General Hospital: To every point there is a counterpoint!

It’s no secret that I think General Hospital is blowing the rest of daytime out of the water!  I said so here –> Why You Should Be Watching General Hospital.  I received a very interesting counterpoint from writer, Ilona Saari.  (More about Ilona at the end of this post).  I thought the response was so interesting that I’d like to share it with you.  It’s a different kind of GH love letter:

I only wish I thought the show was as good as you do. But I’m glad to see it from you prospective. Granted, it is far superior to the Pratt/Guza Penthouse 4 years, but when Guza took back the reigns, it began to get better w/ humor (Diane was created), wonderful returns of old characters (Robin) and wonderful pairings (Scrubs) – his problem as a writer was that he would come up w/ great story ideas and beginnings, then develop ADD and not be able to follow thru… Wolf, the strike scab, was just a plain disaster… Then Ron and Frank came, and at first they did wonders and I loved the integration of the OLTL characters.

But, alas, that didn’t last as OLTL-ABC and Frank/Ron became embattled in copyright garbage and egos. The show suffered as Ron hadn’t a clue had to deal w/ it all storywise, so it was dealt w/ badly. The lst return of the Nurse’s Ball was an unmitigated disaster w/ a cheezy set that looked like the ball was being held in a church basement to the embarrassment of Richard Simmons.

Then when the OLTL mess was over, Ron decides to bring back Roger as Franco. God Lord, that was an insane creative choice. This wonderful actor could have been anyone… a new Q, a Cassadine, a Webber or Spencer even a white Ward… but nooooo. The brain tumor explanation was just plain lazy writing. And Carly would never, ever be w/ Franco after what happened to Michael.

Letting Jax go, the last white knight really (except for Patrick) was a huge mistake – Carly and Jax could have grown into the Rachel/Mac of AW of GH… They were a mature, sexy, dynamic couple, imo. Carly was softened, but not made soft, by her love for Jax.

Bringing Nik back, however, was a smart move and his love affair w/ Britt (and her redemption) has been the best thing about GH since the show fell back into disrepair during last year’s Nurse’s Ball.

The Cassadine/Obrecht/Faison/Duke/Anna stuff was was too cartoonish and has fallen totally flat for me as a writer – Masks, masks everywhere. I’m sorry – once was enough – then again w/ Anna and Obrecht? Oy. And now what – again w/ fLuke – I hope not. But this fLuke storyline is just cringe-worthy tho I’m sure TG is having a ball. If he’s really Bill Eckart or Damian Smith, as rumor has it, neither would be jonzing after Kiki or be so creepy a sexual predator… If it’s Damian – did he have his face made like Luke if he survived the fire? Is it yet another mask? I don’t care. I FF thru all TG’s scene and have never done so before – ever. I just want Ron to stop writing Tracy as an old, lonely woman who will believe anything to keep Luke – and just end this miserable story. Tracy and Luke are dynamite together — this story is just an embarrassment to all involved. But at least I got to see Ned. I wish Frank would bite the bullet and bring back Ned. I don’t want the Qs to vanish — they are our look into John Cheever country, always have been, and I love that family – but all recent head writers of the show seem to want to demolish them… and now Ron is building up a new “core” mob family w/ the Jeromes.

I won’t even go into Obrecht and how I also find her existence at the head of the hospital one of the laziest pieces of writing Ron has done.

I do love Julian and Ava, tho — again for many, many reasons and I love that Julian is Sam and Lucas’ father – fun. I hated the courtship w/ Alexis tho where she was flirty like a teenage virgin. What a waste of Alexis. Tho now that they’re together, I like their chemistry. I just hope the writing becomes more interesting on how these two will work.

I am also thrilled that Ric’s back, tho his relationship w/ Liz never cut it with me. His courtship and marriage to Alexis til Guza ruined Ric did. Their bantering and love was GH’s version of Tracy/Hepburn and I loved them together. That said, I do not want a Nik/Liz rerun – I want Nik and Britt to find their way back to each other — they are very hot together.

I did think Jordan was undercover from the beginning, but I do like her addition to the show as long as Ron is not setting her up to replace Anna because he wants to get rid of Finola.

Levi is another embarrassment. Obrecht and Donna Mills being sisters,, etc., etc. Say what??? Trying to make another instant family w/ Nathan and Britt and Obrecht at the expense of who?

The show is bloated w/ characters and no one was more mistreated than Sean Kanan — Ron so botched his return and decided to throw AJ under the bus much the way Guza did after AJ had become such a fascinating “Sidney Carton” character well on his way to redemption. The killing of AJ was a disappointment and only serves to give MB more angst moments and a shot at an Emmy. But then to let the story just dangle somewhere in space for weeks, again – sloppy, lazy writing.

Ron does that a lot. He starts a story and then you’re left for weeks til it becomes part of the canvas again. He doesn’t seem to know how to write the three story arc traditional in soaps in a weekly fashion, so if a viewer doesn’t like one story, s/he gets a bit of the ones s/he does like on a weekly basis.

