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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!


ande- you can sit by me any time....you had me at the Steel Magnolias quote...and the lumping in of Nik in favored status sealed it. LOVE it. Every bit of it.

I just don't get it.

Did they fire GV so they could bring JJ as Lucky hoping it would save GH?

This is even crazier than Liz/Nik pairing.

I only know JJ's Lucky from some old clips, so I don't want to judge him as na actor, but the age factor is bugging me a lot. To be honest, I think Liz looks better with Nik than she would with the new old Lucky now. And I hate just the idea of Liz /Nik pairing, but at least them having sex looks legal in all states.

Love JJ. Watched for the first time in a year - and will continue to do so...while talking on my corded phone.

haven't watched and will not. i liked greg v in the role of lucky...will not watch jj step back into a role he abandoned years ago cause TG has the hots for him.

oh...and the point about him and sam in the same room...her now looking like his mom's hot friend! snap!

and it's not cause the actors playing nik, liz, sam or Greg look old...it is just that jj stopped aging at 16. but it still gives me the skeeves.

I agree with you kat. I'm a JJ fan from way back, so it's great for us! We seem to be in the minority after reading the posts. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but I think pissy ass is kinda mean. However, I could watch JJ paint a fence and find it interesting... so, I'm probably biased lol. I tuned out after he left (who could forget the fire? sob!) and missed JY completely, tuned back in during GV's run and while no one can dispute that he was certainly easy on the eyes and was capable in the role, the real Lucky was JJ. Peach Fuzz or not - I'm just happy he's back and it will keep me tuning in. Good Luck to GV and Welcome Home JJ!!

I don't think JJ looks like a teen. He looks young, yes, but I have no problem with that.

It took me a long time to accept GV in the role, but eventually I did. I really came to appreciate what he brought to the character. I hate the way GH treated him, both during his time there and the way they pushed him out.

However, that doesn't change the fact that I think JJ is a better actor. I haven't watched GH in months, but I confess with shame that I tuned in yesterday just to see Jonathan and because I have wondered if the writing will change. The writing for JJ's first show back was not vastly better than the writing for Lucky in the last few months, but I felt differently about Lucky yesterday. We’ll see about the writing. I do not have high hopes.

It is clear that Tony Geary’s presence in a scene is vastly different with JJ than with GV. Do I think Tony an unprofessional, entitled SOB for being so obvious about it? Yep. But it doesn’t change the fact that the scenes are better. Jonathan brings a different nuance and a completely different emotional presence and I think it serves the character better.

But this is GH. No improvement will go unpunished by Bob Guza.

And guess what? I still use a corded phone at home.

I don't have any problem with the acting comparisons between Greg and Jonathan. Hell Jonathan has been acting since he was a child and Greg did not start until he was in his 20's. Jonathan has more experience in the craft and that definately comes through on screen. My problem is when people start acting like THE ENTIRE REASON Lucky pretty much became a loser character was because he was played by Greg Vaughan which is bullcrap. The idiotic writers desecrated that character, not Greg. Greg did not decide to make Lucky an inept cop, Guza did. Greg did not decide to make Lucky a loser in love, Guza did. Greg did not decide to make Lucky anything he became, GUZA DID. While I get why people are happy JJ is back, I wish they would stop acting like Greg was to blame for the mockery of a character Lucky became. He does not deserve that.

Dawn - while I agree that the writers were primarily responsible for Lucky being a buffoon the last few years, GV is also responsible for not being able to deliver or sell the character of Lucky. He had opportunities but did not because he either bungled the script(famous "I'm Jason's baby" line) or simply, that he couldn't act his way out of a paper bag...pretty as he was.

But Kat if Greg was so bad they should have gotten rid of him, as someone said, six months after he was hired, not 6 YEARS. They kept him in the role for as long as JJ was in it so he wasn't as bad as all that. I thought he was GREAT in the drug addiction storyline. He also worked pretty consistently before GH (acting, not modeling)so some out there actually do like him as an actor.

And Kat..for soemone who sucked so horribly in your opinion..he certainly booked work immediately after this. Someone must like him.

Dawn, I have to agree with you. If Greg was cutting it for them from the start, why keep him for 6 and a half years?

Also, it's the jobs of the writers and directors to ensure that actors perform in a way that fits the vision they created. If Greg wasn't cutting it, they should have told him what to change. But since Lucky still remained a loser and Greg's acting choices didn't change, it shows me the writers were fine with what he did because they didn't want to write for him.

Of course someone liked Greg, just look at him. Then try to look away. You can't can you? Geez, the man is gorgeous! That could also explain keeping him as long as GH has, he's easy on the eyes and Guza could then add Lucky to the list of all non-mob stuff, which he seems to have some kind of sadistic love to kill and destroy. He's probably like, "Hey, it's not JJ, but at least I get to castrate and lobotomize him! And the ladies will beg for more just to see his beauty. Score!"

