When I was little, my parents would tell me that I should enjoy my childhood because being a grownup wasn't all it was cracked up to be. I'd scoff, certain they were just saying that because they didn't want me to know just how much fun being an adult really was.
Now that I'm an adult, I realize that it was far more fun being a kid. As a child, if I ignored someone who was mean to me, it was fine. No one expected me to put up with that. If I hit someone I didn't like, I got a stern talking to and was sent to bed without dessert. If I was caught lying, my parents would know it -- they always did -- and remind me why it was important to be someone who was trustworthy and true.
I was taught to take full responsibility for my actions and raised to be someone my children could be proud of, the same way that I was proud of my parents. As a result, I have a rich life with a loving family, two mischievous dogs, and lots of wonderful and interesting friends.
On soap operas, lies and affairs are as plentiful as twinkling little stars in the heavens. I watch because I find it fascinating to watch people do things that are far removed from what my normal is, but that doesn't mean I don't hold the characters to a certain standard -- even if they are fictional.
I can't understand why everyone keeps referring to Dante and Valerie's affair as a mistake. A mistake is a misguided action or judgment. It can happen once, but the second time, it becomes a choice.
Dante and Valerie slept together twice and, both before and after their trysts, they carried on an emotional affair. Lulu has every right to be angry and hurt, but instead of respecting that, everyone from her faithless husband to her own mother expects Lulu to brush it off and get over it because Dante loves Lulu and they share a child.
Lulu is stuck in a vortex of pain and anger because no one really has her back except a couple of guys -- Dillon and Johnny -- who are sweet on her and have their own agendas. At the same time, Dante and Valerie refuse to take full responsibility for the affair. They say they do, but then they each try to mitigate their culpability by suggesting that if Lulu hadn't lied to Dante about where she was going and why then Dante wouldn't have succumbed to temptation and played mattress tag with Valerie in the bed that he shared with his wife. Twice.
The latest example of this was Valerie's little heated exchange with Olivia at Metro Court Restaurant when Olivia told Valerie to return to Pennsylvania and give Dante and Lulu the space they need to work things out. Valerie angrily accused Olivia of setting a poor example for Dante -- and Leo -- by trying to keep the boys from their fathers. After blaming Olivia for Dante being a cheating husband, Valerie insisted that Valerie owned her mistakes, which made Olivia a "self-righteous hypocrite."
I don't disagree with Valerie's assessment of Olivia because Olivia is the queen of double standards, but Valerie is quickly elbowing her way to the front of the pack to be next in line to take the crown.
I couldn't understand Valerie's twisted logic that equated a mother lying to safeguard children from their kingpin fathers to a cheating husband, but even if they were on the same level, it doesn't give Dante a free pass to forsake his wedding vows. Dante is a grown man who knows right from wrong.
As much as it pains me, I do have to agree with Olivia, and even Dante, that Dante and Lulu's issues are a whole lot bigger than Dante's affair with Valerie. The truth is that Dante is a jealous hothead who constantly makes assumptions and jumps to conclusions -- often erroneous -- before all the facts are in. Case in point, his certainty that Lulu had slept with Dillon on New Year's Eve based merely on the fact that he saw two Champagne flutes in the stateroom when he stopped by to talk to Lulu.
Lulu also has a problem with confiding to her husband. It's obvious that she doesn't trust Dante to put family ahead of his career because if she did, then she would have told him about what was happening with Lucky. It's downright tragic that Lulu was afraid that Dante wouldn't put Lucky's safety first, but I couldn't blame her. Remember that fiasco with baby Connie/Georgie when Dante wavered about fighting for custody? Remember how crazy jealous he got over Johnny and Lulu becoming business partners?
I think Lulu lost faith in Dante when the baby was taken from them, and as much as she loved him, there was a part of her that could never fully trust him because he never fully trusted her.
Now, I realize that there are those who think that Lulu is complicit in what happened to Valerie in the cabin, even though Lulu sent Johnny a text message making it clear that he was to call off all plans for Valerie and leave town. Also, Lulu was very clear that she did not want Valerie to be physically harmed in any way.
Yes, it was somewhat juvenile of Lulu to try to run Valerie out of town, and it was definitely misguided to enlist Johnny's help to make it happen, but as we saw on Friday, Johnny's plan was to discredit Valerie not to kidnap her. That happened because Valerie made the critical mistake of not locking her car doors and speeding away the minute Johnny got out of the car. Instead, Valerie immediately reached for her phone, which left her vulnerable.
It's really no wonder that Valerie is flunking out of the police academy. Even her behavior once Johnny took her hostage was completely against anything the police would advise a kidnap victim to do. It amazes me that Valerie managed to earn a degree in criminology yet did everything wrong with Johnny, from antagonizing him to making him panic. Even after Johnny left her in the cabin, Valerie foolishly didn't pay attention to the table with a lit candle on it as she struggled to break free of the bonds.
It's unlikely that Valerie will be seriously hurt because the previews showed Lulu arriving at the state park to meet Johnny, which means that Lulu will probably be the one to save her cousin from certain death -- provided that Valerie doesn't manage to break free first. However, as sure as the sky is blue, Dante will likely find a way to blame Lulu for everything.