Sabrina and Patrick are a mess as a storyline… and her character has been shoved down our throat for too long – she’s a dolt and a bore and she’s dragged the character of Patrick down w/ her. And Carrrrrrlos. Don’t get me started.

Thank God Maxie’s back! Our own Carole Lombard — is Nathan her Clark? He might be. he has the look. And I love the way he looks at her.

Duke, OTOH, is a yawn. Anna has no chemistry w/ him anymore. Robert should have been the one to stay at GH, not Duke. And Robert in this disaster of a fLuke story, might have saved it.

Well, if you’ve read this far – I will end on an ‘up’ note. I still love GH — and do think the show’s better now than a few years ago — and I think it’s getting better again from all the mistakes Ron made last year… and I agree about the diversity — It’s been seamless and I love that. It’s about time.

 

Ilona Saari  is a former speechwriter, deputy press secretary, and is the author of the political thriller Freeze Frame, available on Amazon.  FYI, you Foodies out there, our author also writes her own blog featuring the most amazing recipes and travel adventures you’ll find anywhere!  Read more at “My Dinners with Richard“.  It’s more than worth your time – I believe you’ll thank me for it!

While Ilona and I  may not agree 100%,  I love having such a well seasoned, meaty, opinion to give me something  to think about.   I’d like to thank my talented friend for keeping my feet on the ground, because I do love GH enough to put my blinders on and keep lowing it “as is”.  Complacency kills in any creative field.

Shhhh… don’t tell her, but I still think that this show is the best in daytime.

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GH: May 27, 2014

My thoughts on today’s show?

  • Sabrina… I just can’t.  I want to be empathetic, and yet I just keep hoping there aren’t too many Sabrina/Patrick scenes to fast foward.
  • Elizabeth and Ric?  Sweet, Subtle, feels so real.  I love them.  Given the way Ric left the show with each exit, it’s sometimes difficult to remember how sweet and kind he’s capable of being.  Ric is Mr. Right Now, Mr. Right Tomorrow, and Mr. Right Whenever-Wherever – as far as I’m concerned.  I’ve always loved Rick Hearst best when he was playing a romantic lead (GH’s Ric Lansing, GL’s Alan Michael Spaulding, BnB’s Whipple Jones).
  • Lulu/Dante./Rocco- Big Ben? Ditto.  Sweet, Subtle, Real.  Given his pedigree, I love that Dante is so protective of Ben that he doesn’t want to talk about the worst of the worst aspects of his job. He has to spell out D-E-A-D because he doesn’t want Rocco to hear the word. Keep that baby away from your father and bar ware, Dom.
  • F’luke and his disregard for forensic evidence is astounding.  He never wears gloves.  He never does anything in hiding.  Unless he planned on killing Bobbie and the cutie pants officer guarding Lucas’ door,  what was the point of attempting to kill Lucas while being the last person in the room?  Add that the fact that his hand and finger prints are all over Lucas’ breathing tube – as his prints are all over the gun that was used to shoot Lucas and kill the hitman.  F’luke’s crime spree is getting stranger and and stranger, and I hope that’s intentional – serving as an indicator that he’s on a rampage and will soon be caught.
  • Ava.. F’LOVE… I effin’ love Ava and the writing for her!  She utters the words, “Mr. Corinthos is sending someone for me” to her server at about the time Carly is going to play audio evidence of her guilt in Connie/Kate’s murder?  Methinks she’ll see Sonny,  in person.
  • Carly has never had a respect for the law, decency, morality or ethics, but it shocks me that she would steal AJ’s phone (yeah, it still shocks me) and give Sonny the info, rather turn the recording over to the police.  Sonny is going to end up in prison one way or another.  He’s either going for killing AJ or for killing Ava.  Carly doesn’t always know what crimes Sonny has committed, but she’s been in his life long enough to know that he’s almost never innocent.  Her involvement in pointing Sonny in Ava’s direction is reckless, no matter what.
  • Ava is a beast… she’s reading “Crimson Magazine”? She is a beast (and I’m not quite sure how I mean that.  It’s both good and bad.)  She must really like dancing on Connie’s grave!  This is Maura West as ATWT’s Carly Tenney, defiling the sacred Snyder pond by flicking a cigarette into it.  What is it about MW’s bad girl characters, who seem to like sticking it to the people she hurts.  No cardboard cut out of Connie for target practice?  Ava is showing some restraint.
  • I get it… my beloved Scotty Baldwin is the AJ Quartermaine of the Baldwin family.  He’s a perennial screw up, but even he should have held his ground and been willing to call Julian’s bluff rather than had him set free.  Scotty is capable of being a bad ass, when he wants (that is, when the writers let him). I wish this was one of those times.  How much has Julian changed when he’s willing to pull a gut punch like this one?  I realize that he was desperate to get to Lucas and saved him from Fluke, but had he told the truth, he could have done more for his family.  His behavior makes me question Alexis’ judgement even more – both as a mother and as a woman.  For all of her warnings to Molly about being smart, making good choices, putting her future first, Alexis does none of these things when she’s in love with her latest mob kingpin boyfriend.   What can Molly learn from her?  It also doesn’t make sense that Shawn was irredeemable for not being able to leave Sonny’s organization and yet Julian is far worse.

