Why GH’s Nurses’ Ball Matters

GH Port Charles EveningSomeone, soapgod love ’em, FINALLY remembered what the Nurses’ Ball was meant to be.   Manifest?  On the surface it was the chance for the citizens of Port Chuckles to come together  and let their hair down.  They would sing, dance, project an air of happiness and togetherness, if only for one night.  Was every NB about hand holding and singing love songs with mortal enemies? No, not a one of them!  There was always tension balanced against wanted and unwanted surprises.  Relationships were made and relationships were broken.  There were  the moments that lulled you into believing nothing bad could ever happen, just before you were hit between the eyes.  Murder!  Arrests! Affairs revealed!

The Ball has always been about more than Host Lucy Coe’s fantastic wardrobe changes.  There was the latent content as well, the storyline below the surface, a storyline we did not know we were applauding.  The Nurses’ Ball is also about hope, rehabilitation, renewal, and acceptance.  Who could forget the first Nurse’s Ball following Stone’s death, with Robin’s public revelation that she is HIV positive? Keep in mind that Stone and Robin performed at the first ball just a couple of years prior!

Robin heard from AJ Quartermaine and others about the horrors of HIV, the terrible fears they had being in the same room as a person with the disease.  She watched as Stone dealt with love and acceptance countered by fear and rejection, and without him, her time had come.  Every Nurses’ Ball seemed to have at least one citizen of Port Chuckles using the ball to make a direct, or indirect, plea for acceptance.

I saw all of the above, and more, at this year ball.

Manifest

The musical numbers were all perfect. Fun, light, fantastic!  Rebecca Herst?  So amazing.  I was shocked that her character “Liz” was thrown in  with the young adult crowd, and then I looked at her, closely.  No one would know that she was older than anyone in that group, and that she’d participated in the earlier Nurses? Ball.  I’m not much of an Elizabeth fan, I haven’t been since the end of LL2 (Liz and Lucky) but Rebecca Herbst?  She gets better with time!  (Oh, and way to go making me miss Real Andrews, whose Det. Taggart would have been a perfect complement to Det. West.)

I was glad to see Liz and Ric at the ball.  I have always enjoyed Elizabeth with Ric more than any other of her not-Lucky loves.  There is something more real and less seedy about them than anyone else she’s ever been with and if she could just get beyond him holding Carly hostage in a panic room in their home, with the intent on stealing her child to give to Liz and then killing Carly, well.. .they could be very happy together. Right?  Sadly, in daytime, that’s not even the WORST sentence you could write about a soap character.  Still, Ric Lansing  a damned bit better than a fair number of his GH colleagues, including brother Sonny.

Detective Sexypants?  I refuse to be convinced that Nathan West (Ryan Paevey) is anything other than computer generated.  He must be!  How else can you explain how ridiculously good looking he is – no real person should be that gorgeous – ever!  That RP happens to also be an engaging actor makes you wonder who, in casting, is not being paid enough after finding this guy.  If Paevey doesn’t hit your “yum button”, no matter who you are, I think you should check your pulse.  You may not have one.

My only complaint is that I’m a little upset with the writers for making me feel sorry for Brad (assuming it was their intent).  Felix always deserved better than the treatment he received from his manchild boyfriend, but to have Felix and Lucas get close like that with Brad on the outside? Wow. I loved it, and still felt bad for the guy. There are no bad guys, ultimately, in this “brad centered triangle”.  It has to end eventually and I will feel awful for the person who eventually has to bow out.  Well done, writers!   You’ve created the perfect triangle – one moving me to root for all involved, at least for now.

Latent

Maxie’s relationship with  (what’s his name?) seems to be all about punishing herself for not being the person she thinks she should be,  instead of accepting herself as she is.  I can’t wait for Maxie to forgive herself and move forward.  That guy is driving me nuts.  It feels as if Maxie is living her own version of what hell must be like.  He’s not a bad guy, just not the guy for Maxie.

