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« The Horror! The Horror! | Main | And Then There Were...Almost All The Same People, Actually »

September 28, 2009

A Tale of Two Reactions

When trusty news correspondent Beth R. let me know the epic news that Greg Vaughan was let go from General Hospital and that the role of Lucky will once again be played by Jonathan Jackson, I didn't know what to do. I let out a muffled shriek and all I could type was "OMG!" (Seriously, when I posted this on Facebook, I used OMG six times. And that was after deleting a few more because I didn't want to seem COMPLETELY unhinged).  I may have even flailed, which I usually only do ironically.

This is BIG NEWS. And I had A BIG RESPONSE. Two big responses, actually. It went a little something like this:

PRESENT DAY MALLORY: I cannot believe that Jonathan Jackson is back. I can't. I never thought that would happen.


PRESENT DAY MALLORY: I KNOW, it's completely crazy. And unexpected.


PDM: I KNOW! Remember when there was that rumor when Genie Francis came back for Luke and Laura's 25th anniversay (in a story that the writers predictably and epically botched) that Jonathan Jackson would be back, too, and I got really excited and then it didn't happen?

14YOGHFM: Remember when Jonathan Jackson won, like, a million Daytime Emmys?

PDM: I do remember that.

14YOGHFM: And remember how his birthday is May 11, and you're also born in May and he's a year older than you and you thought that was just the coolest?

PDM: I am chagrined to say that I do remember that his birthday is May 11.

14YOGHFM: And how you used to have three hour long conversations during and following GH where you and your friend Jill would talk for hours about how adorable Lucky and Liz were?

PDM: Yes.

14YOGHFM: And remember when Lucky "died" and you cried so hard that your eyes were still puffy and bloodshot the next morning and you considered staying home from school?

PDM: ...vaguely. But poor Greg Vaughan! He has shafted so spectacularly, so many times by the people in charge of ruining--oh, I mean running this show. See what I did there?

14YOGHFM: Yeah, I got it. You didn't get any more clever as you aged, did you?

PDM: He was always the show's afterthought, losing to everybody, and Jason most of all, when he could have been a leading man. And now he's gone! But what a classy man he is.

14YOGHFM: That's true, he is.

PDM: He was so gracious in talking about General Hospital! And so pretty!


14YOGHFM: He was pretty in his Tweet?

PDM: Well, I'm assuming so, since he usually is. And oh! This means no more scenes of him being hot and adorable with Cam and Jake.



It's going to be so weird seeing them with a different Lucky. I was just going to say, "I totally can't picture Jonathan Jackson as a dad", but he actually is a dad. And he's married to Hannah.

14YOGHFM: Ugh, Hannah. Hannah sucked.

PDM: Hannah DID suck. Oh. Another weird, possibly awkward thing--I don't know if I can buy Jonathan Jackson as a cop.

14YOGHFM: Yeah, but he's, like, an awesome actor and can, like, make people believe anything, so I'm sure he will really sell himself as a cop.

PDM: Do you think this will make Bob Guza give up his insane belief that the police are the root of all evil in the world? Or do you think it will be like, "Oh, psych, Lucky's not going to be a cop anymore, he's going to be [insert name of career not as reviled as cop or doctor here]? Do you think the writers are going to nip this Nikolas/Liz thing in the bud? Oooh, do you think it will be weird to have Lucky and Lulu played by people pretty much the same age and then have their brother Nikolas who...is not exactly looking as youthful as the two of them? Do you think this is going to be the start of an epic revitalization of the Spencer family, and that maybe Lucky will stop being shunned by his father and sister at every opportunity? Or do you think this is a classic Guza bait and switch where he dangles something shiny in your face and gets you all intrigued and excited, and then he shoots it all to hell?

14YOGHFM: ...remember when you had at least twenty articles of clothing with sunflowers on them?

PDM: Are you deliberately changing the subject because even the biggest, Jonathan Jackson loving part of me knows that the current GH powers-that-be can ruin anything without even trying and that if I get my hopes up even a little bit my heart will wind up broken in a major way?

