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« The Greatest Hour Of My Life | Main | I've Had It! Leave My Soap Mom Alone! »

December 20, 2011

Ho-Ho-Horrible

It's the holidays (not that you'd ever know that from watching General Hospital, since the majority of the show's airtime has gone to Doom and Gloom. Really, a death-by-crane, a shooting, a painful breakup, sexual assault victims coming to terms with their attacks, the beginning of a legacy character's prolonged possibly/probably fatal illness...with every scene, the sad trombone plays a little sadder and a little louder), so I am feeling more charitable than usual, which is why I am wracking my brain trying to think of an explanation for the peculiar montage that ended today's episode.

On a normal day, I'd look at this completely unnecessary compilation of characters being miserable and make a joke about now having the sudden urge to slit my wrists before ranting about how the writers, who have exhibited nothing but extreme laziness and a phobia of effort in the past, have managed to best even themselves in terms of creative bankruptcy because, seriously, could they not come up with a few lines of dialogue to fill those last three minutes?

But today, I'm at least TRYING to think of a more charitable explanation. Like...maybe they wrote a closing scene, but there was a printing catastrophe and it never made its way to the actors, which necessitated the lamest of lame-ass montages that prominently featured Jason trying to cope with the fact that literally every person he has come into contact with has been the victim of some sort of mob violence; Michael, caressing his face with a scarf belonging to his late girlfriend/pseudo-therapist; Kate putting her hair back up (because she had let it down for Sonny, get it?) in one angry, heartbroken motion; and Elizabeth and Lucky breaking my heart? That's sort of possible, right?

Comments

But. . . um. . . the new doctor is hot and there was a cute puppy so. . .um. . .

Yeah.

This show is ass.

GH is a clusterf*ck! GV was fired to bring on JJ who turns around and leaves two years later. NP was written as Luke's son thereby ticking off long time LnL fans because we all saw how Laura's love changed Luke the rapist! Ugh. Now, NP is leaving the show. LA apparently wasn't sexy enough to play Krissy. VMG's return was a huge and painful dude. NL came back in 2009 as Rebecca and left ten months later. SBr came back as Claudia instead of her rightful role as Carly #1. RiHearst was placed on recurring. KS is out on medical leave. Becky was fired and then rehired. KMc is leaving the show.

As for LnL2, since the show had no intentions of reconciling the two, what was the point of all of the crappy stories and nasty barbs thrown at Liz? Here's hoping that RC/FV take the bullseye off of Liz's back and give the girl back her spine and no more freaking WTD stories or begging her cheating ex-husband for another chance!

Um, well, they had to put to use a good song that they own, so they can sell it on iTunes?

Haven't seen GH in forever so I had to figure out who the actress playing Kate was, but really, the music is gorgeous.

My God Mallory. How do you do it? How do you not only sit through GH but find the strength to write something, any thing, about it? This montage was the most I have watched of GH in weeks because it's so morose and depressing. I YouTubed clips of Liz because she is my favorite character on the show but I gave up because she is never allowed to be happy AND is routinely disrespected and degraded every time her name is mentioned in dialogue. GH is just awful with no likeable character or characters I like behaving in-character with all of the things I have come to expect through years of faithful viewership. As OLTL gifts its audience, GH shits all over its (dwindling) audience.

Happy Holidays!

The wrong show got cancelled.

Liz's hair looks like it's been wet every day since Lisa threw her off the boat, and I'm pretty sure Sonny and Kate have been walking back and forth between their hotel and his childhood home for almost as long. Seriously, this show is like one long fever dream. It's an exhausting sequence of things that just happen over and over again.

thank you for reminding that I am not missing a damn thing by not watching that awful show anymore. I miss the reading of the Christmas story at the hospital, I miss the q's at Christmas, I miss seeing some joy and happiness with my drama.....

Maybe they spilled celery tonic on the original footage?

I wonder if that's why MVJ left GH. I imagine her having conversations like Rose in Soapdish:

"The guy was killed in an auto accident! I looked it up! He was driving in the Yukon, in a pink convertible, to visit his brother who's an ex-con named Frances, when a tractor trailer comes along and decapitates him. You know what that mean, it means he doesn't have a head. How am I suppose to write for a guy who doesn't have a head? He's got no lips, no vocal cords. What do you want me to do?"

Reasons for this montage may include:

1. The original script was eaten by hungry mountain lions.

2. Lisa injected all the writers with a syringe full of STUPID.

3. Sonny confused the original tapes with barware and angrily hurled them at a wall for no apparent reason.

4. Carly saw Jason's name on a script and became infuriated that anyone dare write down the name of our Holy Savior Saint Jasus.

5. People just suck.

Is it just me or does every female on General Hospital flucuate between being a blathering victim and a trout mouth shrew? I don't even watch like I used to, but it seems like every time I turn it on, I end up pressing the mute button because either some shrill female is self righteously screaming at some slack jawed yokel, or quivering like a misshapen mass of gelatin like anguish because she was just self righteously screamed at by some shrill female. God I really used to love this show. It pisses me off.