Luke’s selection?  “I am What I am” from La Cage Aux Folles.  Pitch perfect selection, since we all know that this is not Luke Spencer!   Tony Geary is so masterful that his eye movements in those scenes are Emmy worthy.   Here is the question, GH fans:  who DO we enjoy more?  Real Luke or Faux Luke? Our Anti-hero has walked that dark line for so long that having him cross over didn’t change much, did it?  I think Luke’s storyline is as much a Rorschach test for the audience as it is a reflection of Luke’s past – one filled with doing and being damaged to the point that no one misses the real Luke when he’s gone.  There will never be another Tony Geary, folks.  I can’t see this storyline working in anyone else’s hands.

We got to see that Obrecht really is the tree from which Britt’s apple fell.  Obrecht may have a hard outer shell, but her repeated attempts to be accepted by the citizens of Port Chuckles suggests that she still wants more.  She wants legitimacy if she can earn or steal it, but will live with having the town fearing and loathing her if it’s all she has.  She is begging for Nathan’s affections, now. I have to wonder what will happen (to him) once she’s tired of begging and decides that he is not worth the trouble of trying to get him to love and accept her.

Thank you, GH, for a show so fantastic that I was inspired to blog, again.

Next stop? A review of Ronn Moss’ GH debut.  I can only imagine he’s involved in exposing Faux Luke!  Tune in, GH / Ronn Moss fans.

Nurses’ Ball highlights can be see by clicking HERE… including the MAGIC MILO group… and believe me, you don’t want to miss them.

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Shoot First, Ask Questions Later: GH Sonny’s transformation

Finally!  FINALLY!  Someone gets to have a grown up conversation with Sonny Corinthos about why his “shoot first and ask questions later” policy is just a tad bit dangerous (like the plague, diving without a parachute, and flying a plane without refueling).   You’d think that shooting his pregnant wife in the head while she was  delivering their child would be a bit of motivation to become a little more reflective and not so blantantly self-indulgent in his rage.  That would mean that you a – live in known universe and adhere to the laws of phyics and reason, and b – you haven’t imagined Sonny as a living person who is totally so cool, and that he would totally be your best friend and play Xbox and Dungeons and Dragons with you  if he knew you.  I’m not sure the GH writers could claim either of the above.

While I expect to hate any moment that gives Patrick the right to utter the big, “I told you so” moment to Robin, I did savor this one just a bit!  I didn’t enjoy seeing Robin shot, it was awful.  I did enjoy the fallout once she was ok.  Patrick fearlessly snarling at Sonny to get out?  Thank you, writers.  Robin telling Sonny that he should have been more concerned for Emma’s emotional well being?  Awesome!  For little Emma to have to say to her father that “Mommy was shot” was excruciating.  What child should ever witness the violation of a parent or any loved one?  The short answer is none, but when Sonny is a part of your life, it’s evident that at some point your children will experience an event that most children won’t ever witness – and that’s scary when you realize that fact includes soap children was well.  Most soap children have never seen their parents shot in their own home:

That scene is devastating.  (And P.S. LOVE new little Emma. She could teach a few of her older colleagues in daytime how to convey emotion).  What that scene also tells us is that:

1.  Sonny’s disregard for Emma’s psychological pain is an indication of his inability to consider his own children’s psychological pain – given that he loves Robin as if she’s family.  His own expectations of becoming a victim of his lifestyle seems, as the writers convey it,  to mean that his stubborn and irascible egocentrism allows him to believe that everyone, children included, should be able to accept death, and anything that falls shorts of that is… WINNING!… Loser.  He is only lucky that the gun wasn’t aimed in Emma’s direction when Robin fought to stop him from killing Jax.  No one knew the child was in the room.  She could have just as easily been a victim of a stray bullet.  Just as he expects his children to recover from kidnapping, assault, and the constant threat of becoming victims of his enemies, he expects children who don’t live with daily violence to live happily with the consequences of violent outburts.

Further consider the Doomsday Don’s treatment of his firstborn, Dante (another shoot first/ask questions later victim) .  Sonny spents months on end trying to convince everyone of his great love for his son.  Then he assaults Dante in order to be able to get to Jax.  Killing Jax was more important to Sonny than the already fragile relationship he has with his first born.

His children, other people’s children, they’re all for show, and how little they count when they’re in the way of what Sonny wants.

