Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The time to save 'General Hospital' is now.

Can ‘General Hospital’ be saved?

That’s the question on everyone’s lips these days.

Luke and Laura
With ‘One Life to Live’ going off the air Friday, GH will be ABC’s lone remaining daytime soap and fans are in a virtual panic about the future of ‘General Hospital’.

It doesn’t matter what board you go on, you basically have two factions of people. One group believes that ABC’s move to bring in former ‘One Life to Live’ writers is an effort to save GH. The other group believes that this doesn’t matter, the soap is still going off the air in September when Katie Couric claims the time slot.

What group am I member of? I guess I’m more of a realist. I believe that ‘General Hospital’ is probably going off the air in September – but I’m hopeful that somehow it can be saved.

So how do we go about saving it?

I think the first thing is to bring veterans who are important to GH fans back – not new characters or veterans from other soaps.

Howarth and DePaiva
Today (Jan. 11) it was announced that four ‘One Life to Live’ stars would be coming to ‘General Hospital’ for a storyline with Maurice Benard’s Sonny Corinthos. Those four actors are Kassie DePaiva (Blair), Roger Howarth (Todd), Kristen Alderson (Starr) and John “mullet” McBain (Michael Easton).

I understand the reasoning behind it. The show runners are hoping that some OLTL fans who don’t already watch GH are going to come over and start watching the show. Howarth helped boost viewership by a couple hundred thousand with his return earlier this year. I think the show runners are hoping he can do it again.

I can admit, I would get some sort of perverse thrill out watching DePaiva and Laura Wright’s Carly duke it out onscreen. Carly might have a nemesis that is more powerful than her. I still think it's a bad idea, though.

Monaco and Easton
Here’s the thing, by bringing in these OLTL actors and putting them front and center on GH (thus reducing the screen time for characters that are already on the GH canvas) you risk alienating current GH fans.
Whether this move is permanent or not, it’s not really clear at this point. According to TV Guide, it’s for a specific storyline. My guess would be, they’ll see how things go and work from there.

I think this could possibly upset two groups of fans, as well. First of all, since only half of the popular John and Natalie pairing (Jolie) is coming to the show, this might signify that John and Natalie aren’t getting the happy ending that is being promised after all.

Second, given Easton’s popularity with former 'Port Charles' leading lady Kelly Monaco (Sam) they’re obviously going to test the waters of a pairing with them – something that’s bound to infuriate Jason and Sam (Jasam) fans. Of course, this could excite Liz and Jason (Liason) fans, so it's a mixed bag.

The Quartermaines
I think most viewers can agree that GH is in the worst shape of the four remaining daytime soap operas. Fans of the show have been battered and abused for years.

You can actually track GH’s downfall to when Benard’s Sonny became the mobster that ate Port Charles in the late 1990s. Every storyline somehow seemed to revolve around him, his love interests, his friends and his children for years (and years and years and years) – and this was a move that alienated a lot of longtime fans.

While writing alone can’t save the soap, it is a start. Not everyone is going to agree on what is good story and which characters are acceptable to write off the canvas (and some of them are going to have to go – especially given today’s news).

So, here is what I would do (I in no way expect everyone to agree, so tell me what you would do):

Brenda and Sonny
End mob rule: GH has three of the highest paid actors in daytime in Benard, Steve Burton and Anthony Geary. To make room for veterans, you’re going to have to get rid of one of them. Fans would revolt if it was Geary and Burton’s Jason is part of a core family. So this leaves Benard. I used to be a big fan of Benard, but right about the time they paired him with Carly that changed. I would have fan favorite Vanessa Marcil return long enough to usher Sonny out of town so the popular duo can have a happy ending. I know, given Marcil’s recent late term miscarriage, she might not feel up to a return to help get Sonny out of town, but I would at least attempt to make it happen.

Emily and Nikolas
Reinvigorate the Quartermaines: Most recent head writer Garin Wolf promised fans this was going to happen and essentially all that he did was give Monica more air time – turning her into a shrew in the process. I would resurrect Alan and Emily – maybe make Helena have them locked up to ensure that Emily and Nikolas would remain apart (Hey, I’m willing to swallow whatever bull they throw at me to make this happen). Then I would bring Ned back to town and put him in a triangle with Mac and Alexis. This would give fans three popular pairings back (Nikolas and Emily, Alexis and Ned, and Monica and Alan).

Luke and Laura
Fix the Spencer family: Of all the transgressions Bob Guza and Wolf have done, the destruction of the Spencer clan is arguably the worst. There’s a lot that needs to be fixed here. First and foremost? Bring Genie Francis back. Perhaps have her and Nikolas return from Europe – have Nikolas buy Crimson for Laura and have her run it. There’s no need to force Luke and Laura back together right away, but the woman needs to be on the canvas. Then you rewrite Ethan’s parentage. Longtime fans know the story they’re spewing right now is complete and total crap. We were watching the show was Ethan was supposedly conceived and we all know that Luke wasn’t going off on adventures and sleeping with Holly – with Laura’s knowledge and blessing. While we're at it, Laura DID NOT keep Luke a virtual prisoner in that house.  Nathan Parsons (Ethan) is leaving anyway. Make him really Robert and Holly’s kid – with Laura and Luke agreeing to the lie to protect Ethan from the WSB. Then have him leave town to be with Holly. After he rests up a bit, bring Jonathan Jackson back as Lucky and give him what he wants – put him and Liz back together. They were a super couple at one time, they can be again.

