Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Why NBC has to keep ‘Parenthood’

Anyone else think Tuesday’s season finale of ‘Parenthood’ felt more like a series finale?

Between Jasmine and Crosby getting their happily ever after wedding, to Adam deciding not to dump all over Crosby’s dream and sell the music studio, to Sarah getting proposed to, to Julia and Joel getting a foster/adoptive child – everything seemed to get tied up in a neat little bow.

While I’m thankful that the writers thought ahead and didn’t leave everyone in the lurch in case this actually was the series finale, I can’t help but hope that NBC sees fit to give the series at least one more season.

The good news first, ‘Parenthood’ got a boost in ratings numbers, hitting a 1.9 in adults 18-49 – up 12 percent over the previous week. This is the show’s best showing since November. Given the fact that lead in ‘The Biggest Loser’ keeps shedding viewers – dropping another 13 percent this week from last week – that’s actually pretty impressive.

The bad news? Those still aren’t great numbers.

What ‘Parenthood’ has going for it is quite simple. As the weakest of the big four networks, NBC doesn’t demand the same ratings numbers as other networks do. In actuality, they’re still recovering from the Jay Leno debacle. And, since ‘Parenthood’ has a stellar cast and decent pedigree, odds are that they’ll probably at least give serious consideration to renewing the show.

On the flip side, though, the amount of talent on ‘Parenthood’ – coupled with the fact that it’s a pretty large cast for an hourly – means that each episode is fairly expensive to produce. In other words, Peter Krause, Monica Potter, Lauren Graham, Erika Christensen, Dax Shepard and Craig T. Nelson aren’t cheap. That doesn’t include the rest of the cast – which is equally talented – although probably not as richly rewarded.

NBC is in a quandary. It doesn’t have a lot of quality on the network. Quite frankly, there’s not a lot of anything on the network. Longtime stalwart ‘The Biggest Loser’ is starting to falter and the always steady ‘Law and Order: SVU’ is starting to look old. When you add to that the fact that most of NBC’s comedies are struggling – well, that makes the fate of ‘Parenthood’ more hopeful.

That being said, the high concept ‘Awake’ is premiering Thursday and it’s starting to generate buzz. It’s not that I think ‘Awake’ and ‘Parenthood’ can’t co-exist, but I do think that if ‘Awake’ does well that the early season finale of ‘Parenthood’ could hurt next season’s outlook.

It’s all kind of confusing.

‘Parenthood’ has a small but loyal following – and that’s something NBC really can’t afford to lose. Of course, NBC has proven that their show development bigwigs aren’t exactly smart either. After all, they’re the ones that helped decimate the network after it was number one in the 1990s.

Essentially, now we enter a waiting game. No decision will be made either way until this spring.
At least, as fans, if we don’t get another season of ‘Parenthood’  Tuesday’s episode gave us a feeling of closure – even if it’s closure we don’t necessarily want.

Personally, though, I’m looking forward to Crosby and Jasmine struggling through the first year of marriage, Julia and Joel handling what I’m sure will turn out to be an emotionally damaged child, Zeke’s health crisis, the ramifications of Drew losing his virginity at the wedding and Sarah’s answer to the proposal (I’m betting it’s no since Jason Ritter has been cast on another pilot).

Either way, I’m thankful for the three seasons the Bravermans did give us. They were well worth the time invested.

What do you think? Will ‘Parenthood’ get a fourth season?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

TELEVISION: This week's top moments in entertainment

With February sweeps winding down, I think most viewers (like myself) were expecting a little more.

Most shows pull out all the stops for sweeps events.

Instead, this week was pretty much a compilation of all things ‘meh.’

That’s not to say there weren’t a few highlights – and even more lowlights.

What are they?

5. A lot of fans were excited about Chad Michael Murray’s return to his old stomping grounds on ‘One Tree Hill.’ I wasn’t one of them – I’m not a big fan of Murray’s off screen antics (let alone his on screen brooding). Anyway, what did we learn about Lucas’ time away from his friends and family? Not a thing – except Murray needs a haircut. This was essentially a waste of a guest spot. Of course, Nathan’s whole “kidnapped by ghetto basketball gangsters and dirty cops” storyline is a waste of ink anyway. I think most fans would agree that killing off Nathan would be a slap in the face to the show’s most loyal base – I doubt they’ll really go there.

