“No! No! A Thousand
I heard that Tamara Braun (Mrs. Sonny Corinthos) is leaving the show. That moves me deeply, for now I know God has heard my desperate calls for help.
When I say, “I hate Tamara Braun,” it’s really more a figure of speech than actual hate. It’s “Tamara as Carly” I can’t stand, not Tamara herself. I don’t even know the woman, so while I have no reason to believe Tamara Braun is anything but a nice person, I don’t think she’s a good actress, at least not with the material she has been given on “General Hospital.” Her presence has helped to make this show unpalatable for me, thus the “hate.” Of course, my opinion on this is no more important than anyone else’s. There are Academy Award winners who I think suck rotten eggs, so I may not be much of an authority on the matter. I only know what I like and don’t like and I know I don’t care for “Tamara as Carly.” It’s amazing to me now, but I didn’t always feel this way about her.
I liked her best during her first six to nine months on the show. That was when Carly was living on her own, running a business, being pursued by Stavros, interacting with Jax, Zander and having some happiness here and there as she searched for self-confidence. Tamara showed great promise then. She tanked royally most of the time, but she was new to soap operas, so that was okay. I always cut newbies some slack and it really pays off when their acting talent evolves and they become good at what they do. When it doesn’t improve, their roles are usually pared down or the roles are recast. However, in Tamara’s case, she was front and center, everyday for four years. That seems to be the way of ABC soaps now. If the actor is bad in their part, their part is made really big so no one will think a mistake was made. It becomes a daily exercise in attempted brainwashing by TPTB (“The Powers That Be”). “You like her…you really like her. You like her, you really like her. See? She’s on all the time. She must be good. Repeat after us…you like her, you really like her…”
I did like “Tams-as-Carly” the time Carly got drunk and was with Jason on that boat as they searched for Sonny and Brenda. That was fun and I genuinely enjoyed her. It was like a little bit of her truly, fun self was able to shine through. I say “truly, fun self” because that’s how Tamara herself comes across outside the context of this show. She always looks like she’s sincerely having a great time in candid pictures at fan events and has such a beautiful, natural smile. On a good show, with good writers, they would have embraced Tamara’s strong points long ago and written to that end, letting Carly have fun more often and stand on her own, away from her emotional downer of a husband. Instead, they keep handing her the same heavy, depressing, tragic, predictable shtick day after day, week after week, month after month, ad nauseum. She’s not good at it, so that makes her not good day after day, week after week, etc, and even worse, we are supposed to watch this and like it.
I wonder if the role will be recast? I really hope it isn’t, as Mrs. Corinthos is a played out character. She lost her roots and any real reason for me to root for her a long time ago. I even have to remind myself that she’s a Spencer. She simply has no bearing on the show outside of Sonny’s realm. I was already growing weary of Carly about six months before Sarah Brown left the role, but when Tamara stepped in I was opened minded and hoped I could become interested again, but that wasn’t to be. As each year has screeched by, Tamara’s portrayal of Mrs. Corinthos is but widened eyes, flailing arms, stomping feet and a huge, gaping mouth, screaming in all three dimensions and breaking through the fourth wall so fiercely, I can smell what must be Carly’s hot, venomous breath on my face. The character of Carly is one I simply want to see go away…and never come back.
I’ve seen some viewers online who feel the same way I do in regards to Carly and Tamara’s portrayal of her. I’ve read their posts and felt their pain over the years, so imagine my absolute shock when I saw many of those same people, along with the regular Carly/Tamara fans, exclaiming their approval of Tamara’s performance on this past Thursday’s show. In a nutshell, they were all saying that she’d “nailed it” and that they’d “wept with her.” I had taped that week’s shows, but hadn’t watched yet. I could hardly wait to see what they saw on that day. Did Tamara really “nail it?”
So, today, I watched. It was the episode when Sonny came to Carly at the police station to tell her he’d seen a photo of Michael’s dead body, and then Carly sees the picture, too. She recoiled in horror at the sight of her first born child, murdered. She screamed deep screams of pain, the kind surely only a mother could understand. She cried, she fought with her ex-husband, yelling, “No, Sonny,” several times. When all was said and done…I wasn’t impressed at all. Since we are talking about the murder of a child, I admit it, my throat was a bit knotty at the concept and I think I had the beginning of a tear in my left eye that I managed to blink and twitch away, but that was it.
As far as I’m concerned, it was the same, old shtick.
Carly yells. Carly screams. Carly moans. Carly cries. Carly waves her arms around and pounds on the shoulders or back of whatever man happens to be providing the arms for her to fall into at that particular moment. Carly screeches, “No, Sonny! No!” Only, when Tamara does it, it sounds like, “NAAAW SONNEEEEE! NAAAAAWW!”
People, she does this every few months. What’s the big deal about this one particular day?
I’ll tell you what the deal is. It was the dead kid story. The story finally matched Carly’s over-the-top fits. If you’d never seen this show before and then watched that one episode, it would look like some pretty good acting because Carly’s reaction fits perfectly. What mother wouldn’t react like that to the confirmed murder of her child? However, if you put the “Michael’s dead” reaction in context with every other time she’s reacted to something that way, it’s like what I said, the same, old shtick.
