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« The Heart of The Matter | Main | The Same and the Samer »

May 09, 2012

A Happy Return and a Good Laugh

I admit I have extremely mixed feelings about Todd Manning on General Hospital. Sure, part of it is that it's bittersweet to see any Llanview residents in Port Charles because it serves as a reminder that One Life to Live is no more. And in many ways it would be easier on my heart just to imagine the characters living on happily with their families. And while I really love Todd Manning as a character (I phrase it that way to emphasize that I find him compelling, not that I think he's a super-swell guy who I'd really root for in real life), my very favorite thing about Todd Manning just happens to be Blair. So it's hard to see him without her -- even broken up they're better in each other's orbits than outside of them. Not to mention one of the coolest things about how they've developed his character over the years is that they resisted the urge to turn a gray-hat former gang rapist into some heartthrob who went from hot relationship to hot relationship. We've only ever seen him with Blair and with Téa (and in both cases, these were not typical romances by any means), and sexual intimacy has always been a careful issue for him. And that is so important to me. If you're going to pull that standard soap trick of turning a rapist into a viable leading man, it's the only way I can stomach it. I absolutely in no way, shape, or form, ever ever want to see Todd bounced from leading lady to leading lady and put through the usual battalion of chem-tests. I will lose my lunch. 

And, since I've launched into this dissertation, another thing that worried me was that we already have Sonny, a bad boy who gets away with tons of stuff but who genuinely loves his family and sometimes his woman and always has a gaggle of people making excuses for him, and do we really need another? And yes, I find Todd a million times more compelling because of his self-loathing and his constant battles with himself, but still. Might it be too much? 

So I was nervous. Very nervous. And today I was reminded why there's so much more that differentiates him from Sonny and the number one characteristic? Humor. Sonny is rarely written to have much of a sense of humor and, in fact, is quite frequently such a depressing wet blanket. The trademark Todd Manning humor was a breath of fresh air for me today.

Toddisfree

So for now, I am cautiously optimistic and very glad to see him. For now. And he apparently is free of all charges due to PTSD which, ha, but it would be a pretty easy case to argue considering what he'd been put through for eight years (although I loved that his original version was that they acquitted him because his mother didn't love him!).

Also, I love how people (especially Sonny) on this show routinely point guns at people and threaten to kill them and then either change their minds or are somehow thwarted and it's either witnessed by or admitted to the police and nobody ever gets arrested for attempted murder, ever. Because attempted murder is not really a crime in Port Charles. And now Starr's locked up for it. I can't say I hate Michael for it, though, because it stops the cycle. I know he did it for childish reasons, but honestly if he'd ever been held accountable for flirting with crime early on, he might not have gone in the direction he did. (Of course here I am applying psychological growth principles to GH, when we know full well Starr won't "learn" from this because... well, soaps!)

Also, Téa!

Bellytea

While I definitely question the wisdom of using the appearance of another show's never-before-seen-in-Port-Charles character as the episode-ending cliffhanger, I do love me some FloLo and I am psyched for this visit.

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I love Sam's hair like that.

Samprettyhairsopretty

And that little cardigan is adorbs. 

Speaking of Sam, her husband Jason, who has spent most of this week all rage-y at John McBain for the horrible sin of, you know, saving his pregnant wife's life (what was Jason's implication there? Next time you see my wife in danger, go ahead and leave?), has a lot better perspective on how other men can show support to their lady-friends-in-crisis and asked Sonny today to show a little compassion to Kate, especially because Sonny has had his own struggles with psychological issues. 

Now, I spoke highly about Todd's sense of humor above, but Sonny's response to Jason's suggestion was actually the biggest laugh of the day by a country mile. 

Sonnynevermakesexcusesmmhm
"I never made excuses and blamed someone else!"

Sonny insisted that he never used his bipolar disorder to make excuses for his behavior? Hahahahahaha! I am dying here. Dying. He even said he didn't find some other person to blame his actions on and a big flashing sign that said DEKE started flying through my television screen. It is unfathomable that lightning did not strike him right in the center of his forehead when he started in on that.

Divider

Well, the crappy-ass Daytime Emmy nominations came out today (that said, go Jason Thompson! Do it! Get it!) and I'm going to spend the next 12 months campaigning my little heart out for OLTL to get an Outstanding Drama Series nomination next year because for serious, those nine episodes that aired in 2012 deserve it, dammit. I know, I know. But I can't give up the ghost.

We also learned that Jason Cook will no longer be bringing Dr. Matt Hunter to our screens, which I think sucks because they finally started to give the guy some real storyline and personality and I've started really enjoying the heck out of him, so obviously this is the time they choose to write him out (and lamely pin the Lisa Niles murder on him, thus preposterously making Maxie out to be some sort of absurd martyr). Way to go! More time for more Sonny stories or some nonsense.

Comments

Louise, nothing to add except that you wrote an absolutely SUPERB column once again. Everything you said about Todd was perfection.

And add me to the list of people thrilled to see Tea again.