4. This is the final season for ‘Desperate Housewives’ (thankfully) so it’s quite a surprise when the writers manage to surprise us. I mean, I think most people are just watching out of habit now. The performances aren’t particularly appealing and the writing hasn’t been fresh for years. Just saying. Anyway, the fun return of Orson on ‘Desperate Housewives’ – and the slow reveal that he was the one blackmailing Bree and her friends – was actually a fun little twist as the show winds down. I was hoping he and Bree would get a happy ending before I realized he was a blackmailing tool – eh, I still hope they get a happy ending. Hey, she’s not perfect either. 

3. Winona leaving Raylan on FX’s massively entertaining ‘Justified’ was a head-scratcher. I mean, she had just finished saying she was done trying to change him. They had just recently been searching for houses. They’d been shacking up for months. Oh, and they’re expecting a baby. While I find Winona to be the most boring character on ‘Justified’ I was surprised by the turn of events and her comment that she’d been “gone for weeks.” Really? Then who was that living with Raylan and making baby plans? That being said, Boyd is still a riot. I’d watch Walton Goggins read the phone book.

2. ‘How I Met Your Mother’ has been teasing the mother reveal for a really long time. It’s time for a little payoff. This week, the show went back to the well and revisited Robin and Ted – something that has been over for years. Really? How are fans supposed to invest in Robin and Ted when we were told that Robin is not the mother in the first season? Personally, I would like her to be the mother, but that would make a lot of what the writers have told us over the years false. The show can’t keep idling in a holding period. It’s time to introduce the mother. I think what’s really going on here is that the writers have written themselves in a corner and they’re not sure what to do – either make Robin the mother or definitely let it go. Holding on is just hurting the overall legacy of the show. And, if Robin isn’t the mother, please don’t saddle Barney with her again. They have zero chemistry as romantic partners – and no one wants to see the Barnacle settle down.

1. NBC’s ‘Parenthood’ almost always delivers an emotional wallop. This week was no exception. First off, what’s a romantic reunion without a declaration of love (followed by a steamy kiss) in the rain. I think just about everyone was relieved when Jasmine and Crosby finally got over their issues and reunited. That wasn’t the most emotional moment on ‘Parenthood’, though. That honor goes to Julia – who was happily going to spend some time with her new son – when she witnessed Zoe (the birth mother) with the baby that was promised to her family. No words were spoken between the two women, but the devastation on Julia’s face spoke volumes. After everything Joel and Julia did for Zoe, it was really a slap in the face. While I would never force a woman to give up her child, what Zoe did to Joel and Julia was really a little cruel. That being said, with the season finale coming up this week, who else thinks Zoe is going to have a change of heart and give the baby back to Joel and Julia?

Honorable mentions:

In a moment reminiscent of Lady Macbeth, Lori urges husband Rick to do something about her former lover (and possible baby daddy) Shane by not only saying that Shane thinks Lori belongs to him but that he thinks he’s a better leader than Rick. Way to push his buttons Lori.

On the ‘Big Bang Theory,’ Sheldon is thrown off course by his barber’s sudden illness. No one else can cut his hair because they don’t have his full hair cut records. Sheldon is always a fish out of water, but the final scenes with him finally giving in and letting Penny cut his hair (with an oops moment) were hilarious.

‘General Hospital’ completely flubs the death of Robin Scorpio-Drake – a character that debuted in 1985 and has never been played by another actress – by totally making it about resident mobster Jason Quartermaine. Way to ruin what could have been a beautiful story GH.

‘The Daily Show’ is always about pointing out hypocrisy. This week’s segment on birth control and forced internal sonograms was especially poignant, though. The satire was so sharp that the state of Virginia dropped the proposed mandate after ‘The Daily Show’ made their point. If a show on Comedy Central is making you rethink your point, you should have thought better about it in the first place.

