Saturday, February 16, 2013

GENERAL HOSPITAL: The problem with pacing

There’s a lot to love about ‘General Hospital’ right now. A lot.

Frisco is back – and Jack Wagner is still hot.

Laura is back – and Genie Francis has a certain twinkle in her eye.

Despite my resolve to hate the vampire storyline, Michael Easton looks like he’s having so much fun I’m starting to enjoy it.

Oh, and Ron Carlivati has practically back-burnered Sonny and Carly – two points in the triangle that ate Port Charles for a decade.

One would think I’d be content.

I love the show right now, don’t get me wrong, but not everything is perfect.

Sure, there are some characters that I just can’t stand – but that’s not what’s bugging me. Every show has characters that some people don’t like.

My problem right now is with the pacing.

I thought long and hard about this all week, and I think I realize what the problem is.

The writers are bringing in a lot of vets to placate fans and celebrate GH’s 50th Anniversary this spring. This is what fans want – so don’t stop doing it.

The problem is, there are currently too many cast members on the canvas to write well for all of them.

I think the characters being hurt by this the most right now are Dante, Lulu and Liz – although no one is getting perfect pacing, I should point out.

The first time I noticed the pacing problem was the Switzerland story. That was an entire week of fun, which culminated in a boiling plastic mask, Robert getting injected and Jerry Jacks taking over as Robin’s kidnapper.

Then? Nothing. For like two weeks.

We didn’t get Anna and real Duke having an emotional reunion. We didn’t get to see Anna at Robert’s side. We didn’t get to see the fallout with Robin and Jerry.

Instead, we were transported back to Port Charles, where we had to watch Connie steal a 12-year-old’s book and Carly whine about her latest choice in men. Huh?

Since that time, every time a story gets some momentum on GH, it gets interrupted by dreck.

Take Frisco’s return, for example. Fans have been clamoring for Jack Wagner’s return for more than a decade. We got a glimpse of him and Maxie greeting each other and then . . . two days of nothing from that group. We never did get to see the fallout. Apparently that happened off-screen.

The same thing happened with Laura’s return. She spied on Luke at the docks, she visited Lulu, she made a mysterious phone call and . . . we’re led to assume she checked into the same hotel Luke is staying at and they haven’t crossed paths yet.

I understand that there is a lot going on right now.

Jack Wagner is only doing a very limited number of episodes, for instance. There has to be a better way to fix the pacing, though.

The truth is, GH has too many players right now. The three ‘One Life to Live’ transports are being forced out for a few weeks, so that will ease things for a little while, but they’re all coming back. That’s just a stopgap.
I know everyone has their own ideas on who to cut, so I figured I might as well throw my two-cents in, too.

First off, I would keep Francis and Tristan Rogers full time, and also try to get back Wally Kurth as Ned and Ingo Rademacher as Jax. Yes, I do know this is adding and not subtracting.

Then, I would make the easy choice to cut characters like Britt, Sabrina (the new air hog extraordinaire), Ellie, Spinelli, Steve (yes, I know he’s being killed off to prop Sabrina), Olivia, T.J. and Connie. I don’t care what anyone says, Connie is a lost cause.

That’s not enough cutting, though.

Here’s where the hard choices come in. I would ask Kimberly McCullough to come back for a few months this summer to wrap up her storyline (while she’s got a break from her classes). I would have an adventure storyline with her parents, and emotional reunion with Patrick and then a happy ending.

Write Patrick and Robin off into the sunset. I don’t want to see Jason Thompson lose his job, but he’s talented enough to get a gig in primetime – and I’m not going to accept him with another love interest (especially if that love interest is a twit like Sabrina).

The other hard cut I would make – and I’m bracing for the fan girl freak out – is Johnny Zacchara. I love Brandon Barash. I used to love Johnny. The character, though, was sacrificed on the Alter (pun intended) of Connie. I don’t see a way to redeem him.

They’re clearly pushing Johnny towards Kristina – but no one likes her either. She could easily be written out. Send her back to college. Don’t kill off Johnny. Leave him in jail and maybe revisit bringing him back down the road. He’s just languishing now – and he needs time to be rejuvenated.

Like I said, I know everyone doesn’t agree on who is expendable and who isn’t – but I think we can all agree that some cuts have to be made to fix the pacing problems.

What do you think? Who would you cut?


Blogger Shawnie said...

I would add Spinelli too that cut list after Maxie miscarries their baby and he finds out the baby was his.

March 1, 2013 at 9:56 PM 

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