|December 19, 2007
MAJOR rant ahead...
Disclaimer: Said rant should not be taken as an indication that I am - in any way - done with GH. CC still lurves her some soapy goodness, but there are some things (that I have issues with) that have gone on for far too long and I can't (shan't) remain mum on these points another day!
*stomps feet for emphasis*
Now then, where to begin...?
Ah yes, Guza! I've said it before and I'll say it again, Bob Guza is the debbil incarnate, times infinity!!!1!!eleventy1!!1! While it's a given that all soaps must change and evolve over time, that doesn't mean changing the fundamental basics of what a soap is. Those of us who have been watching GH for a significant amount of time actually recall WHY this show is named "GENERAL HOSPITAL." It's not because that's where the mobsters go to get patched up after a shootout. It's called "General Hospital" because the show was CREATED and written to be centered around the daily lives and dramas surrounding those people (and their families) who actually WORKED in the hospital. Anything else was the "B" or "C" story; not the main focus.
Yes, there were mob stories back in the heyday (80's) when Luke, Laura, Robert Scorpio, etc. were burning up our TV screens on a daily basis BUT... the difference was that the mob wasn't glamorized back then. They were actual BAD GUYS and they got their comeuppance. A comeuppance, I might add, that was served to them by the law and order types this show is so lacking in today. Back then, the PCPD and the WSB were the GOOD GUYS. They were brilliant, capable, and nobody to toy with. People didn't laugh at them or groan when they appeared onscreen, because they were badass good guys and they nearly ALWAYS got their man. When someone said they were going to call the cops, nobody smirked, snickered, or came right out and laughed; they were actually intimidated. How did that all go SOOOOOO wrong?
Nowadays, we have a police force that, while headed by one of those legendary Scorpios, is the biggest laughing stock in the history of crime shows. (Okay...ANY show!) The PCPD has become a joke. On a daily basis, and on virtually any message board/website you will see people making cracks or taking potshots at the PCPD, calling them "Keystone Cops" or remarking about how they couldn't find their way out of a paper bag, or how they couldn't even catch a COLD if they tried, let alone any bad guys. (Especially Lucky Spencer) How did Port Chuckles become the place where the good guys are mob kingpins and the bad guys are cops?
Let's start with Mac Scorpio. While not quite the legacy character his brother is, Mac is STILL a legacy character. He may not always have been the law and order type that Robert was, but that all changed when he came to Port Charles and, eventually, became Police Commissioner. Mac was never stupid. Mac was never inept. Mac was smart as a whip and he managed to catch his own fair share of bad guys before the tides (*coughwriterscough*) changed. Mac was a hero. Mac was the one who was more stable - more WILLING - to stay close to home and tend to the local need for law and order as well as the people he loved. Mac was the one who stepped up when Robert, Anna and Frisco couldn't be bothered to stick around and actually PARENT their offspring. Mac took that on. Mac is the one who struggled with the more "mundane" (heavy sarcasm there) things in life - like school, care and feeding, and emotional support for the child(ren) of these more colorful characters. He was the one who saw to their everyday basic needs and who tucked them in at night and - generally - made them feel safer. He did all this while managing a department that had racked up a pretty impressive record against the criminals.
Enter Sonny Corinthos. Flash, panache, oozing sex appeal. Yeah, he was dangerous, glamorous, and oh-so-tempting... People fell for the charm, the good looks and those damned dimples; then before we knew it? Sonny was the hero and the PCPD began a slow (but sure) decline. Suddenly, the PCPD wasn't as effective. Suddenly, they were sloppy, and meeeeen, and they didn't understand that Sonny was the mobster-wannabe-with-a-heart-of-gold. A little more time goes by, the mob is further glamorized and idealized - while the PCPD slips ever further into the abyss of jokedom. Enter Jason Morgan. Hot, sexy-as-all-get-out and he's gone to work for Sonny, who is now firmly on the path to mob kingpinship. These are the golden boys of Port Charles. These are the two every viewer wants to see. Forget about Doctors or Nurses or their families - we want the MOB!! We want violence, we want bloodshed, and - oh yes - we want to see women being degradized on a continual basis. We want to see STUPID cops who can't put away the bad guys, cause they're our heroes! We want to see the mob enforcer be the only one in town who can stop the "badder bad guys" who dare to enter the confines of the city of Port Charles! (At least that's what the writers clearly believed when they started this shift.)
