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« Exclamation Points Abound | Main | A Pile of New Favorites »

December 06, 2012

Varieties of Camp (I Wish It Were Sleepaway)

Soaps are campy. No question. Sometimes they're too campy, sometimes they're not campy enough. But there's so many different possibilities. General Hospital is in the middle of an old-school camp renaissance right now, so it's giving us the full spectrum. A campy buffet, one might say!

So let's take a tour through the varying qualities of this form of storytelling...

There's the best kind of camp. The kind that is outlandish, absurd, completely implausible, but that elicits hoots of joy and happiness because the very implausibilities that define it? Well, they happen to bring back beloved vets, not-so-beloved love-to-hate villains, and tie a crap-ton of unlikely people into stories together. And it becomes a special kind of genius.




This is the very best kind of camp. This is the kind that gives us weather machines, the fact that Robin is alive, the return of Robert Scorpio, hilarious latex masks, the Tale of Two Todds, and Victoria Lord having out-of-body experiences. This best kind doesn't just give us outrageous fun, it gives us those elements that (however unbelievable) lay down the elements necessary for stories that sincerely resonate and that give us tremendous payoff after decades of commitment and viewership.

There's also the lousy kind. The kind where we're meant to believe a middle-school student has written an AMAZING 400-page novel about love that people enjoy so much that they find the time to read it three times in one day, and they get immediately considered for publication. And said novel, a debut novel from a teenager, can look like a get-out-jail-free-and-live-the-easy-life-forever card to a not-real-person who exists to protect a rape victim but does little to do so.



If they release this book as a promotional tie-in like they did with that whole Diane/Spinelli thing, my head will explode. Also... Connie "Falceri?" Does the nympho alter always forget how to spell her own last name? I worry that, since this hard copy is the only extant copy of this PHENOMENAL novel, Connie will give herself carpal tunnel re-typing it as her own. I suppose she could just scan it to text and convert it to Word? Are these the things I'm supposed to get hung up on in this story? I doubt it. But it's where I am. Because I don't care. 

And then there's the kind of camp that falls somewhere in between, the kind that works best when you're sick or ridiculously sleepy or, say, have had more than one glass of delicious wine. It's the kind that's just as silly and really doesn't lead to anything good in real time and just makes you shake your head, but at the same time?



IT INVOLVES AN ADORABLE PUPPY. A fuzzy, cute puppy. And people actually reacting to it with HORROR.




Did y'all see that puppy? And hear the doom-and-gloom music? And then see the puppy again?

Everything is awesome.


I want to kiss that puppy all over his fluffy little face.

Duke, Anna and Robert. Sigh. Life is good. Thank you GH!

Louise, I would not suggest looking up the book title on Amazon.com then.

Oh dear.

I think all we need is for that adorable puppy to talk to Baby Danny and we've got ourselves a story!

tears. it was announced yesterday that ABC is releasing the book thru Hyperion and that Connie's name is on the byline.
How much longer do we have to put up with Connie? I'd take Tess, hell, even Wes over Connie any day.

Louise, Molly is now a sophmore in high school, not a midddle school student!It was already established earlier this year on GH that Molly is now in high school when her boyfriend T.J. first came on the show!

I so want that puppy. But then again, I'm more of a cat or dog person than a child person. But that puppy? Beyond adorable!

I'm not certain how much of Lulu crying over every little thing I'm going to be able to take...but it's better than Maxie and her hormonal temper tantrum. If this is only after one treatment...heaven help everyone in PC.

Spelt "middle" wrong! Sorry about the typo!

It's all right Chris. I'm sure YOU can spell your own last name!

Geez, GH.

Louise--Excellent commentary on campy in soaps (specifically the super campy writing of Ron Carvialti.) Of course, GH is so greatly improved under this headwriter, I think campy fit better on OLTL than GH. In my opinion campy shouldn't override real character development and drama_ my major complaint about the headwriter. Still, it's so great to have Anna, Robert and "Duke" back.

I LOVE the new, improved GH, but there's way too much Connie on my screen. There is not one redeeming quality to this character and the actress' over the top portrayal sucks the life out of nearly every scene she's in.

I would like more Patrick, more Elizabeth, and definitely more (hopefully permanent) Robert. Tristan is as sexy as ever.

I stand corrected, I didn't realize Molly was supposed to already be 15. I did remember at one point the actress saying her character was older than she is, come to think of it.

That said, it's still just as ridiculous!

OMGosh...Seriously I love Serial Drama.

I was laying in bed last night thinking about how campy GH is and how much I am enjoying it and I get to work this morning, check into my favorite blogs and whatdayaknow, my SD peeps were thinking the exact same thing! SOO MUCH CAMP!!

