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Showing posts from 2009

Soapy Christmas

If there is one thing I enjoy more than watching soaps it is watching soaps during the week of Christmas, particularly on Christmas Eve. I suppose it has something to do with the fact that while soap families are celebrating onscreen, I am immersed in my own traditions, often making preparations for family reunions as a soap opera plays in the background. For this reason many of my Christmas memories are inextricably tied to watching soaps. And since I have been watching them since childhood, these memories are in abundance. There really is no other genre quite like this one, one that understands history, family, and traditions, and takes at least one day out of the year to showcase their importance through the eyes of viewers. And with that in mind I wish all my readers a very Merry Christmas!

Double Take: GH

It has been a year of look-alikes on General Hospital, from Sarah Joy Brown (ex-Carly) finishing her run as Claudia, to Natalia Livingston (ex-Emily) being cast as Rebecca. There was even an episode that featured Luke and Ethan look-alikes in the form of Link and Evan, replacements hired by Tracy who she jokingly referred to as re-casts. With all these doubles, one might assume that General Hospital would avoid doppelgangers for a while, but one would be wrong. Obviously the show could not let the year slip by without the inclusion of yet another counterpart, and Rebecca's exit provided the perfect opportunity for that.

It is not that I dislike the way Rebecca was written off the show, in fact I think bringing Chad Brannon (ex-Zander) back was an excellent way to facilitate this exit. However, I think this would have been a bit more entertaining and would have seemed more clever if Brannon wasn't the third actor in recent history to return to the show as a different character.…

For the Sake of Convenience: GH

Occasionally soaps contain scenes that are so off-putting and poorly constructed I find myself wishing I had either misinterpreted them or just skipped them altogether. Fortunately this doesn't happen very often, and when it does it is usually on a soap whose quality has been suffering for quite a while. On Friday, however, General Hospital, a show I consider to be one of the best in daytime, featured one of these scenes. If you watched this episode chances are you already know that I am referring to the scene where Liz's rape became the topic of conversation. It is not that I am against the show making reference to this tragic event because clearly it is a part of Liz's history and the show's history. I just happen to believe that television should handle sensitive subject matter in a responsible manner, rather than placing it in scenes simply because it is convenient. Careful consideration needs to be given to both the setting and the timing so viewers know what mess…

Reconciling Rebecca: GH

I know I have made this statement before, but after watching Thursday's General Hospital I think it bears repeating. It is simply a shame that Natalia Livingston is leaving the show just when the Rebecca character is becoming interesting. Not only has she made the Lucky/Liz/Nikolas triangle more intriguing, I am beginning to notice the potential impact she could have on the overall show. For instance, until now I never realized just how compatible she and Lucky actually are. Rebecca arrived in Port Charles as a con artist, which is something Lucky can obviously relate to because of his upbringing. In talking about this upbringing with Rebecca, Lucky revealed his inherent fondness for Luke for perhaps the first time in months. And these days any person that can make Lucky feel anything for his father other than resentment or embarrassment could have a positive effect on this volatile father/son relationship. One also cannot ignore the fact that if Rebecca helped Lucky reconnect wit…

Mystery Loves Company: GH

General Hospital fans have spent several weeks searching the Internet for clues about the mysterious CO77X tag that was introduced as part of the Franco storyline. This tag even made it into Google's top 10 searches on October 21st, as viewers tried to find some insight into its meaning. In fact there were numerous theories about what it might mean and what impact it might have on the show, but on Monday's General Hospital all of those theories were quickly dismissed, revealing a simplistic explanation for the tag. As it turned out CO77X was Franco's booking number from a past arrest, and something he now uses as a tool with which to taunt police. I must say, as one of the many viewers who spent hours playing amateur detective in an attempt to solve this mystery, I was very disappointed by this revelation. These days soap operas rarely have storylines that capture the attention of viewers the way this one element has, and it is even rarer for a movie star to request a role…

