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« Secrets and Lies | Main | "Remember When We All Used To Laugh Together?" No, Liz. I Don't. »

March 15, 2010

Where Bad Becomes Worse

Today is just a TERRIBLE day, and, yes, the all-caps is necessary convey just how truly terrible it has been (not to be that person who invites everyone she knows to her pity party, but it's rainy and gross, and I lost an hour of sleep thanks to Daylight Savings and I spent an extremely unfortunate forty minutes of time having zero control over a room full of first graders, and "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" is inexplicably stuck in my head! How can one person bear such a burden?!)

As I sat in terrible rain, in terrible traffic, I asked myself, "What could make this day even more awful?", which was dumb, because as long as Bob Guza is its headwriter, the answer to that question will always be "The latest episode of General Hospital".

Today's show, for example, gave us the slow-motion beating of a teenage girl, complete with closeups of her terrified face! That's exactly what I want to see when I turn on a show for escapist entertainment.

Kristinascared


Kristina


(Okay, that last sentence was a lie, because I don't even remember the last time I watched GH for "entertainment" rather than out of obligation.)

I suppose I should be grateful that this brutal attack wasn't accompanied by the romantic music played alongside most acts of violence on this show. I guess that soundtrack is reserved for instances where Sonny and Jason are the aggressors...

The fact that I even have to express the following sentiment says a whole lot about this show, but: the violence actually wasn't nearly as gratuitous as I had expected it to be. If, like me, you automatically jump to the worst case scenario, you ended Friday's episode on the verge of a panic attack wondering how long Monday's beating would last, and how extreme and bloody it would be, because nothing makes the writers' eyes light up like a woman in peril, and if the woman is actually a teenage girl? I had the sick feeling that it would be like Christmas for them. But much of the action occurred off-screen (which, really, was even scarier).

Then there were the performances. Lexi Ainsworth has been so, so very good throughout this story, as has Christian Alexander, who probably has the hardest role on the show--he has to be menacing and cruel, but also sweet enough to hide his true self to the adults in Port Charles, and he also has to shout horrible things at young children (remember when he was mean to Morgan? To Morgan!) and does really well with it (well, aside from his wailing "Look at what you made me do! Why do you always make me so mad?", which was a touch over-the-top and cheesy). And Nancy Lee Grahn, who was practically shaking when Alexis walked in to see Kristina

Sonnyalexis

...only had to say "Honey" and I wound up with a lump in my throat.

Alexis

So damn good.

Sonny also had a reaction to hearing that his daughter had been severely beaten*.

Sonnyreaction

He started by throwing his phone in anger which, I don't know, probably would have had more impact if he didn't throw something angrily whenever someone speaks to him. Does anyone else get the impression that when the automated narrator on The Weather Channel starts to give the local forecast that Sonny goes into a fit of rage and screams, "Don't tell me about what's happening in my area!"

Then, when he walked in to see Kristina, the very first words out of his mouth were "Who did this?". And he said them angrily! And then stood there, seething. It was...weird.

Divider

I don't even know what to say about Kristina pointing the finger at Ethan, except that Lexi Ainsworth and Nathan Parsons actually had a nice little friendship chemistry going, so of course the show ruined it. And wouldn't it be very easy to prove that Ethan didn't beat her up? I know that he was spotted yelling and grabbing at her, but his hands would have been completely bloodied after doing that. And I just don't understand the point of this twist, at all. Is she afraid of what her father will do to Kiefer? Does she feel guilty? Do the writers ignore organic storytelling in favor of "shocking" plot twists every chance they get? Do I ask silly questions?

*Seriously, the makeup department did Lexi Ainsworth's face with a little too much gusto. Horrifying. I can't even put up a screencap because it makes me so sad.

Speaking of the writers inability to do their jobs, it's so bizarre to me that they actually had Ethan get so angry, and handsy with Kristina in the first place. I know that it was just a way for them to get to the next part of the story, but Ethan is just so laid back and dopey that his sudden attacks of rage are bizarre, to say the least.