14YOGHFM: ...you had a sunflower hat and everything!

PDM: Shit.


I'm afraid I do not share the admiration that many here have for Greg Vaughn's acting ability. He is beautiful, no doubt, but he never made an impression with Lucky. Not like others did with their characters: Laura Wright, John Ingle, etc., people who stepped into the shoes of others.

He seems like a very likable, lovely person, but good actor? I don't think so.

Now, I'm not a dedicated fan of GH, but I do remember the "glory years" of when Luke and Laura returned to Port Charles, with their lovely son Lucky and baby girl LuLu. JJ was a real find for the soap opera industry at that time. He's a terrific actor. This is a huge thing for GH and legions of JJ's fans.

Yet, I'm sad to hear about GV being let go. I just think it's shameful that TIIC of the show, couldn't seem to find any interest in writing for the character of Lucky (as more than this pathetic sad sack, who's "chump" written on his forehead), when GV was portraying him. I hope that TIIC don't do another pr campaign of The Real Lucky is coming back for JJ's return. A year later, The Real Greenlee "died" while on a motorcycle.

I mean, if the writing wasn't "there" for Lucky, when GV was portraying him, then what's going to happen when JJ takes over the role?

Are they going to do a ret-con, in order to get back to the "real" Lucky Spencer, that longtime viewers of GH seem to miss? The one that wouldn't EVER cheat on Liz? The one that would NEVER become a cop? The one that would probably have issues with raising someone else's children as his own?

Those are things that were WRITTEN by the writers of the show. Those weren't choices that GV made for the direction of the character.

I just have a bad taste in my mouth about all this, because the problems with the direction of the Lucky Spencer character came directly from the writing and not with GV's performance.

Yes, JJ maybe considered to be a better actor than GV, but if he gets the same piss-poor writing that GV's dealt with since he's been portraying the character, JJ will be in the same position.

This industry is going down the drain and it's not just because of lack of viewing numbers. It's the fact that the people in charge, really think that if they just get a "fan favorite" back on the screen, with the same crappy writing that the audience will be satisfied with it. Maybe, you'll have some viewers pleased, but they're not the only folks that you have to focus on.

Especially if you want to increase your viewing numbers.

I just don't get the mindset of the folks in charge in the daytime industry. The keep re-hiring the same core group of writers that have been on 4 or 5 different soaps throughout their careers and yes, those folks have experience, but there was a reason why they were fired from those previous jobs. They burnt out, or their scripts weren't generating the viewing numbers that those shows needed during that time.

There are TONS of writers out in LA. Why can't they take a risk and look for some flesh blood, a new set of eyes, in order to bring new life to soaps?

I'm just being honest.

This post was absolute <3! I couldn't of said it any better myself. And frankly, revealing this post as representing me also confirms that I myself may have once been unhinged in my old school love for all things Lucky and Lucky&Elizabeth.

Furthering my mental stability, or lack thereof, I'm drawn to seeing Jonathan Jackson once again play the role he originated. But this is full-knowing the end results will break my heart and quite possibly shatter my beloved perceptions of who the real Lucky was and should be. Some could say I'm a moth to a flame, or to put in in less cliche terms, a caffeine addict looking for a fix. My addiction: Jonathan Jackson as Lucky. My fix: soon coming.

Denise I am going to non-creepily stalk you for that. Exactly what I have been saying all day. It's the WRITING that's the problem and it's the WRITING that will conitnue to BE the problem. Lucky will get a momentary up-tick in the beginning to milk this sucker but then he's not going to get much better than that. because it would threaten Sonny and Jason for the title of show hero. Which plain and simple is never EVER going to happen.

As a new GH watcher, I have no opinion about either actor. But as someone who has watched soaps for years, GH is making this change around sweeps time. JMHO, but I think it's purely to bring in ratings for sweeps. This strategy has worked for Days recently, adding stars from the past at strategic points or adding stars from other shows to pump up the ratings just to get through sweeps. Whether or not GH writes a story for the new Lucky that long-time viewers will enjoy is another question.

