Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sunday Surgery: General Hospital Prescription: Ritalin

I'm trying so hard. I really DO give kudos to a show when it's deserved. GH is just on my last nerve lately. Ever since I read that Guza said he was "Hyperactive" during his Branco (@sudsreport)  interview, I can't get it off my mind. GH really IS ADHD and in need of some
                                                                   Guza Filled Gore

So, I've written and rewritten this blog about 3x before publishing. Some people accuse me of being TOO negative about GH. I'm trying to take a critical approach to a show I LOVE and have loved for over 30 years. Trying to watch and blog everyday is difficult because I notice when stories have been dropped, or changed or scenes cut. I notice production, editing and dialog. While GH's production has always been top-notch, it's the other elements that can really make my head spin. I can tell that there's little attention payed to what has been said even 2-3 months ago. I can see great actors languishing in the background with little to do. I can see wonderful stories and couples that are over-played and over-used. Balance goes out the window. When I see "Mike" I am so happy-- until I realize he should be on more than 3x every 6 months, inserted into a random scene here and there. Same with Monica, Edward, Matt, Kate. On and on. Olivia is a character that was on 24-7 when she first came and now? She has little to do because not much attention was paid to building her character up outside of Johnny and being Dante's mother.

These just aren't stories anymore, they are just series of moments that someone sticks together on a whim.  Slow down...and by slowing down I don't mean to bore us to tears like was done with the Brenda  "comeback".  I mean take some time to map out your story arcs and then tell the beginning, the middle and the ending. I'm going to use OLTL's Destiny story as an example. This was something that has been building for a long time.  The characters have been around long enough to make us care and figure out their family dynamics. Destiny always worshipped her brother Greg...Shaun was always jealous of him.  They used these details and then weaved them into the Eli story perfectly. The villain Eli didn't just pop up as a random  "Baddie" character either. (ie: Balkan). Not a faceless man people were chasing in the shadows. He was on the show for awhile and built his character up so that when he did go evil, it was a sight to behold. The new characters of the Ford brothers were also brought into the story. Eli had already romanced a high profile character  (Blair) bringing the Cramers into the whole thing. He went after a Lord-- and then..then there's Hannah.  Brilliant casting, brilliant story building on that front. He uses the crazy teenager to do his dirty work and she ends up morphing into this awesome nasty villain in her own right. The next generation Margaret. You know she'll be back!! On a side note, even Destiny's new boyfriend Darren has a brother on the police force. It's giving some connections to use in the future. If only our Diane had someone say, Claire as her sister or even cousin. Newbie Abby-- had some connection to someone in town. Don't drop stories that started (Valentin) with no explanation at all.  Soap fans have the longest memories ever.

I know I tend to make fun of accents and the 'cardboard' scenes that are supposed to be taking place in foreign countries.  That's the sarcastic side of me..I will always do that, but it's not as serious as when I feel a story is being completely blown. It's a whole different Fronkey then.

I just want GH to feel like a community again. A family that I tune into everyday that makes me feel that I want to watch. I would have loved for Robin's birthday party to have been longer and bigger.  I'm a sap for that kind of stuff. I would love to see Maya trying to fit into the Q household on more than a 1x every 4 month basis. I want to see more than just sniping and fighting and Sonny buying a strong woman a dress and reducing her to an obsessive shrew. I wanted to see Brenda come back and fold into Port Charles, maybe through Crimson... yes, she still could have had a backstory but not one that's going to take eons to tell and involve yet more violence. Suzanne could still be the charity lady but maybe a secret Cassadine..or related to Alexis on her mother's side? I just feel such randomness from the writing. Random can be good, or it can be completely off putting for a soap. Like I said, balance. Giving us a scoop about Alexis and Mac being "thrown together" is exactly that. Thrown. It's been done, either build the story or move on.

For those of you that have stuck with me even when I'm Negative Nancy,  I thank you.  You know I care about this show and about the actors and fans. I think GH has one of the best communities OUTSIDE of the show I've ever seen. Fansites, charity name it, we're there. Even people that have stopped watching the show check in and keep up with their fave actors and sites. That's dedication.

We soap watchers can suspend belief for just about anything. SORA'd characters, people turning up who were "dead"...wild explanations. One thing I can't suspend is the blatant disregard for making a story engaging and enjoyable. Sticking things in and then letting them disappear. Can't do it.

Now,  I'm  off to give my neighborhood some, I mean treats. Hope you have a great Halloweenie and I'll see you Monday.  Candy-bloated I'm sure!


Anonymous said...

