General Hospital: The Ginormous Furor over Fluke

Is it Luke or Fluke? (Photo: michaelfairmansoaps.com)

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

In many, many years, there hasn’t been a soap controversy of the magnitude of the furor over the year-old  “Fluke” storyline on General Hospital. While some love  it (I gave it a rave in two prior columns,  but more on that later) many really hate it.  Just look at all the negative remarks about the story on Facebook, on soap site message boards, and in the responses to my last two GH columns. (They are “Divine Soaps Plots Make GH Must See TV, Parts 1 and 2,” which ran respectively here on February 1st  and 5th.)

Viewers are sounding off that the Fluke storyline is too cartoonish, has many inconsistencies, doesn’t grow from who Luke really is., has gone on way too long, isn’t our beloved GH and on and on and on, a million other complaints. Everyone is talking about the Fluke storyline.  I even spent a full two hours last week over brunch discussing the Fluke story with my always brilliantly spoken GH fan friend  pjs, who has watched GH since its inception in 1963. The waiter gave us a really quizzical look!

As for me, I’m a bit embarrassed. Marlena believes it is her job as a critic to criticize soaps that are not character-oriented, have inconsistencies, and have characters that act out of character.  Despite its problems, I loved the story because of the continuing suspense and Tony Geary’s bravura acting.
Because of those strong elements, I was and still am entertained by the Fluke story, and have been able to forgive all the story’s transgressions.  But for how much longer will I be so charmed?

For the first time this week, I felt  tired, no longer  having the patience to  wait for the reveal of who Fluke really is when Luke, behind bars for the setting up the boat explosion (that didn’t happen) declared he was the real Luke Spencer. (Fingerprints were found – supposedly — confirming this.)

Plus, I am really confused. How could the  Luke Spencer  I’ve watched since 1980 do so many  awful  criminal things,  among them trying  to  control people (like Jake and Ava) into killing other people, committing  actual  murder himself? And endangering the lives of people the real Luke loves (his closest relatives Bobbie, Lulu and Tracy, not to mention all the other innocent passengers) by having Jake plant the bomb in the boat?  Does Luke have DID, a gimmick story most famously used on One Life to Live with the character of Victoria Lord in the 90s?  (She exhibited six personalities including that of Viki and Niki, her “split personalities”  who were periodically seen earlier on OLTL over the years.) Or, besides DID — if he has it — is there another explanation for who “Luke” really, really is?

I’ve read on message boards and heard rumors that the Fluke story is yet to continue in the next few months with Luke’s past played out, explaining the roots of his possible DID. The reliable ABC Soaps in Depth magazine reported today that  two  actors are being cast to play young Luke and Bobbie and shared that the show is looking for an actress in her late 60s who has  had a hard life. Will she be cast as    Patricia Spencer, the sister  who Bobbie  and Luke talked about only once many years ago in GH history prior to the Fluke story and has never been seen before?   Was Patricia in her younger years involved in the cause of Luke’s possible DID?

So, chers lecteurs, where is this Fluke/Luke story going?  Only those in the GH inner sanctum know for sure.  Although I have a few regrets, I’ll still be watching the story as it progresses because, despite everyone’s complaints,  I am still intrigued by it  Are you?  Will you keep watching?         

General Hospital: Who is the Real Luke Spencer?

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

Tony Geary — Is it Luke or his doppelganger?

On soap operas, situations and characters change very slowly.  So it’s been somewhat of a shock that Luke Spencer, for most of his 35 years on General Hospital a lovable rogue, has turned into a major criminal.  It was revealed in the last few months that he’s the one who is bankrolling the drug ring run by Julian Jerome and that he wants to bring down Sonny Corinthos, the drug dealer who has been his friend for decades.

Some may argue that Luke is actually coming full circle.  After all, when he came to town in the late 70s, he was a criminal, albeit a low level one, in the Frank Smith organization.  But through the love of Laura Spencer, he transformed himself and became a hero.  He saved the world from the Cassidines’ weather machine and even became the mayor of Port Charles.

But what has really been strange about the Luke of recent days is why and how he has become a criminal again.  The “old” Luke was last seen when he was knocked out and held a drugged hostage at the Miscavige Home for the Criminally Insane by one of its residents, Heather Webber.  The “new” Luke, without any explanation, was seen plotting the take-over of the drug trade with Julian at Nicholas and Britt’s engagement party.