 

 

  • More Sabrina/Patrick/Emma/baby Drake? Still can’t.
  • Ava trying to convince anyone, most especially her own daughter, of her innocence is hilarious!  Kiki chastising Ava for sleeping with her boyfriend’s father is even funnier!  Adding Ilene Kristen as Ava’s mother to this pair?  That is a stroke of genius.
  • HA, that Carly finally notes that A.J. is not AJ Quartermaine but Ava Jerome.  Sonny realizes that AJ was pleading for his life and that he’s killed an innocent man.  How will the writers redeem him?  Can Sonny be redeemed after this?  My guess is that we will find out that Sonny didn’t deliver the final blow. It’s another Fluke murder (again taking place in the hospital) or someone else has taken A.J.’s life when he should have been on the mend.  The problem is that A.J. would never have been in the hospital to be murdered if it weren’t for Sonny.  The additional step they’ll have to take is to convince the audience that A.J. was slated for death no matter where he was found.  Will it work, or is it possible that the writers have gone too far, this time?   A.J. has rarely been a chaacter i liked or loved (I couldn’t stomach Billy Warlock’s portrayal of the character) BUT he was a legacy character and I wish he’d survived this ugly attack.
  • Even when Sonny is dead wrong, Carly tells him to stop blaming himself.  Is this goober serious?  She’s angrier at Ava for upsetting Sonny than she is at Sonny for killing an innocent AJ?  Michael should stop sending Mother’s Day cards. No phone calls, no Mother’s Day luncheons.  Carly is more of a partner to Sonny, even separated, than she has ever been a mother to any of her children.
  • Geez, it seems like such a small issue – Lulu wanting to carry her own child, but it is potentially,  so big.  Lulu is willing to risk losing the only shot (for now) she and Dante have at having another child, because she wants to carry the child herself, knowing the risk for miscarriage.  Is it simply natural to want to carry a child at any cost or is it selfish?  It’s a question for this couple to answer, but I have to wonder, given Dante’s lean toward surrogacy, if this is an issue that will come between them, later.
  • Fluke, threatening babies.  PLEASE let that bastard be caught soon.  Sure, go after Ava, but the threats against children make me want to see this guy get his!  The writers were brilliant to have Fluke play on Julian’s insecurities (most notably, the fear that Anna hates “Jules” and wants to bring him down so badly that he shouldn’t count on her for help.  There’s no way Anna would allow Fluke, or anyone else, to kill Julian while he’s in her care, but he doesn’t know that.
  • Elizabeth and Ric are my shelter from the storm of crazy that is GH.  Just watching them joke and plan for a dinner feels like a romantic getaway.  I know there will have to be some sort of conflict, soon, such as Liz wanting Nik back the minute he’s together with Britt again, happy and probably planning a family.  For now, I’ll take what I can get.
  • Ok, the only interesting thing about Sabrina and Patrick is that Drake becomes her son’s middle name?  Is that a subtle tell that he is Patrick’s son?  Is baby Gabriel going to make it?  Gabriel Drake Drake?  I dunno.
  • Ava thinks that she and Sonny are on decent terms.  I can’t wait to see her run into Sonny’s arms, thinking he’s there to rescue her.  Carly asking Sonny what he’s going to do is as maze dull as anyone could be.   She gave her “snitches get stitches” speech to Sonny when explaining why she would never go to the police.  What was the point of her asking Sonny what he was going to do. Of COURSE he is going to kill Ava.  Is there any doubt about that?  Isn’t that why he killed AJ?  His belief that AJ killed Connie?   Carly and Sonny have played this game for too long!

Like many of you, my feed was disrupted by the President’s comments and ending the war in Afghanistan – so we end, here, and move on to other important news.  I will see you again, soon.

Soapnet/The Holidays/The Death of Daytime

You’ve read a million death of daytime articles already, I’m sure.  They’re painful both because of the sheer number of them and the truth they’ve imparted about why daytime has continued to fall apart.  Most of them weren’t written by the venerable soap press.  The soap press continued to cheer on the inane and asinine storyline telling as ‘innovative’ and ‘original’.   No holding a mirror to the naked emperor for the soap press, no sirree.  Now that it’s been revealed that Soapnet goes off the air in 2012, fans, it seems, have given up hope that the rest of daytime  can be saved, and with good reason, but more on that later.

The one network that was supposed to be fully dedicated to soaps gave up on the genre long ago as it cut back the daytime schedule and boasted about its acquisition of primetime shows.  Now?  Soaps will be replaced with more preschool friendly  programming.   Symbolic, don’t you think?  The juvenile writing plaguing daytime over the last several years has worked wonders in driving away much of the adult audience but did little to attract the ever elusive 12 to 17 year olds TIIC of daytime couldn’t wait to bring on board – the same 12 to 17 year olds who didn’t give a damn about daytime.  Now Disney can give the kids what they really want.