I mentioned him earlier, but let's just touch on Lucky Spencer again, shall we? This is yet another legacy character that the writers have destroyed in order to make Jason and/or Sonny look that much more heroic and "good." Lucky is a SPENCER, for crying out loud. Do you hear me, Guza? A S-P-E-N-C-E-R!!! That means something - at least to us long-term fans. Luke Spencer has never been a perfect man, and he has always been deeply flawed, but he was NEVER stupid; and his son shouldn't be either - nor was he written as stupid. From the day Lucky first appeared on our screens as a young boy, he was shown to be smart, resilient, resourceful and compassionate. He may have been played by Jonathan Jackson, but he wasn't WRITTEN by him - so there is NO reason for the COMPLETE change in character. The Lucky Spencer of today is not even a shadow of his former self and that is just wrong. Yes, Lucky should have some issues - particularly given the way he grew up for the first ten or so years of his life (ie: always being on the run) - but nothing even remotely close to the issues he's had since being taken by Helena a few years back. We never got the real Lucky back from her and that needs to change. Lucky used to be able to read people very quickly and very accurately. Now? He couldn't see/grasp/understand anything if it bit him on the nose. Hate that, hate that, HATE THAT. It is soooo unnecessary to dumb down and or villify Lucky in order to make Jason seem even more heroic than they've already painted him to be. (I believe I mentioned that before, too.)
In short (HAH) it IS possible to redeem (de-stupidify) the PCPD and STILL keep Jason and Sonny out of prison. It is still possible to keep Jason as A hero, without him being in the mob OR making him a cop. (Really, Bob, it IS!) It is possible to make Sonny as interesting and "dangerous" as you think he is without having him be a mob kingpin. It just takes a little creativity and imagination. Seriously. Give the PCPD back their dignity. Please. Stop making them a laughingstock. John J. York can still "bring it" when and if they give him the material. He is a force to be reckoned with in his righteous indignation. Let him go back to being the powerhouse character he used to be BEFORE the writers started glamorizing the mob element. Case in point? That confrontation with Diane last week. Now, you all know how much and how DEEPLY I *heart* Diane Miller - I really do. She is smart, sassy and sexy - a rare combination for a woman on THIS soap. BUT... I hated, absolutely HATED that they had her give Mac the smackdown that so many other characters so richly deserve. Why? To glamorize yet another mob entity - the newly crowned King of the Zacchara organization, Johnny Z. It was just another way for them to prop up the mob element and further denigrate the man/men in blue. WHY?! Why is it that Guza can make these criminals and killers soooooooo appealing, and everyone else so stupid, inept or completely unlikable?!
While we're on the subject of stupid, let's discuss Guza's apparent lack of respect for women in general. I could go on for DAYS about the rampant stupidity of numerous characters wandering around in the dark at Wyndemere during the Black & White Ball, but I will try to refrain. (Well... I'll try to restrain myself anyway!) Suffice it to say, there has been an overabundance of rampant stupidity affecting the citizens of Port Charles for quite some time now. That Black and White Ball just served to focus more attention on it. Luke, while admittedly out of character, had it right when he originally tried to keep everyone together and in one room. The whole safety in numbers and out of harms way thing was the absolute right (and smart) way to go. Yeah, it's hard for a serial nutjob and killer to actually do his dirty work, but that just makes things interesting. (As in more complex) It requires the writers (if they are so hellbent on killing off certain characters) to use a little imagination and creativity. (They're writers; they're SUPPOSED to be creative and imaginative!) As in, how are we going to have Crazy Tony Z. get in to actually kill this person when there are so many others around WITHOUT said victim being stupid enough to set themselves up in a situation where they can wind up dead? See... I have a real problem with the whole "let's blame the victim" thing. I don't want to see any character (let alone the ones who are KNOWN for being brilliant) on my Soaps just ignorantly sprinting toward their own (OBVIOUS) murder.