For instance, when Tamara first began the role, Sonny threw Carly out of the penthouse in her wedding dress. “NAAAW, SONNEEEEE, NAAAW!” Same…damn…thing.
I feel like I’ve seen that same response from Carly a thousand times since that first time back in May 2001. If I was the type to record every episode of the show to save, I could make one hell of a “NAAAW” montage of Carly and every “NAAAW” would sound alike. That’s part of the problem. There are no nuances in her reactions, only the occasional different name tossed in.
“NAAAW, JAAASON, NAAAW!”
“NAAAW, RIIIIC, NAAAW!”
“NAAAW, LORENZOOOO, NAAAW!”
My head kind of hurts thinking about it. Then, as she’s screaming, “NAAAW,” she turns from whatever guy she’s with, he puts his arms around her from behind as she starts to slide down to the ground, and then he pulls her up as she tries to free herself from his arms. Over…and over…and over…blah, blah…blah, blah…la-dee-dah…fast forward…fast forward…die, Carly, die and shut your caterwauling mouth. Sheesh!
On Thursday’s show, she did exactly this. She did the same thing a few days before with Lorenzo. She’s done the same thing, countless times, with Jason and Sonny. There are actually very precise steps to this technique and it scares the hell out of me that, if the role of Carly is to be recast, the new actress will be told to actually imitate this bullshit. I can imagine some little newbie, who knows no better, watching “NAAAW” tapes of Tamara while taking notes. God help us.
If that’s what happens, then here’s a nice primer for her so she can leap right in where Tamara is sure to leave off:
How to play Mrs. Sonny Corinthos, upset:
1. Get told some upsetting news by a male character.
2. Have a moment of denial when you shake your head, bug your eyes and say, “You’re wrong, it’s not true.”
3. Make a face like you’re really constipated and gassy while grimacing in a weird Joker-like smile. Begin crying, with actual tears (or not), …NOW.
4. Start speaking/moaning in a high-pitched whine.
5. Start fake pounding on the shoulders of the man who just told you whatever fucked up shit you didn’t want to hear.
6. Turn from him as he puts his arms around you, trying to control your over-the-top, psycho bitch reaction.
7. Slide down to the floor with your back against his front, screaming “NAAAW! NAAAW!”
8. As he stands you back up in a bear hug, still with your back to him, push with your legs against the ground, so it looks like he’s trying to do the Heimlich Maneuver on you. Do this several times. Continue to scream, “NAAAW” because that’s some good Emmy shit there, girl.
9. Turn back toward the man, fake pound on him some more. Lower the octave of your “NAAAW” a little bit while gaping up towards the heavens and transition it into a loud, wailing moan, like this: “NAAAW! NAAAW! NAAAOOOAHHH! OHHHH! AHHHOOOAHHH!”
10. Begin crying deeply so that your whole body is shaking and bury your head in his chest as he hugs you or, alternatively, sink slowly back down to the floor as if you’ve been defeated by the torturous sound of your own wailing.
11. In subsequent scenes when you’re still supposed to be upset, wear no makeup, sniff a lot even though there’s not one tear on your face that wasn’t strategically “placed” there at the very beginning of the scene and look from side to side like you’re lost while speaking in a “Widdle Girl” voice, as if your three years old. People will eat that shit up with a spoon and call it sweet chocolate, I promise.
Can’t you all picture the many, many, many times you’ve seen her do that? I know I can. I can only hope that someday I’ll be able to sleep through the night again. There ain’t no Bogeyman in my closet, it’s “Tamara-As-Carly” in there, waiting to jump out screaming in the middle of the night and scare the ever-lovin’ hell out of me.
I really hope someone with soap opera experience gets the role if it is indeed recast. That way, she might look at Tamara’s performances and say, “Um, no,” but I am not holding my breath, I’m in wait-and-see mode. Maybe NuNuCarly will be good, maybe she won’t, but I honestly can’t imagine that she could be any worse. At least she will be different. I know that sounds mean, but the existence of Tamara-As-Carly in my face all the time is one of the big reasons why I don’t enjoy GH much anymore. I don’t want to see the same actors on the show every single day. I don’t want to see anyone dominate the show that much, so I sure as hell don’t want to watch someone chew the scenery day after damn day.
I hope Tamara finds something on a different show, preferably a show I don’t watch. I certainly don’t wish unemployment or failure upon her. Maybe she can get back to growing as an actress again as she gets out of this rut of a character, on this sinking ship of a show. I don’t know. I only know I don’t want to see her on GH anymore. In other words, I will be happier when she’s gone and I hope she is, too.
My last wish regarding Tamara is that she never comes back. I don’t ever want to hear that she’s coming back. The day I log on to the soap boards and read those words is the day I will be pounding on my computer and dropping to my knees, yelling,
“NAAAW, TAMARAAA, NAAAW! A thousand times, NAAAW”
Have mercy. (And get your ass out of my closet.)