“Only once a year do all the stars of GENERAL HOSPITAL converge somewhere other than the set, and that’s during the Mob hit’s annual fan club weekend.” ABC Soaps In Depth, August 17, 2004.
You know what? Someone actually had the cojones to call General Hospital a “Mob Hit”. Can you believe that shit? Not in a chat room or a message board (though God knows that’s been done and done to death). But in an actual well known soap genre periodical. I mean really – GH is a HOSPITAL DRAMA - the show takes place primarily in a large hospital located somewhere in upstate New York. The core characters either work in or are related to people who work at said hospital. Everything of import that happens happens in the hospital or is in some way tied to the hospital. Am I right?
Now before you ask me what I’m smoking and to pass it along or when was the last time I watched GH – let me site my source. In the August 17, 2004 Soaps in Depth, there’s excellent coverage of the GH fan weekend. But hey, aside from some new pictures, regular EOS readers pretty much know who was there and what went on. The difference I found interesting in this article, is that the author actually called GH what it is – a Mob soap.
Nowadays the only time you see the inside of the hospital is when Sonny has been shot (granted, that happens six times a month), or when the mother of one of Sonny’s spawn (Carly, Sam or Alexis – take your pick) happens to wind up there either in faked labor, with a bullet in her sex-brain (props to Katrina!) or lurking around the corridors trying unsuccessfully to not run into the D.A. who – oh yeah, is Sonny the Mob guy’s obsessive brother. Even Sonny’s bitch Jason doesn’t drop by there to see his parents Monica and Alan, who do in fact, work there. Nah, he’s there to switch DNA for Sonny in an effort to (pro)create more future mobsters to populate General Hospital.
Now, some long time viewers know that Luke came on the scene 20 years ago as a small time hood with links to big time crime in the form of Frank Smith. But Luke was only supposed to be an 11- week character, brought on more for his ability to throw a monkey wrench into the Laura and Scotty love story rather than his ties to the dark side. True, when the popularity of his character took off, they had to clean up his act a little so that he could eventually claim his true love Laura, and the collective hearts of housewives the world over. I mean, hell – he even popped Liz Taylor’s cork - yes? Luke tried to turn his back on the mob and ended up saving the world. Now that’s some major PR!! But even when he went legit, Luke never lost the dangerousness that attracted Laura (and the rest of us) to him. So he wasn’t 100% wholesome, hell – that’s why he didn’t get backburnered baby!! Wake up and smell the ratings! How many Docs or Nurses from the 4th floor ever got within spitting distance of a Cassadine unless it was to ask for a donation to the hospital?? At least we had love, or was that lust, in the afternoon back then. Monica and Alan were always getting laid, maybe not with each other, but it drove the show. Amy Vining was Johnny on the spot with the ever-changing scorecard of who was doing whom. Bobbie and Tony worked, I mean really worked in the hospital and you saw interaction between them and the other people that made up their world. You had Audrey and Steve, Leslie and Rick… even Carly came onto the show in her dingy white scrubs as some sort of Physical Therapy flunky trying to get into the Nursing program. Now we have what amounts to the poor man’s Sopranos every weekday from 2-3 p.m. Pfft. Wha’ happened?
Let’s take a look at how General Hospital has linked itself to organized crime beyond the Luke/Frank Smith connection – shall we?
Karen Wexler was part of the teen scene way back when. At the time, no one knew that Scotty was her father (who’s mother Gail Baldwin was a Psychiatrist that worked at …. GH). She was the nice girl from the wrong side of the tracks that had a crush on Jagger (rrrowl) who was being seduced by Brenda and oh yeah, was the unrequited love of future GH doc and reindeer sweater wearing Jason (who’s parents both worked at GH). Are you with me?
Anywho – Karen needed money and started stripping at this heretofore-unknown dive called the Paradise. Wiseguy Sonny owned it, but that’s it. He was a bottom feeder in the organization at that point. He got a little crush on her and started feeding her drugs so that she’d continue stripping. When did this guy become DON FRICKIN CORLEONE??? And when did The Idiots In Charge decide to totally take the focus off the hospital and rebuild the entire show around him???
Now don’t get your panties in a twist, it’s not that I’m Sonny bashing or MB bashing either. The guy is doing his job and it’s not his fault that they glommed onto the character and now have him and his trials and tribulations driving the bulk of the show. I mean, how lucky could a guy get? But let’s face facts… with the exception of a very few storylines, every character that gets any airtime at all is in some way or another linked to Sonny and the underworld. It’s like six degrees of separation - except you probably only have to go one or two to get to Sonny and his crew.
Case in point: NEM - This is supposed to be a love story for the group older than the teens and younger than Sonny and Carly and their little clique. Emily is Jason’s sister; Jason is Sonny’s right hand man – One degree of separation from Sonny. Nikolas is the nephew of Alexis Davis who has a child with Sonny – One degree of separation. When you throw in Nikolas’ employment by Alcazar who is Sonny’s enemy and is in love with Sonny’s wife Carly… well you get the idea.
It seems like everyone is now suddenly in this story or is getting sucked into the danger surrounding Sonny. Courtney is Sonny’s sister, who’s falling for Jax, who battled for Brenda’s love – against Sonny. Sonny’s wife Carly is Lucky’s cousin and Bobbie’s daughter and will soon be identified as Special Prosecutor John Durant’s daughter who is a long time Alcazar enemy who will be eventually bringing RICO charges against Carly’s husband with the help of Sonny’s brother – got all that?
I realize that new characters have to be given a niche, and it’s easier to blend them into the stories as a whole when they are related to someone… but isn’t it about time that someone got involved in the regular sex, lies and deception that didn’t revolve around Sonny?
Paging Dr. Steven Lars Webber – we need you and we need you now! Besides, we can’t think of a thing to do with that damned expensive hospital set!! Any suggestions?