If I didn't start the "Best Of 2007" Column with Luke's rendition of My Way, I couldn't live with myself. I told my husband last night that Luke Spencer is my favorite fictional character of all time. He looked at me like I was a Martian. We are both educated and literate people, and I could see his mind scanning the classics. But forget about Shakespeare and Hemingway and Dickens and Twain. My favorite fictional character was dreamt up by some ABC Soap Writer named Douglas Marland in 1978.
"Knowing" Luke Spencer changed me. He taught me an important lesson - life isn't black and white. People can't be divided up as either good or bad. Luke Spencer has done awful things, like rape Laura, but he there was good in him which was only uncovered by love, compassion and forgiveness. He had lived a difficult life; abandoned and abused as a child. He had a rotten family. Those things colored his view on life and made him believe he only had one path he could take.
But when Laura came along and actually loved him, his potential opened up, hurts were healed, other paths revealed and a life was reborn. Love caused a metamorphosis in Luke. And I've since seen the same phenomenon in my own family, in my own circle of friends - there are people who do bad, ugly things, who have the ability to be redeemed and to take a new direction if someone will love them and give them the chance to change. Luke was drawn to Laura, in part, because she could show him the way out of the black hole he'd been trapped inside. Perhaps a good New Year's goal for all of us is to strive to be a light for someone that is lost in darkness and to love them into a fresh start? But I digress...
Anthony Geary is a gem. They could never, ever recast that role. All those things form the past 30 years are in his eyes every day in every scene he plays. And it's not just his dramatic skills that I adore, his comedy over the years, much of it reportedly ad-libbed, never fails to delight me. Some of his lines are so good I mentally file them away for future use. Like this one which he used to describe GH, but can be used in a plethora of scenario's... "The only difference between this place and the Titanic is they had a band." : HA! Sure, Luke is still a little rough around the edges, and will never be tamed. He hates the law, swills too much booze, rejects all attempts to control him, vanishes for months at a time and can't be counted on. And I'm crazy about him. As far as antiheroes go, he's my very favorite.
All this to say that in any given year, the best part of GH for me will always, always, always be Luke Spencer.
Okay, now that I got my glowing tribute to Tony Geary out of the way, let's move along to the rest of the best of 2007. Let's Start Shallow...
Best Hair: Without a doubt, Megan Ward's Kate Howard. Her mesmerizing 'do sent many ladies, myself included, to the salon with a photo of her tucked in our purses. And hair aside, the character of Kate has been a great addition to the GH cast. Sonny needed a new love interest and the idea to bring back his long lost love from Benson Hurst was brilliant. Of course, we were stunned to discover that Sonny had been dumped in his past. But hey, he hadn't unleashed his magic sperm on her yet, so she still had enough wits about her to bolt. When I see Kate in her element, the fashion industry, she's just the sort of woman I detest. When I see her barking orders at her employees and talking to them like worms, I loathe her. But when she's with Sonny, and allows her guard to drop, she's spectacular. She is the first of Sonny's women to have her own career, her own life outside of him prior to their involvement, and she has a backbone. The scenes she has shared with the fabulously entertaining Carolyn Hennesy as mob lawyer Diane Miller never fail to make me laugh. Two great characters played by two delightfully talented actors.
Best Sweeps: No other Daytime Drama does Sweeps like GH. Those big storylines meant to boost ratings during the critical ratings sweeps are something viewers anticipate because for at least two times a year, we are treated to some seriously Must See TV. Our first Sweeps storyline of 2007 was the hostage crisis at the Metro Court. It was done in "24" style, in which each episode signified 1 hour of a 24 hour day, so for weeks we were on the edge of our seats as the maniacal "Mr. Craig" played cat and mouse with the hostages; randomly shooting Robin, forcing Carly, Liz and Em to operate on her with a steak knife or something, Liz finally admitting to Jason that he was her baby's Daddy when it seemed they would not get out of the Metro Court alive, Mr. Craig cruelly leaving Alan in mid heart attack refusing him medical care...I didn't touch my Tivo fast forward button one time during the whole storyline. There were no expendable scenes; I was riveted for an hour a day for 16 straight days. Other soaps try to do this and fail. This year for instance, Y and R had the Clear Springs parking garage collapse, and I *did* use my fast forward button a lot...
And the Metro Court Hostage crisis was just the first major event storyline of the year. In the fall, we were treated to the Black and White Ball saga, where crazed maniac Anthony Zacchara played with unexpected brilliance by Bruce Weitz, best known for his role as Belker on Hill Street Blues, went on a rampage of shooting and mayhem terrorizing the guests of what was to be a celebratory night. Ric was stabbed and needed to get blood transfusion from brother and arch enemy Sonny, using what I can only imagine was a Bic pen with the ink cartridge removed, strung together with some leftover Starbucks straws, and some duct tape. Luke had a heart attack, Maxie and Lulu were both nearly escaped death at nut job Anthony's hand, and Nikolas woke up next to a lifeless Emily unable to remember whether or not he killed her. I know in my descriptions of both events have left out a lot of details, but that's the thing that made these storylines so fantastic. So much happened we could barely keep up. They didn't bore us, and for those of you like me with an adult A.D.D. like attention span, not being bored is a very good thing.
