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GMA

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I'm currently re-watching Knots from start to finish (just started S11). I'm finding it really interesting that when you daily binge watch (as opposed to weekly watch) you really notice those changes in tone/character.

I'd forgotten how bad the 'Sally's friend' storyline was - such poor content for Ted.

I've really noticed how Gary/Val seem to be secondary characters after being front and centre for so many years - it's shifted to Karen/Mack & Sumner/Paige.

Do we know if Julie Harris was ever meant to come back in S10? it felt as if Aunt Ginny's storyline could have been a guest appearance role for Lillimae but that maybe they couldn't get her so they just created Aunt Ginny.
 

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I came to the conclusion that Latham and Lechowick (the show-runners) did not really "get" Valene and Gary as a couple. They were good at coming up with ways to keep them apart, which...okay, that's a soap staple, but after Jill died the best storyline for the two would have been reuniting them, not coming up with increasingly threadbare excuses/stories (Sally's Friend/Danny/brain viruses) that kept them apart.

Some of the actors have said in interviews that they thought Harris would be brought back from time to time, but that it just never happened. I'm not so sure about that. She lived on the East coast, and they likely would have had to make a generous offer (probably a higher per-episode rate than she had earned when she was on contract) for her to return for a short-term appearance. The show wasn't shelling out big bucks for recurring roles ("stunt casting") in the later years. When they hired Betsy Palmer to be "Lilimae-lite" Aunt Ginny, that seemed to be the signal that they felt they did not need Julie Harris back on the show in order to have that Lilimae-esque character around. I guess we should be grateful that the show-runners were not arrogant enough to hire Betsy Palmer as a straight recast of Lilimae, because that would have been a disaster. They just wrote Aunt Ginny to function in much the same way Lilimae had.
 
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ClassyCo

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I'm currently re-watching Knots from start to finish (just started S11). I'm finding it really interesting that when you daily binge watch (as opposed to weekly watch) you really notice those changes in tone/character.

I'd forgotten how bad the 'Sally's friend' storyline was - such poor content for Ted.

I've really noticed how Gary/Val seem to be secondary characters after being front and centre for so many years - it's shifted to Karen/Mack & Sumner/Paige.

Do we know if Julie Harris was ever meant to come back in S10? it felt as if Aunt Ginny's storyline could have been a guest appearance role for Lillimae but that maybe they couldn't get her so they just created Aunt Ginny.
I figured I'd jump into this with you all considering I'm barely into season eleven myself.

It is weird how we can notice even the most subtle of changes when we watch the show on a daily basis. While I was in strict quarantine, I watched sometimes six or seven episodes a day, and it was very easy to see the shifts the show was taking. One of the first things I recognized about season eleven was the way the show looks visually. It looks like they're filming it through a different lens or filter on the camera. The tone of the show itself seems to have shifted. Once Sumner came in back in season five it seemed like Knots Landing became a little glamorized. Of course, it was never to the Dynasty or Dallas level, but it did kind of edge away from that "every man" image that it started out with.

Season eleven seems like they're trying to edge the show back into a more middle class arena, albeit upper middle class. Season ten pushed the show away from Lotus Point and toward the more corporate Sumner Group setup, but season eleven seems to take it back even further. The situations seem a little more everyday (at least in TV land anyway), but with an odd almost detective show slant.

I think the "Sally's friend" story was a little silly. Gary usually seems to become obsessive over certain things, but it seemed a little weird that he was falling for a woman her didn't he know, had never seen, and couldn't put a name to. When Amanda (the name finally put with Sally's friend) was rapped by Danny (her soon-to-be ex-husband) it made a little more sense that Gary felt he needed to "save" her.

It's quite obvious, especially to avid fans, that Gary and Val have been slid to the side burner, if not the back. Val seemed, to me at least, like she was somewhat out of the circle after Ben was gone. She was worrying over Laura's death and excusing Karen about excluding her with coffee metaphors, and trying to convince everybody and their mother that Jill really did try to kill her. Now I must admit that I liked those stories and I've always been a fan of Val personally, but her story lines have gotten a little sparse here recently.