Robin, Robert and Anna.
Bring back Anna and Robert: The Scorpios are almost as important to the GH canvas as the Spencers and Quartermaines. Have the couple return to run the Port Charles Police Department (they can be responsible for running Sonny out of town). Robert and Luke would be good sounding boards for each other, Anna and Laura could be good friends and for the sake of everyone, somehow convince Kimberly McCullough to stay – even if we don’t see her quite as much. Fans have watched Robin grow up on screen, McCullough has launched three uberpopular couples, she is too important to the history of the show to lose.

Robin and Jason
Bring Jason back into the Quartermaine fold: I get that Burton doesn’t want to go back to the days when he played the ultra-vanilla Jason Quartermaine with the reindeer jumpers and sunny disposition. However, fans are sick of Jason Morgan and his Borg-like persona. We were hopeful Jason would get his memories back with his recent surgery and . . . nothing. You can do a mixture of the two characters. Have Jason get his memories back but be confused because he can’t go back to being Jason Quartermaine and he can’t entirely give up being Jason Morgan. Have him turn to Robin for advice and alienate Carly. In her jealousy, Carly can turn to Patrick out of spite and you have a built in quadrangle that is true to the show's history.

Brandon Barash (Johnny)
Cut the dead weight: There have to be cuts people – and I know some of the characters and actors I’m purporting letting go here are popular, but I honestly believe the gains that could be made through these cuts would far outweigh any potential losses. The first two are Anthony and Johnny. While I find Anthony amusing sometimes and I find Brandon Barash immensely likeable – enough with the mob. If you want to somehow redeem Johnny and get him out of the mob, fine, but no more mob storylines. Olivia and Steve have to go, too. They’re just boring. On her way out, Olivia can take nuKate with her. This is clearly a failed recast. We’re supposed to believe Sonny went to high school with this girl when she’s like 20 years younger than him. No one is buying it. The lady in white, aka Cassandra (yeah, we get it, Cassandra in the Cassadine mansion, there’s clearly a tie to the family) also has to go. The actress is boring and the storyline is, well, dumb. Yeah, I said it, it’s dumb. And, finally, we come to Spinelli. He could very well be the most irritating character in the history of GH. He’s certainly the most annoying character on the canvas right now. While he was refreshing for about two weeks, the character has stopped being even remotely endearing and Bradford Anderson isn’t exactly what I would call a viable love interest for any of the women on the canvas.

Well, there you have it. Those are my ideas for fixing the writing on ‘General Hospital.’ How would you fix the show if you could?


Blogger dar said...

I would bring the key characters in from oltl, the buchanans, Bo, nora, since Bo was fired as police chief in llanview, he would get hired there. Other cast members could make appearances visiting Bo. This would insure oltl fans would watch, if the main characters were still there,along with Blair, Todd and Star. The remaining actors from both shows could be written out, or in, depending on mass appeal.

January 11, 2012 at 7:37 PM 
Blogger Amy said...

I agree about Bo, but I don't see Bob Woods moving from NY to LA. John was leaving LPD anyway, so why not have him move to PC as a cop who will actually get rid of the mob? No offense to Mac (or his fans) but he isn't exactly the cream of the crop when it comes to cops. He is, in a word, ineffectual. Are we sure it's Kristen Alderson coming to GH? That surprises me as I thought she wanted to spread her wings. I'd think the girl who plays Natalie would. Then, she and John can move to PC with Liam. Why would Todd and Blair move there? I don't know but I don't really care. I love both actors. I just don't like that he killed Victor, but that's a moot point now.

As for the thoughts on how to fix GH: I agree almost 100%. The mob has to go. It has ruined this show. Since the OLTL writers knew how to write for multiple core families, I think we can see a re-building of those on GH. I certainly hope so. And give me a break on the Katie Couric thing. I'm hoping the ousting of Brian Frons will put the breaks on all that for a while. Hopefully, the new regime will give the new heads at GH a chance to fix what is most clearly broken. Oh, the one ousting I don't want to see on GH is Brandon Barash. That actor has a lot to offer--the writers have just not used him correctly. Oh, and I like Olivia. Just not with Steve. I love her character. He is just boring---but a nice big brother to Liz. Which makes him part of a core family, too. Not big on a Liz and Lucky reunion. At all.

All in all, though. I'm thrilled with all the new blood coming to GH. And hoping it works out---for all of us.

January 12, 2012 at 2:19 PM 
Blogger jshelly said...

I just can't handled the fact that people want more reality tv. Leave our soaps alone, but yes i do agree Bo and his family plus Destiny and the baby. Sonny needs to find someone who will love him. John, Blair, Starr and Todd I can't wait.

January 12, 2012 at 7:48 PM 

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