An Open Letter to Frank Valentini


Dear Mr. Valentini,

I love One Life to Live, I really do. I haven’t written much recently about your show on Daytime Confidential because there is so much going on at any given time that it can be hard to get a handle on which areas to focus. This is not a bad thing. You and your head writer Ron Carlivati have fashioned a fast moving, entertaining, and thoroughly engaging hour of daytime television that has catapulted it to the top of ABC’s afternoon lineup. Bravo! There is far more good than bad on OLTL and in this case, no news can usually be good news. There is, however, one little thing that bugs me and it occurs to me that you — and only you — can fix it:

For the love of Harding Lemay, please put a merciful end to the disastrously choreographed fights between Gigi & Stacy!

Mr. Valentini, when I watch a catfight on daytime I don’t expect WWE or Ultimate Street Fighter. Yes, yes, yes, catfights are demeaning, sexist, and make women look emotionally out of control, especially when it comes to fighting over men; all of that is true. I would go so far as to say that only a few sick people would pay good money to see Kim Hughes (Kathryn Hayes) get into a cage match with Caroline Brady (Peggy McCay), me being one of them. In this modern age, most people are far more enlightened and they prefer their sexism and the prostration of women on shows like Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire?, The Bachelor and Project Runway.

I, though, am an old school purist who prefers catfights with meaning. I live for those truly brutal smackdowns like when Sidney Bristow (Jennifer Garner) and Faux-Francie (Merrin Dungey) ripped apart Sidney’s apartment and each other in the season two finale of Alias; Maya (Vivica A. Fox) and Doreen’s (Jonelle Allen) epic showdown on Generations; or the blow-by-blow recreation of the cabin fight between Montgomery Clift and John Wayne from 1948’s Red River re-staged with Valerie Mahaffey and Terri Garr in the CBS comedy miniseries Fresno starring Carol Burnett which aired only one time in full in 1986….but I digress….

Mr. Valentini, I understand the limitations of daytime and the desire to not risk injury to your actors when staging these altercations, but twice now have I been subjected to watching physical confrontations between Gigi (Farah Fath) and Stacy (Crystal Hunt) that are not unlike two conjoined toddlers fighting over a dropped ice cream cone. I know what you’re thinking: I’m being rather unfair to conjoined toddlers everywhere.

Now, don’t get it twisted, watching Gigi throw/trip/sneeze Stacy down a flight of stairs was one of the highlights of the soap year, perhaps topping the debut of Miss Kitty Benson on The Young and the Restless, whose performances rival and often surpass those of Ms. Hunt. However, watching Ms. Fath and Ms. Hunt desperately and angrily trying to not smudge Ms. Fath’s blinding shimmery Powerpuff Girl pink lipstick doesn’t quite live up to Alexis & Krystal drowning each other in the Carrington mansion lily pond.

What makes this all so baffling is that it’s not that you don’t know how to stage a good catfight! Tea (Florencia Lozano) and Blair’s (Kassie DePaiva) most recent round of slap-ticuffs was a good, classic, knock-down-drag-out affair that took a bizarre but highly entertaining turn. Stacy & Gigi? Not so much.

Mr. Valentini, should you allow Mr. Carlivati to stage another Stacy/Gigi fight you should consider hiring several of the stunt people who stood in for a pregnant Ms. Garner on Alias or Sarah Michelle Gellar in Buffy’s final seasons. Though up in years by now, you might also contact the obvious Gold’s Gym stuntmen who subbed for Linda Evans and Joan Collins in their later years on Dynasty. Hey, that might be an idea for stunt fight replacements, Mr. Valentini: throw a wig on All My Children’s Chuck Pratt as Stacy & slap some of Gigi’s Angelina Jolie lipstick on General Hospital’s Bob Guza as Gigi.

Not only are they experts at stunts, my understanding is there are lot of fans want to throw them down a flight of stairs.

16 Responses

  1. Profile photo of sodsince16
    sodsince16

    Very well said. I’ve thought that Gigi could really be a Rachel Cory-type long term character on OLTL. The young woman from the wrong side of the tracks who would do anything for her kid etc. etc.. However, saddling her with Stacy has ruined her routing appeal from the fans.

