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.

Why you should be watching General Hospital

…if you’re not already a fan!  If you think this blog reads like a love letter to #GH, you’re damned right it is!  This show is not just good, it is the best it has been in a very long time!  Why should you watch?  I could give you as many reasons as there are cast members, but here are my big four:

1 – Balance, balance, and more balance.  

When I last walked away from General Hospital as a consistent viewer, lead and supporting characters were one of three types: Mobsters, Mob Molls, or Mob affiliated. Having more than 35 years invested in this soap, I can remember when the show was about family drama and intrigue, romance and mystery.  I see so much more of that now than before the mob takeover.  Ric Lansing is back and he’s sworn off his former mob ties.  At least for now, the story is that he has come back  to reconnect with the only woman who ever truly loved him and who wasn’t looking for a life on the edge.  Hell, he WAS the edge the last time he and Elizabeth were together.  In scenes that I love like sunshine, we also see him back and reconnecting with his daughter Molly, whose only father figure has been  her uncle and Ric’s brother, Sonny Corinthos.  Keep in mind that Sonny was also her mother’s former lover, the father of one of her sisters, and the former lover of another sister.  The mob was so well integrated into the show that even family members were sleeping with and having children with the same mob boss (yeah, yeah, Sam didn’t know that Alexis was her mother, at the time).  Bigger twist?  Sam’s  child with Sonny is delivered stillborn and provides the stem cells that Kristina, his daughter with Alexis, needs to survive.

You need a truckload of Advil and at least 12 of your 14 vacation days to pull apart the twisted family tree GH writers created in order to sell the mob storyline.

The mob had become so important that even Justus Ward, whose family was made up of  prominent social activists in the Port Chuckles community, became another mob mouthpiece.  He eventually lost his life and was stuffed in the trunk of a car, as a result of his affiliation with Sonny Corinthos and Jason Morgan (Jason being a cousin to Justus).  It lacked dignity and was shockingly bad given the history of the Ward family.   The Ward family was part of the extended Quartermaine family but respected in their own right before the Q connection.  Prior to the writers’ belief that “mob magic” was so potent that fans would root for almost all characters to fall under the spell of Sonny and the various mob kingpins, I had hope that Justus, as the remaining onscreen Ward family member, would be spared.

The ultimate betrayal of fan trust came, for me, when Jasper “Jax” Jacks was deconstructed, transitioning from an educated ruthless billionaire corporate raider, to a man on the run from both Sonny’s empire of aggression and from the law for daring to protect his and Carly’s duaghter, Josslyn.  From what you ask?  From living her life in the path of a stray bullet that was almost as likely to take her life, as the bullet that put big brother Michael Corinthos in a coma – stealing his childhood and most of his adolescence. Michael spent years, after waking up, dealing with recovering from that stray bullet.  The bullet and resulting coma pushed his childhood kidnapping out of contention as the worst thing to ever happen to him.  Damn that Jasper Jacks for not realizing that kidnapping and bullets to the head can be character builders for children, not just childhood trauma!

Now? That sort of storytelling appears to be long gone!  Even the introduction of Parry Shen’s “Brad” is not a celebration of mob life.  Brad Cooper is the son, and grandson, of 80’s Asian Quarter mob kingpins.  Brad enters as a (mostly) upstanding citizen, barely shadier than the rest of Port Chuckles’ residents.  For now he has sworn off his mob family history and is a GH physician.  It was touch and go at the beginning of his introduction, but he is currently in the same hot mess so many of our PC citizens find themselves in.  Instead of mob molls and mob affiliated characters, we’re back to honest business leaders, police officers who aren’t on the take, as well as (and this will surprise you) drama at General Hospital that is about the hospital, nurses, and the doctors! Shocking, I know.

Even more shocking? I find myself liking Sonny, more, now that the GH universe is no longer centered around canonizing GH’s resident mob boss.  There are many stories to be told in Port Charles and the writers are making sure they tell as many of them as they can.

