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« www.ThisShowIsSoScrewed.com | Main | Our Latest Soap Opera Digest Column »

February 04, 2008

General Hospital: Killing Machine

Thanks to a really awesome Super Bowl Sunday that involved disassembling almost the entirety of my dishwasher and ultimately discovering (and having to remove by hand) an enormous glob of greasy fat of unknown origin and age as the culprit of my filthy "clean" dishes and minor flood, I must apologize that last week's GH Week in Review will get rolled into this one.  But wait!  There is still an opportunity for you to bitch about what ABC Daytime has done to one of your favorite shows! 

In December, in the comments section of the brilliant post Mallory did about Georgie Jones' murder (I was less refined and creative with my outrage) the idea came up to make a list of every character Bob Guza had killed off during his reign of terror tenure.  Well, regular reader Chad and his friend Samantha (whom he describes as "curiously resembling Kelly Monaco, both in looks and penchant for drunkenness," therefore furthering my belief that we all need to hang out ASAP) came to the rescue and shared their compilation of every character killed since Guza became sole writer at the start of 1999.  With this disclaimer from Chad (and an invitation from me to add to or edit this list in the comments -- I'll update the post with new info):

What we came up with probably isn't reliable, since we relied on our own memory and some soap websites, and who is a core family or a legacy character can be subjective

I give you the truly disturbing list, along with Chad and Samantha's helpful tallies:

Veronica Barrett
Katherine Bell
Cesar Faison
Joseph Sorel
Chloe Morgan
Kristina Cassadine
Luis Alcazar
Rick Webber
Summer Halloway
John Jax
Stefan Cassadine
Stavros Cassadine
Mary Bishop
Cameron Lewis
Sage Alcazar
Connor Bishop
A.J. Quartermaine
Faith Roscoe
Zander Smith
Rachel Adair
Reese Marshall
Tony Jones
Courtney Matthews
John Durant
Justus Ward
Manny Ruiz
Diego Alcazar
Alan Quartermaine
Lorenzo Alcazar
Leticia Jaurez
Emily Quartermaine
Georgie Jones
Stan Johnson
Cooper Barrett

edited to add:
Jesse Beaudry
Danny McCall
Ida Warren

Characters From Core Families – 10
Characters Who'd Been On The Show For At Least Ten Years - 6
Characters Who'd Been On The Show For At Least Twenty Years - 4
Characters Who Grew Up On The Show - 3
Total - 34 37

And this, of course, doesn't even take into account the scores of dead bodies (played by extras and day players) that end up scattered about after Jason's "heroic" shoot-outs.  I bet that would add a couple dozen to this list, at least.

And for the sake of comparison to a show that we don't have a daily hate-on/disappointment-fest for, Chad and Samantha also made a list of characters offed from One Life To Live during roughly the same time period:

Ian Armitage
Georgie Phillips
Drew Buchanan
Mel Hayes
Grace Davidson
Colin McIver
Sam Rappaport
Mitch Lawrence
Keri Reynolds
Gabrielle Medina
Al Holden
Ben Davidson
Paul Cramer
Jen Rappaport
Duke Buchanan
Spencer Truman
Asa Buchanan
Marty Saybrooke

edited to add:
Margaret Cochrane
Hugh Hughes

Characters From Core Families – 6
Characters Who'd Been On The Show For At Least Ten Years - 2
Characters Who'd Been On The Show For At Least Twenty Years - 1
Characters Who Grew Up On The Show - 0
Total - 18 20

So fear not, dear readers -- all of our bitching about the excessive violence on GH and the lack of respect for veteran actors and longtime characters is not totally baseless!  I mean, even if it was I would totally still keep doing it, because it's super cathartic and fun, but it is nice to know there's some actual evidence to support our rants, you know?

Comments

The OLTL may not cover one regime as GH's does...but I believe they have it covering the same time frame as GH's......for reasons I never pretend to understand...GH's writing team has been disturbingly the same despite the evidence of suckitude...and with the exception of Highley's run...OLTL has managed to maintain their characters throughout that same time frame.

Kazou, Phil Carey is in ill health? I could swear I read somewhere that he left because they wanted to drop him to recurring so that he'd no longer be covered by the union contract, and he said he'd always been a union guy and he wasn't going to let OLTL screw him over like that. He didn't want to leave, he was pushed out. Am I crazy, did anyone else read that?

Kazou, Phil Carey is in ill health? I could swear I read somewhere that he left because they wanted to drop him to recurring so that he'd no longer be covered by the union contract, and he said he'd always been a union guy and he wasn't going to let OLTL screw him over like that... Am I crazy, did anyone else read that?

