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Demonstrating the power of serial storytelling
For the Week of February 7, 2011
What an emotional week! For the past five days, General Hospital was at its best. It represented the potential daytime drama has always had but hasn't often delivered. I'm specifically speaking of Michael's painful admission. For months, the writers have dropped subtle clues that Michael suffered more than a beating at the hands of Carter while in Pentonville Prison.
Our search for a Two Scoops partner for Tamilu continues this week. This week's column comes from Marcello Aurelio Lanfranchi, who you may recognize from his work in our recaps section. Please read over his column and let us know what you think. Would you like to read more from him? Click here to let us know!
What an emotional week! For the past five days, General Hospital was at its best. It represented the potential daytime drama has always had but hasn't often delivered. I'm specifically speaking of Michael's painful admission. For months, the writers have dropped subtle clues that Michael suffered more than a beating at the hands of Carter while in Pentonville Prison. Michael's unexplained rages and his social isolation could be chalked up to the brain injury he'd suffered. But what about his fear of touch?


In recent weeks, more clues were dropped. Before Abby was attacked by her ex-boyfriend, Michael's discomfort began to mount. Molly's suggestion that he seek counseling for posttraumatic stress disorder, that she assumed was a result of the bus accident, only made him squeamish. It seemed almost like Michael wanted to tell someone close to him, Jason or Abby, perhaps, something very personal and frightening. He couldn't bring himself to do it though.


Finally, Michael witnessed something that triggered powerfully painful memories of Carter's attack: Brandon assaulted Abby. At first, Michael froze, as an intense recollection of Carter beating him in his prison cell overwhelmed him. Finally, Michael reacted and pulled Brandon off of Abby. He began to pound the man senseless and nearly killed him. Were it not for Jason, Michael likely would have.


When Jason later asked Michael why he thought Abby would lie about being raped, Michael finally admitted what had happened to him. His struggle to say the words deeply impacted me; tears streamed down my face. I expect that many of the audience had a similar emotional response. I predict an Emmy nomination for Chad Duell, maybe even a win.


I find myself appreciating, more and more, the new Jason. It seems the writers have finally decided to let him have a tad bit more personality. It's been a pleasure to see the softer side of Jason when he's with Sam. I love the subtle comedy he conveys as he spars with Brenda. And the tenderness he showed to Michael -- Jason actually got choked up while discussing all of his regrets -- was moving.


On another note, Erin Chambers, despite her questionable Irish accent, was captivating as she finally admitted to Lucky that she was working for the Balkan. Again, tears welled up in my eyes as she broke down, sobbing. Jonathan Jackson's Lucky who, as Ronan, spoke in an Irish brogue I thought impeccable, was great, but his performance paled in comparison to Chambers. I expect to see much more of her after this Balkan mess is wrapped up. Please don't let me down, Mr. Guza.


I'm intrigued to see how Sean Blakemore, who plays Shawn Butler, the Balkan's latest henchman, will play out his role. Moreover, I'm interested in what the writers will do with the character once he's no longer needed by the Balkan. The actor's humanity shines through -- especially in scenes with Haley Pullos (Molly) -- which makes the character so much more menacing. He doesn't come across as evil. He seems like he might even be a nice guy. I see potential for him to reform and remain on the canvas. It all depends on his Q Rating, I suppose.


I feel I would be remiss if I didn't at least mention the Lisa/Terrell/Robin/Patrick drama. There. I mentioned it. Okay, I'll admit it. This storyline has potential. In the meantime, boooooring.


Now, for the downside. Does anyone else want to smack Carly? I mean, yeah, she's gone through several slap-worthy periods over the years, but I am so annoyed with the same old dance she and Jax keep having. For all her bravado and bluster (I've lost count of how many times I've started a recap sentence with, "Carly stormed into Jason's"), and for all of the venom she spews over "poor, helpless Brenda," Carly still plays the victim, just like the little girl who came to Port Charles in 1996, seeking revenge on her mother, Bobbie, for abandoning her as an infant.


She acts like a victim even when she's not being victimized. In fact, Carly's been victimizing a lot of people lately. She hates Dante for admitting in court that Michael was responsible for Claudia's death, and she seems incapable of forgiving Lulu for standing by Dante. Carly has always despised Brenda, and Carly doesn't care if her machinations put Brenda in danger. Now that she knows Dante and Brenda had a child together, Carly plans to reveal the truth at the worst possible time, Sonny (another of Carly's victims) and Brenda's wedding.


