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Article: The Problem with GH


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While I'm at it I'll post this article I have on GH. Never a GH watcher, so I can't comment about it. Here ya go:

THE PROBLEM WITH GH...

written by Tom Smith, May 28, 2004

At the end of last week's column, I promised that I would do a column about problems American soaps wish they have. And I will--at another time. However, something so urgent has come to my attention that I have to postpone that column.

While discussing last week's column with readers online, it was suggested I write a column about General Hospital. Yikes! The danger in writing about current GH is the same danger inherent in playing the video game "Duck Hunt." You swear you'll just play a quick round or two; six hours later, you've got enough dead meat to keep every low carb dieter happy for a month. GH's problems seem so numerous that there may not be enough gigabytes available on this site to list them all; yet, they're so interrelated, you can't discuss one without mentioning at least two others. It's just a chore.

Then, I saw the numbers for the week of April 5th-9Th. GH hit a 2.9, believed to be the lowest rating in GH's history. The target demos were just as low. After a sweeps fire, constant shootouts, left field cliffhangers, etc, etc, I don't think anyone at GH envisioned that they'd be getting the lowest numbers in the show's history.

I know that when times get tough, people do one of two things: they open up, and seek guidance from others, or they dig in their heels and try to fix the problem themselves. Although I seriously doubt it, in the event that the folks at GH are inclined to open their ears and seek guidance, I am prepared to give a brief, yet thorough analysis of why GH is faltering at the moment. So Frons, Phelps, Guza, and Pratt, if you're listening, this is for you.

A BRIEF BUT THOROUGH ANALYSIS OF GH'S PROBLEMS

All the main characters on the show are scumbags.

THIS HAS BEEN A BRIEF BUT THOROUGH ANALYSIS OF GH'S PROBLEMS.

Whoo! Give me five! That was easier than I thought. Thanks for reading. If you want to drop a line, I'm always happy to hear from you. Just kidding

Let's start with the chief offenders, your friends and mine, the (Not-So) Fantastic Four. No, I'm not talking about Frons, et al. The (Not-So) Fantastic Four consists of Sonny, Carly, Jason, and Courtney, a.k.a. the four characters who take up about sixty percent of GH's airtime. (With thirty-five percent going to commercials, and five percent going to the rest of the cast.) Every day, we're treated to these same four characters loving and fighting, plotting and counter-plotting, making up and breaking up. Rare is the scene where none of these four are involved. Life in PC certainly revolves around them. It seems the rest of the town is talking to them, talking about them, or waiting for them to show up. Even Lucas Lorenzo Spencer's desire to keep wacko mob babe Faith alive (for his own selfish interests of course) had him practically groveling before the man SoapNet has officially dubbed The Godfather," with Sonny declaring that if Faith ever tries to go after him and his family again, no favor is going to stop Sonny from taking that bitch down.

(Of course it won't, but teddy-bear mobster Sonny's stupidity will. Sonny knows that Faith is a power-hungry nut job that hates his guts, and as long as she's breathing, she's going to be plotting against him. That's why Sonny has tried to "eliminate" Faith about fourteen times. But, he can't do it, because Faith has information he needs; or the cops are really watching him right now, and he can't afford a murder investigation; or, my personal favorite, Sonny has a two-day pacifism jag, where he swears off the mob, and won't fire a gun, because he accidentally popped a couple of bullets in his wife's head!)

(Oh, that was a bit of a tangent, wasn't it? I warned you.)

Okay, so we know that the Fearsome Foursome gets a lot of airtime, and has all other characters on GH subservient to them. But, don't all soaps play their favorites? I mean, that's why we have Lead and Supporting categories, right? Isn't the quality of the storyline the important thing?

Well, let's see: Mob boss Sonny Corinthos is currently locked in a death battle with mob boss Lorenzo Alcazar. Lorenzo Alcazar is the twin brother of Luis Alcazar, a now-deceased mob boss, who was locked in a death battle with Sonny. Luis hated Sonny because the love of his life, Brenda, used to be involved with Sonny, and he was afraid that she would go back to him. So he spent most of his time plotting to ruin Sonny and keeping Brenda locked up on a yacht.

