Dishin the soaps with the Eye on Soaps Co-webmaster, Katrina Rasbold

February 18, 2003

Springtime for Hitler and Germany,
Deutschland is happy and gay!” 

Ever see “The Producers?”  In “The Producers,” Gene Wilder and Zero Mostel set out to make the worst play ever written, guaranteed to close in a night.  That would allow them to take off with the investors’ money with a minimum of expenditure.  Illegal, profitable and perfect. 

The name of their monstrosity was “Springtime for Hitler.”  It was horrendous.  So horrendous that the audience thought it was a comedy and immediately made it a huge success.  (yikes) 

Why am I telling you about a 1968 movie that most people would not even remember were it not for the very famous “MY BLUE BLANKET” scene and the ultrasuccessful Broadway production starring Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane that is now ruling the Great White Way? 

Because I think The Powers That Be that hold sway over General Hospital are employing some of the same tactics.  I can speculate on why they would, but don’t think I have some kind of insider info, cause I don’t.  I’m just a columnist with a bad attitude about an old friend (the show) and lots of paranoia batting around in my feeble old head.   

At any given time on GH or any other soap, we will have fan bases that are pissed off.  I mean, seriously, they (the fans) haven’t figured out yet, a lot of them anyway, that you can’t please everyone and that sometimes, you have to break some eggs to make a soap omelet.  If you even whisper that you admire Nancy Lee Grahn, you’re labeled a Carly Hater and bashed from that camp.  If you dig Ric and Liz together, you’re suddenly anti-Liason.  Back in the day, if Monica and Alan were reunited, the Monica and Rick people got a stick up their butts (that would be real Rick, not Guza Rick).  If Brenda and Sonny fans win, Brenda and Jax fans lose…it’s always a crap shot and the only sure thing is that NO ONE will ever stay together except Audrey and Dead Steve.  They will ALWAYS break up (yes, even Sonny and Carly eventually, of course) and the wheel will turn a few degrees and the world will be different for GH couples.  They’ll play a few rounds of musical bedmates and some fans will be thrilled and some will be mortified.  It’s the nature of the beast. 

But what I’ve seen on GH since, well, I guess since shortly after Jill Farren Phelps (the darling and savior of GH, to hear the actors tell it, pfft) and Meagan McTavish lied their way into the fold (“NO, I have no intention of bringing my favorite Henchmonkey and butcher of stories to GH, oh, look, I’d like you to meet our new HEAD WRITER, Megan McTavish!” to which we all rolled our eyes and muttered, “Big frickin surprise”), is just downright scary in its ambivalence to the interests of the fans.  I know I keep harping on this, but that quote from JFP where she basically says (yeah, I’m paraphrasing, but I’m good at it) that the fans don’t know what they want and it’s up to the wise and knowing soap execs to show them what they really want keeps coming back to haunt me...and terrify me. 

Based on what I’ve been observing (and one of the reasons you haven’t heard from me in the Soap Journal for a while is that I’ve been… watching… sort of like driving very slowly past a really bad automobile accident … and waiting until I was sure before I spoke out… now I’m sure), there are two situations going on, both or either/or.  For now, you be the judge: 

1).  The powers that be totally have their heads up their own and one another’s asses to the point that they are in a whole other world from us, watching a whole other show than we are. 

2).  The powers that be are seriously at war with us and are purposely writing stories that are manufactured to piss off as many people as possible.  I'm thinking of Bob Guza, co-Head Write rfor GH, saying, "Whatever the internet says, we are going to do the opposite."

I am about 80% convinced it’s both.  There is a third possibility, which is the Springtime for Hitler philosophy, meaning that they are purposely trying to screw up GH as irreparably as possible so that they can shrug their lying, conniving shoulders, bitch about a dying art and retire to a beach filled with drinks with umbrellas and Hawaiian Tropic totin’ cabana boys.  I’ve got news.  If the genre of soaps is a dying art, it’s because these assholes are doing their best to kill it off. 