Like:

Ethan: Your sister is a spoiled brat who's gonna get into a lot of trouble if someone doesn't rein her in!

Why would he even say that?! Especially to a tiny enraged person who was yelling at him for being a dick to/about her sister!

I really enjoyed Sam's dressing down of Ethan, in theory.

Samyelling

I love Sam when she's in her familial mode and gets to do things aside from agreeing with Jason, and if I had a sister and someone yelled at her and hurt her that way, I'd be screaming in their face, too.

But Sam, really: 

Sam: You don't know that. I mean, what do you really know about this guy, anyway? Jack. He's a con who came into town capitalizing off of a dead broad. I mean, there's a great character reference for you, huh?

YOU SLEEP WITH A HITMAN. HITMAN = WORSE THAN GRIFTER.

(However, COP is worse than both of those things.

Jason: He's a cop, Sonny.

The disgust in his voice as he choked out the word "cop" was the kind of revulsion usually reserved for cannibals or people who engage in bestiality or the new version of "We Are The World".)

Divider

Other observations of life in Port Charles:

  • It was so nice to see Kate and her pretty self, even for a brief few minutes. Remember when she used to be on the show? Didn't we almost have it all?
  • She was responsible for a hilarious moment, when she reminded the audience that Monica is a cardiologist. Because you know some viewers were like, "Dr. QuarterWHAT?"
  • And then Monica went ahead and had a hilarious moment of her own.

Monica: Jackal...If you want to stay in this room, you dial it down right now.

If I must watch Spinelli, I will settle for watching him get sternly admonished.

  • Jonathan Jackson and Becky Herbst were predictably fabulous as Lucky told Liz again that he didn't want to be with her. But I always say that about the two of them, and it's getting seriously close to creepy gushing, so that's all I will say for now.
  • What do we think Steven Webber is hiding?

Helena: I can make it happen. After all, everyone has a skeleton in their closet. Right, Dr. Webber?

It will either be seriously juicy and scandalous, or never mentioned again.

Comments

You'd figure that a guy that beat someone would at the very least have bruises on his hands as well, but evidently they rarely do forensic exams of victims or suspects in PC, hence Sonny's hands and clothing were never checked for gun powder residue post Dante's shooting. Do why would one think they'd check for something like that. No, they will only look at the scratches on Ethan's face and nothing more.

Stupid.

There were rumors that Keifer was going to have baseball bat. Good thing that didn't happen.

LA and CA were amazing today. While it totally sucks to see Kristina getting beaten, it is a good PA storyline, in theory.

While Kristina blaming Ethan sucks, I'll have to wait to see her reasons behind it.

Also, it doesn't make sense for everyone to believe Kristina. Sam, Luke, and countless other witnesses saw Ethan around the time Kristina was being beaten. If Guza actually allowed PCPD to be competent, they would do forensics on Kristina. While they would find Ethan's DNA, they'd also find evidence of when the bruises were caused.

I too would wonder about the whole Ethan would show signs of a fight thing but then i remembered the show also likes to pretend even with forensic evidence it's impossible for the cops to close a case.

and Steven's secret will...never be mentioned again. unless he blunders into the way too obvious paternity switching and he needs to be blackmailed into keeping quiet.

I'm sorry but Sam was all kinds of good until she opens her mouth. Really the Con Artist calling out the Con Artist. And Sam your sister told you that she hacked into Ethan's computer so why didn't you believe Ethan when he said the same thing.

But it is nice to know that Sam learned a thing or two from Jason...when ever pissed off make sure you tell your victim that they are dead or will be dead.

Nice job Guza to make a victim into a bad guy but who would expect less from a girl who let her brother think he killed a baby

It is a good idea in theory.Except this is TFGH, where good ideas go to die.

All the PSA's in the world can't cover up the fact that your lead characters are a hitman and his greasy, cop shooting, misogynist boss.

