ABC – A Tale of Two Soaps

ABC presents the epic “mother of all daytime soap battles”.  It’s General Hospital vs. General Hospital!  I regret to inform you that at this moment,  General Hospital  is losing!  As with Dickens’  A Tale of Two Cities, when it comes to GH:

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way…

Melodramatic much? On occasion, yes. Yes I am.  Best of times?  When?  Where?

I get where you’re coming from, but bear with me, please.

The best of times, unfortunately, comes in infinitesimally smaller doses than do the worst of times.  The dark mostly swallows the light, and despair too often triumphs over hope… but still, there are moments like these that remind me of the best of GH as it is now, without having to dig into the archives of the GH of the 80s and 90s:

Robin and Patrick’s participation in Karaoke Night was especially poignant for me  because 1 – Even if only for a short time, our SCRUBS get to be the example of a couple that is as close to perfect as any (non mob-related) GH couple can be. I’m sure they’ll have stiff competition when Mac and Alexis finally make it off the ground and when Maxie and Spinelli finally get it right, but right now they add a pretty  glorious shine to this show ; 2 – I miss the Nurses’ Ball and I think this is a small scale way of giving us what the Nurses’ Ball did.  It lets the audience get closer to the show’s  characters.  The karaoke scenes humanize the characters and reminds us that they do more than sneak around with one another’s husbands and wives.  It’s a great compromise almost making up for the absence of the Nurses Ball -very clever; 3 – These sort of scenes give fans the opportunity to appreciate the additional  talents of the show’s actors.  I also appreciate the courage it takes for each of them to step out of their traditional roles.  No criticisms from me!  I thought they were all magnificent.; 4 –  They’re just FUN!  There are so few GH scenes that are FUN.  Most of them are about death, betrayal, hatred, jealousy, adultery, and many other vices.   It’s nice to watch GH and just smile on occasion.

How adorable were Morgan and Molly?  How funny is it  that in that room full of women,  of those who weren’t his children – at least half of them has been in bed with and/or impregnated by Sonny Corinthos?… and by funny I mean ‘pathetic’… That brings us to:

The Worst of Times

Forgive my  opining (nay whining) over the current state of General Hospital, but  I’ve experienced my first true soap heartbreak – one that had nothing to do with the cancellation of a beloved show, that is.   I’ve said, previously, that I’m done with GH, DONE!  KAPUT!  FINISHED!  FINITO!  For the most part that’s been true.  I did watch Liz run to Luke’s to beg Lucky to return to her.  I watched Ethan and Lucky chatting about Liz and enjoyed the flashbacks of a young LL2, even if I did feel as if I’d been kicked in the soft tissue watching the clips of a very young Liz and Lucky declaring their love.   I miss who they were to each other.  I got the writers message to the fans, via Lucky’s dialogue, about seeing people as they are now and not how you use to know them.  Bite me.  I’ll never see LL2 as having ‘moved on’.  They’ll forever be viewed by me as having been destroyed by the writers’ reckless impulses and self-indulgent excesses.

I was annoyed by  the writers use of  Liz’s rape as part of the casual conversation between Lucky and Ethan – the brother Lucky barely knows.  It was both a sacred moment  (to LL2) and profane  moment (on the part of Liz’s attacker) that began their relationship.  It was all reduced to drunken banter and  gossip by two people who could have just as easily been strangers.

Outside of those scenes, I know that I’m not missing much.  Basic daytime storylines in daytime haven’t changed – just the players and the severity of characters’ reactions to events in their lives.  There’s clearly no possibility of missing anything ‘big’ by largely tuning out this show or any other daytime program.  It’s not like there will be major revolutions in daytime storytelling any time soon!  (Get it?  Dickens?  Tale of Two Cities? Revolutions?)