The writers clearly want to drag out the Gary and Val will-they-won't-they arc for as long as they possibly can. Joan Van Ark and Ted Shackelford often said when interviewed that the producers felt that the Gary and Val relationship was one of the continuing arcs that kept viewers coming back and that's probably why they did everything they could to keep those two apart. Sure, it does seem to drag a little and sometimes it can even seem repetitive, but the writers probably worried that they'd write themselves into a corner if they put Gary and Val back together too soon. I'm not entirely sure how I'd keep them separated, but I know I would have went with something besides having them involved with Amanda and Danny.

Aunt Ginny is obviously a stand-in for Lilimae. Sometimes I forget that Lilimae was even living with Val, but if ever I watch a reunion or special, I'll see clips of her and be remind just how much I liked her being on the show. Aunt Ginny's story lines could easily have been intended for Lilimae, but Julie Harris probably didn't want to return. She might have been a little irritated that the producers edged her out like they did, so she might have not wanted to do them any favors and return at their pleasure.

I'm kind of on-board with the Michael/Linda/Eric love triangle. It's a little cliche, sure, but it plays well. I've always liked Michael and I enjoy getting to see more of him (and he's finally in the opening credits for season eleven), and this story seems tailored for him and Linda. Eric's just a side pawn to smooth the arc along. I like it all though.

I agree that Karen and Mack and Sumner and Paige have taken a spot closer to center stage. A lot of the plots follow them, and there's a lot of episodes revolving around Sumner and Paige's tactics to drive one another crazy with jealousy. I must say it's a little cute and I enjoy their antics, but I'd also like to have more done with Gary and Val and even Frank and Pat.

One thing I like is Paige's fling with Tom Ryan. I kind of dropped out of thin air on me, but it's working well. They are quite a handsome couple, and their story is quite intriguing. I also like that we're seeing more of Olivia and Harold, even if their plots are horrifically repetitive.
 

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I'm not entirely sure how I'd keep them separated, but I know I would have went with something besides having them involved with Amanda and Danny.
[Thrusts hand in the air] "Ooh! Ooh! I know--I know!" [/waves hand obviously] :D
but I'd also like to have more done with Gary and Val and even Frank and Pat.
I think Val/Gary/Frank/Pat would have been a zillion times better than V/G/Amanda/Danny. The suggestion of a Pat/Gary involvement was heavily teased for a while and lord knows Gary could do a lot worse. He DID do a lot worse. Similarly, they placed Frank in Val's "friend zone" at the same time. The Williamses were three-dimensional characters who would have brought a lot more drama to such a muli-layered love triangle/rectangle, more than drippy little Amanda and her mustache-twirling villain of a husband, Danny. Many say the story was not pursued because the producers were afraid of the interracial aspect, but I've always thought it was an assumption of the viewer-fans and not rooted in anything the producers or network ever actually stated. Maybe they were only interested in having 'disposable' characters standing in the way of a reunited Val/Gary, and were afraid of one or even both of the "temporary" pairings becoming popular enough that they would have to continue their stories--and answering to the angry Val/Gary shippers who would NOT be amused. I could especially see Gary/Pat being an interesting pairing, with Frank/Val being more of a reaction to Gary/Pat rather than a genuine love match.

Obviously eyebrows would have been raised, but in that period the show would have welcomed some extra publicity/buzz and been able to brag that there was still a lot of life left in the ol' cul-de-sac even after eleven years.
 

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[Thrusts hand in the air] "Ooh! Ooh! I know--I know!" [/waves hand obviously] :D

I think Val/Gary/Frank/Pat would have been a zillion times better than V/G/Amanda/Danny. The suggestion of a Pat/Gary involvement was heavily teased for a while and lord knows Gary could do a lot worse. He DID do a lot worse. Similarly, they placed Frank in Val's "friend zone" at the same time. The Williamses were three-dimensional characters who would have brought a lot more drama to such a muli-layered love triangle/rectangle, more than drippy little Amanda and her mustache-twirling villain of a husband, Danny. Many say the story was not pursued because the producers were afraid of the interracial aspect, but I've always thought it was an assumption of the viewer-fans and not rooted in anything the producers or network ever actually stated. Maybe they were only interested in having 'disposable' characters standing in the way of a reunited Val/Gary, and were afraid of one or even both of the "temporary" pairings becoming popular enough that they would have to continue their stories--and answering to the angry Val/Gary shippers who would NOT be amused. I could especially see Gary/Pat being an interesting pairing, with Frank/Val being more of a reaction to Gary/Pat rather than a genuine love match.

