How Many GH Writers Does It Take To Change A Light Bulb?
You might assume from the title that this one will be light and funny, but unfortunately that isn’t what came out this week. My apologies in advance for that…this really is all I could muster up at the moment. It’s long, so if you’re still planning to dive in then grab yourself a piece of paper (and do the usual snack grabbing and peeing first too, of course, lol) so you can take notes for that email you’re going to send me afterwards. You know, the one where you’ll either tell me why I’m wrong and hopefully cheer me up and give me hope, or the one that will tell me I’m not alone. I’ll take either! Anyway, it rambles and staggers a bit, lol, so hold on to your hats…
I feel compelled to talk about my favorite characters. A while ago, when GH was boring me to tears I could just write a column extolling the virtues of my favorite characters and what fabulous thing the actors did this week with whatever material they had, good or bad. It was an easy write and almost guaranteed to make me feel better because after all, there is always some motivation to debate, fault to lay, and accomplishment to revel in, right? Well, not anymore. I know there are fans out there that are fully enjoying the show, and I’m more than thrilled for them. If that’s you, then maybe this won’t be the best column to read…unless you want to really try to put yourself in my shoes for a few minutes.
I consider myself a fan of the SHOW, before I’m a fan of any character or pairing. I think that is critical for both long-lasting viewing pleasure and for the longevity of the show itself. I very firmly believe that fan base campaigning, as in organized campaign blitzes to make sure “our gal” or “our guy” wins this poll, that poll, and now deserves the best story EVER because it’s her/his year to win the Emmy, has taken a toll on soaps that we are only just beginning to see the repercussions of. Combine a “whoever yells the loudest” atmosphere with ABC’s cutthroat “nothing and no one is sacred” attitude and you leave writers and actors that are ripe for falling into the trap of thinking that storylines should actually be dictated by a loud minority and whichever character or couple has the most verbal fanatical followers must actually be the “best”. Any soap writer that actually sets about trying to please the ____ fans, instead of trying to write a good story that involves the rich canvas, history and forwards the direction the show wants to move in, is a fool. Likewise to any PTB that allow an actor/actress to influence their story even to the detriment of the show and its direction just because they fear losing their “fans”. (Note to actors/actresses: Your true fans are fans because they enjoy your acting and what you do with a character, NOT because you are one half of a super-couple or because you scored a controversial five minute story.) Statements about showing the viewers what they want can be scary when they come from someone viewers don’t trust, but when writers that understand their viewers AND their characters show us what they think we want, we often find they were right. Katrina's Soap Journal very rightly points out that difference between GH and OLTL. Anyway, this was another rant entirely…where was I? Oh yeah, I’m a fan of the show first.
That said though, I, like every other viewer, have my favorites. We watch for the show, and I’m perfectly willing to sacrifice a beloved character, or watch sadness and grief for the good of the show (BJ, Stone, etc…leaving behind good story sometimes makes it worth the sacrifice), but the show is made up of characters and if most of the ones I love are ruined, and the ones I still enjoy are quite obviously really only props for an entire story base that I no longer enjoy, then where does that leave me? Sometimes I can’t tell anymore if the stuff that I think is good, or fun, or sexy, really even IS those things or if I’m just SO very desperate that anything that comes close to looking like a real soap story becomes great just by default. Oh, I hear ya out there… “Stop taking it so seriously, it’s just a soap” blah, blah, blah. All true, in theory, but you’re forgetting it’s MY SOAP. OLTL is just “a soap” to me. I love it! I think it’s fabulous. But if it starts being not fabulous again, I’ll more than likely drop back down to viewing it once a week or so and while I’ll miss the daily fix of soapiness it has been providing, but I won’t care enough to feel bitter or angry about it. So take my analytical, emotional and sometimes overly serious approach to GH as a testament to my years of investment and love for the show. It’s impossible to watch something you’ve steadily loved, and cheered over for years lose it’s way without feeling all of the above. I look so hard sometimes for a glimmer of what used to be that I’m fairly certain I almost have to settle for less than what I deserve, or just give up altogether. I’ve done both for a time and I’m still not sure which is harder. If the annihilation of just about everything I loved about this show was really necessary to take the show in a better direction, I really would try to be understanding of that but it doesn’t look to me like things are headed in any upward direction at all. I’m tired of watching character after character dragged down into the muck as various “heads” of whatthehellever order up a new experiment every week on MY show. “Oh hey, remember that show that did really well five years or so ago…ya know, with all those twenty-something’s sexing each other up behind the other’s back? Yeah, yeah, that one! That was popular for awhile…let’s model GH after that!” Never fricken mind that GH has been around for eons longer than whatever show we’re modeling from and did quite well when it remembered what it was. And never mind that our “model” is now cancelled because, surprise, surprise, people got tired of it…and it was only on once a week!
