More General Hospital: Outrageously the “M” Word

By Marlena De Lacroix a.k.a. Connie Passalacqua Hayman

When Moose came home from work yesterday, he thought he’d have to dump a bucket of cold water over my head.  I couldn’t stop yelling, over and over again,”No, they really didn’t do this!”  General Hospital had a scene where Carly and Todd flirted/talked, and Todd was bare-chested. 

But … but … he’s a rapist!

I’m not making a personal comment on Roger Howarth, roger howarthwho is buff enough (great arms). But to feature the man who infamously gang raped Marty Saybrooke on One Life to Live  in 1994 (and “re-raped” her again two years ago when Todd and Marty “made love”) in the semi-nude was just outrageously misogynistic.

Sure, it’s been a tradition on soaps for more than 25 years that boys/men show off their pecs in the summer heat.  And I really think Todd and Carly, who are in the beginning of their “‘courtship,” make a great couple.  Les miserables deserve each other!  But still, do I really have to drag out the “M” word again, as I just did in my prior column and time and again when the same writing–producing team was running OLTL?

Okay, I need to calm down. Even though old GH fans are having trouble coping with it from the show’s past history, I like that Anna and Luke made love.  Older people have hormones too!  That it was presented as a natural outcome of physical attraction was actually nifty writing.  This is soaps — we know it’s really love, or will lead to it!   And Tracy discovering Anna in Luke’s bed was boffo.  I celebrate the inevitably superbly acted new triangle of Anna-Luke-Tracy, as played by those delicious old masters, Finola Hughes, Tony Geary and Jane Elliot.  What made me laugh was Geary’s tone and look, as he told Access Hollywood in a promo spot, “Well, I am the oldest person on the show!”  Cheers!

Comments

  1. Esther says:

    I’m afraid the days of soaps as a moral compass are long gone — probably around the time Irna passed away.

    Marlena says: Agreed, Esther. But even if soaps themselves don’t have moral compasses, the people who make them should.

  2. Chris says:

    Todd raped Marty back in college on OLTL back in 1993 not 1994, and it was Todd’s twin brother Victor Lord Jr. that raped Marty which was in 2008, not 2010, and the dirty deed wasn’t done by Todd himself at that time!

    Marlena says: Thanks, Chris for correcting the dates. At the time of the re-rape the audience was told and the scripts said it was Todd. I know toward the end of the show, the writers created a story that this “Todd” was really Victor. So what you are saying is true in a revisionist sense. But I clearly remember how the story was originally presented — that Marty was re-raped by the same character, Todd, who raped her the first time. Oy vey, only on soaps!

  3. Anonymous says:

    it wasn’t TSJ’s character who raped Marty… what crap! It was RH’s character Todd… who had only been taken captive 8 years and not 28 years long by his mother. Geez

  4. Susan says:

    I don’t care if it was Todd or Victor, at the time we all knew that it was Todd, it only came out in what the last 6 months of the show that it was vTctor, but he was having Todd’smemories, we really do not know what type of a person Victor was, we were never told…….he was Todd, in every sense of the word, as far as I am concerned..

    Andd that re-raping even though I didnt’ see it with Roger’s Todd, made me have complete disrespect of Todd…….who we now know was really Victor, but he wasn’t supposed to be, he was supposed to be Todd…

    This whole thing was created about Todd and Victor so that Roger could come back, since ATWT was canceled.

    Susan

  5. Dismayed says:

    Thank you Marlena for being one of the very few soap writers to call out this regime on its misogyny.

    I wish that the shirtless Todd was the only thing that makes my feminist skin crawl but I’m afraid it doesn’t even crack the top ten. GH has been solely about killer men for years but now it’s some perverse blend of stories of rape and rape-babies and women who just can’t help themselves when in the presence of rapists and killers.

    I used to think Guza’s and Frons’ blend of misogyny couldn’t get any worse. Well, it has. Sam raped and possibly impregnated by her serial killer husband’s long lost twin while on honeymoon. NuKate/Connie and the very questionable use of her body by Johnny. I’d call it rape but I know some consider it a “maybe’ rape. Either way, it was another story of a woman only useful for her orifices, a plot point so that two killer men could go to war with each other. Now we have NuKate/Connie’s rapist coming on to Port Charles. Another rapist on contract? Surely this isn’t the same regime that has received almost universal praise in the soap “press”. It’s not like GH didn’t have its own rapist turn romantic lead to deal with. Now we have Todd and ANOTHER rapist coming on board. Are they planning on starting a support group for rapists at the hospital? Are we going to get to hear all about their pain and grief just as we got to hear all about how Sam’s rape impacted Jason?

    For me, it’s not a question of morality. It’s a question of ruining a show’s integrity by failing to put powerful female characters front and center. This kind of misogynistic writing (in addition to the head scratching, stupid soap cliche this regime seems to love) is what is killing soaps. Who would have ever thought that someone would think it was a good idea to make a soap about killer men and the women who fight over them? Women have become second class citizens in a genre that was once a haven for women viewers to see their hopes and dreams reflected.