I don't think you're crazy, and you may well be right. I too originally heard he'd been forced out by being dropped to "recurring" (although I didn't know how that would impact his insurance status). However, I read an interview with Erika Slezak on her website that seemed to indicate otherwise. Here's the relevant part:

Q. What were your thoughts about Phil Carey and his departure form the show?

Slezak: Oh, I'm very sorry that he didn't want to come back -- and it was his decision. He's a very important, huge presence on the show -- both Phil and Asa. And I was very sorry that he decided to leave, but I understand it as well. He's had health problems in the past. He will be greatly missed. I think the show is dealing with it in a very good way.

Now, take that with a grain of salt. Slezak got quite a reaction to her previous interview wherein she lambasted Dena Higley. She later indicated that she didn't realize a newsletter that originally used to go to a very minimal number of subscribed fans was to be distributed via the web and cause such an uproar. She doesn't outright say she wishes she'd been more discreet but she seems to indicate some sense of regret. I think she's been around long enough to be a political animal and could well be indulging in some CYA for TPTB. And heck, it seems to have paid off because she finally has a storyline. Maybe all it took was a bit of her playing the "good company [wo]man" here. Or maybe her previous outspokeness got her the storyline. ::shrug:: I don't know. I *do* know that other outspoken actreses on ABC are usually summarily dumped (Cady, Genie) but then, I'm a bit of a cynic .

What about Lila?? I realize that the main reason she died on the show was b/c of Anna Lee's death in real life, but a) dead is dead, and b) her son still blames her death (in part) to the fact that her contract was changed (she either went to recurring or was dropped entirely--I can't remember at this point), and in doing so, stripped her of the work that she lived for.

"She later indicated that she didn't realize a newsletter that originally used to go to a very minimal number of subscribed fans was to be distributed via the web and cause such an uproar. She doesn't outright say she wishes she'd been more discreet but she seems to indicate some sense of regret." and "I think she's been around long enough to be a political animal and could well be indulging in some CYA for TPTB. And heck, it seems to have paid off because she finally has a storyline. Maybe all it took was a bit of her playing the "good company [wo]man" here."

Good point, but by the same token: no such "political animal" would be naive enough to be surprised that her comments would reach the online community and the publications that track it. Erika Slezak's previous news and fan club letters had been posted online long before she made her comments about Higley. She may not have made the comments with the intention of torpedoing Higley, but she had to have been aware that they'd draw larger attention. Personally, I think she knew what she was doing - and I don't mind it one bit. Higley was a disaster for OLTL.

On a related note: it drives me crazy when OLTL is lumped in with AMC and GH when people point out what's wrong with ABC Daytime, especially when the talk is about female actors over the age of forty. Erika Slezak's lack of story during Higley's tenure was for all intents and purposes an isolated incident in a career exceeding three decades. Viki has been front and center with story for nearly the entire run if the show. We may disagree as to whether that story has been good or worthy of the actor, but still - she's had story.

And look at all the other women over the age of forty who are consistently featured in high-profile stories: Robin Strasser, Hillary B. Smith, Kassie DePaiva, Catherine Hickland. Even Ilene Kristen gets play. To me, it's not so much evidence of ageism on ABC's part as it is evidence of where priorities lie for each individual head writer.

Well, Audry Webber, Elizabeth's gramm...is technically out....they just mention her but we don't see her....I am sure Guza would have killed her too....but I guess Guza's timing was just off during one of his sweeps killing story lines. Poor man has zero creativity in his miserable body.

Wow. Just...wow. Thank you, Chad and Samantha, for putting that together. It's a wonder how this show is still on the air to me sometimes.

And to think I was (okay, and still am) bitching about Lynn Marie Latham's obsession with her deathwatch on Y&R over the last two years! Even though the timeframe isn't the same, a little perspective works wonders!

(And I still fail to see what the point in killing Georgie or Emily was. WTF?)

@TraveSteve: by the same token: no such "political animal" would be naive enough to be surprised that her comments would reach the online community and the publications that track it. Erika Slezak's previous news and fan club letters had been posted online long before she made her comments about Higley. She may not have made the comments with the intention of torpedoing Higley, but she had to have been aware that they'd draw larger attention. Personally, I think she knew what she was doing - and I don't mind it one bit. Higley was a disaster for OLTL.

I honestly don't know if she was being disingenuous or not, Steve. Like you, however, I'm extremely happy with the result of her actions! Slezak mentions (in the same July 2007 newsletter): I had no idea that my coments would create such a furor, beause in the past, this interview has only gone to our fan club in print, and because I don't spen a lot of time on the internet, I certainly wasn't completely aware of how quickly things spread and the access that people have to it. So I was a little horrified that the interview should have caused such a fuss." However, for all her professions of inexperience, she's quick to add (twice) that "I'm not sorry that I said what I did."