I appreciate your blog. Sorry you're having to try to cover your butt. *rolleyes* I enjoy your wit. Keep up the great work - you're great and your writing is funneeee!

Anonymous said...

I agree with what you said except you got one thing wrong.There is no Barbra on the show.I think you meant Susan.

Anonymous said...

Happy Halloween! Please never be afraid to write the truth when you see it. Please don't listen to fangurls/fan bases and their criticism. They have agendas and they see stuff that isn't there. We all have our favs and non-favs, and we should feel free to say what we want about the characters, good or bad. I hope you'll continue to write freely about GH, because I enjoy coming here to see what you think about the show daily. Have fun!

kdmask said...

OMG, you are right! LOL..why did I think of Barbara?? GEESH!

Jody said...

I come here daily karen and love you dearly. Having said that, you may not want to joke about ritalin. Many of us have children that have been prescribed this sometimes controversial drug. With all due respect, I think you should remove that portion of your post.

Anonymous said...

Here's what I feel does much harm to show and characters.
Guza does this with characters far too often. Not sure we can make up our own minds (he assumes we are all stupid and easily led), he pours it on thick, has other characters try to make up our minds for us. Good example is Sonny. To watch Sonny, what you see is a under-educated, mostly tasteless, insensitive, self-absorbed and ego-driven, low-life criminal type, desirous of having others like him, even when he has no real feeling for them. Others seem so many pawns on a chessboard, except I doubt he is intelligent enough to play a good game of chess.
So to make him palatable, instead of writing him as loving, good-at-heart, and loyal, going the extra mile for others and doing fatherly duties, Guza has others say this stuff all the time thinking that will persuade us. 'You're a good man, Sonny', is the one that makes me gag most, 'You're a good father', 'He has a good heart' (yeah, but he kills people if they get in his way and he destroys lives), and so many other silly statements by PC people you know should know better.
OLTL has a show hero in McBain and there are those thinking fans who find him too super-hero at times, but tptb do not have all the other characters selling him. Other characters assume John will solve the case or find the missing person or rescue the damsel, but they don't rave on about his 'goodness' or his powers. John doesn't talk much, actually doesn't have much to say about himself (unlike Sonny) and this gets him a bit of fan ridicule, but even so, there is something likable there and the writers allow you to make up your own mind. He changes girls too often for my taste, but basically I like John. Unlike Sonny whom I have come to despise. I LOL each time another female doesn't spit in his eye and laugh when he says that all-too familiar, 'You know you want me', (grin, dimple, lower the brows). Geez, how cheesy obnoxious can a guy be?!!!!

So now Guza is doing it to Brenda. She is pretty, but not startling so. She is not especially intelligent (see her defence of Sonny) or articulate, not amazingly sexy (actually kinda gaunt), and even in danger, not a fascinating damsel-in-distress. Super models are not necessarily gorgeous without the makeup. settings, gowns, etc., so I can believe that part. BUT she is kinda average, too. She would be better presented as a average type with the talent to turn on the wow factor for the camera and unself-consciously for men who intrigue her. But pushing her as this goddess?
BIG mistake. And a terrible strain on Vanessa. She looks strained. The story is strained. And the audience's patience is strained.

Ari said...

I <3 yu WubQueen. Keep up the good work!

Mamaspat Ole said...

I love your website Karen.I have been reading it for years and I too loved GH I still do just not the writing.The actors are great but the sonny,jason and carly show has got to go.Thanks for being here to let us soundoff

kdmask said...

Jody, that wasn't a joke. It was a reference to Guza's ADHD. I work with a lot of kids on Ritalin-- I don't see why it's offensive. The drug itself is a marvel, imo.

kdmask said...

PS. if I were depressed about GH I would have used Prozac.. LOL

Jamie said...

Why don't you stop analyzing every aspect of the show? You might enjoy the show more if you stopped looking for all the holes in production, dialogue, story arcs. Watch the show that you have loved for 30 years and realize that it can't be perfect all the time. There are ups and downs. Not everyone wants the same things so they can't possibly please everyone. What you want isn't neccessarily what others want.
You mentioned OLTL. Well their ratings aren't any better than GH so apparently what you think is great isn't so great for everyone else. I enjoy reading your blog however and everyone is entitled to their opinion so I wouldn't want you to stop voicing it.

I just think that if you stopped finding fault with so many things you might be happier with the show. I think it's great right now. :)

Anonymous said...

I've watched for over 30 years as well. I think that earns us the right to speak how we will feel. If people don't like too bad!
GH is in trouble and I am mystified why more bloggers and reporters aren't pointing that out! Guza and Phelps needs to go plain and simple!
Keep up the good work! I appreciate it! I would not read any blog that was trying to cover up the obvious!