Control Issues: GH

As I watched Wednesday's General Hospital it occurred to me that the only person Michael should be living with is Jason. Michael's behavior has been out of control for a while now and Jason seems to be the only one who knows how to grab his attention for even a second. And even though Carly has finally decided to do the right thing and tell the truth about what happened to Claudia, it isn't going to accomplish much unless she can get through to Michael. With his remorseless attitude, no one is going to believe that Claudia's murder was justifiable homicide. Of course in order for Carly to be able to get through to Michael, she is going to have to stop letting him get away with everything. After all that is one reason his behavior continues to get worse. I am constantly astounded by how much freedom Michael is allowed to have despite his actions. And every time he leaves the house following an argument about why he should be allowed to join the mob at 16, I am shocked t…

Hit and Run: GH

I never thought I would say this, but I think I am finally on board with the Rebecca character on General Hospital. It is just too bad that her portrayer, Natalia Livingston, is set to leave the show in the not so distant future. The last few episodes of GH have given viewers a glimpse of what Rebecca could have been like in a storyline that didn't somehow revolve around Emily. And for the first time since Livingston's return to the show I have been able to see her as someone other than Emily. Granted, my sudden affection for Rebecca has everything to do with her disdain for Elizabeth, which is something we actually have in common. And needless to say it was great to see Rebecca finally give Elizabeth what she deserved, even if she held back a little more than I would have. However, I wish this storyline had come along a lot sooner because now I actually feel like Rebecca is someone I could root for, rather than just tolerate. And let's face it, her involvement in the Luck…

CO77X Revisited: GH

In the weeks leading up to the introduction of the Franco character on General Hospital, viewers were treated to countless montages featuring the mysterious CO77X graffiti. Since then there has been non-stop speculation about the meaning behind this tag and how it may affect the course of the show. Recently there have been fewer CO77X sightings, but there have been several episodes featuring Franco so I thought it would be a good time to revisit CO77X in an effort to unlock this mystery.

This week Jason received a painting from Franco listing the seven deadly sins of vanity, envy, gluttony, lust, wrath, greed, and sloth. Seeing this made me wonder if one of the "7's" in CO77X represents these seven deadly sins. This may seem a bit obvious, but looking back on the scene where Franco is shooting red paint balls at the pictures of people close to Jason, there are seven people on the canvas besides Jason. Taking this one step further it seems logical to assume that Franco…

Time Away: GH

Well, it was another successful karaoke night at Jake's on Wednesday's General Hospital. And it provided a much needed break from all the intensity that Franco has brought to the show the past few weeks. I am pleased to see that GH seems to be making this a regular event. I do not really mind the darker moments on this soap because quite frankly that is where most of the interesting storylines come from, but it is nice to have balance and the karaoke episodes do a good job of maintaining that balance without making the show boring. I especially like the way these episodes tend to highlight and accentuate some of the back-burner storylines and romances, like Max and Diane's reunion or Alexis's budding romance with Mac. And let's not forget about Spinelli's unforgettable rendition of "I Want to Know What Love Is" when he was attempting to woo his fair Maximista with courtly love. After all it was Spinelli's courtly love phase that seemed to kick-sta…

Death Trap: GH

Ever since Johnny found out that Olivia has been keeping her son's identity a secret he has been offering ominous warnings of the danger that may result from this secret. Based on these warnings I am inclined to believe that someone, likely Johnny, will die because Olivia cannot bring herself to tell the truth. And while I hope that this assessment is incorrect, a variety of factors indicate otherwise. First of all, now that Claudia is dead, Johnny is the only Zacchara in Port Charles, with the exception of Anthony who remains in prison. And Johnny's death would effectively remove the Zacchara family from the canvas of the show, should the writers be so inclined to make this happen. One can also not ignore the fact that with Olivia's gravitation toward Sonny, and Lulu's infatuation with Dante, there really does not seem to be a place for Johnny at the moment. Granted he could have a storyline that didn't involve either of his love interests, but I have seen no evid…

A Thousand Words: GH

When Jason received the photo of Maxie laying inside the chalk outline, I expected that he would have an immediate reaction to the axe handle and basket that were in the photo. Instead, neither he or Sam seemed to notice them or their significance. In fact Jason's only reasons for thinking that this picture was somehow linked to the picture of "Claudia" seemed to all be based on the fact that he received both pictures within a short period of time. Never mind the fact that both of them contained elements from Claudia's murder scene. Franco may want to reconsider sending messages through his artwork because apparently symbolism, even in its most obvious form, is completely lost on Jason.


