General Hospital: Think of the Real Laura

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

Let’s start off with the positive here: The Nurse’s Ball is coming closer and closer (to be aired the week of April 1) and both current and we longtime General Hospital fans sure have a lot to look forward to.

Genie Francis

After  a few mediocre weeks (starting with the end of the vampire story), GH  delivered an episode this Friday that was quite good and full of the surprises Mr. Calivati had promised us on Twitter the day before.  I literally screamed when it was revealed that Britt and the shockingly returned Dr. Lisa Obrecht (Kathleen Gati) were mother and daughter.  The beloved Bobbie (Jackie Zeman) finally reappeared, too.  Then Nicholas (Tyler Christopher) came home at the end of the episode, and I surprised myself by bursting into sentimental tears when he and his mother Laura embraced.

Indeed, there have been all kinds of screaming at Chez Marlena for the last two or three weeks and it hasn’t always been screams of delight. My fellow GH watcher Moose (a novice, who is still learning which end is up, GH-wise) braces for the coming storm of outrage and Nigel, our beagle, hides in his crate every time Luke, Laura and Scotty show up together. On cue, I scream, “It’s a travesty and a sacrilege!”

Having these three fabled characters back together again is the soap opera writers’ opportunity of a lifetime. But this crew, headed by Mr. Carlivati, is blowing it big-time. Hey guys, can you spell superficial? Artificial? Clumsy? 

Tony Geary

The worst part of this travesty – the real sacrilege – is the way they are writing Laura. Totally passive. Looking vacant and confused. Mostly just standing around. Why waste the valuable time of the very accomplished Genie Francis — and ours?Let me re-iterate: This is no slam on Ms. Francis. She is simply given nothing to do but stand there in that ridiculous wedding dress with those godawful peplums and try to look concerned during those anemic arguments between Kin Shriner’s Scotty and Tony Geary’s Luke (how can any writer go so wrong with such accomplished actors?)

So many unanswered questions hang over these stiff proceedings. Why does Laura really agree to marry Scotty? Is she being cowed by him? Would grown up Laura allow herself to be cowed by anyone? Why has she lost her assertiveness? Is there supposed to be some surprise yet to be discovered that explains Laura’s behavior? Did Helena have her hypnotized?

This is not our Laura, the character we’ve watched mature from a shy teenager into a real woman of heart and independent mind over the many decades we have known her. How dare you, GH writers, downplay the (rare for daytime) growth of a female character in which we have so many memories and years of our lives invested?

Genie Francis has said in interviews that she didn’t want to return to GH in order for Laura to be again portrayed as a victim. Well, not even that is going on, at least not so far. It makes no sense for Laura to be brought back and not write for her.

I know the Luke/Laura/Scotty story has a long way go and hopefully all this will change.  But if Laura doesn’t get her personality, hard earned maturity and IQ back, the resulting disaster is likely to be among the worst mistakes Marlena has ever seen on a soap opera.

Kin Shriner

Am I making too much of this? Asked one of my longtime GH viewer friends when I told him my feelings this week, “How is this any worse than when Guza turned (the currently dead but soon to somehow return) Rick into a kidnapper and a murderer?” No, Luke and Laura just count so much more. No matter when you started watching, or which past couple you adore, Luke and Laura are General Hospital! They are soap opera! Mr. Carlivati, you and your team are better than this. Go back into the room, watch some tapes, and think this through. And especially, do right by Laura.

P.S. And speaking of the aforementioned wedding dress: Whose idea was it to make Laura look bad? Lucy is supposed to have picked out this miscreation. But everyone knows Ms. Coe doesn’t have such bad taste. Dressing Laura this way is an insult to the ever-beautiful Genie … and her fans!

Comments

  1. sus says:

    Geesh give it a chance. I am a die hard Luke and Laura, and Laura fan.. and it is quite obvious something it up with Laura! When Luke was talking of Lulu and said that if there was any way to get out of the mess she was in she would find it.. and then Laura said, “she is your daughter”.. then he told her that he believed the trait came from her… well the magnificent Genie Francis… well watch her.. about 7 silent seconds she told the whole story: fiddled with that engagement ring, pained, anguished look on her face, close eyes, look up… stiff upper lip and get on with it. IT is OBVIOUS that something is up with Laura. She is playing somehting for Scotty. Watch how different she is with Luke… doesn’t take his crap and lays it right out for him. I for one am LOVING it! Can’t wait ’till monday. Lots of very nervous LnL fans out here… this regime isn’t stupid. They know the ethan mess trashed LnL, and GH… cause the ratings after that reveal never recovered….have a little faith!!