Unfortunately for daytime viewers, the network’s effort to stem to tide of revenue loss may have actually contributed to hastening the death of daytime.   When the writing was bad on your favorite soap, you still had other choices.  You could move on to something else – but that was before the network hacks decided that it was easier to systematically kill off daytime serials than support them and take them back to basics.   When my once favorite  Bold and Beautiful drove me absolutely nuts (as it does now with the whining non-“Forrester” women CONSTANTLY attacking the Logan women), I could always find another soap to watch that didn’t drive me batty.  Now? The writing is so horrendous across the board and there are so few soaps, there is no where to go but cable and watching ‘primetime in the daytime’.  (Which is oddly enough what Soapnet was trying to do, unsuccessfully).  By killing off  ‘lineups’, TPTB of daytime gave fans fewer and fewer reasons to tune in.   Ah, but there were/are other problems:

1 – The soaperatti (on and off screen) is incestuous and keeps claiming that it’s such a ‘specialty’ field that no one outside of daytime can understand it — that’s because they’re so “speshul”, doncha know?  And have I mentioned t they’re special?  Somehow primetime and cable are surviving with infusing new blood and new ideas.  Daytime only, it seems, needs specialists  (because they’re special) and yet those specialists  (who are special) still can’t figure out how to hang on to an audience.   As a result, the same few burned out writers and executive producers are shifted from show to show. You can’t get away from them, as they keep trying to shove the same tired ideas at what they think is a ‘new’ audience every time they ‘quantum leap’ from show to show.

Daytimers typically watch multiple shows, so if you didn’t like a mother and daughter sleeping with the same man and beating each other up on one show, you sure as hell weren’t  going to root for the hack writer and producers to bring that storyline to another show you’re watching. When there were more soaps (and more writers) there were also more ideas. and more places to escape to within the genre.  That’s gone and the soaperatti have nothing left but false self-praise and  careers on a downward slide. Does anyone know if any of the currently unemployed daytime writers have found work on any successful projects?  I’d love to know, dear readers.  I can’t think of any, and  I can’t imagine there are producers out there lining up to grab any of the ‘elite’ in daytime.  That doesn’t mean they don’t exist, but I just don’t know where they are.  Who’d want to submit an e-portfolio of the worst of daytime as evidence of what you’re capable of offering?

2 – While probably not a popular opinion, I also think a huge problem in daytime is that TIIC are have extended the ideology of the “super special” to hiring actors. The ‘newer’  daytime actors have been  treated as ‘speshul’ too. Instead of relying on tried and true and highly skilled vets, daytime PTB decided that a small group of select newbies were the future of genre. I won’t name names, but I think we can all list at least a half dozen actors who are shifted from show to show along with tired/burned out writers and executive producers.

The problem is that the pretty but pointless actors aren’t skilled enough to add new dimensions to their characters from show to show.  The actors’  mannerisms and inflections are the same.  On top of the same tired storylines, fans were cursed with the same actors, sporting new character names, but providing nothing that differentiated them.  The ‘look’ of each show may differ, but the ‘content’ and ‘feel’ of all soaps is similar. thanks to the small cohort of shifting writers, producers, and actors.  ABC and CBS could blend what’s left of their lineups and I don’t know that fans would notice the difference.  ABC could offer “All My Children born at General Hospital embracing our One Life To Live” and CBS could offer the “Bold and Beautifully Young and Restless”.  NBC, would of course, give us the “Days of Our Lives”.  It’s all they have left to give having killed off so many daytime shows, already.

The warning signs of impending doom have been sounded for years by fans who’ve wanted nothing more than to save the genre.  Unfortunately, it fell on hubristic and intentionally tone deaf ears.  How tone deaf have TIIC been?   Memorial Day would have been a keen opportunity for TIIC to remind soap fans that daytime is still around and  that there’s potential to return to the formula that made the genre work.  What did TPTB of GH offer?

Link that with THIS gem that oringally aired a week after the above clip:

On a day when we honor our war dead, and others who have valiantly served and protected this country, we were ‘treated’ to a repeat of an episode in which the soap world is proven to be turned upside down.  Jason and Spinelli bleat on and on about how heartless cold and unfeeling OFFICER Dante  Falconeri is to turn in his brother for killing a woman.  Dante, of course, has no honor.  Dante is an evil person.  He’s too dense to understand why the mob covered up a woman’s death.  It’s Dante’s fault for not understanding why what would have been a simple self-defense charge, which would have been cleared had  Michael first told the truth, ended up with Michael looking guilty of murder, a cover up, and obstruction.

WHAT?  You would be suspicious of a claim of self-defense if the people involved ‘disposed of’ the body, burned down the cabin where it happened – on a rainy night, no less – to get rid of evidence, and then lied on the stand and to the police for months at a time?  I hear ya’!  It’s just that TIIC don’t hear you.  On a day when many of us are remembering our loved one who gave their lives – GH’s braintrust wants you to watch the mob squad talk about murdering police officers and activating the crooked cops on their payroll to protect the mob heir apparent.  Spinelli has to tell Jason that Dante’s death, officer or not, would have grave impact (no pun intended) on those who love him, and those who serve with him.  Color me stunned, and sickened, and tired, just tired of this dreck.

