Shawn & Alexis/Britt & Nikolas
Awhile back, someone tweeted either the writer (Ron Carlivati) or the producer (Frank Valentini) of “General Hospital” and complained that Alexis Davis & Shawn Butler’s (Nancy Lee Grahn, Sean Blakemore) romance wasn’t going anywhere. The reply was that it would be going somewhere really soon. I guess nowhere was considered “somewhere.” When Shawn declared his fervor for being a hit-man and refused to stop working for Sonny (Shawn makes a terrible Jason), Alexis broke it off. Once again, Alexis and Shawn lose a romantic counterpart. Fans seemed to really like the concept of them of as a couple, particularly seeing an older character (Davis should be around her 40’s or 50’s) have love scenes, but alas, they were pulled apart; likely to make Alexis available for Sam’s father when he appears (the rumor on the street is that “Days of Our Lives” star Peter Reckell has been recruited for the part). Alexis & Shawn’s breakup was written without much context and it was very rushed. Given that Shawn experienced a personal tragedy while being a soldier in Afghanistan, he shouldn’t even want to be near a gun, much less thrilled and invigorated by the idea of working for the mob. All of the sudden, mob gooning is his life’s passion? Huh? Where did this come from? If it does give him a sense of purpose, why? In my opinion, that was a hole in the writing. Excellently played scenes where Shawn called Alexis out on her hypocrisy (she not only had a child with Sonny, but has gotten him and his men off for murder several times) and gave her the ultimatum of dropping Sonny as a client were cut short. Alexis got away from Shawn’s challenge too easily and without having to answer for it. Shawn was made out to be the bad guy for “choosing” the mob over Alexis, but she didn’t try any harder to maintain the relationship. She has plenty of clients, but for some reason, wouldn’t let go of Sonny any quicker than Shawn. It was an opportunity for great dialogue and for the actors to show their chops, but it was passed over.
Meanwhile, Nikolas Cassadine and Britt Westbourne (Tyler Christopher, Kelly Thiebaud) keep having friendly, flirtatious chance meetings, leading the audience to assume they’ll be the next Port Charles couple. Who saw that coming? I didn’t. I’m kind of here for it. It’s so nice to see Nikolas have a chance to be the charming, well-mannered and fine prince he is. Although Britt is far from the golden-hearted Emily Quartermaine, if Nikolas is going to move on, I rather he do it with someone he didn’t betray his own brother for (i.e. Elizabeth Webber). On the note of Nikolas and Elizabeth (Rebecca Herbst), I’m sorry, but I loved it when Britt had Liz fuming with jealousy. The line about having buyer’s remorse over AJ? Ha! I hope the writers have exciting plans for this burgeoning match-up. Another great “Britch” moment was her recent confrontation with Sabrina where she makes the excellent point that it’s bitchy of Sabrina to keep at her, given she’s successfully with Patrick (Jason Thompson). I’m generally team Sabrina (Teresa Castillo), but Britt had her with that one. *Kanye shrug*
Ay, yi, yi. The “white-washing” of Franco (Roger Howarth) continues as we learn he has a growing tumor in the part of the brain that deciphers good from evil. Of course, the tumor has already been used to explain Franco’s psychosis, giving him yet another saving pass. In my piece “General Hospital Take Down: Ron Carlivati & Franco,” I argued that to give advantage to Howarth, a former “One Life to Live” cohort of the writing/production team, the character of Franco is being made innocent and put in a position of power on GH (before you read “Take Down,” note that I do NOT have a dislike of OL’s Howarth, Kristen Alderson and Michael Easton; I just want equal camera time and great storylines for everyone).
