Arrivederci, darling

For the Week of July 27, 2015
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GH Two Scoops: Arrivederci, darling
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As General Hospital bids farewell to iconic character Luke Spencer, the drama heated up off-screen when it was announced that head writer Ron Carlivati would be following Tony Geary out the door. Where does that leave our storylines and where do we go from here? Our columnist dishes about the news and shines a spotlight on the best parts of General Hospital.

Well, dear readers, it's been quite a wild ride at General Hospital this week, both on-screen and off.

All the notes I had at the beginning of the week were chucked out the window when a flurry of surprising news stories broke over the course of 72 hours that left this GH fan's head spinning.

In an unexpected twist, ABC announced on Friday that Ron Carlivati was out as GH's head writer, and soap scribes Jean Passanante and Shelly Altman were in. Sure, GH's ratings had taken a pretty hard hit lately, but I never anticipated that Frank Valentini would take such swift and drastic action as firing the head writer.

All of this news came on the heels of Tony Geary's rather scathing exit interview with TV Insider a few days earlier, where Tony made some pretty harsh remarks about Ron. Admittedly, I was disappointed that Tony had opted to burn a few bridges on his way out rather than exit gracefully, but that's because I'm not one to air my dirty laundry in public.

It seemed unnecessary for Tony to lash out at Ron by complaining about the way the scripts were written, especially since one of those scripts earned Tony a Daytime Emmy earlier this year. I also thought it was a bit petty of Tony to mention that Ron hadn't talked to him while they sat beside each other during the awards show because that was a personal matter, which should have been addressed privately.

Tony should have taken a page from the ever-gracious and exceedingly classy Susan Lucci, who bid him a special farewell. That's how people in the industry should treat each other. Tearing one another down over creative differences makes everyone look bad.

My heart broke for Ron because, whether you liked his work or not, the man had a brutal week when there was reason to celebrate because the ratings had rebounded for the week of July 6. What happened that week? Well, Luke, Laura, and Lucky found little Jake; Dante was unfaithful; Ava shared her secret with Franco; and Tracy bumped into her ex-husband Paul Hornsby.

I liked Ron's writing, so I have no doubt that someone will snatch him up quickly. They would be a fool not to.

Was Ron perfect? No, no one is. There were some areas in need of improvement. For too long, we've had sex-mance rather than romance, endless flashbacks, couples who found happiness only to be shoved into a corner until someone came along to tear them apart, and a few issues with continuity and pacing. As one of my friends put it, it was as if GH suffered from attention deficit disorder.

Overall, though, the show was good, which was why I was disappointed by Tony's complete lack of gratitude. It wasn't that long ago when he sang Ron's praises for penning the Dark Luke storyline, which dragged on forever because Tony had been forced to take an extended leave for back surgery. By the time he returned, I was so over the Dark Luke storyline that I no longer cared why Luke was acting the way he was. However, Ron managed to salvage the mess with one brilliant episode when Luke learned the truth about the fateful day his parents died, which I'm sure will earn Tony another Daytime Emmy.

Unlike Tony, I loved that little Jake is back from the dead because I thought it had been a pointless death to start with. It was all about Luke, not Jake's parents, and it ultimately didn't change Luke one iota. He continued to behave irresponsibly, shamelessly drank without a smidgen of remorse, and blamed the accident on speeding and being distracted.

I hated that Luke never considered that if he had been sober, he might not have been too distracted to notice the blond toddler in front of the home where his three grandchildren lived. At the very least, he might have realized that he had hit something.

I drove over a moderate-sized pothole in my Explorer the other day and felt it, so I can't imagine running over a small child without realizing it.

As far as I'm concerned, Jake being alive didn't redeem Luke. Luke still climbed behind the wheel of a car while under the influence of alcohol, drove recklessly, and hit a child. That he didn't kill Jake is simply a miracle -- likely aided by one of Helena and Victor's handy cryogenic chambers.

For me, Jake being found alive was a matter of righting a terrible wrong, and for that, I will forever be grateful to Ron.

Questions continue to pour in about how it's possible that no one recognized that the child on the operating table wasn't Jake, but I have personal experience with seeing someone on life support following a horrific crash.

The first time I saw my sixteen-year-old sister on life support following her crash, I was shocked. I would not have recognized her if it hadn't been for the nurses. Her blonde hair had been matted and dark from whatever they used to clean her up. Her face was swollen and bruised beyond recognition, and of course there were tubes and wires everywhere. On top of that, there was the shock, fear, and grief to deal with, so yeah, it's quite possible to mistake another for a loved one under those circumstances.

There have been documented cases it, including one where a family sat vigil at their daughter's beside without realizing that it was, in fact, her friend.

