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« Adults Behaving Badly and Failed Identity Switches | Main | The Day's Dumbest Dialogue »

July 21, 2010

The Mixed-Up Mind of Robert Guza

A recurring Serial Drama features over the years has been When Soap Writers Talk To The Press: Shocking, Stupid, Seriously How Are They Still Employed?; previous segments include Charles Pratt blaming Eden Riegel for his stunning failure at his job, Maria Arena Bell claiming that Tracey E. Bregman deserved an Oscar for her dual roles, Bob Guza blaming Michael for getting shot in the head and then going on to coin the phrase "the penultimate, the cosmic guffaw". I post their musings, provide commentary and then we all have a hearty laugh at their expense and/or weep bitter tears that these people write for a living.

Today's entry: Bob Guza talks to Nelson Branco in a conversation that reads as though delusion, arrogance and simple-mindedness combined to form a mutant offspring with zero redeeming qualities. My commentary at first consisted solely of the phrase "Bitch be crazy" in response to everything he said because...well, see for yourself.

Guza on Claire Labine: She’s a classic example. Stone’s death was a great story — but that’s all she had. As a result, not only did the show dip in the numbers, there was nothing to pick the story up.

He's right, you know? Claire Labine only had iconic stories like Stone's (and BJ's) death, which can hardly compare to Bob Guza's legacy which includes--gosh, I hardly know what awful story to throw in his face as an example because there are so many to choose from. Mr. Craig being Jerry Jacks? Blog wars? Sonny and Emily's affair? The Text Message Killer? I could keep going, because there are so many other ludicrous stories I could use to prove my point, but that would just depress me even more and, really, why exert any more effort when the following words so clearly convey the deepness of this man's wrongness?--Nikolas having sex with a hallucination of his tumor-addled mind.

TVG: Your storytelling is more balanced now, too.

Who who in the what now?

G: It’s because of the stories. I fixated on the idea of the Dante story that became the umbrella story for what you’re seeing now. The trick was not to make it Sonny’s story but Jason’s, Carly’s and so forth. I think that’s what our turning point was and what you’re seeing. Dante’s story has allowed us to tell these umbrella stories that we have to tell with this cast.

1. "I fixated on the idea of the Dante story"--no fucking way, seriously? I never would have known, because it's not like Dante has forsaken Italian food in favor of EATING ALL OF PORT FUCKING CHARLES.

2. The man thinks that an umbrella story is defined as "A Sonny/Jason/Carly" story. It says so much and so little about him at the same time.

TVG: Obviously David Chase is one of your favourite writers and/or idols?
RG: Yes. He’s extraordinary. I watched every single episode of The Sopranos.

As Becca so astutely said to me in an email, "I think he did something else to every single episode of that show.  "

Guza on the ratings: You look at them in the sense that you’re trying to reach as many people as possible. We’re not just writing for ourselves — or the 15 people in a loft in Greenwich Village. To that extent, yes, I look at them, but I’m not worried about GH going off the air or losing my job or anything.

Oh, for the love of.

[...]And that’s the tricky part because sometimes you can’t explain the ratings. Like you said, sometimes the show is doing really well creatively but the numbers are down. If we can’t explain it, well, it’s very frustrating. That’s happening more and more lately where we can’t quite figure out why the numbers are just OK and not great. Especially when the focus groups are saying the show is great.

I'm no super genius, but I think I have an explanation for your ratings woes, Bob: the numbers are "just okay" because a large percentage of your ever-dwindling audience are saps who, despite the myriad crimes against humanity perpetrated by your writing staff, continue to watch GH out of misplaced loyalty to a show that we once loved. If we weren't stupidly sticking it out, the numbers would become "threat level midnight" because I have a feeling that there just aren't many people tuning in because this show is something they unironically want to watch. The numbers are "not great" because, despite what these alleged focus groups allegedly say, your show sucks and blows at the same time and no, I didn't think it was possible either, but it is and your work is living proof of that fact!

TVG: In a few sentences, what’s the identity of GH today?
RG: [long pause] Wow. It’s almost like love amongst the ruins. Love against the backdrop of violence, despair, and death. The one thing we’ve always had, and let’s not forget the mob has been a part of the show’s history since Luke was a runner for Frank Smith’s mob, what it gives us is high-stakes drama. You and I could have dinner at some little Italian restaurant in New York but it’s just not dinner because at any moment someone could run in and kill us because our families hate each other. Once you find the romance in that backdrop, the story is automatically amplified given the circumstances these people are living in. I’ve always found that fascinating.

