It's my favorite time of year. Presents are wrapped under the tree, while the tree's twinkling lights cast a warm, almost magical, glow across the room -- with a little assistance from the fresh log that I tossed on top of the hot embers in the fireplace. The sweet scent of Christmas goodies still lingers heavy in the air, compliments of a fun day spent hanging out with my girls, baking and candy-making. Time with my family always puts me in a great frame of mind, and now that everyone is nestled in their beds, I get to sit back and reflect on GH and the year that was. The good, the bad, and the downright disastrous.
A nice way to end a perfect day.
When I opened my file to type this column, I saw my notes from last year and the questions I had about the year ahead. Things like, will Jason and Kim be the end of Drew and Sam? Will Ava's old habits spell doom for her happiness with Griffin? Is Nelle in over her head, going up against Michael, Sonny, and Carly?
It turns out that the answer to all of those questions was yes. Jason, not so much Kim, was the end of Drew and Sam because Sam realized that she was still very much in love with Jason, not Drew. I don't recall anyone being surprised that Sam ultimately chose Jason, but beyond that, nothing has happened. It's been a year, and all Jason and Sam have shared is a handful of kisses -- if that -- and countless longing glances.
Frankly, it's not realistic. Jason and Sam are supposed to be in love with each other. Deeply. Irrevocably. They shared a love of a lifetime, a marriage, and a child. That is why Sam ended her marriage to Drew. Her connection to Jason was too strong to sever. True, she needed time to get her head together, but a year and counting?
Where is the passion? Your soul mate returns from the dead, you end your marriage to a wonderful guy to be with him, and then nothing? Now, Sam is embarking on a mystery involving her past, but rather than ask for Jason's help, she turns to Curtis. I'm sorry, but that doesn't sound like a woman in love. Jason knows all of Sam's secrets, so there's no reason for her to not include Jason in this mystery from the start.
It's hard to root for a couple when they act more like friends (with one benefit) rather than two soul mates who beat tremendous odds to find their way back to each other.
We have some wonderful couples, but at times, it feels like the writers are more focused on flash than substance. I watch soap operas for the romance. Yes, I enjoy action, but only as a bonus. It's the extraordinary romances and personal dramas that are the heart and soul of serial stories, not shootouts and spy games.
One of the best storylines right now is Mike's struggle with Alzheimer's. Max Gail has done a phenomenal job, and there hasn't been a single scene of his that hasn't been Emmy worthy. The story is universally well received because it hits home for a vast majority of the viewing audience. Most of us have seen a loved one decline from this horrible disease, so we can identify with this story and what everyone is going through in a way that we can't with others.
I don't know many people who've had loved ones return from the dead, whose spouses were kidnapped by evil henchmen for nefarious purposes, who live in castles on private islands, or who run multi-billion-dollar companies. I definitely don't know anyone who is married to a mob boss or engaged to an ex-serial killer. And sadly, the people in my life who were diagnosed with terminal illnesses never got a miracle cure.
That's why I think a successful writing team finds a good balance between the fantastical and the things that bind us. The personal relationships. Romance.
I want Jason and Sam to have their story, Franco and Liz to have their wedding, and definitely to see more of Cam and Josslyn, Finn and Anna, and for Laura and Kevin to have their happily ever after. I'm even interested in the love triangle brewing between Michael, Willow, and Chase. I also think Scott would be the perfect person to help Ava pick up the pieces once Ryan is finally exposed and hopefully sent to eternal damnation.
Love in the afternoon was a popular slogan for a reason. It drew in viewers. The action, the flash, the fairytale settings are all wonderful, but they mean nothing if you don't care about the people involved.
One of my favorite storylines of the year was Nelle's downfall.
Oh, how passionately I despised Nelle. It wasn't that she hoodwinked Carly because, let's face it, Carly did the same -- and often worse -- to others. Sonny, too, for that matter. If anyone had a few doses of karma coming their way, it was Carly and Sonny, so Nelle's vendetta didn't bother me. My loathing for Nelle stemmed from two things: great writing and Chloe Lanier's amazing talent.
Chloe was magnificent. She truly was. She could turn on the tears and have you on the verge of believing in Nelle's innocence, then she'd flash a smirk, or her eyes would narrow in a certain way, and you'd realize that it was just another one of Nelle's mind games. Nelle was a master at them because Chloe could be so incredibly convincing in her performance.
I wasn't the least bit shocked when Nelle announced that she was pregnant, and even though the story became predictable to a degree, Chloe made it compelling. There were times when I began to worry that Nelle would actually get away with all of her crimes and transgressions, and in a way, she did, because Jonah remains hidden right under Michael's nose without anyone -- except her nervous accomplice -- being any the wiser.
I have to hand it to the writers because they found a way to make me feel bad for Carly, serve justice, and still have Nelle scheming against Carly and Michael. Nelle's storyline was everything great about soap operas, whereas Dante's exit was anything but.
Nothing about Dante leaving town to work for the WSB tracking down someone who threatened Lulu years ago sits right with me. Wouldn't Lulu be safer being guarded by a police officer who sleeps next to her every night?
I just can't believe that Dante would up and leave his wife and son for months on end to chase down a villain who has been on the loose for years. It doesn't jibe with the devoted family man we've watched time and again fight to keep his family together. Worse, Lulu is now left stuck in limbo with her husband off doing his thing.
It's not fair to Emme Rylan or to Lulu. Someone needs to decide whether Dante will be recast or not. If not, then Dante should be killed off, or Lulu should file for divorce.
What I don't want to see is Lulu stuck in a marriage to a man who checks out of his responsibilities to chase adventures. Have the writers forgotten that Lulu married Dante precisely because he wasn't like her father?
I want to be very clear, though, that I do not want Lulu to move on with Peter. Not now, when he and Maxie obviously have eyes for each other.