These are scenes from when Jason received each photo. The axe handle and basket are clearly visible in both. Pause the first video at 1:33, and the second at :20 to compare the two simultaneously.

"Claudia's" photo [no copyright infringement intended]


Maxie's photo[no c…

Old Habits: GH

Spinelli should be grateful that Maxie did not want to marry him because obviously it does not take much to turn her head. Granted she and Franco have great chemistry. And of course General Hospital could not have a movie star join the show without giving him a "love" interest, but Franco made Maxie look like a foolish young girl. In fact as the days pass I think Maxie will find that she has a lot to be embarrassed about. Not only did it take very little for her to cheat on Spinelli, but she essentially slept with Franco on a dare, all the while convincing herself that she was in control of the situation. However, Franco was the only one that really got anything out of their encounter. He was able to use someone close to Jason for his perverse mind games and get that same person to basically insist on sleeping with him, all without ever having to agree to do the Crimson shoot.

From the moment Maxie met Franco it was obvious that she was attracted to him and did not trust hers…

Mirror Image: GH

Franco's highly anticipated art exhibit was unveiled on Monday's General Hospital, provoking a spectrum of reactions from observers. Luke assumed Franco was nothing more than a fraud, peddling shock in exchange for money, while Dante couldn't take his eyes off of the presumably fake crime scene photos hanging on the wall. At one point he noted their familiarity which makes me think that they were recreations of actual crime scene photos. One photo in particular showed a body positioned in the same way Franco arranged Joey Limbo's body. Taking this into account it would seem that either Franco is manipulating crime scenes in order to send some sort of message or he is manipulating current crime scenes to look like previous ones. And while this can be nothing more than an educated guess until more information is revealed, one can be certain that Franco is fixated on Jason. Even his brief conversation with Sonny did not seem to hold as much value as the mere possibility o…

Out of the Shadows: GH

James Franco may not have known a lot about soap operas when he decided to take part in one, but judging from today's General Hospital it almost seems surprising that this is new territory for him. Granted, he was only in a few scenes, in fact one of them was replayed from yesterday's episode, but he seems to possess an understated mysteriousness that is so befitting of soaps. I believe this quality will be especially beneficial to him on a show like GH where the characters are so complex that most of the time it is difficult to tell the good guys from the bad guys. And while viewers still know very little about the character Franco, it appears, at least for now, that he is the latter.

Throughout today's ambush Franco watched nearby with a kind of childlike wonderment, as if he were getting some sort of satisfaction out of all the violence and longed to be a part of it. At one point he even appeared to be mimicking everyone's moves like he was studying some sort of arti…

Loose Lips: GH

I knew that it was only a matter of time before Lulu crossed the line and revealed Dante's secret. For weeks she has talked about his undercover assignment in the most inappropriate places as if she were hoping the wrong person would find out about it. And today someone finally overheard her. She told Dante that she had warned Johnny against trusting him, a statement that quickly provoked an argument. It was during this argument that Lulu blurted out everything Dante has worked so hard to keep hidden, including the fact that he is Olivia's son. Johnny, who had secretly overheard this argument, went to Olivia's where he confronted her about what he had heard. I have to say as annoyed as I am by Lulu, in fact I am dangerously close to hoping that Dante finds someone else, Olivia hasn't exactly been a walk in the park either. And today I was reminded of how ridiculous it has been for her to be so worried about Dante's safety when she has the power to ensure it. Months…

Masterful Illusions: GH

For about a week General Hospital fans have undoubtedly played the minute-long James Franco promo over and over again, trying to gain some insight into his contribution to the show. Included in this promo was an image of Claudia's body inside a chalk outline, with her head surrounded by a pool of blood. Upon seeing this image, speculation immediately began that perhaps the mysterious, and aptly named, Franco had retrieved Claudia's body from the ground in order to snap pictures of it. Today, viewers saw a close-up of her body within this chalk outline, but as it turned out this wasn't Claudia at all. Instead this body was revealed to be a model dressed as Claudia who was presumably allowing herself to be photographed by Franco. Obviously these pictures will be sent to Jason as part of some sinister plot, even as he tries to figure out who sent the picture of Claudia wrapped in tarp. To be honest, I find the real mystery to be how someone could move quickly enough to take a…