‘Switched at Birth’ takes another shot at becoming a soap opera when the usually reliable Emmett starts drinking as part of his speech therapy. This is, of course, after he announces he wants to drop out of school. Anyone else see a teen drinking story around the corner? Can’t ABC Family try to be just a little more realistic?

What do you think? What were your top television moments?

Five things to watch out for at this year’s Oscars

5. George Clooney and Brad Pitt’s bromance comes to a head  in the best actor category – with only one of them being able to walk away with the coveted prize. Personally, I prefer Clooney’s performance in ‘The Descendants’ to Pitt’s in ‘Moneyball’ – but the academy has overlooked Pitt for a long time and he may finally be due. Of course, Jean Dujardin of ‘The Artist’ could come in and ruin it for both of them.

4. Look for ‘The Help’ to upset in at least one category. Most pundits are picking Meryl Streep in the best actress category and ‘The Artist’ in best picture, but something tells me that ‘The Help’ is going to swoop in and nab one of those awards. Personally, I think it should be able to lay claim to both. If Streep does win best actress, however, we can only hope she doesn’t do her usual blathering at the podium. We know, given how many awards she’s won, she’s no longer shocked when she takes home the prize. It just makes her look stupid. I think everyone agrees that Octavia Spencer has supporting actress for ‘The Help’ all sewed up – but it would be nice if she and Viola Davis could take awards home together since they both did stellar work. That being said, if Melissa McCarthy somehow nabs the supporting actress statue, I won’t shed any tears. She and Spencer both stole their movies.

3. Sasha Baren Cohen will do something stupid. His schtick was funny as Borat. It was less funny, but still entertaining as Bruno. It’s just old and passé now. Earlier this week it was announced that Cohen would not be allowed on the red carpet dressed up as his newest alter ego Admiral General Aladeen. Reportedly, show producers didn’t want him using the footage for his newest movie. Then, all of a sudden, it was announced he would be part of the show. I think everyone smells a set-up/publicity stunt.

2. The show will feature a performance by Cirque du Soleil – that will invariably fall flat. Every year people complain the show is too long and, as the show moves later into the night, the actors are given less time to give their speeches. Why not cut stupid stuff like this out? Cirque du Soleil did a performance in 2002 – that was essentially when everyone got up to get another beer and had a bathroom break. If you really want to reinvigorate the Oscars – streamline it. No one wants to watch this.

1. Billy Crystal restores the luster to Oscar. It’s been a tough couple of years without the venerable Crystal – a host who always somehow manages to rise above trite jokes in a tired format. I think anyone who saw last year’s debacle with Anne Hathaway and James Franco, though, knows that just about anything has to be better than that drivel. Thankfully, Crystal manages to be funny without going over the line. After Eddie Murphy abruptly dropped out of hosting duties several weeks ago, the thing Oscar needs most at this point is a little stability. Crystal always delivers that – plus, I know I’m excited to see how he projects his countenance into ‘The Help’ -- I just know it's going to have something to do with Minny's pie.

What about you? What do you think will happen during tonight’s Oscar telecast?

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Writing regime change at ‘General Hospital’ has to be an improvement

Watching ‘General Hospital kill off one of my all-time favorite heroines this week was bittersweet.
On one hand, I will miss Robin Scorpio-Drake. I mean, she was one of the few heroines in Port Charles these days that isn’t a self-centered narcissist and, well, I did watch her grow up on screen.

On the other hand, though, I’m actually kind of glad she’s gone. Given the poor quality of writing on the show since – oh, about 1997 – I don’t want to see her character sacrificed on the altar of the mob (yet again).

As of Feb. 21, former OLTL writer Ron Carlivati took over head scribe duties (meaning, his work actually started appearing onscreen that day) for ‘General Hospital.’ Now, I know that I really can’t blame him for the poor way Robin’s death was written – mostly because it was all set in motion before he took over – but he better have some vast improvements in store for this soap if it’s going to survive. What happened this week isn’t going to cut it.

When you break it down, Robin’s death was not about Robin or her husband, mother and daughter. It was about mobster Jason Morgan – again.

