- Todd Manning
Infobox soap character
series = One Life to Live
color = #99BADD
name = Todd Manning
Roger Howarth(1992-1995, 1996-1998, 2000-2003)
Trevor St. John(2003-present)
first = 1992
Trevor St. Johnas Todd Manning in the " One Life to Live" opening sequence
Roger Howarthas Todd Manning in the " One Life to Live" opening sequence from 2003
nickname = Boomer [In 1998,
Sam Rappaportrepeatedly calls Todd "Boomer," his nickname for Todd as a child. He continues to occasionally use the nickname until his death in 2003.]
Prince of DarknessThe soap press and then viewers have referred to the character this way. cite news |title=prince of darkness returns|publisher=
alias = Thomas Todd Manning (birth name)
Sam Rappaportnotes Todd's full legal name in 1998.]
gender = Male
age = 36Todd and Marty almost have sex. Afterwards, Todd tells Marty that he was age 20 when they were in college together and had their first romantic encounter, "
One Life to Live" ( 2008- 09-23). Retrieved on 2008- 09-23.]
occupation = Publisher of "The Sun"
residence = 437 Jackson Hill Road, Llanview, PA
(adoptive father, deceased)
(adoptive mother, deceased)
siblings = Victoria "Viki" Lord
(paternal half-sister, deceased)
(paternal half-brother, deceased)
(annulled; first time) 
(divorced; second time) [1995-1997]
(divorced; first time) [1997-1998]
(divorced; second time) 
(divorced; third time) [2001-2002]
(annulled; fourth time) [2003-2004]
(divorced; fifth time) [2007-2008]
(dated, pre-rape) 
Marty Saybrooke(dating; amnesiac Marty) 
(daughter, with Blair)
(son, with Blair)
Samuel "Sam" Manning
(son, with Margaret) [Blair has had two miscarriages with Todd.]
aunts and uncles = Powell Lord I (paternal uncle, deceased)
Gwendolyn Lord (paternal aunt,
cousins = Powell Lord II
(paternal cousin, deceased)
Powell Lord III
(paternal first cousin once removed)
Kevin Buchanan Sr.
Joseph "Joey" Buchanan
Clinton James "C.J." Roberts
Demerest "Duke" Buchanan
Kevin Buchanan Jr.
Thomas "Todd" Manning is a
fictional characterfrom the ABC daytime drama " One Life to Live". The role was originated in 1992 by actor Roger Howarth. In 2003, Howarth departed from the series and the role was recast with actor Trevor St. John.
The character was conceived as a short-term role; Howarth is credited with "turning what was a
day playerrole into a compelling, long-term character".cite web | title=About the Actors: Roger Howarth | publisher=soapcentral.com | accessdate=2007-08-26 | url=http://www.soapcentral.com/atwt/theactors/howarth.php] Initially designed to be a ruthless, cunning and one-dimensional villain, throughout the years Todd has evolved into a complex character, often selfish and acting the villain but also passionate about protecting his loved ones and even showing kindness and a conscience.
During his time in the fictional town of Llanview,
Pennsylvania, the character has had much trouble with the law, including the infamous gang rape of Marty Saybrooke. In 1994, it was revealed that he was the son of Victor Lord, the brother of Tina Lordand half-brother of "One Life to Live" heroine Victoria Lord.
In September 2007, the writers had Todd remarry longtime love Blair Cramer for the fifth time. The characters have two living children, Starr and Jack. Todd's third child, a son by the mentally unstable
Margaret Cochran, was scripted to have been kidnapped at birth and later presumed dead; in 2007 Todd discovered that the boy was in fact alive and being raised as " Tommy McBain" by people he knew.cite news| first=Cindy | last=Elavsky|title=Interview: It’s good to be bad|publisher=tulsaworld.com|date= 2008-01-20|accessdate=2008-07-22 |url=http://www.tulsaworld.com/entertainment/spot/article.aspx?articleID=20080119_8_TV9_spanc33771] Todd was awarded custody, but Tommy's adoptive mother Marcie McBainfled with the child. With Marcie and his son still at large, on December 20 2007, viewers witnessed Todd's announcement that "Tommy" would be renamed "Sam Manning," in honor of his deceased mentor and friend, Sam Rappaport.
Todd has been the subject of numerous soap opera articles, been alluded to and studied in books, and inspired the creation of a doll in his likeness. He has been called daytime's most popular character, and is considered one of the show's
breakout characters.cite news |title=Tough Man Todd Returns!|publisher= About.com|date=2000-02-10|accessdate=2007-08-26|url=http://onelifetolive.about.com/library/weekly/aa021000.htm]
Constructing a villain
Todd Manning was originally intended to be a short-lived role, but viewer reaction, cited as notable and positive, for Howarth's portrayal of the character prompted an expansion of Todd's personality, and an increased presence of Todd within the series.cite book | author=Jennifer Hayward| editor = Gail Dines and Jean McMahon Humez | chapter= Consuming pleasures: Active audiences and soap opera| chapterurl = http://books.google.com/books?id=Mh2PWvtzNFUC&pg=PA516&lpg=PA516&dq=gender+race+and+class+in+media+a+%22text+reader%22+todd+manning&source=web&ots=WS6JUOUiTY&sig=PvxnqzWjLeSk99fDHZb7TCrERMo&output=html|title= Gender, Race, and Class in Media: A Text-reader |url =http://books.google.com/books?id=Mh2PWvtzNFUC&output=html| id = ISBN 076192261X | publisher = Sage Publications| year = 2003|pages = 515–520] cite news|first=Nelson|last=Branco|title=Shame and Prejudice: Mishandling sin on ‘OLTL’|publisher="
TV Guide"|date=2008-10-01|accessdate=2008-10-03|url=http://tvguide.sympatico.msn.ca/Shame+and+Prejudice+Mishandling+sin+on+OLTL/Soaps/Features/Articles/081001_michael_malone_NB.htm?isfa=1] Michael Malone, the character's creator, relayed fleshing out the villain as being a part of what he loves about soap operas. "The story-telling is a genuine collaboration, not just among writers but by the actors," he elaborated. Michael Malonegave detailed interviews to website magnifmalonian. cite web | title=Malone Q & A | publisher=magnifmalonian | accessdate=2007-08-26 | url=http://members.tripod.com/magnifmalonian/id30.htm#__1] Malone felt that he could not take all of the credit for the development of the character from Marty Saybrooke's gang rapist to what the character later became, and also pointed to Howarth's impact:
"In the creation of Todd Manning, no one played a larger role than the remarkably talented
Josh Griffith, first associate head writer, then co-head writer, during my stay at "One Life". Josh loved, lived and breathed Todd and fought passionately for his position on the show. Second, Todd never would have evolved from 'first frat boy' to the major cast member he became without the powerful talent of Roger Howarth. Because of Roger's ability to convey the complexity of Todd (the hurt as well as anger, the insecurity as well as bluster, the brains, yearning, manipulativeness, sexiness, tenderness, nastiness) we were able to explore both the deeply dark side of this character (the effort to destroy Marty to cover the rape, the attempted revenge on his lawyer Nora, the attack on Luna) and at the same time slowly uncover his growing struggle (usually a failed struggle) towards some kind of redemption. Romantic leads have often begun their careers playing villains (Valentino, Clark Gable, Humphrey Bogartamong them). These characters appeal because they make women feel both the thrill of the 'bad' and the lure of the hidden 'good': they can lead the man to change through love. 'I'll save him!' Fans loved Todd from the beginning because he always had that appeal. The network was therefore happy to have him return to Llanview whenever Roger would come back, and happy to have him move into story in major ways."