    Marlena says: As I said, all of this could change. But despite the moment you describe here, Laura has been a cypher. And as one board poster noted: Scotty is little more than Eddie Haskell!

    • sus says:

      …and as you said.. and we ALL CLEARLY know.. this is NOT our Laura (or Genie Francis’) so it will change. No doubt in my mind! I have been waiting on line for this ride for YEARS. I am willing to take the the ride and every little bump along the way… and just be very happy that this attraction exists…. But some rather crucify the designer before they even get to the top of the big hill because they would have liked a tighter turn, or a more rapid ascent….certainly their prerogative!!!

  2. tess says:

    I too have noticed that Laura isn’t acting like herself and I wonder if she is the real Laura or perhaps, Helena Cassadine or Faison has replaced her with a lookalike. God, I hope not. If she isn’t a doppelganger, maybe some mind control instigated by the aforementioned is going on. Remember, this is GENERAL HOSPITAL and Carlivati has written stories about mind control. Irene Manning, anyone?

    Now onto Britt. I wonder if her mother had an affair with Edward Quartermaine and Britt is the missing heir. I loved watching Britt square off with Epiphany, threatening Epiphany, bragging about who had more power. But Epiphany didn’t back down.

    I’d like to see something happen to Epiphany. Perhaps, someone could mow her down in the hospital underground garage. And of course, Epiphany thinks Britt had something to do with it. Britt denies it and accuses Epiphany of trying to sabotage her professionally. Maybe Britt could nastily tell Epiphany that she knows all about her, that her real name is Mozelle and she used to sing in the church choir. “And I know the one thing you think no one is aware of,” Britt said.

    The show hasn’t been terribly exciting the past few weeks, although this past Friday’s show was marvelous. I’m hoping that Gail and Lee will pop up.

    Marlena says: In all my decades of watching soaps, I have to say the Irene Manning story was among the worst two or three of all time. Leave mind control to Stefano Di Mera! Irene herself was so bad it had to be a joke.

  3. James says:

    Chere Marlena,

    I too have been disappointed by Laura’s return. She seemed marooned on an island from the moment she’s arrived in town, only dealing with Luke, Lulu and Scotty. I wanted scenes of her interacting with the rest of Port Charles. Say a scene with Monica where she talks about Edward’s death, about how she worked for him at ELQ. A scene with Patrick talking about Robin. A scene with Mac, Felicia, Kevin, Lucy, people she knew from her time in Port Charles.

    The bizarre almost wedding in the courthouse had me scratching my head. But most of this return has left me scratching my head. I didn’t feel like we were seeing the real Laura until she hugged Nicholas.

    And where is Lesley Weber? They could at least have a throw away line about Lesley being in Africa doing Doctors Without Borders or something!

    I hope Laura’s return is more than a stunt, this 50th anniversary reduz of Luke and Laura and the Ice Princess like Ron C. did on OLTL’s 40th with the waterfall, Mendora and going back to 1968. Time will tell . .

    Marlena says: Is this just all a stunt? I really didn’t like the back to the 60s story on OLTL. It just seemed forced and silly. I, too, would like to see Laura interact with more of the characters on the canvas.

  4. heidi says:

    I understand what you are saying Marlena… but I too believe that something is causing Laura to act the way she is. Think about why after all this time could she come back with her grit, intelligence, confidence and overall strong and capable self and explain why she has been MIA if she was truly healthy and back to the Laura we know and love. She is there… I believe but she is being threatened by someone to comply and it is only small glimpses of when she is not with Luke that she says it like it is. I think she knows she and her family are being watched and probably managed by Scott. I would love for Scott to be dropped in the harbor or where ever. Someone… likely Helena is the puppeteer here and Laura is a puppet. She wanted very much to see her family and friends and bargained with a devil. I am going to trust RC and FV that she is going to be the Laura we know in love eventually even though they are the two that have kept the Kate/Connie thing going on sooooooooooooooooooooooooooo very much longer than 90% of us the fans would prefer. As for the horrid wedding ensemble… agreed and I think most of er wardrobe so far has been really bad… and that is unusual for GH… they usually have the best wardrobes of all the soaps!