Where other commenters are going wrong is trying to use logic to explain any GH-related choices. This is not going to get you anywhere. You think these people plan things?

Me? I liked Jonathan yesterday. (Okay, I was a little annoyed at the blatant manipulating GH did with the "Laura" phone call. That didn't strike me as much better than the mop with the blonde wig.) And I thought there was serious sexual chemistry between him and Becky.

It's the first time I've watched GH in more than a year. (OMG I totally wanted to vomit with all the Liz and Nik sex scenes. Dammit Tivo, FF faster!!!!!!)

I really hate the implications that the only reason Greg finds work is because he's attractive.

The only thing descent about GH was having Greg Vaughan to look at. That was it.

I'm sorry, saying "why did they keep GV for SIX YEARS if his acting was so bad" is using LOGIC (agreed, Kitzie - NOT GOING TO WORK HERE!) The better question is, why not? Why do they write consistently horrid stories with no thought to the history of the show, history of the characters or to common sense and good taste? No logical reason. My guess is GV was kept for eye candy. It sells soap magazines, sells out fan events, brings in viewers. Sorry if that's offensive to some, but that's HOLLYWOOD.

I live out here in ol' Southern California, and I also work on independent films (insert LOW BUDGET here). I've worked with people who crew on TV shows in their day jobs (E.R. and West Wing to name a couple - I worked with them a LOT during the writer's strike!), and the stories they tell about the nonlogic used when it comes to scripts, hiring and firing of actors, KEEPING bad actors - it's mind boggling. It isn't just soaps, but GH definitely ranks up there as one of the most blatant in all of TV-dom.

I'm guessing that if JJ had wanted to come back at ANY TIME in that six-year GV stint, GV would have been a goner much sooner than he was. JJ brings in viewers in a different way than GV and he also brings a different spin to the Lucky character. Given the exact same writing and scripts, I would venture to say, hands down, it would have been a completely different story had JJ been playing Lucky the past few years. As someone else said, actors can bring it or not. Yes, it's the job of the director to point it out if he thinks the actor isn't going in the direction they want, but if he's phoning it in like the writers are, who would have bothered? If GV didn't know his portrayal wasn't on the mark, why change it?

GV will find other work. I have no doubt. It may or may not be about his looks. THAT, my friends, is something you just have to live with in Hollywood.

"Living with it" is something you have to deal with it in Hollywood. You are right about that. BUT and this is a BIG BUT, if you are going to fire someone for WHATEVER REASON, then damn it OWN IT!!! TFUIC at GH and ABCD refused and STILL REFUSE to OWN the fact that they FIRED HIM. "Greg decided to explore other ventures" was a effing crock and everyone knew it and those idoits that run the crapfest over there would probably still think they got one over on us until Greg let it all out what REALLY went down. ABCD has absolutely NO ETHICS when it comes to their actors. NONE. They also seem to think we as fans are complete morons to pull the crap they pulled on him and think we would fall for it. And, while you are right, that is something actors have to live with in Hollywood, it DOES NOT make it right to do what they did to him and expect everyone just be okay with it and go "oh well, that's just Hollywood". I, for one, don't buy that bullshit from ABCD and because of that I quit this show completely. I care more about how people are treated then I do about a character or plays the character better.

Curse the lack of an edit option. I meant decent; not descent. And yes, I'm an idiot.

Excuse me, all of you Jonathan Jackson haters! I beg to differ! Go back and look at JJ's old scenes as Lucky, look at his work on other things like Terminator, Sarah Connor Chronicles (playing Kyle Reese), Trapped In A Purple Haze, and Tuck Everlasting. Also, listen to his music from his band Enation. The man puts so much passion and love into everything he does.

I can see why Tony Geary refused to have that same chemistry with Jacob or Greg. I would too. Jacob is amazing as JR Chandler and will continue to be amazing as Rick Forrester again and Greg Vaughn will be amazing on antoher show. I am really rooting for him to make a beeline for Days as Carly's son Nicholas. Remember when he was being tested for the role of Joey, Viki's son on OLTL? People still want him on their shows and he will find something. But nobody as any right to judge Jackson right away because they haven't seen his original work!

Now shut up, go back and find his old scenes, Youtube his emotional performance in Terminator, iTunes his music. I swear to God, your opionions will change. And also, he is 29 years old and still looks 21, well I think he is damn lucky to still look so young. When he is 45 years old, he will look 30. I'm sure any one of you ingrates would thank your "lucky" stars to be able to look so young at that age. And by the way, Guza's been fired and Garin Wolf is trying to fix the show to avoid a cancellation in 2013. Better tune back in or we will be losing GH to the internet and all of these people that we know and love so much will be gone!

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