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« Our Column in the 5/13 Issue of Soap Opera Digest | Main | I Don't Think These Words Mean What He Thinks They Mean »

May 07, 2008

There Is No Soap God

Last week I had a nightmare that I was at work, naked except for a pair of huge white orthopedic nurse shoes, in a meeting with my ex-boyfriend and his mother that involved a PowerPoint presentation of mathematical formulas.  Somehow, this scenario is even worse:  There is going to be a second season of Night Shift that will start shooting next month and airing in late July.

One the one hand, this is horrible news, because of course Night Shift was -- despite the presence of a good cast [allegedly] led by Jason Thompson and Kimberly McCullough -- a no good very bad awful terrible crapfest of a show.  On the other hand, this is really horrible news, because now Mallory and I are certain to lose countless hours of our summer recapping this thing.  Now, I know you're thinking, ladies, drop the martyr routine, you don't have to recap this sequel from hell (sequhell?) -- leave well enough alone!  Or, in this case, leave crappy enough alone!  But that's not how we roll.  We are in this for the long haul.  We are committed to closely monitoring this new variation of the soap genre.  We are bighearted enough to take this televisual bullet so that our readers don't have to.  We are . . . really curious if Dr. Julian will get rid of the assy ponytail, whether there will be a serial killer who deflowers a popular young character on a gurney, and whether the writers this year will know what "alternate universe" actually means.  Clearly, we have no choice in the matter.

If you're one of those people who with time has forgotten how awful Night Shift was, and think I'm being too bitchy about there being a second season, well, after the jump is a refresher, in the form of our "recap" of the Night Shift first season finale.  Vitriol does a body good.

Night Shift Episode 13:  Time Served

Oh man, you guys, did you watch?  We could go into great detail about all the dropped storylines, plot holes, character destruction, plagiarism, and general incompetence involved in this show.  We could rant about how on a scale of one to ten this show, especially the last episode, would be like a minus 17.  We could write a thesis on how if the people behind Night Shift had made a conscious effort to stock it full of industrial-strength suck, it couldn't have been worse than what we got.  But even for you, dear readers, we won't do any of that.  It's too much effort. So after 12 painstakingly detailed recaps, for the finale we're casting that approach aside.  Instead, you get parts of our IM conversation from during the show, and random lists.  Uh, we hope it will be more enjoyable than it looks just written out like that.  But we're not promising anything.  The show may very well have zapped us of our ability to entertain, having set such a poor example itself.

Admittedly, we didn't go into the finale with the best of attitudes:

Becca: I am so glad this is the last hour of this crapfest that we'll have to sit through. It is going to be challenging to make a recap entertaining. I hope Patrick has at least one "hotly"-worthy moment.
Mallory: All I am hoping for is some Jason hilarity. I am looking forward to JASON. I am officially brainwashed
Becca: Right?! The episodes he wasn't on were the worst. Which is just...tragic. It's a soap opera tragedy. But without a dramatic death, or adultery, or a disfiguring accident.  Which is so wrong.  Speaking of tragedies, I have made the mistake of using the half-hour leading up to Night Shift to watch The Office ep that I TiVo'd earlier tonight.  Do you know how damaging it is going to be to my psyche to go from that brilliance to Night Shift?

Mallory: Maybe we can just recap The Office instead. "Regularly scheduled recapping will be pre-empted indefinitely for a show that doesn't blow"
Becca: I'm in.  And it's not even totally off-topic, since tonight's guest star on The Office was OMG EDWARD QUARTERMAINE!!!
Mallory: I KNOW!!!  I almost died
Becca: You know, if we do this right, maybe we can avoid the horrible topic of Night Shift entirely.
Mallory: Oh, we can try our hardest. Remember when the show didn't suck? In that first episode? Good times
Becca: I maintain that the boob job incident ruined the show's mojo. You can't recover from something like that.
Mallory: So true. Making Jason Thompson look skeevy is something that takes effort and these writers made that effort. Why they can't make it to, you know, tell a decent and cohesive story is a story for another time

But as has been true throughout these looooong 13 weeks, we were right not to heighten our expectations:

Becca: I know it's been about 15 minutes so I should be over it, but: WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT?!
Mallory: I'm trying to repress it, whatever it was
Becca: I think we need to put this in perspective. And also, composing lists always makes us feel better. Therefore, topic: Things that are worse than General Hospital: Night Shift
Becca: famine
Becca: war
Mallory: genocide
Becca: some diseases
Becca: animal cruelty
Mallory: child abuse
Becca: certain polyesters
Mallory: Hunter Tylo's boob job
Becca: Donald Trump's hair
Mallory: clowns
Becca: Hee!
Mallory: I'd rather watch Night Shift than IT , because IT could kill me and Night Shift only makes me want to kill myself, so at least I'd have a choice in the matter
Becca: You know what, I take back the Trump thing.  I would rather have stared at his hair for 13 one-hour segments than have watched this show.  And at least on The Apprentice people get fired. Plus I bet IT didn't ruin one of your celebrity crushes.
Mallory:  IT lived in my freezer and I was too freaked out to open the freezer to get ice cream. But Jason Thompson losing his dreaminess is probably slightly more tragic
Becca: I will fight hard to maintain my Jason Thompson crush.  None of this is his fault.  Do you think that a couple of episodes in, he and Kimberly McCullough realized what was going down and tried to escape?  Like, did they have to chain the soundstage doors?  I envision it like the prom scene in Carrie, only with slightly less pig's blood.
Mallory: I bet he and Kelly Monaco go out for drinks and are like, "No, seriously, what the hell did we do to those writers?"


Becca: Oh god, here we go. Why didn't I have more Grey Goose?
Mallory: Seriously, it's time to bust out the shot glass
Becca: "Previously, on Night Shift" . . .we stole 12 hours of your life you'll never get back, you gullible morons.
Mallory: Aren't they in an ER? That is no time for flirting. Oh, sorry, "flirting"
Becca: Oh my GOD, Robin's hair: why???
Mallory: Honestly, she should be jailed for that

. . . . .

Mallory: Oh! Billy Dee isn't dead! This is good news! Maybe we'll get another song and dance dream sequence to an oldies song
Becca: The screen helpfully tells me the finale is called "Time Served" -- genius! Watching this show has definitely been a sentence.
Becca: Another f'ing pregnant woman? Seriously? Do these writers know of not a single other medical emergency?
Mallory: It's either pregnant woman in peril or someone with a broken brain
Mallory: Robin's hair manages to look both dry and greasy. And also like someone cut her bangs with a butter knife. I can't get over it
Becca: It's horrible. It distracted me from the otherwise nice-ish-ness of that scene with her and Patrick in the locker room.

Possible Explanations for the Storyline- and Hair-Related Atrocities Forced on Kimberly McCullough and Jason Thompson

  • retaliation for Gloria Monty's ghost's constant 'shipping of Robin and Patrick
  • Bob Guza is angry that Jason Thompson gets to share a name with the holiest of hitmen and yet uses his power for good, not evil
  • the NS brass is Team 50 Cent while Kimberly and Jason are Team Kanye
  • a potent combination of anti-Canadianism and anti-Daytime-Emmy-winnerism
  • executives were furious over the "Scrubs" nickname, particularly that it could inadvertently tie them to Zach Braff and therefore The Last Kiss

Mallory: Regina just said everything would be fine when Dr. Lee got there to take care of the baby. If that's not a death sentence, I don't know what is. They should have just paged Jason to do the delivery!
Becca: Dr. Lee, hey there. Shall we start keeping track of dropped storylines? (1) Kelly's sex addiction.

Mallory: (2) Everything Maxie related
Becca: (3) _____ Barrett, unless in the next 53 minutes they plan to reveal her identity, her connection to Jason, how she got injured, and what the consequences of her being in town are. Of course, these are the people who wrote Logan and Lulu's 35-minute romance, so maybe that could all happen.

Things With Fewer Holes Than Night Shift Plots

  • swiss cheese
  • fishnet stockings
  • beehives
  • Carlsbad caverns
  • the entire catalog of Michael Bay


Becca: Jolene spoke nastily to the threatening-looking gang members. I'm sure that won't come back to bite her. And one of the gang dudes has a gun in the hospital. These writers really can't help themselves, can they?
Mallory: I love how the gang members having guns is bad, but Jason having a gun is like an angel having a harp, except angels aren't as good as Jason is

. . . . .

