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.