Malone gave Todd the last name "Manning" without knowing Victor Lord’s mistress was named Irene Manning. This oversight is what allowed the writers to later reveal that Todd was Tina and Victoria Lord's brother.
The writers made Todd the younger brother of Victoria Lord to give them significant story to work with while transitioning Todd from recurring to main character status. They could begin with the mystery regarding the false heir;
David Vickerswas introduced as the con-man who claimed Todd's fortune as his own. From there, the writers had Vickers corrupt Tina, and developed Todd not only as Victoria's unwanted sibling, but as "her professional rival" who used "a splashy tabloid newspaper to wipe out her venerable "Banner".
ignature scar and the hair
To make the character seem even more menacing, a "nasty-looking"
scarwas given to his right cheek; Marty's friend, Luna Moody, had stopped his second physical attack on Marty by hitting him with a crowbar. The camera would often emphasize this scar, which would later become synonymous with the character.
Independent casting director Howard Meltzer explained, "Todd wears the scar like a badge. It’s a warning to others: Don’t mess with me."cite news |title=Daytime's Most Fascinating Faces |publisher="
Soap Opera Magazine"|date=1998-02-24|accessdate=2007-08-26] Meltzer relayed that Howarth underplayed Todd; Todd did not have to rant to incite fear. "He gets a lot more from the raising of an eyebrow than raising the volume of his voice," Meltzer stated. Todd's actions were mostly in response to the environment around him. Meltzer thanked Howarth's "expressiveness" for making it possible for viewers to see "the wheels turning". The scar was applied by glue, with a little makeup to make it look more authentic, and usually took 10 minutes to apply.cite news|title=Male Soap Opera Stars|publisher=" Phil Donahue Show"|date=1994-05-17|accessdate=2008-07-21]
Todd's hair was integral to the character as well. It was described as "enigmatic, with an air of innate authority". The hair was said to demonstrate Todd's lack of pretense, to convey an "I don’t care" attitude, and compliment the character's "overhanging brow". Todd would therefore seem more threatening but vulnerable at the same time. The hair often concealed the "intense, vulnerable eyes underneath". These features contrasted well to the character's mouth, which was cited as pouty and sensual and conferring "a charming, boyish quality". These attributes could sometimes be misinterpreted as Todd being less dangerous than he actually was. Photographer Robert Milazzo noted that the hair was the softening part of the character, as portrayed by Howarth. "You don’t expect that intensity because of it," he cited, and that it made Todd more intriguing.
theme musicwas applied to the Todd character to go along with his volatile nature.In 1998, David Nichterngave an exclusive interview via One Life to Live." cite web | first=Marg | last= Harris | title= Making Music: Interview With OLTL Composer David Nichtern (Part I)|date=November 1998 | accessdate=2007-08-26 | url= http://www.geocities.com/~onelifer/nichtern1.html] Whenever played, the theme served to signal to the viewer that Todd was about to commit a vicious, dangerous, or threatening act. This was especially evident in Roger Howarth's portrayal of the character, though later present in Trevor St. John's early portrayal as well.
The original creator of Todd's theme music,
composer David Nichtern, loved Todd and enjoyed implementing the different versions of the Todd theme. While describing Todd's "return from the dead" music (as the return was a prominent event at the time), first played in 1996, Nichtern addressed the broader aspect of his music composition for the character:
"All of Todd's music has had a certain 'vibe' to it, especially since the character is so well-drawn. It also has seemed particularly well-suited to my guitar style, so I've enjoyed 'becoming' Todd musically. The key is always to represent his dark side, but with the possibility of redemption and power behind the whole thing. That's what makes him such an interesting character. Todd's cues are always custom-made so to speak, so there is energy and attention going toward getting the exact flavor of what the current story-line is saying about his journey."
Concept on redemption
Todd's spiritual journey was crafted as a man who wanted forgiveness for his past misdeeds, but whether or not he felt that he deserved it was a factor in which contributed to him staying set in his ways. Todd believed he did not deserve forgiveness. Malone was intrigued by telling this type of character aspect, and felt that it worked even better due to Howarth being an actor who would not let Todd acquire redemption easily.
Malone felt that the most important part of Todd's redemption was to have him re-confront Marty Saybrooke, the woman he had gang raped. The writers had Todd risk his freedom of prison to instead save Marty from a car crash, even going so far as to donate his own blood to Marty to ensure that she survived the wreck. Todd would later help Marty's lover at the time,
Patrick Thornhart, as well. But these good deeds never made Todd feel any less horrible for having raped Marty.
The writers sometimes used names to symbolize good or bad characters. Powell Lord (the III), a character who initially resisted the gang rape of Marty Saybrooke, was set up as "the good" to Todd's "absolute evil" and harbored deep guilt for his part in the rape, acting as a
conscienceto Todd. Todd was shown to ignore Powell's need to instill morals.
The writing showcased that the rape was not about the sex, about women, or even about Marty. It was rather about what takes place between men and women in the aftermath of rape. Powerful
archetypes were drawn out, such as the fight between good and evil, reminiscent of nineteenth-century melodrama, where critique would be given to "power relations, especially the oppression of the poor by the rich and of women by men".
Todd was viewed as unequivocally bad, as he displayed no
remorseand no charm. The writers made him the pure embodiment of evil. Certain plot points were issued to further demonstrate this. One included Todd attempting to rape Marty for a second time. He wanted to punish her for "winning" the trial against him. Todd's second attempt to physically harm Marty, however, was thwarted by Marty's close friend ( Luna Moody). The writers had the scuffle between the two leave Todd with a scar gracing the right side of his face.
