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It's scary, sometimes, to be watching All My Children. Almost like a horror movie, really, where you're on edge, knowing that the killer is going to jump onscreen any moment brandishing a large weapon or a severed appendage, or something. Except instead of knives and body parts, AMC is scaring me with nonsensical plots and zero character growth or development. And it could happen at any time! At least on General Hospital and Days of Our Lives, you pretty much know which scenes are going to be the soap opera equivalent of assault (Sonny & Carly Round 94, Belle and Shawn's Island Adventures), but with this show, storylines that we good half an hour ago could suddenly spiral into a land of confusion! It's awful! Awful!
So, when SoapNet announced that it would be doing a primetime spin-off of General Hospital to focus more on the hospital and relationships surrounding it, we were like spin this off, losers! Since, you know, General Hospital itself was actually supposed to be about the hospital and relationships surrounding it.
But then those clever bastards announced that Patrick and Robin would be central to the spin-off – Night Shift – and we were like EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! OMG awesome! Then they released the full cast list, and we were so caught up with the fact that Steve Burton – who appears onscreen for about 90% of every episode every day on the mothership – was listed as a star, that we almost completely overlooked the absolutely cheestastic awesomeness of Billy Dee freaking Williams being one of the new additions. Lando Calrissian in Port Charles, man! The entertainment possibilities are endless.
Throughout our rollercoaster of soap emotions we hatched a plan. This show has the potential to be horribly awful, or blissfully awesome, and we need to closely track it to ensure that whatever direction it goes in, it is memorialized for all to mock, or admire, or some combination thereof. Therefore, we have decided to recap each and every episode for you, our readers! (Okay, we actually decided to recap it purely out of self-interest, but isn't it nice when our selfishness might inadvertently benefit others? That's the motto of the United Way, right?)
Anyhoo, Night Shift started production on Friday and will debut in July, and we will be there, venomous typing fingers at the ready! We will chronicle Dr. Patrick Drake as he hotly diagnoses stuff, hotly romances (let's hope) Dr. Robin, hotly interacts with Billy Dee freaking Williams, and hotly shares the screen with a bunch of other people that in all candor we won't be paying as much attention to. You've been warned!
Promising Ingénue has already brilliantly captured why Sam's "suddenly a talk show host on account of being heroic...ish during the hostage crisis" storyline is so ridiculous, so I haven't felt the need to rant about that. But Friday it hit a new low. A big stage light on the set of the stupid-ass talk show that nobody in real life would ever watch almost fell on Sam. Amelia saw it about to happen (probably because it will turn out she rigged it), and she yelled at Sam to "LOOK OUT!." Sam did. The light did not fall on her. Amelia said:
Amelia: I swear, you've proved again that you are the stuff that heroes are made of.
No, she hasn't! The natural instinct to flinch and duck is not heroic! Someone screamed at her to look out and she did. That's not heroism, that's basic comprehension skills. I think we finally know why this storyline is such a cluster. The writers don't actually know what "hero" means. Hey, wait, this explains why mobsters are the heroes of this show! It's suddenly so clear to me. And now I can finally wake GH viewers from our long, national nightmare: Here you go, writers! You're welcome.