Becca: Another Billy Dee dream sequence? Really?
Mallory: Remember when Meredith met up with Denny and Hot Dead Bomb Guy on Grey's and I talked for weeks about how cheesy that was? This so has it beat
Becca: It so does. At least that had a scene with a cute dog. And Kyle Chandler.
Mallory: I hope the last thing I see before death isn't my younger self, because she'd totally be all, "But then in the Babysitters Club Super Special 2, they went to sleepaway camp and people were soooo mean to Mary Anne!"


Becca: JASON STOPS THE KILLER! Who could have seen this coming?!
Mallory: The look on Jolene's face was straight out of Scooby Doo. "I would have killed Billy Dee Williams, if it weren't for that meddling hitman/janitor!"
Becca: Hee. If this finale ends with someone pulling off a face to reveal his/her true identity, I could take back some of the things I said about it.
Mallory: Maybe MedCam will rip off his mask to reveal that he's actually _____ Barrett who will rip off her bandages to reveal that she's, like...Blackie. Because STAMOS could possibly redeem this craphole
Becca: All would be forgiven if that happened. Stamos already knows how to do the doctor-acting. He's so hot on ER! Not that I watch ER.

Cartoons That Are Superior Examples of Television Writing to Night Shift

  • Scooby Doo
  • The Smurfs
  • She-Ra
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks
  • those silent Mickey Mouse ones from the 1920s


Mallory: You're seeing this artfully lit shootout set to a romantic ballad too, right? Or am I hallucinating?
Becca: I am, though I'm possibly drunk. Did they really just start a gang shoot-out in the middle of the actual hospital?!
Becca: And Jason is going to save the world, AGAIN?!  On the spin-off that was supposed to get GH back to its hospital roots?  IS THIS SERIOUSLY HAPPENING? It is on like Donkey Kong, you piece of shit excuse for a television show. 
Becca: In fairness, Mal, they have no other vehicle through which they can write horribly violent storylines in which mobsters are heroes.
Mallory: Why couldn't they have shot the "teen" mom? Or why couldn't they hire an actual teen who doesn't need cue cards?
Becca: Or why couldn't they make it through a spin-off about the hospital without a fucking shoot-out at all?! They already had a serial killer, for god's sake.
Mallory: Please, now you're just asking stupid questions.  No mob in Port Charles is like no deliciousness in a candy bar

Things That Are More Necessary Than Incorporating Gun Violence Into General Hospital: Night Shift

  • the word "irregardless"
  • Juicy Couture outfits for dogs
  • Clay Aiken coming out of the closet
  • another season of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip
  • Successories posters


Becca: The pregnant woman who came into the ER earlier has given birth and just said "I was thinking Billy or Wyatt, since he was practically born in a shoot-out. ::giggle::" ARE THESE WRITERS CLINICALLY INSANE?
Mallory: Yes. Yes, they are
Becca: Oh hey look, now we've cut to _______ Barrett. "No scarring?" She was severely burned and has been in the hospital for three months. The writers are insane and moronic.
Mallory: Did Jason just tell Billy Dee "It's hard to explain what I do"? Here it is in five words: "I kill people for cash"
Becca: I beg your pardon, that is an oversimplification. He also sometimes kills people for revenge.  Try to be sensitive to the complexity of his gig, missy.
Mallory: I know, I'm really too critical. He's dealing with a computer geek freeloader and he's separated from his son (He's Jake's dad, in case you didn't know). I'll try to be nicer about him in the future

Things We Would Rather Have Done With the 40+ Hours We Each Spent Recapping This Miserable Excuse for a Soap

  • watch a marathon of Hogan Knows Best
  • learn to crochet
  • line up all our ex-boyfriends to explain in detail, in public, why they are better off without us
  • go on a Starbucks-free diet
  • take physics again
  • build a monument to honor pleather
  • see Miley Cyrus in concert

Mallory: Wow, this Kelly/Andy scene is straight out of an after school special.
Becca: That is an affront to after school specials, especially the awesome one in which a pre-eye-job Helen Hunt got high on PCP and flew through a window.
Mallory: I'm about to get high on PCP and fly through a window just to stop the pain of this show
Becca: Just make sure you don't do it on a Saturday night. The staff at ERs then are incompetent/serial killers/likely to riddle you with bullets.