GH romanticizes thugs and violence. Guza creates montages set to Operatic arias in slo motion so we don't miss a second.And yet, Keifer's violence is the wrongest wrong ever. Not like Sonny/Jason's violence. That's majestic and romantic, and they're pimped as 'good' men.

Hypocritical doesn't even begin to cover it.Sam and her bullshit included.

This show hurts my heart.It really does :(

Ethan was rough with Rebecca, and was an out of control sleaze during that story. They have since tried to whitewash him (the only washing that this character will ever see, apparently), but now that they can make him the real victim in this story, with Kristina painted as yet another woman who has done wrong, I guess they think it's OK to go back to some violence.

The lack of interest Luke had in a young girl being battered so brutally was sad, if not exactly surprising. This show has the vilest men outside of anywhere but Llanview and Genoa City.

I know we'd all like to forget the unfortunate Amelia Joffe/"Everyday Heroes"/100th rewriting of Sam's back story, but... where the eff does Angela Monroe, er Sam McCall, get off looking down her nose at someone who's a con artist?

Sam McCall who married five men and stole their money? Pot meet Sam. Sam meet Pot.

"Pot meet Sam. Sam meet Pot."

Sam, pass Pot. Lord knows I could use some to watch this crap.

I've said before here that I am not categorically opposed to a teen abuse storyline. I understand that soaps are supposed to be escapism, but given the number of teen and young adult women who watch, it think that it could actually do some good. And -- as loathe as I am to give praise to GH -- from what little I've seen, as someone who once was in an emotionally abusive relationship, I think they've done a pretty good job with the abuser-abused relationship.

That said, I've only watched a few clips because, while I have no problem with violence in my entertainment when done in a thoughtful way and for a legitimate purpose, I do have a problem with a mumbly mobster being the moral center of a show and seeing the shooting of a cop treated as okay because said mobster "didn't know he was my son." TFGH.

I have to comment on this.
Have.
To.

Say what you will about the violence, the overacting, whatever... I have been where Kristina was in yesterday's episode, even at her age. Lexi played that PERFECTLY. Yes it was ugly, yes it was gratuitous, but that IS what domestic violence looks like. When Keifer screamed at her about what she 'made him do' (which is INCREDIBLY accurate for an abuser), and ran out leaving her crying on the floor - I can tell you that I felt things I haven't felt for ten years or more. She absolutly hit the nail on the head.

As far as her claiming Ethan is the one who hurt her, that makes total sense, too. Abuse victims often claim self injury or that someone other than their actual abuser hurt them. Sometimes out of fear, sometimes misguided love and loyalty, often a twisted combination of both, but it makes sense.

If even ONE young girl sees this and recongizes the signs in her own relationship, or ONE mother sees it and realizes something might be going on with her own daughter, then the storyline was worth it. Kudos to all involved.

IMO - NLG and MB played it perfectly for their characters, too. Surprised that Sonny's first reaction would be horrified rage? Really? What father WOULDN'T feel rage at seeing his daughter that way?

One thing - I will agree the makeup was a little over the top - but only because it was too soon. That is what she could have looked like the next day, but probably not that soon after the attack. However, for the purpose of the show, it worked.

Okay - I've said my peace. ;)

Thanks. Now I have that godawful song in my head.

I was terrified for Kristina because the scene was so real, and I agree that it was scarier because most of it was off-screen. When I saw her dress half-off it was almost too much to take. But will they do a rape kit that proves Ethan's innocence? Nope, not in Port Charles, where Keystone Kops go to die.

Oh, and I agree with Shelli that they all played it perfectly.

@Shelli: Thank you for your well-put comment and for sharing your experience. You make an excellent point about mothers talking to their daughters too. I think a lot of parents are like "my strong, smart daughter would never get into a relationship like that." Which is just plainly wrong. Encouraging this dialogue is really important.