The reason ‘General Hospital’ is in such dire straits is because everything on the soap has revolved around three characters – Jason, Carly and Sonny – for more than a decade. They are not the most important characters in this world. Quite frankly, most fans are sick of them.

Back in the day, one of GH’s all-time best stories revolved around young Maxie getting her cousin BJ’s heart after a bus accident. What made that story great, though, is that the adults involved cared for each other and were legitimately torn up about what was going on. You could feel their pain.

This past year, GH tried to relive their glory days by having young Jake Spencer get hit by a drunk driver (his grandfather, no less) and then his organs were donated to the daughter of Carly Jax. Now, the big difference in the two stories is this: The Maxie/BJ story was handled with grace and great pacing.

The Jake story line was rushed through and built around the emotions of Jason Morgan – Jake’s biological and absentee father. Very little time was given to his grieving mother and adoptive father – you know, the people who actually raised him. Instead, it was all about Jason. What Jason was feeling. How hard it was for Jason. How Jason had to go and ask for his son’s organs to save the horrid Carly’s daughter.

Quite frankly, it was ridiculous.

The same thing happened this week when Robin died. In a nutshell, Robin was trying to save former love Jason Morgan’s life when a laboratory fire broke out. Now, Maxie’s self-centered nature was a contributing factor to Robin’s death – which is annoying – but it is the Jason propping that is the real culprit here.

Patrick Drake said goodbye to Robin through a glass door after she essentially gave up her life to save serial killer Jason Morgan. Since then, on screen, about an hour has elapsed. Maybe two. In that time, the writers rushed through Patrick telling Anna that her daughter had died, Anna telling Mac that his niece had died, and Mac telling Sonny that Robin was dead.

Then Jason’s current concubine Sam started berating and begging a grieving Patrick for the drug to save Jason’s life – attacking him outright instead of offering him condolences for Robin’s death. Why are we supposed to care about her again? She actually uttered the sentence “What about me?”

All the while this was going on, we have the vapid nuKate running around in a bloody wedding dress from  years ago, Ethan talking to a cardboard cutout, Dante propping the man that shot him point blank in the chest, Carly getting it on with Johnny, Sonny running around and waving a gun at everyone he can find (despite taking a bullet for like the 20th time), and TJ throwing a kegger at Alexis’ house.


This week should have been about Robin and her family – not the big three losers and their problems. Poor John J. York, his Mac had the most realistic response to Robin’s death but he was only shown for one episode before being shuffled off screen in favor of us trying to believe that Helena mothered a daughter in her late 50s.

Carlivati has a lot of work ahead of him – especially given the damage the two previous head writers (Garin Wolf, Bob Guza) did to a once great soap opera.

Do I think he is up to the challenge? ‘One Life to Live’ was the best written soap on television at the time of its cancellation, but if Carlivati is going to continue to pretend that everything in Port Charles has to revolve around Carly, Sonny and Jason – then fans aren’t going to want to visit mob central anymore. I’m one of those people on the brink. If things don’t change, GH simply won’t survive.

What do you think? Was Robin’s death handled well or was it fumbled?

Click here for the best storylines in ‘General Hospital’ history.

Click here for the worst storylines in ‘General Hospital’ history.

The best stories in ‘General Hospital’ history

10. The Asian Quarter: This storyline actually revolved around the Scorpios – Robert, Anna and Robin respectively. Felicia and Frisco also played heavily into the tale, as did racist themes and a higher consciousness that has since vacated soaps. While the story did have some ridiculous touches – the most endearing memory of the story is a young Robin racing into her mother’s arms after being separated for a long period of time. The fact that the Robin and Anna relationship is front and center again today – almost 26 years later – is a testament to the foundation their characters were built on.