Finally: Belief vs. Incredulity

I thought back to the situation that caused me to want to fully walk away from both General Hospital and the entire genre of daytime.  When Dante refused to tell the police that Sonny shot him, I was stunned.  In that one moment, the writers’ deconstructed a potentially marvelous character and destroyed the beautiful and inspiring backstory they’d created for him. This past year we had a reason to believe that it just might be possible that the writers would bring a true hero back to GH, one in the same vein of Mac Scorpio, Anna Devane, Robert Scorpio, Sean Donnelly, Frisco and Felicia Jones, the entirety of the WSB).  That’s now gone.   I never expected Dante to send Sonny to prison – no one ever has no matter how guilty he was.  I just never expected him to cave to the magic of Sonny’s mojo so quickly.  With a different set of paternal DNA and a uterus, Dante would  have borne Sonny another child by now.

As if ignoring the ‘attempted cop killer’ charge wasn’t enough, Dante commented that he thought Olivia, who’d become pregnant at 15 (rewrite?), slept around so much that she didn’t know WHO his father was. <gasp>  That line left me feeling utter revulsion for the character.  Whatever the case, he was angry at her for not telling him sooner that Sonny was his father.  Sonny “attempted cop killer” Corinthos was also angry at her and blamed Dante’s near death on her decades long lie.

“W-T-F”, I thought.  I’m sure the writers, who must be bored writing the bi-annual “Who’s the Daddy?”) storyline for Sonny and his small village filled with offspring, must have thought they were writing a unique twist on yet another telling of that storyline.  That ‘twist’ reads more like ‘twisted’ and this storyline deserves comparison to other Who’s the Daddy? storylines, when the good guys really were good.

I thought about the clip I’d posted of Robert, Robin, and Anna, in a prior blog:

I know that there are significant differences:

1.  Robin was an adorable child.  Dante is an “angry” adult male (even if his anger truly is righteous).

2. Robert knew early on that Robin was his child.  Sonny didn’t find out until it was ‘too late’.

3.  Robin wasn’t sent to try to destroy Robert.  Dante was.  For whatever reason, some see justifiable anger in Sonny’s attempt to kill Dante, the cop, for doing his job.  It seems plausible to accept the argument that Sonny would never have tried to kill Dante if he’d known that Dante was his son.

If the writers are consistent, I can’t say that I believe that the above assertion is true.  Sonny was more than willing to hurt his own brother when he thought he could justify it, or if he felt the need to save himself over Ric.   Sonny never gave a damn for Ric, the person who shared his DNA.  I can only believe that the writers would have been consistent and gone the ‘Lansing Route’ had they decided to have Dante found out without having Sonny shoot him.  We would have then been treated to ‘dead to me’ scenes between the father and son, with  Dante working like a mad dog to make amends for having the audacity to hate crime and criminals now that he knows he’s genetically linked to a mob boss.

In the end, the issue isn’t really about the difference between Robin and Dante as the long lost children of high profile Port Chuckles citizens.  It’s about the differences between writing teams, and the radically different approaches they’ve taken to trying to get the audience to buy into newly developed families. The GH writing team of the 80s wrote for a real hero and wrote for real emotions.  I can’t tell you what the current writing team writes for.  For it it feels as if they’re writing for a hopelessly lost villain that they continue to want to sell as a hero and writing cheap ploys masquerading as real emotions.  The legacy of the introduction of characters like Anna, Robert, and Robin is that fans still want MORE of their story.  There’s are still stories to be told that have the ability to help fans recall the old GH – when light pushed back the darkness, hope triumphed over despair, and we had everything before us.  I don’t think we can say the same for current storylines.

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The Next American Idol? 2010

I’m not much of an AI fan.  I don’t get  thrills from the lousy singers or the off the wall routines (ok, I’m kinda’ lovin’  Pants On The Ground man, but I can’t help it!).  I typically don’t have the patience to watch the field narrow.  SO.  What are the odds that I would catch a current AI contestant on Youtube  while looking for something all together unrelated?  Not only did he grab my attention, but I think Andrew Garcia may be the reason I actually watch a season of AI.

What.A.VOICE.!  With or without this show, I have a feeling that we’re going to all know this guy’s name as well as we know our own – at some point in the near future:

Good Luck, Andrew!

