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« Putting On A Happy Face. For Now. | Main | Why Did This Happen? »

March 27, 2011

The Unbearable Darkness of Being

Anguish, along with literally and like, is a word that I have a tendency to both over- and mis-use ("There isn't a new Parks and Recreation until April 14th! I'm totally anguished!"), but really, is there a word that better describes the feeling one has throughout a legacy-killing, continuity-free, endlessly repetitive episode of General Hospital?

This week, the residents of Port Charles mirrored our anguish, as they were all uniformly miserable, which is to be expected, since the major themes of the week were "dead child", "who is responsible for the death of said child?" and "toddler with cancer". They (and we) were heartbroken, pained, and dejected and the dark got even darker with Friday's reveal that Luke was the driver who hit Jake.

Luke 
Luke: I didn't see him. It was dark. That stretch of road is dark. There's no shoulder, there's no sidewalk. My music was blaring. I was rushing to get across town to get to you before your wedding. I drove fast. I always drive fast. I'm a good driver. I--I never ran a light. God, no, I--I never felt anything h-hit... oh, my god, I never saw him. I never saw...I--I--I never saw him.

I mean, honestly. DEPRESSING.

There's a small part of me that wants to, grudgingly, give the show a little bit of credit for not taking the easy way out and having Theo or Franco be the hit-and-run driver. And having the driver be Luke is definitely a bold move, because how does a character come back from that? In the hands of a competent writing staff, there could be a must-watch, albeit terribly sad, story in there about redemption and an irreparable rift between father and son; Tony Geary and Jonathan Jackson are more than up to the task.

But this story is not in the hands of a competent writing staff; it's in the hands of a writing staff overseen by a man who will almost surely tire of this story, possibly as early as Wednesday. There is a very real chance that we'll get one huge confrontation between Luke and Lucky, a few scenes of an angry Jason and then the whole thing will peter out and we'll have once again sat through character assassination for the sake of a (small and short-lived) ratings spike.

Tony Geary shares none of my reservations though: he's approaching this story with all kinds of gusto.

TV Guide Magazine: Do you see this as your greatest acting challenge?
Geary: Absolutely. I've had a lot of wonderful stories through the years but more often in the adventure and romance arena. This is exactly what I need at this point in time — to attack something new and something on a grand, operatic scale. This is Greek tragedy. This is right up my alley. I am of the school that the older you get the better your work is because you've got so much more to draw from, and I'm getting up there in age, my friend! So this is a big, spectacular gift. I'm going into work these days with nothing but gratitude in my heart.

So...there's that.

Like he always does when he's committed to the material, Geary was excellent on Friday, but Jonathan Jackson? Amazing. Stellar. Phenomenal. All sorts of other adjectives for awesome including the wordless squeal, accompanied by flailing, that I often use to convey hysteria. Every second he was on-screen, he was just outstanding.

First, there was Lucky's fury upon learning that Carly was on the list of suspects in the police investigation that lasted a total of eight minutes.

Luckyangry 
Lucky: No, it's an accident, dad. Of course it's an accident. I mean, Carly's entire existence is a series of accidents. That way she's not responsible for anything she ever does.
Luke: Now, don't jump to conclusions. Stick with what you know.
Lucky: What, like you don't know what she's like? Seriously. Carly is so focused on herself and what she wants at any given moment, she doesn't care who gets in her way.

Lucky: Somebody just drove away and left Jake in the street. That woman doesn't know how to be anything but completely selfish to the core of her soul. And now my son is the latest to pay.

How freaking satisfying was it to hear someone verbalize Carly's worst character flaws? Sure, he didn't say any of this to her* and almost immediately after saying these righteous words, he found out that it wasn't Carly after all, but STILL.

*Because God forbid that happen, right? If he had yelled at her, Carly would have been totes sad, you guys.

Michael: But my mom really doesn't need Lucky yelling at her right now. 

OMFG, were they kidding with this? They must have been, right? Because for someone, even a son trying to protect his mother, to verbalize the thought that CARLY'S precious feelings are paramount is just so deranged that I cannot even. Yes, Fat-Headed Joss is sick and that is terrifying for a mother, but Lucky's son is dead; it's not like he's just being cruel and messing with Carly for fun.

ALSO, MICHAEL, your therapy/makeout session with Abby was so wrong that it made my skin crawl.

Mabby 
Michael: Abby, I just don't want you to feel you have to sleep with me because you feel sorry for me.
Abby: I don't feel sorry for you. I think you are beautiful, inside and out, and I love the way I feel when we're together.

Ew.