I wouldn't put it past Helena to murder a child or abduct one on life support to carry out an agenda to torture Luke. Helena killed her own daughter in cold blood and made several attempts on her youngest son's life. With Victor's help, Helena could accomplish anything including getting her hands on a child who would be a donor match to Josslyn.

However, something is definitely off with little Jake. How could it not be when he was kept a prisoner on Cassadine Island with only a cook, nanny, and Helena for company? I hope Elizabeth is wise enough to get that child into counseling pronto because if anyone knows the extent of Helena's evilness, it's Liz.

Naturally, Sam is eager for Danny to meet his big brother, which I completely understand. However, there's a big problem with that little scenario. Little Jake has been told that Lucky, not Jason, is his father. Meeting Danny would be fine, but telling Jake that Danny's his brother would definitely be problematic. I don't see the necessity until the truth about Jake's real identity is revealed.

Will that be sooner or later? Who knows now because a change in writers also means a shift in storylines. At this point, no one is safe, and anything is possible. But we can be certain of two things: Jake will learn that he's Jason, and he will want a relationship with little Jake. That means, like it or not, both he and Sam are going to have to make peace -- once again -- with Liz's lies for the sake of all the children involved.

I'm not suggesting that Liz should get a free pass. As much as I adore her, she doesn't deserve one. However, raking her over the coals and skinning her alive won't do anyone any good because it hurts the children more than Liz. Plus, everyone in that town has done unconscionable things and been forgiven, including Sam.

Ideally, I would like for Jake to remember who he is on his own then put all the pieces together as he investigates Nikolas. I want Jason to know his past because I am eager to see how that will impact who he is now. Will his love for Liz overcome his hurt because of her betrayal, or will he find his way back into Sam's arms and Sonny's organization?

I'm torn because I love Patrick and Sam together, yet Sam continues to carry a torch for Jason. It's entirely possible that finding out Jake is Jason will give Sam the closure she needs to move forward with Patrick. Then again, I know there are a lot of Jasam (Jason/Sam) fans who have eagerly been waiting for their reunion. The way Sam loves Jason, not to mention the spark of chemistry that's flared between them as they work together to return ELQ to Michael's control, makes that entirely possible.

My favorite scene of the week was Laura Wright's portrayal of Lena Spencer when she talked Luke out of committing suicide. I may have my issues with Carly, but I love Laura. She's a phenomenal actress and fun to watch.

I also loved how Carly reacted when she saw little Jake playing at the hospital and how she told Liz that little Jake being alive didn't in any way diminish what Liz and Jason did for Josslyn. Too bad there's a good chance that Carly will knock Liz's lights out when she finds out that Liz knew Jake was Jason.

Then again, the new writers might shock us by having Carly do the unexpected and defend Liz because she understands that Liz lied because she was already in love with Jake when Nikolas told her about Jason.

Oh, who am I kidding? Carly will clock Liz.

Meanwhile, Laura Spencer has become the keeper of secrets. I'm so delighted that she's back because she might be able to pull Nikolas back from the dark side. I'm not referring to the mess with ELQ because that's business, but I hate that he's lying about Jason as much as I hate that Liz is. I want my good prince back, and I want him to find happiness -- with Liz.

Too bad Laura wasn't around to slap some sense into Lucky before he decided to slink out of town in the middle of the night and abandon his sons once again. I simply can't wrap my mind around Lucky's justification for ditching his responsibilities. All that talk of battling a darkness inside of him sounded like a cop-out. In my book, Lucky doesn't have the right to call himself a father to any of the boys, including his biological son, if he isn't around to actually raise them.

A father doesn't raise children over Skype and through weekly phone calls unless he's a deployed soldier or an astronaut on a moon mission.

It's a good thing Laura did decide to stick around because Lulu is likely going to need her mother in the very near future when Dante's affair comes to light. And it will -- likely through an unplanned pregnancy. At this point, Valerie can have Dante because I'm not impressed with either of them right now. Dante justifies lying to Lulu by claiming that he doesn't want to tear Rocco's family apart, while Valerie acts like she's somehow innocent in all of this.

Valerie lost major points with me when she had the audacity to try to suggest that Lulu was partly to blame for what had happened between Dante and Valerie because Lulu had lied about where she was going and with whom when Lulu left to help rescue Lucky. Valerie had no reason to be anything except apologetic, since she had slept with her cousin's husband in their marital bed just feet away from where his son's crib was, but instead, Valerie seemed hostile and accusatory.

The idea that Dante wouldn't have slept with Valerie but for Lulu's lies is laughable. It downright infuriates me to put any of the blame on Lulu because Dante was the one who decided to be unfaithful -- with his wife's cousin no less -- without having a conversation with his wife and giving Lulu an opportunity to explain.