Obviously eyebrows would have been raised, but in that period the show would have welcomed some extra publicity/buzz and been able to brag that there was still a lot of life left in the ol' cul-de-sac even after eleven years.
Once again, your ideas never cease to amaze me.

I honestly never really seriously thought about Pat and Frank being the rift between Gary and Val, but it certainly would have been a good story. In analyzing your thoughts, I must say that I was intrigued when Pat was showing some very obvious interest in Gary. I mean, she even talked to Karen about it, and Karen gave her that whole "every woman has a crush on Gary at least once" spill. It would have been groundbreaking for a prime time serial to have the interracial romance between Pat and Gary. At the same time Val and Frank were jogging together a lot and it did seem, albeit briefly, that they could have had some kind of crush forming between them.

Just like you said, I'm sure the writers and producers didn't want characters they were intending to be more permanent, like Pat and Frank, to come between Gary and Val. It would have caused too much of a rift, especially since Pat and Frank were living there on the cul-de-sac. But then again, they did it once when Abby stole Gary from Val back in season three.

Either way, I wish they would have gone through with it.
 

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You have to wonder: how would the MacKenzies have reacted to it? Though Val/Karen are of course "a couple" in their own right, Karen and Pat had become really close in the short time the Williamses had been in town. If Val appeared to be the one pursuing Frank, then it would cause a rift between Karen and Val. Karen always felt she needed to "fix" everything for all her friends, especially for 'poor Val', but in this case Karen would not approve of what Val was up to with Frank. Mack would be standing by begging her not to get involved. Pat's reaction to her husband taking up with Val is for her (Pat) to throw caution to the wind and act on her feelings for Gary as a combination of revenge on Val and rebound from Frank's betrayal. When Karen discovers this new layer to the story, Mack would have to send her off to a facility. :D

Joan Van Ark was always commenting on how she wished Val was more proactive in her life. I'm not sure she would have approved of Val as Homewrecker, but written the right way (Frank already feeling disconnected from Pat, maybe resentful of having to go into witness protection) it would have been something new and exciting for her to play. Frank/Val would probably be the shorter-lived of the two affairs, but I think Pat/Gary would have had more 'legs' as a longer storyline since Lynne Moody and Ted Shackelford both have so much onscreen charisma.
 

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So now Amanda's just up and gone after finally going to bed with Gary. This story line is really bugging me. I must say I wasn't totally on board for the Gary and Amanda fling anyway, but having her practically vanish like that is a little annoying.
 

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You have to wonder: how would the MacKenzies have reacted to it? Though Val/Karen are of course "a couple" in their own right, Karen and Pat had become really close in the short time the Williamses had been in town. If Val appeared to be the one pursuing Frank, then it would cause a rift between Karen and Val. Karen always felt she needed to "fix" everything for all her friends, especially for 'poor Val', but in this case Karen would not approve of what Val was up to with Frank. Mack would be standing by begging her not to get involved. Pat's reaction to her husband taking up with Val is for her (Pat) to throw caution to the wind and act on her feelings for Gary as a combination of revenge on Val and rebound from Frank's betrayal. When Karen discovers this new layer to the story, Mack would have to send her off to a facility. :D

Joan Van Ark was always commenting on how she wished Val was more proactive in her life. I'm not sure she would have approved of Val as Homewrecker, but written the right way (Frank already feeling disconnected from Pat, maybe resentful of having to go into witness protection) it would have been something new and exciting for her to play. Frank/Val would probably be the shorter-lived of the two affairs, but I think Pat/Gary would have had more 'legs' as a longer storyline since Lynne Moody and Ted Shackelford both have so much onscreen charisma.
Karen and Mack definitely wouldn't have been alright with Val and Frank hooking up. Karen had gotten fairly close to Pat during there time in the cul-de-sac, and in a way she had somewhat filled the void left by Val always being tied up with Jill trying to kill her or her complicated romance with Danny. Karen is infamous for trying to "fix" everything, and yes she would definitely have tried to fix whatever rift there was between Frank and Pat. She would have been disappointed and angry at Val, and there would have been a lot of "talks" that would have occurred to try and iron out the conflict.