As Todd's popularity with viewers grew, and as a solution not to have to kill off what had become perceived as a monster, executive producer Susan Bedsow Horgan and head writer Michael Malone chose an option that was highly controversial at the time — the decision to complicate their character, ensuring that he was not a one-dimensional rapist.cite web| first= Christine | last=Scodari |title=Soap Operas |publisher="St. James Encyclopedia of Pop Culture"|accessdate=2007-08-26|url=http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_g1epc/is_tov/ai_2419101120/pg_3] When, after attempting
suicide, Powell confessed to raping Marty and was publicly forgiven by Marty herself, Todd was set for revenge when he and fellow rapist Zach received eight-year sentences behind prison as compared to Powell's three months of jail time. Todd made a vow that he would be out of prison in three months as well. To carry out this vow, Todd was written to escape by "drugging himself, waking from a coma to leap from a speeding ambulance, and then reviving himself again by stabbing a knife through his hand while rolling his eyes heavenward and exulting, 'Pain. Pain is good'". The scary determination of the character had become characteristic of him by then. With his escape from prison, he set out to attack the woman who had ensured his fate behind bars, his former lawyer, Nora Gannon ( Hillary B. Smith), who had thrown his case once she discovered that he had indeed raped Marty. Nora was spared from Todd's attack by her then-husband Bo Buchanan( Robert S. Woods) showing up before Todd could strike. The writers had Todd's fury increase from there, writing him to yet again attempt to rape Marty, another failed attempt. But his vengeance on Marty was exacted when he killed her boyfriend at the time, Suede. The character was then pushed into a storyline where he kidnapped an ingenue named Rebecca Lewis, hid out with her, committed grand theft auto, and was later found by the police and shot in the chest, falling off a bridge "into the freezing river of the far upstate New York".
teps to early redemption
Upon the character's return, "the team used four techniques drawn from the conventions of Victorian sentimental fiction". To begin with, the audience is informed of Todd's tragically sad childhood, that he had a powerful love for his mother, while understandably harboring a deep hate for his rich, abusive, controlling adoptive father. Next, Todd visiting a church to repent for his past misdeeds and his current disturbing thoughts are implemented. Third, Todd's love for the innocent, very
religious virgin, Rebecca Lewis, helps him let her in emotionally, and regularly vocalize his detest for his father. "With her pre-Raphelite curls, 'drooping head,' and inarticulate cries, Rebecca is almost a caricatureof Dickens' more sentimental and less felicitious heroines." The scenes between Todd and Rebecca were detailed as heavily iconic, with symbolic representation that consisted of homages to the Virgin, the Mother, and Freud, as the feminization of Todd was present as well. One feminization moment took place when Todd picked up Rebecca's purse and made a correlation between it and his mother's purse, and then briefly proceeded to use makeup to cover up the scar symbolizing his rough past.
The final and crucial addition to Todd's early redemption was his friendship with two children at the time, C.J. and
Sarah Roberts. This particular aspect bore "an uncanny (and almost certainly deliberate, given Malone's affection for nineteenth-century literature) resemblance to the monster's narrative in Mary Shelley's " Frankenstein". Mary Shelley's monster saves a young girl from drowning, but instead of the incident being seen as heroic, it is misinterpreted as an attack on her. From the hidden shadows, the monster also watches two children living happy lives. In similar comparison, Malone's Todd Manning character rescues the cousin of C.J. and Sarah, Jessica Buchanan(who would later turn out to be his niece), from being manhandled by an older boy. This serves as the start to Todd's road to meeting the two children (also of blood relation to him). Like Shelley's monster, Todd observes the family's happy moments together from afar, and wishes to be a part of their life. He uses his time alone to make toys for the two children. Once they accidentally discover him, he manipulates the children into keeping his whereabouts a secret, relaying to them that he is "a genieon the run from an evil master". The stories Todd tells them reflect his feelings about his own father. In the years following, Todd would continue to evolve into a complex character, starting with amends to his former victim, Marty.
During an August 1993 interview with magazine "
Soap Opera Digest", Roger Howarth grimaced as he was read a quote from a previous profile where he stated, "I was happy to get the part of Todd, but it was the furthest thing from the fabric of my personality." Howarth responded to hearing this quote by saying, "What a totally self-involved, pretentious thing to say."cite news |title=August 1993 Roger Howarth interview |publisher=" Soap Opera Digest"|date=August 1993|accessdate=2007-08-26] He clarified, "When it comes to creating a character for a soap opera, they have to go with an archetype, one that's recognizable. The one they created with Todd is that he's privileged and very rich. My upbringing was not like that at all. Status is really important to the characters I seem to be playing. To me, Roger, I don't think it's that important."
Howarth was consistently being cast as a bad guy, and stated that he had no idea why, but that he loved it. He decided that he "would never want to come in now and play a nice guy for three months". The bad-boy persona fit him well. He felt that playing nice would be "dreadfully" boring, but that it was just as easy to portray a bad guy as to portray a good guy. He detailed that the key to understanding Todd is Todd's concern for how he is perceived by people. "I don't think Todd's obnoxious," Howarth stated, "and I can't try to play obnoxious. It's so important to him to think he looks good to others. He's able to mistreat people, which in turn pumps him up. He doesn't appear to the world to be vulnerable in any way. His defense mechanisms have spun out of control."
Howarth cited Todd's rape of Marty as being complex: Todd was in love with Marty, is how Howarth saw it. When Marty rejected Todd's romantic advances, it began to upset Todd, and eventually started to fester. Todd failing an exam only added to his frustration because everything "had always come so easy to him". Rather than admitting that he himself was the reason for failing his exam, he blamed Marty; it had to be his tutor's fault. Todd tried to cast all of his problems off on Marty.
In a 1994 interview to the same magazine, Howarth commented on Todd's clothing style (this before Todd would eventually start dressing in suits more) as "all
Ralph Lauren. Double R.L.: 80 dollar pants and a 400-and-something-dollar jacket" when it came to the grunge, Salvation Army-like "rags" in which Todd "slithered around in".cite news |title=April 1994 Roger Howarth interview |publisher=" Soap Opera Digest"|date=April 1994|accessdate=2007-08-26] At the time, the clothing was the only thing that Howarth admired about the character, and found it disturbing that people could romantically desire a character that, as he described, is unhealthy: "I don't get it. I don't want to insult anybody, but I don't know why he's attractive." Though the interviewer noted that Howarth's own good looks may have attributed to it, Howarth surmised that, for some reason, skinny white guys were in demand.