Now, while I would never call Emily Q. brilliant, she certainly wasn't terminally stupid. Yet that is precisely how they wrote her to be in the last month or so of her "life" and in the moments leading directly to her death. For one thing, she never should have/would have agreed to attend the Ball - even if Nik didn't call it off. If Emily were being written true to her character, then she would have done everything in her power to bag the damned Ball and she would've gotten Nikolas the help he needed whether he wanted it or not! Then later on, after all the mayhem started, her stupidity continues to grow, exponentially, until she winds up dead - in spite of everyone's continued warnings. Yeah, I get that she was worried sick about Nikolas - really I do, but for her to go traipsing back up to the castle - alone - knowing that there is a crazed killer on the loose? It borders on the unbelievably absurd. Not only that, but it's a huge insult to the people she left behind. Nikolas BEGGED her to go somewhere safe (not just from him) and did she respect him (or herself) enough to do as he pleaded? No. The writers made me blame HER for her death and I hate that! That whole scenario just SCREAMED "She asked for it!" There was nothing romantic about that. It was stupid and needless and it was an insult to both the character and the fans. One more thing about Emily and her "asking for it" mentality? Dare I bring up THE RAPE?! That was another glaring example of how Guza writes some characters (mainly women) as being stupid. Emily had all kinds of warning bells going off around her about Connor and yet she agrees to stay there with him - secluded house, all alone. I am firmly in the camp of believers who KNOW that no woman ASKS or deserves to be raped - ever; but Guza sure worked hard to make Emily an almost willing lambkin being led to the slaughter. I mean, honestly... how many of you (like me) were screaming at your TV for Emily to GET THE EFF OUT OF THERE BEFORE HE HURTS YOU?!!!! If Guza wanted a rape story so badly, there were other ways to bring it about without trying to make Emily look so completely and helplessly STUPID! I didn't even like Emily and THAT story ripped me to shreds.
Next up? Carly Corinthos Jacks. Carly is not stupid by any means. She is tough, street savvy and brave - we all know that. I understand why she wanted to avenge her Nanny - the only REAL mother her children have ever known - but why did they write her so completely stupid for those scenes? She was another one who was basically "asking for it." Grrrrrrrrr!!!! Then we have Maxie Jones. Thankfully, no one could call her stupid or careless when she almost found herself strangled to death - no one could have seen that coming based on what they knew at the time. The cops were focused on Tony Z. Jason and Co. were looking for a threat, because of their "careers," to only the ones they held near and dear. Neither Jason or Sonny held Maxie to be near or dear. BUT...
And that's a big but... Why, why, WHY did they proceed to dumb her down in the aftermath of that near-death experience? Maxie is a caustic bitch - on a good day - but she is one smart cookie. It took her all of about half-a-second to catch on to Sam's nefarious plans; whereas Lucky couldn't figure out that she was behind those goons in the park (or that they even WHERE the goons in the park) when they were standing right in front of him. (Honestly, he could have had a snapshot in his hands and he STILL wouldn't have figured it out! GUH!) Anyway... Maxie is sharp; it's something that has been demonstrated time and time again. So, why then, is she strutting around town - ALONE - the day after being nearly strangled to death, making arrangements to meet her boyfriend (even if he's NOT the TMK) in a place where "no one will ever think to look for us"????!!! And, as if that weren't stupid enough? She leaves the frigging door OPEN AND AJAR while she slips into the hot-tub-of-sex to wait for said boyfriend!!!! Someone just tried to kill her and she's not only walking around completely vulnerable and unprotected but she's leaving the frigging door open so they can come and get her?!! W. T. F.?!!! Maxie is WAAAY smarter than that!
Speaking of Maxie's intelligence, let us now discuss someone of greater intelligence (and we all know it) Georgie. Now, I'm still smarting over this one, so I might be unintelligible, bear with me... Georgie, Georgie, Georgie... You were on the right track when you went to Spinelli to get more info on Cooper Barrett. Normally, I would recommend her going to her father, Mac, but remember... they have neutered the PCPD and Mac, so that's a no-go without PROOF to wave under their noses. Anyway, Georgie's initial instincts were good, but she stepped in it good when she started in on the pointed questions to Coop and Logan about what happened in Iraq. She let them (either of whom could be the guilty party) know that she was onto something. Bad move, but a rookie mistake and it's forgivable. What is NOT forgivable, however, is them dumbing her down even further so as to make her complicit in her own murder!!! "Tell ur sis to meet me in the park"?? And she BITES?! What? That's not our smart, sensible little Georgie! I don't think any of us believes that the message was ACTUALLY meant for Maxie. Having her take the bait and walk into the park - ALONE AT NIGHT - without so much as a phone call or text message to ANYONE? Oh yeah.. she was "asking for it."
THAT would have been the time to call the cops, Spinelli AND Jason (just to make sure all her bases were covered). And THAT is something our little Georgie absolutely would have done. It was so far out of character for Georgie to do it that I wasn't really sure it WAS Georgie! Seriously!
