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« Our Column in the 11/3 Issue of Soap Opera Digest | Main | I'm Trying to Restrain Myself From Making Numerous "Lucky" Puns »

October 27, 2009

The Role of Lucky Spencer Is Now Being Played by Jonathan Jackson

Mallory really wanted to post about Jonathan Jackson's return as Lucky Spencer after today's airing of his first episode back, but she and her therapist were wary of her venturing back into multiple-personality land (it's never as fun as they make it seem on soaps!).  So you are stuck with me, and -- Debbie Downer alert! -- while I enjoyed Jackson's Lucky very much back in the day, I was far too old to have a crush on him and therefore my assessment of his return is likely to have far less "eeeee!"ing than Mal's.  I'm sure she will balance the scales at a future date.  I have it on good authority that screencaps with animated exploding hearts are well underway.

So, first day back.  "Remember me?" was a terribly cheesy opener, but Jackson had the decency to look chagrined by that, so kudos. 

Picture 10

And then we cut to the credits, which readers have emailed to point out still include Greg Vaughan.  How grossly cheap is this show?!  It is bad enough that the credits have at least four dead characters in them, but really, you somewhat brutally fire a longtime cast member and then leave him in the credits even after his replacement has started?  This show is to class what Lindsay Lohan is to sobriety.  (Related note:  You look fab for 56, Lindz!  Don't let anyone tell you differently!)

Side note:  The Beard must be eliminated.  A strategic razor could get in and out without causing any collateral damage.  I say we let it try.  For the good of the country.  Or at least for the couple hundred of us still watching General Hospital.

Back to the real issue at hand:  Jonathan Jackson is a good actor.  I'm sure I will get used to him as Lucky again.  But today didn't wow me.  It's going to take a while to see if he has romantic chemistry with Becky Herbst or his other possible love interests -- I didn't think Lucky and Liz exactly scorched the screen with their hotness today.  Truth be told, it is going to take a while for me to think of the teenager I watched in the 90s as a sexy leading man type, particularly when he still looks like he could play a teen.  (He looks at least a decade younger than some of the 90210 cast.  Of course, so does Lindsay Lohan.)  Becky Herbst looked a bit like a teacher seducing her high school student, and she looks young herself.  And I think his youthfulness is going to create some issues beyond the Liz relationship as well.  I do not buy Lucky as a seasoned cop, and I am still going to be overcome with giggles the first time this Lucky interacts with his ex-girlfriend Sam.  Kelly Monaco is gorgeous, but she is going to look like his mother's hot friend.

On the other hand, "cowboy" is a better fit for the original recipient of the moniker than it ever was for the significantly older Vaughan (it always sounded a bit lascivious to me when Luke called Vaughan's Lucky that), and Lucky's chat with Laura at the end of the episode did melt a few of the icicles around my heart. 

Picture 12

(Though seriously, who has a corded phone?)

Tony Geary seemed to show up more than he has recently in Luke-and-Lucky scenes, so I guess that's a plus if it continues until his next 20-month vacation.  Plus it goes without saying (but because I am me, I will say it anyway) that if this walk down memory lane puts the idiots who run this show in a place where they bring back Genie Francis to complete the Spencer family reunion, I will suspend disbelief and tolerate virtually any story, including Lucky actually being 45 and having developed a dangerous addiction to plastic surgery and Botox.

The thing that bugs (worries?) me about this return is really that regardless of who is playing him, Lucky Spencer is going to written horribly about 95% of the time.  The smart, witty, kind, adventurous kid we all watched in the 90s has morphed into the town's perpetually unlucky-[note: not a pun, because I am not lame like this show was today] in-love doofus.  Jackson is walking into this shoddily constructed Nikolas-Liz-Lucky triangle that I'm not sure anyone could make me think is anything other than nonsensical and seedy.  But if that anyone does exist, it's probably the person who originally infused Lucky with his goodness and warmth -- so I will let him try.

But enough of my rambling.  To get a definitive answer to a pressing societal question, we must do as they have done through the ages:  Internet poll!

