How Craig Montgomery almost won me over

Regression toward the mean? I don’t think so. ATWT’s Parker just keeps sinking lower. There’s no point at which this kid hits higher ground, nor has he hit the bottom it seems. His mother has struggled for his sake. She’s given up a hell of a lot for his sake. She’s eaten more crap that kid has shoveled out than any SANE person would. And it’s still never enough. He just keeps doling out more. No matter what vile thing anyone else as has done, Parker takes such delight in making his mother feel like garbage. Carly was so excited when she thought Parker wanted to speak to her and let her be a part of solving his latest fiasco. The look on her face, the sadness, when she realized that he only wanted Craig’s attention. Geez, it left me feeling kicked in the gut along with Carly.

So imagine my surprise when Craig refused to indulge Parker’s adolescent tendencies to berate his mother and then refused to talk to him if she wasn’t included in the conversation.. I actually cheered the guy on! That’s a new feeling for me. While I once loved Craig, warts and all, his warts have only grown bigger and are now covered with hair (disgusting, I know). Craig hasn’t been a character I’ve cared much about for quite some time, until now. I’m starting to see what makes C&C work as a couple. What Craig and Carly have in common is the slow destruction of their characters, done to allow other characters their moments in the limelight. Carly has become the Oakdale sinner to Janet’s saint, harlot to Janet the reclaimed virgin. Craig has become the fun-bad-guy turned deeply disturbed and murderous, no matter who his rival is.

I’ve been hard on ATWT’s writers for having transformed Carly from a classic and beloved bad girl, into a romantic heroine, and again into a punching bag for the pathetic men in her family and the objects of their obsessions: mother-daughter pair Janet and Liberty Ciccone. As much of an ass that Parker has been, he’s only repeating the crude comments uttered by his father: that Carly is jealous and hellbent on destroying HIS (Jack’s) happiness, she’s selfish for not readily agreeing to let him take out a second mortgage on the ONLY home she owns – so that he can build a home for Janet. Is there any wonder that Parker views calling his mother pathological perfectly acceptable?

Had it been Jack standing there with Carly? He would have either said to Carly 1- that she needed to let HIM handle it (being Parker’s only decent parent and all that jazz), or 2 – to not blow things out of porportion! He would have asked her what she expected given her own behavior! Jack would have excused Parker by blaming Carly. Jack has hardly been Carly’s partner in reigning Parker in under control since her return. Jack was content to allow him to say and do anything, as long as he relied on his 15 year old son to tell him what a prince among men he was, how much he should be proud of himself from moving on from Carly, and how worthless, petty, and jealous Carly was. Now that Parker has become unbearable, the writers should have Jack reflect on his behavior and how much he contributed to Parker’s obnoxious and over-the-top attitude.

As for Craig? I am still not completely sold on him as a partner for Carly, after all the man IS responsible for the injuries that caused her sister to lapse into a comma. That said, I’m a darned sight closer to accepting Carly and Craig as a couple than I ever have been before. Ultimately, I would love it if Carly was permitted to deal with Parker on her own, and only rely on Craig as emotional support, not as her ‘savior’ or the individual she ‘needs’ help from in turning her son around. Imagine that? A woman in control of her own destiny and in control of her own children!

It’s weird how daytime now makes viewers wish for the things most of us experience in our every day lives.

So much for ‘fantasy’ and ‘escapism’.

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Hot Topic Alert!

Soap Opera Network: “Most Ruined Characters”

Which characters do you think have been ruined, and why! My response:

Adding my voice to the entire cast of ‘GH’ as most ruined. The writers are so ‘hopped up’ (LOL) on the mob stuff that now GHers are working together to take down the ‘evil’ FBI. What happened to Robert Scorpio, Anna Devane, Sean Donnelly, Frisco Jones, Luke and Laura? The WSB has apparently knuckled under to the great mob gods – who do a much better job of keeping the world safe, when they’re not killing people off.

Adding on: I find it interesting that the writers haven’t realized that the glory days of GH were linked to when the good guys (and even anti-heroes like Luke Spencer) did GREAT things. Now the bad guys do a lot of evil bullshit, combined with some occasionally decent thing, and they’re credited as heroes.

GH women throw their underwear at the mob boys like they’re at a Tom Jones concert. There’s only so much GH fans can take, and the writers have pushed them beyond that point. A show that was usually third from the top of the ratings list (bested only by the YnR and GH) is now third from the bottom (besting only ATWT and GL).