Howarth was perplexed about writers sometimes having the need to redeem characters. "Todd's a pretty interesting character just the way he is," enthused Howarth. "There's no need to fix it if it's not broken. I don't know where the whole notion of redeeming characters comes from. People used to say to me, 'I hope you get redeemed so you can stay on the show.' Well, Todd hasn't been redeemed, and he's still on the show."cite news |title=October 1994 Roger Howarth interview |publisher="
Soap Opera Magazine"|date=October 1994|accessdate=2008-07-21] Howarth continued, "I don't love the character I play. If I met Todd on the street, I wouldn't say 'Hi' to him, but I do love playing this character."
Queried on the matter of Todd's future, in a 1994 interview months later, Howarth stated that he had no predictions on what was going to happen to the character, but that he would be happy portraying Todd regardless.cite news |title= 1994 Roger Howarth interview |publisher="
Soap Opera Digest"|accessdate=2007-08-26] He did have concerns, however, on the matter of what direction the writers were going to take Todd: quotation|I've been lucky because Todd's done a lot of things and he's gotten the chance to show different parts of his personality. He's not one-dimensional. We've covered many things and I'm not sure what's left to do, but I hope they just don't compromise Todd. I just want him to stay the jerk that everyone loves!
During Howarth's portrayal, the writers detailed Todd's personality as a blend of dark humor, uncouthness and the tortured soul. The character would often deliver one-liners that ranged from humorous to sadistic.cite news|first=Irene|last=S. Keene|title=BASKING IN THE SUN: As OLTL's Briggs, Robert Hogan remains cool under Todd's fire|publisher="
Soap Opera Weekly"|date=1998|accessdate=2008-07-22] [Todd to Officer Andy Harrison, after Todd is a suspect in the attempted rape of Rebecca: "You got it, Babe. You guys wouldn't know the truth if it jumped up and bit you in the badge." " One Life to Live" (1994). Retrieved on 2008- 07-22.] [Todd to Bo Buchanan, after being recaptured at the dance, when Bo asks Todd if there is anything they can get for him: "Yeah, I'm gonna need your address, so I can send you a Christmas card." " One Life to Live" (1994). Retrieved on 2008- 07-22.] [Todd to Victoria Lord: "It's amazing that you came out to be half-way normal. I mean, my life is totally screwed up, and Tina...WoHoa! She doesn't exactly have it all together." " One Life to Live" (1995). Retrieved on 2008- 07-25.] [Todd to Victoria Lord, when she suggests that he see her shrink, after his return from Ireland: "Look, you wanna be the poster child for the American Psychiatric Association, you go ahead...Me? I'll get a bottle of scotch and save a hundred bucks." " One Life to Live" (1996). Retrieved on 2008- 07-22.] [Todd to Marty Saybrooke, after his return from death in Ireland, and she asks him how he is back: "Beats the hell out of me....I guess when really bad people die, they go to Llanview." " One Life to Live" (1996). Retrieved on 2008- 07-22.] [Todd to Lindsay Rappaportas he is the child-like split personality "Tom" after Victoria Lordasks him if he knows Lindsay: "Yeah, sure...Sam's ex-wife! And I know why Coach left you, too! 'Cause you're a meany! You're nasty!" " One Life to Live" (1998). Retrieved on 2008- 07-25.] In 1997 and 1998, Todd was given comedic partners to sometimes help emphasize this aspect of the character. The first addition was Charlie Briggs, portrayed by actor Robert J. Hogan. Hogan was first seen as Briggs in 1995; he was working for rival company "The Banner" before Todd "stole him away". Hogan elaborated, "Briggs had been on the show for 17 years, but they never showed him."
Similar to comedy teams, where the "funny guy" usually has a "straight man" who either sets up the joke or simply "does not get it", Briggs was the "straight man" to Todd. An element the writers added is that Todd did not realize that the joke was sometimes on him. Scenes between Todd and Briggs typically involved Todd issuing "some bizarre order" to Briggs, or Todd asking Briggs a "way-out question" that was often "way out of line". The script would sometimes have Briggs respond with a "stupefied look" on his face. Briggs may have appeared lost at some of Todd's comments, but Hogan cited that Briggs was more than a match for Todd. "You look at a kid yelling at you," he said, "and you can't take him seriously."
The second comedic pairing for Todd was his friendship with a parrot he named Moose; the bird was actually portrayed by two
South Americanblue and gold Macaws named Flash and Lucky.cite news|title=Amazing Tails|publisher= Animal Planet|date=1997|accessdate=2008-07-22] Part of Todd's character trait was that he was closest to this bird than to most humans. He would tell his private thoughts and secrets to Moose, which would put the character in direct conflict with Todd's then-wife Téa Delgado. Actress
In addition to Moose and Téa's antagonistic relationship, the bird would make insulting or funny remarks to anyone causing problems for Todd. The parrots' awareness of the real world as compared to the fictional world helped them to connect with the actors and better achieve comedic timing. Parrot trainer Ed Richman, explained, "The character of Todd would be yelling or screaming or somebody else would be yelling or screaming... Uh...the birds kind of know in their hearts, inside of them, that it's not real."
Richman had been working with Flash and Lucky for fifteen years, and the birds had developed an "impressive
résumé", having appeared on shows such as " Magnum, P.I." and " Jake and the Fatman", which eventually led them to "One Live to Live" as Todd's pet parrot. Richman stated that Howarth caught on "real quick" regarding his interaction with Flash and Lucky and that he was the best actor he had worked with in the industry.
To achieve different personality moods for Moose, the producers would trade parrots; Flash was used for intimidating scenes where it looked like he "was going to kill somebody", and Lucky was used for the "loving, very caring", physically-close portrayal of Moose. The parrots did not actually speak themselves, however; voice actor Ron Gallop was used to deliver the verbal aspects of the character. Gallop joked, "I train them not to speak so that I have a job." Lozano recalled, "I've had monologues with them and, you know...just like any other kind of — acting with anyone else or anything else — you take it off of the bird or the person. And, um, obviously, the birds are really good actors because — they're just being honest."