Dante repeatedly told Valerie the night they slept together that he'd been attracted to her and had felt something building between them for some time. That is the betrayal more than the sex.

I think that's why Lulu asked if Valerie had returned Dante's kiss. Lulu knew if Valerie had returned the kiss then the kiss hadn't been a result of an emotional outburst rooted in hurt and anger but something all together different.

Lulu made an excellent point when she confronted Valerie. Dante might not have questioned his wife's fidelity if Valerie hadn't planted the seeds of doubt by telling Dante what she'd seen between Lulu and Dillon in the hallway outside the loft rather than approach her cousin about it. Valerie argued that Lulu wouldn't have told her the truth, but Lulu countered that they would never know because Valerie hadn't given Lulu the chance.

As much as I adore Maura West, I'm sick of the Denise storyline. Ava has been written into a corner, and it's ludicrous to think that stealing the tape of her confession will somehow magically make her murder charges disappear. Not only could copies be retrieved from Carly's laptop (nothing is ever truly deleted), but Sonny accepted a plea deal based on the tape, so it's already legally documented.

Ava would have a better chance of finding a good attorney to try to get the tape tossed out on a technicality. I'm sure a creative mind can find some way to explain that the tape can't be admissible because it was cleaned up by a professional hacker who had once worked for the mob headed by the man whose fiancée Ava murdered.

I'm happy that Franco threatened to expose the truth about Ava and Morgan's affair to Kiki, but I doubt that he will actually follow through with it. The truth is, Franco cares about Kiki and doesn't want to see her hurt, but he also needs Ava to help win Nina back.

That can't happen soon enough because Ric and Madeline have upped their game to drive Nina crazy by not only playing that annoying recording of a squalling baby and planting a crib in the suite for Nina to find, but now they have manipulated Nathan into finding Nina in a state of mental distress. However, their plan is going to backfire because what they both failed to realize is that Nathan doesn't trust Madeline or Ric, so he's going to question everything rather than take it at face value the way Madeline and Ric no doubt hope.

Unfortunately, I think we are a little cast heavy, so as much as I enjoy the actors, I don't see much need for Nina and Franco to stick around. Ric is useful because he has ties and history with key characters on the canvas, but Nina, Franco, and Madeline are really not needed. I wouldn't mind if Nina got her hands on her money then took off with Franco to live abroad.

Finally, how well do you know Luke Spencer? Test your knowledge with this fun game created to celebrate his years on General Hospital.

Random Observations
Does Carly not understand the concept of an organ donation? Most people are not given the private information of their organ donor, except perhaps the basics of how the person died. It is done that way to protect the privacy of both the family of the donor and the recipient.

Why is it that everyone can see Jason in little Jake but not in Jason himself? Granted, Jason has a different face, but to my knowledge, he did not have eye transplants.

Things that tickled my fancy
Liz speaks a truth all mothers feel, even if their kids were never snared in Helena's diabolical clutches for five years
: "I bet you would sew him to your side if you could."
: "Oh, I'd implant a tracking device, an alarm system, put him in bubble wrap."

Dillon spends time with his parents
: "Well, are you two... sharing a room? [Paul and Tracy laugh]
: "I'm glad you both find this so amusing, 'cause I, for one, want to rip my skin off."
: "Relax, sweetheart. We're not sharing a room."
: "Of course not. What happened between your mother and me was a one-time thing. Exhilarating and intoxicating."
: [Sticks fingers in ears then chants] "Ah -- la la la!"

Sam teases her mother when she sees Alexis typing away on a laptop
: "Are you posting selfies of you and Julian again?"
: "No, I'm not."
: "What, are you tweeting about the latest episode of Guns, Lawyers, and Money?"

Nathan is happy Maxie is home from her visit with Georgie
: "On the other hand, some things are exactly as they seem. Exhibit 'A,' Lulu's cousin, Valerie. She is way too into Dante. I know he thinks that they're just friends, but she wants more."
: "Speaking of more."
: "Nope, I can't eat one more bite."
: "I wasn't talking about the food."
: "Well, you must want more of something."
: "Well, I thought that since we just got clean with our little vertical encounter in the shower, that we might try getting dirty with an encounter of the horizontal variety."
: "Maybe then we could try diagonally."

Tracy orders a drink
: "Tracy, hi."
: [Stops a passing waitress] "Glass of rosé, your heaviest pour."
: "Right away."
: "No, wait. Uh, a martini. Dirty, dirty. What the hell? Just bring me Scotch, straight up."

What are your thoughts on General Hospital? Share your thoughts on the show or this week's column with us. Leave your comments in the Comments area further down the page. If you prefer, you can click here to send our columnist a note by Feedback. You can also call our 24/7 caller feedback hotline at 267.341.7627 and voice your thoughts.

Liz Masters
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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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