And so it begins: Otalia/Nuke

Sit down. I have to tell you something and it may be shocking to some of you… most especially those of you who are new to daytime. You’re probably not aware of this, ATWT’s Luke Snyder is gay. GAY, I tell you! NO SERIOUSLY! I’m not making this stuff up! Don’t feel foolish if you don’t already know. It’s been hard to figure out because the writers so rarely allow anyone on screen to mention it. It’s one of the show’s best kept secrets. I mean, they only bring the issue up… pretty much EVERY FREAKIN TIME the guy is on screen. Apparently, the fact that he’s in love with another man and that they’ve had a long term relationship is NOT enough of a clue. I’m starting to think that the writers believe we’re a maze-dull lot, not capable of thinking our way out of a paper bag. That could be true, or they could be projecting. Ouch?

I’ve been longing for a storyline that involves my guy, Luke; a storyline that’s just about him – as a young man moving into the adult world, like Casey, and Allison, and pretty much anyone else before him. As things are shaping up it doesn’t seem to be the case that it’s ever going to happen. Each new storyline is a little bit like the last, with a slight twist.

I want MORE.

I want a storyline in which characters don’t even whisper Luke’s sexuality, or give knowing glances. Let me be clear, I make no pretenses of being an advocate of any sort for gays and lesbians. As a straight woman woman of color, I can only tell you what I prefer in storylines, not whether or not these are the storylines the LGBT community want to have told about Luke and Noah (or even GL’s Liv and Natalia – but more on that, later). I can only tell you that I would be loathe to tune into a daytime program that was still airing storylines about civil rights or if the character of color was still battling rampant racism and trying to adjust to life among those in ‘White America’ as the theme in each and every storyline.. We’re beyond that.

Are we beyond that point in relationship to stories about sexual orientation? Maybe the recent focus on gay and lesbian characters in daytime requires paying more attention to issues of coming out and discrimination of all sorts. I don’t know, but in light of shows like “L word”, “Queer as Folk”, and even “Degrassi: The Next Generation”, it would appear that stories that are multifaceted are equally likely to receive positive fan feedback than three or four years of ‘coming out’ storylines with the exact same characters.

Instead of feeding stereotypes, build a cultural context around them that makes stereotyping irrelevant and anachronistic. Leave stereotyping as a thing of the past, as it should be, and focus on those characters who have moved beyond them.

As a person of color, I understand the need for highlighting activism and focusing on the eternal struggle for human rights, but if that’s the route the writers want to take, then have Luke and Noah take on the marriage issue. It pisses me off, ROYALLY, that ATWT writers have no trouble with storylines about lust and sex and now a half-wit marriage for Liberty and Parker, but can’t figure out what to do with Noah and Luke… color me stunned.

What I see in Luke’s storyline (there’s so little focus on Noah on ATWT – I sometimes forget the poor dear is there) is some of what I see in GL’s Otalia, but to a lesser degree. I’m beginning to get the feeling that the writers on GL are starting to stall the storyline. For several reasons.

1. The most generous explanation is that Jessica Leccia (“Natalia”) is pregnant in real life. She and husband, Brian Malloy, are expecting their first child. The writers may want to wait until after the actress returns from maternity leave to delve more heavily into the Otalia romance.

I can envision a scenario in which, just before Leccia gives birth in real life, Natalia realizes that she has to tell Liv how she feels and then goes away for a while to ‘clear her head’ and come back ready for a relationship. (Or she goes away to clear her head, first, and comes back ready to take her relationship with Liv to the next level).

Given how many times writers have worked around real life pregnancies in other storylines, Leccia’s pregnancy shouldn’t be an issue. Maybe it’s not, I dunno.

2. I began to feel a bit queasy about the issue of Doris Wolfe. What the hell was the point in that? Doris has a ‘coming out’ of her own to deal with – out of the blue? Is there NO creativity in daytime? I can count on one hand how many characters have been openly gay from the start. Everyone else, regardless of age, or life experience, has been closeted. Fuel to the fire? Does every show have to create a closeted ‘anti-gay’ jerk and/or villan character? (Brian, ATWT; Daniel Coulson, self-hating closeted gay male on OLTL… <sigh>)

Now that Doris is one step closer to coming out, will there be a Doris/Liv/Natalia triangle? Will the deliciously ruthless side of Doris appeal to the deliciously ruthless side of Olivia Spencer? Will Doris plot and plan and ruin the Otalia relationship to give herself time to swoop in and claim Liv for herself while Nat ‘hems’ and ‘haws’ about whether or not she should be in love with another woman?

Geez, the more I think about it, the more I like it. Remember the ability Roger Thorpe had to corrupt good women and make them his wicked partner in crime? How about Alan Spaulding and Blake Mahler? Could we have Doris Wolfe and Olivia Spencer rocking Springfield while Natalia is the ‘angel sitting on Liv’s shoulder’, trying to woo her back from the dark side? OH, now THAT could be interesting.