I've got a question for longterm viewers (after JJ left):

Did the vilification of good and decent male characters on GL start to happen before or after JJ left the role of Lucky Spencer?

I've got to ask, because I just couldn't understand why Luke would say and think that by having Lucky (his own biological son) be a cop, that it's a "betrayal" to him. I do recall, at one time that Luke was THE MAYOR of Port Charles for awhile.

I, also don't think that with JJ returning as Original Recipe Lucky, that the writing will overturn years of making that character seem like a chump, for wanting to do right by raising children that are not his own AND/OR trying to be a decent individual by his actions.

Lucky will get a momentary up-tick in the beginning to milk this sucker but then he's not going to get much better than that. because it would threaten Sonny and Jason for the title of show hero. Which plain and simple is never EVER going to happen.

Denise - the show was actively starting to throw AJ under the bus...but it had done the same to Tony and gotten away with it. Was it as blatant as it is now? No. That didn't really start until Megan McTavish was on board and really hit it's stride when Guza came back. (REmember when we were all so thrilled to have him back? What fools we were!)

Treating Lucky like crap I personally think you can trace to JY's days. They really hit it with GV..mainly because GV did not have the rep of being a person who argued. He was very happy to get any storyline and do anythign they asked him to do. He might disagree...but he would do it and complain later after it was over. Luke going dark and being so disappointed and hating be married to Laura goes back to about the same time...also known as the time Tony got the ridiculous vacation deal and it became clear he was the one writing his storylines.

When I saw Greg's tweets, I was devastated. I absolutely love him, and Lucky has always been one of my very favorite characters (except when Jacob Young portrayed him; then he just yelled a lot). Besides being the very prettiest man on the show, Greg Vaughan brought a sweetness to the character that I loved.

Then I heard that he was dumped because JJ was coming back and I was all, "ZOMG! That is fucking awesome! OMG OMG OMG!" I, too, was a crazy L&L fangirl back in the "permanent lock" days, and hated that JJ left only to be replaced by JY who, I must repeat, I DID NOT LIKE.

But then it hit me again that GV is leaving and I got all emo. And like you said, I can't picture JJ as a cop, and hello, as big brother to Lulu?? WUT?

Btw, the ONLY recasts I've ever approved of is the list of Carlys. I loved SB, but then I loved TB, hated the brief interlude of that she-male chick, and now I can't imagine anyone else ever being Carly besides LW.

I've only really seen GV in the role of Lucky. I have watched clips on youtube of JJ during Liz's rape.

Yeah, he was good, but he was the teen version of Lucky. He just has that teenager look about him. I can't imagine him sleeping with Maxie, sleeping with Sam, or being father to Cake.

GV got shafted by GH. But he's going to rise from this: he'll get hired by another soap or primetime show and shine. Then GH can see what they let go.

I loved Greg Vaughan as Lucky. I'm happy he's getting out of the pit of awfulness that is GH. I can't see Jonathan Jackson playing an adult version of Lucky. He still looks like a kid. I'm only going to watch to see how he interacts with Cam and Jake. Since I can't picture him as a dad. I have a feeling that JJ's scenes with Cam and Jake will be so weird. Greg was able to pull off the pairings with Maxie and Sam,. I can't see JJ in a hottub with Sam.

I literally shrieked when I heard this news from my best friend last night. And the conversation above? Exactly mirrors my 14-year-old GH experience. Talking with my best friend about Liz and Lucky for hours after each episode? Check. Crying so hard my eyes were puffy and red the next day when Lucky "died" in the fire? Check. I also wore black for a week. (Again, I was 14, no judgement please...)

I never thought this day would come and now that it has it means I have to start watching GH again. I am a combination of ecstatic and terrified. I started watching GH for Liz and JJ's Lucky -- this is a dream come true. But, as you pointed out, these writers can ruin anything.

Having not watched the show in sometime now, I was surprised at how pissed off this news made me. Like everyone else, I watched and loved JJ during the glory days, but GV has had this role for 8 YEARS, and that character has been treated like crap during most of that run. UGH!

