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« All My Loathing | Main | Non-Mysterious Mysteries and the Joys of 1983 »

October 05, 2010

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?

HO-

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.

-LY

Brenda: If I stay here, I will be destroyed, and it will end. And it always ends for me.

-JASON

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.

Divider

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.

Clairesmug

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.

SNERK.

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.

Divider

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.

Jacket

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."

Divider

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?"

Divider

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.

That's...brash.

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.

Divider

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...

Divider

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!

Lisagun

 
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.

Comments

Thanks for the recap! You are brave souls watching this show, I stopped 2 years ago.

Dammnit I love Scrubs and honestly I am glad Lisa is out of the picture at least for awhile because scenes like today between Robin and Patrick make it bearable to watch this show. Looking forward to a rebuild of Scrubs because this couple is absolutely MAGIC.

Please let Brenda be the mother of Sonny's grandchild by Dante. Please let Brenda be the mother of Sonny's grandchild by Dante.

If the storyline is clearly going to eat the show...I might as well get some giggles out of it damn it!

Despite loony Lisa's insanity, she does have a valid point with this little bit of dialogue:

"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."

He DID do all that stuff...right? Not to say that's any reason to drug your former boyfriend/one-night stand's wife and then leave her stranded in a well and then confront said former bf and wife with the world's tiniest handgun...but yes, the scenes have been enjoyable enough that I've actually gone back to youtubing Robin/Patrick scenes. Theirs are the only scenes I can tolerate on GH.

Kim and Jason were flawless today. I'm was so excited to see today's scenes without the endless "ums, okays, alrights"..etc that spew forth from BBr.

What I saw today was 2 actors in tune with each other and bringing great performances to our screen. Can't wait for the rebuild.

I regularly use "YOUR FACE" as a retort, so I can't stop laughing at "BECAUSE YOUR FACE."

I have found Robin's sentiments to be realistic and more organic than the typical revenge crap that most soap characters take part in when they are cheated on. I'm talking to you Carly. For that reason I loved Scrubs today.

The Balkan stuff is kind of...ok WTF? First of all the name makes no sense. It's like calling Sonny "The American" Why not a slang word from the region. I thought of "Ajkula" which is Bosnian for shark.

Oh wait that would mean the writers would have to you know, do research! That's not going to happen.

I was somewhat intrigued at Dante's dream. I'm assuming that the girl who was attacked here is the same girl that he mentioned to Sonny about a couple of weeks ago. The girl that he tried to get over by dating someone else.

As for the Dante/Brenda crap. Uh...no. Just no.

As for the Michael hooker thing...The only thing entertaining was coming onto this site and hearing how you guys would comment on it! It makes no sense since if Michael was raped in prison he would be either asexual or hypersexual. It makes no sense that he would go to a party or want to hook up with a hooker. Sorry Guza but you fail, like you do at so many other things in life.

Scrubs made this episode watchable! I kept hoping you would comment on the fact that the cabin Patrick searched for Robin had the same couch as the one in his apartment though...if it had actually been furnished by Lisa it could have been a whole new level of crazy!!

Ugh, I don't think Brianna Brown is doing a good job at all. I actually think she's pretty boring in this role. I find myself laughing at most of her line readings, and not in that campy-delicious way that a good villain can make you feel.

Now Kimberly and Jason, on the other hand. They just have *it* together. They are magic. They elevate their scenes to a level that GH isn't able to achieve on its own.

Robin's dialogue continues to be awesome.

Scrubs were FANTASTIC today, gosh if only we could skip all the sonny and friends drama and stick to those two along with non-mobbies like Lucky,Matt,Liz, Mac etc... I would be in soap heaven. But alas we have to most of the show about Sonny and claire ickness, Jason and Brenda weirdness with a little Sam and the utterly ridiculous plan of Michael and a hooker (nice going there Sam by the way, the boy has not been traumatized enough add a hooker into the equation!)!!

Am I the only one disturbed by the fact that this show won't come out and say the word rape? By no one saying aloud what might have happened to this character, the show is reinforcing the concept that victims of this terrible act (female or male) have something to be ashamed of---like the word can't even be spoken out loud, let alone the topic addressed, like if they ignore it, it will go away. I realize that it makes sense for the character not to say it, he's not ready, but Sam and Jason should have addressed this topic after Michael left. It made absolutely no sense for Sam and Jason not to talk it. No sense at all.