I'm not entirely sure that Joan Van Ark would have been alright with Val being branded a homewrecker. Of course, it would have added layers to her character, but I don't know if it would have added the layers she necessarily wanted. She might have even thought that branding Val a homewrecker would have written into a place from where the audience may not been able to forgive her. Personally, I wouldn't have liked it had Val been a homewrecker. It doesn't really "fit" her.
 

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Especially since she was already the most famous "wronged woman" in the cul-de-sac, having had two husbands cheat on her. Having been through this with Abby and with Cathy, you'd think Val would be the last woman to fall into an adulterous affair---which is what makes it all the more attractive to me. But seeing her try to justify her actions to Karen and tell her she just didn't understand---it would be more than a little like the way she reacted when everyone tried to talk her out of marrying Danny. She would just dig in her heels and ignore all the well-meaning advice. She even went as far as announcing that she "loved Danny more than she ever loved any other man" in her defiance of Karen and Aunt Ginny's attempts to talk some sense to her. Val would likely try to convince everyone that she and Frank were "deeply in love" even as he was regretful and trying to undo the damage and win his wife back. Val never did anything half-way.
 

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Especially since she was already the most famous "wronged woman" in the cul-de-sac, having had two husbands cheat on her. Having been through this with Abby and with Cathy, you'd think Val would be the last woman to fall into an adulterous affair---which is what makes it all the more attractive to me. But seeing her try to justify her actions to Karen and tell her she just didn't understand---it would be more than a little like the way she reacted when everyone tried to talk her out of marrying Danny. She would just dig in her heels and ignore all the well-meaning advice. She even went as far as announcing that she "loved Danny more than she ever loved any other man" in her defiance of Karen and Aunt Ginny's attempts to talk some sense to her. Val would likely try to convince everyone that she and Frank were "deeply in love" even as he was regretful and trying to undo the damage and win his wife back. Val never did anything half-way.
Yes, that's what would've made her romance with Frank all the more baffling. She had Abby and Cathy both do her wrong with Gary and Ben, respectively, and she shouldn't have wanted to do anything like that to Pat.

Val would definitely have defended her actions, whether she was fooling around with Frank or not, to anyone that would have tried to talk any kind of sense into her. She did give Karen the whole spill that she loved Danny more than she ever loved Gary or Ben, which I thought was a little sickening. It's a little queasy watching her defend Danny when you all know he raped Amanda.
 

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I cannot tell you all how totally psyched I am that Michelle Phillips is finally back around as Anne. I was anxiously awaiting the return of Anne since she left in season eight. When she popped up for a one-episode stint in season ten, I was so glad to see her. I know she has a iffy reputation with long-running fans of the show, but I have been longing to see more of her, and I cannot be happier she's back. I cannot wait to see what she's got in store for us.

I'm also awaiting the return of Stacy Galina (as another character naturally) and the introduction of Kathleen Noone. Sure, I also know that these two ladies have a shaky reputation with a lot of fans, but I'm looking forward to their faces cluttering my TV screen. I cannot wait.
 

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I can't speak for all of fandom, but I liked Anne (and MP) a lot. Anne is not a character that would have fit in at all during the first half of the series, but played well with the mood and themes of the final few years. I also appreciated Kathleen Noone's acting skills and what she brought to what could have been a cartoony character. What bugged me (and yes, it's superficial) is how they retconned Claudia into existence. So much effort was put into crafting Greg Sumner's back-story, so having this long-lost sister show up and act like she's been there all along irked me for a long time. And I've gone on the record several times with my affinity for Stacy Galina, both as Kate and as the ill-fated Mary-Frances. Kate admirably took on the "Olivia Cunningham" role of a good girl being horrified by the actions of her villainous mother. Her increased role in the Back To The Cul-De-Sac miniseries showed that Kate had so much potential.
 

