8 Simple Rules For Writing A Horrible Soap Opera Episode
Today's episode of General Hospital was pretty much a master class in how to produce an EPICALLY AWFUL hour of television. Bob Guza rarely exerts effort at anything but when he puts his mind to something, he does it full throttle, Charlie's Angels 2 style. Why he decides to put effort into crafting an episode of television that was really and truly and pretty much LITERALLY painful to watch in that I think it actually gave me an ulcer is a mystery for the ages.
But I am a conscientious pupil, one who pays diligent attention to any lesson, no matter how ludicrous, so I decided to pay attention to Guza's tutorial. After all, television has taught me lessons in the past: watching sitcoms in the 80s taught me many important things that I carry with me to this day, such as not hiding in abandoned refrigerators during games of hide and seek. Perhaps one day I, too, will feel the need to create a television show that has no real entertainment value and is produced for the sole purpose of driving the audience insane with a potent combination of rage and grief. Who knows?!
1. Have formerly level-headed characters go out of their minds
So...Diane. I have a complicated history with this character. For a supposed fashion buff, she's usually dressed like an extra from L.A. Law. A blind extra. But she and Alexis are so hilarious together! But she enables Sonny and Jason. But she also calls them out more often than anybody else on canvas does! But then she and Max take up a lot of airtime that could go to a number of other characters. But Carolyn Hennessy has such stellar delivery! I am often torn about her.
Today, I was not torn. Today was all about the pure, unadulterated hatred.
Diane: Oh, good. Oh, you finally [!!!--Ed.]decided to haul his gold-plated Aussie ass to the cleaners. Well, I'm right behind you.
Diane: You should thank your lucky stars that this woman is even willing to speak to you [!!!--Ed.], much less want to stay married to you. You have been a disastrous husband in every way [!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!--Ed.]. And I can prove it.
Diane: You've pretty much done nothing but walk into and out of this marriage pretty much from the start. My client is a saint [!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!--Ed.] for wanting to contest this divorce, whereas any other woman in her right mind would be hauling your butt to the cleaners.
I mean...for fucking real, show? SERIOUSLY? A SAINT?! Really. The way I see it, which is perhaps not the way the majority of GH watchers see it, is that if Jax were to come down with a case of violent thugism that so many on this show suffer from and decided to just kick Carly square in the head, I would rejoice. ESPECIALLY if she made this face at him one more time.
Why does Laura Wright do that? It is obnoxious on its own, let alone coupled with Carly's shrieking harridan shtick. Then I think it's a crime against humanity.
These tragic scenes did give me one of the episode's biggest, albeit unintentional, laughs:
Kate: Jasper Jacks really doesn't settle for second best.
Oh, Kate. What show are you watching?
2. Have your leading man, in addition to being a violently unbalanced murderer, be a whiny bitch.
I have made my peace with Sonny being a criminal inexplicably held up as the best person to grace Port Charles since Saint Carly, but I have absolutely no patience for his griping and moaning like a cranky toddler who is pissed that he had to miss Go, Diego, Go to go with his mother to the grocery store. Say what you will about Jason, and I have said a lot, but it speaks volumes about his inner strength that he hasn't just pulled out one of the guns he has on him at all times and shot Sonny in the leg.
Sonny: You should have known the truce wasn't going to last that long. You sat on your hands too long. Look what happened.
Sonny: I told you the Russians were just waiting to make a move. You wouldn't take action, and now you let everything get completely out of control.
What a winner!
I also liked how he was so flirtatious with Olivia, approximately six seconds after he broke up with her cousin. Who says romance is dead?!
Incidentally, his duh face is contagious.
"The square root of 49. I know this! I know this!"
"A route, like how to get somewhere? Let me think. I don't think there's a Route 49..."
"Don't ask me, I'm literally brain damaged."
3. When in doubt, make your leading ingenue a smug moron
Sorry, but nobody that stupid has any right to pout like that at anybody. Are we supposed to be impressed that Lulu had a breakthrough today, realizing that the Zaccharas are dangerous mobsters? Pat her on the head and congratulate her for figuring out what everybody else has known since September of last year?
4. Allow characters like Nadine onscreen
There are some people who annoy me so much that I tense up at the very sight of them. One such person is Chelsea Handler. Another is Claire Coffee, which I actually feel bad about because I am sure she is very sweet and she seems nice enough in interviews that I've read but Nadine is incredibly irksome.
