January 13, 2004 

Where There’s Smoke?


Smoke detectors are fabulous things, aren’t they?  They save lives and property, all for mere pennies worth of battery power every month.  I’m not here to denounce the use of the smoke detector; I actually have a plethora of them in my own house.  I’m just here to tell you that on certain days, smoke detectors are part of what drives me to the brink of insanity.   

Meet my dog:

This is Jessie, she’s a Silky Terrier, and the glowing eyes may be a product of poor photography, or they may not, depending on whom in my house you ask, and what day you ask it on.  Jessie is a bit…neurotic, to put it mildly.  She has a fear of piggy banks (she’ll wrap herself around the nearest neck, shaking like a leaf when one appears kind of fear) and the toaster.  The toaster thing is actually just a byproduct of her biggest fear, the smoke detector.  See, when we moved here there was a smoke detector in the kitchen/dining area and almost every time we make toast, the smoke detector goes off.  Now, I’m not talking about burning toast either, I’m talking about perfectly toasted bread, yet still, the house erupts in chaos.  The detector goes off, the dog starts insanely barking at it, I find a way to get to the detector to pry the cover off and get a grip on the battery in order to disconnect it.  Then, a few minutes later when I climb back up there to reconnect the battery the dog starts barking again, out of concern for the upcoming beep that will occur when I reconnect it.  You can also insert the times when I’m chasing the dog around like a maniac trying to get her out the back door all the while yelling at her about how stupid she is for not catching on to this whole thing yet.  The real fun begins when more than one detector goes off (about 30% of the time) because then the kids like to run around, stopping under each one and yelling about whether it’s “the one” or not.  It all adds to the ambiance; let me tell you.  It only took about a week before she started barking the minute we removed the toaster from its hiding place (can’t leave it out, she thinks it’s stalking her if we do).  I’ve tried cleaning the toaster, opening windows and doors before making toast, etc.  No word yet on why we can’t remember to just put her outside before we make toast…it’s one of those mental block things apparently.  Though the times we do remember are not pleasant memories for our neighbors, I’m sure.  She just stands out there and barks maniacally. 

A year or so ago, we were shopping and ran across smoke detectors in the store.  Ever thinking we’ll come up with a way to beat the system, we buy what looks to be our salvation, a smoke detector that is made specifically for kitchens.  It has a cool little button that you can just push from the outside which shuts off the beeping, and it automatically resets itself after a few minutes so we don’t have to worry about forgetting to hook the battery back up because we were trying to wait until the dog is outside to do it.  This seems like the greatest invention ever for people with our particular needs, and we think maybe we can once again feel like smoke detectors are good life-saving devices instead of miniature torture devices sent straight from hell to drive us over the edge.  Unfortunately, this was not to be the case.  You see, this version of torture device has this added feature that they failed to mention on the box (okay, maybe it was in the small print but I’ve got kids!  I can’t stand still in the store and read every word on the box, I just cannot.).  Once you push the nifty little button to stop the beeping, they don’t want you to run the risk of a fire happening in those few minutes they give you to clear the smoke out of your kitchen, so they make the thing give a little blip (similar to the one that most of them sound when they’re low on batteries) every 60 seconds or so for about ten minutes.  You see, this allows just enough time for the dog to stop barking, before it gets her going again.  We’ve lived to regret that purchase and have many times lamented over the fact that the old one was much, much better given the circumstances.  Figures.  We’ve learned to live with the whole thing, consoling ourselves with the fact that if ever there is a fire, between the detectors and the dog we are SO covered.   

