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« Days of Our Lives Month in Review | Main | Our Latest Soap Opera Digest Column »

May 27, 2008

General Hospital Couple of Weeks in Review: Stupidity Is the Only Winner

Do you sometimes wonder whether General Hospital is some kind of social experiment, in which we as viewers are being tested as to how much horribly crappy un-soapiness we can be subjected without going postal and storming the studio?  It seems like a risky strategy, but it makes far more sense than the alternative possibility, which is that there are people putting this show on the air who actually think it's good.  I've exhausted so many adjectives describing GH in recent years, but my thesaurus is now empty.  I'm just exhausted by the stupidity.

I want to go rescue all the actors from this awful writing.  We could have a giant happy hour with a drinking contest about who was subjected to the stupidest storyline:  "I got shot in the uterus!"  "I had to act like Sonny was still sexy!"  "I had a blog war with my neurosurgeon boyfriend!"  "I called sexual assault adultery!"  "I had 27 different life stories and I still never asked who my father is!"  "I was a wisecracking ghost in tracksuit!"  "I had to pretend being married to Carly was a good thing!"  "I had to act like Australian and British are the same!"  "I was simultaneously a hitman AND the hero of the show!"  "I miscarried a pillow!"  "I was a tumor!"  "I had to seem like I wasn't attracted to Lucky!"

Who would win?!  Oh, dear readers, let's get real:  This is General Hospital.  There are no winners here. 

The best thing to happen in weeks was a rerun yesterday because of Memorial Day, in that no new offensive or stupid material could be foisted on the viewing public.  Happy holiday weekend, America.

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My god, the saga of Michael and The Really, Really, Reeeaaaallly Long Goodbye just about did me in.  There were some good performances, but I swear there were about eight consecutive episodes of people sitting by Michael's bedside, grieving him and cursing the mob.  You'd think the latter point would perk me up, but 1) it is impossible to be perked up in the midst of a story about a 12-year-old in a permanent vegetative state after getting shot in the head, and 2) I know damned well there will be no long-term anti-mob consequences from all this, because I'm not new.

Anyway, Carly and Jason said goodbye to Michael.

Michaelcomacarlyjason

Laura Wright and Steve Burton were really good in those scenes.

Bobbie said goodbye to Michael.

Michaelcomabobby

Jackie Zeman was good (if a bit immobile) in that scene.

Sonny said goodbye to Michael.

Sonnysmilingcomamichael

Maurice Benard was . . . there. 

And after Carly and Sonny transported their adolescent son to a long-term care facility where he will spend the rest of his life (or the few months until he is miraculously cured and SORAS'd), they did what any two reasonable adults in horrible pain with loving significant others at home waiting for them would do.

I have to put this after the jump, you guys, because I wouldn't want some innocent 'net-surfing person to happen upon these photos without intending to land there.  It's just not fair.

Anyway, yes, that's right, Carly and Sonny reacted by having The Most Awkward Limousine-Based Sex in the History of the World, and Yes, That Includes Every Prom Night and Academy Awards Ceremony Ever.

Sonnycarlylimosex

Sonnycarlylimosex2

If you were fortunate enough not to see it in motion, please know that these screencaps cannot capture the awfulness of the scene.  There was underwear removal, and zipper lowering.  Seriously.  I'm still trying to erase the images from my mind. 

And I am not stupid, I know it was SUPPOSED to be awkward, that it was supposed to be two people just needing to feel anything other than grief, or whatever soap cliché the writers were relying on for Sonny and Carly's 157th reconciliation, but I don't care:  It was ICKY.  (I told you my thesaurus was empty.  Soon I'll be reduced to internet speak:  "DO NOT WANT!!1!11!!!")

And to make matters worse, Carly went from the icky limo sex with Sonny, to a shower, to sex with Jax. 

Jaxcarlysexaftersonny

I swear to you right now, if this is yet ANOTHER Who's the Daddy setup for Carly (let alone this show), I will go completely batshit crazy.  My hate will not be contained.  My insults and bitterness will be indiscriminate.  Even more so than usual, I mean.

Anyway, Carly was apparently distraught by her evening of too much sex, but fortunately she has her true love Jason to console her. 

Jasoncarlyafterlimosex

What about me?  I don't have a good-looking hitman on whose black-leather-ensconced shoulder I can snottily sob.  I have to deal in solitary hell with a week of unsexiness rivaled in my soap-viewing experience only by the week on Days late last year that included the Belle/Phillip "fantasy" sequences, Belle and Shawn's cop/prisoner role-playing, and the Sami/Lucas AngryCouchSex.

