It was the worst of times, It was... the worst of times
It wasn't the happiest of years in Port Charles. 2011 saw little to celebrate, but there were some highlights. It's the second installment of our two-part look at the Best and the Worst of GH in 2011 from Tamilu.
LISTEN: Jennifer Biller discussed her picks for the Best and Worst of the year on Soap Central Live's two-part special wrapup of the year -- The Best of 2011 and The Worst of 2011.
READ: Jennifer offered up her picks for the Best and Worst of 2011 in last week's Two Scoops column.
When I was tasked with writing a column about the Best and Worst of GH in 2011, I told my editor, Dan, I wasn't sure I had many "bests" to report, so this might be a rather lopsided column.
Let's start here -- as of yesterday, I was 20 episodes behind on GH. As in I hadn't watched for three weeks. There are a plethora of reasons -- I was on vacation, I have a houseguest who doesn't like soaps, my schedule is out of control -- but the truth is I have no burning desire to make myself watch it, because it's downright depressing.
When Bob Guza was replaced, I had high hopes for the new writer, Garin Wolf. I was sure he'd get in there and fix things up. He hinted around about bringing back core families and gave indications that he loved GH's history. Well, we got a ghost Alan sighting and Monica back on canvas and in the right job, but there was no parade of favorites coming back and, in fact, we lost even more.
Lulu and Dante were married in a wedding ceremony where there was no gunfire (Best), but a wedding with no Luke, Laura, Lucky, Nicholas, Ethan, Aunt Bobbie, Cousin Carly or any of Lulu's family (Worst). That's just plain wrong.
After years of ups and downs, we finally got to see the long-awaited nuptials of Jason and Sam (Best) only to watch Sam get raped on their honeymoon (Worst)! Seriously, they couldn't even let them have two weeks of happiness? And now she might be pregnant with the serial killer's baby? Please, please, NO. While the James Franco stunt casting worked well at first to generate buzz for GH, it's gotten so dark and seriously disturbing that I can't enjoy following the story anymore. It seems to me that there is no joy left on GH. It's all so, so sad.
We lost a host of fan favorites (Worst). We lost Jax, Nicholas, Kristina, Brenda (before they butchered her character); next to leave: Lucky, Robin, and possibly Ethan. Although Jax was sighted on Friday's episode, I have heard it's just to "clean up his exit," and that it isn't long-term. I pray those rumors are wrong. The roulette wheel of actors and characters is dizzying. People are billed as coming back, then they vanish again before you've seen them in barely three episodes. (Like Skye.)
In addition, we had a deluge of interchangeable blonde fembots as new characters/recasts (Still Worst). NuKate? Why? We all adored Megan Ward. NuMaxie? Okay, real Maxie is sick, but still. Dr. Maggie, who looked like a cross between Lisa Niles and Abby. (And no hate mail, I myself am a blonde and wouldn't want them to cast me
right now on GH because I'm so sick of the golden-tressed pack.)
Okay, I have a legitimate best… Anthony Zacharra. He's the best villain. I love to hate him, but I can never quite hate him because I love him. Bruce Weitz should win all kinds of awards for his portrayal of a ruthless mobster that we can't help but love. Is he really going to woo and win Tracy? Maybe I'm a sucker, but maybe he can be redeemed by love.
…Unlike our last whacked-out villain, Lisa Niles, whose storyline still irks me. A beautiful woman and brilliant doctor is rendered mad by one roll in the hay with Patrick to become a psycho killer? Hard to swallow. Worst, I liked Brianna Brown and was sad to see her go, even though after her character was written into a corner, there was no alternative but to kill her off. If nothing else, I hope this role gave Brianna Brown enough exposure to get lots and lots of new roles.
Even more depressing for me was the loss of Lexi Ainsworth. That young lady was a powerhouse performer. They were ninnies to fire her. She brought Kristina to life in such vivid detail and with such passion, I couldn't imagine the show without her. Even now as Michael mourns the loss of Abby, his sister's presence would be natural in his scenes of angst and grief. Lexi Ainsworth should be back on canvas.
Side note, I also still miss real Morgan.
Of all the things I detested this year, the ruining of Sonny and Brenda via the Balkan storyline tops the list. When news broke that Vanessa Marcil was returning, the soap world buzzed -- would we finally get our long-awaited reunion with Brenda and Sonny? Well, we did, but just like Jason and Sam, Brenda and Sonny never got a chance to be happy, as she was kidnapped on their wedding day.
Some people are happy the Jason and Sonny storylines get written this way because they are bad guys and so bad things should happen to them. I agree that they should occasionally have to pay for their crimes, but if the writers are going to continue to have them be the romantic male leads on GH, they have to experience some
happiness or we lose our incentive to watch. I want soaps to give me an escape into a magical world with Happy Endings and the triumphant nature of love -- but when every single star-crossed pair crashes and burns -- that's too much like real life. Fantasy. Escape. Bring it.
And in one that fits in both the Best and Worst categories: Luke killing Jake. Did Luke's drinking cause Jake's death? No, I don't think so, but I liked the intervention episode nonetheless. The acting of Tony Geary and everyone involved was stellar. Some of the individual scenes that were the result of that story between Luke and Lucky, and Luke and Lulu were some of the best scenes of the year.
Looking at Luke's life of hard drinking from a new angle was riveting, although I've never thought of Luke as an alcoholic, just a guy who likes scotch, which made me examine things in my own soul. But Luke's intervention delved into Lulu going to work at the whorehouse (Worst), Lucky chasing ghosts around Irish graveyards (Worst), and Liz faking a mental breakdown to woo Lucky back (Worst).
Ethan (Nathan Parsons) finally got his own storyline, and I was becoming hopeful for his future, only to hear he is leaving GH. It's a pity when a good actor with a likeable character isn't given the material to work with -- same goes for Matt Hunter (Jason Cook), who spent most of the year shadowing Patrick or being stomped on by Maxie.
In the love arena, I miss Johnnie and Olivia, although I know many of you are Olivia/Steve fans. I like Maxie and Spinelli over Maxie and Matt if and when Real Maxie returns. I want Carly with Jax, not Shawn. I want Luke with Laura even if they have to drag her out of Genoa City to do it. I am happy Dante and Lulu finally tied the knot but am waiting for the next big disaster to wreck that, too. I sound cynical, and I truly do not want to be.
I am hoping the new year and new writing team bring General Hospital a much-needed infusion of passion. I have high hopes because the OLTL team that's coming in had me glued to my screen for months over in Llanview. But the real question is this: will ABC keep one soap on the air, or is it only a matter of time until they kill off GH, too? I'm not hopeful. And a world without Port Charles will be a sad, sad world for a girl like me who has been watching for three decades.
The real BEST here is that GH hasn't been cancelled yet!
What will happen tomorrow, dear readers? Will Sonny shoot Jax as he exits the plane and before he gets to see Josslyn? Will Jason have to raise Franco's creepy baby? Will Emma change nationalities again in 2012? Will Diane and Mayor Floyd write a story about ghosts living in Wyndemere? Will Kate change her name back to Connie Falconeri and move back to Bensonhurst to do nails at the beauty shop? Will Siobhan spell out "Get a Haircut" to Lucky in moss-covered stones?
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.