Tough Decisions: GH

It has been fascinating to watch Jason question his lifestyle after seeing the way Michael has glamorized it since Claudia's death. Perhaps for the first time ever Jason has been forced to confront what he does for a living and is finding out what a profound affect his choices have had on those around him. It is ironic, although not surprising, that this sudden realization happened because of one of Carly's kids instead of his own. And while it would have been nice to see Jason make the decision to steer clear of mob violence for the sake of his son, I think it took Michael essentially holding up a mirror for him to see the full impact of this violence. Obviously if it weren't for Michael's personality shift Jason would not be questioning his duties as Sonny's enforcer at all. His decision to assume less violent duties within the organization actually has more to do with setting the right example for Michael, than regretting his own life choices. Regardless of whet…

Risky Behavior: GH

While I am glad that Jason was able to convince Sonny to allow Michael to live with Carly and Jax, it may be too little too late. I am not sure if anything short of going to jail will cause a profound change in Michael's attitude and behavior. Obviously living with Sonny wasn't a good idea, despite Sonny's claims that he was helping Michael deal with everything that happened. I must have missed that episode because the only thing I have seen Sonny do is pat Michael on the back for a job well done. On the other hand I am not sure if Carly can do anything to help Michael either. As Sonny pointed out, even if they confess everything to the police, Michael will be a target of Anthony Zacchara. And as much as I hate to admit it Sonny is probably right. However, it is clear that Michael needs some sort of intervention because quite frankly this kid scares me a little. And I don't think he would hesitate to kill again should the opportunity arise.

Meanwhile, Sonny's other …

Beneath the Surface: GH

It seems I was wrong about Kiefer. Apparently he does scare easily, so easily in fact that he took out his fear on Kristina by backhanding her across the face. Call me crazy but if Kiefer really wanted to avoid retaliation from the mob he would stop abusing the mob boss's daughter. Of course that would imply that Kiefer is actually capable of rational thought, which he clearly is not. Aside from the fact that he repeatedly threatens both Kristina and Michael, Kiefer never seemed to make the connection today that Michael, not Kristina, was responsible for the visit from Max and Milo. Obviously Kristina will forgive Kiefer for this "misunderstanding", and not just because of the dynamics involved in abusive relationships, but because Kiefer called her the same thing Sonny called Claudia the night she was killed. And while viewers will undoubtedly note distinct differences between Sonny and Kiefer, Kristina will likely come to the conclusion that if it was acceptable for So…

Blink of an Eye: GH

I think that Spinelli may have given Jason the nickname Stone Cold a little too hastily because clearly that title belongs to Michael. I knew that killing Claudia would have a profound impact on Michael, I just never expected it to affect him in the way that it has. In a few short days he has gone from being a nice kid with a tendency to act impulsively, to a somewhat scarier version of Sonny. In fact Jason should follow his instincts and tell the police the truth if he wants Michael to have even the slightest chance at a normal life. And he should probably do that sooner rather than later, considering that Michael has already given Max and Milo their first assignment. Granted, someone needs to warn Kiefer to stay away from Kristina, but he doesn't seem like the type of guy who scares easily. If he was, he wouldn't be making a career out of tormenting the mob boss's kids. Aside from that, I was surprised at how quickly Max and Milo agreed to harass a teenager, particularly…

The Fallout: GH

As satisfying as it was to see Carly finally confront Jax about keeping the truth from her in order to protect Jerry, I actually found myself agreeing with Jax. And believe me no one is more shocked by that statement than I am, but it is true, for once Jax acted as the voice of reason. If Carly does not want Michael to follow in Sonny's footsteps then she should not have encouraged covering up Claudia's murder. I thought the whole reason Carly made Sonny sign over custody was to prevent his lifestyle from affecting their kids, yet she is allowing Michael to actually learn from him. And as Jax pointed out, Michael will likely encounter long-term psychological issues as a result of what he did, especially if he doesn't receive proper help. He was also correct in his assessment of the cover-up itself in that the truth will eventually come out anyway. In fact the truth already seems to be coming out. Aside from the fact that the entire town already suspects that Sonny or Jason…

Down to This: GH

In watching General Hospital sometimes it is easy to forget the kind of life that Sonny and Jason lead, and how that life permeates the existence of the children in their inner circle. However, if the amount of violence that surrounds them was ever in question, Wednesday's episode left little room for doubt. To say that I have mixed emotions about this episode is an understatement. And this comes as quite a shock considering that I knew beforehand what was going to happen. I was just unaware of many of the specifics and the overall tone that the show would adopt.

