Dear Readers, I try to keep it light and positive, but this week, I am perturbed, and I am not convinced that I can or should try to conceal that.
• I'm mad. I'm frustrated that Luke Spencer, one of the most vibrant characters in daytime for the better part of four decades, was sent out into the "Soaposphere" without a proper send-off. In my opinion, all side stories should have been put on hold, and it should have been "All Luke, all the time" for five solid days.
• I'm mad that they finally decided to write for Michael Easton/Silas the week they killed him off.
• I'm mad that Ric and Ava have both have been written into a corner and can't legitimately be redeemed.
• I'm mad that they have taken the magnificent talent of Michelle Stafford and squandered her capabilities, having her cowering and whimpering over fake crying babies.
• I am mad that Jake still doesn't know he's Jason, although I've lost count of how many people in town know that secret.
• I'm mad at every time the "crying baby app" button was pushed and I wanted to throw something at my TV.
• I'm mad that Nikolas, our resident Prince Charming has been turned into a bad guy. I'm mad, I'm mad, I'm mad.
When Ron Carlivati first started writing for GH, I absolutely adored him. I was so thrilled to have a writer that clearly loved GH. He did all the things I was wishing someone would do to save our beloved show. He brought back legacy characters and breathed life into core families. He knew and made use of GH's rich history. He wrote snappy, smart dialogue. He included humor and made me laugh. He let Alexis take a lover! He revived the Nurse's Ball. He gave me the wonderful Liesl Obrecht and Spencer Cassadine. He even found a way to save our three OLTL actors after the lawsuit said we could no longer call them Starr, McBain, or Todd Manning! Genius!
I loved what he was writing. I called him Soap Jesus for resurrecting our dead show.
I have heard a lot of complaints about the current state of GH, and my voice is part of the criticism, as you may recall from my last Two Scoops column. That having been said, I refuse to forget all the great writing he did over the years. Things right now have taken a bad turn, but I deeply loved a lot of what he did during his tenure on GH. Do you recall the GH 50th? It was stellar.
But no writer can make everyone happy all the time. I hated Levi and that whole hippie-dippie storyline. But mostly, I hated the pacing because I am impatient.
During the Fluke storyline, when it dragged on and on, I couldn't decide if the writers were out of ideas and didn't know how to wrap up the storyline or were just lazy and putting it on cruise control for a few months. But then it ended with the DID reveal and the wonderful flashbacks of Luke's past, and I was delighted. That storyline, as long and frustrating as it was along the way, seemed to wrap up Luke's whole life in Port Charles and made me think, "Oh, that's why he disappeared all the time; it was his other personality," and "Oh, that's why Laura got raped; it was his evil side." I saw where Ron and his team were going and what they were trying to do. In my opinion, it ended up being worth the wait.
But this past week, I kept waiting and hoping for the thing that all longtime GH fans were waiting and hoping for -- a big, showy send-off for Luke. They had 37 years of flashbacks and memories to use and opted to use none of them. They knew the audience wanted big goodbye scenes and closure, but other than the touching scenes with Lucky and Bobbie, we didn't get them. Laura got a letter addressed to "Angel," but we never got to see what was inside or see her reaction to that letter. Sonny and Luke talked at the docks, but there were no memories of times past.
And I could have used a healthy dose of Robert Scorpio. I know he's on The Young and the Restless, but they have lent him out before. Luke's long and tumultuous relationship with Tracy ended with Tracy telling Luke she missed having fun. While I loved her performance in those scenes, I wasn't crazy about that as an end to a romance as rich and complicated as theirs had been. I wrote a previous column about my lifelong love affair with Luke, so no need to rehash that today, but I was still left disappointed in how it all ended.
I understand that writers can't always give fans what they want because A) Not all fans want the same thing, and B) They have ratings and dollars to consider. But in the case where the star of GH over the past 37 years retires, you don't go small. (Imagine the hubbub over in Genoa City that would happen if Y&R's Victor Newman were retiring!)
I feel like I was robbed. The last time GH seriously robbed me was when Anna Lee died, and they made the boneheaded move of firing John Ingle and had some substitute Edward Q on hand to mourn Lila. And then there was the time that Michael was kidnapped, and they replaced Carly with the dreadful Carly 3.0 right before Michael came home, and the long-awaited reunion viewers had been hoping for was shot with the wrong Carly. Despicable.
Just this once, I wanted them to give me what I wanted. Tony Geary's retired now. There are no takebacks or do-overs. We can't hope the new writers will fix this because he's gone now, and it can't be repaired or rewritten. My 37-year investment in Luke Spencer came to an unfulfilling ending, and I have to live with it -- and I am unhappy.
(Although Tony Geary has since teased that, if the story was right, he'd consider coming back short term, so maybe the next writers will get another chance to get it right. Maybe retirement will bore him, and he'll miss Luke as much as I will. Here's hoping.)
Reading that Tony Geary was also unhappy with his characters' ending made me feel like I was in super good company. The twist of Jake coming back from the dead, after we all watched him die and donate his organs to Josslyn, was perverse. I understand the idea was to redeem Luke from the worst thing he'd ever been accused of doing, but I'd rather have someone else come forward and say, "No, it was me who hit Jake that night," rather than having Jake be just another person in Helena's secret lair.
