Saturday, August 10, 2013

GENERAL HOSPITAL: The mob returns – and it’s okay

For years, ‘General Hospital’ has been ruled by the mob. 

For years and years and years and years.

It got really old.

What’s interesting about ‘General Hospital’ is that you can actually trace to history of the show and pinpoint where the ratings started to plummet. It happened to coincide with Sonny, Carly and Jason – and their mom shenanigans – and the hostile takeover they purported on Port Charles.

The problem wasn’t necessarily the mob. The problem was that the mob was everything.

Soaps are meant to be over-the-top. You have grand galas with murder mysteries and mysterious virus infections. You have switched babies and hot love triangles.

For a good decade, all those things revolved around the mob, and that was totally unbelievable.

The moment that most sticks out to me was when Jason took a speedboat out to Spoon Island to save the day. Yeah, Jason, the mob enforcer.

Sonny and Jason were made out to be these huge heroes – when the real heroes like Jax, Ned and Mac were shoved to the side.

It got old.

When Ron Carlivati took over, the mob took a backseat right away. It was a breath of fresh air.

I’m not pretending for a second that all of Carlivati’s stories were good. He went to his ‘One Life to Live’ well far too often. We had Connie and her multiple personalities, the nonstop propping of Sabrina (the new Natalie) and the introduction of the lost Ford brother (new Morgan).

What Carlivati has done right, though, is bring back the vets. Sure, they’re not getting enough airtime, but that’s because the cast is far too big. That’s a whole other argument, though, and I’ve lamented it so many times I’m even bored with it.

Carlivati’s newest endeavor, though, the reintroduction of the Jeromes does something that none of the other mob stories have done before: Mine GH’s rich history.

New fans probably don’t realize that the mob in GH hasn’t always revolved around Sonny. Decades ago, the Jeromes ran the mob – and Frank Smith ran the mob – and Luke was involved with the mob. By reintroducing the Jeromes, Carlivati is launching a mob story that can easily involve more than half of the cast.

I know there’s some Kiki fatigue on the message boards, but I’m liking her more than I ever had. Kiki
being a mob child and being involved with the offspring of two mob children is the stuff great soap stories are made of.

Bringing back Julian Jerome – and making him Sam’s father – was a genius move. Fans have been complaining for years that they didn’t know who Sam’s father was. And, while I was sick to death of Sam fans trying to tie the character to legacy characters like Robert, Sean and Duke, this is a legacy character that drives story without ruining the history of a beloved character.

This umbrella storyline anchors Kiki, Ava and Silas to the canvas – in a good way. Silas is Kiki’s father and his romance with Sam will now be interesting because the uncle of his daughter is also the father of his soon-to-be girlfriend.

Kiki has a new father figure to bond with, an uncle to get to know, and two fighting mob offspring to choose between.

Sonny has a new enemy, one that has ties to Duke and Anna. This also opens the door for the reintroduction of Lucas – Julian’s biological son and Carly’s adopted brother. Lucas is also a gay character that might be able to revitalize the lagging gay story between Felix and Brad right now.

That’s good storytelling, in my book.

That brings us to our other big story: Luke’s search for a cure.

On Friday, longtime fans were blessed by the return of Sean Donnelly. Sure, he’s in a wheelchair, but
I have a feeling he’s suffering from the same ailment as Luke and that’s why he has the cure Luke needs.

Sean Donnelly has a rich history with a number of the characters on the GH canvas right now, including Luke, Anna, Duke, Holly and Mac. All we need is Robert to wake up from his coma and I’d be in 1980s heaven.

I know I could be wasting my wishes, but I am desperate to believe that Luke and Sean are going to join forces to find Jerry – and stumble over Robin in the process. For the love of all that’s holy, bring Robin home.
I am more than happy to watch Sean and Luke rescue my girl and bring her home to her family. Robin adds a whole other aspect to Port Charles and, if the rumors are true and Jason Thompson is leaving the show, I want Robin and Patrick to get their happily ever after.

Also, if you resurrect Robert and bring him and Sean back to Port Charles, they also have ties to the Jeromes. Do you see how that works?

Of course, the big problem with all of this is the bloated cast. I know I said I wasn’t going to discuss it, but it is a problem. This cast has got to be cut. Period.

There are a lot of unnecessary characters floating around Port Charles right now. We know Connie is
going, which will heat up the mob war between Sonny and the Jeromes, but we need quite a few more characters to get out of town.

I nominate Britt, Sabrina, Spinelli, Ellie, Maxie, Olivia, Sean and T.J. I know some of those characters have fans – but there are more important characters out there and some hard cuts have to be made. In addition, I would cut Franco. I love Roger Howarth, but his return has been a dud. Why didn’t they make him a Cassidine? Why bring him back as such a loathsome character? A brain tumor didn’t make me love Jonathan on ‘All My Children’ and it’s not going to make me love Franco.

The good thing is, GH is “must watch” television for me again. That’s a definite step in the right direction.

What do you think? Are you looking forward to the new mob war?


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