As is evidenced by the growing soap internet community, there are definitely more than enough faithful viewers tuning in on a regular basis.  They are absolutely more vocal now about their wants for the show, so why would the honchos not use that tool to their advantage?  There’s no way the soap business will die out if the viewers are given a quality product.  Would we mind quite so much watching a favorite couple split up or a character go through intense changes if the story was at least good?  If we had been given some brilliantly written scenes for the break up of Gia and Nikolas instead of the whimper and last gasp, I could get behind it in a heartbeat.  I loved them together and lord knows, I’m for anything that will keep the last standing Cassadine in town, tethered to the woman he loves!  If I can’t have that, hey, give me a break up that is going to tear out my soul and have me reaching for the Puffs already.  Not, “It just isn’t working.”  “I know.”  “Well, so long then.” 

The kick in the teeth is that the stories just suck. The writing is horrible.  The trajectory is completely unplanned and made up on the fly.  The “arc” looks more like a child’s labored scrawl than anything with a projected beginning, peak and end.  The cast is horribly off balance so that we only see 4-5 characters on a regular basis with the other 20 or so relegated solely to rare recurring shots, if that.  False rumors are generated by the studio just for fun, to see the fans react.  Quality actors are given garbage to process and turn into something that would be salvageable on its own, but en masse is just pathetic. 

The internet, which we all know the powers that be peruse to get their finger on the pulse of the fans’ wants, should be friend to both ends of that circuit, but instead, I am convinced it’s used as a weapon against the very family it should be courting (us).  How easy it would be to put together stories that pleased a majority…then ease over into the other side for a while…it’s no harder than juggling plates!  That’s why I’m so convinced that the internet is being used as a roadmap to figure out how to bite the hand that feeds them.  Why?  It’s pretty obvious.  Because they know we’ll come back, put out our vulnerable, shaking little arms and beg them to shoot us up for an hour a day like the little GH junkies that we are. 

But who can blame us?  We’ve endured bad stories, horrid writing, shitty sets and nasty acting before and lived.  I once, and I feel accurately, compared GH to having a sister who is committed to an abusive boyfriend.  You love her, you want her out of where she is, you friggin hate him, but you don’t want to turn your back on her because you love her and have a history with her that predates him.  You just pray to God she comes to her senses one day and leaves him.  I’ve was watching GH back when the losers now in charge of it were failing Math 1 and dreaming of screwing their English teacher.  Gary Tomlin proved straight out that you simply cannot drive a soap far enough in the ditch that a really good hand with a strong tractor won't be able pull it back out again.  McTavish and JFP left OLTL bleeding and comatose on the street with a steam roller coming towards it and he breathed life back into it and shot it to a well-deserved Daytime Emmy for Best Daytime Drama in less than a year. 

So yeah, we’re invested in this stuff and we will keep watching, just like they know we will.  It’s probably some big joke around the studios, “I wonder if they’ll keep watching if we do THIS!” followed by loud, coarse gwaffaws and yet anther butchering of the dreams of a fan base as the bets go onto the tables.  So let’s look at a few of the offerings. 

The Sax people get all excited because they are getting a fabulous wedding for Skye and a man who finally loves her while well aware of all of her weaknesses.  But no.  The very night of that fabulous wedding, Jax pogo’s himself upstairs and uses his Brenda woody to bang away at Skye, then dumps her before the sheets are dry, throwing those same faults that he was forgiving back in her face and driving her to drink again.  Oh wait, it was because she was evil enough to lie to him about something really, really important…unlike Brenda who lied to him for years about the fact that she was alive while he was grieving for her and dumping Chloe on her trim, blonde, willowy ass to chase her ghost around the world for a year.  Wait, I’m sorry.  It’s so different when Brenda lies.   DENIED!!  

Sonny and Carly fans get all excited because Sonny and Carly are possibly having a baby.  Hell, the fans even named the as of yet unconceived kid.  But no.  Still no baby.  Instead, Sonny is giving Brenda a complete tonsil check with his tongue on the docks because he takes what he wants and needs to find out whether or not he loves Carly enough.  Pfft.  Oh yeah.  That bullshit would fly in my house.  It’d fly out the door followed by a whole set of glassware for him to bust up in his angst, his anger.  DENIED!!   

The Jax and Brenda fans get all excited because their Diva hath return, bringing good tidings of great lovins and a really foxy wedding with a cool dress and happy ever after singing in the air.  But no.  Jax waits until Brenda has tearily giggled out her vows of love and devotion, then pulls the rug out from under her in the most humiliating way possible, especially for Brenda in a nonwedding revisit.  I mean, how many times IS this poor girl going to walk down the aisle and not slink back up it again at the end?  How many ways can the much loved, dashing, romantic Jax be turned into a total jerk?  DENIED!!   

