The Good News
Yes!  There is some!

Last week I wrote a soap box on the evils of our new Executive Producer, Jill Farren Phelps, and her henchmonkey, Head Writer, Megan McTavish.  Now itís time for stage two of the scribe diatribe. 

People, a LOT of people, have been writing to ask what they can do to change things.  Admittedly, I canít imagine what functional (or not) idiot had the thought, ďWow, OLTLís ratings have really plummeted and the OLTL fans HATE our EP and HWÖwe need to move her to GH immediately!!Ē  Why donít they just FIRE the people when they are doing a crappy job?  Are they thinking, ď*swish!*  At least the GH fans wonít know how badly these nutballs raked OLTL!Ē  (as if we arenít the exact same people).   

There are definitely things that you can do, in varying degrees of effectiveness.  One is that you can write to the powers that be of ABC.  To get that list, click here.  Write and tell them your fears, your anger, your pain.  They have people that they pay to read the letters and do *whatever* with the information.  I can virtually guarantee you that your letter will never see the eyes of the person to whom it is addressed (Michael Eisner, Angela Shapiro, etc), but they do have people who check out the fan input.  There are a number of petitions flying around the internet for the removal of different people from their jobs and you can sign one or two or ten of those. 

The bad news (yes, there still is good news) is that the entire industry is set up with one thing in mind and itís NOT the entertainment of the masses.  Itís politics, special interests, Good Olí Boys, ass kissing, back stabbing (yes, those can both be done from behind a person and simultaneously, believe it or not), favor garnishing and meal ticket writing, all wrapped up on a great big incestuous bundle called MONEY.  The thing is that nothing in that huge wad really has a damned thing to do with you and me.  The fans, the little people are but a tiny sliver of a giant industry pie.  When we are fussing and griping about the quality of work actors or writers or directors or producers are turning in, when we rage about the firing of a fan fave or the breaking up of a pet couple, they hear us and might frown if the outcry is intense enough, but realistically speaking, there are about a million other factors screaming just as loudly.  There could be fifty reasons why an actor gets canned that we never hear.  A soap couple could be divorced because the actors canít stand to be on the set together and itís compromising their work.  [Example:  I remember reading about a popular couple on a daytime drama about 7-8 years ago being quickly written into a break up because every time they were in bed with a love scene, the guy popped a giant woody and the chick was weirded out by it and was threatening a sexual harassment suit if she had to work with him any more]   There can be any number of circumstances going on that we the public do not see.  We donít know who JFP may have blackmailed to get on GH or whose daddy she called and raised a stink with to get Megan McTavish on board.  It is all so cloak and dagger and hand in glove that I doubt ANYONE has the full picture.   

We ARE, however at least IN the pie and the louder we get, the bigger our piece of pie grows.  Since the whole game is about money, I say we play the game and hit them where it hurts:  in the wallet.  A number of people seem to think that not watching the show any more demonstrates some kind of protest.  Holy Mother of God, it doesnít at all!  In fact, that is counter-productive!  The theory is that if you donít watch, ratings drop, the advertising rates plummet and the powers that be go into ďOh sh!t!Ē mode and start going nuts trying to please us to boost up the ratings and woo back their sponsors.  That is so to a degree, but what happens is that shows that donít get watched, get canceled.  It gets to where they say, ďWell, no oneís watching this anyway and itís more trouble than itís worth, letís cancel it!Ē  THAT I definitely do not want to see and itís the main reason that boycotting the show itself can blow up in your face.  I suggest that we continue to watch, enjoy the good parts, FF through the bad parts and wait it out, but BOYCOTT the sponsors.  I can live my life without being a Remifeminist.  I donít need to spice up my FLOWNder and I can live with my PreMenstrual Dysphoric Disorder without buying their drugs (I have liquor).  Write to the addresses I gave you above and tell them exactly what youíre doing and why.   