F’Love

2.  Diversity is a real thing on GH and not just something the cool kids are trying.

From the Asian Quarter, to Tom and Simone Hardy, to the introduction of the Ward family followed by Miguel/Lily/Sonny, GH has struggled with integrating diverse characters into the show in a way that is neither stereotypical nor exaggerated.  The Ward family marks, for me, GH’s first real, and nearly successful, attempt at getting it right, including the Jason/Keisha/AJ triangle:

Now?  Diversity on GH is not about check boxes and clunky integration. Diversity just IS on this show, it’s organic. Characters aren’t remarkable/ good/ evil/frontburner, because they can be used to show that daytime is finally catching up with the rest of the world.  Diverse characters and their families on GH aren’t getting airtime for the publicity they bring a show.  They are seamlessly integrated into the show and their time spent on air is character driven, not storyline driven!  Their lives are about the characters themselves and not about the reaction of others around them.

Brad/Felix/Lucas.  Like any triangle, there are winners and losers.  Both Felix and Lucas have been betrayed by Brad, so watching them grow closer feels right.  The writers have handled this one perfectly.  I want Felix and Lucas to become a real couple, but like any couple brought together out of betrayal and hurt feelings, I have to wonder if either (or both) will end up waking up one morning wanting Brad back.  While that would crush my love for Felix and Lucas – which I will survive, I know that I can accept it because it is no different than what takes place with any other triangle.  I am thrilled that their storyline  isn’t about helping any of the three overcome bigotry-inflicted shame, and that it’s not about being closeted and fearful.  There is a time and place for that type of storytelling, but there is also room for the stories of others -those whose sexuality is not about morbid fascination from the outside.  Brad/Felix/Lucas are telling a story about conflict, love, anger and forgiveness. I am impressed.

Jordan/Shawn. I’ll admit it.  I’m on record stating that the glow Jordan gives is not a halo but hellfire.  I thought that Shawn would have been smart to run in the opposite direction whenever he saw Jordan coming.  I was wrong.  I was SO VERY wrong.  What I love most about Jordan and Shawn, is that their storyline is almost 30 years in the making.  Do they remind you of anyone else?  For me Jordan/Shawn/TJ are the 2000s version of Anna/Robert/Robin.  It’s not an exact retelling, but it’s close enough.  I have been longing for a return to the WSB and it’s glory days and GH is giving it to me by the bucket full… it’s just a little more understated.  Jordan/Anna comes to town with a shady past and possibly sketchier future.  Instead Jordan/Anna is DEA/WSB and the other big issue she has on her plate, one that fills her time when she’s not bringing down bad guys, is dealing with a child (TJ/Robin) whose life has been shrouded by a huge secret.

The focus isn’t on what they bring to the table as “people of color”, it’s what they bring to the table as people.  Each individual is layered and nuanced and the minute you think you know any of the members of this family, a new layer is peeled away.  At her introduction, the audience asked:  Was Jordan back to seduce Shawn and force him to take her in as he’d taken in TJ?  Was she back to reclaim her beloved son?  Was she using her son to cover her shady connection to the Jeromes?  Just when we couldn’t figure out her game, she’s revealed as a DEA agent, in town to clean up PC and find the real drug kingpin.  STOP NOW!

If this storyline and this show gets any better, I’ll be looping it all day long and ignoring all other entertainment.  Jordan’s story now makes me question Shawn, in particular, and now I wonder what the rest of his story is.  Jordan, the DEA agent, would surely never have entrusted the care of her beloved son to a man who was a killer.  What does she know about Shawn that either he is hiding or that doesn’t know about himself because someone else is hiding the truth from him?

I can’t wait to find out.

3.  Women as diversity? Yes.  Women who are strong?  Hell yes!

Tracy Q., Carly, and Alexis are, for the moment, in a downward shame spiral, in my opinion.  I can accept that more easily, at this time, because they are the exception, no longer the rule.  The women of GH have become strong, smart, and capable of standing on their own.  Are they perfect?  No, but they’re so far ahead of where the women of this show were just a few short years ago.

They’ve transitioned from being either dedicated mob molls (Carly, Robin, Kate/Connie, Olivia) or paid mob mouthpieces (Alexis, Diane).  In some cases, they were both (again, Alexis and Diane).