All I can say is after this I will never, ever, EVER fix my eyes to watch this show again. The way Greg Vaughn has been treated is despicable. He has been Lucky the LONGEST and this is what they do to him? Screw this effing show. People fail to realize that the "real Lucky" was Claire Labine, not Johnathan Jackson. Back then Lucky was a great character because he was WRITTEN that way. JJ and BH did not come up with the "permanent lock" stuff off the top of their heads. Claire Labine gave them that. Chemistry between the actors is great but IT DOESN'T MEAN SQUAT if they don't have good material written for them. If people really think that because JJ is coming back they are going to get THAT Lucky, then thay are in for a rude awakening. Changing the writer to one that cares about the charcters will give you that Lucky back, not going back to the original actor. I hate this show with more passion than I can express and I will never look at it again.

I feel so bad for GV and the way he was treated. I loved JJ in the role of Lucky but he's been gone for 10yrs. I can't see JJ's Lucky as the father of two little boys(who I loved in their scenes with Greg) and as a cop. Greg made the role his own and did a great job the past few years. He is one of the nicest actors you will ever meet.

I hope JJ realizes this is not the same show he left 10 years ago. Now the show revolves around the mob not the Spencer's or the Quartermaine's. Anyone who ever made a return to GH recently, wound up having their character's trashed by the writers; ex Sarah Brown, Tristan Rogers, Natalia Livingston. Who knows what they will do now to Lucky.

While I'm super excited JJ is back, Greg Vaghan is getting royally screwed. Why oh why can't they have 2 Lucky's?? Yeah, whatever, it's ludicrous but it's GH! Hell, it's a soap! It can be done. JJ is the real Lucky who's been held by Helena all these years. GV is not-real Lucky but still Lucky, because he's some poor soul who was brainwashed by Helena and Stavros (why not) to believe he's Lucky. Oooh, even better, he's really a Quartermaine. That way we can refill their dwindling ranks.

I loved JJ's Lucky - hated JY's Lucky and grew to love GV's Lucky. GV made that role his own and did the best that he could with the crap that was written for him. I agree that JJ looks too young to play grown up Lucky and IMO he is no where near as hot or sexy as GV. JJ is an OK actor - lets face it if he really was a great actor he wouldn't need to come back to this crap show. I read somewhere that he only signed for 6 months - here's to hoping that he goes and takes TG with him.
I will miss GV and wish him the best.

I just can't see JJ playing Lucky these days. He was great as "teen-age" Lucky, and GV is awesome as "grown-up" Lucky. I honestly just can't see it. Why bother to understand it, TIIC will just screw it up anyway. I wish nothing but the best for GV, and I will really miss him...

I have to agree with the poster who said this reeks of Tony Geary's hand. After I read the Tv Guide interview JJ gave I can say with great passion that both Luke and his new-old Lucky can go suck on it.

ABC has lost another viewer. GV will always be Lucky. He is the "man"Lucky. I watched terminator with JJ and felt he was so wrong for the part. He looks like a little boy. GV brought the man and father to GH. the writing was horrible. It is horrible for everyone on this show but Guza had a thing against Lucky. Only when the writers went on strike did we see the potential of lucky. He had a woman that put him first and the relationship between him and Sam was sexy.

JJ cannot bring that to Lucky. IMO it will be failure that is well deserved by tptb

I tried to comment on this last night when I saw the post, but I was too enraged to be coherent or entertaining.

Nothing has changed. I am still frothing with rage. I wish I hadn't stopped watching 2 months ago so I could stop watching it now, damnit! GV rose about spiteful, hateful, destructive writing to create Lucky the man, the father, the protector. And he did this in the face of repugnant storylines.

FUCK GH. Before yesterday, I had simply stopped watching it. Now, it is dead to me, for the crime of turning me into a Soap Crazy.

I don't think any one casting decision has caused this much sentiment in a long time which GH was hoping for. Pro/Con GV/JJ -- people are talking about this casting change. Having watch GH for more years than GV or JJ have been alive....I have seen more actors come and go than I care to admit; however, this one reeks. I feel bad for GV --an actor who IMO made the most with crap he was given. I wish JJ all the good luck with his jig. And I hope GV gets a prime time job quick. Me thinks JJ has not been watching his old show much recently-- or he would have seen the awful writing or maybe the man has a mortgage and children and does not care about the direction of his character.