Comments

Who still has a corded phone? Um, one Victor Christian Newman of Genoa City (I have photographic evidence in my weekly recaps).

"Or at least for the couple hundred of us still watching General Hospital." I wouldn't have thought the numbers were still that high based on the 20 minutes of the show I caught last night.

the love affair of soaps with corded phones have long amused me. Epically.

I was torn.

The Greg Vaughan fan in me reveled in teh fact that every.single.solitary.person. who sat on message boards and blogs and predicted IMMEDIATELY better writing for Lucky was proven well...wrong since that is basically the same freakign script Greg got like a month ago made me do my bitter fan happy dance. As did when Lucky and Liz decided to go gambling..as I well remember all the people who would howl that "JJ'S Lucky would never do that!" whenever Greg's Lucky roamed near the HS because of the long forgotten poker addiction. So my bitter snarky side was totally going "SUCK ON IT! WHO WAS RIGHT? I WAS!"

I try not to let her out often...she gets kinda mean.

On the other hand...I adored Jon back in the day. And I do think he and Becky still have chemistry...and of course blamed the writers immediately for the crap and images i'm trying to forget FOR ALL TIME. I want to give him a chance. GH's ability to spectacularly ruin everything is holding me back. I really want it to work because I am an LL2 fan and by nature am deludedly optmistic and will never ever give up hope no matter how awful it is because well...I am a fangirl at heart.

I'm torn! TORN!

While I do think that JJ is a great actor, it is going to take awhile for me to get used to him playing Lucky again. The character has changed so much since the 90's. Also, like it has been stated countless times before, JJ still looks like he's ten. That is a serioius issue and the beard does not help him look older.

****The Greg Vaughan fan in me reveled in teh fact that every.single.solitary.person. who sat on message boards and blogs and predicted IMMEDIATELY better writing for Lucky was proven well...wrong since that is basically the same freakign script Greg got like a month ago made me do my bitter fan happy dance. As did when Lucky and Liz decided to go gambling..as I well remember all the people who would howl that "JJ'S Lucky would never do that!" whenever Greg's Lucky roamed near the HS because of the long forgotten poker addiction. So my bitter snarky side was totally going "SUCK ON IT! WHO WAS RIGHT? I WAS!" ****

Beth, while I am not torn like you (the Greg Vaughan fan in me is very decisive), I LOVE YOU LIKE MY MOTHER for that paragraph.

Well, I'm not watching GH anymore since I'm disguisted by TAIC's treatment of Greg. They don't deserve my viewership.

However, JJ definitely needs to shave his beard. It just makes it look like he can't grow one. Better to look clean shaven.

The first scene between JJ and Kelly is going to be hilarious. That I'll have to check on youtube.

I kinda doubt they'll have him do many scenes with Kelly Monaco. GV and KeMo actually played lovers for over a year and they had ONE scene together in the 8 months since their breakup that I can recall. Even during their relationship they hardly ever had scenes.

I did think the writing for Lucky changed drastically today -- in that there WAS some writing for Lucky. It wasn't brilliant or anything, but if this were someone's first time watching the show, they'd think that was a major character. Which he wasn't yesterday.

I'm still psyched, though it'll take getting used to. Today was just weird. I feel bad for GV, but I also recognize that a soap is a money-making endeavor and they made a business decision that I have no doubt will pay off during this sweeps period. Greg's talented and obscenely good-looking; he'll do just fine.

And yes, the beard is bad. And JJ's presence makes Liz/Nik even grosser, if that's possible (I'd thought it wasn't... I was wrong). The puns were a nightmare.

Different actor, same dumbass Lucky. Along with same feckless whore Liz, same wanker Nikolas. No matter who Lucky is played by (hell, James Franco could have played him), the same useless piece of sewage - Bob Guza - is writing the show. What difference is it going to make?

We have already seen a difference in the writing. GV would have never gotten that final scene that JJ had with Lucky talking to Laura on the phone along with the voice over. It doesn't mean the writing will magically improve, only that JJ as Lucky will get more fleshed out stories and more airtime.