ALSO ALSO, this is no longer directed at Michael, but the mention of Fat-Headed Joss reminded me: where the hell is Jax?! Why wasn't he with Joss and Carly at the hospital at the end of the episode when she was babbling about Jason's great pain? His absence seriously offended me, as did Carly's fawning:

Carlyjoss 
Carly: Yeah. God, I'm so happy you're ok. You know what we're gonna have to do? We're gonna have to spend a lot of time with Jason, aren't we? We're gonna have to make him feel good. Yeah, that's a girl. He's gonna miss his little boy.

Carly: You're gonna love Jason as much as I love Jason.

For starters, how much more time could Carly possibly spend with Jason? Are she and Joss going to move in with him? And is it even possible to love Jason as much as Carly does? Will she force Joss to literally pray at an altar to his awesomeness? And you know who else is going to miss Jake? HIS PARENTS, LUCKY AND ELIZABETH.

That brings me back to the point I was actually trying to make, which is that Jonathan Jackson is wonderful and should, by all rights, be the star of this show. Shock, heartbreak, anger--all of it was so good.

Lucky 
At least the cast is getting prime material for their Emmy reels...

Comments

great post! My frustration with GH is- I see the potential for a great show--and time after time the TPTB let me down. The writing and lack of story development is awful just awful.

Great read as usual, Mallory. ABC daytime is just a joyous place to be these days, isn't it?

In addition to the usual fuckery at GH, there's OLTL and a bunch of teens tormenting an asthmatic boy to the verge of attempting suicide.

And just for kicks, there's Jesse and Angie at AMC and those soul crushing spoilers.

Happy, happy, joy, joy. Everywhere you look.

Gotta say it. I didn't feel that much at Lucky's rant against Carly. She wasn't there to hear it. Plus, Carly didn't hit Jake. It was much ado about nothing. It felt as if Guza was going for emmy bait for JJ. I wasn't biting.

I'd already seen JJ's/Lucky shred another character before - Elizabeth. He called her a whore, slut, rutting farm animal and all other types of insultive names and she took it from him. Carly, will never be put
in that position. So, if the person isn't there, what's the friggin point? I don't need to watch JJ turn paler than he already is or see his eyes turn bloodshot to know he's a good actor. He is. We all know that. GH writers, quit with the empty manipulative bs. Should Lucky blow up at Luke on Monday, that will be legitimate rage. Otherwise, don't overplay this aspect of Lucky's character needlessly.

I was far more moved by the Becky's subtle yet sublime performance of Elizabeth's first day home after the loss of her son. No histrionics. No yelling or breaking of glass. Elizabeth is raw, exhausted, lost. I felt all of that. Her world has changed and she doesn't know if she can handle it. Yet, she knows she must for Cam and Aiden. I loved hearing her memories of Jake. As she spoke of them, tears appeared and silently fell. Her pride over Jake was palpable. You could feel her heart swell and the pain that followed, knowing his being in her life was forever gone. Everything she did felt so real. Bravo to Becky. Elizabeth may not be getting the airtime/focus a mother who lost a child deserves, but Becky is making sure every moment counts. Again, bravo!

This story has the potential to give us some great performances from TG and JJ, whoever with Guza as writer the story will probably be over with within a week or two. We just saw how fast Joss was diagnosed, had a kidney transplant and was supposedly cured of Stage 5 cancer all in a week's time.

JJ is an excellent actor but Tony Geary is the one who's just brought the most honest scene to this story along with Rebecca and Steve. Luke's horror as he realized he was the driver was heart wrenching. Though I do have to say the foreshadowing was there with all of a sudden Luke being so focused on family and grandchildren.

I wasn't moved by anyone's performances in this story. The story had no build up and came off as just giving GH favorites some reels for Emmy timenext year. The only one who was good was Lucky/JJ. Liz/BH tears did nothing for me. Didn't even feel for her as a mother. She wasn't there for the scenes. Jason tears ring hollow since he never visited or cared about Jake. Now I know why GH threw in the scene of Jason watching Jake with Sam and the morotocycle. There is no way this compares to the BJ/Maxie story or even the reveal which Kimbery McCullough got robbed of a pre nom. None of the actors were really there for this story.

I watched on Youtube(Yes I am still boycotting ABC) and I have to say that JJ's performance was amazing. Tony Geary gave an interview where he says Elizabeth comes to him and forgives him and blames herself for not watching Jake. I have a problem with this, why couldn't they have wrote it to were Liz is angry and wants vengence (even for a short while) while Lulu and Lucky try to cover for their father (because we know they will). Then we could see both sides one where a mother is heart broken and wants justice for her dead son and on the other side we could see the killer (luke) deal with his guilt and drinking addiction. But, this is GH and we all know that they can't tell but one sided stories so even though the acting is wonderful the writting will continue to suck! smh

Could somebody remind me again how this show still has people tuning in on a regular basis...?