2.  Sonny is blinded by his hatred.  DUH, right?   It’s not just the obvious things (like the fact that he DRIVES people away, not that they leave because they’ve been tricked by others or that they’ve misunderstood)… it’s the little things, too.  How was Robin supposed to live in that house, with her family, if Jax’s blood was spilled in her home?  For Sonny, replacing the carpets, drapes, and cleaning the walls would have been sufficient, for people who’ve chosen to save lives – not take them, it’s not that easy.  They wouldn’t find comfort in new drapes knowing that unseen traces of a good man’s life were left in their hardwood floors, the pores of their walls, and  in their memories.  They would remember Jax in that room and  remember what Sonny did to him. 

While Jax’s death would haunt the Scorpio-Drakes, it would have given Sonny endless satisfaction.  As Carly pointed out, Sonny does not care that he killed her father and has taken every possible father-daughter moment away from her.  Yeah, Carly, who cheered Sonny on when he set Jax up to lose custody.  At least there is some point at which she says NO… too bad that point is death (or least death as far as they know it).

There is WAY more yum where that came from:

3.  It’s likely that in the take down of Sonny Corinthos, this one vile act that FINALLY turns everyone against Sonny may also be connected to Jason’s storyline and may be the final nail in the coffin.  Everyone hating Sonny so quickly makes me wonder if these scenes are re-shoots and are tied into Jason’s eventual recovery.  IF Jason wakes up and becomes a new person, as has been hinted in GH promos, what will he become? WHO will he become?  Assuming he has no memory of being Jason Morgan, he can become anything and anyone he wants to.  Let’s assume he wakes up remembering what he’s done, but it’s as if someone else commited those acts.  He dissociates, disgusted by the acts committed by the man with face.  After a period of self-loathing, he moves away from the mob life and rejoins the Qs (rebuilding the family).

Suddenly, Sonny is totally and utterly alone. The only true friend he’s every had is gone.  Carly finally sees Sonny for what he is and she’s done with him (whoda thunk that would ever happen!?!)  Brenda has escaped his clutches.  His children are angry at him.  Robin won’t speak to him.  His world is shattered.  Given the sudden onset of the Sonny disgust, I’m not sure if the storyline is meant to garner sympathy for the character or serve as the lead in to character growth:

  • Will Sonny change and permanently put the mob behind him, becoming a legitimate business leader?  If so, that new role should come  with a less Valdermort worthy wardrobe.  There’s no shade of black and gray the lollipop mob boss hasn’t worn.  It’s time to let it go.
  • Will he be “redeemed”, GH style, when it’s revealed that Anthony Zacharra really is a bigger monster than Sonny?  That Anthony has successfully killed before our eyes, and that Sonny’s kills are offscreen is not redepemtion.  The writers should know that.
  • Will he assume that saying he’s sorry is enough, or will we see true remorse from Sonny who works to make amends with those he’s wronged?  Sonny will eventually be forgiven, I have no doubt about that, but it’s a process that should take time, and maybe not have forgiveness be given from everyone.  Robin will forgive, of course.  Even after her shot her in front of her daughter, she didn’t want to have the police called.  She put her license on the line, and that of her husband’s, by treating a gun shot wound without reporting it.

What can’t happen is having the writers “save” Sonny by having him fall into a bout of depression and blame his recent actions on his bipolar condition (they’ve gone to that well far too many times).   It works about as well as having him continue to fault his stepfather for the fact that he continues to kill others for a living and puts his children at risk.

What also won’t work is for Sonny to become all goodness and light.  Who would buy it?

What would/might work is making Sonny the new Luke in the sense that he becomes the show’s new anti-hero, the anti-hero Luke once was, at least.  Sonny could spend his days not worrying about other people’s problems (like now) but get involved when he has to protect those he loves, or others, from bad guys by working with Dante to bring them down.  Luke Spencer and Robert Scorpio become Sonny Corinthos and Dante Falconeri. Luke and Lucky become Sonny and Dante.  It takes a while to get use to the thought of it, I know, but give it some time.  Wouldn’t anything be better than the doom and gloom Sonny brings to the show, now?

GH’s Patrick Drake

Husband.

Father.

Liar.

Adulterer.

Whatever.

I watched just a couple episodes of the original Melrose Place the first year it aired.  It just wasn’t the show for me so I moved on to something else (what?  I can’t even remember at this time).  One of the few things I could tell you about the early episodes is that there  was a  young handsome hardworking doctor, Michael Mancini, and his lovely and sweet wife, Jane.  I knew as soon as I saw them that one or both of them had to change if they were going to survive that show.  They were ‘too sweet’  and ‘too in love’.  I wasn’t shocked  when I later caught an episode and sweet Michael Mancini was a first class rogue and all around bad guy.