It's bad enough that Guza is killing off characters left and right (fan-faves at that) during the FREAKING HOLIDAYS, for crying out loud, but he has to add insult to injury and write them as STUPID and partially to blame for their own murders?!!! It's beyond appalling! (Don't even get me started on how stupid they have been making Lulu - I don't think any of us could take it!) As I mentioned up-column, there are ways to kill people off without making them stupid or complicit in their own deaths. Georgie - if she HAD to be killed off by the bloodthirsty bastard - could have been killed off without it being her "fault." Going with the simplest/easiest train of thought, she could have been ambushed at home, the way Maxie was, instead of standing out in the dark, deserted park, alone; a sitting duck for any serial murderer or rapist. Georgie is... WAS... way too intelligent to have fallen for the killer's trap. Mac raised her, for crying out loud, and despite the perception of relative newbies (and Guza) that he's a complete dunderhead, he would have taught her better how to protect herself. Also, Georgie was a Jones by birth. Her bio-Dad is a super-spy. Some of those genes would have still been active, even though he had no hand in raising her. It's yet another disservice to a character with SOOOOOOO much promise.
What's worse? The rampant stupidity is even affecting Guza's favorites - Sonny and Jason! (Who'd have thunk that?!) Jason is (and has been) behaving stupidly in regards to Jake. I get the trying to protect him thing, but to hand him over to Inspector Clueless? No, no, no, no! Stupid move - he has to know Sam will stop at nothing to get her hands on poor, sweet Jake! And Sonny? Wow...they've been writing him stupid for quite some time now. (Stupid AND repetitive) I swear, if he and Kate have the SAME conversation one more time...? (Well, let's just say that it won't be pretty!) Honestly, they have a good combination in those two, but they make them have the SAME CONVERSATION EVERY SINGLE FRIGGING DAY!! (People are calling them SKatebored now, instead of just SKate!) And really... For Sonny not to have seen RIGHT THROUGH Trevor's little assassination attempt the MOMENT it happened - man the guy is seriously slipping! And then he wants to take out Johnny Z. for it? When it was obvious even to the likes of wee-little Jake that it was Trevor's plan? Sonny is riding the Stupid Express, folks. You know it's bad when one of Guza's faves is onboard the Stupid Express!
Finally, we have the long-awaited, LONG-ANTICIPATED return of Felicia Scorpio-Jones. This is something long-term fans have been wanting for a VERY long time. We have never accepted that Felicia would ever stay away from her girls for soooooooo very long and with SUCH a lame-ass excuse as "caring for her ailing grandmother." (Who easily could have been moved to any care facility or the Scorpio-Jones attic for that matter!) It goes against everything that is fundamental about the character. Yes, she loved adventure, but she loved her girls too. For her to have stayed away for this long is inexcusable and (I think) rests solely at the feet of Bob Guza. It may not have been HIS decision to not give her a contract, but he IS the Head Writer and therefore responsible to come up with a BELIEVABLE reason for why Felicia didn't come home for any of the important and devastating experiences her girls have endured the last few years. Now I hear she is only going to be back for about five days...
Why not keep her around? Hell, you've already destroyed her character. Maxie is loaded for bear and looking for a fight (or her next method of self-destruction) - this is the perfect time to bring Felicia home and KEEP her home. Let her deal with Maxie. Let them rebuild their relationship - from the ground up. Let Felicia stay (for a change) and deal with the mess YOU had her create. Let her answer to Maxie (since it's too late to answer to Georgie) for her abandonment of the girls and THEN let her turn things around and maybe try to fix some of the things that are wrong with Maxie. I will absolutely hate, loathe and despise it if Guza has brought Felicia back only to further vilify and demonize her. He's done enough character assassination as it is to so many other characters. (Please, Bob, PLEASE!!! I'm begging you: STOP THE MADNESS!!!)
In closing... I know that every great Soap has to have its moments of pain, anguish and tearjerker storylines, death is a part of that. I also know that we are about to see some truly FINE performances as a result. (We saw it with Alan, we saw it with Emily and we are seeing it now with Georgie's death.) As with the other devastating storylines, we are given a brief moment to glimpse true VETERAN brilliance with their rare moment in the spotlight. What possible reason is there for Guza, Frons and the rest of the Powers That Be not to see what is so obvious to the rest of us? We want and NEED these Veterans on the show - and not to be dragged out of the attic for one, two or three stories a year, but all the time. We want and NEED intelligent characters - those we can relate to and those who are so far out of our league that we can't help but be riveted by them. We want and NEED to be respected enough that the writers will take the time to tell interesting storylines with the characters actually IN character; storylines that are not so completely drawn out to the point where we just don't CARE anymore whether or not they get resolved. We want and NEED storylines with a beginning, a middle, and an END. We want and NEED for the characters to be clearly defined - Bad guys are bad guys and they pay for their crimes, good guys are actually good, smart, resourceful, capable people and not mob kingpins or enforcers.
I think that's about it - for now... Any of you still with me? If so, belly up to the bar and have some drinks on the house!
March 15, 2007