9. The Puerto Rico adventures: This was after Luke and Laura returned but before Sonny became the mobster that ate Port Charles. When this story unfolded, yeah, Sonny was a mobster, but he wasn’t monopolizing everything on ‘General Hospital.’ At the time of this storyline, the only thing blowing up was Luke’s boat and the popularity of Sonny and Brenda. I’m not sure when the super couple officially died, but I think for GH, the last one they successfully launched was Sonny and Brenda. There’s certainly no one on the canvas that comes close to matching their fire and charisma. What was also great about the Puerto Rico story was that it involved multiple couples and story arcs, including Ned and Lois and Lily and Miguel. Still, the indelible memory of that story is a wet and bedraggled Sonny and Brenda washing up on shore after almost being killed and immediately starting to make out in the sand. It was ridiculous and ridiculously hot at the same time. Of course, those were the days when couples weren’t forced down your throat and instead were allowed to percolate at their own pace.

8. The Aztec treasure: Back in the 1980s, General Hospital was known for being something of an adventure soap. Everything was big – including the women’s hair. The Aztec treasure story was a fun way to advance the Frisco and Felicia romance, as well as including Robert and Holly and the introduction of Sean Donnelly – who was initially romantically interested in his “princess” – but would later become something of a father figure to her. The story was campy and it really didn’t make a lot of sense – but the location shoots were fun and beautiful and the story is still better than anything they have onscreen today.

7. Luke and Laura return to Port Charles: This happened in 1993. How do I remember? I scheduled my college classes around it so I wouldn’t miss a moment. This is when GH was truly must see TV. First the most beloved super couples of all time returned to town. That they had one of the cutest soap kids ever (Jonathon Jackon’s Lucky) with them was another boost. When Luke and Laura got separated from Lucky, I remember that I wasn’t even remotely worried that Lucky wouldn’t make it to Port Charles on his own. After all, he was the son of Luke and Laura and Jackson made a 10-year-old Lucky seem wise beyond his years. What’s really a shame about this story is what the writers have done since then. This would have been about the time that Ethan was supposedly conceived (off screen) even though we were watching Luke and Laura onscreen and know that he wasn’t sneaking off to have an affair with Holly. Still, this time in GH’s history remains one of its strongest.

6. Lucky’s “death”: No one wanted to see GH’s biggest super couple crumble – but the performances given by Genie Francis and Anthony Geary as Laura and Luke when they found out their son Lucky had died in a fire were unforgettable. Initially thought to be a victim of mob violence, we eventually found out that it was Spencer nemesis Helena who had kidnapped Lucky and faked his death – but in the initial moments an outraged Laura lambasted Luke for teaching his son that it was okay to trust mobsters. The other standout in the story was a young Rebecca Herbst. The sweet love story of Liz and Lucky has been tarnished today, but seeing Liz sink to the ground when she realizes that Lucky is gone remains one of the most poignant scenes in GH’s almost 50-year history.

5. Luke and Laura’s love story: It really wasn’t something that fans expected – especially after Luke raped Laura on the disco floor. You couldn’t deny the chemistry, though. The writers changed the rape to a seduction and a super couple was born. Years later, they would have Luke acknowledge the rape (and then cheat on the love of his life in a blatantly ridiculous storyline that no fan watching at the time believes). One or both of the actors left throughout the years. Laura was assumed dead, but then she returned and when Mayor Luke saw her on the lawn from his balcony the chemistry was still palpable. My greatest hope, before the end of GH, is that the writers will right the wrong that has become their love story, undo Ethan’s parentage and reunite the genre’s greatest couple. Of course, I’m the first to admit this story set a bad precedent in soaps. After Luke and Laura writers were constantly trying to pair women with their rapists. It only worked once, though, and only for those who were willing to believe the seduction theory.

4. Jason Quartermaine becomes Jason Morgan: I know it seems hypocritical to pick this storyline as one of the best – especially given my general disdain for Jason Morgan these days – but when it happened it was wonderful. The Quartermaine golden boy, Jason Morgan, tries to stop his brother from driving drunk and suffers a brain injury in a car accident as a result. Up until that point, Steve Burton looked bored playing Jason Quartermaine (and I don’t blame him). The Jason that survived the crash was a raging pain in the butt who hated the Quartermaines and what they stood for. He grew into an emotionally unstable young man who had a sweet love story with Robin and a disconnect with his former life. What the character has become today, an unfeeling Borg, is not a reflection of how the story started. Jason Morgan should most definitely return to his Quartermaine roots. But those first two years or so of the Jason Morgan chronicles were engaging and interesting – something the character hasn’t been for years.