She's also a fucking lunatic.
Nadine: Look, I know you feel awkward about this and -- look, I -- I don't blame you. I totally understand. And, technically, I'm not really for the situation because it's against the law and fraud, but look, there are real criminals out there and you are not one of them and you should not be deported.
Nikolas: Once again, you've completely lost me.
Nadine: Don't worry about it. And I will marry you.
Nadine: Oh, you should see the list of errands I have to do. I mean, just because this is a marriage of convenience doesn't mean that it's not going to be done right.
Nikolas was, a mere few months ago, having sex with the ghost of his dead fiancee (or something--I've tried to repress it) and yet he is, by far, the more rational person in this equation.
5. Take a character that, against all odds, you managed to redeem and start systematically stripping her of all her great qualities
Today was not a good day for Maxie. Over the course of one episode, she managed to...
- exhibit the blistering hatred of Liz that made her so hateable back in the day
Maxie: I have been watching her operate for years. Trust me, ok? I mean, I got all the blame for breaking up her and Lucky and I wasn't innocent, but I wasn't alone in the situation either.
Totally! You weren't alone! Liz screwed up, too! With all the...stuff she did by...being...there...
- randomly decide that Sam and Jason are the greatest couple of all time which is stupid because I really feel like the writers need to decide who Jason is going to be with instead of waffling with Liz for so long and deciding out of freaking nowhere to start bringing Sam into it and also FRIENDS DON'T LET FRIENDS DATE HIRED KILLERS
- said the words "Jason is a stud"
Again, it was not a good day for Maxie. I'd like to think that she'll go back to the adorably sassy Maxie that I love so much, but with these writers at the helm, I don't have faith in anything anymore. Jason is a stud! I ask you.
6. Don't make the dashing, devoted, doting doctor the leading man of the show!
Whenever Patrick is onscreen being all hot and charming and adorable and hot, I always get sad that he is merely a bit player in the mafia story that this show has become. There is no way that anybody can look at Sonny and Jason and Patrick and declare that Patrick isn't the dreamiest, most wonderful person of all.
The crazy, overprotective father thing has probably been done before in every television show and movie featuring a father with a newborn daughter but that doesn't make it any less sweet and hilarious.
Robin: You could go a little faster.
Patrick: No, you're -- you're all right.
Elizabeth: Do you want me to take Robin down to the garage? You can bring the car around?
Patrick: No, no, no, too many fumes in the garage.
Elizabeth: You guys can just wait in the lobby.
Patrick: You kidding? There's too many sick people in the lobby.
Robin: I hope we can get her out of this thing. It would be a shame if our little girl had to grow up strapped to a car seat in the back of a -- a van. I can't believe you're driving a van.
Patrick: Yeah, yeah. I bought it the day you stabilized. I thought it would be a little bit of a, you know, surprise.
Robin: I'm definitely surprised.
Patrick: Yep, safest car on the road.
Robin: Um, honey?
Robin: I think the speed limit here is 35.
Patrick: Yeah, I know. I'm not -- I'm not speeding.
Robin: I know you're not speeding. You're going 15, maybe 18 --
Patrick: Ok, well, Robin, I just don't want to jostle you and the baby.
Robin: Ok, well, Emma and I appreciate that very much, but we'd also like to get home today.
Patrick: Ok, 21, here we come.
I'm sorry, but that's adorable. The word "jostle" cracks me up in and of itself, and the entire thing made me squeal a little bit with delight. That's cuuuuute! But who wants to see adorability like this routinely when we can watch hitmen and murderous weebles instead?
7. Try your hardest to make the aforementioned dashing, devoted, doting doctor look a little bit foolish
Not to be all conspiracy theory on you, but this sweater was a blatant attempt to make Patrick look silly, right?
I am reasonably sure that it is a woman's sweater, possibly from the junior's department. I'm just saying.
8. Instead of going out of your way to help viewers forget one of the single most gratuitous and ill-advised instances of murder in this show's history, which, considering the show in question is saying something and that something is bad, make sure to have the sister of the character you killed off for no good reason be found unconscious in the exact same position and the exact same spot as her dead sister because what the hell, right? Violence around the holidays is how we roll here and what do viewers love more than women dead and/or in jeopardy? Nothing!
This effing show.