All of the words he used are, in fact, real words and not gibberish, but the way he combined them into these sentences makes such little sense--it makes the opposite of sense, really, and I read this a handful of times to see if I could understand it and I still couldn't, and then I had the heartbreaking image of my brain holding up a tiny white flag of surrender, sadly saying, "Congratulations, Mr. Guza. You did what a diet of obsessive US Weekly reading, 90s pop-music-listening and years of ABC TGIF sitcom watching couldn't do--you broke me. Hear that? You're worse than Step By Step. Well slash evilly played, sir."

The gist I am getting is that he sees his show as a pit of destruction and violence and that if one looks hard enough, they could find a love affair that will get little to no screen time in favor of the mafia and then one or both of the participants will inevitably be felled by a stray bullet in the most depressing of ways.   

TVG: Lost really made that technique popular, first with their flashbacks and then later with their flash-forwards. Later, Desperate Housewives and Mad Men really utilized that technique to their advantage. Do you think soaps would be wise to employ the flash-forward device to keep their narratives relevant and fresh?
RG: We’ve messed with time before, that whole thing with Metro Court. But you have to be careful because there is such strong, strong identification with these shows. When James Franco shows up in public, fans say, “Hey, James you were great in fill-in-the-blank movie.” When Steve Burton is out in public, fans go, “Jason, why are you with Sam?” Soap fans don’t separate [fact from fiction], which is why you can’t mess with time too much or the audience gets turned off.

Okay, the fact that my immediate reaction to this was "FUCK OFF, you horrible, horrible little man" maybe proves his point that soap fans aren't always completely rational people, but HOLY EFFING ESS if one more soap writer or producer says that their audience is stupid and incapable of separating fact from fiction I will not be held responsible for my actions. Granted, my actions will consist of typing feverish, borderline hysterical blog posts, but they will be typed angrily! I don't like having my intelligence insulted by anyone, but when the person doing the insulting is dangerously incompetent at best, it turns my stomach.

RG: No question that Steve Burton is one of the most underrated and most extraordinary actors working today. I’m surprised, year after year, when he doesn’t get Emmy nomination [even though he’s already won an Emmy as Outstanding Supporting Actor in 1998]. What Steve does so well, much of the time, is play so much with so little words. You don’t see that in daytime so much.

Presented without comment because no comment of mine could speak louder than the practically audible panting that accompanies that answer.

TVG: How far do you write ahead? Some writers, like B&B's Brad Bell, literally write week to week.
RG: Yes, Brad is fond of that. Listen, sometimes I can literally tell you what will happen a year from now. In six months, I can tell you what will happen in detail. In three months, I can tell you scene by scene.

That is such a lie.

[...] We work from a perfectly precise template. If you ever get down here, you’ll see that we have all these dry-erase boards where we put long-term story on one board, a week on another board, and individual days on one board. I’m not talking about Bradley because he’s very good at what he does, but personally I need to know where I’m going to know where we are. That’s they way I have to work.

As someone who has made perfectly precise into an art form--my planner is fastidious and detailed. I am obsessed with straight lines. People think I use a ruler to write, for heaven's sake--I am good at spotting one of my kind and let me tell you, all Bob Guza and I have in common is that we are both human beings. His sloppy storytelling and appalling lack of continuity prove that all too well.

I'm not saying that he's lying about the existence of these dry-erase boards; I'm just saying it's much more likely that all they are used for is playing hangman. Dirty hangman.

TVG: Do you dream of these characters?
RG: [Sighs] Yes, I do.

I think we all know what character he dreams about and what kind of dreams those are, and on that horrifying, NSFW note, I am out. There is SO much more of that interview for you to read, if you dare, and I seriously hope that you don't want to dare, because it is dangerous and I will worry about you.


