December 31, 2001

10 Reasons to Watch GH  

Everyone has been down on GH lately and rightly so.  It has come a long way since its days as a top 3 soap, having reached the depths of mediocrity and down right *bad* somewhere around the time Tony thawed out Stavros, FLuke hit the sheets and Carly turned Sonny over to the feds.  Any long time viewer of GH has seen the same or worse.  Soaps are all about cycles, ups, downs, bad Exec Producers, lame writers, unholy alliances and money.  Seldom, if ever, are they about fan demands and wants. 

Now that it’s time for JFP’s contract to be reviewed and the ratings to be closely studied, the world holds it’s breath, praying for the rail to come barreling into the GH studios for our current EP to be thrown astride and ridden out of town upon in a few weeks.  Meanwhile, rest assured that the only thing GH will NOT recover from is a mass exodus of its viewers.  I worry when I hear so many people holding our show hostage by making comments like, “If Sonny and Alexis kiss, I’m not watching the show any more.”  I want to remind everyone that there was a GH, a really, really good GH,  long before Sonny and Carly or any other of the characters on the show (well, except maybe Audrey).  If your character isn’t doing what you want them to do, just hang tight, go pee, FF, wash your face, get a drink of whatever it takes and be cool.  GH will go on and things will get better.  Folks, try not to get so invested and wrapped up in one aspect of the show,  View it as a composite effort with many actors and characters and situations to watch.  You’re bound to be disappointed if you limit yourself to the mercy of what happens to one character or one couple.  Believe me, you have better odds of winning in Vegas than having your pet couple or character follow the path you would hew out of the future for them.  Did any of us want Luke and Laura to break up?  Lucky to be killed off in a fire and return as Jacob Young?  Faison to blow up?  It’s never more true than in soaps that sometimes you’re the windshield and sometimes you’re the bug.   

We are blessed with many wonderful actors on our show and fortunately, a lot fewer really crappy actors than this time last year.  It’s like having a bad school year.  If you have a teacher that you really despise, you steel up, ride it out and hope for a wonderful teacher for your next year.  If all goes well, we’ll be in a different grade with a different teacher and different rules in no time.  Meanwhile, I encourage allegiance to the show, even if just a couple of times a week, to at least keep it in the line up until better execs can be thrust on board.  Rumors are that ABC is on the prowl for a JFP replacement (let’s pray they Labine one, I mean “find” one) and if it happens, there will be great rejoicing in the land.   

Meanwhile, here are some wonderful reasons to continue watching GH: 

10)  Jax is just so damned cool. 

9)  No one does musical montages like GH. 

8)  Even if it’s rushed, the Luke and Laura reunion is wonderful if for nothing more than the actors 

7)  It’s fun to note each time we see him that Lucas still has not aged! 

6)  Luke and Roy are so much fun together 

5)  97% fewer Fleas!! 

4)  It’s fun to think dirty thoughts about AJ and Skye (you know they are) 

3)  Helena’s coming back! 

2)  Lots of weddings coming up! 

And the #1 reason to watch GH… 

1)  Because if you don’t, just what the hell are we going to talk about???


December 28, 2001

This week's ABC Soaps in Depth (January 8th issue) assures us that Proteus is one of the above people and will be unmasked at the Crystal Ball.  This does away with our ideas of a newbie, such as Hank Pelham or Simone, being named as the villain or even an unlikely suspect, such as Mateo (if only), Brooke (whose mommy had drug connections) or Edmund.  Now that we have narrowed the choice down to five, let's take a closer look.

By now, everyone knows that Mark Pinter has been released from his role as Roger Smythe, with a last air date of December 31st.  While one would suspect that Roger is an easy out as Proteus, we could deduce it is NOT him not only from his absence in the above line up, but also from the fact that someone as achingly weak as Roger would not be able to pull off the part of Proteus.  It’s fairly obvious that he is an accomplice beyond the role of delivery boy because he needed to make up that totally ludicrous story of Sandra, his beloved, who was killed by Proteus.  If you think about it, Proteus as any kind of baddie at all (beyond planting weed on Rosa and the whole thing of being a drug lord) is based solely on Roger's account of his girlfriend's death.  Other than that, we have no real evidence of Proteus being evil; just involved in illegal commerce, manipulations through threats and the conveyance of heinously ugly piggy banks upon unsuspecting wittle babies. 

Given that information, we can assume that Proteus either has a hold on Roger that would force him to lie or is in cahoots with him in such a way that it would behoove him to invent a dead girlfriend and bend Mateo’s sensitive heart strings.  I do believe that Roger is our key to unlocking the mystery of Proteus.

We can immediately dismiss the asinine idea of Anna DeVane being Proteus.  The best SID could offer for a case in this respect is that Anna is bored and has walked on the wild side before.  That does not explain why we saw a stunned Anna at David's door gasping, "Oh my God, David is Proteus!" as he injected Roger with whatever.