Here is the good news I was talking about before.  #1) The industry has not JUST gotten this way.  Itís not new news.  In fact, things were INSANE when GH first went on the air to the point that John Beradinoís (Dr Hardy) agent had to practically beg him to sign by promising him the show would not last longer than six months (he played Steve Hardy for 33 years until his death in 1996).  Even before it went on the air, he had his salary cut to pay for sets.  As a side note, his wife, Audrey (still on the show), was supposed to die of a lymphoma right after they got married.  Beradino let that spoiler slip to the press and fans went ballistic over her impending death to the point that the story had to be rewritten with Audrey living after all.  He was reprimanded BIG TIME and for years, the powers that be refused to let him know in advance what would be happening on the show.  He and Emily McLaughlin (Jessie Brewer) both developed stomach ulcers from the stress of working on GH.  Throughout the past thirty-eight years as the genre has developed and turned into a sizeable bankroll, the intrinsic complications that were there from the beginning snowballed and by the late seventies, what was once thought to be a minor market directed to lazy housewives, the butt of many jokes in television, in fact, was now a goldmine.  The phenomenon of Luke and Laura seems to have heralded that transformation.  From then on, what happened behind the scenes in the ABC offices seemed to be more of a driving force on the shows than what happened on the screen and with the viewers.   

#2).  Considering that this Gordian knot of favoritism and alternating between back slapping and back stabbing has been going on for decades (we are just more informed about it now thanks to the olí internet), we can VERY safely assume that GH is going to weather this storm just fine.  We have seen MANY regimes come and go and GH has gotten systematically better and worse and better again.  Itís allllllll cyclic.  Even during the best of times (and ďLabineĒ sort of rhymes with ďbest of timesĒ  *sigh*), there were really, really bad calls.  

For every one of these:

 

we had one of these:

for every this:

 

weíve had a this:

 

For every Megan McTavish, there is a Patrick Mulcahey.   

Itís all give and take and always has been.  Our characters have fallen from grace and been redeemed more times than I can count.  More balls have been dropped in the history of the show than ever fell in Captain Kangarooís Treasure House (Gee, how old ARE you?) and still, we always come through with a great show in the end.  JFP and MMcT are little Neros who have control over our show FOR NOW.  They will come and go, like everyone else, probably going a lot sooner because weíre having a cow about it.  Someone else will come on board and take us in a different direction.   

Just always remember #3).  There is NOTHING that they can do to our show that canít be undone later if need be except cancel it!  We can prevent that by continuing to watch.  Anyone they kill off can come back from the dead.  Anyone they fire or encourage to quit can be hired back later.  Any story they write can be ignored (like the ďtheseĒ and ďthisĒ above) and buried in the annals of history or rewritten at a later date.  Letís bring the hysteria down to a dull, productive, letter-writing, no product buying roar and weather out this storm.   

Yes, I do still stand by my Soap Box of last week because I donít like ABC shoveling trash around from one soap to another.  Itís like they are trying to find a dump for their toxic waste and everyone is saying ďNIMBY!Ē  (ďNot in my back yard!Ē)  I do think JFP believes that she kicks ass at what she does and that we all have our heads up our butts to think otherwise.  Evidently, she has convinced or threatened others in power positions to believe that as well.  Hell, the ones who made the decision to put her in place as the new EP probably donít even WATCH the shows, much less have any glimmer of sentimentality over their direction.  Sheís probably going to take us through the mud on a few things, but like a train wreck, it could be interesting to watch even if itís tragic.  The difference is that our train is regenerative and will be just fine after the crash.  The viewers are what keep GH alive.  We are the blood that runs through this giant body.  They are just the muscles that move it.  As long as we remain true to our show, to the characters that have been in our lives sometimes longer than our husbands, boyfriends, best friends or children, there is no way it can be damaged beyond repair.  As the blood, we carry the oxygen and nutrients to feed it and the immunities to heal it.   

Keep reading EOS.  Weíll point out the cool things for you to see so that the glaring negatives donít knock us all over as they occur.   

Keep writing so that the Big Wigs know how the fans feel.   

Keep watching to keep our show alive and show our dedication to the friend that has been there for us for so long.  Itís a story that never, ever ends and if we have a couple of bum chapters, we just keep on reading because we know itís going to pop back to life before long.  Submitted as Exhibit A:  One Life to Live.  The idiocy that had been imbibed into a great show during the previous paradigm was not to be believed.  The show was a corpse on a slap and the toe tag was being filled out.  Along came Gary Tomlin in the nick of time, someone said, ďClear!Ē and he zapped it right back to life again.  Itís vibrant, itís fun and itís not perfect.  It still has to deal with the fallout of the bad years, but itís turning around fast and is headed in the right direction.  That can happen with us as well!  No worries, mate.

 

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