Claudia's death and the moments leading up to it were quite simply tragic. There really isn't a more accurate description than this. It was, without a doubt, a tragedy no matter how you look at it. Claudia helped deliver Carly's baby even though she could have just as easily made her way out of the country, avoiding retribution from Sonny or Jason. And in these moments it was easy to recognize the good in Claud…

Tragic Ending: The Tale of Claudia Zacchara (GH)

From the moment Claudia Zacchara arrived in Port Charles she was an enigma, a mystery. No one knew exactly what she was after or just how far she would go to get it. She was the character that you hated to love and loved to hate. From viewers, she commanded a range of emotions from empathy to disgust and then back again, often within the same scene. This set her apart from typical soap villains, making her a tragic figure of sorts, which of course makes her death seem all the more tragic.

Claudia's death left many questions unanswered. One could always assume that her actions were the direct, and in some cases, the indirect result of her upbringing, even though this was never fully addressed. Growing up she wasn't just surrounded by violence, but appeared to be the target of it on many occasions, often the result of her own father's actions. In many ways this made her an ideal partner for Sonny, capable of understanding the emptiness that comes with feeling unloved. And it…

In Peril: GH

Carly and her baby may have survived the car crash, but the danger is far from over as Claudia continues to pose a threat. Of course that threat may have been greatly reduced if the PCPD bothered to search for the two women, or at least let somebody else search. I never realized that Mac had the ability or the resources to put the entire town on lockdown. He had Jason cuffed to a table in the interrogation room/makeshift jail cell to keep him from killing Claudia, like Sonny doesn't have other employees or the ability to kill Claudia himself. Moreover, as Alexis pointed out, Mac arrested Jason on the presumption that he was about to commit a crime. If that were legal, Mac should have most of Port Charles behind bars! And as if Mac didn't have enough things to control, he assumed the role of Jax's babysitter by not letting him fly his helicopter in the rain. Since when do the local police get involved in controlling the airways?

At least Carly had Spinelli, Dante, Lulu, Sam,…

The Party's Over: GH

Never let it be said that Sonny Corinthos doesn't know how to throw a party. Moments after Claudia's birthday party got underway, Sonny made the announcement that Claudia was the one responsible for Michael's shooting. And as shocking as this was to hear, it doesn't compare to how shocked I was by Sonny's sudden perceptiveness. For someone who has been so utterly clueless for so long, Sonny certainly gained a lot of clarity in just a few short moments. Perhaps he had a little of whatever Lulu had a few days ago when she figured out that Dante is a cop. Honestly I don't care what it was that caused Sonny to finally see things so clearly, I am just glad that he was able to expose Jax in the process, and that Carly was around to hear it. It was about time she found out that Jax knew about Jerry's involvement in Michael's shooting, I just never expected Sonny to be the one to finally give her this information. Then again I never expected that Sonny would fi…

On the Line: GH

Thursday's General Hospital began in true, classic soap form, beginning with an old-fashioned cat fight between Olivia and Claudia. The so-called "cat fight" used to be a soap staple, but for some reason is rarely ever seen these days. If there was ever a need to bring one back, Claudia and Olivia's ongoing feud certainly called for one. Unfortunately before Olivia could get too many hits in, the police busted through the hotel room and promptly arrested her for assault, or attempted murder, depending on whether they believed Claudia's claims. Nevertheless, Mac quickly let Olivia go, while Claudia finished getting ready for her birthday party, unaware that it might be her last.


