This is part one of a special two-part year-end Two Scoops showcasing the best and worst of General Hospital in 2009. In this installment, Tamilu looks at the best of the year gone by. Click here for part two -- and a look at the things that didn't quite work in 2009.
We've put together a special year-end list of the top ten most-read Two Scoops columns over the past 12 months. To check out the list and see what came out on top, please click here.
On Thanksgiving week, I wrote a column listing the reasons I was thankful for General Hospital. I have gotten a huge response to that column. In fact, even though it was nearly a month ago, I am still receiving letters about the Thanksgiving column this week.
Why? Because that thankfulness is something we all share. We love this show. We love the characters. We love the stories. We love talking about it to our friends via e-mail, Twitter, Soap Central message board forums, or Facebook; we have formed our own community, which revolves around our adoration for General Hospital.
I started watching General Hospital in the late 70's. Laura was with Scott Baldwin, Bobbie was a student nurse and her brother, Luke, had just wandered into town. Monica was married to Alan but had a little sumpin' sumpin' going on with Rick Weber, and Jessie Brewer manned the nurses' station. They even had a groovy disco in town!
Now with more than 30 years invested in GH, the canvas has changed. The disco paved the way for Jake's and the Haunted Star, Luke is married to Tracy, Scott and Laura are presumably together again in Paris, Monica is a widow, and Jessie has moved on to that big nurses' station in the sky.
People come and go, I absorb the changes. I love this show, and so do you. Certainly I find holes in plots and things to make fun of,; I point them out every week, but it's all in good fun. My mockery is akin to teasing someone you're in love with about their quirks, knowing all the while that even if they never change, you would never leave them.
Every time I hear about another soap being cancelled, I get a little heartsick. It's not that people have stopped caring about good stories, or that they are bored with romance, intrigue, and passion. It's not that the acting is bad, because any episode of "They Started on Soaps" is proof that Daytime TV has been the proving ground for many an award -winning actor.
Why aren't people watching? The analysts all have reasons:, too many cable channels, more women working during the day, blah, blah, blah. But sometimes I think it's our fault as viewers. We keep our love for our soaps to ourselves like it's our dirty little secret. We need to rethink that. We need to become evangelists and spread the word. We need to do it passionately. We need to say to our friends, "Oh my gosh, you're kidding! You don't watch General Hospital? You HAVE to see it." If we each got one friend to watch GH we could double the audience and maybe save its life!
Perhaps having someone of James Franco's stature on the show will help. When a famous movie star accepts a role on daytime, it legitimizes the art form. He's not some down on his luck actor taking a role on GH as a last resort; he's at the top of his game and made a conscious choice to take part in the show.
His storyline is unlike anything we've ever seen before; very few daytime villains are just plain psycho, but from what we have seen so far, Franco appears to be just that. He's a serial killer who poses dead bodies and turns them into objects of art for the truly demented art fan and gets away with it. He's obsessed with a mob hit man and fancies Jason "a fellow artist." Creepy!
On my "best" list is the word "Suspense." It's very rare that I can't predict what is going to happen next in any given soap plot, but I have to admit this storyline has me on my toes wondering how it will unfold. Normally I am a spoiler ho' trying to get my hands on any hints and inside scoop about what will happen next. But right now, I am avoiding them like the plague. I'm riveted, and want to stay that way. Who is Franco and what does he really want? Aand what horrible thing is he planning?
I know I whine about the mob violence, (and will do more of that in next week's "Worst Of" column.), but on the upside, we at least see that these characters pay the consequences for their evil deeds. Jason can't be with his son. Sonny just buried another wife. There are no happy endings for our resident criminals.
It's challenging to take an entire year of shows and boil themit down into a few paragraphs of what was best -- but I will take a shot and paint in broad strokes.