I pretty much loved JJ's Lucky's rant against Carly. True, we all knew it wasn't going to be her and true, she wasn't there, but this is GH so I will take what I can get. Seriously, what the hell is up with her lack of empathy or even recogonition for the two people who actually RAISED Jake (his parents)? For all her selfishness, I am starting to believe Carly's adoration for Jason is her biggest flaw because what I saw this week wasn't "touching" in the least. It was disrespectful, dillusional and hysterically rich given the fact that her eldest child's dad is not his biological father.

Anyway, I particularly liked the moment coming from Lucky because over the years, he's generally kept his mouth shut about his cousin although he could have had plenty to say yet Carly has had her fair share of nastiness to spew about Lucky.

JJ has been outstanding in every moment and I am so happy to see Lucky getting the writing he deserves after nearly a decade of crap. However, I would be lying if my heart still didn't break for GV. He just never got material like this...ever!

Finally, Monica's and Bobbie's absences are just sick.

Exhibit A:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6-PabjzhVGM&feature=related

I'm losing faith that this show will ever be this good again. Frons, Guza, and JFP are collectively destroying the legacy of GH. These fleeting spells of powerful acting can't change that.

The stories on this show used to be carefully woven and utilized most of the cast effectively.

I have gone back and forth really hoping these days hadn't passed, but when I went back this week and re-watched this storyline, it became painfully obvious. The last week of GH has not moved me at all. This rehashed, poorly written tragedy can do nothing to me in the way Labine's stories were able to draw you in and make you remember. That's why we are still talking about BJ/Maxie's story in 2011, and why people (including Guza) will forget this story in weeks.

I was rather surprised that Josslyn was up and out of bed so soon after a transplant surgery. And no IV!

Michael is all kinds of EW and all I can say is thank goodness for Fast Forward, because he and Abby are just vomit inducing.

I hate that Jax gets left out of all the scenes with Josslyn as if Carly is the only parent who cares about her. Jax has been there for Joss and Morgan, while Carly's been running around town with no thoughts but Michael, Jason, and breaking up Sonny and Brenda. Suddenly she's the concerned mother?

Righht.

This is a story about Luke, Lucky, Jason and Carly. Not so much about the mother of the deceased child, Elizabeth. So sad what this show has become.

I just want to know when the Fatal happens? Not the one where people thought they hit a pothole but the one where Robin gets to drop a house on nasty Lisa.

Every time I think this stupid show can't possibly make me any angrier they manage to sink a little lower. Guza is has destroyed what little was left of the Spencers that I used to love, Carly is just completely disgusting, and they've managed to make me want to see Michael sent back to the place where he was raped.

Gawd! I hate this horrible show.

What's so disappointing about this story - a story that should be all kinds of monumental and earth moving for a show - is that it isn't. It's well acted, for sure. But there was literally no buildup, no levels of story, no texture - it was just business as usual and then BAM - raw emotion, trauma - and BAM, we are on the other side. Why couldn't have Joss been diagnosed weeks ago so that this had been building? Why hadn't Carly been worrying about who was going to be a donor for more than five minutes so that her immediate switch from "Im' sorry for you, BUT ..." didn't seem more cold and harsh than usual for her? Why did all of this have to happen in the space of a week?

It's like Guza decided to remake "I Will Always Love You" by doing the first chord and then just skipping to the part where Whitney belts out the chorus, and then plays the final chord, and calls it a song. He's calling this Cliffs Notes version of BJ/Maxie a story - and it's just the damn notes of a far superior story.

MariBeth D....I agree with your comments! The whole Carly rant was the writer's once again skewing everything so that JJ can get another Emmy nom since we saw the same diatribe last year during the Niz reveal. Someone needs to tell JJ that Lucky #2 and #3 did a lot of crappy things over the year 10 years that he was gone from the show. Just because Guza has been whitewashing Lucky into this "wonderful" man and father does not mean that this fan is going to drink the kool aid!

Luke was the one that ran over Jake? How? Liz lives on the outskirts of town in a cul de sac with very little traffic which is what she told Robin in 2008 right before Scrubs bought their own home.

Of course TG wants this s/l like he wanted Ethan to be his son. It must be time for the old six month vacation where Luke will skip town in order to deal with his pain in running over Jake who didn't mean squat to him since he hated Lucky raising children with Liz that were not biological Spencer's!