What is it going to take for TPTB to notice that a show that is only on once a week can get away with not developing their characters beyond the current plot point? Yeah, we never really got into what motivated Starsky or Hutch. They were the good guys; they tracked down the bad guys. Throw in a car chase and a comedic turn here and there and we were satisfied with the hour spent. But darn it all, if Lucky is going Hutch on me then I want to understand why. I have to know how he got there. If Skye is now obsessed with babies and Ned, then I’d like to understand why. I’d like more motivation out of an intelligent schemer than just “I can’t have my own”. How did Skye get to the point of apparently moving back in with the Q’s (directly after finding out she’s NOT one), deciding Ned is the way to a family, deciding that Kristina should be hers, and not having a second of doubt about the way she is going about it? Skye was not allowed to grow up with her real family (whoever they might be), and would, I should think have every reason to be a champion for a child to have her real family. Skye is also a schemer and selfish and I’m not saying I can’t picture the character getting to the place where she is capable of what’s going on now, she’s been in similar places before. But GH hasn’t shown me anything. They haven’t shown me Skye, petrified of being alone now that she lost Jax. They showed us more about Skye’s motivation in keeping pertinent medical information from Brenda than they have about the choices she’s made lately. Soaps do baby custody, kidnapping, swapping stories all the time so why does this one mean nothing to me?
I’ll tell you why it means nothing to me. They’ve trashed every single character involved, that’s why. Sure, I’d still like to see Alexis finally get her baby and take her home for the sweet, bonding and slightly comedic scenes that I thought I’d get when it became clear she was pregnant. All that would be in preparation for the inevitable, “she’s Sonny’s” reveal, of course. Problem is, I just don’t care much anymore. It’s all hopeless and it’s all a big joke. There is nothing intelligent about this story, not one thing. I loved Alexis. I put up with and even learned to enjoy her putting aside her ethics and being Sonny’s lawyer…allowing for that did add something to the show and did move the story to new levels for many characters. I looked forward to her getting back to her true self after the baby, to her realizing that she put herself in for some of what happened to her. Then, Alexis went haywire. She killed Al in self defense, stupidly lied about it, even more stupidly made up a completely ridiculous alternate personality that she apparently just liked to play around with while humming freaky tunes by herself in her living room. Then she dressed up as Dobson instead of just being grateful that she at least had visitation. I want Alexis to have custody of her kid, and I don’t think she’s crazy for wanting that more than anything or for being willing to go to great lengths to get it. But I do think she’s crazy for ignoring the obvious fact that she has piled ruse on top of ruse and was still managing to be in her child’s life at least a little, until Friday, that is. I watched those scenes and just found myself wondering the whole time why as soon as it became obvious that it was a set up, she didn’t just run like hell out of that house, burn Dobson’s clothes and hair…and deny, deny, deny. Sure, Skye saw her…so what? She couldn’t prove it. None of it makes sense. Alexis is just not stupid. Alexis would know that the best way back to her daughter would be to be on time for visitation (instead of wiggling out of her Dobson suit at the last minute), get her life back in order so as to present a great viable home for her kid (does she even still have an apartment?), and keep a good relationship with Ned for as long as he holds any custody of Kristina.