BRAVO BRAVO BRAVO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Guza ia a HACK!! Pure and simple. The fans have let him know why the ratings are low and he ignores us, period!!
Thank you for putting into words what I felt. When I read this, I was screaming shut the hell up!! You were able to verbalize it so much better than me..The only thing I agree with was this one comment he made...
RG...” When Steve Burton is out in public, fans go, “Jason, why are you with Sam?”
I would like to know why Jason is with this person as well.
Also just to remind you of two more of his brilliant stories..."Toxic Ball" and "Pizza man Virus".......You should never forget the brilliance of these awe inspiring works of art. GAG!!!

You know, most of the time when Guza gives interviews, I just chuckle and shake my head at what an utterly clueless, transparent asshat he is.

This interview was no different, until he mentioned Claire Labine. And from then on in, it was just straight rage. Guza shouldn't even be allowed to say the words Claire and Labine in the same sentence. It should be a criminal offense. Guza critiquing Claire Labine is like Britney Spears critiquing Mozart.

And Nelson is just as bad for being the celebrity asslicker he is.

What got me was Nelson Branco. What a fawning suck-up. I don't really expect a soap magazine to follow the rules of objective news reporting, but come on. Utter drivel.

I have hated Guza since the Ethan/long lost son storyline. He destroyed 30 years of the love story of Luke and Laura. Guza's ego is out of control. Why he can't see that the focus group doesn't know shit just shows how dumb he is. I hate him bottom line. He has destroyed everything I cared about on GH. I no longer tune in..

I was just realizing Guza must have a fascination with monkeys also. Although I like James Franco, I normally fast foward his scenes but doesn't he have a bunch of circus monkey toys? Also, what about the chimp that brought the virus to PC in 2006. He has ruined some of the guest stars for me due to idiotic plots, such as Tamlyn Tomita and now James Franco and Bruce Davison. I enjoyed Michael Learned's story on the tv show Scrubs much better.

Bob Guza is a professional troll, right? I mean, he only says and does this stupid crap to get a rise out of us, right?


Thank you for the recap. It saves me from visiting Perez Branco's website.

But, putting aside the ass licking by the idiot who interviewed him, GH is not at a creative high and has not been in years. I'll tell Guza why ratings are in the crapper. It's pretty simple really. When you put two characters (Franco and Dante) on the show day in and day out, and revolve the show around them, when the audience has no fucking clue who they are, then people will stop watching.

Guza should have learned this by the Reese/nuCarly debacle, but he didn't. It's just very sad that he doesn't feel as if his job is in danger. This is really why Frons needs to be fired.

The Franco thing has been a total disaster. I actually went into his initial episode stint thinking he was a watchable actor (anywhere from decent to talented depending on the movie, not to mention ahoy hotness!). I concluded his first GH run thinking he was a total hack who thought acting meant wild grimaces, over the top intonation, the most ridiculous nose-plug voice I'd heard in ages and an overall definition of villainy that included cackling and rubbing hands together that was less befitting of a soap and more befitting of a Loony Tunes episode.

I initially wanted to place hefty blame on James Franco's lame-ass attempts at acting that make even the weak players on GH look Shakespearean, but really I think a large share of the blame should be placed on Guza's shoulders. Guza's given the guy no real background, no motivation beyond Jason-worship, and no emotional spectrum beyond cackling madhouse villainy.

oh my. It's just occured to me what he's probably going for in all of this is a Dark Knight/Joker-esque character. But hello, JF is no Heath Ledger and Guza is certainly not Chris Nolan.

In all fairness, I don't hate everything about the current GH writing. really. Awesome Writer whoever she/he is, gets a few zingers in the script and some nicely poignant scenes.

Other than that I would like to remind Guza that he is not writing an episode of bloody Sapranos, the Wire, or an episode of anything else where people get conspicuously shot--not that you would know this by the end of today's episode.

And in completely random and unrelated note, does anyone else think Brook Lynn gets dressed like Malibu Barbie circa 1989, particularly in yesterday and today's episode? I saw the hoop earrings and the gold bikini and just cracked up.

Found a way to combine the words "crazy, delusional, and dumb as hell."

Guza is cralusionumb. Simply, inexplicably...cralusionumb.

Feel free to use it ANY time you describe Guza. B/c he is (say it w/ me now) cralusionumb. :)

Well the fact that he apparently spends months planning stories out before he writes them kind of explains why it takes forever for the GH writing staff to wrap stuff up. Say what you will about B&B but at least their storylines move fast.