The kids...?When I first read that GH planned to S.O.R.A.S. Michael, I was peeved. But Drew Garrett reeled me in on his first day awake from the coma and has never let me go. The kid is a powerhouse who can hold his own with the likes of Maurice Benard, Steve Burton, and Laura Wright. The aged Kristina (Lexi Ainsworth), Morgan (Aaron Refvem), and Molly (Haley Alexis Pullos) are also great additions to the cast this year. I have thoroughly enjoyed all of their scenes. Having genuine interaction from the kids has brought a real sense of family to the show and all of these kids are magnificent, so kudos to the Casting Director.
I was also thrilled beyond measure when I heard GH was bringing back Jonathan Jackson to the role of Lucky. I think you will agree that this Friday's episode proved my point about the powerful use of flashbacks as Liz and Lucky recalled the night she was raped and how their story began.
Bringing Jackson back gave us back the history and the connection of this couple and revived the magic of their bond. Jonathan Jackson has a soulfulness that has revitalized Lucky's relationships with every character he encounters. I am thrilled he is back. Now for the way Jackson was brought back and Greg Vaughn's casual dismissal, see next week's "Worst Of" column?...
The new character of Dominic/Dante has also really livened up the joint for me. Dominic Zamprogna was a real find. Dante, secret love child of Sonny and Olivia, he embodies the best of both of them. He has Sonny's irresistible charm and Olivia's kindness and character -- a double whammy.
We are waiting breathlessly for Sonny to find out Dante is his son, but the lead -up has been a very well written storyline on its own. It's been fleshed out into three dimensions. Dominic came to town with a very black -and -white attitude about Sonny, but now sees lots of gray area as he discovers Sonny is a nice guy, and a good dad who just happens to be in the mob for his day job. He doesn't know Sonny is his dad, but he has developed an affection for Sonny.
As we watch Dante wrestle with the convictions between his head and heart, I find that I am not impatiently twitching or yelling at my TV waiting for Sonny to know the truth. I am enjoying the journey on this one. That's due in part to Dante's likeability as a character and also to his budding romance with Lulu. She's never had a love interest that was so well suited for her. Dillon was too nice, Milo too stupid, Spinelli too quirky, and Johnny too dark. Dante strikes a balance and the two of them have crazy chemistry together.
My other favorite love match of the year wasn't very promising when it first began -- Olivia and Johnny. I didn't think it would last; it had all the earmarks of a one -night stand. Olivia is much older than Johnny, and wanted to stay clear of the mob. Johnny is in the mob, and coincidentally, one of the people her son the cop is poised to arrest. But even after Johnny found that out, and realized Olivia had been keeping secrets from him, he decided he wanted to try toand find a way to work through it. They are delicious together.
Okay, I am already bracing myself for hate mail. I know this next statement will make about half of you really angry, but I was pleased with the reunion of Jason and Sam. While I liked Jason and Elizabeth as a couple, they never really were a couple. After it became clear they were never going to actually be together, just sneaking around for quickies once a month, I was over it. I would rather see Jason with someone than with no one. Sam fits Jason. She doesn't cower in a corner when danger comes; she is right beside him, guns blazing. They make a good team and in my mind, that's worth something. If you meet someone who loves and accepts you just as you are and doesn't want you to change a single thing, hang on to them with both hands.
Readers, there are so many things I liked about GH in 2009. The show found its way again. After a lackluster season, it came roaring back, and I have to give credit to the writers for steering the ship back home.
I loved the reemergence of female friendships. Carly found in Olivia her first girlfriend since Courtney died in Olivia. They evenr compared notes on Sonny without Carly's claws extending. Sure, they are spatting at present, but I hope they reconcile soon. The Diane/Alexis friendship is one of the most enjoyable parts of the show thanks to the wit, charm, and humor of Carolyn Hennesy and Nancy Lee Grahn. Maxie and Lulu have hated and loved each other over the past year, but anytime it's counted, they had each other's back. I am blessed to have a friend like that in my life and I hope you do, too.
General Hospital does the best sweeps storylines, period. I can say this with authority since I watch several soaps and no one comes close to the creative and inventive things GH does with its major event storylines.
