Well, it's Christmas this week, so it's a perfect time to talk about the gifts ABC and the GH staff have given us this past year. Here are the things that Wowed me, and in no particular order.
Comedy. Many soaps can do tragedy. Many soaps can pull at your heart strings, but I watch a lot of soaps and none of them make me laugh out loud like GH. Between computer nerd Spinelli, to maid by day, female wrestle by night, Alice, the always priceless one liners of Tony Geary, nicknames like Spanky Buns, the geeky film facts spouted by Dillon, the romantic yearnings of Mob Henchmen Max and Milo, and the "I don't take crap from anyone" attitude of one Nurse Epiphany Johnson, GH tops the field in laughter.
Handsome, Handsome Men. I get to watch Ingo Rademacher, Tyler Christopher, Maurice Benard, Jason Thompson (Thanks for being nice to me when we met, Dude.) Steve Burton, Tony Geary, Rick Springfield, Tristan Rogers, Stuart Damon, John Ingle, Rick Hearst and Greg Vaughn in all their glorious hunky beauty, for free on my TV every day. Score! I would add Scott Clifton, but I'm old enough to be his Mom and I don't want to end up as a red dot on some Neighborhood Watch map.
Big Bad Medical Drama. Can you remember all the way back to February? If so, you'll recall we had an epidemic on our hands, and nearly everyone in Port Charles was affected. We lost our beloved Tony Jones and Kung Fu Barbie (Oops, I mean Courtney) and nearly lost many others, peoples lives dangling by a thread - I think of Luke pulling a gun to get Lulu a dose of the serum, and Lorenzo switching the medical records to make Skye look like the one who most needed the cure - it was all so moving, and launched many plots that carried on throughout the year, like who was Courtney's Baby's Daddy, the romance of Jax and Carly, the bonding of Luke and Lulu, etc. And while we're at it, I would be a horrible columnist if I failed to mention Sonny's bi-polar storyline. Maurice Benard laid his soul bare and let his personal struggle with bi-polar disorder become Sonny's struggle, too. We finally understood Sonny's "mood swings" weren't mood swings at all, but a bonafide medical condition, treatable with meds. If Benard doesn't get an Emmy nod, there is no justice.
Blasts From The Past. Finola Hughes as Anna Devane. Emma Samms as Holly Sutton. Tristan Rogers as Robert Scorpio. Denise Alexander as Leslie Weber. And, the Big Enchilada, Genie Francis as Laura Spencer. Did they waste all this talent and under use them? You betcha, but the Worst Of column isn't until next week...But since this one is supposed to be nice, I must at least credit them with giving me glimpses of the characters that drew me into GH in the first place.
Villains. I've never seen life in Black or White. I like the grey area in between where I think the truth normally lies. I like layers. I like my villains with a little depth so I can understand what compelled them to turn to the Dark Side. Ric is sick, but he's sick because his Mommy abandoned him and kept his brother Sonny and that bitterness has taken a choke hold of his entire life. Sometimes he tries to fight it and wins, and other times, the darkness gets the best of him and he finds himself trying to make his brother lose his mind on purpose... Manny Ruiz is evil, lethal and cold-hearted, but he had moments of genuine tenderness and a soft spot for people that tried to help him, like Elizabeth. His face softened when kindness showed itself, as if it was so foreign to him he had to keep people like Liz alive just to examine the concept. Every time someone was kind to him, he looked so puzzled. Tiny nuances in his face made the Devil of Manny almost human and I kept rooting for his redemption. Nanny McFreak, Colleen is an obsessive crazed stalker sort, and yet there is a loneliness about her, and she has become attached to Baby Spencer not to do him any harm, but because she wants him to be her family. She's creepy, and sick, but sad, too. I like my characters with layers and the GH writers give me layer upon layer to discover in every character.
AIDS. Did you know that 12 Million kids in Africa have been orphaned by AIDS? It's true. GH shone a light on AIDS by giving us April, Patrick and Robin - along with the wonderful Stuart Damon as the supportive hospital administrator Alan Quartermaine. Oh, if real hospitals had such a guy on staff that would say "Screw the HMO's rules and take care of the patients!" But there are far more Mrs. Sneed's than Alan "Prince Charming" Quartermaine's I fear. Also, this plot accentuated the plight of uninsured Americans and the prejudice AIDS patients can experience. An educational and moving piece of drama.
Cancer - Nancy Lee Grahn's portayal of a woman with cancer has been gut wrenching. The scenes where her hair began to fall out, or was curled up in a ball in fits of nausea were real and gripping
Casting Coups - Laura Wright as Carly. Julie Marie Berman as Lulu. Jason Thompson as Patrikck. John Ingle back as Edward. Sonya Eddy as Epiphany Johnson. Bradford Anderson as Spinelli. Am I forgetting anyone?
As often as I criticize GH for silly plots, and other mock-worthy issues - I love the show. Obviously, I wouldn't still be watching it 30 years later if I didn't. It makes me laugh, it makes me cry, it even introduces me to wonderful folks like you who write me delightful letters throughout the year and brighten my life. I wish you all a Merry Christmas, and thank you for reading my column each week. Love - Tamilu © 2006