This is part two of a special two-part year-end Two Scoops showcasing the best and worst of General Hospital in 2009.
Twice lately, I have sung the praises of what GH has done right. But this week, dear readers, I fully intend to rip GH to shreds. If you are of weak constitution, take something to calm your stomach because it's going to get as bloody as one of the unnecessarily violent mob scenes.
In a year where Robin hung her baby in a tree branch, a mob lawyer inexplicably put on a hazmat suit and stole a sphere of biotoxin for no real reason and a brain-damaged teen took an axe handle to his stepmom's head, I don't even know where to start.
I guess I'll begin with what has seemingly annoyed the most people this year, if my e-mail is any indication…the opening credits. General Hospital's opening credits have been outdated for over a year, and now many of the featured stars are no longer on the show. Hey ABC, re-shoot the opening credits with people who are actually on the show. Every day when we see those old faces, it only serves to remind us of all the beloved characters you killed off and makes us hate you.
GH had several missed opportunities this past year. There were multiple storylines abandoned with no explanation. That drives me nuts. I cannot list them all in one column, but I will highlight the ones that annoyed me most.
Let's begin with Robin. Robin was the first HIV positive character in soap history to get pregnant. That was a unique story for GH to tell, but then… they didn't tell it. Instead, Robin got postpartum depression, which was recycled from when Carly had Michael. Robin went nuts to the point of leaving her baby in a tree branch in a snowstorm, fleeing town and calling herself Nancy at some dive bar in Rochester, and leaving her baby under a coat rack at Kelly's diner. GH had the chance to educate the viewing public on HIV positive people having babies, but instead, they chickened out and opted to make Robin a shrew for months. Sure, PPD is a real condition, but been there, seen it before. The HIV storyline would have been groundbreaking, and they blew it.
Anyone remember the impending doom about to be unleashed by Valentine Cassadine, the evil bastard child of Mikkos Cassadine? Yeah, me too. We weren't hallucinating, dear readers. GH had an entire mystery laid out for us. Helena kidnapped Luke, but then Valentine kidnapped both of them and had evil intent! Okay! I'm in! But…Valentine never appeared as had been threatened threatened and we never heard his name spoken again. Stop messing with our heads, you freaks.
ABC made a big deal out of the return of Natalia Livingston, and implied she would not return as Emily, but as a completely different character! When Rebecca showed up in town, I nicknamed her Biker Emily just to amuse myself, but I liked Rebecca.
Many of you liked Rebecca. But suddenly she stopped being Rebecca and dressing like Rebecca, and turned into pseudo-Emily, which was a snooze. Hey, way to blow a great opportunity GH. First, you kill off a favorite character in Emily, lure the actress back into another role, and botch the return. At the end of her run, when she reverted back to the Rebecca personality, my mailbox and Twitter page was lit up with positive comments, but sadly, too little, too late.
Next, Claudia was pregnant and had slept with warring brothers Sonny and Ric. A great rivalry was brewing because it was possible Ric was the father of Claudia's baby. The writers played that up, built up the suspense, and then… Rick Hearst was sent packing to B&B and the whole "Who's Your Daddy" storyline was dropped.
And let's not even mention poor Nadine…
Another irksome thing, in fact, I would go so far as to call it disrespectful to fans, was Revisionist History. I was watching GH the first time Luke met Laura. I saw them dance in Wyndham's department store. I saw Luke and Laura get married, as did half of America. But in 2009, the writers suddenly expected me to believe that Luke cheated on the one great love of his life. They wrote a storyline in which Luke betrayed the romance of the ages to produce Ethan? Sacrilege!
I like Ethan and would even accept him as Luke's son more happily, if he had been a son from before Luke met Laura, or after Luke and Laura split. But during their marriage? H*ll No! That irked me.
In other revisionist history, was the notion that Emily had a secret identical twin that was given up for adoption. Um, I saw Paige Bowen going through cancer treatment with Monica. She was a devoted and conscientious mom who wanted to make sure her daughter was cared for after her death. I find it impossible to believe Paige had two babies and gave one away.
And lastly… When Kate Howard was introduced, we were led to believe she was Sonny's childhood sweetheart. We heard tale after tale of the two of them at school, took a walking tour of the old neighborhood, and saw flashbacks of their youthful exploits. When Olivia came to town, she was supposedly just a cousin invited to Kate and Sonny's wedding. But when Dante arrived this summer, we were informed that Olivia was really Sonny's childhood sweetheart and that he only dated Kate as a consolation prize after he and Olivia broke up.
How can we invest in any
storyline if the fictional world we have suspended our disbelief to accept is constantly pulled out from beneath us? We can't. Making viewers hesitant to invest themselves in storylines is bad for Daytime Drama in general. So writers, instead of revising history to fit your latest dumb idea, try writing something new instead.
Now, some moralizing… General Hospital is hands-down the most violent soap on the air. Back in the day, the mobsters on GH, like Frank Smith, were bad guys who made characters who were good do bad things. The mobsters were not the heroes. But then mobsters somehow became romantic figures, kind of like vampires are right now, (Wait, I better shut up, next thing I know we'll find out Spinelli is a vampire…) and suddenly all the cops became idiots and we were supposed to root for the criminals.