I did rebound a bit when Jax split town immediately after hooking up with Carly, leaving only a quick note.

Carlyreadingjaxnote

Dearest Carly,

Don't worry about me.  I need to go away and figure out what comes next.  For me, and for us.  I love you.

Okay, first of all, Jax didn't know about Carly and Sonny yet, so what is he talking about?  That quick kiss with Kate?

Jaxkatekiss

That hardly seems worthy of high-tailing it to Rome to rendezvous with Brenda.  (Not that I am not adamantly in favor of said rendezvous, or nearly apoplectic at even the hint that Vanessa Marcil might come back.)

Second of all, doesn't GH's writing team get months of notice about Ingo's routine long vacations?  Is that really the best they could do for an exit?  Skillful as always, scribes! 

Also, while we're talking about Kate

Katecarlydiscussmorgancustody

Kate:  Sonny can't bear to lose another child.  I'm here to as you to drop your plans of taking Morgan away from his father.

1)  What the HELL is she wearing?!
2)  Do you know how horrible the writing on this show truly must be to make me side with effing Carly in an argument in which the other participant is a character who is a bitchy fashion-magazine editor played by the fabulous Megan Ward?  New depths of horrible.
3)  What the FUCK is she wearing?!
4)  I know I predicted from the get-go that Kate would become a mob apologist, so why is it still so disheartening?
5)  Seriously, what in the SAM HILL is that suit?!

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Okay, at this rate Spencer is going to be driving by the fall.

Spencersorasmay08

Whatever, I am fine with this SORASing.  As I've said before, the older Spencer gets, the longer Courtney has been dead.  So woohoo, suddenly old and possibly Middle Eastern Spencer.  Have fun at the prom!

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Anthony: ...Claudia is too delicate a flower to involve herself in business matters.

So, even with a whole new generation of mobsters, and a new family on the canvas to allegedly shape things up a bit, still no move away from the terribly misogynistic dialogue and storylines on a show whose target audience is women, huh?  Yay!  I hate change.

But more importantly, while we're on the top of that delicate flower, can we discuss the INSANE sequence of events involving Claudia's stabbing?  Cool.

1.  Jerry stabs Claudia on the pier in Port Charles.
2.  Claudia falls off the pier -- still in Port Charles.
3. Claudia FLOATS, unconscious, across the harbor to Spoon Island -- an island that from the horrible black and white ball fiasco we know is enormous enough to require a long trip on a power boat and far enough away that said boat can explode a mile offshore and not cause any damage to anytime on or near land.
4. Claudia somehow regains consciousness and climbs out of the harbor onto Spoon Island, where Nikolas happens to be taking a stroll (in a thunderstorm) and is therefore able to "rescue" her.
5.  The brutal, full-force stabbing from professional criminal/killer Jerry Jax that caused Claudia to black out and remain that way for the time it took to drift for miles in the water ended up causing only a "flesh wound" that does not require stitches.

This show makes Saved by the Bell look like a master class in sophisticated storytelling by comparison.

Anyway, much to my dismay, something halfway decent did come out of this awful storyline, which is that it turns out that Tyler Christopher and Sarah Brown have great chemistry.  Nikolas, who recently had major brain surgery and therefore has a large gauze pad taped to his . . . neck (this STUPID show), tending to Claudia and learning about her role in Michael's shooting turned out to be somewhat watchable.

Nikneckbandage

In fact, I'd go so far as to say that this is the first I've really enjoyed Sarah Brown since she's been back.  She's downright charming when she's not putting on the Claudia the Ballbuster routine.

Nikolasclaudiaafterstabbing2

But as Mallory pointed out when we did that radio interview a while back, the shitty thing is that if Claudia and Nikolas get together, the Cassadines will get the shaft because the mob will win -- it always has to on this show -- and there is no way I can co-sign Helena Cassadine getting outwitted by the mafia that's eaten Port Charles.  No.  Nononono.  I'm going to start a full-on cheerleading campaign for Nikolas and Elizabeth, or Nikolas and Maxie, just to avoid such a blood-pressure-raising outcome.

Aaaanyway, back to where I started out, how thoroughly disturbing was Jerry nonchalantly stabbing Claudia?

Jerrystabclaudia2

Jerrystabclaudia3

And how exponentially more disturbing was it that the writers thought we should almost immediately overlook that because Nancy Lee Grahn and Sebastian Roche have great chemistry?

