By Marlena De Lacroix a.k.a Connie Passalacqua Hayman
Before I start my review of the new General Hospital (Frank Valentini executive producer, Ron Carlivati, headwriter) I have three things to say:
1. I agree with everything my good friend Ed Martin says in the column below (“Can General Hospital Be Saved?”) Do a Gloria Monty, gut the show and start all over again. Evict the mob now! Ed suggests it would be best to eliminate
What’s the new and improved GH’s future? Who knows? But I’ll be watching until the very end, mainly because I enjoy classic soap opera which very nearly resembles the classic shows I grew up on, many decades and lipstick applications ago.
“the (three) characters whose storylines have brought the show to its knees.” Lock up Sonny and Jason for their list of murders and crimes. Send Carly to “Mob Wives” where she can shriek and scream along with those zaftig, cussin’ bambinas.Give me women who are empowered, smart and moral enough not to even dream of talking to those hoods Sonny and Jason! Free Alexis Davis (played by feminist Nancy Grahn) and give an older woman a full love life (Diane has one night stands) and a life outside of being just a mom. Women over 35 watch this show!
2. In the past, I’ve been chilly to Valentini and Carlivati on One Life to Live for their periodic sexism (remember Dorian’s blow job?) and inconsistent material. This is a new show and as far as I am concerned. They are getting a fresh start. They don’t have mega-misogynist Brian Fronts pulling their strings now!
3. I believe ABC will cancel this show, either next month or after it possibly goes into The Revolution‘s timeslot. ABC doesn’t want afternoon soaps just as much I really, really, really don’t want GH to die. But forgive me, I don’t trust ABC honcho Anne Sweeney for a second.
That said, I like the new GH, watch it every day, and indeed set my whole schedule around it. I am a fiend for classic soap opera and I’m reveling in the clear, well-integrated writing, which is full of authentic human emotion: Patrick’s tears for Robin, Luke’s friendship for Robert, Robin’s ghost coming and going to show her love for Patrick, even Luke even telling Lulu, “I don’t believe in God, but I believe that love resonates. It makes life worth living.”
All of this pleases moi, a longtime classic soap devotee. Hooray! Carlivati and company remember that soap’s character motivation should always be love — not guns, not shower rapes, not shooting your own kid, not bogus coffee beans.
Although I know many GH fans don’t agree because they feel their show has been intruded upon, I think the crossover of the One Life to Live characters (Starr, Blair, Todd, John) to GH because of Starr’s accident was seamless and well thought out. The day a vengeful Todd held a gun on Sonny in the court room, my husband Moose looked up from his newspaper and said, “Oh my God, it’s Frankenstein vs. Dracula.” Indeed! The hotel bar scenes in which Carly and Blair compared lives and ex- husbands were hilarious. (They held up fingers for how many times they had been married to Sonny and Todd: four for Carly, five for Blair.) These women are the same character! But truthfully what Mrs. Frankenstein and Mrs. Dracula are really essentially are is their brutal, misogynist ex- husbands’ feisty if stylish doormats.
I thought Kassie De Paiva was terrific in comforting devastated mother Starr in her hospital room. DePaiva is always tremendously sympathetic and humane and she deserves a contract just as much as Roger Howarth does as Todd. A woman over 35 …
True, there have been parts of the show I don’t like very much. Robert and Holly came and went in the blink of an eye. Jen Lilly was good in her breakdown scenes and she deserves to be Kirsten Storm’s permanent replacement (I dislike Storm’s her nervous mannerisms and her Valley Girl speech). I normally like Kelly Sullivan as Anna Wintour/Kate very much, but giving her character DID (her alternate personality is Connie, Sonny’s whorish childhood girlfriend) is out of her league. Hardly any actor can change identities successfully in the middle of one scene, and even the mighty Erika Slezak wasn’t called on to does that very often when she played Viki, Niki and her four other alters on One Live to Live. Sullivan is trying, though, and whenever she says, “I’m not Kate, I’m Connie” I automatically jump out of my chair and start putting on red lipstick.
I look forward to the pairing of equally grieving Starr and Michael (who have chemistry and the same exact backgrounds) and I cheer whenever Epiphany is given more scenes to do. But the most heavenly move the new GH has made is bringing back Finola Hughes as Anna Devane. Hughes’ Anna is a woman who radiates intelligence and bona fide class, things GH‘s women have needed since….. the Labines and Wendy Riche left.
But no, the new General Hospital is tragically sticking with Sonny and Jason. Big mistake. At least I get a chance to scream “Yes” any time a character suggests that they are criminals and less than saints, what Guza’s characters always referred to them to as Thank you Ron and scriptwriters.
What’s GH’s future? Who knows? But I’ll be watching until the very end, mainly because I enjoy classic soap opera which very nearly resembles the classic shows I grew up on, many decades and lipstick applications ago.