To quote a famous country song, "Life's about changing; nothing ever stays the same."
For the most part, I enjoy change in my life as much as I enjoy a root canal. I still haven't recovered from the loss of Santa Barbara and Another World, if that tells you anything. But sometimes change is not only good, it's a necessity, in order to survive. And that's what's happening behind the scenes at General Hospital.
As you may have read and seen, massive changes are afoot at General Hospital. Off-screen, Rebecca Herbst was fired and rehired, and Ingo Rademacher and Tyler Christopher were both fired and, sadly, not rehired, as of yet. Onscreen, Jake Webber was killed and Luke Spencer was finally labeled an alcoholic and checked into rehab.
Then, most shocking of all, this past week, head writer Robert Guza, Jr., was fired. I'm not the kind of person who celebrates someone losing a job, and I won't now. But when things aren't working, when the overall tone of the show has shifted; when several long-term characters have been killed (RIP Alan and Emily), back-burnered, (hello Quartermaines, Mac, and Alexis), written out of character (Where is the real Brenda?), or just plain written out (Please come back, Jax and Nikolas!); well, change is not only required, but welcomed.
I have heard good things about new head writer, Garin Wolf. He wrote for the GH spinoff Night Shift. If Wolf had anything to do with the Night Shift 2008 Robert Scorpio colon cancer storyline, that reunited him -- albeit in a dream -- with Luke, Sean, and Tiffany, well, I'm already sold. In light of the cancellation of ABC's two other daytime dramas, ABC is obviously trying to bring a new creative energy to General Hospital. So, with this in mind, for once, I'm embracing change, the way Maxie embraces designer shoes.
I'm not sure if the head writer gets to call all the storyline shots, but if so, I hope there is fundamental change in storytelling that leads to more balance, the use of character history, keying on couples with chemistry (I'd love to see a Jax, Alexis, Mac triangle,) and most of all, a return to the basics of soaps: romance. And I hope that Ingo Rademacher and Tyler Christopher are rehired, the way Rebecca Herbst was, due to fan outrage at her firing.
It's ironic that Guza was fired this week, when what I saw on air was some of the best of GH I've seen in a long time. From Luke's breakdown and trip to rehab to Lisa's capture to the Jackses' custody battle, the show excelled on every level. It's with optimism that I believe more of that is to come. I can only hope that whatever change is coming will be a change for the better and not a disaster of New Coke proportions. But above all, I hope it can save General Hospital.
Tony Geary is just a powerhouse. This man deserves every acting award we can bestow on him. I was flat-out crying this week, as Luke finally hit bottom. I thought Jake's death would be the event that sent Luke to rehab, but it took Luke getting abusive with his children to finally make him realize that he has a problem. When he screamed at a cowering Lulu on the floor and then punched Lucky in the face, my heart was breaking for his kids and for him. Through the tears, Luke realized he had turned into his drunken, abusive father and called Tracy to drive him to rehab. Then, in true Luke form, he offered his counselor a wad of cash to buy him a drink. I'm assuming Luke's trip to rehab is coinciding with Geary's annual vacation. And I have to admit, when Geary is gone, the show is just not the same. He leaves a void that is impossible to fill.
Thank you, writers, for finally letting Patrick and Robin outsmart crazy Lisa. Rarely do the "good" guys win in Port Charles. It's about time!
I want some "GH Lite" this summer. The show has been so heavy on the drama lately with Jake's death, Michael's rape, and Luke's alcoholism, that I really want to see the folks cut loose and have some fun. May I suggest a poker game or a barbeque with Alexis, Diane, Patrick, Max, Mac, Matt, Maxie, and the gang? Or how about a girls' night out with Diane, Alexis, Sam, and Maxie, or a dinner party with the Corinthos/Morgan clan? Or what about some karaoke at Jake's? We know that many cast members can sing. And since it's summer, I'd love to see Sonny break out that speedboat and hit the lake with Brenda, Michael, Kristina, and the kids, or for Johnny, Kristina, Ethan, and Michael to catch some pool time. I want some summer fun, please!
Speaking of fun, I absolutely loved the Sonny and Kristina scenes, and I can't wait to see how this Kristina/Ethan/Sonny storyline plays out. Oh, Sonny, don't you know you never forbid your teenaged daughter to date an older man, especially when your current, much-younger wife was only 18 when you first seduced her? This is gonna be good! And poor Ethan, it's not easy being friends with a mobster's daughter, who has a crush on you. I was chuckling as Sonny told Ethan, "Talking is fine," but Sonny implied that anything else would earn Ethan a bullet to the back. I think Ethan had better hire a bodyguard of his own. Do you think Milo is available? I haven't seen him lately.
The ongoing comments about Kate continue to make me chuckle. I crack up every time Maxie and Lulu prattle on about Kate and whatever horrific task she's making her staff do or whatever tantrum she's throwing about the temperature of her lattes. Seriously, I don't think Kate got this much mention when she was on the show.
Anthony is quickly becoming my favorite villain. He's flat-out hilarious. He does fake crazy so well, whether he's going on about his roses, marveling at his cell phone and the fact that he can now watch movies on it, chastising Abby about "climbing a stripper pole," or pulling out his shotgun, instead of the typical pistol we're used to seeing all the mobsters pull. His best line of the week, though, was when Abby found him duct-taped to a chair in his son's house. "Have you read the statistics on elder abuse?" he quipped. Priceless.
The Jacks custody battle is great storytelling. Both sides have merit. I see Jax's point about keeping his daughter safe. I see Carly's point about not losing her child. There are no easy answers here, and that always makes for layered, rich storytelling. I fear this may end with Jax snatching Josslyn, though, to get her far away from the Port Charles criminal element. Good luck with that.
Purple must be the new black this season. Maxie and Carly were both sporting gorgeous purple dresses this week, and Jax was rocking the purple shirt and tie combo. Yeah, not many men could pull that off. Well done, Jax.
Now that we have a new head writer, I'm sure fans everywhere are verbalizing what they hope to see on-screen. I know it's customary with a new writer to bring on new characters, but I hope Mr. Wolf takes the advice of legendary soap scribe Douglas Marland on this topic. I'd rather Wolf focus on the characters we have or at least bring back those we loved. The Quartermaines have been so abused under the past writing regime that most of them are dead or insignificant, but nothing would make me happier than to see Ned return. While we're at it, I wouldn't mind recasting Dillon to stir up the Lulu/Dante relationship. and perhaps having Dillon forge a relationship with Kristina. I just want some life back in the Q mansion -- Jason and Michael, come back home! When Luke gets out of rehab, I think he should come home to a full house.
I think Lulu was reading my mind this week. She confessed to Tracy that she was worried that a sober Luke would change his personality. I'm right there with you, Lulu! I've always enjoyed cool-hand Luke Spencer, swilling a drink and dispensing a one-liner that makes me laugh. Will a sober Luke have the same charisma on-screen? (That's a column for when he gets out of rehab that I'm eager to write!) Tracy assuaged Lulu's fears, and mine, when she said, "If anyone can make sober look cool, it's your dad." So true, Tracy. So true.