Alexisjerrykissafterstabbing

Sorry, no.  Even absent the brutal stabbing, the Memorial Day (!) rerun yesterday was the episode in which Jerry nonchalantly, without provocation of any kind, shot Robin (a stranger) to show his hostages that "[he] mean[t] business," so I'm not really on board with this unredeemed psychopath hooking up with one of this show's few remaining decent female characters.  Call me crazy.

Do you think Nancy Lee Grahn sometimes looks back on those scripts full of witty banter between Mason and Julia and just openly weeps and/or creates voodoo dolls of her current employers?  No?  Just me then?

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I sometimes find it difficult, amidst a sea of stupidity, to identify the single stupidest story on this show.  But I'm pretty sure Johnny and Lulu's storyline -- whatever the hell it is right now -- is the current title-holder.  They are faking not wanting to be together while sneaking around and actually both wanting to be together and being together, because his father is forcing her to pretend to want to be with him, but if his father finds out they actually want to be together and aren't just faking it, he will have Lucky killed and Luke sent to jail.  What???

Also, on a related note, I'm sorry to say this because I otherwise like the actors, but Brandon Barash and Julie Marie Berman have whatever the polar opposite of romantic chemistry is.  They appear to be physically repulsed by each other.  Which is, I assume, not exactly what they're going for?

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Alexismaclukestation

Max: You can't be serious.
Alexis:  Oh, I'm not funny by nature.  Joking is a stretch for me.

That line, and everyone in this scene, is too good for this stupid effing show.

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Luckygatehouselulujohnny

Lucky: Did Lulu tell you about our mother? 
Lulu: Yes I have.
Lucky:  She was a lot like Lulu:  Brave, smart, compassionate . . .

Oh, Lucky.  How can you be so gorgeous and yet SO WRONG all at once? 

But I can't hate Lucky, because Greg Vaughn is so very yummy.  I was going to try to come up with a list of things that were more appealing than him interacting with children

Luckycameronhospital

Luckycamjakehospital

Luckyjakehospital

but I realized there is nothing -- really, nothing on this show, on TV, in existence -- more appealing.  It makes me want to put my ovaries to use for something other than the occasional excuse to be bitchy and eat chocolate.

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Stuart Damon, what's your reaction to the fact that they have once again brought you back to be a sassy ghost in a tracksuit?

Ghostalanmay08

Yeah, me too.

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Why, in such a terribly written, nonsensical storyline, must Steve Burton and Rebecca Herbst continue to taunt me with their irresistible chemistry?

Jasonelizabethrain

Jasonlizcabin2

Jasonelizabethrain2

It's unfair and is standing in the way of me hating everything to do with Jason.  I even hate the impending Sonny/Jason split, and I usually love a soapy breakup!

Sonny: [Morgan] won't be a target if I leave the organization.  I'm gonna get out.  And I'm gonna stay out.  And I'm gonna prove to you that I can keep Morgan safe.

To which Jason responded

Jasonhomealonefacehands

"Holy shit, why didn't I think of that?!"

It's now completely evident that these writers don't even watch their own show, right?  Haven't we spent the last year hearing about how Jason can't be a father to Jake because it is utterly impossible for him to leave the mob?  But all it takes for Sonny is to have his lawyer draw up a contract (a legal contract, to transfer an illegal business, but whatevs, that's amateur-level stupidity by comparison) and bam, he's out? 

Is this story supposed to make me feel for Jason, that now he is even more unable to leave the mafia and raise his kid because of his added responsibilities as The Guy Who Orders People Killed, in addition to his preexisting role as The Guy Who Kills People?  Because . . . no.  All it's going to do is convince me that Jason is a hired killer because that's what he wants to be.  And since 98% of the town already knows he's Jake's father, becoming the big mob boss puts his kid even more in danger as a target, which we know from recent history means little Jake will probably take a bullet casing to the cranium before he learns to drive. 

This show is fucked up to a degree I didn't even think was possible.

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The best things to happen on this show over the last two weeks were Kirsten Storms' adorable new haircut

Maxiegreathair

and her fabulous dress.

Maxiegreatdress

That's no exaggeration:  the two best things.  By a mile.

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So, Patrick and Coleman stood around while Anna beat up those guys at Jake's, with Patrick in particular looking like a hapless doofus.

Patrickrobinwatchannafight

But yet somehow, that was not even close to the stupidest thing Patrick and Robin were involved with last week.  Why?  Because of the EFFING BLOG WAR.  Yes, these two hyper-intelligent doctors -- one an actual brain surgeon! -- are involved in a web-based pissing contest that is just the newest geographical location of the same argument they have been having since 2006.  That storyline is getting its own post because there are so many levels to the ridiculousness that I need time to construct a proper argument and further hone my criticism.  By both of which I mean, "drink heavily."