No matter which side of morality/decency/the law we find them, I am thrilled to see Anna, Jordan, Ava, Lucy, Felicia, Britt, Obrecht, Lulu, and others being treated as women with hearts AND brains!  There will be a time, I’m sure, when the currently weak GH women, and, yeah – I’m looking at YOU Tracy Quartermaine, will step up to the plate and become strong again, but the balance of women in distress with women taking charge is refreshing.

There have been times when women on GH have felt more like window dressing than people.  This is not one of those times.

4. There are almost no weak links on this show, currently.

I’m just not crazy about Sabrina and Patrick. I can’t see a situation that would cause me to root for them as a couple.  They simply fall flat for me.  Even still, I don’t see them as a “weak link”.  I can see what the show’s fans like about them.  I just don’t feel it.  Sabrina and Carlos, I get.  Sabrina with Patrick feels more ike “Flowers in the Attic’ or “Petals in the Wind” than a romantic couple ,for me.

I truly despise Carly and Franco. I cannot understand the writers’ thinking in trying to reform Franco and in making him a frontburner character.  Somehow, it feels to me as if Franco should still be a character in the shadows or, more importantly, not a viable character at all.  I will accept the very few things I dislike about this show and continue to enjoy those things I love most.  GH is currently the only show on the air that I can say that about – a show whose positives far outweigh its negatives.

If you haven’t been watching GH, you’re missing a lot!  It’s that good.

 

GH: What Mac Scorpio Should Do Now…

I could tell you how much I hate the mob storylines – again… but you know that if you’ve read this blog even once… OR, I could tell you about a storyline I’d  love to see happen for our dear Mac Scorpio – who has to face yet another daughter marrying into/getting involved with the mob circle.

My dream storyline would have to be, of course, something that takes us far outside of the mob boy’s storyline, while still feeding TPTB’s apparent need for vice.  Any viewer watching for longer than a decade remembers that the great Mac Scorpio was once a mercenary.  His past actions in the political world were as shady and low as his actions with other men’s wives (by his account and that of his brother, Robert).   He’s done a lot of bad things, we were just never told what those bad things were.  Mac is now a decorated hero, pillar of his community, loving father/father-uncle, and the chief peace officer in Port Chuckles.  Surely that’s not sitting well with someone, somewhere.  Surely he’s responsible for someone’s untimely death, or for having callously turned over an innocent man (maybe a celebrated freedom fighter)  he tracked down on behalf of some vicious despot.  Surely this man has a son or daughter, seeking revenge, angry that Mac’s life has gone on brilliantly and that he lives among ‘decent people’ while he/she still suffers from loss of a parent.

Let’s make the vengeance-seeker a woman – ah…so you know where this is going!  What if she slowly wormed her way into Mac’s life?  She could share her sob story with him: orphaned as a young adult, left alone to fend for herself in the world… surviving but desperate, doing some unsavory things to survive and often finding herself in unhelpful situations.  The only thing she won’t share with him is his role in her misery.  Outside of her unbridled rage, something  neither Mac nor the audience would know about her as we first meet her, she would be the very definition of goodness and light.  She would seem to have only Mac’s best interest at heart at all times.  We wouldn’t realize, initially, that she was  alienating him from the people he loved most.   She’d start with Maxie.  Why?  Because Maxie is hooked up with the mob boys through her love for Spinelli, which makes her an easy target – low hanging fruit, if you will.

Copyright ABC Daytime

We wouldn’t know she was out to hurt Mac so we, the audience, would applaud her.    Someone other than Mac  is finally telling Maxie and Spinelli there’s a choice to be made and that the options  aren’t even close to being ‘similar’.  They’re very different choices (Mac or the Mob) and that either could alter the course of the young couple’s future.   Ellenna, we’ll call her, would remind Maxie of how important her career at Crimson is to her, of how hard she’s worked to be taken seriously. She would remind Maxie that her father is the same way.  He cares deeply about his work, he cares that he does well, but he also cares to be taken seriously and can’t be, as long as she and Spinelli have chosen Jason and Sonny.  What message does that send to the people of Port Charles?  How much longer is Mac supposed to defend is personal integrity because of their actions and their associations with Sonny and Jason?