And isn't that the same song they used when the Hostage Crisis at the Metrocourt ended? If they're going to do a terrible nothing-filled montage, at least get a new song.

As soon as I realize the last segment of the show isn't going to be a (feeble) cliffhanger but a music-filled montage, I hit the FF button. Occasionally they surprise us with a couple of lines of dialogue thrown in, but usually we get a lame "music video" and the writers don't have to come up with anything to advance the plot during the last segment.

Also I loved how Carly's first words to Jason were "They tried to kill you!" not "Poor Bernie got shot!" In fact Bernie was mentioned third, after Jason and Shawn. Poor Bernie can't even get shot in the chest without it being all about Jason. I know Jason was the intended target, but still. I can't stop seeing Bernie as Elaine's boss on Seinfeld so my first reaction was, "Oh no, Mr. Lippman!!"

Stop blaming the writers: this is JFP, through and through. She loves Loves LOVES these closing montages (I'm guessing because of her origins as a music director) and has done them on every single show she has EPed, but for some reason she has been allowed to elevate them to some kind of personal fetish on GH. Once a year or maybe twice, they can be effective, but when viewers' reactions are "AGAIN? Another music montage ending?" you know you've overused the device. And this device wore out its welcome a long time ago. The GH closing montages are almost (unintentional) self-parody at this point.

However: I heartily wish this were the worst aspect of GH to complain about. If the story and characters held any interest, and if Port Chuck weren't one giant cesspool of misogyny, violence, and amorality, I might find them less irritating, and even charming. But as a way of funneling all of the bleakness, grimness, and coldness that this show has become over the last decade or so, they're just too much.

Ladybug, above, was expressing hopes about what Carlivati and Valentini would be able to do to fix the show's problems (specifically regarding how Liz is portrayed and treated): We'd all do well, I think, to temper our expectations about what C and V will be allowed to do with the show. Think about it: by default, the majority of viewers who have stuck around are the ones who are happy with, and invested in, what the show has become--mob-centered, dark, grim, and anguished, with Sonny and Jason always front and center, always right, and always the "victims." They have to make up the majority of the show's audience at this point, because most others will have thrown in the towel long ago. Do you really think ABC is going to let anyone risk alienating that audience by altering the tone or playing style of the show in any significant way? I suspect that's why Garin Wolf's head-writing has been such a bust: he isn't being allowed to deviate much from the Guza formula, and he's far less suited than Guza to writing that kind of show. I'm wondering now why they even bothered to give Guza the ax: maybe, rather than any kind of actual dissatisfaction with his work (which is what I assumed at the time--that they had come to their senses about what a creative disaster the show had become), it had to do with some other type of personnel issue.

I hope I'm wrong, but let's face it: ABC's decision-making in regard to its soaps does not inspire confidence, and Frons was only the most visible part of a systemic problem. I'd like to think that hiring V and C represents a sea-change in ABC's thinking about GH, and that ABC is willing to let them lighten things up, rebalance the storytelling, and reset the show's focus--but it would actually be a huge risk to do that (you'd have to bank on a significant return of alienated viewers who have abandoned the show during the Guza-JFP darkfest, and I'm just not sure that's a realistic possibility).

^^ Michael - there is enough blame to go around for the sorry date of GH. But the writers do actually write this. Garin Wolf has done a huge amount of damage but works in concert with Jill Farren Phelps and the brass at ABC. GH is hemmoraging viewers and at the bottom of the ratings barrel, so I can safely assume most do not enjoy the show and most of its remaining viewers watch out of habit rather than joy. Just my humble opinion.

Soapbaby - I'm raising my hand over here. I do NOT enjoy the show but have been watching for 30 years. It's habit now, and I also write a soap column, so, like the SD gals, it's also part of my job. Sigh.

This show is such a hot ass mess! None of the current storylines are interesting whatsoever. It's too damn dark, no humor, writing is awful, the actors don't look interested at all in their scenes, etc. Yesterday's show pissed me off esp the scenes with NOTMaxie and Liz. If I were Liz I would have popped that bitch in the face for talking greasy like that in my own damn house. Lucky has turned into the biggest pussy on the planet. What happened to the Lucky that had a damn sense of humor and was full of love like his mother? Thank GOD ABC came to their senses and fired Jill Farren Fuck Up and hired Frank Valentini and Ron Carlivati to whip this once great show into shape. I can't wait to see what they bring to this show because I'm barely hanging in.

Honestly, I don't get the corporate/network understanding of this genre. For the better part of the last decade this show has been about the Unholy Trinity: St. Jasus, Carly and Sonny. And what the hell has happened with the show's ratings? They have dropped like a stone in water. But the damn heads of the show still has it in their drummed in little heads that the Gummy mob is what people want. I still can't believe that Wolf has been writing this junk. His other stint as the HW was a hell of a lot better. Guza's gone. Frons and Phelps are now gone. But have they already done too much damage to the show to keep it going? Can new writers save GH. I'm sick to death of TFGH. I want to have GH back.