Louise...Kelly Monaco told Deep Soap that she has worked with Jon tangentially...which I am sure translates to she's standing in the background while Lucky talks with Jason.

And while I am aware that the writing wouldn't magically change, nor do I think anyone here thought that either..(although I maintain teh phone call to Laura was the kind of scene they would give Greg only to be cut for "time"....you all don't even KNOW the number of scenes he's had cut from that show...only to randomly refer to it onscreen later.)...all I heard on MULTIPLE boards since about mid-Octbor was how it was going to change like that. and anytime I or anyone tried to point out Bob was still writing this slop....we were dismissed as idiots. And I personally can only stand to hear that so long before I become very much like Jason swearing revenge on Claudia. Wasn't trying to start a blog war or anything..just trying to be honest.

I think the beard is the show's attempt to hide the fact that Jon still looks like he's 16 (much like they did with Jason Cook when he first arrived) and it ain't working.

I read comments on another site where people kept repeating that Lucky was so much smarter today. My only thought was that actors don't write the characters. they work with what's given. Maybe JJ is a better actor than GV, but that still doesn't change the fact that it will still be the same scripts.

Is it known why they switched from Greg to Jon? Because I just don't get it.

********I read comments on another site where people kept repeating that Lucky was so much smarter today. My only thought was that actors don't write the characters. they work with what's given.*******

And this is EXACTLY what ticks me off. People seem to think that the only reason Deputy Dog was smarter than Lucky was because he was being played by Greg and now that Jonathan is back he is going to make it all better. GREG DID NOT CREATE THE CHARACTER LUCKY BECAME PEOPLE!!! Sir Hacks A Lot and his Merry Maid Phelps did that. Why people keeping wanting to blame Greg for Lucky's downfall is beyond me. He played what was given to him JUST LIKE JONATHAN WILL. They READ a script that is WRITTEN FOR THEM, they do not come up with this on their own. UGH!

Part of what drew me to this site -- aside from Mallory and Becca's hilarious awesomeness -- is the fact that most commentors get these distinctions whereas I think a lot of the soap viewing public does not. You get that there's a difference between saying "Maurice really phoned it in today" and saying "Sonny Corinthos is the worst character on daytime." Although in that particular example, I do think Maurice contributes to the horrible (see Face, Duh), regardless, ultimately it's on the writers and show runners. So, in short, yay for Serial Drama commentors!

I wish GV had been given the opportunity to give Liz an appraising look and question whether her heart was really in the engagement instead of being Miss Suzy Sunshine (i.e., clueless). The saddest thing to me about the GV article circulated earlier is that he mentioned that he only has one realy storyline in 6 years. It's true. Lucky's primary role on GH has been Jason and/or Liz propper. It's really a disgrace, showrunners.

Also, I'm a girl who likes facial hair, but a prerequisite is the ability to grow it. JJ, you cannot. Please shave.

I am in complete agreement that JJ cannot pass for 45 to save his life! I am not thrilled with this recast at all. I hate the way they treated GV and I hope GV gets picked up by some awesome primetime show and shows them!

Great recapping, btw, and PERHAPS the JJ thing could work out for me if they bring Genie back.

Last, but not least:


The beard must go!! WTF?!!

PS Nikolas is spelled with a "k."

It's the acting, definitely, not the scripts. And I say this as someone who liked and totally accepted GV as Lucky, and wanted to see him get the kinds of writing JJ did back in the day. But yesterday I saw JJ do more with the crap writing than Greg could have done. It's little things, subtle expressions of the mouth and eyes. Jonathan says the same lame words that they wrote for Greg, but he imbues them with different, more complex emotions. He's got that "Spinning shit into gold" thing going for him.

I liked GV, and I'd love to see him on another soap. (He'd be excellent on OLTL; they know how to treat sensitive manly beefcake over there.) But GV was just miscast as Lucky Spencer.

The one thing I think GV really brought to Lucky was his relationship with the children... I hope JJ's Lucky can sell superdad as well as GV. I'm looking forward to his first scenes with Cam and Jake.

