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Riff Raff Trolls James Franco, Channels Brando, on Surreal Soap Opera ‘One Life to Live’

Riff Raff, from 'One Life to Live'

Yesterday, Riff Raff appeared on the soap opera One Life to Live as a menacing art dealer straight out of Miami named Jamie Franko. This stunt, it seems, was inspired by James Franco’s own stint on General Hospital, and fueled by Franco’s steady refusal to acknowledge the influence of Riff Raff on the character of Alien in Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers. Although this is an absurdist coup for Riff Raff (and some stellar trolling of a Hollywood superstar), it is also important to point out that this shit is beyond low-stakes. One Life to Live is a long-running soap opera now relegated to being shown only on Hulu. It isn’t exactly Franco doing General Hospital for, like, three years. Riff Raff is just creating another jokey-not-jokey layer to this whole James Franco vs. Riff Raff pseudo-tiff that Jody Highroller seems intent on milking and mocking for as long as possible. And, really, Franco has got to be a little creeped out when a weirdly handsome, high-concept rapper and viral Internet weirdo slithers onto the set of a soap and plays some twisted-up, subtweet-like version of him, right?

Onto the important question, though: How did Riff Raff do? Of course, he’s acting all of the time, anyway, so the performance was top-notch. How could it not be? More specifically, though, his performance is, like, “late-Brando anti-presence”: Surreally mugging and grinning through every line he delivers, Riff Raff paradoxically taps into something that’s more alive and just plain real, precisely because he’s totally acknowledging the absurdity of the situation and not even trying to sell it all. Plus, every line Riff Raff utters is incredibly Riff Raff-ian. Here are a few, out of context: “I came to get my moneys…I need my fettuccines”; “I’m not some petty gangster, I’m an art dealer”; “I’d rather have your phone number…not the brush-off.” Don’t forget to imagine them in Riff Raff’s ambiguously fancy, kind of sassy “gurllll stop” drawl.

Even more ridiculous than Riff Raff as a lecherous Miami art dealer who wants his money, is, well, everything else about this goofy show, though. Just to name a few moments: The aggressively promoted appearance of a female EDM DJ duo named Nervo at the show’s nightclub, Shelter; an angry mom delivering the line, “The nightclub you just OD’d at?” to her druggie daughter who has just returned from the club where she just overdosed at; and an older man and woman sipping wine for the entire damn episode and getting steadily sexy, culminating in them doin’ it on the floor, complete with lots of old-people back for all to see, while Sonny & Cher’s “I Got You Babe” plays?

Who even knows, man. There is a quality that’s reminiscent of Tommy Wiseau’s The Room to One Life to Live, where it just seems like entertainment for no one overwhelmed by a crazy-ass cocktail of egomania, incompetence, and IDGAF apathy, depending on who on the set you hit up. Seriously, are there any humans out there anywhere watching this budget-ass show? The most shocking thing about One Life to Live, at least in its only-on-Hulu-with-nothing-to-lose incarnation, is that Riff Raff is probably the least abnormal element of the episode.