Maxie, in her typically obstinate manner, would chose the mob boys (she always does).  They ‘accept’ her as she is. They don’t make demands on her.  They aren’ t out to change her. We’ve heard it all before (and we’ll hear it, or some variation of it, again this week)  Maxie will argue that Mac claims to love her, but only loves her as long as she is the person he wants her to be.   She’ll deliver the ultimate low blow as she tell him that his demands for perfection even drove her mother away and left Georgie vulnerable.  Having ‘been there-done that’ too many times before with Maxie, Mac does cut her out of his life this time.  Maxie is devastated.  Mac is devastated.  Ellenna (‘Elle’)  is secretly elated.

Robin is next.  How does Elle alienate Robin?  This one is more difficult because Robin has been the model daughter-niece.  She has to be more clever with Robin:  ‘unintentionally’ picking fights with her, setting Robin up so that Mac catches her unloading on a seemingly innocent Elle, making Robin uncomfortable with the way she holds Emma – think ‘Hand That Rocks The Cradle’ crazy.  Robin’s inability to accept Elle after everything Mac has done for her and the fact that he’s loved her unconditionally is the final straw.  Mac has  supported Robin in her happiness no matter where she found it and he wants nothing to do with her if she can’t do the same for him.

He’s been on his own for so long that it feels good to finally have someone who is willing and able to put him first.  He confides in Elle that he wasn’t always a good man who cared whether he was loved and needed.  He confides that he’s haunted by the man he use to be, and that it’s why it’s so important for him to be a better man.  He confides that he’s always felt that he was unworthy of happiness, but that he’s been grateful for every moment of it he’s ever had.  He prays that he can have happiness one last time  before he dies, and then has to face whatever ‘punishment’ there is for his past life.  He asks Elle to marry him and they begin  planning their family and their future together… but not so fast!  After comparing notes, Robin and Maxie realize three things:

1- Mac has been strong for everyone else.  He’s been so strong that no one put the pieces together – he’s been slowly falling apart.  Mac has been  suffering from depression since the day he lost Georgie – another reason is was so important to him to help Robin w ith Emma during her PPD.  It gave him meaning and he could connect with Robin without having to share his ‘secret’ his ‘shame’.  He’s been alone in the same house Georgie lived until she died.  He’s alone with the memories of a wife who deserted their family, and a dead daughter.  They start to learn things they didn’t know about Mac – that he secretly drinks at night, for example.  Coleman has seen him there several nights a week passing by a neighboring bar.  It’s where Mac met Elle.

2 – that they’ve both been set up… they realize that Elle wanted them both out of Mac’s life.  They’re not sure why, but they know it’s not for love.

3 – Mac’s depression and that they’ve ignored him other than to lean on him when they needed him made it easy for Elle to set them up and isolate Mac.

They know that talking with Mac is useless because he doesn’t want to go back to his old life of picking up the pieces for everyone else.  He’s happy again and his happiness is like a drug that leaves him wanting more.  What Mac doesn’t realize is that his drug state is both literal and figurative.  Elle’s original plan was to slowly drug Mac, eventually killing him – until she learned about Robin and Patrick and knew they would investigate his death.  She then begins working on ‘plan b’… setting Mac up for murder.  If he can’t be made to pay for her father’s murder, he should be made to pay for someone else’s.  She realizes the irony of taking a life to make Mac pay for the life he took, but she rationalizes her actions by planning to take the life of someone who ‘deserves’ it -unlike her heroic father.