In the land of unicorns and rainbows

(alternately known as GH)  you can apparently shoot a cop and be granted bail to walk the streets again.

— Cops with gunshot wounds don’t require a protective detail, even when the shooter and his henchmen are walking free.

— Your Port Chuckles attorney will advise you that running from prosecution  means you’ll  lose all you own, but that you would be ‘free’ – even if you’ve shot a cop — Did I mention that Sonny shot a cop???

— Jasper Jax is a bad awful and evil man… and Sonny is the victim.  The insanity between Carly and Jax starts 5:54 into the following clip:

The cuts just get deeper and wider starting at the beginning of  this clip:

If only Morgan was old enough to free himself and then decided to stay with Jax and Jocelyn, rather than follow his mother down the rabbit hole and into Sonny World.

–A police officer nurses both the gunshot wound that a criminal mob boss gave him, and a grudge against his mother for  not telling him that the mob boss was his father.   Olivia is  proud of the law abiding role models she gave Dante.  Dante is peeved that his mother never told him to the truth about who his father really was/is.

Uh, JACKASS, have you met Michael!?!?!?!?  How about a THANK YOU, Mom?  What’s wrong with the effin’ writers?

Olivia and Dante work to protect Sonny… who’d planned to kill a cop when he didn’t realize that the cop was his kid.  Dante, the COP, was fair game for killing when he was just some other poor soul’s child.

Oh, and nice touch on having Dante mention that he thought his mother must have  slept around too much to know who his father was.  Uh… YEAH!  That’s who she’s been most of his life.

— In the land of rainbows and unicorns,  the gunshot victim and his mother decide that the police are the enemy.  They feel that the police care more about throwing Sonny in jail that fighting ‘real criminals’.

I’m DONE, GH, I’m DONE!  You’re going to have to give me one hell of a compelling reason to tune this show in again, and I don’t see that you have one.

We are family… I got all my sisters with me…

only, in daytime, if you have all of your sisters with you it could get pretty crowded since daytime males procreate at the same rate that the national debt grows.  It could also get crowded if you had to accommodate your sister’s dual relationship to you:  sister-stepmother, sister-cousin, sister – biological mother, sister – aunt, sister -husband’s ex-wife, sister – father’s ex-wife.  OY!  In spite of twisted, tangled and mangled family trees, and mixed up family relationships, there  has been quite a dramatic change in the focus of daytime writers across the board.  Writers are now telling the story of families, not just individual characters. The Bold and the Beautiful, General Hospital, Days of Our Lives, and One Life to Live have been leading the way.  All I can say is ‘more please’.

General Hospital

Soapgod bless Lulu Spencer.  First she rips  Liz a new one to defend Lucky,  and then rips into Sonny for shooting Dominic/Dante in the same ONE WEEK time frame!  What the hell?  Don’t you people know Christmas is over?  Nevermind.  Keep writing the show like you’ve just seen your first snow of the season.  It’s working for you.

I’m even going to forgive you for being silly enough to think that having women call one another whores takes the sting out of the fact that you’re still writing those lines.  For now.  I get it… it’s not as bad as having the men do it?  Wrong, but we’ll save that for another time.  For the record, I remember Lulu’s flaws.  I remember that she’s made a mess of her own life, and Georgie’s in the past, but what sister – no matter her mistakes, wouldn’t be as angry at Liz and Nikolas as she was?  It’s only too bad that Lulu spared Nikolas as much as she has.

Lulu said pretty much what I wanted her to say to Elizabeth, however.  Saint Elizabeth, the preachy, has betrayed her fiance (the man who has loved her with his whole heart from the time they were teens) and the family they created -with the children he’s loved as his own.  For what?  A man who thinks she’s so dirty that he’ll sleep with her any where, any time, but won’t respect her or his own brother enough to wait for her to walk away freely and cleanly?  S-T-U-P-I-D.  Nikolas treats her like he paid for her (er, and not in that ‘off the corner’ kinda’ way… more in the ‘off the shelf – she’s nothing but a toy’ kinda’ way).