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characters they were intending to be more permanent, like Pat and Frank, to come between Gary and Val.
And of course, in hindsight, the Williamses turned out to be quite disposable after all. A story like this would have been a better use of the time they did have.
 

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And of course, in hindsight, the Williamses turned out to be quite disposable after all. A story like this would have been a better use of the time they did have.
And that saddens me terribly. I remember being excited when the Williams family moved into Richard and Laura's old house, and I was gearing up for them to bring some variety to the stories. All they've done is exercise the sidelines, however, and offered some filler when the writers had gaps in their scripts. They're always a part of someone else's story, very rarely occupying anything by themselves. It's unfortunate.
 

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So I finally got to see Anne and Paula's exchange concerning their yellow-and-black dress they each purchased from the same store. Naturally, Anne had it all rigged up because she had seen Paula purchase the dress and she then bought it to, y'know, try and one-up her. The funny thing is I wasn't a big fan of Paula at the start, but she's grown on me. I liked how they had her googly over Mack, but they didn't quite squeeze the juice enough concerning their one-night-stay together in that raggedy motel. I'd be apt to guess that Michele Lee and Kevin Dobson went to the producers and had any serious accusations pointing toward an affair between Mack and Paula scrapped immediately. That's the same thing they did when Michelle Phillips originally came into the show in 1987. They wanted Mack and Karen to be that squeaky clean, solid as a rock couple, and indeed they should be, so they didn't want anything added to the mix to stir that up and ruin their reputation. To be entirely honest, I'm a little shocked that as much was done with Mack and Paula's relationship as what ended up on the show. Anyway, I'm a little sad now that Paula's excepted this Canadian job and is apparently living the show. I was kind of hoping she'd stick around a little longer, but I'm not too sure how she'd be able to feed any significant story unless they had her hook up with Sumner officially. But all that seemed shot once Anne came back.

It's certainly interesting that I just typed something about the Williams family right at the time a drunken Danny bolts into the cul-de-sac and runs over Pat. I was completely shocked by the irony of this; Pat was the one that kicked into overdrive when Val stabbed Danny and used her doctor's experience to stabilize him until he was able to get to the hospital. Now it appears as if Danny is going to be the one that causes the possible death of Pat. In hindsight, I guess I should have saw this coming. Knots Landing is pretty well-known for employing irony and turning stories on their heads. Once the music ("You Are So Beautiful") started playing, I was a little clued in that something was going to happen. I mean, Paige had finally decided to marry Tom, and Pat and Frank had decided not to be stubborn anymore and patch things up, so I knew either one of the couples were going to a curve ball thrown in their romance.

And then there's Karen's arc revolving around her stalker that's sending her letters at the TV station. I recall their being a thread here on Soap Chat (or maybe the old site) that discussed that while Karen was the show's "moral center", she was usually wrapped in someone else's story and that her personal stories always seemed to be an after-thought. Her story here seems to be nothing more than a story to have Mack and Karen involved directly in, while Pat and Frank are finally grasping some ground and Val's tied up with Danny the psycho.
 

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Alright ladies and gents I'm nearing the conclusion of season eleven. I have just one episode left, but I'm saving it for tomorrow. I'm anxiously awaiting what's going to happen and see what I'm going to be left hanging with once this season finale rolls the credits.

The one thing I really like about Knots Landing is how my opinions of the story lines and characters can easily change from episode-to-episode. Sometimes characters or plots might start off a little shaky, but the writers usually turn it all around and make it to where it turns out to be the one story I'm gearing up to see how it ends.

That's precisely what's going on with Karen's stalker story. I wasn't entirely on-board with it at first, but I've gotten totally into it and I want to see how it ends. I thought I had it all figured out and I just knew that the stalker was going to be Wayne, the creepy guy that had gotten a job as a security guard at the television station, but nope. I was wrong. I was really bummed, too, I just knew I was right. That revelation has completely tossed me for a whim, and now my head is twirling to find out who the stalker really is. My mind is drawing a blank, though.

On the bright side, however, I'm totally psyched that I'm almost done with Knots Landing. I have just three seasons left. I'm ready to see what awaits me.
 