Also, I totally agree that the blaming-of-Ethan is in character. And I agree that this is one case where Sonny's penchant for violence was reasonable.

My one concern is that this show is going to ignore the connection between Sonny's past treatment of women and what Kristina's now facing. (Of course they are, Sonny's a hero.) And that's decidedly NOT okay by me.

Any idiot would look at Ethan's hands to see for marks of attack. The handling of her attack is what has my ire.

They all stand there, mouths agape and Kristina states, "Ethan." And... yeah okay, sounds good to me. Nothing more is done and they just kind of fumble around for a few hours.

I mean... WTH? It was frustrating for me to watch them never go to the crime scene, and never swab and never check the time that Ethan was in the club while K is getting beat up, and just jack shit to figure out what happened. No investigation.

This show drives me insane and again, I have to stop watching. I was actually starting to like Ethan - weird, because he mumbles his lines. I used to hate the guy. He and Johnny seem to be the only good guys left in PC.

Dante lies to cover up for his dad. That ruined him for me. Lucky is a torn man... I guess? o_0 I like this Lucky, but still... hello - you're a cop?

Why do they fuck over the cops on this show so badly? And we all know Jason will figure out Ethan is innocent - not good crime investigation by the PCPD. I mean - this was open and shut.

Okay, sorry, I can't believe I wasted two hours on this show again! Urgh, you two do not get paid enough money (do you even make money?) to have to watch this show every day. I feel sorry for you and feel you deserve an award of some kind.

Another great job, and I came here knowing you would cover this atrocity with the usual panache.

My one concern is that this show is going to ignore the connection between Sonny's past treatment of women and what Kristina's now facing. (Of course they are, Sonny's a hero.) And that's decidedly NOT okay by me.

That bears repeating,Emmy. But if you saw today's (3/16)show, that's exactly what they're doing.

Sonny actually ran around town like the deranged sociopath he is, waving a loaded weapon at Ethan, and SCREAMING about how 'men who hit women are the worst people in the world'.By the way,this display happened in front of TWO COPS, one of whom was said sociopath's most recent victim. They did nothing. As expected.

How many times has Sonny grabbed a woman forcefully? Or pushed one to the floor? Or grabbed one by the hair? I won't even mention the emotional abuse he practices on a daily basis. That would take too long.SLUTTRAMPWHOREYOUBETRAYEDME.

Today was horrific. The Sonny world tour. He slid all over town, spitting and raging and whining to anyone who would listen about his pain and his wah and about big bad Deke. He then proceeded to visit his badly beaten daughter, lean over her bed and make her situation ALL ABOUT HIMSELF.


The stupid. The hypocrisy. The bad acting.

Gah.

@donna and Mallory: SO MUCH WORD. Sonny is the most self-centered piece of garbage that ever breathed and I cannot believe how sloppily the aftermath of this abuse is being handled. Big surprise, the cops are useless and fumbling and as of now Johnny (and I'm guessing Jason) will be the only ones who believe Ethan. Why do I get the feeling that St. Jasus is the one who will be the hero and figure out the truth before anyone else? Because I've seen every other GH storyline since 1998.

I would totally be into Kristina's storyline, if they hadn't already had her lie about the hit and run with Claudia. Now when she finally does admit that it was Kiefer, who is going to believe her?

Sonny always makes things that are not about him, ABOUT HIM. This is how this bitch rolls. The story here is a sort of "pot meet kettle". Sonny SHOULD be seeing how he is towards women in his past and present. Hell he even made noise about killing Alexis or at least harming her in some way. The absolute constant that totally rings false is that everyone is on the Sonny is a "good father" shit train. HE IS NOT! I wish the next time Carly utters that bullshit, that she DIES ON THE SPOT. Leaving Jax to take his daughter and live happily ever after. Sonny is without any question in my time of watching soaps and that 30 plus years people... THE MOST SELF-ABSORBED MALE CHARACTER I HAVE EVER SEEN ON A SOAP. No one can take his title.

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