3. Monica is diagnosed with breast cancer: This was a realistic storyline that took the larger-than-life Quartermaines and relegated them to flesh and blood people dealing with the possible death of one of their own. Monica and Alan had been through a lot through the years – including trying to kill each other – but the true emotion in this story rose from the couple’s bond. That the story introduced Amber Tamblyn as Emily was just an added bonus. It was Tamblyn’s Emily that essentially restored the Quartermaine heart and got it beating again. Still, I don’t think I’ll ever forget the first time Alan and Monica slept together after the surgery, and the way she was self-conscious of her scar. Truly wonderful writing and performances marked this story. It’s sad to see what’s become of the Quartermaines – but this story was one of their finest.

2. Stone dies of AIDS: On paper, the writers were taking a big risk with this one. Not only were they taking beloved teen Robin – a character that had grown up onscreen played by the wonderful Kimberly McCullough since she was seven years old – and making her HIV positive, but they were also killing off her love interest. It was a gutsy move. It paid off in spades. Fans were broken-hearted when Stone died in Robin’s arms. They also rallied around her – much like her onscreen friends and family like Mac, Felicia, Brenda and Sonny – because they wanted the character to succeed and thrive. Back when Robin was diagnosed HIV positive, AIDS was still almost always a death sentence. Things have changed these days but I, for one, will never forget a then blind Stone getting his eyesight back long enough to get one final glimpse of Robin before passing away. “I can see you, Robin.”

1. Maxie gets BJ’s heart: I don’t know anyone that wasn’t a sobbing mess on the floor for this storyline. The writing for this tale was top notch, with fans preparing themselves for months that young Maxie was going to die without a new heart. We even got the obligatory return of her deadbeat dad to say goodbye. Then, out of nowhere (these were the days before spoilers on the Internet kids), cousin BJ was involved in a bus accident and declared brain dead. The scene where Maxie’s mother Felicia is trying to find sister-in-law Bobbie (BJ’s mom) to tell her they found a heart for Maxie – without realizing who the donor really was – was one of the most heartbreaking scenes in soap history. From the two women sinking to the floor together, to Felicia’s simple “Not Barbara Jean’s heart,” to a grief stricken Tony listening to his daughter’s heart beat in his niece’s chest – this was truly GH’s greatest moment.

Honorable mentions go to: The Cassadines trying to freeze the world, the Jax/Brenda/Sonny love triangle, Heather Webber frames Anne Logan, Steve Hardy dies, Laura reveals Nikolas’ parentage, Robin and Jason’s love story, Scotty and Dominique’s love story, Kevin and Lucy’s love story, Clink/Boom and Tracy withholds Edward’s heart medication.

What do you think? What are the best storylines in GH history?

The worst storylines in ‘General Hospital’ history

10. Dancing Sam: In an effort to tie in Kelly Monaco’s ‘Dancing with the D-List Stars’ win, GH’s writers fashioned a twin for Monaco’s Sam character. The character’s only claim to fame seemed to be dancing. She wasn’t tied to anyone else on the canvas and the collective eye roll from fans quickly had the storyline (thankfully) going into soap oblivion.

9. Emily’s abandoned twin Rebecca: Not long after killing off Emily, the GH writers realized they had made a mistake. To fix that mistake, instead of resurrecting Emily they decided to bring actress Natalia Livingston back as Emily’s twin Rebecca. Supposedly Emily’s biological mother had given Rebecca up at birth because she couldn’t afford her. We all knew that was crap since we’d seen Paige onscreen and saw how devoted she was. Rebecca was a mess from the start. First we find out she’s trying to fleece the Quartermaines. Then we find out she’s legitimately fallen in love with Nikolas. Then we find out fans are outraged and want her gone. Then she’s gone. The writers would have been better off bringing back Emily – because Rebecca was a nightmare from start to finish.