Without even bothering to find out why Michael and Abby have developed such a close bond, Carly even tried to pay Abby off to ensure that the stripper-with-a-heart-of-gold dumps Michael for Michael's sake. Even Carly's own son is being victimized by an out-of-control Carly. Well, Carly apologized to Abby the other day. That's a good start.


But now, Carly has convinced herself that Jax is trying to destroy their marriage, because he wants to be with Brenda instead, simply because Jax helped Interpol search for the Balkan. Carly doesn't care that Jax feels some responsibility, because it was his brother, Jerry, who was aiding the Balkan (who seeks revenge on Brenda to avenge the death of his son Alexander).


Carly, just stop! Take a moment to chill and reflect on what's important in your life. Think about how your scheming is harming the people you claim to be trying to help. You're a good mom. Just let go of all your tricks and ploys, and just be there for your children, like you were when Michael disclosed he'd been sexually assaulted. You didn't bat an eye and simply assured Michael that you and Jason would stand by his side every step of the way while he dealt with the fallout. Maybe this revelation will snap her out of her perpetual quest for revenge against anyone who she believes has ever harmed her or her loved ones.


Another scene I took issue with last week was between Brenda and Dante. I just wasn't moved by Brenda's confession that she'd miscarried the child fathered by Dante. Vanessa Marcil Giovinazzo (man, I love that name), who I know can display painful emotions, just seemed to be phoning it in. And, I felt that Dominic Zamprogna (another great name) missed an opportunity that I think is in keeping with the Dante character; I wanted so much for him to reach out and hold Brenda's hand as she began to get verklempt. Let's face it, that's about all the feeling she showed. I know both of these actors can go much deeper.


All right, I know this may seem petty, but why do the powers that be insist on promoting the use of bottled water? Bottled water is extremely overpriced for what the consumer gets, and the safety standards are much less rigorous as those of tap water. Add to that the obscene amount of plastic wasted on a daily basis for a single use. Off-gassing from the plastic poses a health risk, bottled water producers are decimating the aquifers (mostly in poor regions of the world), and two million tons of these plastic containers end up in landfills every year.


Claudia was the worst offender, popping open a bottle every time she walked into Sonny's drawing room, but Lucky just did the same, as he, Jason, and Dante argued about whether Siobhan was setting him up or not. Please, Ms. Farren Phelps, stop glorifying this destructive product. Okay. Off my soapbox now.


Finally, back to what works, I'm so glad that Maxie made an appearance last week. I know she rubs some the wrong way, but I think the screen shines brighter whenever Kirsten Storms is on. She deftly delivers some of the best rapid-fire lines on daytime, not dissimilar to the screwball comedy divas of the 1930s. GH writers, more Maxie, please.


Okay, I know I said "finally," but I have to give casting props for getting Adrienne Barbeau to appear as a recurring character. I haven't seen her on a regular basis for years. The Drew Carey Show is the last I recall. I remember her as Carol on Maude back in the day. I always enjoyed her as the voice of Catwoman on the various Batman series. I think she's doing a fine job as Suzanne and hope that she stays in Port Charles for a while.


That's it for me this week. Until the next time, keep the suds bubbling.
Marcello


Update: I'd like to clarify my comment about "Brenda's confession that she'd miscarried the child fathered by Dante." I should have used the phrase "ostensibly fathered by Dante." Thus far, there hasn't been any direct evidence that Brenda hadn't gotten pregnant by someone else, though many hints have been dropped that it wasn't Dante. Some of those hints I got (like Brenda using the term "my baby" while discussing with Dante the miscarriage, for instance). But there were some clues there that didn't get me to make the connection. Yeah, I can be a little dense sometimes.

My frame of reference has been the assumption Carly has made as well as the fact that Dante had given Brenda full custody. In retrospect, I shouldn't have just followed the trail that the writers have laid. Lord knows that many of those paths will lead us to a flock of red herrings (or, would it be a school?). Personally, I hope that Jax or Sonny was responsible for the pregnancy. That could give this storyline so much more mileage (though I know that many of you would prefer that it be over).

If given the opportunity again, I'll try to be more specific and go into more depth on some of the other details of the preceding week. My sincere thanks to you all for your feedback!


Our search for a Two Scoops partner for Tamilu continues this week. This week's column comes from Marcello Aurelio Lanfranchi, who you may recognize from his work in our recaps section. Please read over his column and let us know what you think. Would you like to read more from him? Click here to let us know!


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.
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