Talking about General Hospital right now is starting to make
me sound like a broken record.
I don’t want to complain, but there’s so much to keep
So, instead of doing my now weekly diatribe about how the
continuity is bad and sustained momentum is non-existent, I thought we could do
something different this week.
Let’s talk about what is good.
I know, I know, that’s shocking. Still, let’s give it a
First up? Performances. You know you have a good actor when
a serious pile of dung is placed in front of them and they still manage to act
their little hearts out. You know, for example, that Laura Wright must have
spent the better part of the last two weeks cringing when she saw the scripts –
and yet she sold her performance.
The same goes for Roger Howarth, Tyler Christopher, Kimberly
McCullough, and William DeVry.
Roger Howarth has been handed the worst role on television,
and yet he keeps trying to spin it into
gold. The writers keep trying to prop
him. And, even though fans aren’t buying the redemption of Franco, they do
still love Howarth.
As for McCullough, she’s been handed a terrible exit
storyline and yet she keeps acting her little heart out. The writers could have
ended the Scrubs marriage and given Robin a realistic exit – but Ron Carlivati
is incapable of that. He’s a plot driven writer and character driven writing is
akin to a bad word in his vocabulary.
Then you have DeVry, who has spent the last two weeks
getting his butt kicked and then tattling to the local police commissioner.
What kind of mobster tattles to the police commissioner? I mean, really? Then
he stalked his daughter and came off as a bigoted jerk to his son. Not great
writing, but it was a great performance.
And, finally, poor Tyler Christopher. His Nikolas has to be
the dumbest man in Port Charles. He knows that Britt is a consummate liar that
is having something held over her head by her mother. He knows that baby Ben has
Dante’s latex allergy and that Britt stole genetic material from the lab to
make him. He’s seen that the baby looks exactly like his sister and yet he
still seems to believe every lie Brit tells him.
Listen, I’m a Britt and Nik fan – I’m rooting for them over
the long haul. She’s still got to get her payback and comeuppance. Having
Nikolas prop her is not doing either character any favors. The reason why fans
rallied behind Britt in the first place was as a reaction to all the propping
Sabrina was getting. Britt is going to be harmed, not helped, by the same
There’s been a lot of debate recently about how unrealistic
GH is. I have to agree, the soap is out there right now. We’ve got enough dead
characters back to fill a graveyard.
That’s not the problem, though.
I like soaps because they’re surreal. One of my most
favorite stories ever on a soap was Eterna on . That story was
ridiculous. It was about an underground city where they dressed like Star Trek
rejects and the city was never found under a mountain range – in Pennsylvania.
One Life to Live
I bought it, though, because of the emotions attached to it.
I bought it because Erika Slezak and Andrea Evans sold me on Eterna and the
heartache that lived there. I bought it because Jessica Tuck and Slezak had
such wonderful mother/daughter chemistry. I bought it because, even though the
story was stupid, the emotions were real.
GH has a lot of stupid storylines right now. We have a
retread of a pregnancy triangle (with two of the same players as a year ago)
that is falling so flat even bad implants wouldn’t help it. We have a serial
killer cured with a brain tumor chasing a deranged BLT loving killer he buried
alive three weeks ago as she wanders around town menacing everyone – and yet
nobody notices. We have a doctor in jail for a two-decades old killing even
though there is no evidence and his twin brother was a serial killer. We have a
long-missing Cassidine wandering around asking someone to unfreeze two
other Cassidines and one street thug. We have a baby switch, a tattling mobster, the
most boring teen scene in decades, and a barware throwing mobster that somehow
manages to make a profit even though he doesn’t run guns or drugs. And you know
what? The stories aren’t the problems. There’s no emotion attached to any of
them – and that is the problem.
Because of my work schedule, I DVR GH every day. I used to
come home at night and watch GH
before anything else. Not anymore. Now, on a
weekly basis, more often than not two or three episodes are waiting for me to
watch them on Sunday. And, you know what? I’ve started deleting them instead of
Yes, GH’s ratings are up. Every single soap has higher
ratings right now. That can be attributed to changes in online viewing and the
ending of the soap opera cable channel. That can be attributed to fans being
terrified of losing their shows. You can also attribute that to returning stars and
their huge fanbases.
On GH, at least, you cannot attribute that to the writing –
because the writing is a mess.
These are talented casts with the desire to do something
special. Stop giving them crap and let them shine.
I don’t think I’m asking for too much.
What do you think? What’s GH’s greatest strength right now?