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« General Hospital: Nurses Ball, Day 2! | Main | The Lady & the... Hold On, What Just Happened? »

May 08, 2015

It's Real This Time

Did we think this would ever happen while he breathed air? 

Anthony Geary, once and for all, is absotively posilutely leaving General Hospital.


It's been rumored for so long, but now that it's official: how's everyone feeling? Happy? Sad? Relieved? Ambivalent? Tired? Confused? Apoplectic? Lost? Small?


I think we're all wondering about the recent news that Genie Francis will be appearing soon, and whether or not that's connected. Would they really kill him off, or do you think they'll actually send Luke and Laura into the sunset together?

Check out his exit interview here


I really liked his interview. It felt candid and real. Who knows what kind of send-off they'll give him, but the fact that he and Genie agreed the romance had run its course makes me feel like they will not go off into the sunset.

I hope they give good stuff to Jane Elliot and don't fire her (I wouldn't put it past them!)

I'm happy for him that he's going out on his own terms. I'll miss him even when he's infuriated me with his attitudes.

I wonder when they start filming season 4 of Nashville? It'd be lovely to have JJ back for a few episodes. I'd even put up with fake son for that. (especially Holly came with fake son).

I know that Gene and Tony are over L&L but I hope we at leat get some nice scenes with them. I also hope we get some good stuff with Bobbie and Scott.

The best part of this is that it frees Jane.

Oh, and if I were an actor I wouldn't bother submitting myself for an Emmy this year.

It's definitely the end of an era, just as it was (even more so, really) when Susan Flannery left B&B.

The version of Luke that TG was apparently interested in playing over the last five years or so has not been compelling to me, even as much as I can watch and admire the man's amazing talent when it's really on display. This relentlessly dark, tortured Luke we've seen since the hit and run might have been OK on a show that didn't feature Sonny, the mob, and all of THAT darkness; on top of all of the mob, however, I found it just too much, and I needed a different Luke.

I hope the Luke and Laura fans get something satisfying out of Genie's return and TG's departure. I think it would be outrageous to disappoint them entirely (though it may have to be a mixed bag to make it make sense).

And I do hope this doesn't mean they'll abandon Jane Elliot. She's even more valuable, in my opinion, as the links to the GH of the old days continue to dwindle.

(@Laura: I know that Tony is over Luke and Laura; has Genie said she is as well? I had not heard that.)

Since I'm not a long-time viewer of GH, it's not as big a deal for me that he's leaving. Sure, he's been a fixture for years, but the last few years, with all the time off he's had, I've not gotten "attached" to the character at all.
AG is a wonderful actor, but I certainly understand him wanting to "officially" leave the show that he sorta left years ago.
The whole Fluke S/L ruined the character for me, and it screwed up so many other S/L's, that I'm ready for him to go.

Michael, TG claims in his interview that he and Genie both agreed some time ago that they're over Luke and Laura.

I find it annoying when he editorializes about storylines. Luke and Laura are toxic to each other, but Luke and Tracy, with all the times he's played her, stolen from her, lied to her, cheated on her, made her look foolish and humiliated her are what, the epitome of a healthy, functional relationship? I wish he would stick to acting because his perspective on stories and characters is sometimes just weird.

I think G. Francis has been a bit more polite about it but I think she got tired of Laura needing to be the damsel, needing to be saved, being crazy, being weak. I think she wanted a self-sufficient character able to stand on her own two feet.

I was talking with my Mom over the weekend and whereas she hated the revelation of Nikolas and how it led to re-hasing the rape with Lucky and such... I thought it was one of the BEST storylines GH has ever done. It was poignant, multi-generational, emotional, and it finally gave Laura the chance to explore how she felt about what Luke did to her.

I also felt that that was the beginning of the end of L&L and I heartily approved of that.

I'm glad Tony's getting what he wants and retiring. I'm ALSO glad that it finally occurred to Tony that Luke isn't HIS, it's GH's. AND I'm glad that we've explored every single facet of this great character. He deserves a lovely send off.

I hope that when Genie comes, they really make her vibrant and interesting. I don't know if it's short or long term, but I hope they make it worth it, you know?

@Zoote: I think his editorializing (as you put it) shows how dangerous it can be to let actors have too much control over what's done with their characters. The storylines for Luke over the past five to ten years may have been what TG wanted to play, but I don't think they've served the character or the show all that well.

