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« Our Column in the 12/29 Issue of Soap Opera Digest | Main | Happy Holidaze »

December 22, 2009

This Truly Was the Episode I Never Saw Coming

Perhaps Awesome Writer phrased it as though he'd be doing Bob Guza a favor. "Why don't you let me handle this one, Bob? Then you'll have more time to work on your epic Steve Burton fanfiction."

Or maybe he bribed him with a platter of Christmas cookies, with a "I bet Sonny would love these. They're straight from Bensonhurst, via Entenmmans."

Or maybe he distracted all of the other writers with the complete series of Mr. Belvedere on DVD. Not that there's anything wrong with that--I think we can all admit that we'd drop whatever we were doing to watch that immediately.

Whatever charm or trickery Awesome Writer resorted to resulted in an episode where the good outweighed the bad for me. The gravelly-voiced, melodramatic man who does the promos for GH always promises a week that I "won't want to miss" and, judging from today's episode and the DVR description of tomorrow's, this is the week he meant! If he had just specified "The week of December 21st, except you will want to miss the show on the 21st", we all could have been saved a lot of heartache.


Most happily and most importantly, we were given crucial follow up regarding Liz and Lucky's Christmas tree situation. And instead of hearing delightful stories about the hilarious and adorable things Cameron did off-screen, we got to see him being hilarious and adorable!

I was so curious to see how Jonathan Jackson would interact with the boys, because one of the greatest parts of Greg Vaughan's Lucky was how fantastic he was with the kids. I am happy to report that Jonathan Jackson is similarly fantastic (perhaps unsurprisingly, since he has kids of his own, but still). When Cameron ran and hugged him, I felt all warm and happy inside. "This is what it's like when a soap makes you happy," I marveled. "And all it took was a spectacularly expressive child actor."


The cuteness continued as they picked out their Christmas tree, which Cam first wrote of as "weird", because it had a split at the top. Lucky was able to sell him on the weird tree, based on a secret that "Grandma Laura" once told him when he had a weird tree as a child.

Lucky: Can you keep a secret?

Cameron: Is the secret from Mommy? [I die. --Ed.]

Lucky: No, of course not. We don't keep secrets from Mommy.

Mallory: What's that sound?

GH Writers: High five! Get it, because Mommy has secrets from them? High five!

Mallory: I'm kind of sad that not even Awesome Writer knows what it means to be subtle.

Lucky: If you can find a tree that has a split at the top, Santa leaves an extra present. Did you know that?

Cameron: No.

Lucky: He knows it's a special tree.



Jake, meanwhile, was talking so much that he had to be handed off to Becky Herbst so that Lucky and Cam could continue their conversation. He spoke more in those thirty seconds than his biological father has spoken since 1998!


Speaking of things that happened for thirty seconds...


I dorked out, a little bit.

Even though I knew it was coming, and had seen spoiler pics of this all too brief (and, if I'm being completely honest, totally random, but it made me happy, so I am not going to complain. Or at least I am barely going to complain) scene, I still squealed. Audibly.

Rebecca: Sorry, my boarding pass.
Chad Brannon!!:Here you go...Rebecca Shaw.
Rebecca: Thank you. I guess I'm a little more nervous than I care to admit.
Chad Brannon: Fear of flying?
Rebecca: No, no, it's not that. I've never lived overseas, and I'm changing my whole life
Chad Brannon: Me, too. My company just transfered me to Paris.I've been so crazy packing and planning that I didn't realize until just last night that I don't know a single person in the city.
Rebecca: Me, neither.
Aaron: Well, now you know me. I'm Aaron. I'm sorry, I don't mean to just keep staring at you.
Rebecca: I look familiar, right? Like someone you know?
Aaron: No, not at all. I just...couldn't help noticing. You have the most beautiful eyes.



It was a cute wink at the audience and all of the Zander and Emily fans, and it was nice to see a character leave town alive, as wretched as the character was for most of her time on the show.

Of course, once I got over my major reaction of "Look at you, Chad Brannon, all cute and adorable", I was hit with the sudden realization that we have Aaron and Rebecca. BECAUSE ZANDER AND EMILY ARE DEAD BECAUSE THIS SHOW IS TERRIBLE.

