Sunday, April 13, 2014

Sunday Surgery: Sing a Song of Sisters

As you know I took a breather from GH last week. I did FF now and again and read all your comments. Thanks for that.  As you can see, I did break down and watch the show Friday.

WARNING: Do not read the next page if you are going to ask me "why do you bother" or any other foolishness. This is my OPINION of GH. And right now, it's not pretty. 


Am I hallucinating...or is that Acid Groove Green?

I'm honestly confused by what I'm seeing on the show. There are WAY WAY too many characters and they are adding..MORE? You shoot/kill AJ legacy Q and we have Jordan, Lucas,  Nathan...Donna Mills--Levi-- I just.. do NOT get this. Is it to add MORE actors so they can rotate stories more and pay less? Sure seems like it. This way, people like Jason Thompson can take eons off while we have some scenes with people we care nothing about. Ric's back and hell but he's hardly on! I think the editors have trouble keeping up too-- AJ dies and 2 "days" (real time) later, Tracy's having LUNCH in Kelly's with Luke! WTF. I kept waiting for her cell to go off.  Where's Michael all week? Next week he'll appear again--and our emotions are supposed to be into the AJ death?

And Jordan?! WHY WHY WHY---?? Shaun and TJ are hardly EVER on, so why should I care about her? 

Glad Maxie is back. Do I have hopes she'll get a decent story? Um, no.  Don't get me started Levi. You know he'll be 'shockingly related to people on canvas" and take an age to get that reveal going. 

Yes, I still love my show. Hell, I made my schedule this school year so I start early and finish in time to get home to watch live. But I'm just so turned off by this round-round storytelling. I know the "Old Days' are dead and gone but soaps are about core families, stories with beginning/middle and some resolution and not ALL about shock and villains and people with masks  or doppelgangers, kidnappings and shootings. Sure, that can be in there but the focus? Hey, when you focus more on the baddies that killed a man point blank and then trashed his memory instead of the killing and implications to say--Monica, well, you lost me. You need BOTH sides. Nothing infuriated me more than to have Tracy having lunch with Luke and not even knowing about AJ's death--2 days after it happened on screen. Block taping does this. It also traps characters within tiny universes of themselves.
Franco and Carly? Who do they ever see but each other? I think Franco talked to Scott one day. Long ago.  Morgan is stuck in Ava parking-lot hell and Anna hasn't been out of the PCPD in a month.  Why wasn't she part of the raid on Obrect? Since she knows how dangerous she is? Why didn't she get the WSB on the phone when it happened? "Hey, one of your 'people' just went bat-shit again"?

I think Duke is back to counting coffee beans for Sonny. How's Lucas working out? Glad Bobbie made it on one time.  Did TJ and Molly have sex? And please, just get rid of Rafe. You're not going to use him so just cut the ties.  Scott/Lucy/Kevin/Mac/Felicia--I don't even know what to say about this situation. I got nothin'/

I was so hoping this Nina thing would be over. OOOOOOOO-verrrrrrr. Now we have Donna Mills and Dr. O and Nathan and Britt.  Victor left and basically evaporates but!! he's coming back again. Okay.  Whatever. Helena will be back as well and a new girlie Cassadine as well. Another newbie!  

The most painful scene was watching Nathan and Donna West and her "confession" WOW.. just. WOW.  Terrible. I do want to take a moment to say it's really stupid about the whole 20 year in a coma, trying to get Silas for the crime NOW--and the fact that Madeline actually did it to try to induce an abortion.   @@ When I look back at how the whole thing unfolded, it makes no sense. at all.

The dialog writing is still pretty brilliant. The moments are wonderful..but in isolation. It's all lost in the revolving on/off of actors and the editing, imo.

Shocking reveal: O and Donna are sisters..and there's supposedly another Lante baby floating around out there.  This damn baby saga is NEVER ending. NEVER.

The Nurses Ball is coming ..I'll watch that. I'm sure Sonny's angst or story will be all up in that business too. 

AJ's funeral is the week AFTER Easter. Guess there's no rush on that, huh?  He has to haunt Sonny first. @@

Yep, I'm crabby. Yep, the show is still not doing anything for me. It's too disjointed and way too all over the place to give me a 'story' I can sink my time into. I don't have a face or prop or scene because I didn't watch enough to choose. 

From the Cassadine Mansion to the crappy 1 room loft---from Benjamin to Rocco. Oh, little baby--so, so sorry!!  BUT! You do have a lotta Yankee stuff around! (and Gram Olivia's pasta)!

