Sunday Reflections 13: General Hospital and Young and the Restless — When Entertainment Value and Hot Sex, Respectively, Defy Logic

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

General HospitalConfluence, according to the dictionary, means when three things meet at a certain point (rivers, for example).   And that’s exactly what happened on General Hospital early this week – confluence in Tuesday and Wednesday’s episodes when three great storylines in which one couldn’t wait to see what was going to happen next. This was stunning because, although soaps usually run three major storylines simultaneously, ordinarily only one is great and two you are tempted to fast forward through.

Kelly Sullivan
as Connie/Kate

First, Sonny was left agape as Connie confessed she was married to Johnny, right at the beginning of the Sonny-“Kate” wedding ceremony. Second, Liz confessed to Jason she had changed the DNA lab test reports, confirming that Tea’s baby son was biologically really Sam’s. Third, oily Joe held Kristina at gun point, threatening to kill his rival Sonny’s daughter.

What truly exciting soap opera!  And rare, too!  I can’t remember a confluence of great stories in a few episodes like these since Guiding Light’s blackout story in the 90s.  Becky Herbst was Emmy-terrific as Liz. Kelly Sullivan stole the show, as bride Connie called groom Sonny a pig and a bully. (How true!)  GH even had some nice humor, as lab assistant Ellie, attending the wedding with Spinelli, couldn’t be dragged away from combined craziness (everyone was slapping and punching each other) exclaiming, “This is a great first date!”

The Tuesday and Wednesday episodes and all of this week’s GH action had few downsides, although those that were, were biggies.  One was Lindsey Morgan, who really showed what a wanting (okay, terrible) actress she is, all superficial sophomoric excess, as her Kristina wailed and wept as Joe’s hostage. Exactly why Joe held her hostage at all was kind of unclear — supposedly so that he and her husband Trey could inherit dead Kristina’s money. (Huh?)  And leading up to the wedding, no one (especially Sonny) suspected that the demonstratively manic woman they thought was Kate was actually Connie. A little more clear logic, please. 

But I could tolerate these flaws, the Tuesday and Wednesday shows were just so completely entertaining!  Strangely engineered soap opera may rouse many negative soap board comments, but I’ll settle for all-encompassing, cleverly written, great soap opera any time.   Marlena, who normally bitches a lot about lack of logic in stories, this time chose to believe it all — and in so doing, ended up loving the great GH storyline confluence of 2012.

The Young and the Restless:  Speaking of lack of logic this week, Phyllis slept with Ronan (again.)  So what if she was about to go on trial for attempted murder!  Also, with little logic, two months ago that normally straight arrow cop Ronan lied that he had slept with Phyllis the night of Dr. Tim’s death to provide an alibi for her.  The show’s writing seemed to contend: who cares?  Aren’t Phyllis and Ronan hot together?

Even if they are — and they are — these two instances were a bit mind-boggling for viewers.  They just prove what has become so disturbing about the Phyllis character in the last year or so.  She seems to have lost her brain.  Hopefully, the new writing regime at Y&R can restore it somehow.  If a soap couple is hot, who needs logic? But why can’t we have both?

Are you able to suspend belief with all that is illogical in soap storylines? I’m very torn after watching GH and Y&R this week.  Oh well, that’s soaps, darlings!    

Comments

  1. Patrick Erwin says:

    Missed these episodes, but I hear you on the story convergence. It’s one of the things I miss about shows having long term planning. When you saw multiple stories starting to relate to each other it was always fun and entertaining.

  2. Daniel says:

    It really is nice to have a soap that is on network TV be a soap again. I was worried that when they came to GH from OLTL that it would start to “feel” too much like OLTL, and I think it took them awhile to find the right balance, but once they did, wow. It’s been so much fun to watch and I hope that it stays on the air beyond the 50th Anniversary coming up next year.
    Lucy Coe for President!

    Marlena says: It would be great if they’d bring back Lynn Herring as Lucy Coe. As a comedienne, she is divine, and she is also wonderful as a serious actress.

    • Johnny says:

      Hi Marlena. First of all, the blackout story on GL was in the early 90′s…not the the 80′s. But like Sophia Petrilo, I digress. Phyllis is a psychotic slut. But she belongs with Jack. Nick belongs with Sharon. Whoever said that happy couples can’t have a story never watched nick and Sharon for 10 years, or Bo and Hope without Jim Reilly, or the late great Eden and Cruz from Santa Barbara. People wonder why soaps are dying. Give us some happiness! Some.joy. Constant pain,and misery and death and divorce is.depressing. Write uplifting stories.

      Marlena says: Oh, but Johnny soaps are no fun when everyone is happy! Victor and Nikki have had two weeks of happiness now and trouble is already on the horizon….

  3. Kevin says:

    So all of this praise for Kelly Sullivan — who is 100% completely channeling some of those actresses you saw in camp 1980′s B-grade horror movies (like “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes” and “American Gothic”) — yes, she is that bad — yet no love for that man meat Brandon Barash (Johnny) and how suave and hot he looked at the Sonny/KateConnie wedding? That man is hot, hot, hot and makes up for all the bad acting on this show.

    Marlena says: I love Brandon Barash, both because of his looks and his acting talent. He has been doing an excellent job!