What could TIIC aired instead, to woo fans back?

Or even this:

But no… black is white, up is down…and we’re tuning out.  Anyone know what’s planned for Disney Junior? My nieces and nephews visit me in the summer. I guess we’ll have something to watch together in 2012.

National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month

April is National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month.  Watching soaps today, alone,  would make you question, 1 –  whether writers were aware of the  significance of this month, 2 – if they would care if they were aware of it.  According to RAINN, every 2 minutes someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted.   Click the RAINN symbol to learn more about SAAP month, and to find events taking place in your local area. Today, on almost every soap left on air, a woman was nearly sexually assaulted, emotionally assaulted, or physically assaulted – almost none for the sake of furthering a discussion about sexual and other violent assaults.  Almost all for the sake of ‘entertainment’.  Check the ratings, writers, we – your primarily female audience, are not amused or entertained by such storylines.

1.  Days of Our lives. I’ve thought of EJ as a coward for quite a long time.  Today’s episode just made things a heck of a lot worse.  If your father is a murderous psychopath and you’re quickly following in his footsteps, then it makes sense that you don’t care to protect your partner in crime from your father’s tyrannical wrath.   It makes you appear to be less human, as well.   Too busy trying to cover his own arse, EJ has made no moves to stop others from thinking of Anna as a vile kidnapper who tormented a  young infant girl for months after she’d already lost the only mother she’d ever known.    If you were watching today’s episode, you witnessed Stefano Dimera, EJ’s father, physically assault his former daughter-in-law, his deceased son’s wife.  Tony might have killed Stefano for slapping his wife.

The excuse is supposed to be, I’m sure, that Stefano had no idea that Anna wasn’t alone in kidnapping his granddaughter when he slapped her.   My response?  WHO CARES!?!?!  She as alone, half dressed and defenseless against him and the goons he brought with him.  That scene was heartbreaking from beginning to end.   It was in fact EJ, the child’s father, who concocted the scheme and convinced Anna to become his partner in crime.  It was his son EJ, who got the ‘bright’ idea to cover the child’s clothing in blood and make everyone think the infant had been murdered.  Will Stefano slap him across the face?  Will he have his son dragged off with threats of death?  Is that behavior reserved only for women ‘who have it coming’?

While EJ sat home, basking in the glow of being complimented for being a ‘great dad’, Anna was being slapped around, manhandled by Stefano’s goons, and had to plead for her life, as Stefano promised her that she would not be alive  much longer.  DAYS has done a lot of things right, but  this was dead wrong and made it clear how parasitic the Dimera men’s relationships with women are.  EJ professes love, two children later, to the woman he raped at gunpoint, and while he sat with her  trying to convince her he was a new man, Anna faced violence and certain death.

2.  The Bold and the Beautiful. I watched the last 10 minutes of the show, today – apparently ten minutes too many!  It was a continuation of Donna Logan Forrester being treated as if she was disposable by her husband, Eric Forrester.  This follows an earlier discussion in which he screamed at her in front of his ex wife and his former sister-in-law (both of whom have attacked Donna physically and verbally).  Earlier he’d faulted Donna for never being on his side – a full-throated lie.  He’s clearly ‘finished’ with Donna and finds excuses to scream and yell at her, including faulting Donna  for her brother-in-law’s partnership with his WILLING ex-wife, who helped weaken his company before Bill Spencer bought it out from from under him.  Eric accepts no responsibility for being a lousy businessperson.  He also gives Donna ZERO credit for being willing to deceive her own sister to help him get his company back.  He screams at her, demeans her, and then she returns home to beg for his forgiveness for not being tolerant enough of his needs.  If she was a friend of mine in a marriage like that, I would be advising her on thinking about how to get out of it, or at least  how to protect herself from a man like Eric Forrester.

3.  One Life to Live. Schuyler Joplin has been just about as perfect a man as one can be in daytime.  He’s thoughtful, loving, kind, and patient… which means that when he had to be torn down to prop the show’s resident snooze producing couple – the writers took the lowest possible  route to try to make him unlikable to fans.  His soap day started with him being  a loving father who only wanted the best for his child.  He finds out the child he’s been loving isn’t his and just a few hours later he’s holding Gigi Morasco hostage at gunpoint, trying to force her to undress so  they can have sex and he could prove to her that they still have a special relationship.  He doesn’t want to be alone.

Pretty.Damned.Pathetic.

Soaps use to write rape storylines to  sway fans’ sympathy in the direction of ‘bad girls who needed redeeming’.  Now they use rape as a way of trying to sway fans’ ire at male characters they want to get rid of — most of the time.  Sometimes they decide that the rapist isn’t all that bad and try to redeem him or try to get the audience to accept his attempt to get his victim to fall in love with him.  It’s that sort of  clumsy and careless storytelling that makes soap fans ashamed of the genre.