I agree w/you about everything EXCEPT..after yesterday, and him leaving Robin to fend for herself while he stayed and held poor little Lisa's hand and went w/her to Shadybrook, I'm gonna need to see him, like, crawl across some broken glass that's, like on fire, only to, at the end of the broken glass, commando crawl across a football field of feces, just to kiss Robin's ass, repeatedly, at the end. I mean, I was watching and was like, WHAT?! WTF?! Did he just do?! I had to wait to read recaps online to make sure I hadn't, like, let my Patrick anger get completely out of control and cause me to hallucinate! Who DOES that? Who lets the mistress who nearly got his wife AND his child KILLED 1-get off scot-free, and 2-guilt him into staying w/her perfectly healthy ass, while his WIFE takes her sick ass (that is sick B/C of the mistress) to the hospital BY HERSELF! And THEN ASKS FOR A RECONCILIATION!! NOT AN HOUR LATER!!! That's almost, like, FUNNY, it's so fucked up on Patrick's part....

Was Candy actually a hooker? Or just a stripper that Sam assumed would be so messed up and/or slutty and/or in such desperate need of money that she'd be willing to take the virginity of a messed up teenage boy that just got out of prison for killing someone? Because if Candy wasn't a hooker, that's a pretty big assumption for Sam to be making there.

According to various GH recaps, Candy was a stripper who got out of the biz and is currently going to college. Sam/Candy worked on some PI case. Way to go, Sam! Drag old Candy back into plying her trade this time with a traumatized teenage boy!

See I keep doing this ridiculous and pointless dance in my head. I was SURE...POSITIVE in fact...that Claire was just sleeping with Sonny to get dirt on him. I honestly did not think she was really falling for him. When the tape recording didn't work, she decided things had to get more drastic. She wasn't too good to sleep with her mark to get the goods and put him away for life.

HA!! Laugh is on me AGAIN for thinking I couldn't interchange the worthless Claire with Brenda/Hannah/Lily/Carly/Alexis/Kate/Sam/Emily - and I'm sure I've missed many more. Here I thought we might be doing a DIFFERENT STORY besides the ad nauseum repeat of Sonny and his ever-spinning world of low self-esteem bed bunnies.

Some of you may remember I stumbled down this same sanity-and-reason road when I thought Carly was ACTUALLY SORRY when she was apologizing to Dante and Lulu and admitting her blame for Michael's predicament.

Why do I continue this pointless and ridiculous use of LOGIC and widdle away my sanity on the hope of a COHESIVE AND ORIGINAL STORYLINE? I'm starting to think I need a stint in Shadybrook with Lisa "Batshit Nuts" Niles.

*insert awesome name here*:
The Balkan stuff is kind of...ok WTF? First of all the name makes no sense. It's like calling Sonny "The American" Why not a slang word from the region. I thought of "Ajkula" which is Bosnian for shark.

Oh wait that would mean the writers would have to you know, do research! That's not going to happen.

I think you answered your own question there. I mean this is a show where a character docked a yatch (or some shit) off the coast of a LANDLOCKED COUNTRY. Apparently, research is for nerds.

Thank you, Kaylee, for saying exactly what I was thinking. Although, the scene where Sam explained all of this to Michael was unintentionally hilarious. I get my entertainment where I can with this show. How many times did Sam refer to Candy/Abby as a "GOOD GIRL" (emphasis not entirely mine, which I think is why it was so hilarious)?

Sam: Now, Michael, I know you're nervous, but Candy is a GOOD GIRL. I mean, she used to be a stripper, but now she goes to college. She's a GOOD GIRL. She's totally willing to have sex with a traumatized, inexperienced 18-year-old because she's such a GOOD GIRL.

So Michael doesn't want to have sex with a girl he cares about because he's afraid of hurting her. So it's OK to take a chance on a girl he doesn't care about just because she's an "escort?" Awesome. Perhaps Michael will turn into a serial rapist or killer who preys on hookers.

What got me was Sam giddily skipping to open the door for the GOOD GIRL who is willing to break in a traumatized teen. What...why...how is this... I'm at a loss

So, Claire's ability to do her job is dependent upon whether she has the hots for the guy? She wants to get him into bed, then hands off. He rejects her, then its time to put his butt in jail again.

Glad to see professional women are portrayed with such integrity.

Yeah..What the?!!! WHYYYY is SAM so giddy about getting Michael a hooker, ex-stripper, GOOD GIRL...I mean, huh? What... the... heck... is going on here? I'm so lost, confused, disgusted...and just thoroughly exhausted by this show. What is seriously wrong with GUZA? This man needs help. Does he seriously think that this is entertaining? Though Chad Duell is phenomenal and plays a tortured Michael to perfection, I just felt dirty watching this teenage traumatized, murdering, rape victim go through yet another mentally disturbing act on my TELEVISION SCREEN!!!! ughhhh...

SCRUBS though is awesome, and I give BBr kudos (ha - I always think about the Candy Bar too, so to read that was hilarious!) because A). she did recap perfectly that Patrick did indeed fully participate in the flirting, seduction, and misleading behavior towards an old ex-girlfriend that culminated in adultery and B). she did play it to the absolute EXTREME...and it was fun to watch.