GREAT column!

First, Love that Todd is back, and though I love Tea, I'm so worried that we'll never see Todd and Blair together ever again. This breaks my heart. I'm really looking forward to Tea gathering Starr into a close hug, and shooting Todd the evil eye over tiny "Estrella"'s head.

Second, I cannot believe that with all her years of fantastic acting on that terrific show, Kassie DePaiva did not get a nomination!! And she did some really great work last year!! Sucky!!!

Sonny is so completely self-absorbed, and yet so completely self-unaware that it's literally incredible.

I forgot to mention how much I agree with the state of Todd. This guy is messed up for sure, but so compelling. He has been able to have a normal (for Todd) sexual life with Blair, and only Blair. After the rape (that's close to twenty years right?) this guy slept with only two women. AND sleeping with Tea that one time was such a big mistake for him that he went running back to Blair, even though I think he really loved Tea in some way.

He's just messed up. If the writers start Todd up with someone else, I don't think it'll be true to his character at all and I definitely won't be able to deal!

As someone who is not really in favor of the OLTL characters coming over, I do like Todd and how he says all his lines in a sarcastic, self-depracating way. I'd love to see a scene with him, Luke, and Tracy slinging one-liners. Get Alexis in there too.

Unfortunately I don't think even he could make Starr better for me.

Starr is so much better when she's acting with someone familar like Todd, Tea, John, etc.

If RH reads his scripts and sees Todd becoming a bed hopping bunny, we all know that he will raise holy hell with RC/FV. I remember when TSJ was lobbying for a Todd/Evangeline pairing and the show turned him down because of the character being tied to Blair. Todd is one soap character that does not do ONS or sleep around.

I am absolutely devastated that OLTL did not receive a Best Show and/or Best Writing nomination while THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS and GENERAL HOSPITAL did. Those two were far from the "best" no matter how you sliced it.

OLTL was forever the red headed step-child of the genre and its shut-out in the nominations is heinous.

Am I the only one that thinks ABC pulled in a bunch of favors to make sure that OLTL didn't get a nom so they didn't have egg on their faces?

===Am I the only one that thinks ABC pulled in a bunch of favors to make sure that OLTL didn't get a nom so they didn't have egg on their faces?===

After all the shenanigans ABC has pulled with both AMC and OLTL - AND GH, nothing they did would surprise me one bit. I bet there have been plenty of veiled, and not-so-veiled threats to cast and crew, past and present, to keep it down about the shows.

ABC had fan loyalty like no other network, and they tossed it all away - and it's not coming back.

I think OLTL shot themselves in the foot with their choice of episodes to submit.

Ugh I did not miss Tea atall. The smugness, the belly rubbing, she only had one line and I already want her to shut up.

And I'm calling it right now: somehow, Sam and Tea's babies are gonna get switched.

Oh, no, Jason Cook is leaving? That sucks. Matt was never a favorite of mine, and more often than not, the writers made him an insensitive jerk (that Jason managed to make forgivable with awkward, comical acting). But every once in awhile, Matt was written as a good brother to Patrick and a good boyfriend to Maxie. In fact, the past few months have been his best yet, as a character and actor, supporting grieving Patrick and trying to save self-sacrificing Maxie. I actually started to love him, and now he's leaving?! Hasn't Patrick lost enough??

As usual, Frons decides to bring over popular actors from other soaps, and then Guza gives him the bird and refuses to use said actor. I liked the friendship between Liz and Matt, but with KS being off the show for the last year, there really was no chemistry between Matt and nuMaxie.

I have this fear that we're about to see a resurgence of Spixie, which doesn't work IMO when KS is not on the show. I was really hoping that Spinelli would be the next character out the door since I am so tired of his weirdness.

I enjoy a good conspiracy theory as much as the next guy, but AMC's successes in the nominations seem to belie the "ABC tries to squash potential wins for its canceled shows" possibility.

Fact is, OLTL was the last show on the east coast -- voting for OLTL can mean (to the vast majority of the voters) voting for people who are not and have never been your colleagues. There's SO much crossover of casts and crews and producers, especially now that we're down to so few, but just exponentially more of it among the west coast shows. OLTL has often been forgotten, but I was hoping this year folks would be more likely to keep it in mind for obvious reasons.

Especially disappointing because I really love the episodes they submitted.

But there's always next year! Those 9 episodes were really, really good, dammit!

I heard they submitted the Fraternity Row cancellation episode, but what was the other one?

LOL - Sonny is a walking ball of excuses for his behavior - if it can't be traced back to Deke, then it's the fault of the 'sluts' and 'tramps' and 'whores' he seems to process through his revolving door of women who ultimately 'betray' him. I mean, come on - he even has reasons for not killing the many people he draws guns on - out of respect for so and so, or because someone else is there - you know, the 'I"m a big man and I'm going to kill you but I'm not because ...". Oh, except for that one time when he shot his cop son - and wouldn't you know it, he wouldn't have done that had Olivia just told him he was his son - then he wouldn't have tried to kill THAT particular cop.

