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Lindze Letherman has frequently gone on record with her modest views on revealing outfits and love scenes. So why’s GH continually putting her teenaged character Georgie in embarrassing, overtly sexualized situations?! 

On GH and in today’s society, interest in the indecent has become a popular art form. To keep relevant and keep viewers interested, soaps must reflect society’s descent into the lowest common denominator (or do they?). 

The latest trends have included fascination with humanizing the pinnacle of amoral criminality, the mob, as witnessed with the soaring cult-like status of HBO’s “The Sopranos,” affirmed by a recent “Law & Order” episode where the main characters reel with disgust at the god-like awe with which made-men are revered by the general public after a gruesome hit. 

Sonny and Jason represent a nod to that particular trend dutifully, their characters routinely, ruthlessly ordering hits, ordering their women around, ordering the world upside-down upon its axis, yet the whole of the town reacting as if they must exist to enforce and soldier law and order, to usurp such responsibilities normally given to the cops and the prosecution, who are depicted routinely and ruthlessly as inept, corrupt, lazy and criminal. 

And then there’s the teen sector, all three members so far: Dillon, Sage and Georgie. As in real life, circa post-millennium, the girls are all sexed up as dutiful clones of blonde singing sensations and skank representatives, Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears. They dress provocatively, even outside in the dead of winter, their prevailing concern being ... not school, family or future career goals, but the boy next door and how to nail him. 

Typical? Sure. Typical in today’s society, with children growing up in a cyberporn generation, easily able to access (or have forced upon them by SPIMs, SPAMs, mousetraps and duplicitous perverts using their spelling challenges to lure them onto x-rated sites) the Internet for a voyeuristic, often free, view of simulated sex for money and titillation, and an unnatural image of women as slavish Barbie dolls, big boobs, tiny waist, plump behind, full come-hither lips half-parted, on her knees in full begging position. 

Made more frustrating by a passive-aggressive system that automatically spits blame back to the parents who are already spending excess of thousands on programs designed to block such access, hovering practically over their kids’ shoulders while trying to conduct their everyday business of cooking, cleaning and living (hence, the use of such cyberlingo as POS), doing everything short of eliminating the computer altogether, and still these kids, as young as 13, find ways to check out porn under the radar. 

“In the past, we had boundaries. Now Paris Hilton, Pam and Tommy Lee make videos of themselves having sex. So the message is that it’s normal to watch people having sex,” explained Mary Ann Layden, a psychologist and director of education at the Center for Cognitive Therapy in the University of Pennsylvania, who spoke with “People Magazine’s” reporters for the April 26th issue. 

Offline, elementary school-aged children are experimenting with breaking those boundaries by inappropriately touching each other, usually boys foisting themselves on girls. Later on, as early as intermediate school age, the girls are returning the favor with blowjobs on school buses. In high school and college, the norm, according to the worldwide media, is to either engage in as many sexual conquests as possible, or go to third base often, without hitting a home run or committing to a relationship based on more than getting off. 

The intimacy and holiness of loving someone has been successfully, routinely, ruthlessly replaced with using sex as commonly as one would use a spatula to flip those morning eggs with bacon and toast, all ages welcome. ...threatening the last bastion of decency, childhood innocence,  

It should then come as no surprise to routinely and ruthlessly find high school, straight A good girl Georgie as the recent victim. 

I cringe every time she’s on, dressed down in a fashionably hip but way too skimpy outfit, showing off her tremendous cleavage, nipples erect through the flimsy material, belly and hips bare, jeans practically painted on. 

As an admirer of the female form, an amateur aficionado of the soft porn classics (they make great visual aids when making love to my husband) and certainly no Bible Belt prude, I don’t mind when a woman flaunts her physical assets. 

But, the operative term here is woman. Georgie is a teenager. Her portrayer Lindze Letherman, merely 15. In America, flaunting a child’s physical assets for prurient value constitutes grounds for investigation. As a mother, it makes me uneasy, disgusted and worried for this generation’s future. 

Imagine how Ms. Letherman feels. 

In almost every interview given, this young, talented actress – who’d never kissed a boy before GH – has admitted her aversion to kissing on camera, much less playing out love scenes. Aversion’s actually too mild an adjective. Try, mortified beyond belief, sitting in a corner crying her eyes out because she has to put on a see-through negligee for one of those love scenes, and as nice and supportive and goofy as her co-star Scott Clifton (Dillon) has been to her, more like a brother than an on-screen paramour, the thought of pretending to be in orgasmic ecstasy or womanly sexy, just fills her with incapacitating fear. 

Clifton, on more than one occasion, has had to calm Letherman down (once, because she forgot to study a huge chunk of dialogue before a shoot), reassure her and remind her it’s okay, she’s still a good kid, let’s not take this too seriously, with plenty of noogies. 

Yet, TIIC (The Idiots In Charge) continue to push revealing outfits on her, put her in compromising positions by having Georgie decide now’s the time to lose her virginity to Dillon, and the most heinous of all, script several scenes where Sage, the rival for Dillon’s affections, decides to secretly take digital snapshots of Georgie taking a shower in the high school girl’s locker room, then post them on an Internet porn website, as if Georgie were behind the pay-to-jerk maneuver, for all the hospital staff to see (as a way to destroy Georgie and give Tracy a successful blackmail as head of ELQ... WTF?). 

All this happened right after a “Soap Opera Digest” joint interview between Letherman and Clifton, where, again, she mentioned her aversion to feigning grown-up actions and grown-up behavior and he mentioned his attempts to remind her it was make-believe and he didn’t think of her that way. One of the innocent, child-like ways they manage their discomfort on the adult set is to make their impending kissing scenes into a contest, to see who can out-gross the other by eating the most disgusting smelly foods (Letherman claims that Clifton would win, because he’ll put anything down his throat, even bile). Their basic off-screen relationship is that of big protective brother to little naive sister...hardly GQ, Endless Love fluff. 

I know soaps have to compete with cable and primetime programming to remain relevant and viable, as Ted King (Luis) recently told a “Soap Opera Weekly” reporter regarding the plethora of mob-related stories, notably his own with the Fab Four (Sonny, Jason, Carly, Courtney) on GH, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. 

Or, that soaps should forget their time-honored identity as a reflection of society with a major, fictionalized, amplified, upbeat: To follow the natural, unspoken boundaries of decency, right and wrong, law and order... to rise above the gore and the muck, and inspire hope, goodness, courage... to follow-up the conflicts and obstacles with a happy ending... like a role model should. Despite the glorification of the mob, parading women around like Barbie dolls, easy access to sex, deviant or otherwise, people still go to jail for breaking the law, children still need protection from growing up too fast, women still should be treated with respect, and happy endings still pay off. 

Besides, it’s still possible to entertain, provoke and remain in the Top 10 with the viewing public, without pandering to the easy sell(-out). There’s quality storytelling out there that examines the complex and the noble in the human condition, and not a one need be another reality-TV rip-off. 

A hit has to begin somewhere. How about some originality, integrity, intelligence and insight? 

Here’s a thought, how about letting Georgie and Dillon’s natural camaraderie speak for itself without the bells and whistles of an interfering slut template? They could explore complex issues and survive the hazards of post-adolescence, a proving ground for the right way to interact and distinguish themselves apart from the conformist pack. 

They could be happy, in love, interesting, interactive and chaste until marriage. 

And they wouldn’t have to take off a damn thing.


April 14, 2004 - OLTL