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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Breaking Blair: A look at the character of Blair Cramer

It’s New Year’s Eve 2011 in Llanview, Todd has framed Tomas for the murder of his brother/Blair’s ex-husband.  Tomas had Todd incarcerated for years and ironically is also Blair’s lover.  Blair is looking at a portrait Tomas has painted of her and wondering how she could be so stupid.  “What the heck is a manner with you?  What happened to the woman I fell for?” Todd asks.  Good question.

When Blair came to town in the 1990’s she was a bit different than she is today.  She was often refered to as the great seductress. She would purr when she talked, smiled coyly, and give a man just enough of what he desired to trap him.  If she didn’t get what she wanted, well let’s just say payback was a bitch.  She ran over a lover’s wife with a car, pushed a rival out a window, and tried to kill more than one of her husbands.

When Todd “died” in Ireland many years ago, Blair’s grief took the form of rage.  She irrationally blamed Marty for Todd's untimely death and set out for revenge.  That revenge took the form of seducing Marty’s man.  She did this through pure manipulation.  She’s dressed and styled her hair the way he liked, just happen to bump into him everywhere, and ask for a dance after playing a slow song on the jukebox.  I didn’t root for Blair because I thought in anyway that Marty deserved this punishment.  I rooted for her because she was fun to watch.

However, overtime the provocative qualities of her that I loved become a bit cartoonish and not in the Jessica Rabbit type of way.  Smart men started following her around like love sick puppies with little reason given.  The men looked like idiots.  I wasn’t sure whether to feel pity or annoyance for them.  What guy would believe that a woman loved and wanted him when she jumps into bed with her ex the first chance she gets?  I think it started with the recast Sam. The supposedly bright lawyer mindlessly chased after her while she strutted him in front of Todd every chance she got.  The end result was that Blair looked like kind of jerk.

Yet despite this behavior it began to seem that it had been decided Blair was now the tragic heroine.  Sure Blair was vulnerable and got her heart broken often but she was never the good girl.  She just wasn’t as bad as Todd.  Her relationship with Todd began to get stunk in an endless loop of her lying, him telling a bigger lie, her leaving him for some poor sap, and then Todd falling over himself to get her back.  It became less fun to watch.  She was only enjoyable for me in those small glances at happiness she had when Todd and her were back on again.

Blair’s leading man was then recast and the chemistry wasn’t the same.  This version of Todd (later Victor) didn’t have the same kind of obsessive love for her as the previous version. As Kassie Depaiva stated in an issue of Soap Opera Uncensored "Whenever Victor was with Blair it was because he was trying to prove a point. It was never because of Blair.”  The couple still continued to break up and make up though for several years.  Blair was never given any good leading men outside of this.  The one guy she ended up having some chemistry with turned out to be a serial killer.

Eventually Blair became the fragile woman who’d been beaten down one too many times.  She wasn’t the lively schemer who dressed up as Marilyn Monroe to trick David into sleeping with Dorian anymore.

One could argue that the changes in Blair show that she has grown as a character.  I think that is a very valid point.  Now that Blair is in her 40’s and a mother of three, I don’t think it would work for her to be the man-eating, vixen that she was but I think she can be better than how she turned out.  I want her to be vulnerable but not weak.

When the first of Todd and Blair’s marriages fell apart, she had quickly moved funds to her accounts and had him voted off the board of her cosmetic company.  She wasn’t going to be left penniless.  “Did you think I was going to crawl right under the covers and cry, Todd?” she asked him.  Back then the answer was no and now it is a very solid yes.

How fun would it have been if instead of crying over Tomas, Blair had helped Todd frame him?  The feisty young Blair that I loved so much would have wanted revenge on Tomas like she did on Marty years ago.  She wouldn’t have shed a tear over it either.  And after having tried to kill a few ex-husband’s in the past, it’s hard for me to believe she really would care so much about the death of one.  It would have been out of character for her to have done otherwise.  I think the story we ended up getting, though not perfect (you could tell there was some hurried rewrites), was in character for today’s incarnation of Blair.

While I’m enjoying the rebooted One Life to Live, I’m a little perplexed by the moping we are getting from Blair and her longtime leading man.  True these characters have had their dark moments and I can understand both feeling a little depressed right now but I am hoping to see some of that old fire spark up again.  Most of all, I want my strong Blair back.

1 comment:

  1. I want a strong Blair back too! She is a force to be reckoned with and I really hope we see more of that.