How low can you go?

For the Week of May 11, 2009
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When a show starts hemorrhaging viewers, do the powers that be ever ask why? Do they even notice?

It used to be that General Hospital hovered in the # 2 spot behind the # 1 rated Young and the Restless. I got a listing today of the ratings for Daytime Dramas, and General Hospital has managed to shimmy its way down to 7th place, right above the recently cancelled Guiding Light. Do you suppose that concerns anyone over at ABC? The Young and the Restless had 3.4 million viewers last week. GH had 1.6 million, or about half of its former audience.

When a show starts hemorrhaging viewers, do the powers that be ever ask why? Do they even notice? I have been writing about GH over five years now and I had some readers who were total GH devotees back then who gave up on the show after having watched it for months, years, and decades.

Cast changes, budget cuts, changes in writers and producer, convoluted vision and no focus eats away at a viewers love for the show. Take any night time show - let's say 24. If next week we tuned in and Jack Bauer was no longer Kiefer Sutherland but instead a 20 year old Asian guy, people would stop watching. It wouldn't matter if the 20 year old Asian guy was a good or a bad actor, it would only matter that he wasn't Kiefer Sutherland. Daytime doesn't seem to get that.

GH has an embarrassment of riches in the acting department, but they rarely write scenes worthy of the talent they have. They have a room full of brilliant actors lined up willing to play the hell out of a decent scene. How many times can Ric waltz into Sonny's living room to threaten Claudia before the whole viewing audience says "Oh God, this again?" and changes the channel?

This week, Michael may wake up from his coma, but it's not Dylan Cash, the 12 year old red haired boy, the Michael we have followed for years. It's some 17 year old blond kid to whom we have no connection. He might be a great actor, but at this point, I'm not riveted by the idea.

Natalia Livingston is back on canvas as Rebecca Shaw instead of Emily and might be some plastic surgery clone bought and paid for by Helena. Sure, we like the actress, but we liked her playing Emily. For all we know, she could be an aged Spencer that got a sex change. If Rebecca turns out to be scamming Nikolas, loyal fans of Nikolas and Emily will feel cheated and some will stop watching the show. Is anyone listening out there?

And some things are jus so forced, what sort of people don't knock? Mike bursts into Rebecca's place while she and Nik are "painting" and then lectures them about getting involved. Nikolas burst into her room without knocking the night she was making out with Lucky, too. Have you ever walked into anyone's house outside of your family and just barged into their home uninvited and then yelled at them for having sex? No, me neither.

Kate forcing Johnny to date Maxie is just ludicrous. Not to mention boring. Johnny is a really interesting character; please find something more for him to do than that. Besides, I'm rooting for Maxie and Spinelli. I want them back together for so many reasons I can't begin to list them. Yes, Maxie is selfish and vain. But she's also loyal - let's not forget that it was Maxie who walked into a burning building to rescue Spinelli during the hospital fire. They keep coming up with implausible scenarios to keep them apart and throw them together and it just makes me angry.

Kate is a wasted character these days. The only reason she moved to Port Charles was to be with Sonny, so since they have parted ways, she should move her magazine back to Manhattan. Watching Lulu and Maxie shuffling papers and making phone calls at their desks is dull. I can watch myself do that at my desk all day.

On the other hand, Kate's cousin Olivia has had some great scenes with Sonny lately. Once he dumps Claudia, I wouldn't mind seeing an Olivia/Sonny pairing. I keep wondering when and if they will bring in Dante, but I think 3 crisis situations is more than Sonny can bear. I kind of wish Sonny would stop taking his meds and throw his brandy snifter at the wall. I miss the days when he broke stuff all willy nilly.

Since they have aged Michael, they are supposedly going to age Morgan and Kristina, too. If there is any justice, they will age Emma Drake, too, so she can run away from home. That will free Robin up to go back to being a slightly bitchy doctor instead of a totally bitchy PPD Mom.

I am so happy Robin got shipped off to rehab. I would rather see Matt and Patrick bumbling through shared fatherhood than one more second of Robin. In fact, if Kimberly McCullough got a job on another show, I wouldn't shed a tear. I'd much rather have Genie Francis and Emma Samms, back.

Is Ethan Luke's son? Did Tracy doctor the DNA tests? It appears that way since she went into a cold sweat when she saw Lulu kissing the dude who might actually be her brother. If it turns out Ethan is Lulu's brother, she will have to buy a vat of Listerine to rinse her mouth of brother germs. As for me, I hope Ethan is Luke's son.

Luke's other son Lucky is finally living up to his name a bit, it appears Elizabeth and Lucky are going to give their love one more try. I know there are many fans of Liz and Jason who will be upset by this, but the writers aren't going to give us Jason and Liz, so I'd rather see Liz and Lucky back together than have them both alone. Of course, if Lucky was still Jonathan Jackson it would be even sweeter, because I don't think Greg Vaughn sings and plays guitar. I want to hear that "Elizabeth" song again. If you're dying to know what I'm talking about... Thank you God for YouTube.

Carly had to make the hardest of choices this week, which doctor do you believe when your child's life is on the line? One says "wait" one says "act." And she chose to trust Patrick. We all know it was the right choice, Michael will indeed wake up. But anyone who has had a sick loved one understands the horrible pressure of making such a call. Now the extended Corinthos/Jax clan sits in the waiting room waiting for news on Michael.

Claudia is prancing around the waiting room like an idiot instead of laying low, demanding her place as Sonny's wife. They keep writing her dumber and dumber. Jax and Jason could blow her out of the water at any minute, and yet she digs in her heels and pushes the envelope. I can't decide what to do with Claudia. Should she get stuck with Ric? Take over Faith Roscoe's old role as Mafia Queen-pin? Turn over a new leaf and really be a good Mom to her baby? Too bad Anthony and Trevor are gone, Claudia had a lot more reason to exist when those two were around.

What will happen tomorrow dear readers? Will Claudia and Carly run into one another buying Maternity clothes at Baby's R Us? Will Michael wake up and not remember who he is and change his name to Michael Quartermaine? Will Ethan go on the run and start doing a German accent and calling himself Dr. Von Schemerman? Will Maxie win back Spinelli and learn to be faithful instead of a lusty trollop? Will Johnny sing Greased Lightning while he is fixing up cars in his garage?

Only tomorrow knows dear readers and I will tune in tomorrow as long as there are tomorrows.

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Two Scoops is an opinion column. The views expressed are not designed to be indicative of the opinions of Soap Central or its advertisers. The Two Scoops section allows our Scoop staff to discuss what might happen and what has happened, and to share their opinions on all of it. They stand by their opinions and do not expect others to share the same point of view.

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