OR

3. Is Doris’ coming out more significant than that? Is it a sign that, despite published reports elsewhere, the writers are reconsidering Otalia? As Josh and Liv flirted, throwing out sexual innuendo so hot my television screen fogged (uh, don’t know how that happened), I had to wonder why that scene was necessary, no matter how terribly sexually exciting! Haven’t we already seen Liv trying to prove her bonafides by hitting on a group of hot young studs, at the SAME BAR? That was only a few weeks back, maybe a month or so. What’s THIS about?

Then the follow up with Doris, in which Liv suddenly starts questioning whether or not she could love a woman, because she STILL loves the power she has over men and the attraction to them. More running away? At this stage of the game?

Maybe it’s nothing, and maybe it’s everything. If the writers think that throwing Otalia to the wolves (get it?) will go unnoticed, they’re wrong. If they think Doris’ offscreen adventures will matter enough for fans and that the ‘closeted adventures of Doris Wolfe’ will replace the Otalia connection, they’re wrong. If they think throwing a Doris/Olivia/Natalia storyline together will get the attention of fans, they’re… ok, they’re not wrong about that as far as I’m concerned. I’d watch, and cheer Nat on all the way!

Again, if those two plot points mean nothing, no biggie. My only point is that I won’t accept a cheap imitation. Ok, and I have a second point: I’m watching you, GL writers, with both eyes!

Ah! Fan wisdom…

Marceline, at the Soap Opera Network messageboards writes:

… Every week I look in the ratings thread and see posts from people who want all soaps to go up regardless of quality for the “good of the genre” and I cringe. How is embracing mediocrity in the best interest of the genre? How is it for the greater good for the audience to say “It’s okay. I have no standards just don’t leave me!” That’s not loyalty, it’s Battered Viewers Syndrome.

I know there are plenty of people enjoying their respective shows right now. Goodness knows every week there’s another show “on fire right now!!” But I think even satisfied viewers can agree that all the recycling, whether actors, writers or producers, is detrimental overall. It’s like making a Xerox copy of a copy of a copy, eventually it becomes so degraded you can’t tell what it was to begin with.

I hold out a tiny glimmer of hope that maybe the stars will line up and a new soap can somehow be born, whether it’s network, cable or the internet. There’s a lot of lapsed viewers like myself out there: people who want to find a show to love, but we aren’t coming back to the same thing we left.

Thank you Marceline!

Daytime Execs have taken for granted that fans will continue to support the genre no matter what they throw our way. Falling ratings haven’t convinced them. Posts to the contrary on messageboards don’t convince them that we don’t want daytime in its current form. Angry letters to the networks haven’t convinced them. They continue to spend money on new characters we don’t care about, pop culture icons who show up and perform – collecting a paycheck but are unable to draw in new viewers, and throwing storylines at us that worked 20 years ago, but leave us fatigued today.

Fewer and fewer fans are willing to accept mediocrity as ‘entertainment’. Sooner or later, the execs will have to listen, or hope they’ll be able to find jobs elsewhere, once they’re done killing daytime.

(OLTL) Shut your pie hole!

While all of daytime has me rolling my eyes lately, OLTL – in particular wins the ‘shut your pie hole’ awards.

Jared wants to tell the truth because it’s the right thing to do?  While I can appreciate the fact that even JARED sees the irony in his statement about what’s morally appropriate, it still galls me that he’s shown little concern for how the news of the real Chloe’s death will impact Jessica.   Nat wants to protect  Jess and now feels sorry for her?   Both of you,  SHUT YOUR PIE HOLE!  This whole mess got started because Nat wanted to stick it Jess and Jared wanted to help her.  I’m sickened at the thought that Jess will lose Chloe after losing Nash  – both lost because of Jared and Natalie. IF ONLY there was some way to make that child hers.  If not? It’s time to bring Tess back and let her finish what she started!  It’s time for Jared and Natalie to go.

As if causing Jess even MORE grief wasn’t bad enough, what about the pain Jared and Natalie are causing ME!??!  I’ve struggled hard to accept the new ‘grown up’ role for Starr Manning – I have.  The problem is that it’s just not working for me.  I don’t know how you feel, OLTL fans, but this new set of storylines does NOT play to Kristen Anderson’s strengths.  I think the writers moved Starr into pseudo-adulthood too soon.  The emotional scenes appear forced and far too artificial for me to connect to.  Starr’s scenes with ‘Chloe’ make me cringe.  The thought of more scenes of “Starr” and whining Marcee McBain locked in a custody battle over Hope (we’ve lost Hope, we need Hope, our Hope is gone – UGH)  makes me want to set my television on fire.   Damn you, Jared and Natalie, damn you!

