The Pains and the Great One
Maybe not daily, but definitely weekly, I am asked "Why on earth do you watch General Hospital if you hate it so much?"
Depending on the tone used by the asker, I have offered answers such as: habit, addiction, "Well, if you fast forward most of it, you sometimes find something that's not so bad", morbid fascination, low self esteem and "BECAUSE YOUR FACE", a retort I unintentionally picked up after teaching middle schoolers that, while obnoxious, is also surprisingly effective.
On days like today and weeks like this week, though...I have a hard time coming up with an answer. I mean, yes, the show's one highlight continues to be reliably great, but the rest of it?
Jason: You want me to get you an escort?
Michael: Yeah, it seems like a good way to get experience...[...]That's exactly why I need to be with a woman I have no feelings for so I don't feel bad about hurting her or rejecting her.
Brenda: If I stay here, I will be destroyed, and it will end. And it always ends for me.
Sonny: I'm just saying to you that if want to press charges on me now for something that [PAUSE] you know [LONG PAUSE] [LONG PAUSE WITHIN A LONG PAUSE] i-i-i-i-it just doesn't make any sense it's--it's--it's just it's useless.
This show is not right.
Where to even begin? Let's begin with the last face we saw today: Claire, known in some circles as "THE WORST".
Since Dahlia Salem came to Port Charles all "I am ACTING! Like a PROSECUTOR! Watch me be all LEGAL-ISH. See this smirk? It's a PROSECUTOR smirk!", this character has worked my nerves in a major way and the writing for Claire did her no favors, as she went from career-focused to baby-focused to atrocity-focused with no rhyme or reason, and certainly no character development.
Following the national embarrassment that was the mile-high club incident, Claire swanned around Port Charles, high on the power of Sonny sex and alarmingly proud of herself for getting Sonny into bed.
Look at that smug face!
It's especially embarrassing because she's proud of doing something that, oh, EVERYONE has done. That's like running around town bragging about receiving the census. "Yeah, I got mail from the government today. They're really interested in getting my take on issues. Sorry, I can't say any more than that--national security and all".
Alexis tried to knock some sense into her:
Alexis: No. The more you feign disinterest, the more it eggs him on. Trust me. I have walked this walk. I have thrown all reason out the window and got knocked up by a manic-depressive mobster. Those aren't good odds. For your own protection, use a condom.
First of all: remember Alexis?! Second of all: HA!
But Claire wouldn't listen.
Claire: Alexis, I appreciate your concern, and thanks a lot for your contraception lesson. But I know what I'm doing.
Alexis: No, you don't. You really don't. I got to be honest. You really, really don't. Here's the thing. He's a very charming guy. You can't save him, because he doesn't want to be saved. Save yourself.
Claire: I don't want to be saved, either. Look, I'm well aware of all the women that Sonny's been with. But our relationship is different.
Therefore, Claire getting kicked to the curb by Sonny was hilarious, if poorly acted. Really: DS and Maurice Benard were just appalling today. Their scenes were jumbled messes of acting tics and forgotten lines.
Sonny: It wouldn't be fair for me to go on seeing you.
Claire managed not to break down in front of Sonny, but then at the very end of the episode got a very long breakdown scene as part of a "Sonny and his women troubles" montage that ended with her placing a call and saying, trying to keep her emotions in check, that she wants back in on the investigation into Sonny; even if she can't prosecute, she wants to be part of the effort to put him away for a long time. Which means we are back to square one which means UGH.
Then you have Sonny and Brenda. Even though my loyalty will always be with Brenda and Jax, I can admit that back in the day, these two had a spark like no other. So why, then, are their 2010 scenes so...terrible? I know that a large part of it is the writing, but really, it's just not good.
Sonny: Years ago, we couldn't be together because there were obstacles in front of us. Now those obstacles are gone. Maybe we can get it right this time.
Brenda: You're too overwhelming for me. I lose myself in you.
Stop it, both of you. Just stop. And Brenda, for the love of god, please change your jacket. You look ridiculous.
After her seemingly endless talk with Sonny, Brenda went back to Jason's and requested that he help her stay away from Sonny.
Brenda: You need to keep me away form him.
Jason: No. You need to keep yourself away from him or not. I don't care.
Brenda: It's not that easy.
Jason: I have other things to deal with that are more important.
"Like a teenager coming to me and requesting a hooker! Those kind of important things."
Speaking of, Michael was invited to a party by Kristina's friend Ali, who can't act, and he's more than a little freaked out by it all (by being asked to a party by a girl, not by her lack of acting skills, although Michael is often reasonable enough that I have faith that he'd agree with me on that) because he has no experience with girls and because his problems in Pentonville have scarred him. So he wants to practice with a call girl, basically.
Jason reacted the way that we all did: with a sense of befuddlement, uncomfortableness and "Oh, honey, no..."-ness.
Jason: I just think this whole thing's a bad idea.
Sam's totally cool with it, though, and arranges for Candy, a buddy she met while working undercover, to come over and make a man of Michael. Michael's sort of freaked out by discussing this with Sam (and he very cutely says "You probably think I am such a loser right now" and sometimes Chad Duell just makes me want to hug him) but when he meets Candy, he starts to let his guard down.
Candy's name is actually Abby, and he asks if he can call her that instead, and she starts off just talking to him and I have to say, maybe this show has forced me to lower my standards, but I thought she was a good actress; better than some of the show's contract players, even!