    In more a direct answer to the cat fight issue, I wish that Stacy and Gigi would have more psychologically driven fight about why they are so desperate as opposed to showing more violence against women on daytime.

  2. Profile photo of troymcclure
    troymcclure

    I don’t watch OLTL even though I try to watch some now and then. Thanks for the links to the “catfight” between Gigi and Stacey. They were pretty lame, I have to admit. I love the generations one, now THAT is a catfight!!

    Slightly off topic but I have heard for months now how awful Crystal Hunt is as Stacey but I have to say that IMO she is leaps better then Farrah Fath. I was curious to see how bad Crystal was so I decide to check out a bunch of clips, and in every single one of them I was taken aback by Ms. Fath’s bad acting.

    Does the hate towards Ms. Hunt have more to do with the character or am I delusional?

  3. Profile photo of J Bernard Jones
    J Bernard Jones

     Troy,

    In all honesty, the Crystal Hunt/Stacy hate is that unfortunate collision of a poorly received and written character with a lackluster performance.

    I’ve seen some of the outtakes of Hunt/Stacy on the ABC.com website (More Life to Live) and I must say in some of them there is a lot more spark in her performances there than what usually winds up on screen day in and day out.

    My comparison of Hunt to Kitty Benson was just a riff on the criticism she and the character have received.

  4. Profile photo of SoapSnob
    SoapSnob

    J. Bernard Jones,

    OH! MY! GOD! I KNEW there was a reason that I always appreciate your writing, we are kindred spirits. In this single post you mentioned not one, but TWO of my ALL-TIME FAVORITE GUILTY PLEASURES…

    Yes, I enjoyed the cat-fights on Generations and Dynasty. But, you invoked Sidney Bristow and Francie Calfo’s fight on Alias. I still very vividly remember the fight between Sidney and Francie that all started when “Francie” happily ate the spoon of coffee ice cream. ;-) It certainly helped that Sidney and Francie were best friends who truly cared about each other and that the characters were portrayed by very talented actresses, Jennifer Garner and Merrin Dungie, respectively. Alias, to me, was an excellent series from start to finish.

    AND…

    The comedic and deliciously satirical Carol Burnett mini-series, Fresno. The travails of Charlotte Kensington and her family, friends and enemies were HILARIOUS and Fresno was a superior spoof of the prime-time soap operas of the 80s. I hate that CBS aired it once and that it is not available via DVD in the United States.

    Thank you for invoking those memories. My Saturday has been made brighter!

    By the way, GREAT and funny post! These days, OLTL is providing far more good than bad and it appears poised to continue to only get better. Stacy Morasco/Crystal Hunt REMAINS the WEAK link on the show. But, as was mentioned on another soap-opera website, Stacy Morasco should be paired with Todd Manning as those are two characters on daytime who truly deserve each other. :-)

  5. Profile photo of siomonstuart2003
    siomonstuart2003

    Gigi should push Stacy in front of a moving van and lets be done with it. But if we are stuck with Stacy, why not have her and Todd hook up? They both are crazy and would make a good match.

  6. Profile photo of josser
    josser

    J. Bernard wrote, “My comparison of Hunt to Kitty Benson was just a riff on the criticism she and the character have received.”

    LMAO!! Hunt is out acted by a dead cat! Oh my goodness!

  7. Profile photo of maxsmom
    maxsmom

    JBJ, first thanks for the OLTL post, I love DC but where’s the OLTL love or hate or in my case both simultaneously. Anyhoo, I agree with the Farah Fath observations, put nicely, she has as limited a range as Ms. Hunt. BTW, Ron Carlivati was quoted, “….but Stacy loves Rex with her whole heart”, if RC believes that he is obviously in need of a restful stay in place where he is not allowed sharp objects or shoelaces. Stacy is “in love” with a boy who helped her pick up her books 15 years ago.

    p.s. She had sex with Rex about a week ago and she has a positive pregnacy test?, okay but how would the nurse know how far along she is without a sonogram. I hope this means the baby belongs to Fish.

    p.p.s.how great it is that Nora and Bo are finally reuniting, but how ridiculous is the Tea/Todd/Blair/John/Marty sl and i love Destiny and Matthew and what looks to be a genuine love triangle with Sean/Rachel/Greg but am i supposed to enjoy the sex scenes with Langston/Markko and Starr/Cole because i am not
    whew, thanks again JBJ

  8. Profile photo of liason4real
    liason4real

    J Bernard,,,great article,,thanks!