Other characteristics defining Todd were the character's eating habits, his nightmares and issues with sexual intimacy. The character typically ate with his hands, and usually refused to use
silverware.cite news|title=OLTL Todd & Tea 1998: Dinner At "The Sun"|publisher=" One Life to Live"|date=1998|accessdate=2008-07-22] Téa was at times determined to teach Todd proper table manners. Todd knew what was considered proper, but preferred not to acknowledge it. Téa was also there to help console Todd about his nightmares, and wanted him to open up about them.cite news|title=Todd and Téa Sleep Together|publisher=" Soap Opera Weekly"|date=98-04-07|accessdate=2008-07-22] The nightmares were detailed as a look into Todd's "soul" and why he is the way he is; they were the driving factor behind him hardly getting any rest. It was rare for Todd to discuss the nightmares, but he would open up to Téa about them on occasion.cite news |title=Todd Finds True Love - With His Wife! |publisher="Daytime Digest "|date=October 1998|accessdate=2008-07-23]
Todd's resistance to sexual intimacy stemmed from his romantic past with
Blair Cramer; having survived a near-death experience and presumed dead for months, he sought revenge against Blair after discovering her having sex with Patrick Thornharton the floor of their penthouse. It was after this that Todd shut down emotionally, and almost completely, mainly showing kindness to his daughter, his sister and occasionally to children. The writers often emphasized Todd's fear of sexual intimacy by making this a prominent obstacle for Todd and Téa's relationship. At one point, Téa was shown to strip down naked in front of Todd and plead for him to make love to her. In response, Todd angrily threw her out into the cold — a rejection more about not being ready for human closeness of this nature again than about rejecting Téa. [Todd and Téa: Todd kicks Téa out into the cold, " One Life to Live" ( 1998- 02-04). Retrieved on 2008- 07-24.] The character later renewed his interest in sex when romantically reunited with Blair, but remained ambivalent towards sexual interaction. One significant component to Todd's personality was his cleverness. The character consistently out-smarted police, family and anyone he targeted. An example of such awareness took place when he faked split personalities in order to avoid a life sentence in prison for holding 14 people hostage.cite news|title=THE YEAR IN SOAPS! THE BEST OF '98 PLUS PREVIEW '99|publisher=" Soap Opera Update"|date=1998|accessdate=2008-07-20] Todd always remained one step ahead of his enemies.
Trevor St. John
In 2003, some time after Howarth left the role, the character was recast. Actor
Trevor St. Johnstepped into the role. However, it was not yet determined that the character he was portraying onscreen was indeed Todd Manning, until several months later. St. John initially took the role of Walker Laurence, while exhibiting uncanny similarities to that of Todd. Eventually, the audience started to take notice, creating suspicion throughout the soap opera community on just who Walker Laurence was.cite news |title=Michael Easton To Join OLTL Cast |publisher=SoapCentral.com |date=2003-07-27|accessdate=2007-08-28
url=http://www.soapcentral.com/oltl/news/2003/0728-easton.php] Magazine "
TV Guide" soon caught on to the matter as well. Wanting to immediately address the question, Delaina Dixon of the magazine bluntly asked St. John if he was Todd. St. John replied, "I don't look anything like Todd." Further pressed on if maybe he is Todd, but with plastic surgery, St. John still did not give anything away, pointing out, "He had a different voice and height." The interviewer noted that anything is possible in the soap opera world. To that, St. John agreed, but informed that the audience would definitively know on August 26, and that they should keep watching.cite web | first=Delaina | last=Dixon | title=Interview: Trevor St. John - Walker Laurence, "One Life to Live" | publisher=" TV Guide" | accessdate=2007-08-26 | url=http://www.trevorstjohn.com/interviews.html] As suspected, Walker Laurence was eventually revealed to be Todd Manning; Todd had indeed had plastic surgery, though not of his own volition, but that of the real Walker Laurence, also portrayed by St. John. Former head writer Malone stated, "During my second stint at "One Life", I had to decide whether or not I should recast Todd." Malone said that the series could not let Todd leave the canvas. "There was a committee involved in this recast," he revealed, "but during Trevor’s audition, which was extraordinary, we all agreed he was Todd. And that unanimous decision is very rare in this business, as you know. It was a risky choice, but he really made it work." Malone further conveyed his feelings that St. John has made the character his own.
Analyzing Todd, St. John felt that it was nice to step into the role and have instant concrete relationships: "There was so much history with Todd. I became a core character. It was grounding. I could look at old scripts and ask people, 'What was your relationship with Todd like?' Whereas with Walker, no one knew." St. John cited that this is what acting is all about — "your relationship to people when you figure out how to play a scene".cite news |title=Far from the Manning crowd |publisher="
Soap Opera Weekly"|date=2004-01-17|accessdate=2007-08-26
url=http://soapoperadigest.com/soapstarstats/trevorstjohnbio/index1.html] Regarding Todd's style, St. John seemed to focus more on the hair of the character, telling magazine "
Soap Opera Weekly" that he wanted to get a haircut. He hoped that the show's writers and producers would let him trim off a little of it, commenting, "It's just not me to be this shaggy. Right now it's OK, because I've made the creative choice that I'm letting myself go because [Todd's] not really right in the old noggin. They asked me to leave it alone until further notice. I even gained a little weight so it looks like I'm not thinking about appearance. But personally, I'd like to be a little cleaner."cite news|title=What is your beauty/fashion/health resolution?|publisher=" Soap Opera Weekly"|date=2003-12-30|accessdate=2007-08-26] Due to Howarth's praise for his portrayal of the character, as well as the length of his portrayal, it became inevitable that viewers and the soap opera media would start to compare St. John's performance as the villain to that of Howarth's, wondering how Howarth might have acted out certain scenes, recited certain lines. To this, St. John made his feelings known: quotation|It's like saying that if you play Hamlet, every actor who plays it has to play each line with the same inflection, the same intention. I don't care what the other guy did. That's his time. Those are the characteristics that Todd had simply because he was the only one who played it. As far as I'm concerned, it's just a name and words on a page. What I do after that is up to me. I'm playing it now. I know that sounds very arrogant and overconfident, but it would be no fun to try to mimic somebody.cite news |title= Oh my Todd!|publisher=" Soap Opera Weekly"| date=2004-01-27 |accessdate=2007-08-26|url=http://soapoperadigest.com/soapstarstats/trevorstjohnbio/index1.html]
St. John acknowledged the love/hate relationship that viewers have with Todd, but commented on how this factor keeps the character from becoming boring. "It’s fun," he stated, "bad guys are always the most popular, I think." St. John felt that likeability is unnecessary. "I think empathy is what people respond to," he relayed. "If you understand a person, the person can do whatever unlikable act, and you’ll still be rooting for him." He added, "And Todd’s kind of both good and bad. He’s got his good side with his kids, and yet he is conniving and vicious and all those negative things. That’s the kind of character that people like to watch. No one likes to watch a monolith of niceness. The worst thing a writer could do is make a character nice, period. Or likeable."
Impact and criticism
Todd's impact on television ranges from his rape of Marty Saybrooke, to viewers demanding his stay on the show, to being analyzed in books.
Howarth's portrayal of Todd made the character a
legend, and earned Howarth a Daytime Emmy Awardfor the role in 1994.cite web|title=Roger Howarth (Paul, ATWT)|publisher=" Soap Opera Digest"|accessdate=2008-07-24|url=http://www.soapoperadigest.com/soapstarstats/rogerhowarthbio/] At the height of Todd's popularity, there were female viewers expressing ardent desire for the fictional rapist in such a way that it unnerved the actor.