Best Trend; Legacy Characters. Hey, GH writers, are you out there??? I am sorry for your current difficulties, I am rooting for you, and I hope your strike is settled soon. I want to thank you for what you do. Sure, sometimes when you come up with a lame idea, I mock you, but you would mock me too if the situations were reversed. But all in all, you do fine work, day after day, year after year. You make me happy and I want to thank you.
I particularly want to thank you this year for remembering GH history The writers returned our beloved Laura to us for an all too brief reunion (See next week's column for the "Worst Of" where this will be mentioned again...) Genie Francis is still a passionate gleaming light whenever she is on screen. We also got back some beloved characters from the past -Robert Scorpio, Anna Devane, Dr. Noah Drake (and his Doppelganger Eli Love) Felicia Jones, Scott Baldwin and some of our recurring vets like Monica, Bobbie and Lesley even got actual lines to speak and storylines that lasted more than 4 seconds. Thanks for that. Not to mention Ned and Dillon who made appearances in town for the sad events of Emily and Georgie's funerals.
I thought perhaps I only found delight in the return of those characters because I was old and nostalgic, but oddly enough when I said that in a column I got dozens of letters from younger viewers that said "No, it's not just you, I am 16 and I love Laura, I see why everyone still talks about her." Etc. Apparently there are many other enlightened and savvy viewers who value substance over flash. GH has done a great thing in bringing back some fan favorites from the past, but at the same time, they have done a horrible thing by killing off several key characters and bringing in one dimensional cardboard cutouts in their place, but hey, the worst of is next week so I'll stop there.
Best Ghost: While we are on the topic of legacy characters, I would be remiss if I didn't mention Stuart Damon's entertaining turn a Ghost (or Tracy's conscience as the case may be.) He has certainly given a lot more material to work with in the afterlife than he did as a living breathing man. Damon's comedic timing is perfect and it's great to see him having a chance to have so much fun. Jane Elliott has been perfect in this, too - when people come into a room and find her talking to herself and she quickly tries to cover the fact she's been bickering with a ghost. Priceless.
Best Nerd: I've said it before and I'll say it again. I love nerds, but none more than Damian Spinelli. The person who writes Spinelli's lines is smarter than I am. I know this because I have had to Google things before that have tumbled out of Spinelli's mouth. When he started calling Carly the Valkyrie, I had no idea what or whom that referred to and had to Google it to find out. I got an education in Norse mythology thanks to Spinelli. How many characters on soaps have lines you have to Google to understand? While so much dialogue is trite and predictable, Spinelli's brilliantly crafted lines and nuanced delivery has become a very bright spot on GH. As his character has evolved from just a computer nerd to a fully fleshed out 3 dimensional guy, Bradford Anderson's portrayal brings me utter joy every single day. Sometimes I think they overuse him, but I can understand that, I bet the writer's have a ball coming up with his dialogue. His recent heartbreaking performances as he realized Georgie was in love with him only after her murder have had me thanking God or Max Factor or whomever it was who came up with the idea of waterproof mascara.
Best New Bad Boys: I truly loathe some of the new cast additions, but there are 2 new bad boys that have grown on me. Logan Hayes and Johnny Zacchara. A perfect bit of casting to have Josh Duhon playing Kin Shriner's long lost son. Their physical similarities are uncanny. Logan's on again, off again romance with Lulu is fun to watch, but then again, I like her with even badder boy Johnny, too. To those of you unfamiliar with GH history, this triangle is a nod to the Scott/Laura/Luke triangle of days gone by. A second generation of unrequited love for someone, but we just aren't sure who will lose Lulu just yet.
I am 4 pages in and my husband just looked at me and said "Tammy, stop writing. No one wants to read that much." He may be right. There are so many more things I loved about GH this year, but I can't really write a novel about it, now can I? I loved Jax and Carly's relationship. I loved Kirsten Storms work after Georgie's murder. I loved Skye's turn as an angel guiding Luke through his warped version of Hell. I loved to hate the sinister Trevor Lansing. I loved Julie Marie Berman's soulful and passionate Lulu. I loved Lindze Letherman's tender performance as Georgie nursed a crush on Spinelli. I loved Steve Burton's pained expressions at Emily's funeral. I loved Maurice Benard's sparkling eyes and flashing dimples when he's with Kate. I loved Robin's vulnerability when she went to Patrick after Georgie's memorial service. I love the utter charm of Sebastian Roche that allowed me to love Jerry and hate Mr. Craig even though they are the same guy. (And now apparently he's Mr. Moreau, too. But again, the 'Worst Of' is next week.) I loved Liz and Jason's one-night stand, although it leads to so much heartache. I love General Hospital and Port Charles and I wish I could go to Kelly's Diner and have a bowl of that famous chili.
But then, you guys already knew that, right? What were YOUR favorite moments of 2007? I'd love to hear from you.
Happy New Year, with great affection, Tamilu
What will happen in 2008?