So I had a crazy week at work and I figured I'd have a leisurely Friday night, hanging out and catching up on email. All was going well -- Bluefly is having a sale and a Nigerian fellow is going to share part of his fortune with me! -- until I got to the ABC Daytime weekly update. (Do not even get that look on your face; I have to read it for the blog. It's research!) Anyway, each week they include a poll. Last week the poll question was "Whose GH character's closet would you most like to raid?" (I know this makes me one of those people, but "whose" should have been "which.") Anyway, the choices were Sam, Carly, and Liz. The results were:
What? Whatwhatwhat?! Carly?! Unless people understood "raid" in the most radical military sense, in which all that is encountered is seized and destroyed, this is completely unacceptable! I cannot live in an America that thinks Carly is well-dressed. Is this why gauchos came back, high-waisted jeans are trendy again, and Chloe Sevigny is known as a fashion icon? I completely understand not wanting Sam's wardrobe, particularly since it's all covered in mulitple mobsters' cooties in addition to being fug, but Liz has great clothes! There was that unfortunate series of plaid coat incidents, but other than that she almost always looks great, and I'd be willing to do a lot of borderline-illegal things to have a handbag collection like the wardrobe department gives her. (I'm pretty sure the reason she as an ER nurse with a detective husband is totally broke all the time is because of what she spends at the Coach store every month. Either that or it's just terrible writing and/or attention to detail by the powers that be. And we know neither of those things happens on General Hospital.) But I digress, as I tend to do when thinking about pretty accessories. The point is, clearly the majority of America has terrible taste. Or on the off chance that most Americans don't vote in weekly network email polls about soaps, the majority of GH viewers have terrible taste. Suddenly the domination of the mob storylines begins to make sense . . . - Evil But Twinless
Bob Guza needs to double check his state of the art security system, because it became totally clear that the show's Awesome Writer managed to evade their armed guards, escape their cell and write part of yesterday's show!
Awesome Writer is a rebel. A maverick, if you will, dashing madly from scene to scene ensuring that there is character development, plots that move beyond a glacial pace, family and friends bonding, and a perfect blend of humor and drama. On any other show, all of that might be considered "his job", but on GH, it's going against the grain, taking a stand, chanting "Attica! Attica!"
I'm getting back into the swing of watching Days of Our Lives regularly. I kept up on recaps and clips and I watched bits and pieces of the Sunday marathon, but since, back in the days of yore, Days was on Soapnet at 11pm (the ancient time of "two weeks ago"...), and I am the oldest soon to be 24-year-old in the world, I was usually asleep before I heard "like sands through the hourglass..."
So I've been watching regularly. And I am both surprised and disappointed to learn that it wasn't the time of night that was making me fall asleep, it was the show itself!
I just...like, if I were basically on borrowed time because I knew that the network was just itching to cancel my show, I'd do my best to make it not be boring. But Ken Corday and Hogan Sheffer seem to just be like, "Eh? Meh." And Hogan and I had gotten off to such a great start last year. I was going to buy him a fruit basket! I thought we had something good going on. Hogan, baby, where did our love go?
I can't believe I forgot to mention this last week. Hilarious: The great and powerful Sonny being brought down not by one of the 500 bullets that whizzed past his overly-product'd head but instead by falling down the stairs and getting knocked out is one of the more awesome things to happen on GH in recent memory. Sometimes I think there is at least one writer who is totally in on the joke that is these mafia storylines.
Not hilarious: I turned on a soap opera – a damned soap opera, for god's sake – today to see a mobster (and leading man, as all mobsters should be) calmly and remorselessly shoot another mobster at point-blank range in the back without provocation. WHO WANTS TO WATCH THAT ON A SOAP?! Quentin Tarantino is still making movies. Some even spend some time in theaters! Go see those! Does nobody at ABC understand what the hell a soap opera is supposed to be?!
Tracy: Monica, what you and Alan did in bed is not really territory I wish to explore. I’ll ask him anything else.
Monica: No. No, it has to be something that only Alan would know.
Tracy: Monica, with all the men you’ve slept with, I could do an internet search and come up with a complete inventory of your preferences.
Hee! Great line, and Jane Elliot's delivery just kicks all kinds of ass. In fact, all those scenes in the Quartermaine living room today were great. (I mean, if you ignore the obviously maddening fact that a 30-year-veteran, recently unceremoniously canned, is playing a wisecracking ghost in a sweatsuit.) For the fortieth time this month alone, I ask: Why isn't this show better?
Not hilarious: The ensemble poor asskicking Jane Elliot had to wear while delivering her very hilarious lines. I can’t find a screencap, but it’s just as well, because I’m sure the FCC or whoever is regulating the internet these days (Is it still Ted Stevens? Because I really miss his helpful explanations about the series of tubes vs. dump trucks.) would shut us down immediately. Tracy's blouse may have offended me more than the mob execution.