What a difference a year makes, because this time last year, I was strongly opposed to a romance between Maxie and Peter. I was still upset about Nathan's death, and I hadn't gotten to know Peter beyond the fact that he was Faison's son and a part of the mess that cost Nathan his life. However, time -- and the decision to make Peter a good guy rather than a chip off of Faison's rotten block -- has changed my view of Peter and of his relationship with Maxie. Maxie deserves some happiness after everything she's been through.
I'm also delighted that Lulu and Maxie have buried the hatchet and made peace because I've always felt that their lasting friendship was one of the best things about GH. We don't have many strong female friendships on the show, in large part because of all the bed hopping that goes on in Port Charles, although there has been less of that in recent years than in the past. But true female friendships remain few and far between.
There's Alexis and Diane, but Diane is rarely seen these days unless someone is in trouble. Lulu and Maxie are different. They aren't just lead characters, but they are also legacy characters, and we have watched their relationship weather some serious storms over the years. It's nice that they are back on track because I believe that they are stronger together than they are apart.
Most of us know what it's like to have a best friend. I don't know what I would do without mine, who has been a part of my life since before I even met my husband. We've had our ups and downs -- both in our lives and between us -- but through it all, we've always had each other's back. Not only does Becky know where the bodies are buried, but she helped drag a few of them there.
Lulu and Maxie are the same way, which is why I have always rooted for them.
Now, the storyline that vexed me most.
I was thrilled with the return of Ryan Chamberlain. I thought it was a terrific way to clean up the past, since Ryan's body was never recovered, and perhaps provide Kevin with the closure that he was never quite able to attain. I guess now we know why.
My joy doubled when it was announced that Genie Francis would be returning to the show. To me, it was a long overdue wrong that had been righted. All was forgiven (just don't let it happen again), and I sat back to enjoy the story. Except, it became about Carly looking for a mystery patient then a vehicle for Jason and Sam to bond.
Now, Ryan is slaughtering women and seducing Ava, while Kevin is languishing away at Ferncliff with no hope of rescue in sight. Laura senses something is wrong with her "husband," but, of course, she has no way of realizing that Ryan is impersonating Kevin, so the story drags out. It also becomes less and less believable because, in order for Ryan to continue skulking about and stalking his next victim, the police have to look like bumbling fools who apparently process crime scenes with leftover kits from the 1990s.
And don't get me started on the medical examiner who can't tell the difference between a baby born in a hospital who was at least 24 hours old when he died and a stillborn delivered on the side of the road in the woods.
I love so much about GH, but I hate how sloppy the science can be. It's disappointing. Don't get me wrong, I'm perfectly capable of suspending disbelief for the sake of a story, but it has to be within reason and not insult my intelligence. I'm not fond of jumping sharks.
I also intensely dislike rewrites, like with the case of Margaux's father's death.
There was great confusion for a time about who the actual killer was because the story changed midway through without warning or explanation.
When Sonny initially told Jason the tale of Vincent Marino's death, on April 6, 2018, he claimed that he'd been ordered to bury a body for Joe Scully. Per Sonny, "And there it was. Right there, what used to be Joe's problem wrapped in a plastic shower curtain in the trunk. So, I took care of the problem in a field. There was nothing and nobody around for miles."
However, as the months passed, the story shifted, and Sonny went from merely cleaning up a crime scene to pulling the trigger. In fact, we recently had a much-hyped episode about Sonny pondering the road not taken.
What was the point of making Sonny the killer if the blame was going to be put on Joe and his lover anyway? It didn't change a single thing. It was just a pity party for Sonny to justify all the selfish choices that he makes under the guise of "protecting" his family. It seems to me, his family needs protection from Sonny more than they do from anyone else. It's his choices that continually put them in danger, despite what Sonny thinks.
Next time, instead of changing the story, consider changing the man. Now, that I would gladly watch.
Kudos to the writers for their #MeToo storyline. Everything about the storyline worked, from the realistic way that Dr. Bensch's creepy behavior escalated to the empowering message when Kiki found the strength to stand up for herself and fight back.
Speaking of Kiki, I was sad to see Hayley Erin exit the role, but I applaud the writers for deciding to have Kiki fall victim to Ryan. It makes Ryan's crimes hit much closer to home (few shed tears for Mary Pat's gruesome demise) and it has major ripple effects and lasting consequences for several characters, more than if Kiki had simply decided to leave town for some lame reason. *Ahem* Dante.
I'm equally pleased that the writers have decided to tackle school bullying. It does start as early as elementary school, and often the bully is not who you would initially suspect. These are the types of stories that we can all identify with. Whether you were a kid who was bullied, a parent of a bullied child, or the parent of a child who was accused of being a bully, I think that we can all learn from a storyline like this.
I loved, loved, loved the Museum of Mayhem. It made me miss some of our super villains. What's Jerry Jacks up to these days? (Hint, hint. See below)
It's time for Nikolas to return home. I'm ready for a recast and for Valentin to be ousted as Prince of Wyndemere. There is no way that Mikkos wanted his bastard son to inherit over Stavros' legal heirs.
I love the annual Nurses Balls, but it feels like the number of performances over the years has diminished. Drastically. That makes me sad because I really enjoyed seeing so much of the cast having fun singing, dancing, and doing various skits. I would gladly give up the red-carpet parade for a few more skits -- and Liesl performing one of her wonderfully inappropriate numbers.
The powers that be recently decided to air a true classic episode of GH when it was necessary to rebroadcast an episode. Whoever made that decision deserves a raise. It was such a wonderful treat, and I found it much more enjoyable to watch than something that had aired just a few weeks or months earlier. Thank you!
Thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts. I love hearing from readers, so please feel free to email me or leave a comment below.
Take care and happy viewing,
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