The only sympathy I’ve had for Liz is in hearing Carly try to convince Saint Jaysus that Jake now belongs with him.   Jaysus kills people whose loved ones come gunning for him – or gunning for those he loves.  Liz lies and sleeps around, and destroys the only real family the boys have known.  Yeah, that sucks, but with Liz the kids will stay alive. Are we to believe that Carly TRULY believes that Liz is an unfit mother or does misery just loves company?   The writers should explore whether or not Carly finally realizes that she would feel less guilty if other women were in her shoes, putting their children’s lives at risk by handing them over on a silver platter to the mob boys.  It’s the only thing that makes sense of her dialogue.

BRAVA/O to the writers for giving Kristina  enough intellect for herself and for big brother Michael – she is definitely her mother’s daughter.  The writers are overdoing it on the ‘brain injury’ excuse with the Jr. Suckprano.  Yes, Michael is impulsive and has an explosive anger, but STUPID!?!?  He thinks his father was justified in shooting  a police officer for investigating his illegal behavior?  Only Sonny’s children who’ve spent less time with him have seen the light?  They see their father for the criminal he is?  Why won’t the writers allow the rest of the town to open their eyes – Steven Webber who should have slapped Sonny when he threatened his life if Steven didn’t repair the gaping hole Sonny shot into Dom’s chest, or Olivia and Robin who agreed that it wouldn’t have happened had Olivia told him all along that Dominic was his — you know, because then he wouldn’t have shot Dom at close range and would only have tried to kill someone else’s child, not his own.

How about the sympathy everyone is feeling for Sonny?  If Dominic/Dante wakes up forgiving Sonny and hating his mother, or forgiving Sonny and forgiving his mother – as if she needs it, or forgiving Sonny and wanting his parents together, I’m officially DONE and no amount of SCRUBS love or Mac and Alexis will bring me back, folks.  I’ll become a strictly ‘read and shrug’ GHer.

The Bold and The Beautiful

I’m typically never happy when writers SORAS child characters.  It’s almost always for a pointless storyline that would have been better served with a new, adult, character in a separate role.  I’m still bummed about GL replacing the beloved Rachel Miner with Rebecca Budig’s “Michelle Bauer”.  Michelle was transformed from a sweet and adorable child to a teen who couldn’t wait to lose her virginity.  Michelle’s catchphrase became ‘make love to me <insert the name of the new male lead>”  I can’t say that the same is true for the BnB’s Hope Logan. The transition from child to teen character has been flawless.   The writers are milking this one for what it’s worth and working as many angles on it as they can.

Long term viewers will remember that when taylor returned from the dead… AGAIN… Thomas, Phoebe and Steffy were torn. They loved their stepmother, Brooke, and their younger siblings Hope and RJ.  While all three were saddened at losing their family, Thomas in particular vowed to remain a good big brother.  Ridge, devastated by his choice to give up his family  daydreamed of Hope and RJ calling out for their ‘daddy’ in the home they shared.  Hope, who is Ridge’s daughter by choice and love, though not by blood, has added an interesting dynamic.

Ridge is the only father Hope has ever known. Other than ONCE  (and only ONCE) calling ‘Uncle Nick’ daddy, that name has been almost exclusively reserved for Ridge.  Unfortunately for Hope, she’s also been calling Stephanie ‘Grandma’ since she was a toddler.  Hope has never known her biological father, Deacon Sharpe.   So what does it mean, for Hope, when her daddy is torn between his two daughters?  What does it mean when he doesn’t want to take sides, despite the fact that his daughter Steffy is clearly out of control?

The writers were initially all over the place with this storyline – as if they hadn’t made up their mind about which choices Ridge would make.  While Hope was still calling him ‘daddy’, he’d at one point  referred to her as ‘Brooke’s daughter’ – an awful betrayal of fans who’d watched Ridge embrace Hope as his child and even watched him fight for custody of her when he felt that she was at risk living in Brooke’s home.  We watched Ridge put his mother in her place when she tried to use his children with Brooke to destroy her.  He made sure Brooke could see the children as often as she liked.

