March 30, 2004
I just cannot think of a darn new thing to say about General Hospital. I’ve been trying, I swear I have, but it just isn’t working! I refuse to let GH make me start recycling columns like they recycle stories. Frankly at this point it would be quite possible for me to just link you to past columns and you could maybe just insert new names in place of old ones. Sonny takes rag-tag, down on her luck for all her life girl to tropical escape for a new dress and a miraculous win at the casino. Except last time (or two was it?) I was interested in the two characters and thought there was a chance it would all lead somewhere. Handsome injured man becomes ward of unknown pretty female, just outside of town so that there are several “almost” sightings. At least this time the pretty female can act…I like Mary so far. Too bad it’s very reminiscent of liking Ric, who came in with decent material and played it well, leading to the fast track to crooked DA and one half of what should be an interesting pairing but instead is merely trotted out for plot point purposes, period.
It all seems so recycled and stale. Soaps reuse stories constantly with fairly good success, but GH has no ability whatsoever at the moment to make us see beyond the plot points and stunts. Well let’s just be honest, there is nothing beyond that to see, so I guess we’re the smart ones for not bothering. I watch, I listen, but my expression rarely changes. These characters are so completely detached from family, friends, reality, and from me…I feel nothing for even my most favorite characters! It’s very disconcerting. Reality is subjective obviously, and my reality may not be your reality. Neither of us probably wants our soaps to be reality anyway, but we MUST be able to connect on some level to these characters. It’s absolutely paramount. Once in awhile, amidst the frivolous, dangerous, psychotic world they live in, they have to have a normal conversation. They have to have motivation. I have to care about who they are at heart (at least a few of them). Nikolas is missing to his loved ones, which should be interesting. Problem is, so far he’s really only missing to Emily so unless you’re a fan of her and/or their love story, you have no one to relate to in this story. The whole idea (at least my idea, lol) of soaps is to give viewers many perspectives on the same story. If we could see “Nikolas is missing, maybe dead” from Stefan’s perspective (oops, he be dead already because we didn’t much need him I guess), Helena’s perspective (oops, she’s…on call for the next time Emily needs to be in danger), Alexis’ perspective (we got two minutes…and it was mostly about her yelling at Ric for whatever reason, it meant nothing to me), Laura’s perspective (oops, no one’s home), and Lucky’s perspective (maybe they’re playing him in cop mode…but I better see a breakdown soon, the boy’s lost everybody he cares about lately) along with Emily’s, there would be *someone* in there for everyone to relate to. What about Liz or Bobbie? They both have cared about Nikolas very much in the past…why can’t we have someone, anyone else involved? Why does everything have to be so compartmentalized?
I caught up last weekend on last week’s OLTL and GH. They’re both in a lull at the moment, nothing huge or momentous going on (in my opinion), but I can’t for the life of me figure out why OLTL can manage to keep so many things going on at once and GH can’t. Is it just that I’m that sick of Sonny, Carly, Sam, Jason, Lorenzo, Nikolas and Emily that I cannot see beyond them to appreciate what’s going on with the other characters? Or is it that those other characters only pop in on occasion to give Sonny (or the like) a chance to catch his breath before he starts into another diatribe that inevitably includes the word “my, mine or me” 50 times as well as a sprinkling of mob clichés that he somehow feels the need to utter with this weirdly different pace than the rest of his speech. Seriously, pay attention to that…it’s odd. He builds up to it slowly then sort of spews it out. It’s so old already. Other characters seem to be strategically hidden around town - stick Luke around this corner here and have him wait for someone important (and we all know who that is) to come by and then he can jump out and talk to them for a second…then go back to hiding. Have Liz crouch down outside this door, and then when someone says “Sonny” she can stand up and look concerned. Have Alexis come out and put Ric in his place, reinforce Emily’s everlovinglasting hold on Nikolas and then she can go back to where she came from while someone more important hangs around and searches. Even poor Courtney is pretty much a popper outer at the moment, and that must be tough for a former inmyface24/7er. She shows up here to interrupt Sonny and Sam, she shows up there to interrupt Carly and Lorenzo. Rumor is she’s running a business as well, but we only see her office if blood or bullets will be involved. The few stories (Dillon/Georgie/Sage, Q’s, Faith/Luke/Skye) that are featured on occasion are so broken up it’s impossible to remember where we left off. They aren’t flowing stories, they’re almost stand-alone scenes from the character’s lives. Maybe it’s me, but I can’t get enough from these little snippets to sustain my interest, even in the characters I still kind of like!
Oh this is wasting my time and yours isn’t it? I’ve said all this before; if you missed it you can click on any of the archived articles below and probably find it. I was heading toward saying that the while GH had Emily and Zander in a hail of bullets, Faith holding a razor to Lorenzo’s neck, and Jason firing at the assassin dangling sexy Sam; OLTL had the Viki and Blair conversation which was somewhat realistic at least and allowed us a peek into each character’s motivation and inner thoughts. Viki just learned she has another medical condition to contend with, and therefore is not much in the mood to sugarcoat her directives to get past the crap and live life. Blair is partly admitting to herself (I say partly because I think Viki is exactly right about Blair having inner motives for lying, it wasn’t all the tumor I’m telling ya) that she made a huge mistake that was very damaging to her children, if no one else. Then we had Viki letting all that pent up worry and regret spill out on Todd in a long overdue tirade. We had the Music Box fallout. We have Dorian jetting off with yet another secret in store. Then we had Rex and Lindsay, which, like it or hate it, it does have repercussions for several characters and with both Nora and RJ aware of the situation, there are more repercussions to come, you can bet. Maybe that’s they key right there, you CAN bet. Not everything is carried through on OLTL, but it’s a much safer bet than GH in that category. People go to work, visit their families, go on dates (like, out of the house even!), talk shop, talk about their kids, eat pie, and talk about their favorite music, and the list goes on. It’s not like I care what music River or Shannon like, but at least they sound like normal people once in awhile. It can go a long way toward balancing out the conversations about treasures, murders, and serial hypnotizing.