No other daytime drama had a dude swallow a sphere full of biotoxin that made the entire staff collapse when they cut into him. No other show had a charity carnival where a beloved character was drugged and ran his car into carnival rides and made them collapse on people. No other show has a serial killer who masquerades as an artist. General Hospital always knows how to turn up the heat when needed. And that, my friends, is why I get so crazy when it's not sweeps time and they get lazy, because I know what they are capable of writing!
GH has done a great job in 2009 of bringing a little levity back to the show so it's not so darned depressing all the time. The karaoke nights, Maxie and Spinelli's "Non-Wedding,", the Mac/Alexis flirtation, the Coleman/ Kate unlikely friendship, and the delightfully entertaining rapport between Luke and his new son, Ethan, all spring to mind.
Ethan?...First off, let me say I love Nathan Parsons. He and Tony Geary working together are delightful. They sparkle together. But I'm not sure if the writers are sure what they want to do with Ethan yet. He has gone from lovable scoundrel to creepy stalker when Rebecca fell for Nikck and now keeps randomly bumping into teenage Kristina, which scares me a little. I am happy he's there; I think he's a great addition to the cast, but I want the writers to flesh the character out a bit more in 2010. But again, the fact that he exists at all will be explored more next week under the "I hate when they rewrite history" section.
Another "best of" for me was Jax finally getting a healthy baby! About time, ehay? The guy has wanted a kid for years. But sadly, Jax has been a bonehead and continues to be a bonehead, so I fear his happy family with Carly, Michael, Morgan, and Josscelyn is in jeopardy.
Claudia's death is a tough call. Should it be on the "best" or "worst" list? I am hard -pressed to answer that one. While her death opened the door to some amazing storylines for about half of the cast, the way she died was brutal. Even though she was selfish and did horrible things, I confess I was kind of rooting for Claudia's redemption. I saw a glimpse of who she could become when she was pregnant and I wanted to follow that path with her. But it was not meant to be.
One of my friends told me I see people's potential instead of who they really are. He meant it as a slam, but I actually like that about myself. I am the same way with GH characters. I think things like "If someone just loved poor Helena, she might turn into a really nice Grandma."
Another best: Jams. My sincere thanks to whoever picks the music for the show. From Adam Lambert's "Mad World" to Ryan Webster's "Smile," to Teddy Thompson's "I Should Get Up" and Jayson Belt's version of "Just You and Me," my ears were happy all year.
It was a delightful year to be a fan of GH, and I urge you all to make 2010 the year you recruit some new viewers so our favorite show isn't the next one on the chopping block. What were your favorite moments of the year? I'd love to hear.
Those of you who follow me on Twitter have already seen this, but I want to share it with all of my beloved readers:
My Christmas List for GH characters:
For Maxie and Elizabeth: Sself- cControl over their junk.
For Lucky:- to just once live up to his name. Oh, and a Cclue.
For Nikolas: - an arsonist to burn down the obviously cursed castle.
For Luke-: for Laura to get her butt home from France. How long does French brain therapy take, anyway?
For Kristina-: a tTazer to use on Kiefer next times he tried to slap her around.
For Robin,: a baby holder you put in a snowy tree.
For Spinelli...: shares of stock in the Orange Crush company.
For Ronnie and Dante,: their own washing machine and dryer.
For Carly,: stain proofing for her white furniture before Jocesslyn starts drooling on it.
For Mac,: a drunken Alexis wearing just a bow.
For Rebecca,: a new guy who hasn't dated, married, slept with, or been friends with her identical dead twin sister.
For Coleman,: a very tipsy Kate and a power outage.
Until next time, please be sure to check out the other year-end Two Scoops columns for other soaps. All of the columnists are taking the next two weeks to reflect on the best and worst of 2009. It's definitely a fun read -- even if you aren't familiar with all of the soaps!
Plus, feel free to head over to the Soap Central message boards and join in the discussion about the highs and lows of the year gone by. And, if you're feeling prolific, start your own blog and offer your own take on the Two Scoops' best and worst edition. If we like what you write, you might just see your comments posted here!