Betrayal over (for now, anyway).  All that crap about Hope being Brooke’s daughter is gone.  We see Ridge fight for his girl, work hard to protect her, and remind the world that his family is off limits.  Any attack on them is an attack on him.  The scene of Brooke and Ridge each on cell phones calling all of Hope’s friends while looking for her painted the picture of a mother and father who knows their daughter well, and is close enough with her to know how to track her down if they need her.  I did choke a little when Brooke credited Nick for saving Hope (again).  Doesn’t she remember that Hope nearly died, TWICE thanks to Nick’s neglect?  Don’t worry, writers, we’ll remember for you.  You can’t give a man credit for saving the girl when she nearly drowned because he turned his back on her to fight with another man over Bridget.

Also, bonus points for allowing Steffy to semi- escape the poisoned well her mother created, pitting her at odds with the younger sister she’s always known and loved.  Steffy is  still a loser, having her loserdom encoded in her mitochondrial DNA no less, but she’s learning. I do think it’s odd that the soap fashion press would glom on to Hope’s history and her paternal DNA (despite the fact that it’s been no real secret since she was a child.  Ridge was going to take Deacon’s document signing away his paternity rights to court with him some years ago).

Teen Hope matters that much, but the soap fashion press ignores Steffy dating the man who was her uncle most of her life, after he dated her now  deceased sister and after he bedded her mother who was engaged to him?  Those Hayes women have no luck at all.  Nothing they do, no matter how salacious, gets them any attention.  The story of their lives.  Will steffy and taylor ever have scenes that show them bonding over something other than their obsession with the Logans?????

Days of Our Lives

In no particular order:

EJ sucks for continuing to let little Syd cry in agony, without her mother’s touch.  I can’t believe the writers are dragging this kidnapping (called the ‘Sydnapping’ storyline by fans)  go on for so long.  Each day makes EJ seem move inhuman.

Bo sucks for never being able to move on as a SINGLE man not just a separated man.  What is it about divorce ink that Bo is so deathly afraid of?  Would it really hurt the guy to not have a wife and a girlfriend at the same time?

Lucas always rocks – on screen, off screen, in Salem, far away… it sucks that the writers are taking him from us.

Maggie and Melanie rock and I’m almost saddened by the news that Carly is Mel’s mom.  I’d hate to see the writers push Maggie into the shadows to develop the Mel-Carly relationship.  The only thing I am enjoying about the story, rightnow, is how quickly Viv caught on to the fact that Carly had a secret child and that Viv is such a schemer.    I have to wonder if it’s not Vivian who has something to worry, not Melanie.  I think she may be expecting a kinder-gentler version of Carly in Melanie.  That would be a mistake.  BTW, is it me or is it just a little scary that Viv smiles so gleefully when she remember burying Carly and thinks of it as just reliving  ‘good times’?  Egads.

Daniel and Carly or Daniel and Chloe?   Chloe/Daniel/Carly?  If he ends up with Carly, she’d better watch out, I could see the writers having Daniel repeat the Kate-Chloe fiasco – of sorts and Daniel could end up with Melanie, next.  I can’t imagine which scenario Victor would hate worse.  On second thought?  Bring it on!

One Life to Live

Two words:  JUST WATCH.  There’s not one family angle OLTL doesn’t cover.

Couples in love.  Couples in lust.  Couples in trouble.

Brothers fighting over the same woman.  One of them turning to a woman who is surely bad news – just to ease his pain.

Sisters fighting over the same man. One sister lying about the paternity of her unborn child to hang on to that man.

Sisters united by the father they despise who wants to control them.

A long lost (of sorts) brother and sister united by the unstable, psychologically deranged father who wants to own them.

Husbands and wives separated by addiction.

This show is everything a soap was meant to be in the best soap tradition.  Even when OLTL walks up to the edge and risks going too far, it’s the one soap in daytime that knows how to talk itself back down.

It’s the show with something for everyone.