I say that because it seems like it's been Dante's mission to paint Lulu the villain ever since Lulu found out that he was a lying, cheating scoundrel. He blamed Lulu for ending the marriage when she served him with separation papers just days after she found out about the affair -- never mind that he signed those papers then promptly took Valerie to bed -- and he wrongly accused her of moving on with Dillon on New Year's Eve.
The writing is simply atrocious for everyone involved in this storyline. There aren't clean hands anywhere, and the more it unfolds, the more each character gets dragged into a mire of suckiness. So, naturally, everyone in Port Charles will line up to blame Lulu for the fire and Valerie's brush with death.
It won't be Valerie's fault for accidently knocking over the lit candle. It won't be Johnny's fault for kidnapping Valerie and lighting the candle when they got to the cabin. It won't be Dante's fault for hurting and betraying his wife. It will all be Lulu's fault, so that Dante and Valerie can say, "We are all even now."
There are no winners here, not even the viewers.
Like I said -- awful writing. Sadly, it isn't isolated to just Dante and Lulu's disastrous marriage.
This week, Sabrina made the mindboggling decision to leave town with Carlos after he manipulated her with some emotional blackmail and self-serving lies. It was disappointing to say the least.
The writers couldn't have come up with a better exit storyline for Teresa Castillo's maternity leave than this? It made Sabrina look like an irresponsible idiot. In what universe is running off with a criminal, who by his own admission is double-crossing the district attorney, in the best interest of a baby?
I recently grew to like Sabrina because of her relationship with Michael. I thought they made a sweet couple, and I looked forward to them becoming a family, but with the stroke of a pen, the writers ruined a perfectly good romantic couple and what made them so endearing -- their open honesty with each other -- just to give us a plausible reason for Sabrina not to be around for a while.
Admittedly, I'm still very salty that Carlos, not Michael, was revealed to be the father of the baby. Short term, it worked for the exit storyline, but it severed any connection that Sabrina would have had to Port Charles if the baby had been a Quartermaine. Sure, Michael could adopt the baby and raise it as his own, but if that is the case, why not just make the baby Michael's biological child?
I suspect the writers wanted Michael to share a special connection with Sonny by having Michael experience firsthand the love an adoptive parent can have for a child not of their blood, but that's not something that Michael has ever struggled with except when he was grieving for A.J. Michael already moved past that and forgave Sonny, which proves that Michael does understand that a child can love an adoptive parent as much as a biological parent, and therefore, he knows that it works the other way too.
It would have been far more interesting if the writers had opted for Carlos to kidnap Sabrina. He's already been shown to have an unhealthy obsession with her, so it wouldn't have been a great leap to believe that he might convince himself that the baby was his child and spirit Sabrina off to his lair for the next six or so weeks. The added bonus would be Michael tracking down his family and rescuing his lady love and newborn from the clutches of a deranged maniac.
Instead, we got Sabrina climbing into a little speedboat, nine months pregnant without a suitcase of any baby essentials, to go on the lam with a man she admittedly doesn't love. Frankly, I couldn't care less if Sabrina ever returns. She deserves what she gets for throwing her lot in with Carlos.
Meanwhile, poor Sam is desperately trying to win Jason's heart by doing everything she can to clear his name and gain his eternal gratitude and admiration. In other words, we are right back where we started in 2007 when it was Sam versus Liz for Jason's love.
I feel for Sam because Jason truly is the love of her life, but at the same time, I have to question why she would want a guy who seemingly hasn't made any effort to get to know their son. Amnesia or not, Jason should want to have the same kind of relationship with Danny that he has with Jake. Yet, I haven't seen Jason talk to Sam about sharing custody of Danny or setting up a visitation schedule. The only time Jason sees Danny is when he bumps into Sam and he happens to be with her or he drops Jake off for a play date.
Granted, Jake is dealing with a lot right now -- more than his parents realize. I'm fairly certain that Jake is the one behind the strange goings-on at the Webber house because he's desperate to keep his dad close and get his parents back together. His reaction to hearing the doctor and his mistress sing Sam's praises to Jason was very telling. Unfortunately, it also made me realize that it doesn't bode well for Jake's future relationship with his stepmother.
Andre is going to have his hands full when Jason, Sam, and Liz show up with their kids for family counseling.
Honestly, I'm not surprised that Jake is struggling because I imagine that Helena did quite a number on him during his years on Cassadine Island. I'm only surprised that Jason and Liz didn't get Jake into therapy sooner, even if he did appear none the worse for wear when Lucky returned him home to his parents.
I suspect Jake is having a difficult time accepting the breakup because he finally had a taste of what a normal family is and can't bear to lose it. That's a lot for any kid to handle, let alone one who went through all the traumatic events that Jake did.
Finally, what in the world is going on with Olivia? I'm confused as to why she suddenly has a problem with Julian and Alexis' relationship. It's almost as if Olivia is jealous, which doesn't make sense, since Olivia has always despised Julian, even during their drunken one-night stand. She was in love with Ned at the time and made it painfully clear that she deeply regretted sleeping with Julian.
If this storyline is headed where I think it is, I won't like it. Olivia is one of my least favorite characters, while Julian and Alexis are my current top favorite duo. If Olivia so much as threatens Julian and Alexis' happiness or tries to sabotage their wedding, I will personally go to Port Charles and slap her. Consequences be damned.