Luke left Port Charles in the fog instead of the light, and I would rather have had him drive off in Luke and Laura's old Pink Cadillac with Skye in the seat next to him, or have him show up where Lucky was and say, "Let's fight our demons together, Cowboy." Or something a little less somber. Luke wasn't a somber character -- he was full of life, love, passion, adventure, and excitement. I know this because I've known him since I was 17 years old, and now I'm a card-carrying member of the AARP. (Shut up, I get 15% off at Denny's!)
But, it's over, and I'm telling you I'm mad because I assume some of you might be mad, too, and at least we can stand together in solidarity in our time of grief.
New writers are on their way in, and I am afraid. I always wonder when new writers come in: 1) Do they love GH as much as I do? 2) Do they know GH history, and will they respect it? and 3) Are they going to trash everything and start from scratch, or will they make changes gently and ease me into them?
Time will tell whether their approach will be "shock and awe" or "slow and steady." Here, though, is what I hope they do:
Keep what is working
• Nina and Franco have mad chemistry. Get them out of this current Shadybrook storyline, but don't break them up. Don't let Nina be Silas' killer.
• Maura West as Ava Jerome is magnificent. Get rid of Denise, and don't let Ava be the person who killed Silas either. If she killed him after he fought to save her life, there is no redemption for that character. Either Ava goes to prison, or Sonny kills her -- so the new writers will have a challenge to redeem that character, and Franco has already used "brain tumor."
• Do whatever you need to do to keep Genie Francis. The town needs a mom, and Laura is the perfect person for the job. And if Scotty can finally legitimately win her back, let him have her. Lucy and Bobbie can find someone else to fight over.
• Lexi Ainsworth is coming back as Kristina, and she's a powerhouse actor -- give her some juicy material and lots of Davis girls scenes!
• Julexis. (Julian and Alexis, for those of you who don't play the nickname game.)
• Humor. Although I think the writers got carried away with the cuteness of Nicholas Bechtel, I love Spencer Cassadine. And a little dose of Liesl Obrecht played by the magnificent and fascinating Kathleen Gati is always a treat. Roger Howarth's Franco is the most likeable serial killer on TV, and Tracy Q's snarky jabs never fail to please.
• Nathan and Maxie. Perfect. Dante and Lulu, let them struggle with his infidelity, but eventually let them forgive and reunite.
Fix what needs fixing
• Tell Jake he is Jason. Now. I don't care who tells him -- Spinelli would be my choice, but if it's Laura, Hayden, Liz, Helena, Nikolas -- I don't care. Just rip off the Band-Aid.
• You may disagree, but here are some characters that could vanish, and I wouldn't care a bit. A) Jordan (Bring back Anna!), B) Valerie (Who comes to town for a visit and never goes home?), C) Rosalie (I no longer care what her deep, dark secret may be.), D) Kiki (Unless you can get Kristen Alderson back.)
• Couplings... Sonny and Carly marrying for the fifth time? At least make it interesting and bring Jax back to town to fight for Carly or Brenda back to fight for Sonny. Sam and Jason will eventually reconnect after his identity is revealed, so let Liz go back to Ric now that she's as slimy as he is. Michael and Sabrina are nice, but a little snoozy, so give them something exciting -- a chase, an adventure, a disease to cure in their clinic, something. Ava and Morgan? Not a fan.
• Pacing. Keep us in suspense, but don't bore us to death. I only have about a three-month attention span with storylines. Once it hits the three-month mark, I am ready to move on.
• Bribe Nashville to let Jonathan Jackson come in every year on their hiatus. He just makes the show better, period.
• Nikolas Cassadine -- blame his bad behavior on Helena's mind control. Bring Britt back. Something.
• Brad and Lucas -- don't break up your only gay couple. Let them get married and be happy, at least for a reasonable soapy amount of time.
Of course, there are more things -- people I'd love to see come back, storylines I'd like to undo, wishes I hold in my heart, but that's enough for now. I want GH to thrive and flourish, and right now, it's sinking, and I don't want to lose it forever. When it gets good again, and I know it will, campaign to get all the people who left during the endless Fluke-a-thon and the never-ending Jakeson debacle. Say to America, "Hey, we fixed it! Come back! You know you missed it!" Because they do. When you love something as much as GH fans love this show, it's a lifelong love affair.
What will happen tomorrow, dear readers? Will Nina ever realize she only hears the crying baby in the hotel room with Sic-Ric? Will Laura ever open her Angel letter and let me read it because I really need to see what it said? Will Valerie and Lulu end up pregnant with Dante's babies at the same time in some Corinthos sperm miracle? Will Brad's secret wife be Britt so he doesn't have to testify against her and she can come back to Port Charles? Will Michael and Sabrina hand out Enduro condoms at their free clinic? Will Morgan accidentally pull off Denise's wig in the throes of passion? Will Tracy and Paul Hornsby have more fun drinking by the pool, which is what I assume all rich people do all day? Will Li'l Jake notice that no one has seen his brothers since he has come back to town? Will I ever get over the pain of not seeing five days worth of awesome classic Luke clips on his last week of GH?
Only tomorrow knows, dear readers, and I will tune in tomorrow as long as there are tomorrows.
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