Nora vowing to take down Cole?   I’ve officially had my fill of Nora “the ethically flexible D.A.”  The truth is that I was done with her years ago, during the fights with Lindsey and the affair with Sam when she passed ‘Sam’s child’ off as Bo’s.  (Apparently no one knows how to perform in vitro in Llanview.  They’re GREAT at trauma medicine since it’s the only thing docs in Llanview ever practice.)   Had it been someone else’s child, Nora would have most likely been fighting to get Cole into drug and alcohol treatment, family counseling to reunite him with his mother,  and had him doing community service by  talking to high school kids about drug use.  She’d have railed at the system for letting a villain like Todd go free while a young man who made a horrible mistake is being severely punished.  She MIGHT have even quit her job in protest and defended Cole, herself, if the D.A.’s office chose to press charges. 

She’s always been ‘flexible’ when it comes to helping her pals and granting them the grace and mercy of the courts.  Intimidating a teenage boy and making him feel as if he should be buried UNDER the prison for his actions?  Bite me.  Does Cole deserve jail time?  Sure.  He chose to take drugs and get behind the wheel of a car disregarding the possible harm to others.  Does he deserve Nora’s disdain?  Sure!  But just ONCE I’d like to see the self-righteous Nora Buchanan choose to exercise discretion and say nothing.  Nora?  SHUT YOUR PIE HOLE!

BTW, SoapNet is linking to this appearance by Kristen Alderson and Brandon  Buddy on the Tyra Banks show.  The OLTL  actors demonstrate different aspects of teen dating violence:

Ray Montez now faults Todd because Tea didn’t work fast enough to get him out of prison… REALLY?  REALLY?  Buddy, SHUT YOUR PIE HOLE!   Is there some right of passage for Llanview residents that states that they MUST have conflict with Todd, of any sort regardless of how ridiculous it is, before the other Llanview citizens will play nice with them?  Ray could have hired another attorney.  He could be angry at Tea, alone. OR he could have realized that Tea wasn’t capable of moving any faster because his daughter didn’t know her well enough to open up to her.  The idea that Ray now hates Todd inspires me… to YAWN.  There’s far too much for this guy to do onscreen instead of going after Todd Manning over something so trivial.

Stacy Morasco, a potentially fabulous character and a throwback to what a TRUE bad girl should be… so I guess it makes sense that the writers made her a cartoon villain in record time.  WHO takes a completely fabulous gift like Crystal Hunt, sees the awesome mess she’s able create onscreen through Stacy, and turns her into one of the most unlikable characters in daytime? 

Stacy tells Gigi that she deserves to have Rex because she’s a million times hotter/way hotter?  Juvenile, but HILARIOUS that it’s her meter for determing what ‘love’ is.  God bless gorgeous Farah Fath for not slapping the writers when she read that script.  If the writer who added that line isn’t on crack,  I don’t know how else to explain that comment.  With true ABC sensitivity to women, I thought the line might be followed up with “and I’m the REAL Gigi”.   It was an awful thing to do to Fath. 

As for Stacy, there’s no ‘love to hate’ left for a character who tells her grieving sister that she either has to give up the man she loves, the father of  her child, or watch her child succumb to leukemia… SHUT YOUR PIE HOLE, Stacy, you whack job.  What could have beeen ‘love to hate’ has just turned into utter disgust.  What were the writers THINKING?  If Crystal Hunt can pull the writers’ fat out of the fire after this blackmail plot, it will be a miracle.  The whole scene was ugly from start to finish!

General Hospital – Sudden Death

Carly and Jax – Sudden Death

I’m not at all a sports fan, but I do understand the sports concept of ‘sudden death’ – I think! As I understand it, ‘sudden death’ refers to the end of a game when teams are tied in score. It’s a sort of ‘overtime’ that ends when the first team posts a score – breaking the tie. Game over! I had that feeling the other day watching Carly and Jax gush over their endless love. They were sure that they’d gotten it right, this time, that nothing would come between them. I cringed. It’s almost always the first sign that trouble is on the horizon. I hope that’s not the case. I like them together. I think they’re one of the best things to happen to GH in a long time and GH desperately needs them if TPTB are going to screw around with SCRUBS love. There’ll be no romance left if SCRUBS loses out and GH_CarJax goes (not to be confused with ATWT_CarJax and the plummeting ratings that happened when they were once again trashed).