Unaware of Elle’s actions or plans, Robin, Patrick, and Maxie begin investigating her (better than getting them involved in every half-wit unrelated plot on this show).  They  rely on the help of Alexis Davis when they run across red tape in the European nation Elle claims she’s from. Alexis has a history with the European courts, both personally and professionally. Alexis helps them find out that the woman whose name is being used died over two decades before Elle began using it.  They decide that it’s of little use to share this information with Mac.  He would only rationalize their findings as ‘mixed up paper work’, or that she used the name to escape an oppressive life.  They need more proof in finding out who this woman is.  After weeks of searching, the trail grows cold.   They need more help.  While Robin calls her father to ask for help in picking up a warm lead,  Alexis decides to get close to Mac in order to get closer to Elle.  Now that she’s in private practice and he’s on leave from the PCPD for health reasons, she begins showing up at Mac’s to talk to him about several cases she’s working on, seeking input from him.  Watching the dynamic between the couple, discomforted by Elle’s evasive manner whenever she’s asked about ‘home’ or her family leads Alexis to believe that Elle is a bigger threat to Mac than anyone believed.

After the full group gets together, they begin to wonder why they hadn’t thought to investigate the real ‘Elle’.  Why did this woman taking control of Mac’s life, whoever she is, choose that name?   They find out that the woman whose name she uses was her mother’s, which uncovers the sordid history of her father’s death and Mac’s role in it.  By the time they realize what’s going on, it’s too late.  Elle has chosen her victim and set her plan in motion.

In the best possible soap world outcomes, Remily (Rebecca Shaw to most fans!) would be the intended victim.  Catching Ethan and Rebecca on the docks, she realizes what a horrible person Rebecca is to take advantage of Nik’s grief.  Identifying with Nik, who has also lost as love one, she decides to ‘protects’ Nik by getting rid of Rebecca.   She realizes that setting Mac up for murder would be difficult – he has no reason to hate Rebecca (hard to imagine, I know!  Do you need a real reason to hate this character? The fact that she exists makes her cringe-worthy in my book).  She decides to ‘break up’ with Mac, citing his family and their constant attacks against her as the reason.

The break up triggers Mac’s drinking, the drinking leads to a fatal accident, the accident leads to Mac being arrested, tried, and convicted of manslaughter.   Wracked with guilt, he accepts his fate.  It’s only after the fog clears, as he relives the episode, that he begins remembering small details, one of which is the key to unraveling what happened.  He remembers Rebecca being pushed and the car not being able to stop in time.  He starts to remember viewing the accident from the passenger side, it occured just as he was waking up.  His memory triggers a further investigation:  Robert, Anna (who returns when Robert puts out the call about a woman named ‘Ellenna’ – there’s more to her back history than even Elle knows), Robin, Patrick, Alexis, Maxie and Spinelli (who’ve given up the mob boys and are married and in the Scorpio-Drake-Spinelli clan), band together to prove Mac’s innocence.

The prove that Rebecca was pushed in front of Mac’s care… but if Elle was driving the car, who pushed Rebecca… or who drove the car as Elle pushed Rebecca… There’s more…

This storyline pulls several past storylines together:  Georgie’s death, Mac and Felicia’s unresolved failed marriage, Mac’s history as a smiling, but dangerous, playboy, and the Robert-Mac history.  Anna and Robert are back at the WSB – there can still be vice on the show without the lollipop mob.  The difference?  The bad guys aren’t the ‘heroes’.  Spinelli and Maxie follow the family tradition and actually put bad guys AWAY, not save them.

Future directions:  Obviously romance between Mac and Alexis once he’s cleared, conflict between Alexis and Nik – who refuses to listen to Alexis’ pleas to trust in Mac’s innocence – until later, the person who helps Elle could be Ethan – if you’d like and we could get rid of him,  Robin begins to have a relationship with her parents and they begin to clear the air on past events that even the audience isn’t aware of – yet, An unknown connection between Ellenna’s family and members of Port Charles…. so many future directions.

In the end… I know I won’t get any of it… but a girl can dream!

 

* Copyright to all images retained by ABC Daytime.

Motherhood makes me soft and gooey…

On the surface, DAYS’ Nicole Walker Dimera and GH’s Robin Scorpio Drake have nothing in common. Nicole is a lying deceiving backstabbing manipulator… soapgod love her. What would we do without her? Robin Scorpio Drake is an accomplished physician who has dedicated herself to saving lives.