Mamaspat Ole said...

Hey Karen I use Prozac and highly recommend it lol.The thing with what Karen said is true but guess what its her blog and she can say anything she feels like :))))

Anonymous said...

I am another veteran viewer. What I have been seeing the last decade of the show can only be described as an unfocused, inconstant, and distraction laden story development.

Karen hit the nail on the head when she bemoaned the poor storytelling which ignores the premise that stories need a beginning, a middle and an end. We can do without constant airtime filled with repetitious and redundant dialog for Sonny and Dante in order to give viewers some closure on many dropped stories.

kdmask said...

Well, Jamie, I tried to explain WHY I analyze the show, one is because I do this website. It's part of the thing I do. I agree I don't have to analyze everything, which I don't do for other shows. I just love GH and want it to get better.

OLTL ratings aren't good that's true, but to me...that just shows that something can be wonderful and not popular.
I've called OLTL on their sheeze too when it's bad.

Anonymous said...

I watch GH because of one woman and that's Maya. It's odd that the only recurring character that's barely on more than one week. She has had only had a limited time with the Quartmaines. And I enjoy Annie with John Ingle they have done alot with their few scenes. And I also enjoy her scenes with Nathan, Anthony and Jane! I don't understand the Maya or Mayan hate they have a electric, chemistry and natural.

Rita Pita said...

Jamie... ARE YOU HIGH? The show is great right now? Really?

Anonymous said...

Sorry but Anon is just as high as jaime if they think maya is the best thing on GH. Diane, Alexis, Mac, Johnny, Scrubs, Molly, Maxie all have bigger and better acting chops than Maya on her best day.

Most of us are sick of Sonny, Carly, Jason. Unless of course they give us a better NEW story. Jason with his son, that would be one. You have to wonder if the rumors are true about a Jasam baby, will Jason even mention jake?

Michele Sobo said...

Do you really think that Robin would be kidnapped and Anna would not come back? Has she even CALLED? Talk about a hole in the story!

What about Lucky being the father of Elizabeth's baby? Will Nicholas raise that kid 'til he's a teen or what?

Did Valentine go from being a horrific threat to Helena and all the Cassidines and then go away?

What about the birth certificate in the frame Helena had, who was that?

I get frustrated too. I like to think I am somewhat intelligent, but this soap treats me like I am an idiot!! Yet, I have been watching for so many years I still watch. I just FFWD through all the scenes that are always the same..Sonny, you are a great Dad..yadda yadda..let's take another lady to the island...Carly is even asting stupid!! She really is a great character, but why are they making her an idiot?

frustrating when you love a show so much.

Michele Sobo said...

PS- Anyone want to compare photos of Hannah and Claire? They could be sisters! Both in law enforcement and playthings for Sonny.

Anonymous said...

It was Dawn & Decker from, I think in 1991, that got me watching nearly every episode since. But I can remember a time 2 years ago when I considered giving it up, because the writing was so stupid. Since then some of the mobular stuff (some of it) has calmed down, but there is still too much. That was my biggest turn off. Also, despite how much I loved Maurice Bernard I think the character of Sonny suffered from overexposure and redone plot lines.

Also the barrage of Virus outbreaks, hostage take over, hotel fire, climaxing with the black & white ball (that was the worst by far) it started on Halloween and ending right before Thanksgiving and it was supposed all be in one night, lol!

Nonetheless, I do like the secret between Brenda and Dante. I also like the idea of Brenda with Jax, much more then Sonny, always felt that way. I love Laura Wright too! She is just a terrific actress, even when Carly is annoying.

We'll see. I think the real problem is that Guza has too much of the writing control. Plus GH is arguably the most popular soap with the richest history, re: Luke & Laura, so when the ratings drop people panic.

Everyone thought James Franco (which did help) and VM could fix everything, but the plot has to be good. Poor VM, suddenly everything on GH has to do with Brenda and if she doesn't resign the entire canvas will change again in a couple years. The cast is great, the history is rich and the fans are loyal. So if the writing improves the rest will fall into place.

Keep writing Karen!

Anonymous said...

I doubt if Maya was as bad as everyone says she would have gotten a two episode role on Entourage. I stated my opinion I enjoy the actress and the character/this is her first soap role, she's not the only actor on the show who have their off days. But she is the only one constantly being blasted! I love Maya and she and Ethan sizzle!

Anonymous said...

I never said Maya was the best actress or actor I just get sick of the endless hate Maya posts there are plenty who like her!