Luis, however, swore he didn't hate Sonny; he just had some drugs that he needed to run through Sonny's territory. Since this was just business, Lorenzo was willing to negotiate. In order to negotiate, Lorenzo knew you have to have something that the other person wants. So, Lorenzo promptly kidnapped Carly, and put her on his yacht.

(And did Lorenzo kidnap Carly from her house, or off the street? No. He kidnapped her from the panic room that Sonny's insane half-brother, Ric, was holding her in, so he could give her baby to his wife, Elizabeth. See, businessmen like Lorenzo are economical--why waste your own manpower, when you can have one of Port Charles' many, many nut jobs do the heavy lifting for you?)

(P.S. Ric is now the district attorney.)

On the yacht, Lorenzo tried to keep Carly and her baby calm by feeding her, engaging in polite conversation, and playing board games with her. That is, during those times when Carly wasn't trying to escape. Clearly, this setup was the backdrop for one of the greatest romances in daytime history. Yes, Carly's charm, intellect, non-stop Houdini attempts, and concern for her unborn baby's welfare, which Lorenzo was jeopardizing, touched a chord in the heart of Alcazar 2. Suddenly, Carly had gone from business pawn to undying love of his life. But, would Carly feel the same way? Why, yes! Sure, Carly was a pregnant victim of back-to-back kidnappings, but when Lorenzo started to talk about the clean life he lived as a college professor, before losing his fiance and former undying love of his life, Carly's heart couldn't help but melt. Clearly, her predicament was God's fault for taking sweet, sweet love away from Lorenzo much too soon.

(Of course, Lorenzo knows what all guys know: nothing turns a potential girlfriend on more than saying you have a former girlfriend who died, and that you don't think you can ever find love again. Girls like that better than men who dote on babies. Look it up. It's Freudian.)

Of course, Sonny eventually rescued Carly, but Lorenzo quickly compensated by kidnapping Sonny's pregnant half-sister, Courtney, and holding her hostage on a yacht. Courtney escaped, and swam to safety, but she lost the baby, and, in all likelihood, the ability to ever get pregnant again. (That is, until the writers decide to put Courtney in a "who's the daddy" scenario.)

Lorenzo decided to get out of the kidnapping business, and into the wooing business--constantly inserting himself in situations of being around Carly. Meanwhile, Lorenzo also hired someone to play the ghost of Lily, Sonny's first wife, to torment him into breaking up with Carly. Sonny pushed Carly into leaving him, and moving into a new house in the middle of nowhere. And wouldn't you know, it was there that Carly fell down the stairs and went into labor, right in the middle of a thunderstorm? And wouldn't you know Lorenzo happens to show up and help Carly with the delivery? And wouldn't you know that Sonny shows up, and assessing the scene, decides that Lorenzo is hurting Carly, and shoots him, and the bullet goes through Alcazar hitting Carly in the head, but Carly still has enough juice to finish delivering the baby before passing out?

Somehow the shooting and coma that followed scrambled Carly's brains so that she felt she was in love with Alcazar, even though she was desperately trying to hold on to her marriage to Sonny. In other words, she was torn between the man who held her hostage, and the man who shot her in the head. Hey, at least she had an excuse--she literally had brain damage.

Sonny decided this was all Alcazar's fault, and proceeded to shoot him on the streets of Port Charles. Unfortunately, Carly had figured out what Sonny was up to, and tipped off Lorenzo, who tipped off the police (after donning a bullet proof vest, natch). When Sonny went on trial, what was his defense? Lorenzo was a threat to his family. Guess what? Quicker than you can say "Los Angeles jury", he was acquitted.