Also due to the tumor, Franco now believes he’s Jason. I’m not sure where this storyline could go. Some figure he may actually be Jason with a re-grown tumor that’s caused him to parade as Franco, but I doubt this. Jason wouldn’t have the footage Franco presented earlier that exonerated him in the sexual assaults of Sam and Michael. He does know things that only Jason was around for (like the discord involving Sam and Liz), but Franco could’ve easily been spying on them the whole time. Additionally, Howarth’s Jason is like his Franco: campy and cartoonish. It makes the plot-line more comical than believable and engaging. The height of this was his bridge hallucination starting on July 22nd. After struggling with Sam (Kelly Monaco), leaving her unconscious and snatching baby Danny (how many times is the poor child going to be taken?), Franco headed to the bridge where Jason and Liz used to meet up. Still thinking he’s Jason, he has a phantasm where he apologizes to Liz for any wrongdoing or hurt he caused her. Then “Franco” shows up and leads him-as Jason- to shoot Liz. “Franco” goes on to explain he envied Jason’s privileged Quartermaine life and thought Jason took it for granted because he turned to the mob. Saying the two brothers have a gene for evil and destruction, “Franco” convinces “Jason” that Danny must be killed to spare him from the same fate. Right before he tries to drop Danny over the bridge, Carly (Laura Wright) arrives. She feeds into his delusion and addresses him as Jason. Carly gets so engrossed, it’s almost as if Jason were really standing there (amazing work on Wright’s part, as usual). Carly gets Danny safely in her arms, and then Franco threatens to kill himself. The police show up with Sam (Dante’s bad timing, also as usual), and eventually, Franco’s gun is taken away from him. With Howarth’s talent, I would’ve expected him to knock such a scene out of the proverbial park, but it ended up being his weakest performance, especially with how he delivered the “I kill people. I killed Elizabeth…I was trying to kill Franco…she’s gone. Her children are going to grow up without a mother because of me” lines. His sobs were so horribly, obviously fake and emotionless. He already wasn’t nailing an interpretation of Jason. I concur with the viewer who tweeted: “What we saw from Roger Howarth today is what happens when an actor doesn’t believe his script.”
About interpretations, what was up with the written interpretation of Sam after Danny was taken? Having suffered a head injury, Sam was encouraged by others to go to the hospital. She fought their suggestion initially, but gave in and let the cops and Carly search for Danny. What the hell?! The Danny parody account on Twitter posted “Going to the hospital first? She must have hit her head and forgotten she was a Morgan.” Morgans hate hospitals and know the PCPD sucks. Chiefly when their greatest enemy has their loved ones hostage, Morgans never sit. I was baffled by that. Also, I think the “almost suicide at the bridge” scene would’ve been more gripping if it Sam was there instead of Carly. It would’ve been interesting to watch Sam’s response to Franco’s tumor in distraught action, but the writers put Carly there to create a “turning point day for Franco and Carly,” as Wright described it on Twitter. I already don’t like how this is developing. Carly suddenly cares if Franco lives or dies (surgery to remove the tumor may kill him) and she reported to Sonny that Franco’s tumor could be the reason for his iniquities. Carly having a heart for Franco, who’s actions resulted in her child being raped and who long tortured the only man she’s never betrayed (i.e. Jason) is beyond a stretch, writers. The team might be trying to appease those who liked Wright & Howarth as a potential on-screen couple when Howarth was playing Todd Manning; I liked them too, but Howarth is Franco now. It’s a different ball-game.
“Daytime Confidential” posted a great article on ways to make Franco more tolerable, since apparently we must endure him. The best story suggestion was to make Franco pay. I believe a large portion of the audience won’t be satisfied to move forward until that happens.
Kiki, Morgan & Michael
Speaking of different ball-games with pairs, I still think the effort to form a couple of out of Sam Morgan and whatever character portrayed by Easton (as of now, Dr. Silas Clay) is labored. The writers are trying to reignite the fire the duo created as Caleb and Livvie on the GH spin-off “Port Charles,” but as their current characters stand, it’s not a good fit or the right time. Ryan White-Nobles of TVSourceMagazine.com tweeted “People come into your life for a season, a reason and a lifetime. Jason is Sam’s lifetime.” Unlike most characters, all of Sam’s other romantic connections were superficially based (she was a con-artist in her beginning). Jason was the only person with whom she found a place and a sense of belonging. Constantly in a place of emotional isolation and internalized pain, Jason and Sam understood each other (it never seemed right to me that Carly would sometimes get Jason right before Sam did). The gun-toting, butt-kicking and motorcycle riding JaSam, as their fans call them, were an outlawed version of Anna and Duke, to a degree, and were a major super-couple in the 2000's.