    GH has a legacy of mishandling rape but even when Luke was changed from rapist to romantic lead, there were at least powerful women on GH. Monica gave back to Alan everything he dished out and more. There were female doctors in positions of power (not an insignificant fact in the late 70′s/80′s). Even as GH made Laura a damsel in distress to make Luke more heroic, at least someone had the good sense to write other female characters as powerful and not singularly driven by the need to be impregnated by a serial killer mobster.

    But now on GH, our female leads are raped and/or passed back and forth among killers as if they are possessions, ones the killer men frequently must go to war to control.

    So is a shirtless middle aged rapist portrayed as someone we are all supposed to be drooling over the worst of GH? For this soap fan, it’s just another example in a long line of reasons why this regime doesn’t understand women or why women USED to love soaps.

    We can see we’re all being prepped for the Carly + Todd “romance”. And why wouldn’t a woman who pops out babies for mobsters and who is currently dating one rapist NOT be attracted to rapist Todd? Why bother to write Carly as real woman? Why bother to allow this middle aged woman to grow up? Carly is the product of a succession of misogynists who have run this show for too long.

    I dream that someone at ABC will wake up and allow a real writer to make GH’s ending soap magic. Dreaming of that and watching youtube GH clips from the mid 90′s are all this long time GH fan has left.

    GH deserves a better ending than this.

    Once again, thank you Marlena for using your voice! I’ve been a fan for years and am more so now!

    Marlena says: Thanks for your fabulous letter. It’s so good to know that there are readers/fans out there who can actually see the misogyny problem on daytime (specifically here on GH) because for so long I have felt like a lone wolf writing about the “M” word in an industry (including those who make the shows, all of the soap press and many fans ) that is absolutely blind to it. D, if you’d like some background on GH’s current brand of “M” I suggest you read some of my past posts on One Life to Live from the last three or four years. What a waste it is for such talented people (who are the blindest of all to it) to persist in foisting it now on GH fans. I’m so tired of it; I sincerely hoped they wouldn’t bring more misogyny to a show which almost drowned in it for so many years under Guza. I’m glad you recognize that this is a factor in the destruction of daytime. Marlena will have a lot more to say on the entire subject of misogyny on soaps in the future.

  6. curacaoman says:

    Oh what hypocrisy.

    Bare chested Todd offends people because he has done these bad things.

    On the other hand, people applaud bare chested Johnny, who has raped Kate TWICE, first sleeping with her as Connie and secondly using her mental illness to make her take responsibility for a crime he committed. Furthermore he killed his grandfather in cold blood and set up other people to take the rap.

  7. wlmac says:

    I agree about Todd. But what about Luke? He’s a rapist and a drunk driver who killed a toddler. He’s never had to pay for any of his actions. At least Todd was in jail for a while…

  8. Fasion0608 says:

    I think bringing over Roger Howarth from OLTL is an excellent idea for the show. I think he has evolved much like the character of Luke Spencer. I would say he is not deemed as “the rapist” anymore. He could have chemistry with any of the ladies on the show because even though he is quirky and comical he does have a side with pain and rage that could explode any second.

    On the idea of Luke, Tracy, and Anna…….it makes for great tv. This is something that gives these excellent actors to sink their teeth into. I have always loved Luke and Anna, but now I almost feel sorry for Tracy.

    On a side note when will the writers bring action and adventure back? Robert Scorpio is so needed back with an adventure storyline that will put him and the gang up against a formidable foe. Good vs Evil will always capture viewers and ratings as long as the fans know that good will win! ( Think about all the summer movies that have grossed millions!)

  9. Gina says:

    I have stopped watching GH. I watched for 38 years since I was nine years old. GH has gotten rid of core and favorite characters and brought over actors from OLTL. Not that these actors are bad, but why not write for the GH fan favorites that have been a part of the show for many years.

    Ingo, Tyler, etc. they played core characters. What happened to the Cassadines, Quartermaines, etc.????? Why bring over OLTL characters when there are so many core GH characters that were not used to their full potential?

    They bring back Anna Devane only to make her a bad Grandmother. Instead of showing her with her granddaughter trying to make up for what she missed. I really don’t understand that. I still like to read info about GH but I won’t watch it again.

  10. cyrillia says:

    soaps cannot be about strong wemen only and the characters they have in GH nothing is wrong with them its just that the writers have no vision. everything that is happening on soaps is played out they keep going in circles. and it reall puzzles me as to think why do they think that this writer who’s show failed can make gh better. he isnt making it better he has not even been there for a year and look what he has done to jasam. i hated what he did to mcbain on oltl,, people say sonny is a womaniser mcbain was no better on oltl they had him with a different woman every three months and we all knew this writer would put sam with him. and he is going to butcher kates character with this stupid storyline just like he did jessica’s on oltl. the man has nothing new he could even write a proper love story for jessica and mcbain did anybody wtched how oltl ended? that was so daft! i can’t watch soaps anymore it just to same old same old. and he could have had a little more respect for the longtime gh fans especially us jasam fans who was finally going to see jasam finally get everything they deserve. he likes mcbain but this is not oltl this is gh and i thing true gh fans should cut thier losses this is going down the drain.