Things That Are Subtler Than Bob Guza's Storytelling

  • Las Vegas
  • used car salespeople
  • Joey Tribbiani's "How you doin'?"
  • Murakami print Louis Vuitton bags
  • Janice Dickinson's plastic surgery
  • Kellie Pickler's accent

Mallory: I am going to miss the CGI sunrise. It's way more charismatic than Leyla
Becca: Patrick is not remotely hot in this roof scene, even though it involves him flirting and kissing someone. How is that possible? This show killed Jason Thompson's hotness! That is criminal.
Mallory: Okay, young Billy Dee twirling and doing jazz hands was the most bizarre thing I've seen in a while
Becca: More bizarre is that I think Jason/Steve Burton was totally gorgeous in that last scene.
Mallory: I am just going to ignore you
Becca: I think that's best.


Becca: Is Robin hanging out and laughing?  Even though minutes ago she was nearly caught in the crossfire of a gang war and Jason blew some guy's head to bits just millimeters from hers?
Mallory: So, wait, the whole hospital went back to normal after the shootout in the middle of the ER?
Becca: Duh, that's what hospital staff always do after shoot-outs in the middle of ERs.  Wait, is that really all that's going to have come from the _____ Barrett storyline?  Jason sees the back of her head after she gets the bandages off her magically non-scarring burns?  What?

. . . . .

Becca: Oh my GOD, the finale cheesy montage is to the actual song "Night Shift."
Becca: Sonny! Thank god! I thought we wouldn't see him again. On the spin-off that has nothing to do with him. Did he just give Jason the sex eye from that limo? That was hilarious!
Mallory: ...
Mallory: Sonny looked like Jason's pimp in that scene

Ways in Which OG GH Is Superior to Night Shift

  • consistently talented cast
  • Robin not insane, Patrick still occasionally worthy of "hotly"
  • Kate's wardrobe
  • Liz's hair
  • there is an occasional Quartermaine-spotting
  • Logan's brutal hotness is on display
  • Maxie, Cooper, Logan, Lulu, Liz, Lucky, Emily, Nikolas, Alexis, Diane, Jax . . . basically characters we actually know and in some cases give a rip about
  • the resident ghost is at least wisecracking


And then . . . the show ended.  On some notes that we will generously call interesting.  No wait, no we won't.

Mallory: I...it's like I have these questions and yet all I can ask is "WHAT THE FUCKING FUCK?"
Becca: Wait, no, seriously, what that the end of this show?
Becca: ______ Barrett does nothing, goes nowhere, means nothing. Robin is...dead? Crazy? An evil twin?  The whole spin-off was really her dream/nightmare?
Mallory: The last few minutes of that show were more confusing than calculus, chemistry and the appeal of the Black Eyed Peas combined
Becca: ...plus credit card interest, Sienna Miller's status as a fashion icon, and The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.
Mallory: The end of that show was obviously the writers just giving us the middle finger, and if I wanted to have emotionally disturbed people give me the finger, I'd hang out in Yonkers
Becca: You have to go all the way to Yonkers? Do you not have frat-boy bars where you live?
Mallory: The suburbs are tragically dull!
Becca: The people who wrote that episode, and the rest of this series, continue to be employed as professional writers of a television show. I am going to need an explanation for that. It may have to involve graphs, and/or dramatic reenactments.
Mallory: I am holding out for shadow puppets and venn diagrams, personally
Mallory: Was that ending supposed to intrigue us and make us wish for the second season to hurry up and get here? Because it just reinforced my opinion that every day from now until then will be better because Night Shift won't be in them
Becca: There can't be a second season of this, right? There's no way. Who would be tricked into watching it?
Becca: Oh right, us.
Becca: But really, there are no fanbases left to alienate!
Mallory: The only fanbase who can possibly be happy are the Jason/Spinelli slash fiction writers. All three of them
Becca: And two of them are on the GH writing staff, so that won't really help with ratings.