Ahem. As I was saying very sweet, very cute, very much made me miss having Chad Brannon on television regularly.


Jason and Sam saying "I love you" was surprisingly low-key and understated.

Jason: Since Mexico everything's changed.
Sam: Yeah.
Jason: And I dont know if you want to hear it, because I don't want you to feel pressure, but with everything that's going on, I think I should tell you. That I love you. I'm just glad that you're back in my life.
Sam: Wow. I love you, too. 

I have no real investment in this pairing, and I think that a lot of their issues from their breakup (you know, the hiring thugs to scare children at gunpoint, not intervening during a babynapping, threatening murder. The standard things that happen during breakups) could be addressed and explored more, but that's never going ot happen, is it? At any rate, I thought this was kind of charming, if shockingly short. Since when does a big moment in Jason's day get treated like an afterthought?!


Please brace yourselves for what I am about to say. Are you braced? Okay. I even didn't mind some of the awkward dinner with Sonny, Dominante and Olivia. I know! And what's even more insane is that I especially liked Maurice Benard's performance. It truly is a Christmas miracle!


Maybe it's because he dialed down the stalk a bit, or because he and Dominic Zamprogna have a natural, easy chemistry. Hey, I think I'm going to go with that one, so that I can give DZ most of the credit. That's the ticket! Either way, he's more engaged and pleasant than he's been in a while.

Overall, I rolled my eyes through most of these scenes, rather than weeping with a combination of boredom, sadness and hate, which is an improvement.

Just to prove you that I am still me, I do have complaints.

Hey, Olivia? When you have a huge, life-altering secret about one of the people at the dinner table being the son of the other person at the dinner table, maybe don't make it so obvious.

Between bugging her eyes out to convey that there is something that she is not telling her dinner partners


and sitting so stiffly and uncomfortably away from them that she practically screamed "I am uncomfortable because I have a secret about both of you". Or maybe "I have a contagious, deadly, airborne disease that will kill all three of us if we have physical contact".



You know what's hilarious about all of the reminiscing Sonny and Olivia do about Bensonhurst, and their lives as teenagers, and the wacky shenanigans with the Cerrullos? Nothing. Nothing is hilarious. But EVERYTHING is stale and recycled, because we heard these exact same anecdotes when Sonny was wooing Kate. It's like they said, "Remember when Sonny, and that woman with the great hair, had a thing, and people all over were all, 'Wow, when was the last time Sonny was this enjoyable?' What if, instead of letting him and whatshername have a long relationship, we axed that chemistry and romantic buildup and swapped her out for her cousin. We wouldn't even need to write new scripts!"

And the ham-fisted, "Sonny thinks he can't spend the holiday with his family, but he is totally spending the holiday with his family, he just doesn't know it. Did you catch that?" aspect of this was just ridiculous. I get it, GH. I've gotten it every other time you've done "subtle" allusions to Dominante being Sonny's son. If this continues, I'm going to start taking hostages.

(And somewhere, Bob Guza is thinking, "I've trained her properly after all!")


Speaking of the show's esteemed head writer, raise your hand if you think that for Franco's Christmas Tree of Creepy Stalking, they simply borrowed Guza's own Christmas tree.



Although his probably has more Jason ornaments than this one does.

Tomorrow's episode description: Laura's spirit watches over her family at Christmas Eve; Spinelli has it out with Maxie; Carly won't stop until she has her final present. That could be good! Well, a third of it could be, anyway!


i happen to know that tomorrow show features Cam, Jake AND Spencer in adorable matching Santa hats. I'm going to live in my fantasy land that Grandma Laura sent those from Paris since they are the height of fashion.

Cameron is so magic even made Nik realize that he and Liz are NEVER EVER GOING TO HAPPEN! Everyone has been telling him this for MONTHS now and one look at Cam (who still needs to kick his uncle in the nads for me) and Nik FINALLY GETS IT!

That is so Guza's Christmas tree....

