Our Latest Soap Opera Digest Column
By Mallory Harlen
Thanks to a promotional campaign that saw GENERAL HOSPITAL advertised on every possible channel, pretty much everyone I know saw the ads touting the soapy excitement of Sonny shooting his own son. All of them questioned the wisdom in explicitly spelling out a plot twist like that, and the ones who are familiar with GH questioned how Sonny could possibly come out of this situation smelling like a rose. One friend asked if Maurice Benard was leaving the show, and if a prison sentence would be Sonny’s exit story. I actually laughed at her, which I admit was rude, but how patently hilarious is that? Sonny, in jail! Too funny. When I tried to explain this to her, and all I could offer was a lame, “He won’t go to jail because he’s Sonny and, jail would be…bad for him? And he’s good? Even though he shot an unarmed cop in the chest,” I started to realize that the joke was on me.
Like so many things on this show (the return of Helena Cassadine, the character of Matt Hunter—he’s still a thing, right?), this story actually could have been really good. All of the major players are capable of giving us powerhouse performances, especially Dominic Zamprogna (whose awesomeness I cannot overstate) and Lisa LoCicero (who plays the fiercely protective mother role to perfection). On top of that, Sonny shooting Dante had storyline implications for almost everybody on canvas: Sonny, Olivia, Dante, Lulu, Jax, Carly. Even the poor souls at the hospital were guaranteed a few cameo appearances while tending to Dante!
The other problem is that we all know how this story is going to end: Sonny’s ridiculous legal maneuverings will work, he’ll be acquitted and he’ll have not one iota of personal growth. GH won’t let go of the notion that Sonny and Jason are good men, and even their murders aren’t as bad as the murders of other murderers (remember when Jason was plagued with self doubt about whether or not he was as bad as Franco? Yeah, neither do the writers), so really, we can just skip over all of this angst. Or at least tune it out while we imagine how great this story could have been.
My Take, Too
By Becca Thomas
I am not the most even-keeled person in the world. When I was growing up, my mother would frequently tell me to “stop having a tizzy” over one thing or another. Therefore narcissism commands me to appreciate a dramatic overreaction, to enjoy over-the-top soapy histrionics. So if I am crying uncle on this particular topic, you’ve probably gone too far.
DAYS OF OUR LIVES overall has been great lately, but my goodness, I could do with less crying and screaming from Salem’s many put-upon female residents. Carly’s return has driven some great stories, and I can totally understand the writers wanting to give Crystal Chappell as many opportunities as possible to show off her great dramatic repertoire. However, has Carly gone through an episode yet without bawling or something close? Killing Lawrence, giving up Melanie at birth, reuniting with Melanie, reuniting with Bo – take your pick. Everything sets her off! Hopefully soon Chappell will be given some lower-key material to rock for a while. Carly is front-burner and I’m thrilled about that, but that could lead to audience burnout if Carly isn’t given some shades of gray.
Carly’s daughter, Melanie, appears to have inherited her birth mother’s propensity toward histrionics. Melanie has always been, um, expressive. But lately with her (ridiculously fast-developing and virtually baseless) romantic entanglements with Nathan and Phillip, her interactions with Carly before the mother/daughter reveal (all of the anger of which seemed forced and nonsensical, by the way) and after, I’ve started to wonder whether Melanie will ever get a chance to be a remotely normal – soap-normal, of course – college-aged woman. It would be a nice change of pace.
In all of Salem, though, is there someone more in need of a chill pill than Sami Brady? In the last couple of years, save for a few lovey-dovey moments between her and Rafe, has Sami gone a day with crying or screaming? I have frequently honestly wondered whether Allison Sweeney – who is great in this role – has to just go home and talk about nothing but rainbows and puppies to escape whatever hell the script put Sami through that day. It’s one crazily dramatic thing after the next, and while the crying and screaming are probably appropriate reactions to the tragedy at hand, could we not arrange for her to have fewer tragedies? Or just space them out a bit? DAYS has done a much better job of writing for the whole canvas lately, but somehow all the tragic moments are falling on the same characters. Let’s spread the misery around!