When it was announced that James Franco would be joining General Hospital for a brief acting stint, my hope was that his presence would generate renewed interest in the show. And while he may have achieved this feat on some scale, his character Franco and the storyline attached to him seems to possess a polarizing quality that sparks either love or hate, with little room in between. For the most part I was intrigued by Franco's character and this storyline. In fact on certain days it was the only interesting part of General Hospital amid the sleep-inducing love triangles involving Robin, Patrick, Lisa, Lucky, Liz, and Nikolas. Overall though I would have to say that the Franco storyline failed to live up to my expectations. There were many disappointments along the way, not the least of which was the revelation that CO77X was only a booking number with no profound meaning. Perhaps the biggest disappointment though, and in my opinion a great oversight, was the fact that Franco had no real ties to Port Charles and no plausible reason for seeking out Jason. This storyline lacked the substance that these types of connections would have provided. Establishing meaningful connections between old and new characters is one of the fundamentals of quality soap writing. It ensures that viewers will be accepting of new characters entering the lives of established characters, and that should never be sacrificed for any reason. It is as if GH felt like they had to provide Franco the actor with a recycled movie plot in order to maintain his interest in the show.
"Some men just wanna watch the world burn."
- Michael Caine as Alfred in The Dark Knight
I am not going to delve into all the parallels that existed between this storyline and The Dark Knight because there were many and they have undoubtedly all been covered on message boards and by other bloggers, as they were not difficult to recognize. However I would like to make note of one parallel. It comes from a line in the movie that was said by Michael Caine's character Alfred. In it, he tells Bruce Wayne/Batman that "some men just wanna watch the world burn." This is an insightful description about The Joker, but I think it is befitting of the Franco character as well. Ultimately Franco's obsession with Jason was little more than a by-product of his own madness. Franco himself likely never fully understood his fascination with Jason because it is not as if Jason's skills as a mob enforcer were completely unique. If Franco had not discovered Jason it is likely that he would have focused his attention on someone else, surrounding them in a path of destruction before getting bored and vanishing. And perhaps that is just what Franco has done.