Christina Comes Home for Christmas

If you thought  "love in the afternoon" was dead and gone, you’ve never seen the perennial holiday classic film ‘Christina Comes Home for Christmas.’

What’s that you say? You’ve never heard of it? Neither did I until Wednesday’s episode of One Life to Live.

Before I explain, let me explain. I was planning to write about something completely different. In fact, the piece is nearly completed and I was in the middle of fine tuning it when I found myself swept away by what must be one of the most purely romantic episodes I’ve seen on daytime in at least ten years or more.

As far as plot-heavy OLTL is concerned, the episode was light on anything really happening besides Viki happily reuniting with Charlie and Lola planting a huge kiss on Christian while a suspicious Sarah fumed. Antonio & Talia made out. Rex & Shane bonded; Roxie embraced her inner grandma. Natalie & Jared celebrated normalcy while babysitting not-Jessica’s-but-Starr’s-child. Blair & John had sex, as usual. Jessica & Brody (who have red hot chemistry!) grew closer. Even Leyla went on a mystery date, offscreen. There were no new earth-shattering secrets. There were no psychological meltdowns. There were no vows of vengeance. It was the kind of episode that soaps used to do back in the day when they weren’t trying to hold one’s attention with outrageous stunts every episode or racing through storylines at breakneck speed.

What elevated this episode to sheer soap nirvana was the 1930s/40’s era-styled ‘Christina Comes Home for Christmas,’ a fictional analogue to It’s a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street, and A Christmas Story mixed with just a touch of Douglas Sirk in the Llanview universe. Many characters lovingly referenced their love for the film, which is apparently shown on television every year. The movie is so popular that people gather around their sets to watch it alone or with friends and family; it is so well-regarded it is even screened at the local movie house. The film brings up good memories for some, melancholy feelings for others. How realistic is that, huh? And before you ask, I’ve never seen or heard of this fictional movie referenced on OLTL before Wednesday; but you know what? The whole enterprise was so well written and lovingly crafted, it doesn’t matter. Had OLTL stopped there, the episode would have still been a treat, but they didn’t. (continued)

16 Responses

  1. Profile photo of elle

    Thanks for this posting. I couldn’t agree more- I loved the show yesterday. My dislike for Blair/John aside, it was just a lovely show. and miracle of miracles, I liked Jessica. Jessica and Brody are great-him I love, anyway.

    It was just a great, romantic show, very enjoyable.

  2. Profile photo of pspcindy

    I was enchanted with this episode. It emcompassed many in the cast and was just like eating a sinfully delicious dessert. It was rare and it left me yearning for more.

    It made me see how truly awful DOOL has become under the poison pen of DHigley.

    Bravo OLTL!

  3. Profile photo of Scout

    Yeah, that was quite an episode, especially coming so close after that beautiful Thanksgiving show, which I found to be touching, funny and sweet (without turning to pure mush).

    I was also surprised by how well done the actual ‘movie’ was — and pleased that actors were used instead of current cast members. It indeed fired on all cylinders.

    The show made me a definite fan of Jess/Brody. I think that Brody (who has grown on me and find to be a decent, rootable character) brings out the best in Jess, making her as likable as she’s ever been.

    I liked the Balsom/Marasco family dynamic and how it came together in those scenes. It was nice to see Roxy with a bit of self-awareness and that spat between her and Shane over Brody played out in a real fashion, with no unnecessary histrionics.

    I’m not a big fan of kids on soaps, but Shane is being written and played pretty well these days — and I like that Matthew has befriended, much as Cole has befriended Matthew: surrogate big brothers looking after their little brothers.

    I liked the McBain/Blair scenes in that John actually expressed his feelings! And, honestly, Blair deserves a moment or two of happiness after bearing witness to Todd’s endless crime spree against mankind and his family and the near-fatal pairing of Blair and Spencer Truman.

    Finally, there’s Viki and Charlie — who prove that love between older folks on a soap can be both romantic and compelling. Charlie, to me, is one of the best soap characters to come along in years: we can all identify with Charlie on some level — a decent man who has made mistakes and has demons, but does his best to fight them and has a desire to be a better person — especially to those he loves.

    Charlie is a throwback to the soaps of yore: he’s not a mobster or a secret serial killer or super-spy — he’s just a guy, and a nice one at that. Was Viki’s scenes at Victor’s tomb over the top? Yeah, maybe, but it got a lot of frustration out of her system, brought her closer to Charlie and yield some beautiful scenes between these two characters over the past few episodes.

    Charlie and Viki bring the heat and most definitely bring the romance. Brian Kerwin has always been a remarkable actor (remember his creepy turn as a psycho Nazi on ‘Nip/Tuck’?) who has thrown his heart and soul into a character that was already well written from day one.

    The other soaps need to sit up and take notice: this is how you do it, dumbasses! John & Marlena could be this strong if only given a chance, which will never happen, even if they’re brought back in six months.