Maybe I'm just bitter because I liked Greg Vaughan and wasn't watching when Jonathan Jackson was originally on the show, but you know the way the character of Ethan instantly irked many people? That's what I'm feeling here. Instant aversion.

JJ's whole look invokes unfortunate memories of Darrin Brooks as Max Brady. Maybe the beard is supposed to age him, but it's not working, and I'll take him resembling Lulu's twin over that facial hair.

Maybe I'm just bitter because I liked Greg Vaughan and wasn't watching when Jonathan Jackson was originally on the show, but you know the way the character of Ethan instantly irked many people? That's what I'm feeling here. Instant aversion.

JJ's whole look invokes unfortunate memories of Darrin Brooks as Max Brady. Maybe the beard is supposed to age him, but it's not working, and I'll take him resembling Lulu's twin over that facial hair.

Puberty called, it wants the patchy peach fuzz back.

I honestly hope that wasn't too snarky or mean. But we mock bad hair and wardrobe here so it seems like fair game.

One thing coming up a lot on the web and in the media since this rererecast was announced is that TIIC were not GV fans and that they lessened and backburnered Lucky cuz GV was a bad actor. I call foul!!!!! If they didn't like GV they could have recast him after six months NOT six freakin years!!

The forced scene with Luke was disgusting IMO. The blatant way he suddenly is SO involved and interested in Lucky is a joke and all based on TG's luuuuv for JJ, not Lucky. Luke hasn't given a shit about Lucky since he took him off life support five years ago.

Thank you Sarah...agreed. If Greg was so awful they would have recasted him immediately. See what they did to Orginial Zander. and Original Laura. (that's right folks...Genie is a recast.) Heck they didn't use him for his entire first month...they would have done it then.

they didn't use Lucky becuase they had no reason to. Tony didn't want to play the Lucky/Luke thing. For whatever reason. Liz had succesful pairings with other people and dont' get me started on Nik. The show couldn't get rid of the character for who he was...but they didn't want to use him either.

The Luke/Lucky scene was totally more about how Tony loves Jon...not what we've seen for years on screen. I rolled my eyes and snarked the entire time.

I didn't watch when JJ was first on so I didn't have a pre-determination about him. So, as someone seeing him for the first time as Lucky, gotta say I didn't like him. He looks way to young, has a weak voice and I didn't see any chemistry with Elizabeth. Big mistake as far as I'm concerned. And the fact he's only signed on for 6 months doesn't bode well for the character of Lucky in the long run.

Add me to the list of peach fuzz haters.

Beth and Sarah I remember when JJ first left the role of Lucky I read an interview with Tony Geary and he said because of the respect and admiration he had for JJ he did not want to ever work with someone else as Lucky. Although he had no say so in them bringing Lucky back in 2000,it always stuck in my mind that he said that. You could always tell that was how he felt when he acted opposite JY and GV. They were not "cowboy" so he just wasn't into it. A lot of people think TG does not have as much influence as some of us want to think, but I beg to differ. He may not have had a choice in them bringing the character of Lucky back in 2000, but he did have a choice in how Lucky and Luke interacted. Although I did not watch yesterdays show (haven't watched since the day Greg left the set) you could tell by the comments here and on other boards that the Luke/Cowboy dynamic is back simply because TG chose to be involved now. It's so transparent it's sickening.

Kinda related to this whole Luke/Lucky thing is an interview with Claire Labine on We Love Soaps. Definitely worth checking out on their website, I listened to it online. The last section at the end is the GH stuff. I think you can even itunes download it for free.

She talks about how she loved TG when she worked with him and wished he would do more plays because he is such a good actor. I used to agree, maybe he is still a great actor. I just can't look at him the same way anymore. The whole Ethan debacle and his interviews turned me off him hard. Plus his kitschy performance on GH now is boring to me. SO one note.