Tuesday's show was just outright awful. Lucky and Liz were just god awful. Really Lucky? You just now realized that bringing Elizabeth home for the holidays (to spend it "As A Family" for the kids) wasn't the best idea? After Matt pretty much told you the same thing. And you told him to keep out of your family business. How the hell could Lucky not see Liz's face just light up at the thought of them spending the holidays together as a "real" family? I'm dispising everything stupid moment with Lucky right now. I don't accept Lucky being this stupid about Elizabeth.

Maxie? You are still a selfish little bitch. You decorate Elizabeth's home because you want her with Lucky. Then you decide that you don't want that. So you decide to go to her home and have a bitchfest with her. After she had just thanked you for coming over to decorate. You have issues with Matt? You take it up with him. Liz has no loyalty or bonds to you. You don't like Liz and Matt being friends? Once again, you need to talk to him. If he refuses to yield to your demands, then you have a choice: live with it or break up with him.

Michael.Sam. Jasus. Carly. Sonny. Kate. Couldn't possibly care less. Really.

Silly, Mallory!

All of these depressing things suggested to me that it couldn't be any other time of the year BUT the holidays!

Soapbaby: Agreed that there is plenty of blame to go around, but the writers don't write in a vacuum, and they are (on all shows, not just GH) subject to incredible amounts of micromanagement from supervisory personnel, who review the storylines, the outlines for each day's show, and the scripts, and insist on rewrites when they're not satisfied. Those supervisory personnel, not the writers, have the final say on what makes it onto the screen. (I'm actually surprised at how much good stuff gets through.)

I'd be inclined to agree that it's mostly dissatisfied viewers hanging on out of habit if I didn't see, on other sites (rarely here, if ever), people waxing poetic about GH, and about the very same things that many on this site complain about. Stunning as I find it, I think there are people who have actually enjoyed the JFP-Guza version of GH, and I think this is probably the bulk of the (decreasing) audience (if the ratings are hemorrhaging, it could actually be, at this point, because the show is no longer "Guza enough" for some of these viewers). Who knows what's really going on, but I'd be surprised if ABC is willing to risk the viewers they have on the chance that they can woo back viewers who have left disenchanted. So I'm simply counseling that we viewers not get our hopes up too high. I think C and V are incredibly talented, but whether they'll really be allowed to address the basic problems with GH remains to be seen.

I'm willing to tune in more regularly and see, but I'm not going to get excited (again) until I see that real change is happening.

Michael, I'm banking on Ron and Frank turning GH around since Frons and JFP are both gone! Frons always considered GH to be his favorite toy.

Michael - I am in complete agreement with your being cautious and not getting your hopes up about Ron C./Frank V. moving to GH because I got my hopes up about Garin Wolf and all he got me to do was tune out completely. I am no apologist for Bob Guza but as many stories he told that I did not like, he did keep me entertained for a number of years. As far as GH not being "Guza-esque" enough, Garin Wolf's version of GH out-Guzas Guza! GH is currently more dark and dreary and depressing than previously. Yes, I see Rebecca Herbst, occasionally Leslie Charleston, but I'd rather not see Liz or Monica if they are going to behave in such out of control ways. I'd rather Maxie be written off than to sit through the horrible writing of the character and played by a recast who is frontburnered. NuKate, Matt's schizophrenic behavior, Shawn's morphing into "Black Jason", Ethan in Wyndemere, Lulu and Lucky written out of character, both weepy and whiny and pathetic...all works of the current writing team. As bad as GH was under Guza, Garin Wolf's GH is far worse. He has now played his part in dismantling GH with horrendous writing.

I've got nothing. Clyde is my new, favorite character. What's new is that I have a favorite character.

Joanne -- I, too, am a ClydeFF!

I say ditch most of the newbies but keep Dr. Abs and the puppy.

Anyway, I believe Guza was fired for budgetary reasons only. His contract was up, he was expensive, ABC already knows it's not keeping the show and they didn't want to pay his salary anymore.

GW was simply the newest monkey at the typewriter while the same EP and the same network suits ran the show further into the ground.

I have a modicum of hope that RC and FV actually having some talent, some fresh perspective, and the ability to wring every last drop of the crappy budget they have into *something* palatable will at least make the last few months of GH more entertaining than it has been for years. It's the only reason I actually started paying any attention again after throwing in the towel 3 years ago.

But I don't hold out much hope because the shell they have to work with is pretty much broken.

But I'll give them a chance.

Just as long as they keep the dog.

Mary Beth - You said it all. Guza was only fired because he was expensive. EP, Jill Farren Phelps was let go when Garin Wolf was demoted to a member of the writing staff from head writer.

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