Mallory, if that IS Guza's tree, we need to see it from all sides because there would also have to be lovely ornaments featuring:

1. Carly getting shot in the head by Sonny (with a glitter and macaroni frame, I'm sure).

2. A teddy bear ornament with a dead Georgie on the steps.

3. A long choo-choo train ornament with several frames featuring various scenes of women falling and having miscarriages.

4. Finally, a Christmas village under the tree, complete with a cemetery and Quartermaine mausoleum.

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree! Abuse and death makes me fancy free!


Side P.S. as I don't know if my comment on that post about James Franco on the Soup is too old. You MUST check out these clips of two skits of James Franco on SNL if you didn't watch the show.


Make sure you see the end of that first one!!

And this, if for nothing else than James Franco in adorable striped one-piece jammies:


Dominic Zamprogna is the only person whose scenes I don't fastforward through, other than Scrubs, so I got to see the dinner. I thought it was heavy-handed but surprisingly nice. Sonny was actually charming and I hate him. I don't dislike Olivia as much as other people, but I almost chocked on her prayer that friends and family (looking at Dante) were there. Dominic did a great job of being alternately uncomfortable and caught up in the moment. All-in-all, pretty good.

And Cameron should get more of a storyline, when he's not in Kindergarten.

I love Chad. I don't care if he was some random guy. Aaron and Rebecca had more chemistry in that one scene that 95 percent of the pairings or proposed pairings on this show. THey were love love love and made me smile.

Liz and her smirkiness almost ruined the show for me then Cam showed up and redeemed them. Carly and Jax were wonderful. Jason and Sam made me yawn and Sonny for once did not make me want to hit my screen.

And no comment on Nikolas confessing to Emily, you know the love of his life, how much he loves Liz but as a X-Mas present to Em, he's willing to give her up. I laughed out loud at that scene especially since Nikolas was crying in it. Do JJ and TC take turns on when to turn on the water works. Good lord.

So Olivia was going over to Sonny's to ask about a bill? She never heard of a credit service or sending the bill to Sonny's accountant? I hated that whole Solivia scene even though precious Dante was in it. So am I to believe that 15 year old Sonny was asking that Lois wannabe mother for recipes? I hate them.

So the JaSam scene lasted less than a minute. Perfection.

Loved seeing Chad again on screen and he looks good in HD. I just wish Zander was really alive. He is so needed right now.

Loved Liz and Lucky and when Lucky told Liz he liked that fiery side of her. Cam and Jake are the best soap kids.

Cake were adorable. I was pleased with how well JJ interacted with the children... he actually looked old enough to be their dad, not their teenaged babysitter as I had feared. It's interesting, isn't it, how Lucky starts bringing up his mom and sharing stories about her now that JJ is playing Lucky? Anyways, the scene was cute and all, but good God almighty could someone please give the writers a dictionary for Christmas so they could look up the definition of subtlety? This show is so heavy-handed it's ridiculous.

On a completely unrelated note, the scene between Aaron and Rebecca was by far the best part of the episode, and this is coming from a diehard Nikolas/Emily fan. Chad Brannon and Natalia Livingston had great chemistry in that scene, and it was a wonderful way to send Rebecca off. In fact, the past two days worth of scenes were pretty great for Rebecca. I never hated her the way so many seemed to (although that may be because I have a major soft spot for NL - she's such a sweetheart and soooooo pretty)- I just blamed her poor character on a writing staff that had no idea what to do with her and just gave her crap for months. It was a relief that she wasn't brutally murdered, as I had feared she would be given GH's predilection for killing off female characters. In a way, it was the sendoff they should have given NL last time - one last scene with the Four Musketeers, a good scene with the Quartermaines, and then flying off into the sunset with the possibility of one day returning. It really was a nice scene, and it had me smiling, which is a major accomplishment for this show.

Cake is adorable, Nic is a pig and Liz looks gorgeous, Lucky is a putz and JaSpam is boring...

Hey Hillary I know it's not popular to like Natalia on this blog but I do like her. I saw her in person once and told her about a friend who loved her suffering from Leukemia.Natalia personally called her and sent her a ton of signed photos and a few gadgets from the show and stayed in touch with her. She did go into remission by the way. Since then I have a real adoration for her.

