But What Will His Canvas Be Now (Besides Terrible)?!
If you've been fortunate enough to have missed any of General Hospital this week and have no idea what's going on, your luck's about to run out because I'm going to quickly recap (because if I have to suffer, we all should!): rather than bring Roger Howarth back as literally any other character in General Hospital history or in the imaginations of the writing staff (LITERALLY any other character. ANY ONE. Steven Webber. Tom Hardy, the fictional doctor. Tom Hardy, a fictionalized version of the British actor. Casey the Alien. Casey The Alien's cousin Pacey. Serena Baldwin. ANY ONE!), the decision was made to bring him back as Franco, daytime's most popular genius artist/serial murderer whose stint on this show amounted to a bulleted list of completely criminal and unforgivable misdeeds mixed with embarrassing performance art and a vibe of deeply uncomfortable weirdness.
I know what you're thinking: "Mallory, are you having a fever dream. Because every word you just typed is pretty ludicrous". I totally agree with you.
And I know what you're thinking now, too (I'm slightly psychic): "But...he was so terrible and there's absolutely no way to redeem him, so bringing him back and trying to make him a viable character is--" Is kind of impossible? Is that how you were going to end that sentence? I know, it seems like it's kind of impossible. I was worried about that, too; how on earth do you expect a character to stick around town when he's drugged people arranged rapes and faked rapes and kidnapped babies and basically sexually harassed Jason whenever he got the chance and also MURDERED A LOT OF PEOPLE?
Well, the writers have thought of that: a lot of it never happened. Franco just made people think that it happened and he totally has proof, you guys! He has DVD evidence! Let's all watch the DVDs, which all include a musical break in which Franco performs Shaggy's "It Wasn't Me" and okay, that didn't actually happen (but you know James Franco's Franco TOTALLY would have taken it there in spoken word form). Yeah, that song popped in my head when Franco popped open his first DVD and now it is stuck in there on an endless loop. I hope you're happy, Ron Carlivati. You have me singing Shaggy.
Franco: I don't mean to hurt you. Just trying to hurt Jason because he rejected me. You're safe, you know. Not gonna touch you. But Jason will always wonder if I have. I'm so sorry. I didn't rape you. But I am so sorry that I let you think that I had.
Carter: Okay, I got it.
Franco: No, you don't got it. You don't got it, Carter. You don't got it.
Carter: You just told me to do a number on this kid.
Franco: That was solely for my brother's benefit. I'm making this so that I can torture Jason. The goal is to hurt Jason. Never Michael. NEVER Michael. Do you understand? Say that you understand.
Carter: I understand.
Franco: You don't touch Michael. Just the opposite. You do everything you can to protect Michael.
Bygones to infinity! Not only is he NOT a rape procurer, he is a kind-hearted person who doesn't want to see anything bad happen to Michael! All misdeeds forgiven! Even the murders, because you know there are probably DVDs of him clearly trying to prevent all of the murders he committed but he keeps getting hampered by some guy in a mask, like a villain on Scooby do. Let's decide who we'd like to see him couple up with, amirite?
Franco: I thought I could control Carter, but I was wrong. I made a mistake! I thought Carter was going to protect him. Instead, it turns out he was a sexual predator. I was just as horrified as you were when I found out.
He was horrifed, you guys! The bygones continue! I was going to say that maybe Franco should have found out what the hell Carter was in prison for before he sent him on this terrible mission because the guy LOOKED unstable and unsavory, but then I realized that I had to stop thinking about this because thinking make me HATE THINGS.
I also CANNOT with the fact that this is a show that made me think to myself, "Well, on the bright, at least Lulu wasn't raped!" That is our bright side: kidnapping and utter terror. Fantastic. I will say that I got a little misty when Lulu's memories came back and think that Emme Rylan is really doing a wonderful job, but I can't say much more than that because my brain has fried a little on account of everything I've written above.
And I will say that if I were forced to give the show the tiniest sliver of credit for anything today, I'd give the most begrudging of props to the Michael/Franco scenes for giving us some pretty fantastic performances. Sean Kanan and Chad Duell were phenomenal and I don't just mean this moment:
Michael: The first thing you should know is that I spent some time in Pentonville.
AJ: You went to PRISON?! [Looks around the room, like, "What the fuck kind of scoundrels raised this kid?!"] When?! [Silently prays that it wasn't when he was like twelve]. For what?! [Hopes it wasn't murder but knows it was probably murder, because this IS General Hospital so of course it was]
Although it did make me laugh. They were great and Laura Wright yelling always makes my day. Everything else makes me want to shower. Or drink Drano.