That’s enough of that! I can’t seem to stay away from the trap of repeating myself today! A few random comments:
I’m no Emily fan (as is well documented) but I actually did feel Emily for a few minutes last Monday in the quieter moments with Zander. NL managed to not distract from CB at a few key points, and for that I’m grateful. She actually looked truly pained through some of it (this was before the oh-so-dramatic “take me” scenes, pfft) and I saw a few sparks of potential. I’ve no delusions that it’ll ever be realized, and you can refer to my last column, last paragraph about why that is the case. I do however, quite like the new bangs. It limits how much Emily feels the need to touch her own hair, which is good since we don’t need more hands petting Emily’s head.
Chad Brannon was fabulous with what they gave him, and while I was not really a Zander fan; I’m still gonna miss him.
I think the way they’re emulating Brenda’s wardrobe on Sam is seriously stupid. Um, hello? We’ve already had conversations about what exactly those strappy things are all over the shirt…are we expected to dig out our old message board or instant messaging transcripts from late 2002 and recycle them so we can be more like GH?
I was thrilled to see that Nikolas has retained his holier than thou-ness, memory loss not withstanding. It would really be terrible if he awoke thinking he was capable of eating pot roast and deserting from the Marines. I love Tyler Christopher, and he usually excels at this type of storyline for Nikolas, but I found his initial amnesia portrayal a bit over the top. In fact, he and Sean Penn (Mystic River) could vie for best scenery chewing on that one if you ask me. I guess I don’t really understand amnesia since it makes little sense to me that he’s so totally freaked out. I mean, I’m sure it’s strange to not remember anything but he’s one of the few I’ve seen react to it with such wailing and moaning. A quiet, questioning confusion might have been a better choice. If one has no memory then I hardly think one would be quite so suspicious. He remembers nothing, well make that nothing except that he’d never desert his country (tell that to Russia or Greece or wherever he’s from). It might have been fun to see a less entitled Nikolas for a change…I dunno, just to mix it up a bit. But no, we have a sanctimonious, preachy, blank slate Nikolas. Whatever.
Mary is a whack job of the highest order. I like the actress though, she somehow exudes sweet innocence (the country cottage, flower prints and sweaters probably help, lol) even while being nuts. She seems very natural and I hope they utilize her well. I’m choosing to view her as psychologically traumatized by her husband’s death. She’s still nuts, but I’m painting her in my mind as harmless nuts so far. Anyone that keeps me from viewing Nikolas with Emily can’t be all that bad. I do wish not every new character had to come in with either guns blazing or psychological flags flying.
So who’s the smart SWAT member with the goal of making
Emily remove her grubby hand from Zander?
I’m surprised the dots didn’t line up like this:
I really wish I could think of something more to say. I’m just really non-reactive to it all at the moment. Something will come along, I’m sure, to perk up the senses a bit. Until then I’ll try my best but I just cannot promise much more regularity for the column than what I’ve been doing recently. I am, for the moment, doing the GH Spoiler Commentary weekly, so you can find a few of my opinions over there every Monday. Two suggestions for columnists who are better than I at maintaining the ability to speak about the show: Kathy’s Rants and Rambles, which is updated like clockwork. How the woman finds something (and positive something’s even!) to say every single week eludes me, but she does! The other is Coggie’s FWIW column which is also updated every week. She’s not afraid to say what she thinks, and that’s just one of the reasons the column is such a great read every week. You won’t agree with either of them completely every week, but they’ll both give you something to think about, I guarantee! I’ve also been meaning to recommend a favorite site of mine to you: Talk!Talk!. It first caught my eye for its many Port Charles links, but they do a great job of updating for GH, with tidbits of gossip and casting info. It’s one of the best spots to link up to all kinds of fan sites and commentaries. They were Eye On Soaps site of the month a few months ago, but I thought I’d mention it again in case someone missed it!
I guess we all just keep waiting for change. Sooner or later, it’ll come. In the meantime, I’m looking forward to the GH Fan Club Weekend in July (it’s like 15 weeks away!) and I will keep watching until then at least. I hope to get to meet a few of you! I’ve never been to any fan event, so it should be interesting. I’ve been warned that I’m not allowed to flip out and attach myself to John J. York’s ankle or anything…and I have promised to be on my very best behavior. Let’s hope I take my promises more seriously than GH took its promise of cast integration after the CE…otherwise, someone better warn JJY that he’ll be acquiring a new ankle bracelet! ;) Hope you all are well, happy and satisfied! Take care.
Photo credit: GH World 4 (The most fabulous screen cap site of ALL!)
Want More of Sherry's Work?
Sherry's Port Charles Spoilers with Commentary