Not sure what I'm doing next week. I'll probably tune in/out like I did this one. Michael's coming BACK on screen after a week off. Anna's still stuck at the PCPD and Patrick/Sabrina crawl out of storage for some baby-bonding scenes. 

And so it goes. 



Maria said...

*Sigh*'s exhausting and sad isn't it? I miss the GH that made me rush home to my tv to get lost in stories and characters I cared about.

Cosmoetica said...

Karen: apropos of your gripes, this morning I had this exchange of emails with a 20 year old GH viewer on another website.

I alternate her questions w my answers:

[The Johnny referred to is NOT Zacchara but Johnny Morrisey from 1982- Amy Vining's boxer beau.]

So, I watched the scene.

And I totally agree that what is shown in this clip in terms of dialogue, tone, the naturalness of the conversations, and the overall fluidity of the scenes are all that is lacking in GH today.


Is this the boxing scene w Johny or the intro of Johnny? It doesn't matter, as both are good scenes. Stormy and I were looking over the one edited scene b4 and after Sonny raped Karen, and then a scene where Sonny basically flaunted it to her. Both excellent scenes and shows how much potential MB had and how well written it was. In a sense, if someone missed the actual 14 seconds or so where Sonny slipped her drugs I can see how they would NOT think it was rape, as the writers were subtle and Sonny only hinted at what he had done and sort of cat and moused Jagger and Karen. Seeing hoe good MB was only highlights how bad he is now.

Th e80s were about epic tales- they were David Lean and Greek Heroes whereas the 90s were John Cassavetes and more intimate tale. The diff between Frank Smith and Sonny Corinthos is emblemic of this- Sonny was created to be more ethnic in reaction to bland WASP gangsters w names like Smith, Hand, McKay, Jerome. He was advertised as being more 'real.' Then they made him super-Gangster.

A key point that many artists and critics do NOT get: CHARACTER IS PLOT. W/o a hero or protagonist to care for or be intrigued by, nothing he nor she does matters. This is why sht like Dan Brown or genre crap is not art but pop art. We are intrigued by Ahab, worry Huck Finn is in over his head, and so on. Some hack character? No. Plot driven stories are not good upon rewatch for this key- f they are dependent on a twist, once the twist is known, it's like trying to reblow a popped balloon.

Most melodrama is like this, and soaps are melodramas- which is drama that started w guidance provided by musical cues- here you laugh or cry. At its best it becomes drama, period.

The 90s were the best drama time- and classic weepy soap tales of sicknesses and deaths, but the 80s were epic stories. The best story I ever saw on GHwas Prometheus Disk-ma tale that is maybe 85-90% online?

It pulled together 4-5 smaller tales like a tornado swallowing up smaller twisters and became a huge storm- it was sci fi, nut they'd learnt their lesson from Ice Princess. Luke and Holly, Luke's death, the avalanche, Robert and Holly, Susan Moore, Grant, the Quartermaine battles, Celia and Jimmy Lee, all tied together into this tale. Luke started out as a minor player and slowly rose to be major. It also was well planned- no dropping hints that showed the writers were testing whether to do this nor that. It went for over a year- it's in 1100 or so 5 min epis online. Great villain- Gregory Malko. Minor characters were great and had important scenes- Dr. Jerrold and Grant's relationship (incl. a missing scene of Grant Putnam in Jerrold's flashback before he was known as a psycho).

It was the fluidity of the whole tale, and the depth of the characters.

Key point- Looking from behind the eyes of a character is FAR more important than knowing the color of those eyes. What a character sees is better than endless description. In soap terms, you empathized with Grant A's dilemma- loyalty to the DVX or a new life in the USA.

Cosmoetica said...


Like I said before, I feel like there is a lot to talk about when discussing all that is is wrong or has gone bad with GH, but I'm going to have to narrow it down and specifically discuss about 2 or 3 points. And I'm not sure what I should focus on exactly. So, what would you say it boils down to? The fact that GH doesn't have this sort of realism anymore, and that this kind of realism where characters who are truly fleshed out and complex have these long, revealing conversations with each other with minimal action is what viewers could identify with and relate to, and that it is missing today? I think a big problem with GH is that it is hard to connect with the characters and story lines. Possibly because of the lack of realism to ground them. What do you think?


You need balance- Heather and Dr O are fine as long as there ARE existential dilemmas, not just recycled crap. Give Luke a tumor- have his father visit and explore his psyche. Take chances with format- like Luke's intervention- or more epis like the 4 Jasons one. 2-3x a month these epis could be done: step outside. Maybe do a Twilight Zone like thing where a narrator is shown writing the episode/OLTL had a great Thanksgiving episode in 2012 on ABC where a kid in a coma narrated the show.