Whether you contend that this is not Alexis, and the writing sucks; or that it is Alexis and she is now a really dumb character and hey, people change, doesn’t really matter. She’s not worth watching either way. Basically we’ve just had the pleasure of watching Alexis be tortured, with no help or reprieve in sight, for months now. I don’t even want to watch characters I hate spend this long on the losing end! Where is the fun in that?
Let’s see, we’ve covered Skye and Alexis, two of my past favorites. We could try to cover AJ, but just by saying his name I’ve already done more with him in one column than GH does with him in a month. There isn’t even anything to say. He’s basically not even on this show anymore, and when he is it’s all about everyone but him anyway. So I guess I’ve watched AJ become a non-entity…even within the Q family. Oh, I was intrigued that Dillon specifically mentioned hating AJ; since I only remember one scene they were in together. I guess Dillon sees more of him than we do. Lucky Dillon.
Stephan? Hmmm, well since he completed his mission of bringing Lydia in and taking Summer out, he’s done nothing. I guess I’m getting the pleasure of watching Stephan become wallpaper. Great.
Dillon? Love Dillon. We took a critical turn last week though, and he’s officially a Jason worshipper now. Apparently the sight of Jas in handcuffs was more than Dillon could resist. He wants, needs and can’t live without him all the sudden…how quaint. Original too.
I also love Cameron, purely because I love Lane Davies, but it hardly seems fair to even complain about his usage lately since he’s fairly new and they haven’t proven, even to me who would LOVE for them to do so, that he needs to be around in the first place.
Nik is great, and he and NuEm have chemistry. I fear though that by the time they get around to wrapping up the swath of pain Emily is cutting through the twenty-something set with her selfishness, I will no longer care who she has chemistry with. So for the moment, I’ve got Nik and Lucky fighting over NuLydia…and it may have only been a week or so, but I can confidently tell you that NuLydia is not worthy. What a terrible recasting job! I would say more, but it would only get nasty and what’s the point anyway? You can see what’s on your screen.
Wow. This is three pages long already and depressing as hell. There were actually some good things this week as well, and I’ve no doubt we can find something to laugh about too. So c’mon, shake it off and we’ll get on to the good stuff!
Alcazar is just sooo delicious! TK was great with Carly, Skye, Alexis and now Liz…and I did not have high hopes, but for once I like the twin more than the original.
Jason really does have superpowers doesn’t he? He left Sonny at Ric’s and made it all the way to the island while Sonny was still waiting for Ric. They could have at least had Sonny stretch out on the couch like he had actually been waiting for four hours.
Why didn’t Sonny and Jason wonder about all the umbrella’s laying on the floor at Ric’s house? They didn’t know about Liz at the time, so it didn’t strike them as odd that someone knocked over the stand (and please, didn’t it strike them as odd that Liz keeps her umbrellas as far from the front door as possible?) and left the umbrellas on the floor?
Why would Jason leave Michael with Maxie? Last he heard she was involved with punk kids that were moving (assumedly now) Alcazar’s drugs. They couldn’t take Michael down the hall with them and leave Courtney in the hall with Mikey instead of leaving her in the hall to fight with Faith? One minute it’s all about keeping him safe and the next, he’s dumped with the nearest bystander. How hard would it have been to have Bobbie at the nurses’ station…that would have made sense at least. Of course then they’d have to explain why she couldn’t care less that Carly is missing so…? I’ve never seen anyone make it look so hard to juggle more than five characters in a story.
Is Sonny’s maid on strike? I can’t believe she would leave Michael’s trucks lying around on tabletops after he’s been gone for at least a week.