The real kicker came last weekend though.  I was making White Chicken Chili when something on the burner caught on fire and flames started creeping up the side of the stockpot.  I must admit here, that it was not one of my shining moments.  The kids were in the dining room; which is in open view of the stove, but instead of being the calm, collected figure of authority I sort of panicked a bit when I couldn’t locate a potholder to use to remove the pot from the fire.  I did shut the burner off, but not surprisingly that did nothing to stop the actual fire (it’s an electric stove).  I believe I was staring and lamely saying, “uh oh, FIRE”, when the husband swooped in and saved the day.  By then, black smoke was filling the room and I was busy throwing open windows and doors and such when suddenly I realized that the smoke detector was NOT going off!  My husband thought the battery must have gone dead, but no, the thing is ready and waiting…for the next time I want peanut butter toast.  I almost set the whole room on fire; according to my husband the kids looked like they were ready to stop, drop and roll…and not a peep out of that dastardly device!  Make perfect toast with not a tendril of smoke in sight, and you need to be warned of impending doom.  Burn down the kitchen?  Eh…it figures we’ve got it under control?  Someone needs to explain why I’m keeping that ugly thing on my ceiling, apparently.  Don’t worry, it’s still there and I won’t remove it, but you better believe I’m giving it even nastier stares than usual.  And now I’ve got the dog freaking out anytime I approach the cupboard where the toaster is, and kids that look terrified and ready to run anytime I approach the stove.  I think we just need to eat out more often. 

By now you’re wondering if there’s a point to any of this, as am I, frankly.  I’ve been staring at a blank document for a couple hours now, stopping only to write a few emails because honestly, my mindset is just more up to wandering through what happened over the weekend than it is to trying to come up with something to say about soaps.  I’d tell you about my sledding injury, but it’s of a personal nature and besides, then I’d have to admit to being dumb enough to climb on a little itty-bitty sled with my husband.  The ride was great before it came to its abrupt end though, it really was!  Somebody has to give all those stodgy adults standing on the sidelines something to laugh about, right?  Can you maybe just stretch things a bit with me here and we’ll segue into a few random GH observations?   

Speaking of fire, Carly and Lorenzo are smoking up the place a bit, aren’t they?  Here are the good parts:  chemistry galore, Ted King shirtless, watching two people dance around the precipice of something that might be really, really hot.  Here is the one bad part, but it’s a big one:  Carly is supposedly feeling all this due to a brain injury.  Why?  Why, why, why?  Is it so impossible, that after being treated like a possession, screamed at, called a cheater and a liar for saving someone’s life (even someone her husband doesn’t like), having to replace the barware every third day, and let’s see…wasn’t there some other possibly defining moment?  Oh yes, he SHOT HER IN THE HEAD, for goodness sake!  After all this, is it not likely that a normal woman might question her relationship?  Might she not think, even for a second, that maybe her husband doesn’t put her above things like his job and his need for revenge?  Alcazar is great looking, dangerously seductive, and most importantly when we’re talking about Carly; he’s paying attention to her!   

There is no doubt that I’m on the fence (leaning heavily off the “he’s a stalker” side) about Lorenzo.  He killed a guy just because he wanted to kiss Carly.  He kidnapped her because he loved her.  That led to Courtney’s abduction and the miscarriage that followed.  He tried to make Sonny insane (he gets positive points for that one in my book though, call me crazy), he had his bad cop shoot Sonny, etc, etc.  He’s a criminal.  In fact, I submit that he’s Sonny before Sonny became all about Sonny and Sonny’s territory.  Lorenzo is a criminal with a heart, at least where Carly’s concerned.  That makes him no less guilty, and no better a choice for Carly; it just makes him a bit easier to swallow as a possible romantic lead because at least he’s treating her like he actually values her.  She’s the only one he values, apparently, but that’s another story altogether.  For the purposes of this rant in particular, I rationally have to conclude that he’s really not a great choice for Carly and she won’t be moving up much in the world by choosing him over Sonny.  (A bit, just not much.)  On the other hand, for Carly, he makes almost perfect sense.  She never chooses the right men – never has once.  She may have come close when she was barking up Jason’s tree while he was un-mob-ified, but that’s about it.  Carly just wants someone to pay attention to her, as evidenced by her husband’s “You’re so brave” thing being enough for her, even if it’s followed by “Go to your room!”.  She also evidently likes intrigue, angst and a little danger and Lorenzo has all that.  Carly has given us no reason to think *she* would have a problem with him killing for a kiss with her.  On the contrary, that would probably spell everlasting devotion in Carly’s weird little fairytale mindset.   