In his first few years as Todd, Howarth's popularity extended to talk shows, where hosts would address the "rabid" attention he and his character received. On May 17, 1994, Howarth appeared with seven other male soap opera stars on the "
Phil Donahue Show". Howarth discussed Todd's scar, his love for soccer aside from acting, and working with child co-stars. That same month, he appeared on "Live with Regis and Kathie Lee" (now called "Live with Regis and Kelly").cite news|title=Roger Howarth Appearance|publisher="Live with Regis and Kathie Lee"|date=1994|accessdate=2008-07-21] The appearance came after winning the Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Younger Actor. praised Howarth's performance. Philbin said that Howarth was "very, very convincing". Howarth explained that it took hundreds of people behind the scenes to get an episode of a soap opera together.
Howarth leaving the show only served to preoccupy fans more with their love for the villain, and his returns were met with anticipation and hype; the character coming back in 2000 for his love at the time,
Téa Delgado, received significant fanfare.
Soap Opera Magazine" felt that Howarth's face "greatly" attributed to the character's success, as they listed him in their February 24, 1998 article "Daytime's Most Fascinating Faces": cquote|Although the scar that traverses his face while he plays Llanview’s dark prince isn’t real, the menacing intensity that Roger Howarth can so effortlessly convey with his eyes and furrowed brow are frighteningly authentic.
Howarth's acclaim as Todd continued throughout his entire tenure on the show.cite news |title=Performer of the week, July 1998 |publisher="
Soap Opera Digest"|accessdate=2007-08-27
url=http://i172.photobucket.com/albums/w36/Syler_album/RogerHowarthPerformeroftheweekJuly1.jpg] cite news |title=Performer of the week, December 1998 |publisher="
Soap Opera Digest"|accessdate=2007-08-27
url=http://i172.photobucket.com/albums/w36/Syler_album/RogerHowarthPerformeroftheweekDecem.jpg] cite news |title=Performer of the week, March 2000 |publisher="
Soap Opera Digest"|accessdate=2007-08-27
url=http://i172.photobucket.com/albums/w36/Syler_album/RogerHowarthPerformeroftheweekMarch.jpg] cite news |title=Performer of the week, October 2000 |publisher="
Soap Opera Digest"|accessdate=2007-08-27
url=http://i172.photobucket.com/albums/w36/Syler_album/RogerHowarthPerformeroftheweekOctob.jpg] cite news |title=Performer of the week, March 2001 |publisher="
Soap Opera Digest"|accessdate=2007-08-27
On May 29, 2006, ) was at his side, clearly still alive. Spencer, a doctor, was forced to bring Todd back to life on the spot.
What made the execution scenes particularly gloomy were Todd's flashbacks of his life, from his romance with Blair to the birth of his children, a song entitled "Forsaken" (or "Todd's Song") by
Michal Towberwhich overlapped the five-minute and twenty-four second montage,cite news|title=One Life to Live (OLTL) - Todd's Execution Montage|publisher=sunsground.com|date=2007|accessdate=2008-07-22 |url=http://www.sunsground.com/videos/display-D2pb5JaL36Q.php] and Blair's disbelief in Todd's innocence while his daughter stood outside of the prison crying in the presence of a lynch mob.cite news|title=Todd's Execution|publisher=" Soap Opera Digest"|date=2006|accessdate=2008-07-22] The scenes were cited as "unbearable", and Blair's unwillingness to believe in Todd infuriated the audience. At the time, the majority of the audience (due to lack of access to the Internetor interest in its spoilers) believed Todd's death was permanent. Viewers expressed desire for St. John to receive an Emmy nomination; Frank Valentini, "One Life to Live"'s executive producer, when asked by " TV Guide" which episode the show submitted for Emmy consideration, stated, "We submitted the 'Todd's execution' episode for best show."cite news| first=Daniel | last=R. Coleridge|title=Soap Dish with One Life to Live Honcho Frank Valentini|publisher=" TV Guide"|date= 2006-11-08|accessdate=2008-07-21 |url=http://www.tvguide.com/News-Views/Soaps/QA/default.aspx?posting=%7B4CB5B552-1362-4CA9-ADDE-D492083FED29%7D] While St. John was not nominated for an Emmy, the storyline surrounding "Todd's Execution" landed the show an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Drama Series, and Towber was among one of the show's composers nominated in the Outstanding Achievement in Music Direction And Composition For A Drama Series category.cite news|title=NOMINEES ANNOUNCED FOR THE 34TH ANNUAL DAYTIME ENTERTAINMENT EMMY AWARDS TODAY ON CBS NEWS' "THE EARLY SHOW" Released by CBS|publisher=thefutoncritic.com|date=2007|accessdate=2008-07-22 |url=http://www.thefutoncritic.com/news.aspx?id=20070314cbs01] cite news|title=Daytime Emmys nominations (part II)|publisher=Variety Magazine"|date=2007|accessdate=2008-07-22|url=http://www.variety.com/awardcentral_article/VR1117961139.html]
Though the rape storyline of Marty Saybrooke received praise, it was also met with criticism. Points were made that it polarized the gap between rapists and the raped. There was concern that the show departed from the rape
paradigmby not only insisting the essential "goodness" of Powell Lord, who had also raped Marty, but that it implied that peer pressurecould be an adequate (or even physiologically possible) excuse for rape. The redemption of Todd was viewed as controversial as well.
In a June 1994 interview with "TV Guide",
Michael Malonedescribed the pattern of rapists redeemed as "the bond between the woman and violator". He stated that it is a great historical tradition in fiction and films, and cited actors such as Rudolph Valentino, Humphrey Bogart, Kirk Douglas, and Clark Gable, saying that they all began as totally irredeemable villains. "You certainly don't want to say that these women want to be raped or that they are drawn to violence, because that's not true," he cited. "But they are responding to the intensity of passion and an actor who lets you inside the torment. Some [women] believe they can be swept up in that passion and still turn it good. They think, 'With me, he'd be different.'" To this, the publisher of the article, Michael Logan, created controversy when he commented on Malone's analysis by stating that "there is a large contingent of American female soap viewers who find something very attractive about rapists".
The actual female viewers who were aware of Logan's rape comment were infuriated by it. A woman from her r.a.t.s group criticized this argument, elaborating that she did not like Todd because he is a rapist; but that she liked Todd because of Howarth's performance as the character.