Nicole? Insecure, distrustful, and femme fatale able to make grown men shake with fear in her presence.

Robin? Quiet, meek, disarming in other ways, but she’s no femme fatale. She’s more the romantic heroine type.

So what do they have in common beneath the surface? Something about both women makes fans weep puddles. Both are daytime mothers who have far more love and compassion than most characters are allowed to express, even when they are in their darkest moments.

Nicole Walker Dimera

There are times when I want the writers to ease up on the ‘femme fatale with a heart of gold’ twist on this character. It can wear on you. It’s almost impossible to believe that Nicole has so much anger and hatred for Sami Brady when they’re so alike in so many ways. You’d think they would be best friends, tearing Salem apart, instead of arch enemies. Then there are times when being a femme fatale, with or without a heart of gold, works for her.

The writers fooled me for just a brief while. I thought they’d skip having Nicole take Sami’s baby to replace her own deceased child. How many times have we seen that storyline play out in daytime? Faked pregnancy, stolen child, countdown to discovery. She already found a child to replace her own, after all, why would she need Sami’s. That she ended up in the same clinic at the same time that Sami was giving birth was a kick in the creative heart. Nicole did exactly what so many of you were sure she would do – set herself up to take Sami’s child.

If that’s all there was to this storyline, I’d already have pulled DAYS out of my recording line up. I haven’t because the writers have done something extraordinary. They’ve opened a vulnerable side to Nicole that will eventually make us feel all the sadder for her, and even more hatred for EJ, when her scheme is found out. She didn’t fake a high risk pregnancy after her miscarriage just to hang on to EJ. She did it to stop him from feeling the grief she felt when their baby died. She couldn’t stand the thought of him having to live with the intolerable pain she experienced.

Given the hatred she has for Sami, Nicole couldn’t bring herself to wish death on Sami and EJ’s daughter. She stood over her and prayed for her as the doctor worked to revive her just minutes after her birth. She couldn’t stand the thought of EJ losing that child, too. No one has loved that man, as much as Nicole has – not even his own father. That she puts his happiness ahead of her own is both an improvement, and a setback for Nicole. Other than her brother Brandon, Nicole has been written as a woman incapable of putting anyone else’s feelings first. It was just never in her nature. She’s fought to survive the hardships life has thrown at her (a psychopathic father who kept her drugged so that she would shoot porn videos, allowing HIM to profit). I’m waiting for her to be punished by being dumped by Ej, even though her actions were motived by her love for him. EJ is obsessed with Sami, the woman he raped and has now twice impregnated. He’ll see Nicole’s faked pregnancy as the big issue that has to be addressed, not the fact that Sami’s plan was to give the daughter he knew nothing about up for adoption.

Despite her harsh, brash exterior, Nicole is ultimately one of daytime’s most sympathetic heroines.

That’s what the two women have in common. Robin Scorpio Drake is also one of the most sympathetic heroines in daytime!

Robin Scorpio Drake

I was a fan of young Robin, the wonderfully adorable child who was full of smiles and sunshine. Anna, Robert, and Robin were the perfect daytime family. By the time her relationship with Jason Morgan was in full swing, she’d lost me. For me, the relationship with Jason was a abject rejection of who the character had been to that point in her life, and the writers’ rejection of her heritage as the daughter of daytime’s greatest super spies. (At this point you’re probably thinking about Anna and Duke, and Robert and Holly – but even those storylines were redemptive in nature and not about accepting the lifestyles of Duke and Holly).

Something in her relationship with Jason made her too motherly for such a young character. She was too busy defending and protecting him. There was no character development for Robin and the character fell apart. The cute kid with the big smile became a lightening rod for fans, seemingly turning off as many fans as she delighted. She’d become clingy, needy, and self-righteous. She’d lived her life in a bubble and that bubble was shrinking, having only enough room for her, and Jason.