Who says that soap operas aren't educational?! I was deciding what to buy my mother for Mother's Day today and went to the oh-so cliché places, like redenvelope.com, and then I saw The Young and the Restless and learned that the best way to show my mom I love her is to drug her romantic rival with libido-enhancing drugs so she'll get it on with a CEO of a cosmetics corporation just in time for the object of my mother's affections to walk in and see them and hate the romantic rival for being a skank and--fingers crossed!--turn to my mother and say, "You're pretty awesome! Let me share some of my billions of dollars with you!"
She'll really know how much I love her after that! Thanks for the awesome idea, Y&R!!!
Seriously, every time Kevin and Gloria are on my screen, I find myself wondering why on earth I am supposed to feel any sympathy for these people. I can also smell drug store perfume wafting off of Gloria. You know she wouldn't wear a Jabot creation, she'd head straight for the Charlie.
For starters (and I am by no means an expert on this), if I were a reformed internet predator who had given a 15-year-old girl an STD, I probably wouldn't drug people to make them have sex with each other. It wouldn't look very good.
Also, if I had played around with drugs and chemicals in the past and caused one death and one incident of a child being burned, I hopefully would have the human decency to think it's not a good idea to drug more people, lest I add more to my body count.
And if I were to insist on drugging people, I would have the self-awareness to realize that I was sort of sleazy, and not gallavant around town shrieking because people have the indecency not to like me. And if I were drugging people with the sole purpose of making a woman look bad so I could get a man who is worth millions of dollars after previously marrying a man who is worth millions of dollars (despite the fact that his company was always teetering on the verge of bankruptcy, but that is neither here nor there), I wouldn't act aghast when people called me a gold-digger, or a back alley grifter. I might actually have it printed on a t-shirt and wear it proudly around Genoa City!
This sort of thing is what keeps me from rooting from Kevin and Gloria. If they were to flat out own the fact that they are sleazy opportunists with checkered pasts and no moral compasses, they'd totally rule. But both of them get all puppy dog "But why don't people like me? Jack and Ashley and Jack and Colleen and JT and Jack and Neil and Jack are so mean:o( :o( :o(" whenever they are criticized.
Besides, I am pretty sure that this is a Sami Brady Scheme™ circa 1994. So it's lame and unoriginal. And also kind of gross--who wants to be a part of a scheme with their mother that involves forcing people to have sex? Ew!
There is this storyline playing out on General Hospital that I totally understand if you’ve missed because it’s really back-burner. It involves this nurse named Elizabeth, who is pregnant not by her detective husband Lucky (who really could die any day, his job is so dangerous, just ask the writers), but instead is having the baby of a brain-damaged hitman who happens to be her ex-boyfriend and ongoing confidante.
I know most of us just count our blessings that our revenge sex with hitmen/confidantes never resulted in unintended pregnancies, but poor Liz was not so lucky thanks to a defective Quartermaine-manufactured condom. (The Quartermaines suck and they ruin everything, just ask those same writers.) Anyway, Liz consoles herself with the knowledge that she'll be passing on some of the most beautiful genes on the planet, and with daydreams of her thousands of expensive handbags.
Days is still staking out the middle ground with me, where it's not too bad and not too good, but not quite just right. It's kind of Goldilocks-ian. Anyway, since it's for the most part mediocre, my mind tends to wander a bit. For example:
Kate's hair continues to freak me out. Does she think she's punk rock? That's so sad. She is Avril Levigne in 40 years. That new Avril song is kind of catchy. I think I'll get it off iTunes. But objectively it's terrible. Do I have no taste in music? Am I one step away from unironically voting for Sanjaya? I wonder what Simon Cowell would think of Kate's hair? Paula Abdul is probably crazy enough to monogram her bras, too.
And so on. I think it's clear I'm naturally inquisitive (and not at all crazy!). So in no particular order, here are my questions from this week: Why can't there be more moments like this? That's going in this year's "best of" post, no question. We're still laughing.
How ugly is the portrait in Stephen Nichols' attic?
I must repeat, the dude is 56 years old!!! Oh, and why didn't I know about this lye soap trick when I was in school?