ABC executives viewed Todd as their main bad guy, and felt that the idea of marketing him in the form of a toy would be promising. In 2002, they finally acted on this notion, and released a rag doll into their store based on the character, but were thwarted by a backlash.cite news |title=Todd Doll Gets Ragged On!|publisher="
Soaps In Depth"|date=2002-06-11|accessdate=2008-07-20] As did other news outlets, on May 6, 2002, "The Stranger", self-titled as Seattle's only newspaper, gave insight into the matter of what went wrong:
"Today the "
Associated Press" reported on the messy merchandising mishap currently making waves at ABC. At the center of the mini-snafu is Todd Manning, a fictional character on ABC's never-say-die soap opera "One Life To Live", portrayed by actor Roger Howarth. So popular was the recurring character that ABC execs licensed and produced a collectible Todd Manning doll, selling the daytime-TV action figure through the network's online store for $19.95. But after only a few days, the Manning doll was unceremoniously yanked from the ABC site, with marketing execs citing Todd Manning's 'unsavory past' as the reason for the about-face. For those out of the soap opera loop, Manning's unsavory past includes one attempted murder and two attempted rapes, the latter of which left him with a menacing scar down his right cheek — a flaw lovingly reproduced on the Manning doll. 'We didn't exercise proper sensitivity to the history of the character of Todd,' said Sally Schoneboom, vice president of media and talent relations. 'We have reevaluated and decided not to sell the doll.'"cite web| first= David | last= Schmader|title=Last Days: The Week in Review|publisher="The Stranger"|date=2002-05-06|accessdate=2007-08-28|url=http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/Content?oid=10762]
The uproar started when "The Jack Myers Report" harshly criticized the network's judgment on creating and releasing the doll.cite news| first=Bob | last=Tedeschi|title=E-Commerce Report; Recent snafus at the online shops of TV networks have barely dimmed the glow of merchandising on the Web|publisher="
The New York Times"|date=2002-05-13|accessdate=2007-08-31|url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9806E0DD1739F930A25756C0A9649C8B63]
Bob Tedeschi of "
The New York Times" stated, "In the charge toward e-commercerevenues, ABC learned a useful lesson last week: Don't try to sell cuddly rag dolls depicting homicidal rapists."
Following Howarth's departure from the series in 2003, and Todd being recast, controversy ensued again; there was significant outcry from fans who felt that Todd Manning is a character that should never be recast, voicing that Howarth would always be the only Todd to them.cite web| title=The Replacements|publisher="
Soap Opera Digest"|accessdate=2007-08-28|url=http://soapoperadigest.com/features/oltl/features/recasts/] However, St. John managed to win over his share of fans by integrating his own "spin" on the character, a "spin" which resulted in positive response from viewers who had come to accept St. John's portrayal. Eventually, the soap opera media took notice as well. Soap opera columnist Jill Berry professed her love for the new spin in her weekly commentary: cquote|Trevor's Todd continues to impress me. He has given some sweetness to Todd that I find totally appealing.cite news |title="Reflections by Jill" - A Weekly Commentary on "One Life to Live" |publisher= About.com|date=2003-09-15|accessdate=2007-08-28|url=http://onelifetolive.about.com/library/reflections/2003/bl091503.htm]
In late 2006, with speculation that St. John would be departing from the series, rumors began to circulate that Howarth would be returning to the role. "TV Guide" looked to clear up the matter and questioned executive producer Valentini. "I can't really comment on contracts," Valentini stated. "I'll get in trouble. [Pause] I will say that we're doing our best to make sure that we do right by the audience. In 2007, "TV Guide" received official word that Howarth would not be returning to the series. "The answer to the question," they stated, "is a resounding 'Nope!'"cite news| first=Daniel | last=R. Coleridge|title=Will Roger Howarth Return to One Life to Live as Todd Manning?|publisher="
TV Guide"|date= 2007-04-12|accessdate=2008-07-22|url=http://community.tvguide.com/thread/Soaps-News/Roger-Howarth-Return/800012724&start=0] What initially started the rumor of Howarth's return was the fact that both actors were in the midst of contract negotiations at their individual shows. "It was widely speculated that Howarth could return as "OLTL's" Todd." To gauge the reactions of Howarth's possible return, TVGuide.com conducted a poll; an overwhelming 82 percent of voters wanted to see Howarth come back to portray Todd. Daniel R. Coleridge of the website, however, disagreed with the results, stating, "Perhaps I'm in the minority, but I absolutely adore Trevor St. John. His Todd is very cocky, arrogant and humorous in a sexy way that makes this Llanviewer wanna slap him — and then totally make out with him!"
In March 2008, the audience witnessed "some of the most explosive and ugliest scenes ever broadcast on daytime" television when Todd beat up teenager
Cole Thornhart(his daughter's boyfriend and Marty's son), and manhandled fellow teenagers Markko Riveraand Langston Wilde.cite web| first= Nelson | last=Branco |title=REWIND: MASTER CLASS ACHIEVEMENTS. OLTL unleashes Todd the Monster |publisher=" TV Guide"|date=2008-03-10|accessdate=2008-07-24|url=http://tvguide.sympatico.msn.ca/The+Nelson+Ratings+March+10+2008/Soaps/Nelson_Ratings/Articles/080310_ratings_nelson.htm?isfa=1] Viewers were outraged, and wanted Todd punished for his physical abuseof the minors.cite web| first= Jill | last=Berry |title=Reflections by Jill - A Weekly Commentary for OLTL|publisher= About.com|date=|accessdate=2008-07-24|url=http://onelifetolive.about.com/od/pollscommentaries/a/reflecs060208.htm?once=true&] According to Nelson Branco of "TV Guide", head writer Ron Carlivatiwanted to return Todd to his dark roots; part of that was showing Todd as a monster yet again. "Carlivati chose to do something rather unique, bold and risky with one of his marquee characters. Instead of trying to sell [the audience] that Todd is a changed man, Carlivati essentially initiated a dialogue with the audience: 'You want to know how damaged this man is? I’ll show you — and it ain’t pretty.'" It was Starr Manningand Cole's first time having sex. Todd barged in "and beat the son of his rape victim relentlessly". The attack turned Starr's "magical" night into one of the worst days of her life. What inflamed the situation upon Todd's arrival in witnessing the two in Starr's bed is the character's inability to sometimes separate sex from violence. Branco related that, due to this fault, Carlivati conveyed Todd as convinced that Cole had raped his daughter as karmic payback. "Todd, in that instance, became unhinged, paranoid, and out-of-control. Ripping into Langston for setting the rape in motion because 'she’s jealous Starr has parents, and wants Cole for herself.'" Starr insisted that Cole did not rape her, but Todd was in denial. "As Starr wrote her father off, Todd reactively almost hit Starr — twice." The scenes, though controversial, were praised as "riveting".
