July 3, 2008
Honesty: An Entirely Overrated Concept
Admittedly, in "real life," I cannot abide a liar. One of the fastest ways to find yourself permanently off my "friend" list and heading up the "acquaintances to keep at a distance" list is to lie to me, although I say that with the full knowledge that there are times when a lie is absolutely, 100% necessary. "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one" is a good reason, for instance. Good reason goes a long way with me. What irks me, however, are the lies people tell to save their own sorry asses. I've had a good bit of experience with that over the past several years and yes, I followed through with the "list adjustments" as necessary, painful as it was. It's life and it teaches us and strengthens us and forges us in the fire.
HOWEVER, take me into the land of my soaps and suddenly, we've gone through the looking glass and all I want to see is a good lie or ten.
Sad, but true.
Soaps would be utterly devoid of drama if honesty was indeed the best policy on our shows.
How anticlimactic would it be if Krystal had come straight in from "comforting" Tad with her vagina and admitted to Adam that she'd stumbled on the fidelity path, but that she was utterly devoted to him and loved him more than life itself? They would have faced the pregnancy together, white knuckled the DNA testing to find out if Adam was the father, cried together when they learned he wasn't and moved on from there. Could that really have happened? Or would Adam have changed the test results to show himself as Jenny, I mean Charlotte's, father and there would come another lie?
What if Kendall had confessed to Zach while he was still being examined in the hospital after his month in the hole that she had comforted Aidan with her vagina while he comforted her with his (I can't bring myself, even being the vulgar miscreant that I am, to say "spotted dick" here, which is ample evidence that I'm slipping) own special purpose but OHMYGAWD she's so glad he's ALIVE? Tad might still have a cabin in the woods to escape into when he learned that Krystal and Adam's baby was really his own but wait... that pre-supposes another lie!
What if - what's that's girl's name again? um... um... *blank* and *blink* ... thinking... [insert miscellaneous Fusion Girl's name here]... AMANDA!! That's it!! (where were we?) What if AMANDA actually admitted to Babe that the skirt she asks about does, indeed, make her ass look fat? Where's the drama in THAT?
Actually, if anyone insinuated to any of those girls that their ass or any other part of them looked fat, we'd probably see drama unfit for daytime.. or anything other than pay per view.
What really got me thinking about this honesty theme was Bo's marriage to Lindsay today. I'm grateful that poor Lindsay finally got a break, but I was wholly invested in whether or not Nora was going to pop another gasket at their wedding. I was almost as devastated over that thought as I was over seeing that dowager's dress someone saw fit to hang onto the very sexy and fashionable Catherine Hickland and call it a wedding dress with a straight face. Ye Gods! If I could find a photo of it, I'd show you, because...damn. Edith Head is no doubt spinning artfully in her grave right about now.
I confess, I wanted Lindsay to tell Bo before they got married that she'd faked her breakdown and killed Spencer Truman not because she was mentally compromised, but because, as Sage put it, "he needed killin'." That secret has been around for long enough and having it come out, even off screen, before the wedding would have given Bo the chance to reject her before they were married rather than after. It also would have provided a magnificent "In your face" moment had Nora decided to go through with again blowing apart Bo's wedding to tell him the truth for his own good. But no. Lindsay held onto her secret and, it appears, Nora is holding onto hers. Nora's pot vs kettle mentality is sad considering the lies she told Bo while she frantically looked for penis-bearing people to impregnate her after she lied to Bo (for his own good) to get him to come in out of the storm when he went boating with Duke's dead body on a suicide mission.
How boring it would have been if Talia had come to town and introduced herself as Carlo Hesser's daughter? Today's big bombshell was much better and I was positive giddy with delight as he strode into the cell and introduced himself to the witless Sarah.
Usually, the power of the lie is in the revelation of the truth, such as when Dorian waltzed in and blew apart the Buchanan Enterprises stockholders meeting with a few well placed landmines. Todd did the same thing a few years back when, at his own wedding, he revealed to everyone there that Blair had shot Max in the back, Skye was really Rae's daughter and Max wasn't really the Buchanan heir everyone thought he was and that in fact, Ben was Asa's son instead. It's like watching a fireworks grand finale while we sit back eating popcorn and feeling a delightful sense of accomplishment.
I completely look forward to David Vickers (man, no dog) learning that he is Asa's son and is heir to a fortune. What a delicious reveal that will be, especially with his beautiful new wife by his side. Boy, was Delphina right about that one!
One secret that falls into that "needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one" category, even on soaps, is the fact that Nigel helped to perpetrate Jared's fraud as the Buchanan heir (that would be fake Buchanan heir #2 if you care keeping track). We need to have Nigel in the Buchanan mansion as a voice of reason and humor and to have that compromised would be disastrous. That's one secret that needs to be kept.
Remember when Reginald poisoned Catherine Bell for daring to offend Lila? That's another secret that needed to be kept and was.
I think one of the biggest mistakes GH makes is in not having enough lies and secrets. Carly had barely showered after sleeping with Sonny (demonstrating her superiority over Sam) when suddenly the news was out. Kate and Jax kissed about 10 minutes ago and Carly already knows. The only well kept secret I can think of in recent history is that Claudia hired Ian to kill Sonny, inadvertently shooting Michael in the process (worst hit man EVER) and the whole "Elizabeth is carrying Jason's baby" which was miraculously able to be maintained for the better part of a year despite the baby's paternity being discussed behind every open door of every set on the show. Patrick being the father of Robin's baby was out in no time. Today, we have the beginning of the reveal that Claudia seduced Trevor (helloooo Spinelli!!) when she was 16, which is what caused Anthony to ship her away.
What GH does not realize is that we know the difference in a lie that creates drama when kept over time versus a reveal that was born in the writers' minds a few weeks ago. I can appreciate a good "Hey, what if...?" idea that, by divine grace, explodes in the mind of a creative writer. At any given time, a show needs a bare minimum of 5-6 well placed lies, threatening to burst out into a delicious explosion of messy truth at absolutely any second in order to maintain sufficient drama.
How else can we have truly tearful confessions, drop-jawed, bug-eyed shock and broken glassware flying all over penthouses across New England?
From the paternity of babies to the identity of the real killer to the long lost relative who suddenly resurfaces, secrets and lies are the bubblegum that holds a good daytime drama together.
Tell me lies, tell me sweet little lies...