The Luke and Laura fans are ecstatic!!  After months and flukes and other mishaps, their favorite couple will FINALLY marry and live out their years together!  But no…get us right up to the date and turn Laura into a blithering, slobbering idiot in a ragged out, dirty wedding gown, looking nothing more than pathetic (LITERALLY mocking us for the wedding we wanted) and stick Luke back into the dark corners, angry, skulking and embittered.  OH, and drag out the old used up “fake Laura” storyline to boot.    DENIED!!   

Hurray!!  Rick is coming back!!  A little flirty flirt with Monica!  Some real scenes for Alan!  At LAST some resolution with Lesley.  But no.  First, he’s  a child molester (I’m told with some authority that they really didn’t know what they were going to do in that attic until it was done), then he’s just a randy old goat who had many affairs while married to Leslie, then he was the one who saved Laura’s life, then he was Laura’s victim.  So, so sad.  DENIED!!   

Yay!!!  Jason is coming back and the whole world knows that he’s wrapped up in a pretty bow for Liz.  But no.  We get that delicious Lucky slap, Liz dragging Jason out of Kelly’s for some (at last!) good lovin’s, then Liz stopping.  OK, that made sense for her character but sleeping with Zander?  “I can’t live in your world?”  WTF?  Liason fans were basically told to go to hell and get over it.  DENIED!! 

Outstanding!!  We get a WONDERFUL love story at long last for AJ!  Someone finally is on the scene who really gets him and loves him no matter what.  But we can’t have that.  Instead, you see, she’s really in love with Jason and well, AJ is just screwed (or not) again.  DENIED!!   

Ned steps up to bat for Alexis and claims paternity of her illegitimate child (don’t get me started on the prelude to that one) just in the nick of time.  Hurray!!  Nexis is BACK, baby, and we looked forward to the rekindling of the fires of their love, passion and friendship as they moved toward parenting together.  Instead, she goes crazy, he jumps on the local crime mol like white on rice and Cameron stands around and looks puzzled.  DENIED!!   

Ric…ahhh…Ric comes on the scene.  He can act!  He’s gorgeous!  He’s hot with Elizabeth!  He’s a good friend to Carly!!  He’s a really bad guy who takes advantage of a knocked out woman, breaks her heart and all to further his own stupid agenda, whatever that is.  DENIED!!   

How many more times can we be built up for something, anything really cool to happen, only to have to jerked away from us and replaced with something repugnant in some sadistic bait and switch?  Pretty, pretty package with Tiffany inscribed on the top… turd inside.  >:< 

Heaven knows that if we ever did all manage to get pissed into true, 1960’s style activism at once, we’d be a formidable force.  Well organized with a common goal and putting aside the agendas of various fan bases to simply support, no, demand a better GH together, we could quickly become the mouse who toys with the cat before killing it. 

But to what end?  We all exercise our rights all at once to turn off GH and really do it instead of being the one (meaning everyone) who sneaks and watches it every day anyway and what do we get?  The show goes under and we have no GH at all to watch.  Would we rather have that beloved sister with the guy who beats her up, but still get to be with her and share a smile or two now and then and hold out hope that she'll get better or have her dead and buried forever?  Sure, there are other channels and other shows, but do we really want there to be no more GH at all because we cut off our nose to spite our face in some bluff we hoped would never be called?   

Pfft.  I’m not that selfless!  I want my GH and I want to believe that some white knight is eventually going to replace the current powers that be and sweep my beloved show off to happily ever after.  Maybe I just don’t know when to let go, but at this point, I am still of the opinion that in the right hands, GH could be a winner once again and that those hands might be 6 months or a year or 3 years off.  We have wickedly talented actors onboard.  With a little trimming and the reviving of many of the cast members who are now "cast aside," we could literally have the best actors on Daytime TV.  There are really good writers on staff with GH and with a good Head Writer at the helm (that would be NOT Bob Guza or Charles Pratt – who gets smacked just for guilt by association) and an Executive Producer who actually gives a damn what the fans think (that’d be not JFP), GH could be an outstanding watch once again!  

In the meantime, I’ll be the one over here with the nitrous mask on to dull the pain as I watch the show crash repeatedly through the cracks between my fingers, which are covering my eyes to protect them from the full impact.


E-mail Katrina


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