I was clapping my hands with glee at Lucky's rant against Carly, since it perfectly mirrored my thoughts on her character (and Sonny). Loved your thoughts on Carly spending more time with Jason. My thought was "your child just almost died and you want her to hang out with a professional hitman on a regular basis where she can have more near-death experiences? Ooookay then..."

And I am anguished about a two week Parks & Rec hiatus. We just had a three week hiatus two weeks ago! I love that show. They know how to create story arcs and remember details of their characters' history for use in later episodes, unlike GH.

We all know Guza worships at the altar of Jason--but seriously why would the writers go overboard in stressing how grateful Carly is to Jason? Jason even told her she should be grateful to Elizabeth and Lucky, and she (of course) rejected the comment. But what's the point of it all?

And of course they never showed us what happened after Dante outed Michael for crashing Carly's car (or did I accidentally FF thru it?).

As good as JJ has been, Becky's more quiet anguish has really been heartbreaking to watch. Some primetime show should scoop her up--because we all know after this, she'll virtually disappear so we can watch Sam parade around half-naked, sharing space at Guza's Jason altar.

Meh. The acting was good but Guza's ADD will kick in soon and the story will be over with no repercussions. I'm glad TG likes this story because what TG likes, TG gets. But I can't stand Luke Spencer and won't watch. More misery and death on GH - just the way to lure in those viewers - NOT!

Luke's been an unrepentant asshat for years and since I remember very clearly the two times he called raising Jake the worst mistake Lucky ever made in his life...I don't buy his grief over this nor his horror. Also I don't believe this is anything other than Emmy baiting for the males on teh cast since that's all anyone wants to talk about. Focus on Jason's grief. Focus on Lucky's rage. Focus on Luke' guilt. Yawn. Yawn. Yawn. and I have to be honest, ever since Tony Geary took to lecturing the entire free world about how Ethan being Luke's son was the greatest storyline development since the invention of television? Tony Geary talking about how freaking awesome a story is, pretty much guarantees I'm going to do nothing but roll my eyes at it and pray for it to end quickly. (Watch...this will become their more "organic" way to write Tony's next vacation. Luke will go to rehab.) I was particularly "amused" by Tony talking about what a darign turn they were taking with ELizabeth possibly going mad over losing Jake. Yeah Tony cause the soap viewing public hasn't figured out yet that was exactly the storyline dictated reason Becky was initially fired.

Let's see...toddler killed when hit by a hit-and-run driver, the culprit turns out to be someone closely related to one of the parents, said relative is also someone said parent has had issues with in the past. Ooh, wait, I get it, it's the "Chelsea Brady ran over Hope and Bo's son Zack" story from DAYS OF OUR LIVES (well, I guess it's "different" because Lucky wasn't Jake's biological father, but did that really make any difference?)

At least they're ripping off other soaps, and not from their superior predecessors or their own storylines from a couple years ago.

The only thing that would make this remotely palatable is that since RH is staying and TG surely has a vacation coming up is to have Luke wake up from a horrible dream ala Pam Ewing. Then he can go to rehab.

My god - I have enjoyed reading this blog because it is HILARIOUS and the girls are excellent writers, as are most of the commenters too. I have always thought the Serial Drama banner was cute - "we mock soaps out of love. and hate. but mostly love".
This clearly no longer applies and it's very disappointing. Almost every GH entry is completely a bashing session and it's hard to read over & over every day. Yes it's fun to commiserate over some bad writing/acting/storylines that we "love to hate"......but there has to be some positive too!
100% of the acting during this storyline is fantastic - so many emmy reels in particular for JJ, TG, LW, BH & SB.
In the end, it's a soap (one of the few that it appears we are going to have left very soon). Maybe we need to try to concentrate a bit more on the things we're enjoying.....there will always be storylines that we hate - and we all have different opionions. I think Michael & Abby are the furthest thing from vomit inducing (wow harsh!) - and am enjoying their storyline so much. The actors are fantastic & have great chemistry. I know not everyone is of that opinion but guess the main thing is that we continue having opinions & continue watching.
But how about some positive thoughts every now & again?

Lucy - Did you miss the part where Mallory praised the acting in the storyline because it was a pretty prominent part of her post? And I'm sure there would be other positive thoughts if there was anything to be positive about. But the fact is GH has become a big pile of steaming crap and there isn't much left to be positive about. Maybe you haven't watched for very long but for those of us who have, it is virtually criminal (you know criminal like the "stars" of the show) that the writers have destroyed all that was once wonderful about GH. If the show does get canceled, I would call it a mercy killing.

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