The Naturals – GH

Kimberly McCullough (Robin) and Jason Thompson (Patrick) are such naturals that they make you forget that they’re acting!  Often actors try to ignore babbling infants or are so distracted by them they break scene.  KM and JT have such a natural chemistry that they seamlessly weave adorable ‘Emma’ into the conversation with ‘Patrick’ and ‘Robin’.

I’d take a boatload of every-day scenes with this soap family than any scene involving fights about mob ties, crazy stalkerish ex-lovers, PPD, and any other storyline the writers keep coming up with to try to split the couple up.  THESE are the money shots.  The moments of reprieve from soap nuttiness that makes us remember why we loved soaps in the first place:

This clip only gets good at the end, when Tracy unleashes fresh hell on Carly.  Before there was whining, crying and shrieking, there was Tracy – and you are outgunned, my dear Carly Corinthos Jacks.  Listening to the Corinthos clan blame their woes on the rest of the world is maddening.  The behavior is sweet, but sad, when coming from four year olds.  It’s certifiable in adults:

Remember when the mobsters were annoying but at least used adult logic?

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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.

The way to a girl’s heart… OLTL/ATWT/GH

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The way to this girl’s heart  is through her favorite soap character… or at least through halfway decent writing!  I was THRILLED, today, to hear Clint and Nora mention something they rarely talk about – their familial past.   It was such an organic moment and so perfect, that I watched it twice.  Given the closeness of Bo and Nora, I’ve never been able to really root for Clint and Nora,  but today I ‘got it’.  I realized what made them special.  There’s a realism with Clint and Nora that most other couples lack.

Some couples have to be heavily in love – hot and steaming just to sell themselves (nice try DAYS’ Ej and Sami – no sale).  Others have to be angry and bitterly fighting to prove their passion (yes, I’m talking about YOU GL’s Bill and Lizzie).  Clint and Nora just have to ‘be’.  When Nora asked Clint if he ever thought about why they were together, if they belong, if they were meant to be – his response floored me.  He said that since she is his ex sister-in-law, some would say they didn’t belong together at all.  I love when soaps acknowledge the ookyness that so many of us are feeling when they have siblings (or mothers-daugthers, fathers-sons) swap partners.

Yeah, I cried a little… ok, I would have under other circumstances, but you get the point.  It was such a sweet ‘us against the world’ moment that no matter what happens with Clint and Nora, I’ll always have that one perfect day with them.

Listen carefully, ATWT’s writers.  THAT’S how you write a mature romance.  This whole thing with Blondie/Jack/Janet just makes me want to pluck my eyes out with Katie’s chopsticks, I tell ya’!  In essence, Jack has reduced his ‘special’ time with Carly  to a good roll in the hay, something he can’t get over or stop wanting.  They have a ‘chemical attraction’ says the mighty Jack(ass)   I thought I was being too harsh on Jack, yesterday.  NOW?  I realize that I’ve given him TOO much credit all along. Carly loves that pinhead with her whole heart.  She wants Jack even when she can’t be with him physically.  My entire gripe about Jack  has been that when he’s in pursuit of another woman, he reduces Carly and his time with her to almost nothing.  Today, he’s outdone himself.

Oh, and who didn’t see the mugging coming a mile away?  Guilt guilt guilt…Jack will work even harder to make Janet happy — while sneaking off for ‘chemistry lessons’ with Carly. Janet doesn’t want to be Jack’s consolation prize, but dear writers, I’m starting to feel as if Janet is OUR consolation prize.  I’d rather see more of a focus on CARLY’s happiness and having her finally have a place where she feels she belongs, with someone who finally and truly loves her.  Janet?  Not so much.  I still just don’t care.

You’ve at least made up for shoving Janet at fans by giving us Henry and Vienna, Katie and Brad.  We even got to see Bob and Kim (even if it was under pretty sad circumstances).  Letting Chris Hughes go?  What are you THINKING, PTB? That dude had ‘walking fantasy’ written all over him (at least, that’s what the sash he’s wearing says when he’s in MY dreams).

Speaking of dreams,  GH left me pinching myself to make sure I wasn’t seeing things.  Lainey LIVES!  She’s so rarely seen that I’m always thrilled when there are any Lainey sightings on deck.  I still mourn for the loss of Justice Ward when I see her, and wonder why the writers no only ended his short life the way they did, but then treated his relationship with Lainey as ‘no big thing’.  It was so sad to hear her say that she wasn’t really close to Justice, but that she still felt bad about his death.  OUCH!

Oh, and excuse me, but was that REALLY Maxie showing genuine sympathy towards Lulu, and willing to taking on psychopathic papa Zacchara to help Lulu out?  Not only has Kirsten Storms made Maxie HER character with her interpretation of who Maxie Jones-Scorpio is and should be, she’s given the character such a wonderfully sharp edge.  I don’t mind seeing that edge occasionally softened.  Today, I didn’t know who to feel sorrier for, Lulu or Maxie.  Maxie stopped caring about anyone other than herself long ago.  She seemed almost as lost as Lulu.

To see her give a damn about Lulu’s condition, enough to take on old man Zacchara in order to make sure that Lulu could see Johnny, gave me hope for the character. It gave me hope that the writers would continue down the path of creating a multi-layered ingenue fans would come to appreciate for years to come.  Well done, Kirsten, well done!  Oh, and Maxie’s new look, the mini-Kate Howard look, is working for her.

Katie/Connie is going to need Maxie’s adoration by the time Sonny finds out that she lied about his child and has been keeping Olivia’s secret this entire time.  Someone set up the barware, it’s time for Sonny to start smashing things!

How interesting that Katie/Connie places such a high premium on honesty… and has been able to look Sonny in the eye this entire time, knowing the secret she’s kept from him.  I can’t wait! Should we place bets on whether Carly finds out before anyone else and torments Katie/Connie and Olivia?  Are we taking bets on whether the earlier rumors are true and Spinelli is Sonny’s long lost son, after all?