She explains how he hated "Luke" under her tenure. She wrote largely his return w/ Laura and his years settling down, opening the club, the amazing relationship w/ Lucky, Lulu's arrival etc... Also his BFF w/ Sonny. IMO, some of his best, most complex, not cheesy or overly soapy work. He was a real complicated conflicted passionate man with a dark history and a questionable view of life, but it was real and compelling. Yet, he hated it. He wanted adventure capers and darkness. Claire refused to try and placate him w/ that because she wasn't that kind of writer nor did she feel skilled at writing that kind of stuff. INTEGRITY & INTELLIGENCE from a writer on GH, last time that happened there!!

She wrote Monica's breast cancer, BJ's death and Maxie's transplant, Stone Sonny and Robin and the HIV/AIDS story lines, Ned & Lois, etc.... And she was hugely dissed for being too depressing?!?!?! WTF right?

She explained how catering to the audience, a "hot" couple", focus groups, or an actor was impossible and she wouldn't try it even if she wanted to because stories had to be very well planned out way in advance so they could be told well and compellingly. And that in time even if a viewer or actor didn't like the beginning of a story, over time as it flushed fully out opinions were often changed.

How unlike current GH where they change directions a hundred times a week and nothing feels natural or evolutionary. Under Claire Labine whole stories were told, not whip lash plot points with no foundation to anything on air or in the show's history.

I also read a Jackie Zeman interview and she spoke beautifully about old GH and new GH. She was not bitter at all, so unlike me! It made me love her and I won't be mocking the plastic surgery again.

Check out these interviews ladies, it's enlightening.

Sarah..I am not surprised by the comments of Claire Labine because of Tony Geary's comments in TV Guide THIS year when he got the inexplicable Emmy nod...where he referred to the "Wendy Riche's reigh of terror". You know the years we and the press all say were watchable and good. For him they were the years of terror. And exactly...Wendy didn't cave to him either. She didn't cave to him or Bob...and look...even WITH Bob writing...we still liked the show.

Dawn - you are right...Tony just chose to be involved. I remember hearing when JY was cast that he had to be screen tested against Tony and I want to say I heard that Tony had basically the final say on if JY was cast or not. Don't quote me exactly but I do remember going "huh? shouldn't the final screen test for Lucky be I don't know..LIZ?"

After reading what Beth just wrote I have to wonder why everyone gives TG so much credit. Looking back he seems like a douche.

If he hated Wendy Riche so much why did he come back to GH when she was running the show? Was she not in charge then? No matter. He must have known what the show planning either way for his character/family when he signed back on. What a whiny baby he is, Eric Bradenish!

Plus has he ever apologized for the whole ridiculous Bill Eckert? The original SB as Claudia after she was Carly trick? Has this crap ever worked? Using an iconic actor on the same show as a new character.... it's so silly.

Everyone lauds TG as the epitome of acting and acting in daytime. I'm just over it and him. When does he go back on vacation? Soon I hope.

Puberty called, it wants the patchy peach fuzz back.
Sarah, to quote Clarice,(Steel Magnolias) "if you don't have anything good to say about someone, come sit by me." I've hated that scruff since I saw Jonathan Jackson on Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. It does the exact opposite of its intent--it makes him look younger, like a teen trying to grow a beard.

I have no opinion on JJ's return because I didn't watch. I bailed on this show, partly because of its misuse of Lucky and this recast doesn't signal a change in the writing that would encourage me to return. While I'm sure Geary won't allow his beloved "cowboy" to be a poor, lovesick cuckhold (see his pet Nathan Parsons) with Jackson in the role, I think it will actually become worse for Lucky fans. Not Jonathan Jackson fans, but fans of a character who has grown and matured into a decent, caring man. The writing for this show's favorite sons (Jason, Sonny, Nik and Luke) is god awful. These "men" are small minded, petty, hateful and first class douchebags--who are adored and fawned over by every woman in their orbit. Lucky, I'm sure will join their hallowed ranks and the audience will be treated seeing him more. He won't be smart and capable, he'll just be a pissy ass (something Jackson does well) who every action, no matter how heinous or moronic is justified by the writing.

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