Still love a remorseful Patrick, I even love a compassionate Patrick (I know... boo, hiss! sorry)who didn't try to blame it all on Lisa and take the easy out. He took responsibility for his actions, and admitted his fault and apologized for leading her on...I want an eventual reconciliation with Robin, but their break-up is so soapy (picture me snotting and crying and deeply engrossed in ONLY their scenes) that I'm enjoying the fall-out.

I like Brenda with Jason, he gets to do more than stand around and stare and attempt to be menacing, he has actual lines with her. Not so much of a Brenda and Sonny redo fan. If she convinced him to go to prison, or an institution to deal with his issues, then yeah I'm all for it, other than that, bleechhh.

Love Maxie! In all her self-involvedness, and I enjoy her with Matt, who likes her just as she (Bridget Jones) and still calls her on her crap. I kind of like that they arent rushing the pairing, because the friendship building between them is enjoyable.

Claire...I don't even watch or read recaps on this debaucle. This rehash, rewrite, insert "new characters name here" of strong woman loses her mind to hop into Sonny's bed because of his dimples...saw it coming as soon as she stomped into town (via Jax no less).

I just don't understand how Sonny's magic wand is so irresistable that a woman who felt so strongly about the law that she became a federal prosecutor (or various other law enforcement jobs - see Hannah, Reese) would throw it all away on a creepy, barware-throwing, orange, mumbling, shoe-polish-haired mobster. If Guza thinks this is what women want, he is totally delusional. I know it's a soap, but Guza's done the story twice before, and Sonny is so unappealing anymore that I don't know why anyone would want to have a relationship with him even if he wasn't a mobster. Didn't he plan ahead and foresee that if things with Claire went sour she'd be gunning for him? But then again, we all know she'll never succeed. I guess even Sonny is smart enough to know that!

We can only hope ONE of them used some form of birth control!

Your recaps are always so gorgeously beautiful that it makes me tear up. Kudos, kudos, kudos to you!

"So Michael doesn't want to have sex with a girl he cares about because he's afraid of hurting her. So it's OK to take a chance on a girl he doesn't care about just because she's an "escort?" Awesome. Perhaps Michael will turn into a serial rapist or killer who preys on hookers. "

Danielle, that is EXACTLY what I thought! He acted like it would be fine to hurt or frighten a girl he has no feelings for. I'm going to give Michael the benefit of the doubt here and assume he just meant that he would be less nervous with a girl he doesn't care about and therefore less likely TO hurt her, but still... disturbing.

Also, the scene sort of felt like a twisted version of that scene from the 90's where Lucky went to see a stripper to "get rid" of his feelings for Liz, who had been raped. Do the Spencer boys have some kind of gene that makes them think the answer to rape is going to a prostitute, regardless of whether you are the rape victim or the person having feelings for a rape victim?

Also... on a morbidly hilarious note, the Spencer men could totally write a guidebook to rape, no? Luke can write a chapter from the rapist's perspective, Michael from the victim's perspective, and Lucky from the victim's friend/boyfriend's perspective. Ethan can even write a sort of side chapter on having a thing for abused teenagers! Now that I've gotten this idea into my head, I don't know if I want to laugh or cry. SO messed-up.

I am a writer and am constantly amazed at what passes for "good" writing on this show. Given the Claire/Sonny scenes of late, (and so many others) I think the Scrubs scenes are being ad libbed. That is the only logical explanation for their good writing versus the rest of the show.

Kimberly McCullough and Jason Thompson are freaking AMAZING and the work they are doing together is unbelievable great. I really hope Lisa stays gone. I am over the FA part of this storyline (not that I was ever "on" it). Scrubs and this heart breaking mess is just heads and shoulders above everthing else.

I don't know what the hell was up with Sam and her giddy jig over to the door. Seriously, I know she's trying to help out, but how can she just hire a stripper for someone else's child without mentioning it to either parent and really, if Micheal is as messed up as we all think, then should he be alone (in a sexual way) with any girl, women or hooker at the moment. Guza is a sicko.

I do find it annoying and hard to believe that Brenda is still pining away for Sonny after all these years. However, I love that Brenda seems to have more clarity about that relationship. She was "crazy in love" to the point where she lost herself. Sonny does that women, but it's not good. Run, Brenda Run!

For the record, One of the biggest differences between Brenda and Carly is that Brenda would turn her life inside out for the people she loves while Carly would turn other people's lives inside out.

Speaking of Sonny's women, Claire got exactly what she paid for with him. She can take her tears and revenge and shove them up her you know what or better yet get on the next plan back to where ever she was before she came to PC.

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