Given the way writers and producers come and go on soaps, I can definitely see value in the actors' having input--as they're often the sole point of continuity (and we viewers desperately need some of that in the mix). I'm just not sure that allowing someone quite as much sway as TG has had is such a good idea.

I've made the point before, too, that whatever TG's opinion about Luke and Laura (and everything else), to which he's fully entitled, he could have been more circumspect, and more respectful of the legions of L&L fans, in the way he expressed it. Telling them to move on and get a life was--not very nice, especially given the kind of life and economic security those same fans, and their dedication, have afforded him.

I agree, Michael. I think the actors and the audience are frequently at odds, in that they don't watch the show and if they had their choice might be looking more for creative challenges and so on than consistent characterization. I know it's inexplicable to many fans that the actors seem to rave over Cartini even as we feel like their characters are being ill-served and losing the essence of what made them compelling to us, but then, at least they're working. I want a coherent Narrative, not a series of acting exercises that allow everyone to avoid their enemies and work only with their BFFs even if it makes no sense, no matter how talented the personnel.

I'm not an L&L fan, but I agree again. We've all learned to lower our expectations and are happy to see our faves working, but there are also many Tracy fans who feel like the Luke/Tracy pairing he's gushing over hasn't been great for Tracy. There are many ways to praise actors without seeming to make invidious comparisons to other actors and to discuss your character without bringing all the other characters into it and irritating all their fans. I don't like at all what TG has done with Luke's story with all the control he has, I have pretty much zero interest in his insights into any other character at this point.

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@Zoote: I'm not an L&L fan either, particularly. I've been able to handle them as a couple since the revisiting of the rape in the early 2000s--I thought they finally explained it in a way that I could handle and understand L&L as a couple--but I hated the storyline back when it first aired and the way Scotty was sacrificed for it. That said, TG's attitude toward the L&L fans has been pretty dismissive, and that grates on me, because he has those fans to thank for his yearly long vacations and bicontinental lifestyle; he should have been more gracious.

I too think the Luke and Tracy pairing hasn't necessarily been good for Tracy. The Tracy I remember from back in the good old days wouldn't have put up with his nonsense for 30 seconds. I've enjoyed watching two phenomenal actors play off of each other, but that's about it.

And honestly, we all know that some soap fans can be crazy, but it's not as if L&L fans are the equivalent of Todd fans from the time of the gang rape scaring RH. I really doubt they're stuck in the past so much as perhaps many are fans of Genie's, want her to have a viable storyline, and don't realistically envision her being given any opportunities apart from a Luke pairing considering how poorly she's been treated and how well TG is. It never seems to occur to him that just like he has his own agenda, maybe some of the fans do too.

@Zoote, you nailed it for me. I want good stuff for Genie and Laura and none of the regimes seemed interested in her without him, so that was the reunion I rooted for. Given that their treatment of her is likely to be the same, I'm rooting for the LnL legacy to get some worthwhile closure since we're unlikely to see either of them on the show again.

With a commitment on the part of the show's executives to viable storylines, L&L could have gone forward in a way that didn't necessitate Laura being forever a damsel in distress or Luke becoming this dark, twisted, thoroughly unpleasant human being. Rather than point the finger at individual writers and producers along the way (some of whom may have actually wanted something different than what worked out), I'm inclined to think it was ABC that lacked the commitment to the couple. It would not surprise me in the least, for example, to learn that Brian Frons wasn't interested in Luke and Laura stories (and his successors don't seem much more savvy than he was; I still think that the current very uneven and problem-ridden GH is largely a product of ABC's bad ideas and less anything done or not done by Valentini and Carlivati, and in retrospect, I'm even wondering if I should cut JFP and Guza some slack).

I think you're being very kind, Michael. I'm sure ABC comes up with a lot of stupid ideas, but I think most of the show's current problems have Cartini written all over them. I don't think the network is pounding on the desk demanding more badly written, unfunny camp. The network isn't suggesting coming up with entire storylines for the sole purpose of capping them off with years-old played out catch phrases (bye, Felicia). And Tony Geary himself said that the parade of constantly featured newbies is because Ron and Frank get royalties from appearances of characters they create. The single biggest problem most people seem to have with GH right now is that the writing is awful and the plots make no sense, I have a hard time thinking ABC can be blamed for that. There's potential, and with some basic soap sense and tweaking a lot of these plots could be made into something but basic soap sense is severely lacking.