4.  General Hospital. Kristina, after ignoring Ethan’s pleas to not allow the entire town, most especially her murderous mob father, believe that he’d beaten her up- as he was innocent – was beaten again today by her boyfriend, Kiefer.  I’d watched DAYS’ Anna being slapped around, DAYS’ Sami talking about her lovelife with her rapist,  OLTL’s Gigi held at gunpoint and potentially raped, BnB’s Donna beg forgiveness for being treated poorly, and then Kristina.  I am emotionally drained and most especially because it’s clear that daytime writers still don’t get it.

As usual, the storyline hasn’t been about this poor teenage girl who is being harmed, it’s about the adults around her – her mother who took the time to run down her attacker with her car while on the way to the hospital to get help for Kristina, her angry mob boss father, Ethan -the wrongfully accused… but very little about the survivor.

I’m hoping we’ll see more of Kristina, in therapy to learn that it’s not her fault she’s been attacked, or that we’ll get to see her confront Kiefer and make him realize how badly he’s hurt her.  As I’ve written about before, it would be best to see HIM in therapy – helping him figure out why he’s so violent towards  women.

Soaps do a lot with the ‘assault’ part, nothing much with the  ‘prevention’.   Were women victims of assault and violence on the other two soaps?  Probably, I’m just glad I missed it – I’ve had more than my fill in just a single day.  It’s depressing.

Good Times, Happy Times…

From The Bold and The Beautiful:

What makes JOWEN work? Daytime has finally gotten it right.  While older men have been seducing and romancing younger women for decades, soaps have treated older women involved with younger men as desperate and emotionally weak women who cling to men who could never really love them.  Older women have served as bedmates and bank accounts to their younger lovers and little else (AMC’s Marian and Tad, ATWT’s Lucinda and Craig, for example).  Jackie Marone is a woman who is vivacious, seductive, and powerful.  She’s also in charge of her emotions and her bank account.  Owen is with her because he loves her, not because she pays for him.  I was most proud of the moment when Jackie realized that not even for Owen was she willing to attempt to become a mother again.  She was well on her way to becoming a grandmother and expected Owen to be the man he said he was when he married her – not someone who’d suddenly developed a passion for parenting.  She held firm to her desire to enjoy life and be the woman she’d always wanted to be and Owen realized that loving her was his only real passion.

What does JOWEN helps me forget? Pretty much all of the rest of the BnB – emasculated Forrester males genuflecting before their bitter ex-wives, the  Forrester family penchant for pimping their young (my 20 something kid can’t come home with spare change in his pocket without explaining where it came from – Steffy brings home a multimillioin dollar company that no one else could win back and everyone celebrates?).  Jowen helps me forget the inconsistency in writing – Stephanie Forrester is now a ‘heroine’ for ‘saving’ the company she gleefully helped Bill Spencer destroy?  JOWEN helps me forget the new lie that the Logans have ‘ruined’ FC when even Steffy bragged about how the company made money hand over fist thanks to the ‘Royalty’ collection beating out the JM’s ‘Indulge’ line.  JOWEN even helps me forget that the writers have been trying to find a place to force Sarah Brown’s “Sandy/Aggie” (Saggie) to fit and are undoing months/years of great work in the process.  In the end, even if Nick doesn’t end up with Sags – everything will have been undone for no reason at all.

From General Hopsital:

What makes Mac and Alexis work? Despite Alexis’ lapse of sanity leading her to sleep with Sonny Corinthos, both Mac and Alexis have both maintained their integrity in the long term.  There’s something so likable about both characters that the combined effect of their presence pushes my happy meter off the charts!  The writers have picked up on whatever the genuine quality is that John J. York and Nancy Lee Grahn lend to their lovelorn, law and order loving characters.  Scenes with Mac and Alexis tend to be a mixture of being sweet and funny.  While the couple doesn’t get nearly the screen time they deserve, they make you grateful for the screen time they’ve been given.  If the writers ever figure out that we need less of the doom and gloom, and more of the ‘heeeeyyyyyy’, this show could be on to something HUGE.  I’m most looking forward to the possiblity of Mac and Alexis bringing their families together -and opening the Scorpio home once again. Kristina and Molly would have a father/stepfather they could respect.  Kristina, especially, shows promise of joining Robin in being the future of soap heroines on a show that desperately needs them.  To have the Scorpio-Drake-Davis clans coming together could just give us the ‘balance’ this show has been lacking.

What does the Mac and Alexis pairing make me forget? Other than Scrubs, Maxelli, and the powerhouse acting of JJ’s Lucky and RH’s Liz… pretty much everything else… the soapgods have been good to me.

From the Days of Our Lives:

What makes Rafe and Sami work? What DOESN’T work about this couple?  I’ve been cautiously optimistic about Rafe and Sami.  I’m an old Lumi fan.  No one knows like a Lumi fan how Sami is capable of throwing real love away for the horror of a relationship with a man like EJ.   Rafe is one of the few men in Sami’s life (Lucas included) who actually loves her and wants nothing in return.  The writers have sold me on the idea that Rafe is the man who would love Sami even if she didn’t love him in return, and would never stop fighting for what’s in her best interest. With a man like EJ, loving her if she didn’t love him in return would mean forcing himself on her.  With a man like Rafe?  It means loving her from afar, protecting her at all costs, and laying his life on the line because the thought of a world without her in it is something he just couldn’t bear. I’m SOLD!  Count me in as a ‘SAFE’ fan!