Screencaps courtesy of LaurieLuvsLiason.

Comments

The summit of this mountain of dumb is that, after all these years and the perpetually repeating, just-replace-the-names "Being in the mob is bad for personal lives!" storylines, Guza apparently really does think viewers will still believe there's a chance Sonny and Jason will become enemies, or that Carly and Sonny will have a permanent falling-out, or that anyone in the mob will actually leave it for good (or at least pull a Victor Kiriakis).

For all the months and weeks and days this show is on, the basic status quo, at least as far as it concerns its "heroes", changes at a glacial pace. Even John Reilly was better at shaking things up once in a blue moon. (Now there's a post for ya'll: is what Guza doing to GH in recent years worse than what Reilly did to DAYS in the '90s?).

People that need to be smacked upside the head, hard:
1. whoever thought it was a good idea to reunite Sonny and Carly, again yawn!!
2. whoever picked out that disgusting pink suit and made the awesome Megan Ward wear it, seriously the only thing i've seen worse than that lately is the khaki jumpsuit Shelly Hening wore on Days
3. whoever keeps making the decision to not give Kelly Monaco and Greg Vaughan a good story worth their talent and hotness
4. anyone involved in shaping the character of Lulu into the hateful shrew that she has become
5. whoever thought it was a good idea to make Jerry Jax into a heartless, murderous psychopath...did these people watch the first time this character was on?
5. Guza...for anything i've missed, it's probably his fault in some way

Hands down...the best thing about GH is this column.

Seriously.

After watching since '63, I gave it up back last Nov and I have to say, reading your columns is SOOOO much better than watching the actual Guzacrapfest.


(...and really, I just feel so bad for all the talented actors who have hung in and/or haven't been rudely fired.)

Thank you, Becca. Laughing at GH is all we can do anymore...beats tears anyway.

So my mom had brain surgery and her scar is on the base of her skull/top of her neck. So I guess it's all about where they need to cut open? Just a random observation that maybe Nik's scar makes some kind of sense, but I really don't think TIIC were thinking about it that way.
I can't stop giggling over the screencap of Sonny and "Maurice Bernard was... there" line. Love it.
Also, I'm gonna be honest and say that I totally dig Nik/Claudia. It may or may not have something to do with my girlcrush for Sarah Brown.

Great column and I could not agree with your views more, but I still don't like Nikolas and Claudia...they put me to sleep.

Lulu and Johnny are everything you stated and more!

And yes the people in the Luke Scene are just TOO GOOD for this show. The best part of it being Ric and Alexis for me, they still have it in any scene they are in together and this show sadly misuses them all the time. I still hope we get a real story for Ric and Alexis eventually on this show.

You know I couldn't even be bothered to watch GH last week because I knew of the icky limo sex (thanks spoilers) and then the even ickier having sex with Jax afterwards. At least Carly got to shower in between bouts unlike Sam during the fire at the PC Hotel.

And why is Spencer now older than Cameron? I have high hopes for the Nik/Claudia pairing only because I want Tyler Christopher to have a storyline and it appears thats not possible unless it is mob-related.

And I agree with you about Lulu and Johnny. Its painful watching them because they look like they would rather be doing anything else, grouting tile, butchering a hog, than kissing each other. Why the TPTB screwed up the Logan/Lulu storyline is beyond me. Why not bring Scott's daughter Serena and have her get involved with Johnny? At least that way maybe we'd get to see more of Scott.

Remember when Mac was a badass back in the 90's? Why not have him quit being police commissioner, and go back to being a private eye with Anna. Bring back Robert as police commissioner and actually do something about cleaning up the mob in PC? Oh that's right Guza & Co. believe that we actually like the mob taking up 90% of the storylines on the show. Silly me!

Becca, thank you for taking one for the team and actually watching this drivel. I tried to watch the Claudia/Nikolas scenes last week on You Tube and ended up fantasizing about the Oreos in my cupboard. Yes, cookies are now officially more interesting than GH. Thirty years of off-and-on viewership down the drain.

But I have to say as repugnant as I find Claudia, those screencaps of Jerry knifing her are disturbing, to say the least. Sebastian Roche has charm to spare, but is the audience really considered so stupid as to think that turning on the charm and the British accent will erase the image of women getting knifed? I've seen snuff films with less disturbing imagery.

And Nik and Claudia have chemistry, hmm? Well, that will work out well for him when he's relegated to holding her purse while she shoots someone.