In the 80s, Tuesdays oe Wed's were usually secondary character days: one day focus on Piffy's life after the murder of her son, and what she really thinks of Sonny- maybe she has a dartboard w his face in her apt? Maybe we see Liz in her attic, still painting, but embarrassed to show it to anyone since Ewen?

The show needs to take risks and flesh things out more. We don't need to see Dante on the john, but maybe he grew up reading Don Quixote and has a fantasy episode as Sancho Panza?

The ADD editing is distracting, creating false climaxes. We don't need every 30 sec clip to end with a contorted face in mid-speak. Also, have a conversation be deeper and don't cu from it. Allow the cameramen to use the camera to imply things. Cinematography is an art- USE it. Use music better. The 80s were loaded w character themes songs- the villains' were great.

There is also the issue of the skewed ethics that started w Luke being made a hero after raping Laura, then trashing Scotty. There was also the conflation of depth with being evil or gray. Good characters CAM be interesting- just get behind their eyes. Why is Carly so juvenile? What twisted Helena?

In this vein, Sonny needs to be full out bad- a scene where Olivia hugs him as he wails how unfair life is NEEDS to end w Liv leaving, then Sonny smiling, and we see that his existential crap and Deke crap is all BS and he is playing people for gain. Sonny and others need to face consequences.

Suppose a random background charactershoots Sonny, and then we find out how he screwed that character? Play w timelines in ways other than SORA.

Two films you should watch: John Cassavetes The Killing Of A Chinese Bookie- long version. Best and most realistic gangster film ever made.

Luchino Visconti's Rocco And His Brothers- GREAT soapy melodrama in Italian w subtitles.

The diff between drama and melodrama, even though both are great films. The Rocco film shd be a template for GH.

Cosmoetica said...


BTW, are you not a fan of 90's GH? I know you prefer 80's GH, and I'm sure most people who have been watching that long do, but I noticed you don't talk about 90's GH as nostalgically as you do 80's GH. I feel like the scene that you posted feels a lot like stuff you'd see during the Labine years. That naturalism with multiple characters interacting like a real community existed up until late 90's I believe.


Is this a film class or lit class? The 90s were good, w some great moments, but the Scott and Dominique, BJ's transplant, Stone's death, and other well known tales were not the best parts. Bill Eckert and the Cartel was an epic tale. The reintro of the Cassadines was good. The Sonny-Scully tale was good.

But, they didn't take the risks the 80s did.

Send me you email and I'll send you some short stories that illustrate what I mean by getting behind the eyes of a character, as well as some other techniques that GH shd use.

FrankStrovel said...

I read a rumor that Donna Mills was having trouble with the pace of daytime.

As for Ryan Paevey, I really don't want to bad-mouth him on Twitter/Facebook, etc... so I'll do it here. Not a fan. I can't imagine (GH casting director) Mark Teschner finding this guy and thinking he's found some great acting talent. Seems more like a "wow, he's HOT" kind of hire by Frank V. You nailed it: WOODEN.

Rafe WHO?

Some positives: I loved the Nik/Spencer scenes where he tells his son why Britt and Ben are no longer living with them. I like this father/son relationship. Perfect example of why every child character doesn't need to be SORAS'ed.

Ava. Ava. Ava. 'Nuff said.

And I agree about the dialogue. Some good stuff there.

MatchboxGinny said...

GH is a flippin' mess right now. Ron and Frank need to wake the (bleeeeep) up!

kdmask said...

Cosmo: You nailed it..thanks.. such a great read!
No, I don't talk about the 90s as much. I watched the Luke/Laura return and a bit of the Lucky story but I was getting Married, working full time, then had my son. So..I didn't get BACK into GH until the late 90's.
So, very observant!! I came in about when Guza the first time he wrote. Early Cassadine stuff.

KinderCawley said...

I agree with most, the show is a mess. But, I stick with it. I was a big fan of 90s GH, so i can see where the show is so completely different now. But, with so many old favorites back, I can't turn away from the show, even if it's sort of disjointed. It would be like turning my back on an old, it's my guily pleasure ;-). I enjoy reading everyone's comments, keep 'em coming!

dar said...

I agree the dialogue is the highlight right now. The best line of the week was deliciously soapy: "That bitch is my mother." Unfortunately it was delivered by one of the worst actors ever.

