each of its episodes had this past week four of them that I got the biggest kick out of, “Ice, Ice Baby”, “Come on In, The Water’s Frigid” and “On Frozen Pond” and “These Boots,” and those four episodes were each in their own right filled with so much drama that I was clinging to the chair I was sitting on for dear life!
Kudos to the young stars of the show; Farah Fath (Gigi), John-Paul Lavoisier (Rex), Scott Clifton (Schuyler), Brett Claywell (Kyle), Scott Evans (Oliver) and Amanda Setton (Kim) for delivering to us such complex baby daddy drama for the very sick baby, Sierra Rose! The producing team at One Life knew just the right inter-cuts and reaction shots to get from each of the men who think they may be the father of the little one which heightened even more the spectacular writing of Ron Carlivati and his creative team.
But even through making Stacy a tasty-freeze (and good riddance say fans all over the soap world who up until the end despised the character) in the end she became humanized…somewhat. But the death of Stacy, birth of Sierra Rose, and the reveal that Rex is not the father of the newborn was only part of the action. There was John and Natalie rekindling the flame of their long-standing love for one another and Marty walking in on the two in a kiss. There was classic Viki/Dorian, when Viki learned that Dorian was behind Jessica’s shooting and using her hubby, Charlie as her pawn, and at the very end of Friday’s cliffhanger, poor unsuspecting Cassie is drinking some very warming tea concoction….or so she thinks! Could Cassie be the Cramer woman Mitch is using for payback to Dorian? And then there is Jessica, whose mind is now altered once again. Thanks Mitch for the electro-shock therapy! But it gives the sensational Bree Williamson (Jessica) new story to play which is always fun to watch, because she is that good!
I visited One Life to Live all last week in New York City, and at the “Moving to their New Digs party” (as many know the show is now housed at the old AMC studios) last Tuesday. I had the chance to catch up with Farah Fath to ask her how on earth were these tricky and delicate scenes where Gigi tromps in the snow, and on the ice, holding the baby, and then falling in and almost drowning accomplished. Farah revealed it was very, very tricky, “It was a little difficult because I am supposed to be freezing cold, and I am burning up in that down feather coat I am wearing. I am holding a 15 pound baby, and my arms are shaking because the baby is so heavy and my back hurts because I was holding the baby for so many hours and I am sweating! And I have to remember to play that I am cold. I had a heat rash and I thought it was so ironic. (Laughs) It was supposed to appear that I was in bitter temperatures. The most difficult aspects of the day, is that Crystal Hunt (Stacy) and I had to wear full body sweat suits under our clothes. This was to protect our skin from the Plexiglas that had broken, because that is what the ice was made of. What made it slippery was silicone, and the Plexiglas in one area where it would need to break for the scenes, had to have some type of explosive to make it crack. When we were on the set, we heard an explosion. But for the air show they edit that noise out. The Plexiglas was sharp enough to cut your skin. So they did not want us in the water without some protective shield. And the wetsuit made us float, and we had to drown! So it was very challenging, and if you look at it again you can see me, and I have my arms underneath the Plexiglas pushing myself down because I was still floating! So I had to push myself and hold myself under. I was the guinea pig. Crystal came after me and they had to tie weights around her feet. She had to bob underneath the water a bunch of times and she could not do it with a wetsuit on, and they kept putting weight on her. It was really, really hard to drown. I think it looked good. They had all kinds of special effects for it and a team of specialists. We had three sets of twins that day and there were six babies because you can’t work a little one more than 20 minutes at a time!”
So how did Farah feel about the story point where Gigi falls head over heels for baby Sierra Rose, given the circumstances that led to her creation….namely the machinations of her sister Stacy? “Gigi did not at all expect to feel instantly bonded to this child. She was not anticipating the love she feels for this baby, especially that for so long she and Stacy did not get along… and the fact that Stacy was going to let Shane die at one point. Once Gigi helped Stacy give birth they had that connection after so many years. She realizes that Stacy would want her to raise the baby. Gigi feels she would give the baby a good home. It was mostly sad for Gigi, and there might have been a flicker that this psychodrama may be over, but she is sad that there was not a chance that her sister and her could not fully reconcile.”
Then I had to ask, wasn’t Farah worried about the pushback, given the fact that Stacy was so hated and shoved down the viewers’ throat, as some fans intimated? “I think from the very beginning I was a little worried on how the character of Stacy was going to recover for threatening a little boy who’s dying of Leukemia. However, people did warm up to her the last month. So people were not sick of her as much. Crystal took the firing very well. She was not at all, “Whoa is me.” She took it like a professional, and she went out with a bang! And now, I think it will be a great storyline once the truth comes out of who Sierra’s real father is. I think it’s going to cause a lot more good soap opera.” We couldn’t agree more with Farah on that. And finally, what about Friday’s episode where the stunning and exiting Amanda Setton (Kim) left her boots at the river, and in the last scene of the show they have disappeared? And there were footprints in the snow? Is Stacy actually alive? Wow!
Be on the lookout for more of my report from the set of One Life to Live in the days to come!