Meanwhile, Jason replayed the CD implicating Claudia in Michael's shooting, so that Sonny could hear it again. Afterwards Sonny became eerily calm, so much so that it was difficult to tell whether he was in denial or plotting revenge. Jason assumed that he was in denial, or worse, that…

Losing Ground: GH

It would appear that time is running out for Claudia, as the truth about her involvement in Michael's shooting finally comes to the surface. Unfortunately the one person who may be able to save her has been kidnapped by rival mobster, Joey Limbo, on orders from Anthony Zacchara. Anthony instructed Joey to lock Johnny away in a safe location so that Joey could go after Sonny and Jason without Johnny getting caught in the crossfire. Johnny almost managed to escape, but was quickly forced back into captivity, effectively preventing him from warning Claudia that her life was in danger. Meanwhile, an oblivious Claudia was preoccupied with the birthday party Sonny decided to throw her. Of course she managed to make a little time to threaten Olivia, convinced that she knew were Johnny was. Claudia even made plans to tell Sonny about Dante at the party, but something tells me that she may not get that chance. On the other hand, Sonny didn't appear to have much of a reaction to hearing…

Only on a Soap: GH

The truth about Dante's identity was finally revealed on Tuesday's General Hospital, well sort of. Lulu overheard Dante and Ronnie talking on the pier, at which point she discovered that Dante is an undercover cop. Fortunately for Dante, Lulu will likely never remember making this discovery because, as it turned out, Lulu had been drugged during a Crimson photo shoot. Apparently she had mistakenly picked up someone else's drink, which just happened to contain a questionable substance. Strangely enough, Lulu obtained several moments of clarity while in this altered state. The first being when she deduced that Dante is an undercover cop, and the second when she admitted that she has feelings for him. Only on a soap can someone actually gain intelligence after being drugged. And only on a soap does an undercover cop meet with his superior in public every other day without expecting to get caught. How many close calls does Dante have to have before Ronnie finally tells him to …

The Role of Lucky...(GH)

On Tuesday, longtime fans of General Hospital witnessed the return of Jonathan Jackson as Lucky, the role he originated in 1993. Being a fan of both Jonathan Jackson and Greg Vaughan, the actor who eventually replaced Jackson when he exited the show, I had mixed feelings about this re-cast. Greg Vaughan fit the role of Lucky better than most replacement actors ever fit their respective roles. He became Lucky, and even die-hard Jonathan Jackson fans learned to not only accept him, but embrace him in that role. On the other hand, there are few things more satisfying to a soap fan than seeing a character's original portrayer return to the screen. It is like welcoming home an old friend or a family member that you haven't seen in years. And as a soap fan, a part of me was really excited to see Jackson back in the role he helped create, even if that meant Greg Vaughan had to leave. I have to say though, after watching Tuesday's General Hospital, I'm a little disappointed an…

General Hospital's Face-Off

This post was first submitted in June when Natalia Livingston returned to GH as Rebecca. The following is my opinion about how she should have returned to the show as Emily. I thought it was appropriate to re-post this considering that the actress is once again about to leave the show.



When Natalia Livingston decided to leave General Hospital, prompting the demise of her character Emily Quartermaine, speculation immediately began about how the show might be able to bring her back someday. Earlier this year, Natalia fans got their wish when she returned to the show as a new character named Rebecca. However, it remains to be seen what, if any, connection Rebecca has to Emily. And while I love the fact that General Hospital was able to bring Natalia back, I wish they had written her return differently, especially since they had already brought Sarah Brown (ex-Carly Corinthos) back as Claudia Zacchara last year.

When soaps re-introduce actors as new characters it becomes confusing and distr…

My Antonio Finale Recap

The morning after last week's elimination Antonio went to the women's suite and woke Brooke and Miranda up for an impromptu photo shoot. I guess the purpose of this challenge was to see how good the women looked first thing in the morning because Antonio didn't give them time to get dressed or put on any makeup beforehand. The women each took turns posing in front of the camera, with Antonio acting as the photographer. And at the end of the shoot it was determined that aspiring actress Miranda was much more comfortable in front of the camera than nurse Brooke...shocking! I am not sure what this was supposed to tell Antonio in terms of picking a mate, but then again most of the challenges throughout this show have done very little to reveal anyone's true character.


After the shoot, Antonio told the women that they had 10 minutes to be ready to walk out the door. Apparently he wanted to see if they could handle his lifestyle by being ready to go at a moment's notice.…