I love Nikolas and Claudia. And the bonus I'm counting on? Anthony Zacchara, meet Helena Cassadine. Helena Cassadine, meet Anthony Zacchara. I'm not sure who would blink first, but I can't wait to see it.

My GH Couple of Weeks in Review would go like this...COLOSSAL CRAPFEST! Mine may be shorter but your's is much more entertaining.

P.S. Bring on the BLOG WARS! (I'm referring to your version not GH's, of course.)

I agree, I love Maxie's haircut so cute.
I am so intrigued by Nikolas and Claudia, they click. Finally Sarah Brown has softened up her character and it just works. Im sure TPTB are going to find a way to ruin this.
I disagree vehemently on Julie Berman and Brandon Barrash, I love them as Johnny/Lulu. Fantastic actors, fantastic chemistry, and one of my favorite couples on daytime right now.
I do hate how they are rewriting Laura's history though.
As a Carjax fan, I hated the Sonny/Carly sex.

Awww, I loved the Luke and Tracy stuff. I'd rather see Luke with a real woman than that sexless boring drooling wig on a stick any old day. As far as dusting off old scripts, impossible, since Jane Elliot can act rings around Genie Francis. If GF never darkens my screen again on any show, I'll consider it an early Christmas !

" Luke and Tracy? Never bought them for a second and will never accept the revisionist writing of the character of Laura as being a boring and frumpy hausfrau and that now Luke has found "real" mature love with Tracy. Luke's so-called marriage where he's gone most of the year? Please. So this is the gutter that is GH."


How on earth is it revisionist writing to call Laura boring and frumpy? She was all those things to the nth degree.

"I was a tumor." It took me a couple of guesses to get this, so many tumors so little show.

Most of your comments are spot on but I don't understand the ones about Johnny and Lulu. Their last love scene looked a little choreographed but that's largely a problem with the direction and editing. The actors always seem to be having a lot of fun much like any young couple. They always look as if they want to be together and are happy to see each other, something that cannot be said of the other couples. Only the Jason/Liz rain kiss was better than Jolu's kisses.

What the hell was Kate wearing? I kept saying that the whole week.

I was appalled at Carly for Sleeping with Sonny while she professes to love Jax. I am even more discusted with her going home and sleeping with Jax. I am upset that the LIz and Jason scenes have been nonexistent and I agree their chemistry is off the charts. I have yet to see Lulu have chemistry with anyone. I also seem to remember Laura's illness being caused by Ricks murder not the mob.Guza must be on that other soap, you know the one that has always been about the mob LOL. I have not been able to watch this crapfest of a show sense Jason and Liz broke up. I watch their scenes and any scenes Liz has that I think might be good

Weird!! My previous comment has someone else's name attached to it and my name is attached to a comment I didn't make.

This is a test.

Mix up in the name fields the "Roxiebell" comments are being posted as being from "Becky" and maybe visa-versa because I (Roxiebell) didn't make a comment about Spencer & Lulu but I did make the comment that Nikolas was safer with Claudia then he was with Emily.

Roxiebell

Now it seems to be fixed. RME! "As if" GH doesn't drive me crazy enough!

Roxie

Thanks for this post!!

I totally agree with the ridiculousness that we have been subjected to. And while I love Robin, I am also looking forward to your blogs war article, because this pregnancy has been a slap in the face to everyone who has watched Robin or who were lucky enough to see the wonderfully written and moving AIDS/HIV storyline. While I don't need a 9 month lecture about HIV or AIDS, it should at least be brought up during this pregnancy. Robin is HIV positive and pregnant, and except for being told that she has a 2% chance of passing it on to the baby, we get nothing. No concerned questions from Mac (don't even get me started on the fact that we never even got to see Robin tell her Uncle Mac that she is pregnant) or Anna. this pregnancy has become all about Patrick and his daddy issues. What a waste.

Great rant! All comments on target. I was left shaking my head when Anna was jetting off to meet up with Eli Love. Last summer I could swear she was having a romance with Noah...but neither Robin or Patrick or Anna for that matter, seemed to remember the romance- so maybe it is my faulty memory.(NOT)
To continue my rant on this issue Noah is paged (what hospital uses pages anymore?) at GH but his son never even mentions him. He is having a baby with his girlfriend...wouldn't a mention or scene with Noah be appropriate? I am sure we will see Noah (at the nurses station )in some stupid argument with Patrick over a patient. The writer's would never consider any meaningful dialogue between father and son.

Luke and Tracy rawk! PPL need to stop hating, cuz funally luke has moved on with hus life!

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