The point is I really wish the writer’s would just have Carly interested in Lorenzo because her current relationship is vulnerable from being riddled with bullets and selfishness.  Relationships like Sonny and Carly’s end up that way, of their own volition.  Okay, not always the bullet riddled part, but they inevitably explode into smithereens, it’s just the way it is.  If Carly were looking around at her family, dealing with the trauma of being shot during childbirth by her own husband, feeling like Sonny just wasn’t understanding what this had all done to her and realizing that those fantasies she had during her coma were a whole lot more like what she wanted her life to be, I’d understand that!  I’d even relate to that on some obscure level…maybe.  No one is going to scoff at Carly thinking Lorenzo is nice to look at, and the man has been turning on the charm for her for a while now.  If you’re disillusioned with your relationship, not adverse to lusting after a criminal, and prone to not thinking things out before you do them, well…where’s the big problem?  It would be completely Carly-like to turn to Alcazar at a time like this.  Why does the unfolding of the Corinthos marriage have to be based on her having brain damage?  Is it impossible in Port Charles to choose someone over Sonny unless you’re sick in the head?  What about the fact that Carly was lusting for Lorenzo before Sonny “nympho-ed” her up with his magic bullet?  The entire scenario being based on this injury just means that Sonny will never, ever have to take any responsibility for the mess that their marriage has become (and I mean for a long time before he shot her) and for that matter, neither will Carly.  I want nothing more than to see these two go their separate ways, but having it happen like this kind of turns my stomach.  Particularly because there was so much real drama already built up to support someone else turning Carly’s head.  They put us through years of said drama, only to steal the culmination and impose yet another poorly fabricated plot device as the catalyst.  I think I kind of hate them for that.  This is one of those cases where all the smoke apparently smothered the actual fire.   

Sonny and Sam, I completely do not understand.  Sam is just very unlikable to me, truth be told.  Ever since she sabotaged Jax getting to his father’s deathbed without ever really looking like she meant it when she said “sorry”, I lost all interest.  She’s perfect for the Jax of “Jaxass” fame, that’s for sure.  Problem is, I was willing to let bygones be bygones and give Jax another chance.  Sure, he was a total drip about Brenda this last time, but after all, it was Brenda and Brenda’s only come along once in a blue moon (or should that be once in a black leather “I’ll moon you with my low rider’s”?).  Or so we thought.  Enter Sam, or Brenda redux, whichever you prefer.  Problem is, KM has yet to bring the cute, bubbly, “you almost have to like me a little even if you hate me” charm that VM brought to Brenda.  I was no Brenda fan, but there was an underlying “I’m not a bad person, even if I do stupid things” current to Brenda and with Sam I find myself thinking that yeah, she might just be a bad person.  She’s greedy beyond belief, selfish beyond repair, and I still expect her to show her fangs any second.  So sue me, but she’s just not working for me at all.  I just can’t find anything interesting about her.  Dry her off and send her on her way, as far as I’m concerned the experiment is a failure and the poor girl is well past the point of needing a towel and a hot meal after this gig.  I imagine someday, KM will be telling her grandchildren of the terrible time when she was soaking wet and sticking to the inside of a rubber suit for what felt like months on end.  Sonny and Sam are barely throwing a spark for me. 