    Marlena says: Oh no! I hate outlandish story gimmicks. Luke and Laura were all about falling in love, the summer I started watching GH in 1980. I was turned off by the crazy, sci-fi Ice Princess story, and don’t really want to see a story like that at this late date. But who knows, perhaps it has started already.

  5. horselover says:

    I agree with you Marlena about how the writing for Luke, Laura and Scotty hasn’t been the best. However, I disagree with you about Luke and Laura counting “so much more”. Really? So, it’s okay if other characters get crappy writing but not Luke & Laura? I get Luke & Laura are THE iconic characters of this soap but why should they be given better material than other characters? Luke & Laura get ALL the glory. They are still the centerpiece of this show and on the cover of every magazine celebrating GH’s 50th Anniversary. I love Luke & Laura but it sort of irritates me that some people think they should be given the best material while it is okay for other characters to be given sub-standard material.

    But long live Luke & Laura!!

    Marlena says: ALL the regular characters and all the vets should get equally good matieral. I’m not saying here that L&L deserve better. All I’m saying is that considering their historical stature on the show, it’s a travesty they’ve been given such abysmal material so far. Is this going to change this go-round? We’ll have to see.

  6. Iwishyouwell says:

    Perhaps you missed the story where Luke said that something was off about Laura? Tony and Genie know exactly how to play these characters; they can do this in their sleep. Genie said that Laura has secrets, and so did Frank V. Luke has been avoiding Laura’s place in his life for years and Laura is either brain washed or maybe even being blackmailed. Either way I don’t think there is anything wrong with the writers leaving some mystery and not spilling the whole story out in the first couple weeks. I’m on the edge of my seat wondering how L&L will reconnect and finding out what is REALLY going on with Laura Webber Spencer!

  7. Diana says:

    I think what they are trying to portray with Laura is that she is still a woman recovering from mental illness and although getting better, she is still not confident in herself and her decisions. At least that better be all that it is! RC has carried on the DID storyline way too long just as he did on OLTL. Have you notice that he is big on flashbacks? No, the great flashbacks of 5-20 years ago, but lame flashbacks of 5mins to 1 days ago. It is almost like a money saving stunt.

  8. janet says:

    Great to see them back, hope they stay for a while a long while. Laura and Nickolas had great smiles on their faces. Bobbie welcome back. Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of FrankenRon. Its gonna be a bumpy ride , lets go.!

    We now need Sean Donnely and Robert back!

  9. Adam says:

    Reading the comments and the story by Marlena, I am reminded of much of what I took beef with when Carlivati wrote OLTL. While he can do some darn funny stuff, and likes to pretend that he is using history, he most often abuses that history by twisting characters into imitations of a pale idea of what they really are. Kim Zimmer as Echo, Susan Haskell as Marty, Blair, Dorian and Starr, nearly all the time the last four years of that show.

    I think Carlivati needs a co-writer grounded in the history of the show, and one who can give him the proverbial smack and prevent his petulance from ruining another show. Mr. Baldwin is in no way a villain. I’m shocked that Carlivati isn’t writing Luke as a hated rapist that is essentially a walking, menacing penis, the way he wrote Todd/Victor on OLTL. Marlena, your screams are heard. It’s ok. Carlivati’s best by date is long past. Time for Frank to find a new writer and inject some heart back into the hospital, before, as with One Life, it’s (almost) too late.

  10. natnic says:

    I just watched a few minutes of an episode but I didn’t like the way no explanation was provided for why Laura accepted Scotty’s proposal if he is such a jerk. I would prefer his character to be a little more grey. It would be great if they replayed old scenes of Laura and Scotty as a young couple. It would have made sense if Laura was trying to recapture some of that old magic and innocence. I wanted the writers to explain to me what Laura sees in Scotty. He can still be a villain. They should have had a scene explaining that she sees just a tiny bit of the old Scotty in him. Perhaps she feels guilty for dumping him when he did nothing wrong. If that were the case then the wedding would make sense. I would like more nuanced writing.