Carly's bizarre attraction to Lorenzo continued to the point that they were making out in front of Sonny. Sonny, in turn, slept with Sam, a.k.a. Daytime's Most Useless Character. Carly, in turn slept with Lorenzo. Sonny and Carly fought for custody, with Carly blackmailing Alexis into being her lawyer with the recent knowledge that Sonny was the father of Alexis' child. I am happy to report that the custody trial ended amicably when a car bomb went off outside the courthouse, making Sonny realize for the 971st time, that he's a dangerous mobster, and a threat to every man, woman, child, and small animal within a fifty mile radius. Sonny magnanimously granted Carly sole custody of the boys, even though it meant they'd also be living with mommy's new boyfriend, Lorenzo.

It didn't last long. Carly saw the light about Lorenzo when she--gasp--learned he was behind the car bombing. Why, you'd think Lorenzo was an evil mobster or something?

Okay, so we all know Sonny and his gang is a bunch of sickening creeps. Everybody complains that they're a bunch of rotten SOB's that get way too much airtime. So, what to do? The easy answer is focusing on the other characters on GH who aren't getting a lot of attention. Okay. Who do we turn to? Luke, the greedy, self-pitying, self-destructive overgrown teenager? Skye, the--well, take everything I said about Luke and add drunken slut. Ned, the perpetual whiner who hates his family and everything they stand for so much, he's always hanging around the mansion, trying to be in charge? Edward, the ruthless old patriarch who will apparently defy aging via horrible recasts? Mac, the Charlie Brown of policemen? Felicia, the abandoning mother? Elizabeth, Port Charles; biggest enabler and all around abuse magnet? Ric, the morally bankrupt, thoroughly psycho DA? Nikolas and Emily, a.k.a. daytime's greatest lovers? Together, they've gone through more great loves than the viewer goes through bath towels. Emily is so annoying and flaky, when she went through her recent leukemia, viewers were screaming "Die Bitch die!"

This is not to say that all characters need to be goody two-shoes, or even that all of the above characters need to change. I love me some Luke, warts and all, and I"ve even grown to like Skye. In fact, I like many of the characters on GH. But, regardless of whether you like them or not, when every character on the show is depressed, self-destructive, abusive, or just plain evil, it gets to be a bit much. Where are the strong good guys? Where are the troubled souls that are actually trying to better themselves? Where is the frickin variety?

With ratings at a low point, the people behind GH may be in the mood to re-think their current strategy of daily mobster meltdowns and random acts of violence. But, the problem runs deeper than too much Sonny. There's just too much scum in the city of Port Charles. Until that changes, nothing-not even a re-emphasis on other characters-will turn the show around.

COMING SOON: The problem with Days...starting with this little "They're Alive!" stuff.

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Let's start with the chief offenders, your friends and mine, the (Not-So) Fantastic Four. No, I'm not talking about Frons, et al. The (Not-So) Fantastic Four consists of Sonny, Carly, Jason, and Courtney, a.k.a. the four characters who take up about sixty percent of GH's airtime. (With thirty-five percent going to commercials, and five percent going to the rest of the cast.)

:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

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The "Fab Four". This was one of the WORST times on GH. Carly, Sonny, Courtney and Jason completely monopolized the entire show. It was downright awful.

ITA. GH was insanely bad. I stopped regularly watching after awhile. I thought that Jason and Liz were going to renew their romance when he returned, but it never happened. Instead he poached Courtney from AJ. After Sonny put AJ on the meat hook, I kept thinking that AJ was going to go to court to get his parental rights back, when that didn't happen I gave up.

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So... It's all Tom Smith articles? :unsure: You don't have other authors?

I've got some Stephen Wiss articles and a few other things, but yeah it's mostly Smith's stuff I have. I'd have to dig out the old Packard Bell from the storage unit to pull out the real treasure.

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I've got some Stephen Wiss articles and a few other things, but yeah it's mostly Smith's stuff I have. I'd have to dig out the old Packard Bell from the storage unit to pull out the real treasure.

That's great! :D Thank you for posting these!

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The only problem I see is that the article starts with 'the problem' instead of 'The numerous problemS...', LOL! My fab four consisted of: Jax, Alexis, Ned, and Chloe... and ignoring Chloe, I waited for the Jax/Alexis/Ned triangle that never happened - with Jax sweeping Alexis off her feet.

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