Wednesday, April 6, 2011

'One Life to Live' takes on bullying, delivers great story

Soap operas get a bad rap for being melodramatic and fantastical, and that's absolutely true, however, they also often feature real groundbreaking stories that will do more for a cause than any celebrity endorsement will ever do.

As a matter of fact, they are usually the first TV shows to tackle sensitive social issues. This has been the case on "One Life to Live" this month with the bullying storyline featuring Jack Manning and Shane Morasco.

Jack is the privileged son of longtime favorites Todd and Blair, while Shane is the son of not rich, but very popular Gigi and Rex. Jack has been making Shane's life miserable with an increasingly diabolical campaign of harassment. So far, he has cyber bullied him, framed him for theft, and stolen his asthma inhaler causing Shane to have a dangerous attack.

Most recently Jack posted a naked video of Shane online, sending Shane to the breaking point. He became suicidal and headed to the school roof. The performance in this scene by Austin Williams (pictured below), who plays Shane, was heartbreaking. Williams made Shane's pain, loneliness and despair palpable and gave an Emmy worthy performance.

Bullying has become a hot topic lately and for "One Life to Live" to take the subject matter and unflinchingly show the consequences does more than 100 PSAs and Internet videos.

Soap opera parents are notoriously absent from their children's lives and that will also be explored in the storyline, as will Jack's reaction to what his actions did to Shane. He is unapologetically unremorseful at the moment, however that will change when he finds out about Shane's suicide attempt.

Young actors on daytime are often asked to portray stories well beyond their years. The outcome is hit or miss, depending on the skills of the actor, however Williams and Andrew Trischitta, who plays Jack, have been delivering honest depictions of an important story.

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