AS IF that’s all DAYS had to offer:

What makes the Phillip/Melanie/Nathan triangle work? Each potential pairing impacts me as a viewer in different ways.  Why does Phillip even deserve a second chance?  If you made it to 7:40 into the video, you’d hear Phillip say, as part of his vows, that if she’d said that he was going to marry her about a year ago, he would have told her she was crazy… BINGO!  That’s the Phillip I’ve hated while Mel loved him.  That’s the man who always thought he was too good for her and that she was nothing more than a consolation prize whenever he lost ‘the good girl’ (Stephanie).  Mel, in return, admits to loving him from the beginning.  Despite the lopsided relationship they share, this is a couple with HEAT!  They are moths to a flame, and it’s hard not to watch when they’re together.  Mel and Nathan on the other hand?  What a delicious redux of Mel and Nicky.  This time, the smart and ‘geeky’ guy should win.  Melanie and Nathan remind me a great deal of Sami and Rafe.  Nathan is a man who knows Melanie at her core, and loves who she is – warts and all.  This triangle works because it seems possible for Melanie to be happy with either.  In the end, I have to give the edge to Nathan.   I tend to root for the good guy, and heaven knows that in soapdom, the good guy is always the underdog.

What do  Sami and Rafe as well as this triangle help me forget? Bo and Carly.  Carly’s incessant whining.  Hope being destroyed to try to force Bo and Carly. Carly and Daniel (See where this is going?)  That’s about it, though… everything else about DAYS simply ROCKS!

One Life to Live

While I’m generally not a fan of rap, something about Snoop is AMAZING and I love to see most of the cast together enjoying themselves and allowing us to enjoy them, the show, and this performance.

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.

Points to ponder – All Soaps

*YnR’s NuMalcolm?  Not workin’.  I’m trying, folks, I really am, but as good as it is to see Darius McCrary on screen again, this was just the wrong role to cast him in. Though… given the choice between keeping him as Malcolm and keeping KC’s Lily, he wins hands down!  Malcolm Winters was an iconic character and unfortunately, McCrary’s interpretation falls flat.  I’ve seen McCrary’s work in other projects (including CBS’s Cold Case) and he’s been very good.  Something about this role just doesn’t seem to translate well for the actor.

* If GH’s “Franco” came to town because he’s totally obsessed with Jason:

1.  Why was it necessary to have Maxie pimped out and risk her relationship with Spinelli?  His focus has been Jason the entire time.  The side story involving Maxie just doesn’t make sense and seems to be an awful waste of a couple (Maxelli) and a character (Franco).  It served no purpose.

2.  How can Jason be considered a ‘good guy’ when his actions capture  the imagination of a ‘psychotic’ killer?  Jason’s murderous exploits have made him an international icon for blood thirsty criminals?  Some hero!

3.  Why didn’t TPTB just name him Franco Guza?  It would make sense of Franco’s obsession with Jason and the Suckpranos.  It would have felt more honest.  It’s art, seemingly, imitating life.

* Why aren’t the BnB”s Logan women allowed to confront sister Katie with her penchant for betraying her family for the love of  her latest squeeze?  Katie is 2 for 2, right now, and I’m getting tired of her whining and moaning about how SHE’S been betrayed.  Put that attitude away Katie, and if you need help figuring out where to put it, just ask!

*  Does anyone else think that ATWT’s Simon and Henry would make a far hotter couple than Luke and Noah?   I’m so tired of the on-again-off-again nature of the Nuke relationship that I’m ready to see ATWT’s PTB replace them, NOW.  Pay attention ATWT’s writers.  OLTL’s writers are separating the men from the boys and writing a real relationship between two characters – who just happen to be gay. Watch and learn… Speaking of OLTL:

* Why the hell did OLTL’s Bo hand Dorian back the only piece of evidence that could convict his niece of stabbing Mitch Laurence?  Was that supposed to be a sign of his honesty and integrity?  It felt more like evidence of his sheer stupidity,  especially since it’s becoming painfully clear to others that Dorian is Mitch’s puppet.

As for Dorian Lord, she is nothing if not devious.  I’m not too thrilled with the image of a helpless Dorian Lord constantly caving in to Mitch’s demands.  At what point does she put her years of mischief-making to use and takes Mitch down?  I’m shocked by the fact that I like seeing Dorian on top, Mayor and chief power broker in Llanview, but I do.  Why have that ruined by having her behave like a skittish child, jumping at the sight of her own shadow?  MORE kick-ass Dorian, LESS kiss-ass Dorian, please.