Carly has FINALLY found love with someone who doesn’t expect her to be a ‘good girl’ and hide in the shadows while he does business. Carly doesn’t have to leave the room when Jax is on the phone for fear of being legally incriminated. Jax’s business associates have probably never done time – unless it is some wacky white collar crime that lands them in some posh ‘Club Fed’ for a year or two. Jax respects her, and she tries her damnedest to respect him, too. It’s been a long time since Carly has had a relationship with a man who considers her his equal. All the happy-happy-joy-joy she spreads, now, is so much better than the angry posturing she did while with Sonny. She seems happier. She looks happier. She can no longer be compared to an angry pitbull, biting before thinking. HELL, I’M happier just watching the love Carly and Jax share.

SO! If there’s going to be a ‘sudden death’ for Jax and Carly, let it be this: let the writers realize that Jax and Carly are pretty much tied with Carly and Sonny in terms of the lifetime of crazy drama each couple has suffered. Let the writers realize that J&C have probably hit restart on their relationship as often as C&S have. At this point, Carly and Jax have broken the tie… they’ve managed to stay together and work harder on their relationship than Carly and Sonny have ever dreamed of doing. Sudden death in favor of GH_ CARJAX! It’s time to set aside the epic that was Carly and Sonny and focus on the JC relationship. Sonny and Carly are the past, as they should be.

Liz and… Patrick? Sudden Death

With future spoilers suggesting Liz’s ever growing presence in the lives of Robin and Patrick, I’d be willing to venture a guess that putting Liz and Patrick together would be a different sort o f ‘sudden death’ for Elizabeth Webber. She’ll have tied any record of insane moves for a GH character and BROKEN it. I think it would be the end of her character, as we know it, and that fans will finally have run out patience with the character.

Her relationship with Zander (Cam’s father) left me with blurred vision. How the hell did THAT happen? Lucky, no Jason, no Lucky, no Zander, no Lucky, no Jason… possibly Patrick!?!?! If Liz’ presence in SCRUBS’ life is to provide support to Robin, and to continue to be there as a FRIEND to both of them, I’m all for it. Otherwise? thanks but no. It’s time to have not-Emily-but-Rebecca and Elizabeth Webber climb the Cassadine tower-of-death that so many GH characters seem to keep leaping from, never to be seen or heard of again!

Ethan, Sudden Death

I’d actually have to not have a pulse to care less about Ethan. I’m still trying to figure out what purpose he serves? My preference would be for him to be a relative of Holly’s, a nephew perhaps, to scam Luke and make off with the last of Luke’s cash. I’d hoped in the past that Ethan was around to help Luke realize what a colossal ass he’s been and to turn his life around. He’s spent almost no time caring for or helping to raise his children. He’s left them to their own devices (not exactly a tribute to his love for Laura), so I would be completely without sympathy for the man if Ethan is pulling one of the greatest cons in GH history: conning the con! Ethan hitting Lucky? Not cool, not cool at all.

After that, Ethan can go wherever in the world he wants, as long as he goes. He can climb the Cassadine tower WITH not-Emily-but-Rebecca and Elizabeth Spencer. GH’s canvas is already littered with great characters who never see the light of day. Give me a three-fer, Christmas in March – if you will.

In this case, sudden death isn’t a sports reference, it’s a suggestion. Get rid of these three. They serve no purpose other than to stick a thumb in the eye of GH fans who deserve better. The most interesting thing I could say about the loss of Elizabeth, is that there could be a great custody battle for young Cam and Jake, if anything happened to her. Count me in as part of “Team Lucky”!

All I’m saying is THIS (GH Scrubs Spoiler)

If the spoilers are correct, and Robin is suffering from something OTHER than PPD, it’s possible that my days as a deeply disappointed, incredibly bitter occasional GH viewer are OVAH! GH will be off the viewing list for GOOD for me (or at least until TPTB rebuild Scrubs and LL2). The question is, what is the ‘something other’?

Is it possible that the writers are venturing into a potential ‘DID’ storyline? One Life to Live has successfully carried out the multiple personality storylines with Erika Slezak’s ‘Viki Buchanan Lord’ for decades. They’ve had some success with Bree Williamson in a similar storyline. Could GH writers be looking to reproduce that success with Robin Scorpio Drake?

For pity’s sake! Robin has survived more tragedy than most characters in daytime. If the writers are adding DID on top of her HIV, PPD, and general life dissatisfaction, I think I’m truly done with this show.

How much darker can GH get? The phrase once used was ‘would the last viewer out please shut off the lights?’… I think it’s time for the last GH viewer out to turn the LIGHTS ON.