Frankstrovel I agree with you. I find myself thinking GH's casting director can't have picked this guy. Sometimes people start out bad and get better but that isn't happening so far.

My biggest problem is that I don't care about most of these people. For soaps to work you need to care about the characters. Love them or hate them, they need to matter. And for me half the characters on the show don't. Shaun, TJ, Nathan, Madeline, Kiki, Franco, Sabrina and on and on - DO NOT CARE.

And if Richard Simmons shows up at the Nurse's Ball this year I may throw something at the tv.

neaneah said...

At this point only Claire Labine can fix the GH mess.. Still love the show but way to many stories going at once and not enough air time to show the out come of any characters life

nance24 said...

to sum it mind was a blank on Jordan until you later mentioned TJ. the notLuke story might be a little easier to take if we knew who he is supposed to be

soaplover said...

I've noticed that the show has fallen into the old pattern of two and two and two... Two people in a room, cut away, another twosome, come back, they are still in the room talking, cut away, another twosome in a scene talking, go back, still two in same place, same conversation, and so on til the end of the show. No one moves around much, very little happens, very little action, very limited number of actors in scenes, plotting laid out in dialog, not movement. I'm sure block shooting saves money, but it does not make an exciting show.

This was a tedious format that happened a lot in the latter 90s and early 2000s. It doesn't have to be as obvious as it has been lately.

The Labine days could occasionally slow to a yawny pace, but we really got to know the characters, feel with them, see thru their eyes. The Labines seemed to feel for their characters as human beings so they became real to us.

In the old days I always knew what Luke was thinking, feeling--it was on his face, in his eyes, no matter what words he had. That's what makes Geary a suberb actor--he seems to be in character to the core and his face tells all that goes thru Luke's mind. Can't say that currently, not in this new story, or actually for awhile now, but the stories used to move on what Luke was thinking, processing, feeling, on what we could read in his face and body language. And he listened--and responded to what he heard. You could see what the other actor was saying--on Luke's face. Good actors actually listen, they don't just wait for cues. But these days it seems they haven't the time, too many choppy scenes, too many stories, too many characters, too much going on for actors to get into it deeply.

I like surprises, but not to the point of that being the focus instead of credible story. I don't believe anything about Obrecht by now--so she has lost me. I enjoyed her at first; now I want her gone. Same with Heather. Her tale of being Franco's mother and Scott his father--not believable. Sorry, it is stupid and an unneccesary sort of joke. Nathan is Obrecht's son, dumb. I was having trouble believing he was Madeline's, now this.

I like Silas because the actor is engaging, has a sense of humor, a smile that comes when he is concentrating on someone else's words. His story hasn't given either him or Sam much chance to shine, but he is still giving us signals and plot points, yet he seems natural and easy. Cool.

I think Ron has gotten off track a bit and Frank hasn't had time to reel him back in when necessary. And the two on two on two block taping is really in need of some variation. There surely is a better way, even with limited budget.

Mrs. Goose said...

I wonder if Sabrina could be carrying the lost "Lante" baby???

michaelmurmur said...

Excellent comments here. Cosmo is very insightful. I hope Ron & Frank read this and actually contemplate its merit instead of being put on the immediate defensive. The budget is probably THE biggest obstacle here which leads to block taping and and a general sense of disjointedness. The veterans who we all love to see are also probably quite expensive. We get Laura for 6 months, Vanessa Marcill for a year, Ric for probably 6 months and then they're gone. While here, there's no story for them either. Pickle-Lila? Robin off to rescue Jason, leaving her husband and child behind when she's just returned? Very improbable. I think if the show can only afford a real narrow window for the vets, don't bother. The actors don't even have time to warm up their chops again, on top of disappointing storylines. Either bring them back as very rare cameo guest appearances that propel an existing story or sign them on for a two year minimum.
There's got to be a way to make block taping work more fluidly. It feels like the writers and editors are floundering and we viewers simply can't connect and feel the story.
New characters? Of course. They're a staple of soaps. But, ease them onto the canvas. Develop their characters carefully before you put them front and center. If an actor doesn't work whether because of lack of chemistry or acting abilities, get red of them! The actor who plays Nathan is just not working out. Either re-cast or write him out. A few more shirtless scenes first would be fine though!
I know these blogs and the reader comments must sound like a whole lotta bitching but hopefully the powers that be can understand that soap viewers are very attached to their shows.

kdmask said...

LOVE my readers!! You guys made so many great points. I think I shall try to do a blog on all the comments!