* Doesn’t anyone else  ever get tired of hearing the BnB’s taylor whine about how Brooke stole her life, and made her miserable?  Even I can agree with her that that situation with Jack was traumatic.  I sure as hell wouldn’t have wanted to give birth to the biological child of a woman I hated.    Taylor didn’t sign on to be a surrogate.  She had in vitro in order to have a family with Nick.  The child she carried was supposed to be HER child.  I get it, but the problem with her whining is that Brooke didn’t cause taylor to ‘lose’ her son.  Taylor chose to give him away.  She also chose to continue to try to compete with Brooke for Ridge – even when Ridge  made it CLEAR that it was Brooke he loved.  You can’t ask the woman to stay out of your life, and then constantly throw yourself in the middle of her life and call yourself a victim.

* Why do DAYS writers continue to make my skin crawl by having EJ touch Sami?  Yes, yes… he was only comforting her after she received a call from Sydney’s kidnapper…. it’s just that every time he goes near her, I see him holding her at gunpoint.   I hear him  telling her that the only way to save  Lucas is to let him violate her.  Every touch makes my skin crawl.  Has Sami forgotten how she ended up pregnant with  EJ’s spawn (cutie that she is) and the one before her?  C’mon writers,  give Sami her dignity back and have her tell EJ to keep his gun-toting rapist paws off of her.  Her confused ‘feelings’ are degrading and humiliating to watch, speaking as a woman.

Hey, if the actor involved can admit it was rape (comment below from a James Scott interview),

I would be lying if I said I didn’t worry about my future on the soap. I don’t think they handled the rape very well, and I’ll tell you why. EJ raped Sami, and then afterwards, he’s hanging out in her house — alone with her. It’s irresponsible on so many levels. However, had it been handled well, I think it would have been an interesting story choice. Now the story focus has shifted to her pregnancy and the classic soap story of paternity. Having said that, I chose to believe that EJ is in love with Samantha — he just can’t communicate it.

and TPTB can admit it was rape, it was RAPE.  He forced her to have sex with him to save the life of the man she loved. You can read a decidedly pro EJami Wikipedia entry with Scott’s comments HERE (that is until someone decides to try to delete the comment).

As for DAYS increasingly dwindling ratings fortunes, is it any wonder that the new  focus on Sami and EJ is linked to a rather rapid ratings slide for the show? Good luck selling Ej and Sami as anything other than what they really are:  a victim and her obsessive, stalking, rapist.

* For most of the year (plus), All My Children has been largely unwatchable.   Color me surprised when I got gooey and nostalgic for Hayley and Mateo’s return (more Hayley than Mateo).  Watching Adam soften while talking with Hayley and joke about knowing something about raising  ‘difficult children’ was the most priceless moment of that episode for me – Hayley of the dyed dark punk rock hair, now a mother with a wild child of her own.  I thought about Brian Bodine,  Uncle Pork Chop (Trevor), Natalie down the well, Janet from another Planet, Adam’s dark dark days (which really were different from just his ‘dark’ days), Stuart and Cindy, scheming Arlene Vaughn, the Santos family – even preachy mom and dad, Edmund and Maria, Erica and Dimitri, Bad girl Kendall and sweetheart Del Cooney, The Martin clan, Jeremy, Laurel and her brother Michael, Cliff and Nina,  Palmer and Daisy, The Montgomery Brothers and their feud, Brooke English, Phoebe and  Langley, Chuck and Tara,  Beloved Mona and Myrtle, Ellen and Devon, Mark Dalton, Tom and Sean Cudahy, and so much more… sheesh).  I know that not all of the above mentioned characters were on screen at the same time but just those few moments with Adam and Hayley opened a stream of AMC consciousness  and I felt warm all over.   I miss All my Children – the real All my Children.

* At some point, BnB’s Brooke Logan’s children are going to have to acknowledge (or learn) that there was NO WAR between their mother and Stephanie Douglas.  Stephanie has been on the attack against Brooke almost from the moment she met her.  Brooke has tried in vain to make peace and keep peace.  Brooke does not seek Stephanie out to hurt her or make her miserable as Stephanie has done with her.  Brooke hasn’t made a point of trying t0  publicly expose Stephanie for whatever her wrongdoings are – and there are many.  Brooke hasn’t tried to turn Stephanie’s children against her, as Stephanie has tried to do with Brooke’s children.

To allow Brooke’s children to continue to think of Stephanie as ‘human’ feels like one of the daytime’s biggest lies.  Theirs has been daytime’s biggest farce of a rivalry.  A rivalry would require TWO participants.  It would require balance.  It has neither.  In any other galaxy, Stephanie would be acknowledged as the psychotic villainess -bully she’s always been.  Calling Stephanie a victim of Brooke’s would be the same as calling GH’s Helena Cassadine a victim of Alexis Davis… Hels only slit Alexis’ mother’s throat in front of her when she was a child and threatened her life every single day from that moment on.  The warm and toasty moments between Brooke’s children and the dragon lady leaves me switching channels.  When a crazed bee-yotch hands your mother an unregisted gun, while wearing white gloves, and tries to get her to take her life, she’s not your friend.  She’s not like a mother to you, she’s not human.  When that same woman facilitates your mother’s rape, you’re not suposed to ask her to be a part of your children’s lives.  Come on BnB writers, get a grip.