Bearing in mind the couple’s brief reunion after being torn to shreds right after their wedding and the hurried exit of Jason’s 20-year legacy character, jointing Sam with someone is going to be a difficult task; to say the least. It will perhaps be more difficult than when Robin Scorpio Drake (another legacy character) “died” and her husband, Patrick, needed a “life-after” storyline (some fans still don’t accept his new love). When designing a character’s path, you have to consider their core fan-base because they’re the ones that watch for them. An enormous part of Sam’s fan-base are JaSammers. For majority of them, it’s too soon to put Sam with a new man unless it’s a Jason recast (original actor Steve Burton finished his contact in late 2012). Give it some time. To keep Sam’s plot intriguing, get creative and don’t limit her to romance. Make a rumor a reality and bring her father on. Keep the Danny-centered tales going. If Jason is not going to be recast (which, I think recasting is a smarter choice), put her with someone who really matches her. He doesn’t have to be a Jason clone, but he has to be edgy. A prissy pretty-boy on the right side of the tracks is not going to work. Between the writers trying to make Monaco and Easton happen right now with a doctor who’s probably never seen a gun in person, JaSammers are far from happy. Further agitating their broken hearts are recurring scenes where Sam begs in pain for a heavenly sign from Jason, and instead of a touching, symbolic moment, Easton arrives. That happened while he was playing McBain and on July 25th as Silas. What gives? That’s really not going to warm Sam’s fans up to a new beau, and we hardly buy that Easton’s characters are Jason’s sign (specially when Easton was McBain).
On the other side, I’m glad the writers have generated a mysterious back-story for Dr. Silas Clay with a connection to Ava Jerome (Maura West), so his presence isn’t limited to being entangled in Sam’s life, ala` Sabrina (if Patrick was written out, she wouldn’t have much of a narrative). I don’t like that Ava is getting more devious and dishonest by the episode, but I guess someone has to be dirty. As for Ava’s paternity woes, there are pros and cons to this storyline and how it’s presently being executed. The pros? It’s interesting and, as I said, it gives Silas more to work with. The cons? There are two: 1) Parts of it don’t make sense. Soon after her daughter Kiki (Alderson) was born, Ava fought tooth and nail to keep Kiki from her faux baby-daddy, Franco, because he’s a psychotic serial-killer. She hates Franco so much, she even tried to kill him. Yet, she much rather let Kiki go on thinking Franco is her father, versus a doctor whose only crime is breaking Ava’s heart? 2) I have a feeling the principle reason for this DNA adjustment is so Kiki and Michael Corinthos (Chad Duell) can be together. This irks me because, unless this love triangle with Michael’s younger brother, Morgan Corinthos (Bryan Craig), is a catalyst for the dynasty war we’ve been waiting on since they were in the sandbox, it’s weak, sad and pathetic that they’ll split over a girl. A girl who, as of right now, Michael believes is his cousin (which makes this plot even sadder).
It’s also head-scratching how enamored Kiki and Michael are with each other. Kiki recently said to Michael “how could I be happy if I’m without you?” What?! You’ve known Michael for the shortest time, most of it was spent hating or being related to him, and now you can’t see yourself being happy without him?! When she was explaining to AJ what drew her to Michael, she didn’t list a quality Morgan doesn’t have, but ok. Morgan clearly cares so much for Kiki; the selfish thought of keeping her true paternity a secret so she won’t have a clear path Michael didn’t immediately come across his mind. He’s been making every attempt to keep her interest and he’s a hottie! I don’t understand Kiki’s fascination with Michael. Oh and how weird, crossing-the-line and… icky, for lack of a better term, was it that Michael was giving hard-line, analytical commentary on Morgan’s bedroom taste (while Kiki had her bra exposed, might I add)? That was such a strange scene! It’s wasn’t enough that Michael didn’t immediately turn around after he walked in on Kiki half-clothed and realized she was willingly tied up (for Michael to have dated a stripper, his ignorance to sexual bondage was surprising), but he stood there for several minutes carrying on an argument! Once more, what the hell?