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I'm currently re-watching Knots from start to finish (just started S11). I'm finding it really interesting that when you daily binge watch (as opposed to weekly watch) you really notice those changes in tone/character.
I've really noticed how Gary/Val seem to be secondary characters after being front and centre for so many years - it's shifted to Karen/Mack & Sumner/Paige.
I personally was not a big fan of that change
 

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I've finished S11 and I really enjoyed it. I did come away thinking it had some lost opportunities though. Such a shame Olivia & Harold didn't get anything decent to do - they could have really made something of Olivia in the final few years.

I really didn't like Mack/Paula but I warmed to Paula at the end when she was with Greg - pleased she left with her head held high.

Gary and Val getting back together was a bit of whimper, if this had happened in earlier seasons it would have been such a bigger emotional event.

I'm liking the montages over music - 3 that spring to mind whilst I've been binge watching are Weak Moment, Pat's death and 'God Knows'.

On ep4 of S12 now...
 

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I personally was not a big fan of that change
I'm a little iffy on the switch personally. The writers probably felt they had done all they could do with keeping Gary and Val a part, and it seems like they're just itching for the time to get them back together. Rumor has it that the writing staff during this era wasn't on-board with the Gary and Val romance. They didn't "get" them as a couple.

Now, I do like Paige and Greg, but I wish they'd just either put them together or break them up. One or the other. I like that Anne's back in the mix to spice some things up. There's always room for a spicy blonde on my menu. Shows like this always seem to benefit from their addition.

Karen and Mack seem to solely serve as the show's rock solid couple, and indeed they should. There needs to be at least one solid union that no temptation can waiver. I like that and Michele Lee and Kevin Dobson have awesome chemistry together. It's almost like you wouldn't be surprised if they were married in their real lives, but you'd always be a little weirded out if they were. Anyway, their story lines are usually good and attention-grabbing, but they often seem pieced together after everything else had already been written. It's like the writers were like, "Oh, we need to fit Karen and Mack in there somewhere," and then they just tossed them into something to "round out" the ensemble. Again, I'm not saying all their stories are like that, but some of them seem to fit that analogy.
I've finished S11 and I really enjoyed it. I did come away thinking it had some lost opportunities though. Such a shame Olivia & Harold didn't get anything decent to do - they could have really made something of Olivia in the final few years.

I really didn't like Mack/Paula but I warmed to Paula at the end when she was with Greg - pleased she left with her head held high.

Gary and Val getting back together was a bit of whimper, if this had happened in earlier seasons it would have been such a bigger emotional event.

I'm liking the montages over music - 3 that spring to mind whilst I've been binge watching are Weak Moment, Pat's death and 'God Knows'.

On ep4 of S12 now...
I just finished season eleven earlier today. I've only watched the first episode of season twelve.

I also enjoyed the eleventh season, but there were a few drawbacks. It was interesting to me that Tonya Crowe was finally added to the opening credits, only to be completely under-utilized this season. (It seems to be a trend of the producers to add a cast member to opening only to dumb them mid-season.) When looking at it realistically, I really don't know what else there was for Olivia and Harold to do. Once they were married, it's like they hit a brick wall, as most soap opera couples generally seem to do. Olivia and Harold worked the best when they were pushing against Abby, who was doing her very best to keep the two apart. When Harold's crooked uncle was in the mix, it was even better. They were the star-crossed lovers that no one really wanted together, and once they finally got married, no one seemed to care anymore. They wrote themselves into a corner, especially after everyone starting taking to Harold and making him a part of the family. All that left Olivia and Harold to do was argue over money and argue over arguing. It got very repetitive and quick. I wasn't really upset that they ended up leaving, but as usual, I was a little irked that their send-off seemed thrown together. It was spontaneous and uneventful.