8. The Text Message Killer: A few years ago, GH was trying to cut costs and they did it by trimming the cast. Their method of madness? Killing off fan favorites like Georgie and Emily by a masked madman. While the story itself was weak, the final reveal of who the killer was – a supposedly dead Diego – was what really bit the big one. The choice of the GH heroines to kill off was a definite mistake (there were a number of others to choose from) – but to have the killer be Diego was ludicrous.

7. Liz and Nikolas have an affair: This one came out of nowhere. I like both Rebecca Herbst and Tyler Christopher as performers – but they had no business pairing these two. Forget, for a moment at least, that they had been best friends for years. But, when you couple that with the fact that Liz’s soul mate is actually Nikolas’ brother Lucky, the whole thing was gross and out-of-character for both characters. After saddling Liz with yet another kid, the writers thankfully fixed Aidan’s parentage and made Lucky the father. Unfortunately, that story also ushered Nikolas off the canvas. I guess he was just the latest victim of General Mobsital.

6. Ethan is Luke’s son: Within the past five years or so, the GH writers have started perpetrating a lie. That lie is that Laura somehow trapped Luke with a house and a baby and tried to ruin his life. The writers then said that Luke would often take off – even though he was onscreen at the time and we knew it wasn’t true – and have affairs and adventures with other women. One of those adventures was reportedly with his past love Holly. A few years ago, an Australian rogue showed up claiming to be the son of Holly and Robert (which would have made a lot more sense). Instead we found out Luke fathered Ethan while on a jaunt away from Laura. It was ludicrous and insulting to fans. I’m still hoping they fix Ethan’s parentage – making him Robert’s son – before actor Nathan Parsons leaves the soap behind.

5. Casey the Alien: I loved Kimberly McCullough and Robin, but this story had stupid written all over it. We’re used to fantastical stories on soaps – but this one never got off the ground. It wasn’t that the actors didn’t give it their all; it was just a dud of a storyline from start to finish. I felt embarrassed for all those involved.

4. The Balkan: Vanessa Marcil’s full-time return to GH after a prolonged absence was one of the most anticipated tales in the soap’s long and storied history. Too bad it was a dud from the start. Stranding Brenda in Europe – surrounded by characters we didn’t care about – was stupid from the start. Then to tie her to a tired mob plotline just exasperated things. The final straw that broke the camel’s back, though, was when Carly interrupted Brenda’s wedding and never got her comeuppance for it. When even Brenda can’t best Carly, you know there’s a problem in the writing.

3. Felicia abandons her daughters: When Kristina Wagner left, GH should have killed off Felicia or found a better excuse why she wasn’t around. Believing that Felicia would just walk away from her daughters and leave them to fend for themselves was ludicrous. I’ve been a fan of soaps for years, so I know there are some preposterous plot twists, but this one really was out there.

2. Luke runs over Jake: I don’t have a problem with killing soap kids off. In general, I find them annoying. It’s not like Jake did a lot anyway. This move made no sense, though. Jake was the rare kid that had a lot of potential. He was related to the Quartermaines, Hardys and Spencers. That’s a potential powder keg if there ever was one. It became apparent early on that GH was trying to relive their glory days with the BJ and Maxie storyline. Instead they fumbled it from the start. Anthony Geary was great as he played Luke’s horror at realizing he’d mowed down Jake while drunk – but everything else in the storyline was rushed and sloppy. Since the tale was played as another way to prop Jason – it also failed on an emotional level.

1. Sonny romances Emily: This had ick written all over it. Forget the age difference – you get used to that on soaps – it was the fact that Sonny had a brotherly relationship with Emily one second and then was trying to get her into bed the next. It was just so wrong. I mean Sonny and Carly gave Emily and her teen boyfriend Juan the sex talk at one time. Then for him to try and bed her – despite the fact that she was the sister of the man he considered his brother – the whole thing just gave me the heebie jeebies.

Honorable mentions go to: The bio balls at the hospital, Franco the serial killer, Nikolas’ “twin” rapes Emily, Laura goes insane, Jerry Jacks comes back with plastic surgery, a British accent and sociopathic tendencies, Dawn needlessly dies, AJ needlessly dies, and the decimation of the Quartermaines.

What do you think? What are the worst storylines in GH history?