Seriously...all the tie ins to history, everyboddy back from the dead, fake latex masks, the implausibility of AJ seeing FAISON who is supposedly dead doing the Noami Campbell WALK through what's supposed to be a remote clinic... I'm LOVING IT....

Carlivati knows his strength...and I LOVE that he embraces the camp. He loves the genre, he doesn't treat soap viewers as if they are complete idiots, yet he still wallows in the hilarity of soap storylines and their campiness.

I love that this man is not "afraid" to flaunt it. Prime example Helena and Robert's conversation the other day, and the fact that the actors THEMSELVES got to throw pot shots at their own story lines/history and characters. I...love...that...

Embrace the camp...revel in the camp...be one with the camp...join the camp....It's a helluva fun ride.

Even the bad camp (Connie) is not driving me away though...cannot believe how much this show has improved. Even Spinelli is not driving me (as) crazy as he used to. Maybe the world really is ending!

Bad camp: Sabrina vs Britt while Patrick is clueless about the true intentions of both those women.

To me, that's worse than Connie/Kate storyline.

P.S. Do you know that Ron Carlivati tweeted this article? LOL!

P.P.S. I was kerflummoxed by Connie's inability to write her name, too.

The storylines now as to much. Everything ends and it to much going on that you cannot make headsa and tails of anything.Closure is good.As for all the ties to history, some are good but move on, history is just that history today is today, tomorrow is the future.Sick of Connie, its good to see the old folks but a lot of people are young and dont know the history/or care. Anna is alright but maybe if she was paired with a younger person it would have been better. Either recast Jason or lets find the body. A lot of fans are ticked because you drag threw Jason and Sam. I loved that you brought John, Todd, Starr over wish you would bring Natalie over. When will we get a who Sam's father storyline? What I loved most is that women are a little stronger under RC hands, but would love to see McCall and The Jackal business take off. Maybe Sam bio could make Natalie or Tea related, we always wanted Sam and Robin as sisters. But I think RC is doing a good job especially with the women.

What about the type of camp that has us believe that Patrick, who just a few months ago was head first into a bottle of pills, is now opening his pain-ladden heart to a middle school Student nurse with more hair than Anna Devane circa the 1980s, when he has friends who he could talk to.

Or makes Anna Devane, circa 2012, be so stupid she can't tell that she's kissing a latex mask.

Oh My bad, not campy, just bad writing.

"Bad camp: Sabrina vs Britt while Patrick is clueless about the true intentions of both those women.
To me, that's worse than Connie/Kate storyline."
I couldn't agree with you more. I think Mousy Nurse v. Bitchy Doctor is the worst story the show has going right now. What do we know about either character besides she is obsessed with widowed Patrick. There has been zero character development and the characters are so shallow it plays like some bad sitcom from the 1980's, only it would take place in a high school with Patrick the star football player, Britt the head cheerleader and Sabrina being the bookworm who will be transformed into great beauty on the night of the prom.

Anna's not stupid for kissing a latex mask. We're meant to think this mask is so convincing that no one can tell it's a mask and that Faison has spent decades perfecting this impersonation. Everyone on the show is "so stupid" that they can't tell it's a mask, because that's how good the mask is.

It's easy suspension of disbelief. Once you accept the mask conceit to start with, it's a really fun story and has so much history and emotion involved that it's surprisingly deep.

This is a world where there are weather machines, human beings can be cryogenically frozen, everyone and anyone can come back from the dead, and aliens exist.

The mask is just really funny.

I had a check list of things I wanted to happen when I heard the good news that RC and FV were getting control of GH. And for me, practically every day is Christmas. I think of a character I want to see and that character shows up. I wish for a scene to happen and it happens. This show is so good now, after years of decay and destruction. Camp is back, drama is back, umbrella stories are back. Wow.

Yes, I wish devoutly for an end to Connie and for Todd to finally be out from under that "he killed his brother" shadow, but I have patience, because this regime knows how to tell a story and it's worth the wait for the emotionally resonating pay-off we're sure to get.

And the mask is hysterical!

Loving the Faison/Anna/Duke story SO MUCH! The mask conceit is nothing next to all the wonderful drama and performances we're getting from those who do it best. Finola Hughes and Ian Buchanan are owning this show right now, and it's awesome and deserved. Throw in some Anders Hove and Tristan Rogers? Even better! GH is now must-see because of this story, and I cannot wait to see where it goes next.

Hazel, I am right there with you. Ian Buchanan and Finola Hughes are doing some of their best career work right now, and if it takes a silly mask story to elicit these performances (and to get them on screen together after 20+ years of thinking I'd never see it again!) then it's FINE BY ME!

Did anyone catch the AMC prop piece (I assume its why it was there) on GH 12/7? About twenty-seven minutes in (27:25 to be exact) you can see a 'Pine Valley Precints' map behind John McBain.

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