  4. SZima says:

    GH: It was quite good last week with several storylines intersecting with each other, but I agree with you about “Kristina.” Girl couldn’t act her way out of anything. I kept hoping Joe Jr. would just shoot her already. Only good thing about this SL is, I’m starting to actually like Trey.

    I have enjoyed Kelly Sullivan’s Connie, but she’s now starting to grate on my nerves with her over-exaggerated accent and the over-inflated ego (where she honestly thinks Johnny is hot for her?) and the over-mugging for the camera (the faces she makes are ridiculous). She needs to get integrated stat, but please keep a combination of Kate and Connie. (Kate is way too boring and her fawning over Sonny is gag-worthy.)

    Y&R: I’m counting the days (til Friday) when the new writers start. I am so anxious to love this show again, but not holding much hope that JFP will actually make it better.

    They do need to get Phyllis back to the way she used to be…she’s barely recognizable these days. Same with Victor. I don’t remember him being so disgustingly bad when I watched years ago . I used to love to hate him, but lately I just hate him. And poor Jack, misguided as he is, needs to get a win sometime. Then there’s Sharon, whom I used to like, acting like an idiot and I want her to get taken down so badly.

    I guess I’m rambling here about Y&R, but it’s hard to put into words everything that’s wrong with this show. I AM hoping for better stories/characters though!

    Marlena says: Hi, Szima! Of course Kelly Sullivan is over the top, as most manic people are in real life. And this is soap opera, so there’s an element of camp to her performance. I agree though that her facial contortions are strange and sometimes comical. But the actress is certainly giving Connie her all! As far as Y&R goes, I too am more than ready for the material of the new headwriter and executive producer. It amazes me however how actors like Michelle Stafford and Melody Thomas Scott have continued to be so good, even given awful material. The sky’s the limit for the mostly excellent cast, given really good new writing.

  5. j. walker says:

    Guiding Light’s terrific Blackout episodes happened in the early 90s not in the 80s

    Marlena says: Oops! It was in the first half of 1992. I should have remembered because I interviewed the writers (Jim Reilly, Steve Demorest and LorraineBroderick) right after it was over. Reilly went to Days of Our Lives later that year.

  6. DS0816 says:

    Dear Connie/Marlena,

    I’m still awaiting the better direction for which “The Young and the Restless” will apparently be taking with a new executive producer: Jill Farren Phelps (last on “General Hospital” and who oversaw “Santa Barbara” in the late-1980s; “Guiding Light” in the first half of the 1990s; “Another World” in the second half of that decade; “One Life to Live” at the end of the 1990s and part of the first half of the 2000s before “GH”).

    Phyllis isn’t the only one who has lost her brain on “Y&R.” I’m not impressed with the handling of Sharon. (Though I did, admittedly, enjoy her making spoiled Newman siblings Victoria and Nick—Sharon’s ex-husband—feel uncomfortable.) In fact, much of the female characters on “Y&R” have, over the last year, either been overlooked (Katherine, Avery, and Jill) or mistreated (Ashley—who is no longer there—and Victoria spring to mind). I hope new head writer Josh Griffin serves “Y&R” well in his capacity as much as Jill Farren Phelps could in hers.

    I’ll try to be positive! (My favorite couple on “Y&R”: Adam and Chelsea, played by Michael Muhney and Melissa Claire Egan, who are wonderful together but may have possibly connected too quickly.)

    In the meantime, in your response to j. walker, “Guiding Light’s” ‘Blackout’ episodes played out for a week or so beginning in late-June 1992 and extended into the early days of July 1992. That was my favorite period (the 1991-92 and 1992-93 seasons of “GL”) in all my soap-watching which dates back, regularly, to the mid-1980s. And that was also memorably notable because, just for one example, of that storyline being the last we viewers were able to enjoy Kimberley Simms in the role of Mindy Lewis. (The actress and the series didn’t reach a new contractual agreement, and that prompted the departure of Simms from “GL.”)

    —DS0816

    Marlena says: Hi DSO! You’re right–other characters need work, but Sharon is the one most in need of rehabilitation. She’s acted insane, especially marrying old Vic and then almost marrying Tucker. In a recent interview, Josh Griffith promised some kind of solution to Sharon’s plight and I am really looking forward to what he will do. I too loved the 1992 Blackout, and see this as the end of an era when soaps were both produced and written in the classic way. It was nice to see a reminder of this kind of excellence last week on GH.

  7. Dennis says:

    Thanks for putting out the word consistently that GH is on FIRE Marlena–even the clunkiness of old material ( Connie/Kate) cannot hold back the exciting pacing, layered acting, and major integration of truly great veteran characters ( hello Duke! Anna!) exploding on the canvas. I was a Luke/Anna doubter but the quadrangle is looking like it will win me over. The reunion of Duke and Anna and the reconciliation of Tracy and Luke (sort of) friday was fantastic. And like any good multi generational soap, when the veterans lead, the younger generation starts to pay attention. There is a sweetness and purpose to Dante and Lulu now. . Becky Herbst was incredible in her denouement of the tampered blood test. Giver her a major NEW love interest! I too love me some Johnny and hope he comes back into Lulu’s orbit soon. Recast or revive the old Kristina . Continue the sweet reversal of Ellie Spinelli Maxie , and keep Heather somewhere safe to plot new craziness. PS This is the best work Kelly Monaco has ever done under the direction of RC. Bravo GH!

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