Why does the FBI keep showing up at Sonny’s house? If this ruse (which was apparently pointless and I have no idea why we went through the whole thing unless it was just to make sure Sonny had the chance to rip Faith’s dress off and call her a few names) was supposed to work, then I don’t see how it could be worth taking the chance since Alcazar has shown up numerous times at Sonny’s as well.
Ok, so when Sonny came to bail Jason out of jail or whatever, Jason told sonny he didn’t want Ric to drop the charges. Sometimes, you have to take your enjoyment where you can get it and I swear I thought Jason said this: “I’d rather go to jail then have you in that bastards bed!” Hee, well I had a good laugh, and had to rewind and go to cc mode to see what the heck he really said, which was “…bastards debt”. Ah well, it was fun while it lasted.
I can’t help but think this entire Ned/Alexis/Skye thing is ultimately to drive Alexis into having to run begging Sonny for help in getting their baby away from Ned. If so, I hate it. Honestly, I really don’t care much for Ned usually anyway, but I respected their friendship and I’m annoyed that tptb couldn’t leave that alone. Ned was actually there for Alexis, and they understood each other even after their romance was done…why does that have to be slaughtered? Oh wait, that’s right…it was a relationship based on history and character motivations, we can’t have any of that.
I’ve heard rumored that maybe TPTB wanted to go “in a different direction” with Lydia. If that direction was “Find someone that can make Sherry hate her on sight”, then score one for the home team.
So does Sonny not understand that Michael is a kid? Calling him a liar in front of the man that kidnapped his mom and yanking him around by his arm while doing it is not cancelled out by explaining later that you were just playin’. Good grief! That child is going to be so screwed up. Oh, and then the explanation for the little play-acting session is “that evil man might hurt you if Daddy doesn’t lie”? Uh…way to go Sonny, that’ll make him feel better. I won’t even get into the hit he put out with Daddy’s favorite hit man, except to say that there is a serious problem when the kid knows how to order a hit and who to put it out with. Sure, I sympathize that he’s lost his Mommy…but to say it’s normal, even in this situation, is ludicrous. I can see why it happened but it should’ve been a much bigger wakeup call to Jason than it was. But don’t worry, Jason told him good little boys don’t do things like that…he left off the “leave the hit ordering to your father” part, but maybe that’ll come to him later.
I pretty much fast-forward all of Emily and Zander’s scenes. I can tell you though, that if you want to pet Emily’s “oh so shiny” hair, you’ll have to get in line.
Holy Courtney, Batman! That girl can HIT! Seriously, she may have no point onscreen lately, but you must admit that she hits better than most men on that show. She should become Jason’s personal trainer because I know she could teach him a thing or two.
I was pretty sure for a while there that the story arc was heading toward letting us know that the only one Ric truly loves is Sonny. I was glad to see them switch directions at the last minute there. Rick Hearst and Rebecca Herbst both have my applause this week, they were outstanding. Liz’s reaction to remembering and to having to turn him in were just understated enough, yet were really powerful. I’ve never sympathized much with Liz, but I completely felt her pain. She also looked like hell, as well she should’ve. They did a great job making Ric look like he’s been through his own battles as well, and Rick Hearst somehow manages to make even the worst things look sympathetic somehow. His scenes in the panic room afterwards, when he was letting Carly go, were perfect. There was a moment, in his living room, where both TB added a depth to her performance that I have not seen EVER from her. She’s been okay in the panic room so far, but I didn’t feel she was doing anything above what I would expect from any actress during those scenes…on Friday, she pulled out something above that, and that my friends, was nice to see. For once, I could see what Carly was thinking and feeling instead of being served what she’s supposedly thinking and feeling on a platter that won’t get out of my face.
I have no idea what the point of the Braxton Hicks episode was. More “stuff” for Carly to do so we don’t have to delve into her psyche at all, or what?
