ONE LIFE TO LIVE is treating us to a Cramer Women family reunion this week. But what makes this unique family so compelling and infinitely fascinating? Read on and find out.
10. They have history. Since 1973 at least one Cramer Woman has resided in Llanview, lending themselves to a sense of history and continuity rich by even daytime standards
9. They have style. Have you ever seen a better dressed family? From Dorian’s expressive hats to Blair’s flair for flawless fashion, to Kelly’s attention to accessories, daytime has never been treated with a family with more impeccable taste.
8. They are independent. The Cramer Women are gorgeous and strong even when they do not have a man by their side. Whereas most women on daytime feel incomplete and crumble without a husband, the Cramers keep on marching with or without male companionship. Sure they enjoy some good lovin', they just don’t let it determine their self-worth, which leads us to...
7. They have a healthy sense of sexuality. Rarely are women on daytime portrayed with a healthy command of their bodies and their sexuality. But that hasn’t stopped the Cramer Women from expressing themselves with whomever they want, wherever they want, whenever they want. When Blair lusts someone (Todd, Eli, John, Spencer, Max...) she takes him, no questions asked. Dorian has had no qualms about bedding David Vickers through the years, especially if it is to her financial or legal advantage (remember the Halloween Marilyn Monroe switcheroo with Blair in ‘95?). On the other end of the continuum, Langston clearly and responsibly addressed getting her sexual needs met with Marco, and may soon do the same with Ford. To see women own their sexual power with no apologies and no excuses is a rarity on daytime, or anytime.
6. They have a great sense of humor. It is nearly impossible to get through a Cramer Women scene without laughing. Dorian’s schemes are always the subject of much comic fodder, Addie’s miracle cure is the subject of many giggles, and even Langston’s new crush is played out as both drama and comedy. Furthermore, these characters are able to laugh at themselves, once again demonstrating a healthy way to over come the tragedy and trauma that they each have had to face.
5. They have fundamental respect for each other. Sure, the Cramer Women don’t always get along harmoniously. But they do have a baseline respect for each other that is illustrated in every scene. When Cassie had an affair with Kevin while married to Andrew, no one in her family shamed her or tried to make her feel bad. When Kelly became pregnant with her stepson Duke’s child, no one freaked out or pointed out the error of her ways. When Starr became a teenage mother, no one condemned or judged her. These women back each other up in any and every crisis...
4. They ultimately forgive each other ...Which is not to say their actions are always supportive and loving. For years Cassie blamed Dorian for her miscarriage. Kelly was in fact responsible for the loss of Blair’s child Brandon. Blair slept with Kevin while he was still married to Kelly. This is not exactly the material for fond family reunions. But these are in fact the issues and struggles that Cramer Women are able to grapple with, and ultimately forgive, sending a powerful message to the audience about the value of seeing past family member’s mistakes.
3. They overcome a legacy of mental illness. Going back four generatons, and possibly even before then, the Cramer Women have come from some pretty unstable stock. We know that Dorian, Addie, and Melinda’s mother Sonya was criminally insane, killing their father, and even trying to murder Cassie. Addie, Melinda, and more recently Cassie, have spent a significant amount of time in mental institutions, and this genetic legacy lives through every Cramer Woman on the canvus now. Yet none of them allow this stigma to stop them from pursuing their goals or achieving their dreams. This illustrates that a history of mental illness need not ever stop someone from living their lives fully.
2. They are resilient. Have you ever seen a family overcome more strife? Between all the unplanned pregnancies, miscarriages, divorces, dead spouses, and trips to Saint Anne’s, you would think they would have given up and folded by now. Not the Cramer Women! When Dorian’s husband Mel died, she carried forward. When Starr thought she lost her baby, she still managed to find her strength and go back to high school. While Blair has suffered multiple losses of children, husbands, and her own on/off physical ailments, she has never once cried, “Oh, poor me.” The Cramer Women bounce back stronger than before, and use their stubborn determination to face another day. This demonstrates to the audience that anyone can triumph over tragedy, and that we can all over come adversity in our own lives.
1. They have Dorian as their leader. She is the “trunk” of the family tree, the anchor, the mentor, the mother of her “girls.” Dorian arguably can be controlling and overbearing, and her frequent meddling has led to tragic consequences. But she is also fierecely protective of her “girls”, to the point of being willing and able to commit murder to protect them. It is this fierce mama-bear that we are seeing this week on ONE LIFE TO LIVE. The Cramer Women are lucky to have such a crafty, resourceful, and well dressed mother figure protecting them, as Dorian makes this family and Llanview a much more thrilling and colorful place to visit.
What do YOU think? Are there other reasons why the Cramer Women rock? Are there more qualities you enjoy watching? Please leave comments below.
Damon L. Jacobs is a Marriage Family Therapist practicing in New York City, and the author of "Absolutely Should-less: The Secret to Living the Stress-Free Life You Deserve". He is re-imagining a world without "shoulds" at www.shouldless.com.