Things That Are Better Planned Out Than the Night Shift Finale

  • the war in Iraq
  • George and Izzie's relationship on Grey's Anatomy
  • your average high-school kegger
  • unintended pregnancies
  • Britney Spears's marriages
  • spontaneous combustion


So, that's it.  It is, mercifully, all over.  We can all go back to being driven crazy by just one incarnation of the Sonny and Jason Worship Hour.  This clever ABC/SoapNet plan has worked:  Something finally made us appreciate the artful storytelling of General Hospital.


oh goody...i can't wait for my personal question to be answered...what lame contrived reason will they come up with this year to have Jason yet again be all up in this?

If there is/was a soap opera god he would have enough mercy to check the entire cast of "Santa Barbara" into General Hospital and cure us of an acute case of soap opera bore-itis.

PS- You were both great on "In the Zone" last night. Come back soon!

Well I ended my GH viewing today, May 7th for good so I won't be subjecting myself to this but Steve Burton did say at his last PA he won't be involved in NS2. To much work and not enough time. I'll bet they ask Sarah Brown on here as the savior. No thanks again.

If you did not get enough of the first season of Night Shift and want to see it again, it is available on DVD at Target. Now I have to ask: Why would anyone want to watch that nightmare again? And why in God's good heaven would anyone want to see what happens next on NS when all of us are still trying to just forget it.

And thank you for saying that TPTB need to learn the meaning of "Alternative Universe." I can't say how much I wanted to pull my hair out when Robin started talking about what happened on NS with Anna last week. Stupid, stupid show!

Pay for a dvd at Target?

I think we should sue for the time in our lives that was lost, plus for the pain and mental anquish we went through.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change yada yada yada.....

Effin Bastards!!!!!

Unless this show comes with free cocktails and a date with Jason Thompson they can kiss my "sadly GH addicted" ass goodbye.

Here is how desperate I am now...Let's consider starting and perpetuating a rumor that Frons Phelps and Guza know where Osama is hiding. Once they are dumped at Guantanamo ABC will be forced to hire new execs for GH.

I hear that Guza & JFP are not going to do this and soapnet is getting new people to run the show. in that case it could be good. but i still think there is no need for a spinoff about the hospital staff from general Hospital, because ya know.. General Hospital should be about the hospital staff.

I heard that Steve Burton will not be partaking in this adventure because JFP and Guza won't be TIIC this time a round. I thought that was good news... Either way, Guza or no Guza, I am still far to traumatized to subject myself to the possible fresh hell of NS2. Kimberly or not, they can count me out.

Wasn't it night shift that got Jason Thompson's "hotly" modifier removed? Causing that alone is reason enough to dislike night shift.

eff the effin effers

btw,I'm pretty sure Dominic cut his hair :(

I continue to be thankful that you all watch this mess so that I don't have to.

There are a brand new set of writers for this potential suckfest so that should give me hope, right? Maybe for 5 seconds until I read the brand new EP previously worked on Passions. Frons is a moron and they will never get this right. Thanks for taking this on ladies.

So, where do we send the booze you'll need to get through this crapfest?lol!

What's worse Guza and Frons or someone who used to work on Passions? Is that like asking what's worse a root canal or getting your tonsils out?

When I saw that JFP and Guza were out as the EP and HW, a small glimmer of hope that this could be better creeped up inside of me. But, Amanda, you are right, we are talking about Frons who thinks that celebrity news and D-list Lifetime movies belong on Soapnet.
Silly me.

Wouldn't it be the end all be all of irony if they had a non-Guza NS and it ROCKED - full of docs at GH and their soapy goodness, Bobbie, Robin, Patrick, Dr. Julian, Kelly, Lanie, her death dealing PTSD vet boyfriend, please no Layla or Nadine! Bring back Rick Springfield!!!!
It would truly be an alternate universe if suddenly the real spirit of GH was back on NS and left the mob behind. Dinner dates at the Floating Rib. Hush hush conversation, stolen kisses in the supply closet. A teeny bit of medical drama thrown in.
It could be great......