    Stacy/Gigi – when will it end?

    Maxsmom….I’m with you, I hope the baby is Fish’s. NOW that, along with Kish would be a great story to tell. Fish dealing with being gay, Stacy who is unstable trying to claim her baby is Rex’s, Kyle wanting a relationship with Fish, Fish becoming a father with a woman who is crazy and then getting custody of the child…..nice and soapy…

  9. Profile photo of Carol2
    Carol2

    Stacy being in the story with Kyle and Fish would ruin it. Stacy ruins all her stories. And since Frons loves her, one or BOTH of Kyle and Fish would fall in love with Stacy. I guarantee it.

    Gigi should be a much more compelling heroine than she is. Farah Fath is a lousy actress. She was lousy on DAYS and she’s only slightly better here. She has anti-chemistry with JPL, whose acting has become some of the worst, most mannered I have ever seen on daytime. They could replace him with old footage of Charles Nelson Reilly and I wouldn’t be able to tell a difference. The premise of this story is Gigi and Rex love each other and need to be together. Yet all he does is treat her like trash and degrade her. Why am I supposed to care about them?

    Why is so much of this show about destroying women? Tea and Blair have never been so totally pathetic as they are now. Destroying themselves over a smug rapist who would dump them both if his multiple rape victim ever said she loved him.

  10. Profile photo of ABCJunky73
    ABCJunky73

    J. Benard,

    I totally agree with your letter. And if Mr. Valentini needs some more footage to add to the list, how about when Nora and Linsey go at it, or Dorian, Vicki and all of her alters fight now those are 4 women (plus alters) who can duke it out!

    And yes, Ms Kitty over at Y&R can indeed act better than Stacey anyday.

  11. Profile photo of Grimm
    Grimm

    WRT Makeup, in general, the ladies are FAR too made up looking. I know Fath does her own hair and makeup. GiGi and Stacy are rocking full blown night time going to the prom makeup all the time. A lighter touch, with a little more of a natural look would go far with them. I don’t notice it as much on the other ladies as much.

    And speaking of Kyle/Fish, I think the writers are trying to see how many times they can get the phrase “going down/went down…” into conversations referring to KISH’s past. I half expected Kyle to become flustered when Cristian was interrogating him about Fish and say “HE went down!”. Jeez! ;-)

  12. Profile photo of maxsmom
    maxsmom

    i dont think stacy’s baby with fish destroys kish. there are people who spend decades married to or involved with members of the opposite sex before they come out. but there are also people who come out and continue to raise children with their former partners. and in the best case scenario, kish could raise the child once stacy is killed off.

    Todd does not deserve any woman unless and until he has extensive therapy and not with the woman he raped twice.

    btw, oltl is the perfect example of watching a show based on writing rather than couples, Bo/Nora fans have waited a decade for a reunion but didnt turn off the show when the writing was good and there were compelling stories, I did turn if off during rapemance. But i am back now that it is mostly good.

  13. Profile photo of GossipGirl
    GossipGirl

    I never thought about the possibility that Stacy is pregnant with Fish’s baby instead of Rex’s. Didn’t Stacy & Fish sleep together months ago?

    Loved your “open letter”, Benard! Your one-liners had me litteraly laughing out loud! One great “cat fight” I remember is the one between Olivia and Laura Wright’s Cassie on GL. The Beacon was in the stages of being built and Olivia and Cassie ended up in a huge pile of mud fighting each other! I loved that fight!

    I found it on YouTube if anyone’s interested:
    Cassie & Olivia Mud Fight
    Alan & Richard Join In

    Ah, remember the days when they had to bring mud onto an actual set instead of just finding a mud pile somewhere in Peapack?

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