I admit that I love Jason and Sonny. But readers, I don't like that they get away with murder. I don't like that Jason gunned down ten guys in the street and that the only thing anyone's talking about is that Franco posed one dead body. Um, what about the other dead bodies on that same street? No one will ever mention they were there.
I don't like that Michael killed someone and was congratulated for it. I don't like that women are routinely victimized on GH. I don't like that little teenage Kristina is getting slapped around by her boyfriend and not telling anyone about it. I don't like that a sick freak blindfolded Maxie and had her lay in a dead body chalk outline. Spoiler ahead!
Brace yourselves readers, because rumor has it Franco will kidnap Sam, so another woman is about to be in peril.
GH, we love the adventure, but can you tone down the misogyny and bloody massacres just a smidge? Thanks.
And one more morally outrageous storyline: Elizabeth and Nikolas' ongoing affair.
I admit, the first time Liz and Nik kissed, I liked it. They have chemistry. Lucky was dating Rebecca, so no harm, no foul. But since Lucky and Liz reunited, the longer the affair continues, the less I like Nikolas and Elizabeth.
The writers have turned Liz into a spineless, soulless creature. If I took a shot of tequila every time she has said she "just can't help herself," I'd have to go to AA. Nikolas is despicable, too - he looks innocently in Lucky's eyes and advises him to end his engagement so Nikolas can keep sleeping with Liz. Blech.
Not to mention that Elizabeth left Jason because he was dangerous, but really, is anyone more dangerous than Helena? Does Liz remember when Helena kidnapped Lucky and erased his brain so he would forget her? Sleeping with Nikolas isn't just morally bankrupt, it's stupid. Helena never likes anyone Nikolas dates and always tries to kill them. Hey Liz, either break up with Lucky and be with Nikolas, or stop banging him.
Now on to the "Just Plain Dumb"
1. Jerry hid DVDs all over Sonny's house, which is supposedly protected day and night by an army of bodyguards.
2. General Hospital was rebuilt with a giant slippery staircase in the front lobby that pregnant women can't resist falling down.
3. Claudia slammed her laptop every time someone walked into the room, as if that wouldn't be a clue she was up to something devious.
4. Ronnie and Dante supposedly were working undercover but continually met at the laundromat and other public places where they talked out loud about their secret mob case.
5. Police used outdated technology - like Dante being taped down with wires and microphones to get Sonny to confess, when wireless technology and pen cameras exist.
6. Luke's casino was hardly ever open.
7. Coleman's bar, which used to be a dive strip club, became the town hot spot for karaoke-lovin' doctors.
8. Carly and Claudia were well into their pregnancies before they had even the tiniest baby bumps.
9. Michael and Kristina ran off to Mexico--underage--and got jobs at a resort hotel.
10. Johnny Zacharra, piano virtuoso, started a garage to fix cars instead of starting a music school to teach piano.
11. Anyone on earth could go visit Anthony in prison.
12. Jax didn't tell Carly who was responsible for shooting her son. Even if he was scared she'd get upset and miscarry, that was idiotic.
13. Jason and Sonny both swore they wanted out of "the business" and hated what their lifestyle did to their loved ones, but spent months fighting over who got to control said business.
14. The show had a lack of ethnic diversity. Leyla was killed off, Epiphany only has an occasional word for the nurses, and Lainey Winters has vanished. Port Charles is officially the whitest town in New York.
15. The show had the Brianna Hughes/Mayor Floyd murder mystery. 'Nuff said.
16. Liz had dream sequences of Lucky putting a bullet in Nikolas. How Bobby Ewing!
17. Sonny bought Michael a sports car right after he woke up from a year-long coma and had brain damage.
18. Lisa LoCicero (Olivia) was born in 1970. Dominic Zamprogna (Dante) was born in 1979. . 'Nuff said.
19. Winnifred Leeds. One nerd is a-plenty.
20. The nine lives of Jerry Jax.
21. The "V8-Fusion" Week.
22. Lisa, Patrick's college girlfriend. Every time she walks on screen…ZZZZZZ
And, a couple of things that just bugged me. As I said last week, I LOVE Jonathan Jackson and am thrilled he is back on canvas. But Greg Vaughan was very rudely dismissed and deserved better treatment after his years on GH. Many fans adored him and were loyal to him, and the way ABC treated him alienated those viewers. In this era of soap cancellations, pissing off half your audience is not a wise move.
Did I mention the opening credits? Oh yeah, I did. But since they are still there, I will mention it again. Hey, ABC! Fix the opening credits, I beg you.
With all that said, I think you all know I still love this show.
Until next time, please be sure to check out the other year-end Two Scoops columns
for other soaps. Over the past two weeks, all of the columnists have been reflecting on the best and worst of 2009. It's definitely a fun read -- even if you aren't familiar with all of the soaps!
Plus, feel free to head over to the Soap Central message boards
and join in the discussion about the highs and lows of the year gone by. And, if you're feeling prolific, start your own blog
and offer your own take on the Two Scoops' best and worst edition. If we like what you write, you might just see your comments posted here!
What will 2010 bring? Only tomorrow knows, dear readers, and I will tune in tomorrow as long as there are tomorrows.
Two Scoops is an opinion column. The views expressed are not designed to be indicative of the opinions of soapcentral.com or its advertisers. The Two Scoops section allows our Scoop staff to discuss what might happen, what has happened, and to take a look at the logistics of it all. They stand by their opinions and do not expect others to share the same view point.