Romancing rape victim and rape revisited
In December 2007, Marty was thrown from a van during a crash. The van exploded, and Marty was presumed dead.cite news|title=Comings and Goings: Susan Haskell (Marty Saybrooke)|publisher="
Soap Opera Digest", Vol. 33, No. 24|date=2008-06-10|accessdate=2008-06-11] cite web|title=One Life to Live recap|publisher=abc.com|date=2008-06-11|accessdate=2008-06-11|url=http://abc.go.com/daytime/onelifetolive/episodes/2008/20080611.html ] In June 2008, the writers had Todd discover Marty alive, Marty now afflicted with amnesiaand crippled since the crash; Todd subsequently started to nurse her back to health, which has unnerved the audience.cite news|title=OLTL Scribe On A Todd And Marty Pairing. Todd and Marty are growing closer, despite their "dark" history|publisher=" Soap Opera Digest"|date=August 2008|accessdate=2008-08-19] Viewers witnessed Todd lying to Marty about who she is and what she means to the people she loves, Todd and Marty bonding, and Marty having a flashback as she thinks positively of Todd. This created speculation that the writers would romantically pair the two. Howarth was against the writers romantically pairing Todd and Marty when he was in the role and sensed attempts to go through with the idea.cite news|first=Nelson|last=Branco|title=FF: SOAP MALFUNCTION CURRENTLY IN PROGRESS OLTL: Raping Marty softly with his kiss |publisher=" TV Guide"|date=2008-09-29|accessdate=2008-10-03|url=http://tvguide.sympatico.msn.ca/Soaps/Nelson_Ratings/Articles/080929_ratings_nelson_NB] Viewers thus became conflicted about whether or not they believed the writers would now follow through with the storyline.
St. John felt the need to apologize following comments he made at an August Fan Club Luncheon. When asked about the controversial storyline involving Todd and Marty, St. John replied, "I'm all for gang rape." He issued the following apology to SOAPnet.com:
"I regret the way I responded to the question about the upcoming Todd and Marty storyline. It was meant in jest and I should know better than to ever try and make a joke about such a serious subject. I intended no disrepect and apologize to anyone I offended."cite news|first=Jamey|last=Giddens|title=One Life to Live's St. John Apologizes for "Gang Rape" comments|publisher="Daytime Confidential"|date=2008-08-18|accessdate=2008-08-18|url=http://daytimeconfidential.com/2008/08/one-life-to-lives-st-john-apologizes-for-gang-rape-comments]
In response to viewer concern about the direction the writers seemed to be taking the Todd and Marty bond, head writer Carlivati assured "Soap Opera Digest" that he would have never written this under different circumstances. He explained, "We're not talking about Marty with all her memories. She would never get close to Todd in any way. This is about a Marty who doesn't remember anything about him, and he starts to feel close to this new person and starts to feel this gratitude for the fact that she doesn't remember this horrible thing he did." Carlivati added, "It is like this new chapter and this new arc. I don't think I would ever attempt to tell this relationship the way we're telling it if she knew who she was. I think that's a much different scenario. If we had Marty just come back to town and we started to build a relationship between the two of them...I can't imagine."
Todd and Marty's relationship became based on a
psychiatrist/patient dynamic and not something physical. When asked if romance is a possibility, Carlivati stated, "I'd like to watch it unfold a beat at a time, a day at a time, a week at a time and not have the audience jump to, 'Are they going to kiss? Are they going to fall in love? Are they going to sleep together?' The goal is more to take these two characters who have an unbelievable, dark history with each other and explore where it would or could go if they didn't have that obstacle — the rape — between them." However, Carlivati further relayed that this obstacle still exists between them and that the audience is going to see close moments. Todd helping her walk, physical contact between the two as he continues to nurse her back to health are a few of these close moments in which will take place. "I think the thing about the two of them, the characters and the actors, is you feel a chemistry when they're just talking, so I don't necessarily categorize it as romantic," stated Carlivati. "They're definitely forming a relationship and it continues to grow and build through the fall."
Regarding viewer resistance to a romantic pairing between the two, Carlivati acknowledged, "I understand the initial impulse, but then again, I feel that action is more appropriate if we were telling a story where she had all of her memories. It's not that I don't get or understand the seriousness of putting these two characters together, but I don't think we're in any way damaging Marty's character." Carlivati stated that "this is not the same Marty and, to [him] , it's fascinating to watch because you're wondering if and when it is all going to come tumbling down".
On September 5, 2008, Todd and Marty shared a passionate kiss as Todd helped Marty walk. [Todd and Marty kiss:, "
One Life to Live" ( 2008- 09-05). Retrieved on 2008- 09-05.] Todd initiated the intimate contact, and viewers, as well as critics, argued that, given Todd's sexual intimacy issues, it was out of character for him to be as sexually bold towards Marty, especially given the fact that Marty is his rape victim and a source of his sexual hangups. On September 23, 2008, the show went further with the intimacy between the two characters and almost had them engage in sex. Todd eventually backed away from the contact, presumably due to his conscienc.
In his September 29, 2008 article, "TV Guide's" Nelson Branco declared the soap opera in a "state of emergency" due to its insistance on going through with a Todd and Marty romance. Critics and fans questioned whether the current head writer of the show was the same head writer who had given the series a string of good storylines just a year before. Branco stated, "Three weeks ago, Carlivati's risky and oh-so-reckless decision to turn the gold standard of rape stories — Michael Malone’s 1992 Emmy-winning gang-rape storyline — into a soap cliché culminated in a shocking, controversial and highly publicized kiss."
Romantically pairing Todd and Marty had been contemplated and proposed by almost every "One Life to Live" writer at one point, even though the notion was considered career suicide. Howarth and
Susan Haskell's refusal to act out the storyline is what largely kept writers from going with the story. However, Haskell decided to return to the series as Marty in 2008, and has seemingly reconsidered doing a Todd and Marty romance, likely due to Carlivati's insight that this is not Real Marty and is rather a Marty with amnesia, a Marty with her past wiped clean.
Branco argued that the Todd and Marty story should have focused "on the inspired karmic thread of Todd and Marty’s children, Starr and Cole, falling in love
Romeo and Juliet-style". With Starr pregnant and Starr and Cole expecting a Manning-Thornhart baby, the teen pregnancy storyline would have provided "the perfect catalyst to keep conflict brewing between Marty and Todd without having to resort to the characters falling in love," cited Branco. He called Carlivati's decision to instead opt to "parasitically rape Malone’s storyline" another disappointing story in Carlivati's writing for 2008.