But is the new Luke really the same character as the old Luke?  Of course, he’s still being played by Tony Geary, master of the soap acting game after 35 years. But some fans suspect he may really be Luke’s look-alike cousin Bill Eckert, and a fan or two have suggested he might even be Heather in disguise.

Whatever, the new Luke is certainly behaving a bit differently than the old Luke.  He’s been seen doing drugs. He made more than one  pass at young Kiki, who kicked  him in groin in retaliation.  And he threatened the life of his fiancé Tracy’s Ned, who was trying to get him to sign a pre-nuptial agreement.

But whoever it is is certainly using Luke’s physical guise.  He’s again engaged to his ex-wife Tracy, not for love this time, but to get a job at ELQ, which he’ll use to launder the Jerome drug money. Does he still love Tracy? Who knows?  Geary’s excellent scenes with co-star Jane Elliot as Tracy continue after all these years. (How many total hours of air time have these two racked up together? Guinness Book of World Records, anyone?)

Why has GH decided to change Luke thus, especially without explanation.  It’s a question that needs to be answered if the audience is to get much further satisfaction out of the current storyline.  After years and years, it may be time to bring the unquestioned king of the Port Charles drug trade, Sonny Corinthos, down for good.  Sonny has been shown disintegrating with guilt after shooting and killing A.J.  Quartermaine. He’s poised for a fall.

But the last person anyone suspects might bring down Sonny is our Luke Spencer, the good guy who is a criminal once more.

Are You Buying These Fanciful Plot Twists?

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

Camryn Grimes, welcome back as Cassie look-alike

In their drive to create more and more entertaining soap opera, writers sometimes devise situations that are fanciful and, to put it bluntly, hard to believe.  After all, soap viewers will buy anything, right?  Wrong.  Recently, three soaps have come up with situations which Marlena finds incredibly hard to buy:

The Young and the Restless faux Cassie:  As Y&R viewers know, Cassie, daughter of Nick and Sharon, died when she was quite young.  Recently, Sharon has been shown having extensive conversations with what she thought was Cassie’s ghost.  But she really is a Cassie a look-alike, hired by Victor, who is in quest of finding out Sharon’s secret (that Nick really fathered Summer, not Jack).  How would Victor find an exact Cassie look-alike, especially one of the right age?  This story is cruel, and even took more of a cruel turn when Sharon turned to electroshock therapy (ECT) to extinguish her visions of Cassie.  It is good, however — especially in scenes with Sharon Case — to see an adult Camryn Grimes, who is again playing Cassie, or more correctly, her look-alike.

The Bold and the Beautiful’s suddenly crazy, neurotic Aly Forrester: When Ashlyn Pearce debuted as Forrester granddaughter Aly, she brought a real breath of fresh young air to the show, which is mostly filled with older adults.  So how sad it is to see her character descend into a kind of neurotic madness, as she has taken to a real hatred of Hope’s suitor Wyatt Fuller. She will do anything to destroy Wyatt, because she feels he destroys Hope’s wholesome values, as made famous by the publicity for Hope’s “Hope for the Future” line of fashion.  Recently, Aly has even been seen talking to her dead mother Darla, who was killed in an auto crash long ago.  We hope this character makes a quite recovery from all this craziness and is not ruined for good.

General Hospital’s A.J. is shot and Luke is not what he seems to be:  Recently, GH has had a lot of fanciful storylines,  not the least of which was that A.J. was shot by Sonny, supposedly because he killed Connie, which he did not. (Ava has confessed to the murder.)   All his life A.J. has been endlessly and sometimes unbelievably in  trouble, his antics filling way too many hours of GH drama.  Remember when he, a life-long drunk, conceived Michael in the street with Carly?  Remember when Sonny hung A.J. from a meat hook?   This time, no matter how many times he swore not to destroy A.J., his son’s Michael’s biological father, Sonny took a shot at A.J.  Will he live to die?  Actor Sean Kanan is leaving the show.

And if we are to believe GH’s Friday cliffhanger, it turns out that Luke is the one who has been bankrolling mobster Julian Jerome after all.  Huh?  Sure, Luke has not been himself since he was wrongly imprisoned in Heather’s lunatic asylum.  But where would he get the money or the resources to be behind such a major mobster like Julian?