Finding the way I want to spin my thoughts on GH this week is a challenge because I'm currently having a love/hate relationship with the show.
Baby Josslyn Jacks was diagnosed with cancer, which required a kidney transplant or chemo. Toddler Jake Webber was playing in the street and was run down by a presumably drunk driver. Jake dies. Josslyn gets his organs. Hmm...why does that sound so familiar?
Oh yeah, 20 years ago, Maxie Jones was diagnosed with a heart condition, her little cousin B.J. Jones was killed in a school bus crash, and Maxie got her organs.
Readers, I hate the writing. I hate that the current writers have not only recycled the B.J./Maxie storyline and passed it off as their own, but worse, watered it down and diluted it. I hate that they wrote it in such a way as to sever ties between Liz and Jason. I hate that they made Luke the driver that killed Jake even though I know he'll sink his teeth into the storyline and win another Emmy for his work. I hate that we're losing Tyler Christopher instead of GH making Lisa, Terrell, Siobhan, Brook Lynn, Abby, May a, Suzanne, Theo, or any of the other fringe characters the driver. If you have to trim your daytime budget, ABC, why keep bringing on new actors to pay that we aren't connected to and firing the ones we love?
I hate that they told this story so fast -- we found out Josslyn had cancer and the next day she had a transplant surgery. C'mon, really? I've taken a plethora of writing classes and "suspense" is high on the list of desired traits in storytelling. Let us wring our hands for a week or two, worrying about Josslyn's fate instead of diagnosing her one day and curing her the next day. We never got a chance to *care* about her illness or go through the process with Jax and Carly. I tweeted this and one reader wrote back "Well, she would have had to start chemo right away." Um, only because the writers wrote it that way... They could just as easily have said, "You only have a week or so to decide before we start a course of treatment."
They took an old storyline from GH's rich history, wrote a chopped-up Reader's Digest Condensed version of it, and tossed it out to the cast.
Dear readers, this is where the love kicks in...The cast of GH has taken this lazy writing and acted their hearts out. I knew Jake's death was coming. I wrote about it in my column two weeks ago. The day it happened, I was anticipating it, and yet when it happened, I wept. I openly sobbed. The cast of GH wrung every single emotion out of the material they were given. I don't even know where to begin heaping praise; Steve Burton, Jonathan Jackson, Rebecca Herbst, Laura Wright, and Tony Geary all showed exactly why they are worth the amount of money that ABC wants to fire them for making. GH is blessed with a remarkable cast who obviously open veins in their own souls for our viewing pleasure.
Steve Burton's haunting portrayal of Jason's quiet grief, Jonathan Jackson exploding as Lucky's seething rage against the driver who hit his son kicks in, Rebecca Herbst's heartbreaking scenes of Elizabeth's remorse as she blames herself for letting her baby walk out the door into the street unnoticed, Laura Wright breathing new life into Carly with guilt and shame as she realizes she might have been the driver that hit Jake, Tony Geary digging deep and allowing us to watch Luke painfully reliving Lucky's "death" by fire all reduced me to a whimpering blob on my sofa. I watch a lot of soaps, and if there is a better cast on Daytime TV than on GH, I haven't found it.
Each and every scene last week packed an emotional wallop, but even as my heart was feeling the emotions the actors portrayed so raw and real and convincingly, my head was asking questions like "Where is Bobbie when her granddaughter is having a kidney transplant and her nephew has died?" "Where is Monica, to comfort Jason? She knew Jake was his son." "Laura wouldn't have taken a flight from Paris to comfort her son when he lost a child?" "Morgan (please bring back Aaron Revfem. Please.) wouldn't have visited the hospital to see Josslyn after surgery?" "Where on Earth is Gram? Audrey, who worked at GH for 40 years, can't find her way there anymore? Liz's sister Sarah? Her dad, Jeff Webber?"
That's another reason I loathe the writing on GH right now -- they have destroyed the show's core families. When events like this happen, which call for family solidarity, the fact half of the family has been fired makes that hard to achieve. It makes the storyline a little hollow when the depth of family ties has been all but eliminated in Port Charles.
I am the first to admit this storyline was powerful to watch, but it's despicable. As I said in my last column, all the writers on GH should mail Claire Labine half their paychecks, since they ripped off a storyline she wrote 20 years ago and recycled it.
Rumor has it Sam will turn up pregnant, so apparently Jason will forget his dead son and Elizabeth when a new baby appears. Eventually Liz will open up the paternity test results, and Lucky will find out Aiden is his and probably won't mind anymore that he lost Jake. Luke will go to drunk-driving rehab (thereby facilitating his next six-week vacation), come back a new man, and promise he will never drink again. Six months from now, Lucky (and the whole town) will forgive him for driving drunk and running over Jake. Nikolas will be crushed that Aiden isn't his and will take Spencer to live with Granny Helena in Greece. Carly will forget the heart she discovered this week and return to being the petty and unbearable shrew they have written her to be. "Blech!" to all of that. I hope I'm wrong, but fear I'm not.
There were so many standout scenes this week, I don't know how to mention them all without taking 12 pages to write this column -- Lucky and Elizabeth waiting to hear Jake's fate in the hospital, Lucky and Jason simultaneously crying over their shared son (that one put me over the edge), Carly confessing to Jason she thought she was the driver who hit Jake, Luke remembering the loss he felt when he thought Lucky had died, Patrick's guilt over being unable to save Jake on the operating table, Spinelli and Jason hugging, Cameron asking if Jake could ride horses when he got back from heaven -- oh my goodness, it was a cry-fest all week. Love/hate. Hate/love. I honestly can't decide which side of the line to land upon.
If anything good came from this, it's the long overdue reunion of Robin and Patrick. Finally! But, as Lisa pointed out, she won't go quietly, so heaven knows what torture she still has in store for Robin and Patrick. While I love Brianna Brown, I'm done with Lisa Niles. I want Johnnie back with Olivia, and for Lisa and Terrell to go back to Houston so Nikolas can stay.
I can't decide if the powers that be are deliberately trying to kill the show, like the Cleveland Indians owner in Major League, or if it's truly budget-driven. If the show is broke, they could do a PSA and say, "GH is broke, and we need you each to pay a dollar a week to watch it" -- I'd cough up my dollar, wouldn't you? I mean, assuming our millions of dollars could keep the actors we love on staff and hire a decent writer...Is the only way for the show to save money by firing or killing off beloved stars?
Sonny and Brenda are happily on their honeymoon, unaware any of this is happening, but I can't imagine that someone doesn't know how to reach Sonny -- both Sonny and Brenda would want to comfort Jason, so I am anticipating those scenes.
It's bad when seeing a serial killer makes you happy, but the video of Franco on Carly's phone was almost welcome -- I want to stop crying. Sure, Franco is creepy, but at least he doesn't make me cry. Supposedly, Jason will have to stay with Carly to protect her and Josslyn from Franco, which will give him something productive to do in his time of mourning. (Right after he confronts Luke at gunpoint.)
It's going to be a rough season on GH. Stock up on the Puffs Plus.
What will happen tomorrow, dear readers? Will ABC give Luke the chair since Tony Geary's salary after being on the show for 30 years is high? Will ABC say they have saved Tyler Christoher's job and then fire Ingo Rademacher -- use the old "bait and switch" on us again? Will Gram, Bobbie, and Monica show up to Jake's funeral? Will Jake even get a funeral? Will someone tell the kids who play Aiden, Emma, and Josslyn to watch their backs because GH likes to kill off toddlers? Will the Daytime Emmys just yell "Uncle" and give the whole GH cast an Emmy now?