What we’re now watching, GHers, is the ‘Mancini treatment’ for dear Patrick.  My guess is that it will play out with much less success.  This is a serious step backwards.   The writers took great pains to transform Patrick  from an egocentric playboy who bedded desperate  nurses hoping to tame him,  into a mature man in love with a woman who was clearly his equal in every way.

So what is the life lesson (for onscreen Robin Scorpio Drake) in this storyline?

Is she to learn that you can never reform a narcissist?

Will she learn that she was right (UGH), that the mob boys may engage in behaviors not condoned by society, but at least they’re loyal?  Any bets on how long it will be before we hear Robin throw that line in Patrick’s face?

Should she question how foolish she was to take Patrick at his word when he said that he wouldn’t trade the life he has with Robin and Emma for anything in the world?

Whatever the case, the writers erred in giving Patrick the  ‘Mancini Treatment’.   He was drunk when he cheated?  That’s the excuse?  How many times before that had he hinted at, flirted with, suggested to his ex- that a roll in the hay with him would make all right with the world?  Was that not Patrick Drake Mancini crying about driving a minivan with a child safety seat (and to Luke Spencer of all people)? The writers have given me no reason to care about this storyline, or PDM, or his new found concern for his wife and family now that he’s ‘sober’ and not just stupid/whining and self pitying.

It would be a disgrace to have Robin fight to save her relationship with him  It’s PDM who should do the fighting to save that marriage.  Robin should not be willing to quickly forgive, either.

It would be a nightmare if the writers were foolish enough to have Robin fault herself.  She should clearly fault Patrick and Lisa for their actions.  The writers regressed Patrick for this storyline, they need to take the time to build him back up as a ‘man’.

The fact that Lisa is a liar and manipulator does not make me want to ‘root’ against her any more than I already am rooting against her.   Her behavior does not lead me to stand in favor of Robin kicking her sorry ass (though I wouldn’t mind seeing Robin kick Patrick’s sorry ass).   I wish the writers had been more clever in finding storylines for SCRUBS. I wish they cared to spend as much time developing them and making them a centerpiece of the show in the way they’ve done for the mob boys for years.  What made GH great for so many years was it’s attention to details related to creating and building unparalleled love stories.  Now all of GH’s love stories are on the rocks:

  • Jax is being emasculated while  being ‘taught a lesson’ by his airhead wife who isn’t fit to carry his clipped toenails.  Seriously, the man eats his opponents for breakfast.  CARLY keeps his head spinning?  If he was Sonny, he’d have already moved on and impregnated someone by now.
  • Olivia is watching Johnny behave like  pinhead and follow the lead of a disturbed 17 year old.
  • The writers are pushing the slithering Liz and Nik closer together, despite their ill treatment of Lucky – who is alone yet again.
  • Maxie is unfaithful to Spinelli again, emotionally, this time.
  • Spanky buns has no use for Luke – who has decided that running off to parts unknown will cause Tracy to miss him even more.
  • Lulu is locked in battle with ‘bought-and-paid-for’ Brooke Lynn.
  • Alexis has no love life to speak of (and where is MAC)?
  • Steven is stuck believing that sociopathic Lisa has real feelings for  him.
  • Yet another woman in law enforcement is offering herself as bait to catch Sonny.  What are they doing to my CLAIRE!?!?  Lucky is single, he’s alone!

Yup, makes sense that the writers take the show’s only happy couple and ruins them.  It makes sense if reason and logic are things of the past.  Apparently it is, as daytime serials soon will be as well.

Good night nurse!

Are ABC’s low ratings well deserved?

Thanks to the folks at SON for posting the ratings, please visit SON for the full ratings report so that you can see where your favorite soaps landed this week and check the daily ratings:

Week of June 14 – 18, 2010.