The writers seemed to realize the problem. Robin hadn’t changed when she returned to help Jason, by saving Sam. Newbie Patrick Drake voiced the criticisms of the fans – Robin’s shrill meddling and discounting the lives of the ‘imperfect’ (read as ‘anyone who is not Robin Scorpio) drove commitment phobe Patrick mad. Patrick taught Robin that love didn’t mean controlling everyone, and everything around her. He taught her that love and desperation to hold on to a partner were mutually exclusive. Robin’s relationship with Patrick was true love, and the most meaningful relationship she’d had in her young life.

I’ve wondered if the positive feelings I have about Robin were more about her relationship with Patrick, if she could stand up in a storyline about just her and not about Scrubs. The postpartum depression storyline has answered that question for me, with a resounding YES!

This storyline was MADE for Kim McCullough’s Robin. It plays to all of her strengths. The excessive desperation Robin felt when trying to hold on to Jason during the ‘Carly-Michael’ period was uncomfortable to watch. The quiet desperation Robin feels when dealing with Emma is painful, too, but for different reasons. Robin loves Emma more than she loves her own life. She dreamed of being the perfect mother to her – even when she contemplated being a single parent. She wants nothing more than that child’s happiness and now can’t bring herself to believe that she can make Emma happy in any way.

What amazes me most is how much more subtle Kim McCullough is as an actress. Gone are Robin’s exasperated sighs and eye rolls. In their place is just the right look, or a tensing of her body to display her fear and anxiety. Her reliance on nonverbal communication is the hallmark of all great actors. I love actors who can communicate with an audience without saying a word. The audience could hear Emma crying through the monitor Robin left on top of the table. Robin looked at the monitor with terror in her eyes – it was heartbreaking. You could almost hear her wondering what she would do to ‘fail’ Emma, this time. You could feel the misery that made her reluctant to answer Emma’s call.

Not only did I want to hug the poor child, I couldn’t believe that the writers haven’t thought to have Anna and Robert around to try to help her. I want to see the heartbreak in their eyes, knowing neither of them was around long enough help her gain the confidence she needs to help herself and Emma. Neither has raised a child from infancy to adulthood. I want that Scorpio family moment I wrote about earlier where their past comes back to haunt them. Don’t get me wrong, I love watching Maxie and Robin bond as cousins (especially as a counter to the Lulu-Carly relationship), but there’s something missing without Anna and Robert. Even still, KM carries this story beautifully. This is the year that I think viewers can drop the phrase ‘former child actor’ in association with her name. There’s nothing childlike about her performances. It’s some of her best work, yet!

The Scorpio clan pic was found at the Faces of GH website.

If Robin Scorpio-Drake’s Life is so Perfect…

why is she so unhappy? Because the writers are still paying attention to detail and hitting all the right notes with Scrubs. Not only does Robin’s post-partum depression make sense, it’s a storyline with the potential to pull in our veteran faves and create a hell of a lot of ‘reckoning’ and healing.

Setting aside the part of her disorder that’s chemical and uncontrollable without treatment, what about the part of her illness that will be fed by her insecurities and fears? What about that part of her illness that’s fed by her general unhappiness?

What does she have to be unhappy about, you ask? Parents who adore her, the love and adoration of Mac and Maxie, a beautiful baby, and a loving husband who just happens to also be as hot as sin… exactly… it’s everything to be grateful for and everything to fear losing in a young life plagued by loss (Stone, contracting HIV, Jason – her second love, her parents – who both turn up alive later, Georgie – who won’t, etc..)

How could her past NOT make dealing with a medical illness like PPD more difficult? How could she not fear her daughter and the damage she feels she may do when she’s never had a parent’s guidance for long during her own life? Mac provided the only stability she’s ever known.

The earlier peace Robin struck with her parents was quick and superficial. While I don’t want Robin at odds with her parents long term, I do want some realistic conflict. Does she feel her life would be different had they not left her,or put her life in jeopardy (imagine the flashback footage – funerals and Faison, Duke, Duke’s death and so much more)

Robert and Anna will wonder if they took the time to save the world and lost Robin in the process. Patrick will need to turn to his own family for support while the Devane-Scorpio drama plays out.

In the end, Robin will heal, her relationship with her parents will be stronger, The Drakes will fully reconcile, and fans will get the best of both worlds ; the old and the new.