They have a weirdly sweet conversation until she asks him to dance with her, which leads to kissing, which leads to her attempting to take his shirt off, which leads...to him pushing her and screaming "Get off me!".
About three minutes passed and then I thought, "Wait, WHAT?" I had to rewind to make sure I saw what I thought I had seen, and then the question because, "Wait, WHAT kind of show is this?"
Adrienne Barbeau is in Port Charles! Upon arrival, she immediately locked horns with Max, who wouldn't immediately arrange a meeting with Jason:
Adrienne Barbeau: Maybe if you don't find him you'll be wearing your balls for earrings.
Adrienne Barbeau came to town because The Balkan is a Serious Threat, who ransacked Brenda's hotel suite and apartment in Rome and is obviously after her. Naturally, Adrienne Barbeau traveled to Port Charles to discuss this with Jason, which...seems like an obvious mistake on her part, since it turns her into an Adrienne Barbeau shaped neon arrow leading The Balkan and His Serious Threatitude right to Brenda, but it turns out that actually plays right into Jason's master plan. He wants The Balkan in Port Charles; I want a day without having to hear about The Balkan.
Also: Dante and Brenda appear to have a secret past. Imagine that! Two of Bob Guza's fixations having a story that will ripple across the canvas/eat screentime? Who could have seen that one coming? Besides everyone, I mean...
Thank goodness, then, for Robin and Patrick and Lisa, who have carried the show on their (tiny, hot and CAH-RAZY, respectively) shoulders, providing all of the show's entertainment, of the intentional and accidental varieties. Kimberly McCullough, Jason Thompson and Brianna Brown deserve endless kudos.
(When I was little, someone said "Kudos to you!" about something, and I envisioned receiving those delicious, chocolatey granola treats as a prize and since then, it is impossible for me to use the word kudos without imagining someone receiving, like, a lifetime supply of granola bars. I'm sorry, I just had to share.)
Lisa, with her angst-filled monologue and near-suicide attempt!
Lisa: You know what? Of course you would blame me, the evil ex-girlfriend who couldn't get over a college crush, 'cause there's no way that you, the faithful husband, ever encouraged me. I must have imagined the flirting and the jealousy and you punching Steve for taking what should have been yours. But you know what? That must mean that I'm crazy, that I'm sick in the head, right? There's only one cure.
Lisa: Someone in this sick little triangle needs to go. It might as well be me.
Patrick: Look, we can talk about this. Just put the gun down.
Lisa: Oh, what, about how I ruined your life? Because you already made that pretty clear. I'm the whore, and Robin is the martyr. I mean, I'm giving you what you want. Your life would be so much easier without me.
Patrick: I want the old Lisa back. That's what I want.
Lisa: You had me. And then, you felt so guilty about enjoying it that we couldn't even be friends anymore, ok? I am not asking you to choose. I'm doing it for you.
Patrick: We can talk about this, ok? I can get you so I'll get you some help. Just put the gun down.
Lisa: I just want this over.
Patrick: Lisa, think about your family, ok? Think about your family. You don't want to put them through this--
Lisa: You don't know how hard it is for me to see you with her. Maybe I don't want to keep living like this. I don't want a life without you. [To Robin] I hope you think about me every day and know that you aren't enough for him, and you never were.
When I see Brianna Brown embrace over-the-top drama the way she did yesterday, holding it close and saying, "Let's do this, drama. Let's turn the crazy up to eleven! Hold my hand and we'll take the leap together!", I get annoyed all over again that the writers didn't start her descent into lunacy much earlier. Instead of reminiscing about dorm sex and alcohol consumption for so many months, we could have seen her skulking around town menacingly, talking to herself and it would have been so much more enjoyable! But this show regularly wins the Missed Opportunity Olympics and passed on the chance to be, you know...good.
Patrick with his guilt and desire to make things work!
Patrick: We can go to couple's therapy.
Robin: Therapy isn't going to change who you are.
Patrick: I'll go to therapy. I'll figure out how, why I blew my world apart, sabotaged everything that's good--you and our marriage--I'll do whatever I have to to get you back. I don't want to be without you. You and Emma are everything to me. I'll do whatever it takes.
Along with, I'm assuming, the rest of the audience, I shouted at my television, "NOT WITH LAINEY!"
And Robin with her refusal to take Patrick back!
Robin: We're talking in circles.
Patrick: Well, how about we circle back to reconciliation?
Robin: Come on. It's just too soon, okay? I love you, but I'm not sure that will be enough. And every time that we have this conversation, it's emotionally exhausting. Can you please just give me some time to let it all settle?
Patrick: Yeah, I'll do whatever you want.
Robin: I don't think we should live together. Emma and I are going to stay with Uncle Mac.
Patrick: Okay. You don't have to do that, though. I can get a hotel or something.
Robin: I'm not going to stay in the house where we were a family. I won't do it.
Patrick: Just foe the record, this isn't what I want.
Robin: Duly noted.
Kimberly McCullough and Jason Thompson are just SO GOOD. My heart was breaking for both of them (for Robin more, obviously, because the poor girl had her world blown apart and then fell down a well. A WELL!) and I am so, so grateful that I at least have this story to look forward to as I fast forward the rest of the show.