  11. Liz says:

    Marty was not raped again two years ago. If you recall, that was not Todd, but Victor Lord Jr. (who thought he was Todd). And Marty was a willing participant.

  12. Kevin says:

    Been reading your columns for almost 20 years, Marlena and have always agreed with everything you said.

    EXCEPT FOR ANY OF THE ABOVE. Anna and Luke are enjoyable? Todd shouldn’t be allowed to take his shirt off? WTH

    It’s okay, Marlena, I still love ya!!! =)

    Marlena says; Thank for for your loyalty Kevin. If you’ve been in my corner so long, then you know well that Marlena is always surprising!

  13. Linda says:

    Please, Marlena, remember this: Heather switched the paternity tests and Jason is the baby’s father. For all we know, Heather could be lying that Franco was Jason’s brother. How do we know that Franco did not put her up to it before he died? Or perhaps he is still alive and is holding Robin and Lucky as well as Nicholas and Jacks. That would explain why so many beloved characters are disappearing.

    I am holding out hope that Heather made up the entire thing. And I am also holding out hope that since Jason really was the baby’s father perhaps Franco did not rape Sam at all. She never did have an exam. She and Jason only assumed she was raped.

    I do find it disconcerting that, as Patrick pointed out to Ewen, the women of Port Charles cannot seem to do anything but swoon at the feet of the bad boys. I do love how Kate is strong and powerful with Ewen but when Sonny enters the room, she has to run and lean on his big strong shoulders because he’s a man and she’s only his little woman.

    We can only hope that by the end of this summer, everyone’s fingers will be pointing at Heather as things in Port Charles slowly return back to normal: Sam and Jason lovingly raising their child, Diane back at work with Alexis, Christina stops being a snarky spoiled brat, Elizabeth gives up on romance and joins a convent, Laura finally returns from Paris, Jax returns to see his daughter, Johnny goes to prison or Starr kills him whichever happens first and Todd just keeps shaking his head, missing the sanity of Llanview.

    Marlena says: I enjoy your ideal scenario but things will never be all a-okay in Port Charles I assume. Heather is divine, but they are making her the show’s Stefano Di Mera–all evil roads do lead back to her. I love Roger Howarth and Robin Mattson in scenes together, though. Kind of the summer
    Olympics of soap villains, no? Glad you see how weak most of the show’s women STILL basically are.

  14. alabama says:

    I’m sorry, and I’m a women’s rights attorney, but I just cannot see how Todd shirtless can be considered misogynistic.

    Am I not supposed to find a man attractive because 18 years ago he was convicted of rape?
    (And I agree with Liz. Firstly, Victor, not Todd, was involved in that story line. Secondly, Marty consented. In no state of our country would Victor have been found guilty of rape. If he would have, then so would 99% of the population bc we would be including misrepresenting ourselves to get in someone’s pants an element of rape. YIKES!)

    I fail to find any reasoning in your theorizing here. Overall, I agree with you. Not only is GH misogynistic, but almost all soaps are to some degree. We are almost always “entertained” by some form of violence against women. Or, of women being portrayed in some ridiculously low-level career, no career, being hysterical lunatics pushed over the edge bc of rejection by male lovers, etc. What about the countless use of the ridiculously antiquated phrase, ” a woman scorned?”

    But, I digress, what problem I really have here, is with other women claiming to be feminists trying to shove their brand of feminism down other women’s throats.

    There is absolutely nothing misogynistic about Todd appearing shirtless. It might be distasteful to some – you, for example. But it is not misogynistic.

    • Moni says:

      agree with your point about todd shirtless — and with your overall point (and marlena’s) on misogyny on GH. it’s gone on too long and honestly, if soaps get cancelled and this issue STILL hasn’t been addressed in a serious fashion, can’t cry too hard.

      the mind-blowing irony is how female-centric the soap audience is and how misogynistic its story lines are. unbelievable.

  15. janet says:

    I don’t know about anyone else but it seems to me,the show is going backwards.
    We are again in the Sonny/Jason is the heroes of the show. Everyone drinks the kool -aid and spouts the mob mantra.
    When McBain told the cops the man holding a gun on the man tied in the chair,and having a face off with him was clean and fine.I fell flat on the floor.?
    The mob always wins,and that is the reason the shows ratings are so bad. No one wants to see this. I can’t believe I was rooting for the guy tied in the chair over the teflon Don. You cannot break the law and never pay.
    maybe I am wrong but it seems to me they are trying to get those of us who returned to just turn it off again? This way they can say no one is watching and can cancel it.
    I actually like the OLTL characters they are certainly not the same old boring scum that is on every day. I love that Anna is back,and I hope they also bring back Robert. Luke can stay on his permanent vacation. If all they are going to do is wash, rinse, repeat.We are in serious trouble.Anna Tracy, LUke,Heather and Sam *did I say that */ Sam no Jason. when they are on I enjoy the show .,when the mobs there I don’t care.

  16. Tiso Novotny says:

    I don’t regard it as misogynystic to portray Todd Manning as a tortured romantic lead. His rapes occurred nearly 20 years ago. In the real world, he’d always be seen as a brutal rapist. In soaps, redeeming unredeemable characters who commit unspeakable crimes happens all the time.

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