HH
1. Y&R 3.5/11 (-.1/+.1)
2. B&B 2.2/7 (-.1/-.1)
3. DAYS 1.9/6 (same/-.1)
4. AMC 1.8/6 (same/same)
4. OLTL 1.8/6 (same/same)
6. GH 1.7/5 (-.1/-.1) <- ties low (Last time: July 6-10, 2009)
7. ATWT 1.6/5 (-.1/same) <- ties low (Last time: May 31 – June 4, 2010)

Women 18-49 Rating
1. Y&R 1.6/10 (same/+.1)
2. GH 1.1/7 (-.1/same) <- ties low (Last time: May 24-28, 2010)
3. DAYS 1.0/7 (same/-.1)
3. OLTL 1.0/6 (same/-.1)
5. AMC 0.9/6 (same/-.1)
5. B&B 0.9/6 (same/-.1) <- ties low (Last time: June 7-11, 2010)
7. ATWT 0.7/5 (same/-.1) <- ties low (Last time: June 7-11, 2010)

Are ABC’s low ratings well deserved?

For AMC?  A teeny bit.  It’s rebounding from a long and painful period in its history.  Given the three ABC soaps,  AMC has the most potential for a return to creative grandeur.  The show has done a much better job of focusing on legacy character and its core (although that’s easier to do when your core is smaller than in the past).   The pacing is good, the storyline telling is stronger, and the show has been more visually appealing lately.  I’m rooting for this show.

For OLTL?  OH HELL YES!  Here’s a word of advice, writers.  I don’t know if you feel that you’ve been sold out by the  ‘house of mouse’ knowing that feeder network Soapnet is going to be shuttered for a ‘Disney Jr.’ channel, but come on!  I can’t tell if your  current storylines are a reaction meant to  save OLTL by creating a new ‘DeGrassi’  (and a far less interesting version at that) to shift over to teen Disney or if you want to thumb your noses at your bosses by mocking their youth entertainment obsession.  If I see Starr, the two new guys that I can’t tell apart unless they’re in scene with their respective Manning sister, Cole, Matthew, Hannah, and anyone else under the age of 21, I’m going to need a bag to catch my lunch on its way back out — sorry, the reference clearly shows that I’m regressing in maturity along with the storylines on OLTL.

GH? Hell yes, and OH HELL YES those ratings are deserved.  Is there anything on GH that isn’t tied to the mob storyline any more?  I roll my eyes so much on the rare occasions I watch that I can’t tell.   Dante has to ‘pay’ for being a good cop and doing the right thing.  Tough as nails Claire is now a mob apologist who sees the difference between criminals like Franco and criminals like Jason/Sonny.   Nikolas is creepy, stalkerish, and trying to force a pregnant Liz to accept his lust-called-love for her.  Every other chance at romance on this show is shuttered in favor or more whining by pampered ill tempered mobsters and the children they’ve ruined.  The one potential for growth and the writers have ruined even that:

Speaking of ruined, I’ve defended Patrick in the past.  He’s the motherless son of an alcoholic father who watched his family slowly fall apart.  To say he has issues is an understatement.  The problem is that Patrick’s ‘jealousy’ over Lisa and Steven, and his constant whining about Robin’s need for helping others is just wearing thin.  Have I lost my passion for Scrubs?  No, I’ve lost my passion for GH because of their treatment of Scrubs.  With clever writing, Lisa could be an interesting double crossing villain, the actress could easily carry it off, and I would have loved watching Robin rip her a new one.  Without clever writing, the character is just annoying.  The idea that Patrick, who has spent every day before Lisa’s arrival telling Robin how much he loves his life and that he wouldn’t trade it for the world, now cries (boo friggin’ hoo) over driving a mini van and being home at night.  He cries to Luke of all people — the man who has betrayed every moment he’s ever spent with a family who loved and idolized him (when GH writers destroy fans’ fond memories of GH couples, they go big!  I feel for you Luke and Laura fans.)

REALLY writers?  REALLY?  We’re supposed to want to see Patrick moon over a woman who feeds him what he wants to hear and sticks a knife in his back when he turns around? We’re supposed to feel for him because his wife and child just aren’t enough?   GH has missed it’s calling.  If the mouse network decides to finally pull the plug and put all of us out of our misery, they could consider shopping this show over at Spike TV – “the network for men”.  This show is such a rancid male fantasy that I can’t believe that women on the show are actually permitted to wear clothing.

The only surprise in GH’s ratings, for me,  is that they’re not lower.

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.