I prefer Greg over JJ.

Please JJ left GH to try hollywood and it didn't work. Now he's back.

What to save GH? Bringing back old popular actors cant do that...only firing guza, frons and all the writers (except the 1 awesome writer who is locked in the closet).

The actors have played 2 dif characters, can't compare the actors due to the writers spewing crap.

This sucks. GV gave us many years of lucky (loyal years to the fans i might add).

You know they will now have lucky go bad and join the mob to prop jason/sonny in a different way.

AND the writers will then say Liz CAN be with a mobster.

Greg was one of the few actors i liked on the show.

I am torn. I really did love JJ as Lucky. GH is pretty spot on with casting children and I always thought that if Luke & Laura were to have a child, JJ would be Lucky. Same with JB as Lulu. Sometimes, JB busts out a facial expression that reminds me of young Laura Baldwin. Anyway...

I dropped off from GH after Stone died, then picked it back up during the Maxie Lucky drug story. My initial thoughts about GV as Lucky were that he was handsome enough, but also somewhat of a dry actor missing that spark JJ gave to the character.

But as time went along, I got used to GV and started to enjoy him as Lucky. I hate the fact that he has been handed some crappy SL's. That he has been treated like the red headed step child (no offense to redheads). And now he will be gone. I hope he finds greener pastures, because he sure deserves it. I think he put alot of work into Lucky... and gave us the grown up Lucky who wants a life unlike his father.

Now enter JJ....

I have a feeling that because he is a fine actor, he'll hit the ground running. But it's going to take some getting used to, as of now, looking at his pictures does not emote the grown up Lucky. He looks like teen Lucky. I'm thinking his acting will translate better... once settled in.

I am hoping Lucky is given a better SL, and I am betting he will get preferential treatment which is so unfair to GV. As someone mentioned this reeks of TG. I agree.

Speaking of TG, I am highly sick of him. He will of course be back soon, given the text message today that Ethan and Lulu received from him. I'm pretty much tired of the worn out "adventures of geriatric Luke". TG thinks he's real special and I hate how that translates through his acting and demeanor.

I would love to see more family stories, with the Webbers, Spencers, Scorpios, and Drakes. Would love for Sonny & co, to go go go. This includes Olivia and Dante. I don't care for any of these people. They bore me. Spinelli needs to go too. Would love to see Maxie Jones get into a mature relationship. I really do like Michael, Morgan, Christina, and Molly right now. They are enjoyable to watch. Would love to see them getting more screen time now than the mobsters.

As everyone has said - it's the writing. Soaps will die - are dying - not because of the actors but because of the writing and producing teams. The blood is on their hands.

It's been clear from the get go that Guza was never inspired to write for Greg Vaughn's Lucky. He's been waiting for JJ to return for years and I'm convinced that GV was there as a place holder in Guza's mind. The whole creation of Ethan was in response to having another 'Lucky' on the show.

I'm of two minds here, like several others. GV was a good Lucky - but not a dynamic Lucky. His Lucky was a 'safe' Lucky, but was that a symptom of the writing or the actor - or both? JJ is a more dynamic actor, but his Lucky was also a bit of a hot head that could annoy me to no end - and the character has been through so much and is in a much different position that he was when JJ last portrayed him. I fear an abrupt character change where the last few years will appear to have happened to another character entirely.

But really, without a good writer, an inspired writer, changing faces isn't going to help in the long run. GH is tired and worn out, with Guza - year after year - trying to squeeze water out of the stone of the same old stories portrayed by actors that have clearly grown complacent in the groove of sameness. And who can blame them?

You have to wonder about an industry that rewards blatant failure by allowing a headwriter to keep his job, even as the show slowly but steadily drives into the ground, inevitably leading to the loss of many, many jobs. Keep one for years to eventually put them all out of work. Makes sense, right?

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