    As well deserved as the praise for Y-&-R is, OLTL is firing on all cylinders these days and giving us some classic ‘we laughed, we cried’ moments.

    And I hope there’s a special election in Llanview so Addie can run for mayor before 2010!

  4. Profile photo of Beth

    Thank you for writing about this episode! I was so pleased with it, and to me it’s a testament that there are still people out there who care about the soap opera genre and have the creativity and talent to create something so special out of something so small. I know OLTL has taken it’s share of potshots the last few months, maybe justifiably so, but I can’ honestly say it’s the only show I’ve been watching faithfully for the last year, and it’s one of the few shows left that can put a smile on my face. Bravo, OLTL!

  5. Profile photo of txriotgrrl

    as a new fan to OLTL, let me say kudos for this post. that episode was fantastic, and as stated above, it proves that thoughtful, caring writers still exist in the genre. i am SO GLAD i switched from GH to OLTL. but watching OLTL makes me yearn for the days of the good old GH we used to know and love.

  6. Profile photo of Desertrose

    I couldn’t agree more and thanks for posting on this.

    I honestly thought I’d died and gone to soap heaven. This is the way soaps used to be and I for one, thought it was brilliant. Brilliantly written, acted, edited and just a real heartwarming story that I think so many of us can use these days.

    Who knows, maybe all the rough times and bad news of the “real world” could bring back the true soapy goodness of the shows we’ve been watching the past 45+ years…..

    Anyhow, I just loved the whole episode…and the movie…OMG..perfect!!Thanks OLTL. You “GET it”.

  7. Profile photo of salem2005

    I loved this episode…and to think, nothing had to blow up, no mob shoot outs, no weather disasters, just plain, perfect ol’ soap opera writing. I’ve been saying this for a while now, OLTL is the best soap on daytime tv these days. They use all their characters, the dialogue is usually very well written, the acting is superb, and the storylines flow and continue to keep me interested.

    I’m glad someone else mentioned the Thanksgiving episode…that was fantastic. Very nostalgic, very much family oriented, very much like soaps used to be. I haven’t been watching much of GH lately (since it sucks so badly), but did they even do a Thanksgiving episode? I can’t believe how bad GH is these days compared to OLTL..while I’ve always watched ABC Soaps, GH had always been my favorite with OLTL and AMC far behind it…now, there is no comparison, OLTL outshines them all. Thank the soap gods for Ron C. and the rest of OLTL’s team for giving us as least one great soap on ABC!

  8. Profile photo of EricasEvilTwin

    Good stuff yesterday. Loved that Shane called Roxy Grandma. Loved that John picked Blair, not marty. I hope it stays that way. Loving the friendship/potential romantic relationship with Brody/Jess – still Jess, any dead kids. This is the first Vicki pairing I have enjoyed since original recipe Clint left years ago. Nat and Jarod are even growing on me. The only clunker was the sarah/chris/vanessa storyline. Now how about giving our Ms. Leyla a story!

  9. Profile photo of crazy4gh

    Glad you wrote about this. I have always been an on and off OLTL viewer, but I have watched OLTL everyday for over a year now and let me just say how much I enjoy it. I love how there can still be love in the afternoon. Used to watch OLTL first then GH, but GH is gone. I can’t go from being happy to being miserable watching SB with his look of Liason is doomed bumper sticker all over his face. Thanks GH, thanks for nothing!!

  10. Profile photo of Meg

    I completely agree. I loved yesterday’s episode. I thought ths christina movie was completely like it’s a wonderful life and found myself actually watching the parts of the fake movie. It was an ep that really had nothing going on yet I didn’t fastforward a bit (well except the christian/sarah scenes but who really doesn’t) while I fastforwarded most of GH. GH was my first soap so I still watch it out of loyalty but I so watch OLTL first every day now.

    The Only thing that slightly bothered me is bree. Wasn’t she like the age of an 18 month old like a week ago during the whole jessica locks natalie up and tess stuff and now she is four. I totally get sorasing but usually the child is off screen for a while so you can suspend belief. It was like one day she’s a toddler next she’s 5. I kept thinking who is this little girl? And was the baby playing chloe/hope just the old bree they look alike. Can OLTL not handle two babies at a time? Am I the only one bothered by this?

  11. Profile photo of ABCJunky73

    Yesterday’s show was BRILLENT!! It just goes to show that OLTL can show it’s fans that there is still a soap you can beleave in. RC and everyone at OLTL did such a great job! This is how a soap oprea should be written!


    ***”Tick.Tick.Tick..The Hunt For Ron Carliviti Is On! REDEEM OLTL! LEAVE RON ALONE!”***

  12. Profile photo of liason4real

    Thanks for posting! I cried like a baby during yesterday’s show, it was brillant! All I could think about was watching the movies from the era of Christina. Cris and Sarah are boring, Leyla does need a storyline, and yes, they replaced the actress that plays Bree with a 4 year old. The little girl is adorable.

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