Liz and Ric is another area where the writers have once again taken something that could have been interesting and turned it into something I have to question my own feelings about.  I’ve never been a Liz fan (though Rebecca Herbst is a completely gorgeous individual), so my second-guessing isn’t based out of protection of the character or anything like that.  On the plus side, they look fabulous together and with RH’s pregnancy she’s gotten even more beautiful, making them seem all the more appealing, frankly.  When her eyes tear up and she looks lost and alone, and Ric manages to say something to make her feel better, I actually *feel* them for a minute.  I feel like these two actually should be together sometimes.  Then I remember what a mess they made out of Ric, and how Liz keeps changing her mind about whether Ric should be allowed to “go after” Sonny and Jason as ADA, and I remember that they are among the most ridiculous of pairings out there.  She’s a rape victim; he let someone think he was a rapist just for kicks.  He locked someone up in his newlywed home and kept her prisoner under his wife’s nose.  I bought his attempts to go legit, but I don’t buy his reasons for reverting back to form every other day.  This whole thing with Zander is just stupid…wouldn’t Ric be smarter to just work with Zander’s obvious criminal ties of the moment and frame him for something?  If you’re going to frame someone, you may as well not have someone else walking around who knows you did it.  Get Zander convicted so he can’t get custody of the baby.  Ric is not stupid, but this story pretty much is.  Tell me that Ric, the lawyer, has no thought that he has absolutely no way to make Zander actually go through with the signing over, when the time comes?  It’s not like he can run to the cops and say “but I did what he said, I got Nikolas convicted of a crime he didn’t commit!”  Hello?  Had the writers at any time stopped and made Ric truly go on the straight and narrow for longer than five minutes, I might have been aboard this train.  Everytime I watch them together, I just think of the missed story opportunities there.  Ric being Sonny’s brother, Liz being Jason’s sort of ex, Carly hating Liz, etc.  All fodder for good old-fashioned soapy-ness.  The only thing that saves these two, and makes me watch them despite it all, is they are both good enough actors to allow me to see that the characters do remember, and do know what a mess the relationship is.  Liz has moments when you can see it all on her face, even if the writing doesn’t allow for it.  I appreciate the RH’s immensely for that!  This one could have been a perfect blend of smoke and fire, but apparently a writer was smoking something when he took one too many twists and turns without allowing us to see the enough of the inner workings of the characters.  That happens when you have to compact scenes so much to allow room for another Courtney/Michael scene that will ensure that we all remember that Jason is still uber-good.  Don’t any of you forget it, either...say it three times every day:  “Jason is da bomb!”  Ugh. 

Random Observations: 

I love the Casino!  It’s marvelous to again have a place where PC citizens can dress for the occasion and intermingle a bit.   

Speaking of dressing, Cameron and Alexis were looking really good for a change – I wonder who they had to bribe in wardrobe in order to get some decent clothes for a change?  Who knew they were dating?  No really, who knew?  Must have happened during those unaired scenes where AJ and Lydia hooked it up and planned their great heist.  I guess I shouldn’t complain, but darn, I had so looked forward to seeing a Cameron and Alexis romance each other and I feel like I was robbed once again.  I felt the chemistry, and I had the cute, romantic comedy type thing all written up in my head.  He had to help her get used to having a baby around full time, she had to help him dress better…it was going to be such fun.  Light, engaging, non-violent fun, which yes, would be hard to get used to.  I can see all you viewers now, clenching your leather-clad hands around the wire cutters you grip each day while watching GH.  “Should I cut the red one or the white one”, you wonder in your daydreams.  Ah yes, there you sit, five minutes after GH ends everyday, still sitting in your favorite chair with a silly grin on your face while you close your eyes to see what you wish for most, more explosions and bullet impacts.  You can almost smell the aroma of the freshly fired gun; see the terror on the face of the victim.  “Who needs romance?” you wonder, “If I want romance, I’ll watch Armageddon!”  It’s okay though, I promise if you just back away from the explosive device and take off that black facemask, you’ll see things more clearly and you’ll remember what romance really is.  Where was I?  Oh yeah…

Sam ought to come up with somewhere better to hide her map because her butt crack is about the most visible part of her being most days.  Oh yeah, just slide it three inches into your teeny little pants and be sure that your shirt is a good six inches from meeting up with the pants.  Way to hide something.  It’s officially the butt crack map to me now, and I wouldn’t touch it with a ten-foot pole.  I’d make a “crack” about toilet paper but if that deserted shack on an almost deserted island comes equipped with ice cubes, then it most assuredly has toilet paper. 