I couldn't agree more about Luke and Laura, though. If Tony thinks that Luke has progressed or matured or whatever he thinks (I'm with you, hate Dark Luke), then why can't Laura? The way he describes Laura it's as if she's stagnant and sealed in time and it doesn't have to be that way.

I don't think his retirement came soon enough. I confess that I've never been a Luke fan or thought that Geary was particularly talented - and I think this swan song storyline of his proved that his talent had dissipated, leaving a mostly bleating and bloviating air hog on our screens. I saw no subtlety, no craft with this Fluke stuff. Geary wanted to play Luke as an anti-hero this past decade. All he managed to do was portray a badly aging ass with delusions of humor. He's been an embarrassment.
I remember storylines and portrayals of Luke that were GOOD, even though he wasn't a favorite of mine. Remember when he and Lucky were caring for the damaged Leslie when Nick came to town? Good stuff.
But this long swan song of his has turned into a long dive off a short pier.
I won't miss him. And as much as I dislike what Ron C. has done with GH, he's not responsible for what Geary has done with the character - Geary is.

I'm sure Frons' successors are as bad as he was, but whatever they're demanding, it could be accommodated without bad writing, horrible pacing, everything interesting happening off-screen, the same characters having the same conversations over and over and over, constant giant illogical plot holes, etc.

If you think about it, there isn't a huge difference in the quality of the material given to the favored ones, either. The difference in airtime is huge, but the writing is still bad and the characterization is still shallow. Nobody has an interesting backstory and nothing interesting ever happens to anybody. Even if ABC is saying nothing but annoying kids and scenery chewing cartoon villains and all vets being written wildly out of character, somebody could still make a more entertaining show with those elements.

Oh and also, a certain percentage of the show's dialogue is basically either cribbed from or in response to what's going on on the hashtag. (Pretty much everything that comes out of Hayden's mouth, for example). If that's a directive from ABC, I'd be pretty amazed.

Good riddance. Should have happened years ago. Luke Spencer and his portrayer have become completely repulsive.

I guess my problem with just heaping the blame on Frank and Ron is this: if what's wrong is primarily their fault, what accounts for their first year to 18 months on this show, which I thought were quite good (not perfect, but considerably better than what's been seen since)? I think it's at least plausible that they were allowed more freedom to do what they wanted, initially, on the assumption that the show was going to be cancelled anyway (so the ABC brass didn't pay much attention). Lo and behold, the ratings improved, cancellation became less viable--and then the execs got back in the picture in a big way, and F&R coped with that the best they can. It's not hard for me to look at what I see on my screen these days and think "Yes, that looks like a network executive's idea of good soap--plotty, high concept, lots of Big Story, history (network exec view of it), vets (network exec view), characterization (network exec view). Oh and THE MOB!" If I hadn't seen F&R do better (MUCH better), I guess I'd have an easier time dismissing them as lacking in talent. But given that I have seen them do much better work, and they're choosing instead what I see on the screen, I try to account for why. And what I come up with is the above: they want to keep their jobs, and this campy, plotty version of GH is the best they can come up with and still please ABC. I know that former staff writer (and for a brief period, headwriter) Michele ValJean said that Guza had much better story ideas than what he was allowed by ABC to put on the screen. And I know that at least elsewhere in the soap world (I know nothing directly about how things work at ABC, but I knew people who were involved in the Procter & Gamble soaps), the level of interference from above extends all the way down to script rewrites. So I just wonder, that's all. There's a reason people like Claire Labine won't work in soaps anymore.

You make a really good argument. I don't see them as lacking in talent but more lazy and arrogant. I think it's equally possible that ABC wants the show gone and gave R&F more freedom, hoping they'd get more and more excessive. An example being the soup. Is all publicity good publicity, or would previous writers have gotten reined in for being featured all the time as a laughingstock of badness? Idk.

For the first year and a half, they were doing more of a traditional soap with campy elements and not so much an out-of-control campfest. And even then, it seemed like while most people were enjoying it, they were quickly starting to get a little unhappy with some things that were too over-the-top. Even at a time when everybody was trying to be rah-rah and overlook problems because they were afraid of cancellation. Then over time, the things people were enjoying started to decrease and the things that weren't being loved started to skyrocket in quantity and get worse, quality wise.

If Guza was reined in I bet it was probably because someone realized his sensibility was too dark and different from what usually appeals to soap audiences to take a chance on. And it's just hard to envision that anyone at ABC who genuinely wanted the show to succeed could think that this formula that's also different and polarizing could please the usual demographics long term without getting boring and annoying real quick.