What about Michael’s one-night-stand Penny? The acting was kind of bad, but I liked her, funnily. I liked things even more when Kiki got jealous and pissed.
Oh my goodness, how awesome were the scenes between Sonny, Olivia and Connie (Maurice Bernard, Lisa LoCicero and Kelly Sullivan) on July 12th and 15th?! The acting was bloody fantastic (all the more reason to not let go of Kelly Sullivan, but I’ll come back to that)! With some extra encouragement from Maxie, Connie’s timing couldn’t have been more precise as she tried to get Sonny back minutes before he bedded Olivia. Now, I know Connie dumped Sonny to preserve her sanity, but she did it so casually and dryly; it was a spit in the face of Sonny’s steadfast endeavors to help her get healthy. Adding insult to injury, Connie only tried to rekindle their relationship because he was getting closer to Olivia. Evidently, Sonny hasn’t thought of that, but Olivia sure did. I enjoyed every straightforward, sugar-coatless minute of Olivia’s “I know your real motivations” speech to Connie. Connie’s convinced herself her actions were harmless, but they were really selfish and kind of back-stabbing. By the way, I chuckled hard at the part where Olivia dashes out into Sonny’s lobby and as Connie gleefully waits for an embrace, Sonny says “I’m gonna help Olivia” and dips. I don’t have preference between Connie and Olivia as a partner for Sonny, but this a lover’s quarrel I’d like to see more of. Last month, Sullivan announced that she was leaving GH involuntarily (to read more information on how to campaign for her stay, click here). I’d hate to see her go; in my opinion, she’s such an asset to the cast.
Before I get too far from the subject of Sonny and his (many) mates, let’s talk about him threatening to kill Carly. Delicious! Again, great acting from Bernard and Wright; I live to see Sonny’s piercing, angry eyes and hear his “Godfather” voice! It was too entertaining when he gave Carly a real taste of the mob by hiding in dark in her living room with a gun and an enforcing threat. She was scared as hell! She was really concerned about where she stood with Sonny and, for the first time, was unsure if her “But I’m Carly” card would still work. I died laughing and needed resuscitation when she reminded Sonny of his “If Olivia dies, you die” statement and he replied “What of it?” Trying to push on Sonny’s soft spot for her, she says “We always had each other’s back in the end…even when we weren’t together, even when we were at our worst, because we always loved each other…” I thought “Ah-ha! So you admit it! You still want him!” Everyone has a different opinion on who is Sonny’s soul-mate, but I think it’s Caroline. Unlike every other person Sonny and Carly have been paired with, they never expected or asked each other to change. They’re cut from the same shady, emotionally convoluted, self-absorbed, sexy and hoeish cloth. Their connection has gotten in the way of their other romances so much, they might as well accept that *Mariah Carey voice* they belong together.
AJ, Tracy, Luke, Laura & Scotty
The originally funny, catty and attention-getting ELQ feud between AJ (Sean Kanan) and Tracy (Jane Elliott) fell flat as the relish war went on for too long and got ridiculous. Just when it seemed the madness was going to end and we’d see a team up for the greater good against greedy Franco and Ava, Tracy foolishly made a deal with the devil (Ava) to oust AJ as CEO and lost by a small percentile anyway. When Tracy inherited nothing but a Pickle-Lila jar from Edward Quartermaine’s will, we all fell in love with what seemed to be the obvious plot that she would rebuild her mother’s company and start a new life. Maybe even come back and save ELQ again after AJ got through with it. We were very wrong. When AJ got the rights to Pickle-Lila, we assumed again Tracy would triumph as her guardian angel father cleared the way for Pickle-Eddie to be her savior, but the “angel” turned out to Franco setting up for sabotage. Now, AJ has the company and the relish, leaving Tracy with nothing. It’s past exasperating to watch. Her love life isn’t any better as Joe Jr. turned out to be a criminal and rapist, and Luke (Anthony Geary) still comes to her when it’s convenient. I’m all for Luke and Laura being together, but I hated watching Laura (Genie Francis) call herself chastising Tracy for “letting” Luke leave PC ill and declare she’ll be the one to save him. It was like she was saying to Tracy “You just showed why I’m his epic love and you’re not. I’m going to find him and make it all better now, like you can’t do.” I was on Laura’s defense in the next scene, however, when Scotty (Kin Shriner) threatened to end their marriage if she went looking for Luke. This man is dying, Scotty! Gosh, he’s so annoying. Since Laura found out Luke was poisoned, she’s repeatedly had to explain to people why she wants to help him. Why does she have to rationalize or explain, again? Why is she not allowed to care about him? She kept telling people that it was because they share children and grandchildren, but I thought that was silly. I couldn’t believe Lesley suggested Laura leave Luke to die by himself. I guess if you divorce someone, humanity isn’t an option. Laura is always going to love Luke, and you all will have to deal.