So is she simply an internet tyro embarrassed that her words to a small group of people had a much larger exposure than intended, or is she a savy "political animal" who shrewdly wielded whatever power she may have had (through reputation, gravitas and sheer longevity on OLTL) by going public with her grievances? And if the latter, does it really matter? I'll leave it to someone who knows her better. However, she's never impressed me as a foolish or naive woman. ;o)

Hey you guys forgot Duke Buchanan.

@Kazou: you said, "she's (Erika Slezak) never impressed me as a foolish or naive woman. ;o)"

On that much, at least, we can agree. ;-)

Honestly, my remarks about ES were written mainly as a means of getting into my other message about OLTL. What drives me crazy about this site is that the writers are clearly thoughtful folk, and fine (if cynical) writers. I personally think that there does indeed exist evidence that soaps can be good, and are... and that that evidence exists in the form of One Life To Live. But Mallory and Becca don't watch it. Sigh.

Of course, OLTL may go down the drain once the work of Carlivati and his WGA staff runs out, as it will, and soon.

Steve, you sly devil. Good way to manipulate the convo. I think one of the drawbacks here is that neither Becca nor Mallory watch OLTL as far as I know, so the commentary is minimal. Given that the two-thirds of ABCD they *do* watch is atrocious, I can see how it would appear that they are perhaps tarring all ABCD with the same brush (although I don't think that is the case).

Consider this my personal challenge to you to post your OLTL thoughts in the Serial Drama Dish forum! Opinionated posters with interesting ideas are the most fun because then I can argue with you!! ;o) As a medium-long viewer of OLTL I'd love to cross swords with you (or, gasp, even agree with you) about the over-arcing quality and day-to-day events. Now I'd better vamoose to the forum before I'm accused of hijacking this topic!!

TraveSteve, I'm sorry to hear we drive you crazy! The reality is that Mal and I have full-time day jobs (and some semblance of social lives), and we watch and blog about four soaps between the two of us. It's hard to even keep up on those. We've heard good things about OLTL lately and have mentioned that when we can. I don't think we have "lumped in" OLTL with what's wrong with ABC Daytime. In fact, Chad and Samantha's comparison of GH's bloodbath to OLTL's tally was meant, I believe, to compare GH to a show that's much better and more indicative of what a soap should be.

Oops, jinx, Kazou! But yes, please feel free to fire up the OLTL threads in the forums.

Well, if what I remember reading is right, ES's technically correct that it was carey's decision to leave, they told him they were dropping him to recurring and he told them either give me a contract or I'm out. She also carefully parsed her words in saying he has had health problems in the past. :)

Firing Anna Lee was the worst thing they ever did. She may have been in her 90's, but she still added more to teh show than 90% of the cast. Plus, her house had burned down not long before, they're such heartless, clueless bastards.

Ya know, February 06 (for lack of a better name for you ), I will *never* forgive those bastards for what they did to Anna Lee. Like her son, I believe they took away the one thing keeping her alive. They effectively killed her and only THEN did they give her air time for a big-ass funeral. I refused to watch that funeral, even though I loved Anna Lee, because I couldn't stand to see those bastards use her death to pull in viewer ratings and ad revenue. Such bastards.

Oh, and good point about the clever way in which ES parsed her response as "health problems in the past." What a great way to essentially lie by ommission by stringing two factual, but unrelated items together: "It was his decision to leave" ... "he had health problems in the past." Heh. You'd be a wizard scoring debates! ;o)

Hayes Barber (or Ivan Potter, whatever) died on OLTL during the Statesville Prison riot. I think he got injured so he took a bomb then, like, detonated it thinking that he could kill John McBain (the Super Cop of that show) or Cris Vega. I'm not sure. I tuned out during that storyline, but I'm pretty sure he's dead.

Oh, and don't forget Denton, Todd's news reporter who eventually landed on Spencer's payroll. He is a dayplayer who has a freaking contract! That was during the time when main characters kept exiting because Dena can't write for them/can't provide them with enough money/doesn't like them. So it was weird that they put the dude on contract just to kill him off (he got shot by John).

It's Margaret Cochran, by the way.

Oh, and if you count dayplayers, what about those teensters that the Killing Club Killer killed?

And that dude who played Jack on DAYS turning out to be OLTL's Music Box Killer, he killed himself so he could frame (guess who?) John! John is a popular character back then.

Last one, I swear!

Henry [something]! He was the dude who was supposed to bring a gun to school but then they rewrote it so he drove around with the teens and crashed. He died.

Ugh... LAST LAST!!!

GH's Irina! She died, right? Then Jerry threw her body so he could be redeemed.

Have you guys ever made a list of people who just happened to disappear without any real explanation? Like Father Ruiz, Bobby's son, Lucas and Cody?

Maybe they were on Oceanic Flight 815..

What about Lila Q? I know the actress died so it probably doesn't count as being GUZA's fault, but I think she died since 1999 as well.

Johnny O'Brien Sonny's long time bodygaurd was also killed off.

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