I appreciated that Sage’s latest foray with a gun inspired a moment of history recollection for Carly.  She obviously didn’t get past remembering that she once ran around town with a gun before she picked up the gun and took off across town with it, but hey, at least we all know that Carly-shooting-Tony thing actually did happen still.  These days, that can be considered reassuring. 

I found a moment of Courtney like when she called Jason on his “It’s business” mantra!  Just as quickly she manages to take it all away, but for a second there, she was very intelligent.  Taking Lorenzo was not the least bit about business – glad to see someone saw it truthfully.  

Georgie is still such a cutie, and I don’t mind that she and Dillon are apart for now.  I enjoy seeing Maxie helping her sister out and if keeping Georgie and Dillon apart for a while ensures some more sister scenes, then I can deal with that.  I am having a difficult time believing they’re apart over Sage, but that’s just me.  I didn’t see whatever Dillon saw in NuSage, even during her “poor me” soliloquies.  She’s trashy, bratty and immature.  Yeah, yeah…boys are stupid but Dillon isn’t supposed to be this stupid!  I’d like the whole thing more if Sage were manipulating it all to look like she and Dillon are together instead of Dillon actually seeming to waffle between the two a bit, even for a second.   

Hey, in the interest of playing along, why don’t those of us that aren’t already equipped, go buy ourselves a sleep mask and put it on every time “Blackthorneinmyside and Constantlyannoyingme” show up?  It will be completely unnecessary for you to cut eyeholes in yours, I’m guessing that would only promote the desire to gouge your eyes out and that’s never our goal here.  Just put on the mask, being certain to first hit mute on the remote because that chore will be much more difficult once you’re “playing along”, and then tip up the rum bottle and don’t really concern yourself about when to put the sound back on.  The rum will let you know when it’s time.


So Sonny had a working phone all that time but chose not to let anyone know where he was?  Did I miss something?  Weren’t they stranded for a couple days?  Carly’s calling, leaving messages for him and he never calls anyone?  Then in the middle of the hurricane, he’s able to receive calls.  Sonny really is blessed, isn’t he?  Maybe Sam keeps a cell phone tower stuffed in the back of her pants?  Wow, maybe she really is better than Brenda! 

I’m reserving comment on Jason, for now.  I think I have a major rant coming about the character’s purpose on screen and I don’t want to say too much until I’ve thought it all out.  I’m mildly interested in the Jason/Carly scenes of late though, purely because they are somewhat bizarre at times.  I think Jason is one confused individual at the moment and goodness knows it’s difficult for him to figure out how he feels about anything without Sonny around to tell him how he feels.  This must be a very trying time for our hero – keep a good thought for him (because I’m sure not and it would be nice for him if someone still is, I suppose).   

I wanted to thank everyone for your kind comments about my last column.  I received some really great emails, some of which were probably more eloquently stated than my column was!  I appreciate all the thought put into your various comments and the emails really made my day, believe me.  I enjoyed reading each and every one.  For any of you who are new readers, I feel inclined to say that I can’t really tell you what to expect from column to column…it varies substantially.  I’ve been writing for Eye on Soaps for almost three years (!!) now, and I’m nothing if not inconsistent in my writing style, lol.  So, bear with me…like the weather, I’m kind of in that “If you don’t like the style and purpose now, just wait a second or two” category.  Sometimes I like to try to delve deeper and sometimes it’s just whatever it takes to find the enjoyment enough to tune in tomorrow…even if I’m tuning in to have something to laugh about with you all in a later column.  I appreciate every reader, and there’s little better than hearing feedback and opinions on the show from others, so never, ever hesitate to drop me a line.  I’ve made some wonderful friends that way and I doubt I’ll ever cease to wonder who’s out there reading! 

I’ll be back by the weekend, at the latest, with some OLTL thoughts, I promise.  It’s half written but this became long enough so I’ll give it its own space later in the week.  I started out last week with some strong opinions on the Todd/Blair storyline and found myself changing my mind by the time I finished last week’s shows…OLTL has a way of doing that.  My thoughts on the whole thing have surprised even me!   

Take care all, and thanks for reading!  

GH photos courtesy of:  GH World 4



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