So, Sonny gets the info about the panic room from the realtor, which was a nice touch but a total waste of our time (does no one at this show remember that there are like 20 almost never used veterans that could take that scene time and make us happy?) since Carly called five minutes later anyway, and then he stands around discussing…something, instead of grabbing the back of Jason’s cape and flying immediately over there? WTH? Are they trying to make Sonny look like a complete idiot? Sorry you guys, I used to love him (and I’ve got a major rant started on him that you may someday actually see) but I’m SO over it. He and his sidekick get to Ric’s and Sonny strategically places himself a few feet in front of the panic room door…shuffles his feet a bit, smoothes back his hair and throws back his shoulders. Then he turns, nods to Jason to find the button because he’s ready now. LOL! Oh gosh, it was just very sad. Frankly, they’d have been better off to let Jason discover where she was and go in alone. We watched him obsess more than anyone else over the last few weeks and he always has to do the grunt work anyway so it would have been more powerful to watch him discover her gone and have to tell Sonny than to watch the two of them cancel out any drama that might have been left. It was really, really awful.
I also thought it was a bad idea for Courtney to tell Michael that his Mommy was coming home. Wait five minutes and find out if they actually find her and no one gets shot first. She has much to learn about dealing with mob children, that’s for sure.
Gosh, let me try to express to you how much I hate Judge Farmer. Did she actually stand in the Q living room, with a champagne glass in one hand and shrimp cocktail in the other, and say that she wanted to hear about Alexis faking her DID? What? You want to hear about that over drinks and dinner? What the heck happened to the law and court and silly stuff like that? Is she going to go back into court, put on her robe and announce that while having dinner at the home where she placed Alexis’ child, she became aware that those people that want to keep that baby found out that maybe Alexis faked her illness? Will she be putting herself on the witness stand I wonder? Don’t even get me started on Scott NOW finding a doctor that can just read the file and refute all the evidence. Did he not need a date back during the actual trial, or what?
The thing that made me the saddest this week was watching Jason warn Dillon away from the mob. There was a time, when I would have watched that and actually felt that Jason was noble for warning him away. I would’ve thought how great it was that Jason, who has no way out, wouldn’t wish it on this young innocent kid as a way of life. Watching that scene now though, I just felt like I was being manipulated. Everything I see on my GH screen now is aimed at telling me that the mob life is much more glamorous, honorable, intelligent, and brave than any other faction of Port Charles. I think TPTB need to determine exactly what they are selling us because from my standpoint it’s not much of a stretch to think that Jason is turning him away because he just doesn’t want to share the glory. Which is it, a career that will is dangerous and a major dead-end for a bright young kid like Dillon or a career that is brave, just, loyal and honorable? Why can’t Dillon save the world too? I’ll bet he’s already smarter than most of the PCPD, and probably the FBI (By the way, I hope Liz watches her back since apparently Mr. FBI guy wouldn’t mind much if she bites it) too. Of course, there should be a snag with the fact that he found himself a smart kid that might not capitulate readily to making doe eyes over RICO statutes, but she can be persuaded…can’t they all?
I think I failed at being witty, believe it or not though, I did try for a laugh or two. I guess it was a particularly bad week for me because I saw some of what could be. I saw some character interaction and gauged the effort put in. In some ways, it really is hardest when you’re reminded of the past. Audrey finally showed up and RA gave a fine performance, but it was nothing that Audrey wouldn’t have done at any point had she been written in during any of Liz’s hospital visits lately…yet, I felt like I was watching something so precious and fleeting while she was on. Why should I have to drink in the sight of one of the core characters, of a core family from the very building blocks of what this show started from, like I might never get the chance to see her in action again? Audrey and the other vets of this show are the fixtures. You can have as many light bulbs as you want, but without a fixture to hold, reflect and ultimately make them make sense and do the work they’re intended for, they’re worthless. Strategically placing a pile of light bulbs in the middle of the floor just because you wouldn’t know what to do with a fixture if it danced on your head does not a bright room make.
Someone call a professional, we have serious lighting issues.
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