The thing with GH is that when you actually have the police do their job, when someone actually says something reasonable, when mobsters don't get to handle and direct police investigations - it's jarring. And a little wonky - like, it doesn't really FIT in THIS particular universe - mainly because it doesn't gel with the years of upside down, right is wrong, wrong is right, killers are heroes and good guys are boring and inept world that GH fans have been living with.

I really enjoyed this episode. Glad that Sonny turned it around at the end and Kate was heartbreaking to watch. Loved seeing RH back on my screen and thoroughly enjoyed the Todd/Starr scenes. While I was bummed about TnB breaking up, I am also excited to see what happens with Todd and Carly. I understand fans feeling anxious about Todd being paired with someone else. I think we need to see how this plays out first before jumping to conclusions. I don’t think we are going to Todd thrown through a bunch of chem tests and suddenly become the romantic hero. The former (un)creative team did that with Sonny and it didn’t work very well at all. I’d like to think Frank and Ron know better.

"I heard they submitted the Fraternity Row cancellation episode, but what was the other one?"

The paternity reveals at Natalie and Jess' doomed double wedding to John and Brody in February.

Good points about Todd's character and the rape backstory. Although his character is in the same age range as Sonny's, I don't see Sonny as his GH counterpart. I've always thought he was more like OLTL's Luke (though both are surely original characters)both because of the humor and the rape history. The key difference you touch on is that Luke (although very careful with Laura after the rape) was not portrayed as having permanent issues with sexuality following the rape.

Good points about Todd's character and the rape backstory. Although his character is in the same age range as Sonny's, I don't see Sonny as his GH counterpart. I've always thought he was more like OLTL's Luke (though both are surely original characters)both because of the humor and the rape history. The key difference you touch on is that Luke (although very careful with Laura after the rape) was not portrayed as having permanent issues with sexuality following the rape.

Why does Maurice Benard get an Emmy nom every year? Is it some ridiculous tradition, or are people scared to piss him off? I'll admit, he has his good days when Sonny is lighthearted, mostly with his kids. But by giving him an Emmy nom, are the voters saying he is exponentially better than the majority of actors on daytime?? Come on. Puh-lease.

The biggest difference between Sonny and Todd to me is that Todd knows he's not a gangster or rapist or thug with a heart of gold. He has flaws, he acknowledges them, makes fun of himself, etc. Sonny thinks the sun shines out of his ass (pun intended) and that he is above any and all punishment. Personally, i think Todd would have made a dirty joke if he caught his lady bed with a younger (hotter) man... Now that Todd is in PC I may have to watch until he leaves. Todd, John and Jason's thousand yard stare... And Todd totally taking the piss out of Jason's "basassness." Comedic GOLD!

Jan A!!! Thank you for reminding me! Todd and Luke could be a formidable team!

Luke is not going to go against Sonny just to hang out with Todd.

I'm glad you brought in the Emmy fiasco so that I have an opening to comment on here (my favorite online forum) about it. WTH?! The best show of 2011 does not even get a nomination for Best Show or Best Writing? And General Hospital, which had one of the worst years ever, does?

I know that the Emmys screw things up (let's face it--a lot) but this is colossal. I can see why people think ABC pulled some strings because it's just so baffling.

The paucity of acting nominations when there were so many stellar performances on OLTL during the year is also really eye-opening (and especially given some of the yes-I-have-talent-but-I-phoned-it-in-most-of-the-year-except-for-three-days-for-my-Emmy-reel actors who did get a nomination). I don't remember who was pre-nommed from OLTL, but I can't believe that out of those who were, no more of them were perceived as worthy of nomination.

What little credibility the Daytime Emmys had left is certainly shot to hell.

The Emmys lost all credibility years ago, but since OLTL chose the wrong reels, and since all of their stories collapsed about a week after being set up (as basically happened throughout RC's entire time as headwriter), I don't think they were robbed. I think the show should have gotten more since it is gone now and never had enough respect from the industry, but based on quality, I just can't give awards to stories like "Let's repeat the same flashback of Todd shooting Victor 500 times as Jack drones 'Scarface' and Tea bellows" or, "Ford's a really, really, really nice guy, who reads to sick kids and asked Jessica 12 or 13 times whether she wanted to have sex. Did we mention he's a nice guy?" And of course, pointless teen pregnancy #23, with the father offcamera 98% of the time while the mother rarely appears unless it's for screeching between Nora and Mother/Grandmother Evans. And my favorite, "If you're bullied, and stand up for yourself, your mother will die, and you'll have a complete mental collapse while your father is digging up graves. You'll then be written as the antagonist to that poor guy who killed your mother, but hey, all will turn out fine, and we'll see you again for about three minutes before you're shipped offcamera for good."

"The biggest difference between Sonny and Todd to me is that Todd knows he's not a gangster or rapist or thug with a heart of gold. He has flaws, he acknowledges them, makes fun of himself, etc. "

Then he does the same thing again anyway.

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