Rebecca could have been a winner as Claudia could have had the writers known what worked. Rebecca as just an out and out bitch worked and they just should have made Claudia a sociopath and led her down that path. In the end both actresses were failures due to failures in the writing and nothing else.

And I LURVED the Chad scenes with her today. What a treat to see him and what a nice sendoff for her and for the Zem fans. Yeah I know they are not Zem and I'd rather have Zem back, but it was a cute sweet scene and those don't show up on GH very often.

Lol Rene! We do need to see the Guza Christmas tree in all its glory. Although it would be more depressing than joyful...

I'm going to miss James Franco when he's off the show. He's totally made me laugh out loud and has brought a new kind of crazy to this show that's....enjoyable.

My husband liked him in pineapple express, and has been catching GH whenever he's on. :)

i really wish Nik would never mention Emily like EVER again, it's insulting to Em and NEm fans can't the Q's make it so that every time Nik tries to visit her mausoleum a security guard asks him to leave the premises? I'm so happy they let Rebecca leave with some dignity i was never a Zem fan but i will admit Chad and Natalia have real chemistry i hope Aaron and Rebecca live a long and mob free life in Paris.

Ps. I LOVE Natalia Livingston... i have the biggest girl crush on her and I'm PROUD! = )

SummerJay I completely agree. Seems whenever they need to clean up Nikolas they send him over to the Quartermaine crypt to talk to Emily. She's his version of Laura. But time has passed. They need to get rid of Nikolas IMO. Have no idea what value he adds to the show. And Natalia is love. I adore her and am pissed at how this show crapped all over her.

So many thoughts go through my mind, and I haven't watched the whole episode yet...

Is there any way to bottle the Chad/Natty cuteness, or at least get it on a show that's worth half a damn? They. Are. LOVE.

I do wish Liz would take Smirky Bitchface somewhere else so I could properly enjoy the Lucky/Cam adorableness. Having said that, LOVE.

Having ABSOLUTELY no horse in the never-ending Jizam debates (For the life of me, I don't see what any woman would see in Jason, but I digress), it's much more satisfying to see a subtle love declaration from him and his Chick of the Week, as opposed to Constipation Face masking as unrequited love, or whatever.

Was anyone else hoping against hope that Emily would show up as a ghost, zombie, or whatever and slap the everloving snot out of Nikolas and tell him to man up?? I could just hear her now: "Do you not know the meaning of REST IN PEACE?!?! Take your manwhore bulk OFF my family's crypt!!!!"

And a BIG "Merry Xmas Team Natty" hug to Hillary, Val, SummerJay, and Beth for their proud Natalia love! I love seeing it!

And Mallory and Becca and everyone else, Happy Holidays! :)

As we're all aware, I have been...critical of Natalia Livingston's acting at times, but everything I've read about her has given me the impression that she's super sweet. And she's gorgeous! And Val, reading that story made me so happy.

It's hard to believe than an hour of GH was tolerable, much less enjoyable. Some wonders never cease.

I'm so happy to see that Lucky, Cam, and Jake are still love now that JJ is Lucky.

DZ continues to be awesome. Like Mallory, I credit him with making anything Sonny/Olivia-related less gag-inducing.

Finally, I couldn't stop grinning, squealing, and clapping during the Zander/Emily ... er ... Aaron/Rebecca scene. I hope no one could see me through the window because I must have looked like a deranged seal.

Anybody agree that Chad Brannon is looked really handsome? I think he looks better now as he has gotten older than he did when he was a regular on GH. He has gotten better looking with age.

How did Spencer get to look older than Cam? Cam just never grows. He is much older than Spencer but is still treated like a baby. Even Jake will soon be bigger thatn Cam.

I love the hilarious rants you make towards GH & their horrible writing & characters. Hahaha! What a great laugh & pleasurable read. I agreed with pretty much everything, I think. Thanks for mentioning the obvious stupidity of replacing Kate with THAT woman. ;) I'm not watching this show & barely keep up with updates or spoilers, but your comments just reviewed everything for me, but in a more tolerable way. Thanks for that! Keep up the great work!

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