Can GH’s Bobbie Spencer save Kristina Davis Corinthos?

Cop Killing and Intimate Partner Violence. The new daytime staples?  Remember when it was considered a bad thing to try to kill a police officer? I do!  GH use to call those people CRIMINALS  engaging in criminal behavior –  not ‘survivors’ trying to defend their lives and teach ‘rat undercover cops’ a lesson.  Port Chuckles law enforcement use to arrest, try, and convict attempted cop killers!  I also remember when doctors who saved lives had no patience for the criminals who tried to take them:

I do have some praise for GH writers.  Robin and Patrick held nothing back in their scenes with Sonny, yesterday!   The THUD you heard during those scenes was me hitting the floor.  It took me a while to get up, I must admit… it’s hard to pull yourself back up off the ground and wipe flowing  tears at the same time.  Patrick slapped down Sonny’s idiotic excuse that Dante would never have been shot if people like Patrick hadn’t helped Olivia lie and had instead told Sonny the truth.  It’s Patrick who had to enlighten the dark Prince (er, the other dark Prince, with all due deference to Prince Dikolas Cassadine) that Dante wouldn’t have been shot if Sonny hadn’t pulled the trigger… Awwwwww…RELIEF!  I was sure my head would explode if Sonny was allowed to tell that deluded lie just one more time without a cogent response!  Could you image Sonny surviving the Robert Scorprio-WSB/Luke Spencer  era?  It would never have happened.  Robert helped take down the DXV,  for pity’s sake!  Sonny would have been child’s play and to suggest otherwise would be, at best, a joke.  Sonny’s ensured survival seems to explain why Robert couldn’t be kept on a viable character.  To keep Robert around would mean that Luke would have to return to his anti-hero ways rather than remain the disinterested, self-serving, preserve-thine-own-ass shell of a character he’s become.

In case you’re wondering who the dark haired ‘gentleman’ is who rolled Luke into the cafeteria, it’s DL Brock, Bobbie Spencer’s murdered  ex husband… and abuser.  He is potentially an indirect linchpin between the old GH, the REAL GH, and  a storyline that’s currently playing out on the new GH. Wouldn’t it be nice to make use of Bobbie’s history with Brock to have her figure out that Kristina in danger?  The most the writers have ever managed to do is to remind the audience, whenever a little ‘tension’ was needed that Bobbie was once a hooker (though they’ve never seemed to make repeated use of Luke’s involvement in helping to pimp his underage sister).  I think the writers could get much more mileage out of Bobbie’s past as a survivor, and possibly move toward an Emmy nomination for a useful storyline rather than the dreck they keep being nominated for (shame on you Emmy panel).  Bobbie has gone on to free herself of her abuser, marry a man who loved her, raised children, moved up in her career, and regained control of her life.

  • What a gift it would be to Kristina to have Bobbie not only recognize the signs, but to be her guiding force out of her abusive relationship with Kiefer.  Sonny’s involvement would be crude, violent, angry,  and far more unrealistic than having Bobbie be there to help Kristina tell her mother, Alexis, the truth about her dating experiences.
  • What a gift  it would be to Molly, for her big sister to show her that you should never stay with a person who violates you and hurts you. Intimate Partner Violence is never about love… EVER.
  • What a gift it would be to Kiefer for a fearless Bobbie to go knocking on his father’s door and tell him what kind of young man he’s raising, and what Kiefer’s future looks like if he doesn’t get the help he so desperately needs.
  • What a gift it would be to real life survivors to have Kiefer actually do it, knowing he can never return to Kristina, but that he lessens the probability of making some other woman a victim of IPV because he’ll learn to take control of and responsibility for his actions.
  • What a gift it would be to the audience to have Kiefer’s family in therapy, figuring out where the violence comes from and learning how to stop it for all their sakes.  Recriminations (self and other), family secrets that lead to new storylines, and reconciliation could be exciting and give GH new directions of growth if handled right.

Rather than have a man run in and ‘save the day’, it would be a gift to fans for GH writers to finally empower their female charcter to save themselves.  With a history as rich as this show’s history is,  it’s a crime against The Arts to bury GH’s past as if it has not connection to it’s present or future.  Writers, you’ve explored almost every possible angle there is on the mob storyline.   Isn’t it time to make room for something else?

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.