I wasn't a fan of the Mack/Paula story they were trying to push there for a while, either. As a character, I actually liked Paula and thought she was cool for how she helped out Michael when Ellen was flirting around with Johnny. That earned her some definite brownie points in my books. What threw me was when Paula and Karen became business partners, after Michael introduced them, and Paula immediately sets her eyes back on Mack once she realizes that Mack is Karen's husband. Paula's actions kind of made me a little angry with her. I mean she was supposed to be Karen's friend, but yet she's making passes at her husband. Who does that? Friends don't, that's who. Anyway, I'm glad they finally let Paula's infatuation with Mack fizzle. Like I said in an earlier post, I was surprised that Michele Lee and Kevin Dobson even want along with the Paula story line. They had a fit earlier in the show when the producers wanted Mack to have an affair with Anne, and I was a little shocked that Lee and Dobson were apparently cool with their being hints of Mack's infidelity with Paula. I did warm up to Paula more once she started seeing Greg. She seemed to have really fallen in love with him, but he did what he routinely does; he treated her like trash, and she ends up leaving town because she thinks he couldn't care less for her. It was sad really and I found myself feeling sorry for her.

And there's Gary and Val. For years, the writers fed their on-again-off-again relationship, which the viewers seemed to eat up. It was a driving force behind the show, I'd say. Most viewers wanted Gary and Val to patch things up, but the writers knew that the audience would be more apt to stick around to see how the torment Gary and Val went through that would naturally keep the two of them from being together the way the majority of the audience wanted them to be. Gary had left Val for Abby, and Abby eventually left Gary, who later ended up fooling around with psycho Jill. Val marries Ben the journalist, who disappears somewhere in South America, and then does the stupidest thing ever by marrying Danny the rapist. What was she thinking? And then she wises up and leaves Danny. I think the scene where Gary suggests marriage to Val at the end of season eleven is quite romantic and sweet. The show wouldn't have benefited from Gary and Val getting back together any earlier, though. They fueled some of the best stories while they were separated. If the writers had put them back together earlier, I'd be apt to guess that they probably would have broken them up again before the show ended. Gary and Val rekindling their love is one of the first signs, at least in my mind, that the show is drawing to a close. Either their going to tear Gary and Val apart again, or the curtain's fixing to drop.

I also am I big fan of the show's decision to use music to connect a montage of different scenes, stories, and characters. I often remember the opening to "Weak Moment" from the ninth season (I have the song on my phone), and think of how brilliantly done it was. As you said, there's always the montage primarily circling around Pat's death (I cannot remember then name of the song used that time), which is also quite sad and emotional. None of the other soaps did this. It gave Knots Landing a flair that the others were lacking. I like it.

I'm just an episode in to season twelve. I'm closing in on it.
 

Daniel Avery

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Unfortunately, KL had a track record (across several writer/producer teams) of not being able to transition their child characters into adulthood. Olivia went the same route as Diana, who got bumped up to principal, got one big story and then....nothing. I know it is easy to be an armchair critic, but soap writers should always have an eye for "what next?" with all their characters, especially the principals. As they're playing a story, there ought to already be plans for how they will end that story and move into the next one. The story they wrote for Olivia could have been just as easily done with her remaining a recurring character, since she was not in every episode, and was not driving story for other characters except Harold, who was third-tier at best.

If Tonya Crowe had wanted to remain on the show*, I would have killed off Harold. Perhaps one of his 'old associates' draws him into a scheme that gets them both killed, and Olivia is left a young widow--with a questionable pile of money left behind by the guy who got her husband killed. This would allow her to repeat some of the 'road to riches' plotlines of her mother, giving her the seed money to make herself richer. The show could have then created a new love interest for her who had more dimensions than Harold, perhaps a bit of a schemer in his own right who worked at Sumner Group. They would also have been able to place Michael within that storyline area, since he was afflicted with the same transition problem as he reached adulthood (as you will see). Maybe he would function as the voice of 'doing the right thing' like Karen usually did. Of course in that period of the show, the 'voice of what's right' was looked at as the Party Pooper no one wanted to be around spoiling the fun, so it would be more likely that he would jump in and go along with whatever Olivia and her new man was up to, while Karen sat back and worried for her dear son and niece.

* It is noticeable to me that after Knots, Tonya Crowe's longtime stint on KL did not translate to other notable acting roles. Perhaps she simply did not pursue them. I've always thought that she likely wanted to do other things, since the acting career had been thrust upon her as a young child. Her departure might not have been from lack of story options, but because Crowe wanted to explore other options.
 
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