Please don't tease me with thoughts like that Amy! My cold, shriveled GH abused heart can't take it.

The only good thing about that crapfest of a show was that it introduced me to the song "Night Shift" by the Commodores, which is now one of my faves.

That was it. The thing that drove me the craziest about the show was that it set up its premise -- that it would take place every Saturday night -- and then abandoned it, so not only did it not align to GH, but it didn't align to itself. WHY US, SOAP GODS? WHY US?

This is a more ill-conceived idea than Sarah Brown's current wardrobe-about which, I've been meaning to say, "Sweetie, I know you paid alot for the girls, but you don't have to show them off ALL the time.....pressed all the way up to your neck, I might add." But, in honor of your AWESOME re-post of the epi. 13 recap (I laughed until I almost peed my pants again, so thank you):

A List Of Things That I Would Rather Do Than Watch NS2
-Attend a performance of Nazanin Boniadi in a one-woman show about "The Revolution".
-Watch my best friend's videos of EVERY hour of EVERY birth of her SIX children.
-Take my 13-year-old shopping for thongs.
-Allow my 2-year-old to do my nails.
-Listen to my 8-year-old explain the entire universe of Autobots and Decepticons and their various alliances...AGAIN (Transformers-do yourself a favor and don't ask).
-Allow the person who styled Kimberly McCullough's hair for NS1 to do mine.
-Walk through Hell in a pair of gasoline underwear.

Why couldn't you just stay dead, stupid show?

And I wonder what reason they will come up w/for Patrick to act like the world's biggest DICKHEAD w/whatever non-acting newbie Frons' will be convinced is "the next big thing"?

Well, at least Robin is already pregnant, so they can't have her visit ...Of The C-RA-ZY! Land over babies again.....right? RIGHT?!

well they did give us that oh so wonderful not at all insane cliffhanger last season...and if these alleged new writers understand the concept of AU...it's entirely possibly NSRobin would NOT be pregnant when she was on that gurney....

But I'm clearly thinking about this too much.

However the fact that Guza/Phelps are not a part of this season (and Steve Burton too I'll admit it) fills me wiht an evil glee I can't quite put into words.....It's almost like Lucky punching Jason good.

Ladies, far be it from me to encourage you to watch this, but I actually have what I hope is a glimmer of good in the morass of suck. I can confirm that Steve Burton did say he would not be a part of NS2, as I was at one of the PAs he was doing with Natalia Livingston (NO Jason! Reason #1 not to give up hope completely!)

(BTW, yes, I despise Jason, but I heart Steve for being a total smartass, and Steve and Natalia are cuter than puppies and kittens together.)

His reason for not participating are that he's got so much going on right now he doesn't really have the time to do it, and because Guza and Phelps are not participating (Reason #2) and he doesn't want Jason written by anyone who hasn't written him before (this really isn't a Reason, just a lovely PnL moment).

Anyhoo, hopefully this helps. I won't come within a thousand feet of it, but Godspeed all the same.

MY EYES! MY EYES! Not NS2!!! Why do they hate us so. :-( Even though Guza is not writing it I still don't think i will watch it. I felt completely lied to about the premise of it the first time around and I know TAIC will probably screw it up again.

I'll watch it if only for the reason that Steve or Laura won't be involved.

Overall the story line wasn't so horrible - I personally preferred it over the regular crap of GH.

However, NS took the proverbial spin down the toilet bowl the MINUTE Patrick dumped Robin. I know there are haters out there - but P&R make the show tolerable for alot of us. The "special effects" and I really do use that term lightly are hilarious though if you want to be entertained.

And any additional reason to have Spinelli on the TV talking like an idiot is reason alone not to watch NS.

How i hated NS. It was such crap and it gave me nightmares! What a huge disappointment and a waste of time.

I won't be watching it again, but I'll be reading your recaps! I am selfish, I was going to come out with a petition if you guys weren't going to blog about Night Shyt 2. lol

I stopped watching after, like, the second episode last season. But I may give it another shot this year because Guza won't be involved and now I hear that there will be ROBERT SCORPIO!!!! AND JAGGER CATES!!!! How could that possibly go wrong? Oh, right...

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