And truly, I don't understand why no one from the network reins Ron in on twitter. The unprofessional way he interacts with fans is really bizarre. No one from prime time or from any other network could get away with that, IMO. So I wouldn't say he comes off as someone who is afraid of losing his job, but more as someone who knows he's there until the bitter end and has a lot of leeway. But we'll never know--and there's plenty of blame to go around. ;)

From rumors, it's sounding like Genie will be around for Luke leaving but her main reason for being on GH will tied to Nikolas.

Which I'm happy to hear.

Welp, Elizabeth believes that Jason killed Duke and doesn't give a damn, Anna knows that Duke tried to have Jordan killed and doesn't give a damn (and found it oh so touching that he paid for TJ's college out of guilt for killing his mom), I just hope Laura isn't going to help Nik kill his grandmother so he can take over the Legion of Doom.

Sigh. We're going to eventually find out that Carly's brain has been cloned and implanted in all the women of PC. It's the only way to explain the Stepford Murder Apologist Hivemind.

Carneasada, thanks for pointing out other possibilities. I think you're right; there could be more than one plausible explanation. (And I too am rather aghast at what I hear about RC's interactions with fans; it's a big disappointment, because some of the things I've heard that he's said--I don't do Twitter, myself, because I just don't get it--are completely indefensible.)

Regarding the Stepford Murder Apologist Hivemind--. I hate it. But I guess it's inevitable, more or less, on a show that chooses to continue to feature mob characters and present them as viable romantic leads. If there aren't a significant number of characters who are perfectly willing to dismiss murder and mayhem, you have no (or at least very few) viable romantic storylines, which isn't viable on a soap. I'm particularly sorry that it's taken Anna as a casualty; that's really appalling, on multiple fronts.

As to why the show still feels the mob must be a key feature, you got me. I just have no explanation for that. None.

I repeat: .

I'll have to remember for the future that this site's software deletes angle brackets and anything between them: I had "sigh" in there twice, after the double hyphens in the second paragraph, and at the very end.

[sigh] <--- "sigh" between square brackets; let's see if that makes it through.

Carneasada, I agree with a lot of the points you made and to piggyback off what you're saying I've often wondered if the re-emphasis on the mob lately is because ABC execs noticed how vocal the fans (yes, there are fans) of Guza's mob shit were on social media and decided that F&R needed more of that. I get the feeling that Ron especially would love to cut way back on that element of the show. I do blame Ron for all the camp though.

Laura, I've wondered that same thing. In their first year to 18 months, Ron and Frank were clearly de-emphasizing the mob; I don't think I just imagined that--there was a clear movement away from it (and the departure of Steve Burton gave them a clear opening to go even further in that direction). I was applauding (and in fact, I even wondered if the substantial deterioration in the ratings over the last two or three years prior to JFP's departure had made ABC realize, finally, that the show had milked the mob for absolutely every single ratings point possible and the whole thing was just played out--hiring R&F seemed a clear signal that ABC wanted the show to go in a new direction). Then there was a 180, and we were back in the middle of mob mayhem. I do not understand it. And I guess your explanation is as plausible as any. The other thought I had is that somewhere there was a dip in the ratings after the initial success, and somebody at ABC panicked and said "We have to bring the mob back! Now!" As for Ron and his camp fetish, it shows, in my mind, that even good writers (and I do think Ron is at least capable of being a good one, even if it doesn't always show up on screen--but I've seen good stuff from him, both on GH and on OLTL) sometimes need someone to give them perspective and, if necessary, redirect them. My bet is that somebody at ABC loves the camp and Ron is getting no redirection at all. I don't remember the context, but somewhere along the way I remember reading someone described as a "significant but unruly talent." I think that sort of fits Ron; he has a real sense of drama (for example, I think Carly's disastrous wedding-that-wasn't and the first few weeks of the fallout were top-notch soap drama), but he sure does seem to need someone to rein him in sometimes--and his penchant for too much camp is a perfect example.

I'm with Boes and Soapbaby on this one - I'm glad he's leaving. He stopped being a good actor around the time Luke killed Jake, IMO. I still can't believe he's won Emmys the last couple years. Blows my mind. The only times I've enjoyed him recently have been in family scenes where he's being sweet to Tracy or Lulu. They seemed genuine, where the dark stuff was just unbearably over the top for me.

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