“Wow!” at Brad and Felix (Parry Shen, Marc Anthony Samuel) this past week. In an oddly vulnerable moment, Brad revealed to Felix that he’s a horn-dog because men either want to use him for sex or aren’t interested (sounds like an issue a lot of women have). He also told Felix he was included in that number; Brad has been crushing on Felix this whole time but felt ignored. Felix said Brad would be more attractive to others if he cleaned up his act, and he can start by telling the truth about Britt’s baby. Brad said he’d lose his job if ratted, but gave a hint: look to Britt’s mother, evil Dr. Obrecht (Kathleen Gati). Felix on the hunt for the mad doctor who knows Robin’s whereabouts? Yes! I’m tuning in for that. Considering Maxie is about to give birth, I have a feeling all paternity craziness-at least with this bunch anyway-is about to be resolved.
The same old teen scene carries on with the love square of Molly, TJ, Rafe and Taylor (Hayley Pullos, Tequan Richmond, Jimmy Deshler and Samantha Logan); time to spice things up for the kiddos. The quartet all have parental issues that a bevy of storylines can come out of. It could be daddy-issue time for the Davis girls as Sam meets her father for the first time (who really should be Danny’s bone marrow donor instead of Franco) and Molly’s underhanded father, Ric, returns unpleasantly. TJ has a whole background we know nothing about (bring on the mama drama) and it’s already been hinted that something is amiss with Taylor and Felix’s parents. Maybe one of the youngsters develops a substance abuse problem, racism impacts the group and when school starts back, Taylor gets herself in a world full of trouble trying to fit in or step on other girls? Just some ideas.
Homage to the Past
I think it’s safe to say everyone was happy to see old rivals Lesley Webber and Monica Quartermaine (Denise Alexander, Leslie Charleson) go at it again for old time’s sake and I’d be fine with the spirit of Georgiana (Lindze Letherman) visiting more often. Fans have split opinions on whether or not the writers have done GH’s history justice. Many applaud GH’s current team, as this is the most we’ve seen and heard of past characters in years (there was even a Ric Lansing mention this month), while others say the resurgence of older characters only happened because it’s the 50th anniversary year and it doesn’t matter much if the script is lacking. I have mixed feelings on the matter. I thoroughly enjoyed the Nurse’s Ball and very much appreciate the effort to bring back characters from the past (I bawled when I saw Emily on my screen). I do agree, however, that the writing could be improved when it comes to said characters. Either the characters don’t always behave like we knew them to, or the storylines seem to start and abruptly end. For example, Frisco (Jack Wagner) instantly abandoned his teary-eyed and pleading daughter, Maxie (Kirsten Stroms), once Felicia chose Mac over him. The writers started to rebuild his estranged relationship with Maxie, only to have him selfishly dismiss her and leave town. Given that Wagner was expected to be on GH only for a brief time, the writers could’ve at least given him another exit—a mission perhaps? Maxie would’ve still been hurt, but less. A case of an abrupt storyline was Lulu’s (Emme Rylan) kidnapping. The capture and rescue all happened so fast, viewers barely had a chance to revel in the excitement of the appearance of super-villain Stavros Cassadine (he’s still so handsome) and Luke and Laura going on their first adventure in years. More time was spent with Lulu’s recovery from amnesia, which should’ve been more captivating than it was. For a second, because Stavros confused Lulu with Laura at one point, I thought Lulu would wake up thinking she was her mother. That might have been fun.
That was my month in Port Charles. How was yours?