    Marlena says: Good idea! But after 30 years, we know Scott is not a villain. Or has someone put him up to all this?

  11. William says:

    Not sure why you’re throwing so much shade to “General Hospital” these days, Marlena, but I do agree with everything you said about Laura/Genie Francis.

    Having said that, at least we have Laura on our screens these days. If show killing witch Jill Farren Phelps and her hench man Bob Guza were still in charge, we would see the show celebrating it’s 50th birthday as Carly is forced to choose who must live while James Franco (in his 25th return “engagement”) holds a bomb over Jason and Sonny who are handcuffed together …. YAWN!!!

    For that reason alone, I give mad love to Frank Valentini and Ron Carlivati and the fact that this show is not 1/10 as mobcentric as it was two years ago.

    Marlena says: Thanks for making me laugh, William.

  12. Patrick Erwin says:

    Marlena, looking forward to next week and the anniversary!!

    For some reason, an interview with Ron Carlivati sticks in my mind here – one where he said he wanted to bring Laura and Scotty back well before the Ball. I wonder if they’ve essentially been treading water for these last weeks until the Ball and sweeps kicks things into higher gear? Julie Berman’s departure as Lulu might have played into it, too.

    There HAS to be more meat to this story, right? So many loose threads. Laura’s illness and recovery. What does Laura really think about Jake’s death? Does Scotty still have feelings about Logan’s death? There are a billion and one messes that can be addressed and cleaned up. That’s what it’s all about!

    It seemed like bad timing to have Laura come back as Frisco did, and play similar beats in the Luke/Laura and Frisco/Felicia relationships.

    Of course, this is all speculation from my armchair. If this story is still pedaling water in three months, then I’ll assume Carlivati and Valentini were making it all up as they went along.

    Marlena says: Always do good to hear from you, my darling Patrick. I agree with everything you ask and say here, especially your insightful remark about L&L playing the same beats as Frisco and Felicia. As you say and I agree, we’ll have to see where this is going? Where WILL we be in three months?

  13. DS0816 says:

    Connie/Marlena writes: “Genie Francis has said in interviews that she didn’t want to return to ‘GH’ in order for Laura to be again portrayed as a victim. Well, not even that is going on, at least not so far. It makes no sense for Laura to be brought back and not write for her.

    “I know the Luke/Laura/Scotty story has a long way go and hopefully all this will change. But if Laura doesn’t get her personality, hard earned maturity and IQ back, the resulting disaster is likely to be among the worst mistakes Marlena has ever seen on a soap opera.”

    This was what I had feared. From the way you describe it, Genie Francis may be having a worse time being back on “General Hospital” than with her ill-conceived and irritating character on “The Young and the Restless.”

    I believe that when this type of situation happens, as it has with others soaps and returning actors, it really is the responsibility of the executive producer and head writer. The character of Laura Webber Spencer is the most famous female in the history of “General Hospital.” It whould not have happened. So one might want to go further and ask, “Does this actually reveal that a given soap’s honchos are not interested in havint the character and/or actor?”

    Marlena says These are very dark thoughts, but I have to agree with you !00% DSO. It is the headwriter and executive producer’s fault. But Laura has grown stronger this week, and perhaps by the end of her return (hope she sticks around) she will be our mature, wonderful woman we watched her to grow up to be all these years. Let’s see what happens…

  14. Thom Francisco says:

    For me too, there has been something off about the Luke and Laura reunion, and Scotty has just been mishandled. He’s always been a bit rough around the edges, but there is no rooting value in the Scotty on my screen these days.

    As for Britt and her mama-I too screamed at my TV. That’s classic soap genius right there. Any writer who can make me feel bad for Britt, well they’re doing something right. As for Britt, I am certain that she has a child with Patrick, and that is what has been driving her behavior all this time. I wish I could remember the scene, but there was a scene with her a few months back where it made me think she has a child with Patrick. I mean, he used to be a bit of a lady’s man, no? A drunken night with a hot coed is not out of the question. When you look at Britt through this lens, coupled with her horrible parents, a lot of her behavior makes such sense.

    Finally, after all these years, I still love your soap writing. Keep up the good work!

    Thom

    Marlena says; Thank you SO much Thom! You made my day!

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