Even if you can't bear to read the whole article you really should go look at the picture of the asshat. So, so, so funny I can't even explain it but the glasses and the jacket and the look on his face match him so well in a vomitous kind of way.

Soap fans can't separate fact from fiction.... well Mr. Guza here is a fact for you-- I have stopped watching GH because I find the show to be morally offensive.

Great post as always! My levels of rage are through the roof-- really he is an awful head writer-- he must have great blackmail on someone.

BTW-- Steve Burton not winning an emmy--at least there is some justice in daytime.

Planned storylines????? he plans this--LOL!

Bob Guza is a seriously sick, deluded, demented hack writer. He doesn't know why the ratings don't bear out his greatness? Duuuuh. Could it be because his writing stinks? His disdain for his audience is despicable. He hates women, and he sure doesn't care enough to figure out what they want to see. The twisted morality and violence on this show is just what people DON'T want to see in these depressing times. How about a little diversion Guza? How about some humor and romance, some characters we could actually care about? The only thing that puzzles me is why I am still watching this piece of garbage he is creating.

"I think we all know what character he dreams about and what kind of dreams those are."

I can't figure out if you're talking about Vanessa Marcil or Steve Burton. He has a serious hard on for both of them. I love Vanessa, but I fear for her safety.

The Stone story was all Claire Labine had???

Spoken like a dumbass who has been milking 30 seconds of clink-boom for all its worth (and then some) for more than a decade.

I just can't even. . . . .

He's just so awful it's ridiculous. If it looks like a douchebag, and talks like a douchebag it's probably Bob Guza.

I know a guy, who knows a guy... I'm just putting it out there

Bob Guza is probably enjoying all of the uproar his interview has caused. He knows they'll be no negative consequences for him, so, hey any publicity is good publicity.

Why do we watch this show again?

Cate- If it looks like a douchebag, and talks like a douchebag it's probably Bob Guza.
is my new favorite expression! Would it be in poor taste to use it as my signature in all emails?
Maybe Mallory and Becca can end all GH related blogs with that like Louise says Destiny out?

Shame on all of you who made me go to check THE picture! Shame on you.

Summer Jay - LOL at your post. It would be poetic justice...

I did go and cut and paste the whole article into a Word document so I can read bits and peices of it at a time (trying to read it all at once could cause permanent brain damage - kinda like Guza has), but I did catch one thing that stood out about the interviewer. He actually used the word "Yeppers" to signal his agreement with Guza at one point. I get the feeling that THIS guy should have been the one to interview Sarah Palin so that she wouldn't have been tricked and confused by all Katie Couric's "gotcha" questions like, "what do you read?"


And tinted glasses, Guza? Really? Only Johnny Depp can pull that off, and just barely.

Crawl back into your pod, RoboAss!

Against my better judgment I skimmed a bit of the offending interview for myself. I'm just gonna breeze on by his annoying, unimaginative answer to the Jason/Liz/Sam mess and focus on this one horrific statement:

"You have not seen Spinelli put someone on a pedestal until you have seen Spinelli worship Brenda Barrett!"

Is there somewhere we can contribute to the alcohol fund that Mallory and Becca are obviously going to need if they're going to survive the impending nightmare that Brenda Mobspital will surely beecome?

"Wow. It’s almost like love amongst the ruins."

Dear God, this man thinks he's Shakespeare.

And then there's Nelson Branco, who is apparently angling to become the next hack on GH's writing staff:

"This past year, the polarizing scribe brilliantly returned the venerable soap back to its character-driven roots and former glory by penning riveting storylines and balancing his superlative ensemble cast resulting in an addictive psychological drama where the lines of justice and injustice are blurred realistically. After a decade of upsetting and frustrating critics and fans with his unimaginative reliance on violence and rewarding criminals instead of its heroes, it’s certainly about time Guza awoke from his one-dimensional coma."

Nelson, YOU are the one who needs to wake up. All your multisyllabic words and superlatives only serve to point out that you, like Bob Guza (and what are you smoking that has you hallucinating that his writing has improved??), are a HACK. I practically threw up at your opening the article with the definition of power. SERIOUSLY? You're embarrassing yourself with these grade-school dramatic devices. Take your pretensions and get off my internet.

I quote the wisdom of Lafayette Reynolds when I ask, "How am I supposed to deal with the fuckedupness!"

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