That DOES, however, implicate David as we have become well aware not only that David is more than willing to use some form of vital, nameless drug to manipulate Roger, but also, based on the libidozone incident, has no qualms about using drugs in a public forum to further his own agenda.  We know that Roger is most certainly always looking for a money tree to shake, so it would not be at all unthinkable that David lured Roger with the promise of fast money, then when Roger turned out to be a screw up, used the drug to coerce his continued cooperation.  David would also likely be familiar with Erica's company and computer based on his previous romantic involvement with her.  I think given these ideas, we can definitely keep David in the running as a viable candidate.

Vanessa is definitely a strong candidate, not only because we know well of her ruthlessness, but additionally, she has motive, means and plenty of opportunity.  On the David side of the fence, however, based on comments she has made, she has something on David.  She has a past with Roger that is relatively unknown at this point and that could definitely be used as blackmail or foundation or both for a cooperative effort.  Vanessa is constantly in quest for not only more money, but also for her own money and is definitely not above the manipulations we have seen from Proteus thus far.  Like her son, she would have no problem using Erica's company or Mateo's bar as a venue to support her own goals.  I keep her as a definite Proteus suspect.

I don't buy Chris Stamp as Proteus because it is just too obvious.  I believe it will come out that Frankie was an FBI agent as well and was working through Bianca to be close to Erica and her company.  I think she threw herself in front of her car to connect with Erica and Bianca's attention was a fine Plan B.  At first, I thought it would be a great twist if Proteus actually turned out to be Ryan's nefarious father, but that idea seems to have been squashed.  Definitely, Chris knows more than he's telling, but that doesn't make him Proteus by a long shot. 

Lastly, I assign any legitimacy to the notion of Adam as Proteus.  Sure, Adam is no friend of Mateo, but neither am I, so I can’t rightly blame him or assign felonious behavior to him for having good judgment of character.  I can’t see him threatening Hayley or Lorenzo, even factiously. 

What is of prime interest is that there is no word of any of the above cast members leaving Pine Valley.  Most of them are on solid contract, so either it is, however unlikely, Adam and he will be carted off as Proteus in the form of Adam, with David Canary continuing on as Stuart OR Proteus will not be brought to justice for whatever reason.  Regardless, we can count on this mystery being solved on December 31st when we learn the true identity.  I think few can argue that this is one time that a soap mystery has kept us guessing until the last minute.


December 12, 2001

I totally love Christmas.  It’s the only good thing about winter, as far as I am concerned.  I don’t like the cold at all, which is why I migrated to California and I certainly don’t like ice, snow, slush and the like, which I don’t get in Sacramento.  Ah . . .another good thing about winter.  In Sacramento, it rains like a beast.  That, I like.

It’s raining in my heart to see the treatment of poor Alexis on GH and that is rain I don’t care to have at all.  I was just posting a new column by Sage and he made the observation that JFP tends to destroy good, strong, smart women as soon as possible and (my words here) reduce them to sniveling, weak, man-desperate slugs.  She was directly responsible for taking a sharp, savvy trial lawyer (Nora Buchanan) on OLTL and turning her into a confused, downward-spiraling idiot who couldn’t get out of her own way no matter how hard she tried.  Anyone who gives me any of that “it just shows it can happen to anyone” crap meets the back o’ me hand.  Another target of the JFP-McTavish path of destruction is invariable any couple that has chemistry or even gets along well.  Bo and Nora, Andrew and Cassie and a ton of other great couples bit the dust during her regime.  Under the premise of “happy couples are boring couples,” the scythe went swinging and the beheading of romance began. 

The Scream Team had their bed fluffed and waiting when they took over the task screwing of GH into the ground from the misogynistic and history impaired, Bob Guza.  His hatred of women and insistence on pigeon-holing them into 3 major archetypes (shrew, vapid idiot or slut), lay the groundwork perfectly for their rampage of destruction.  They came aboard a year ago with promises that quickly turned into lies.  First was JFP’s adamant statement that she would NOT be bringing henchmonkey, McTavish, along with her.  Her mouth hadn’t closed after saying the words before McT was GH Head Writer and Elizabeth Korte was busted down to something just above “intern.”  Sense that she was NOT the popular fan choice for Executive Producer, JFP then let go with the news everyone wanted to hear.  She had sealed the deal to bring back Tristan Rogers, Vanessa Marcil and Ingo Rademacher.  Not only that, but she was letting go three of the least liked characters on the canvas:  Hannah, Juan and Chloe were history.  Boy, did we decide to give her a chance in a hurry!  But except for Ingo, who had a house payment due, all of the incoming were nixed, although the outgoing flow did stay true to her word.  She made sure all happy couples were blown apart and laughed in the face of “Love in the Afternoon” or “The Summer of Seduction.”  Instead, we got Melissa and Roy (to give her friends, Jensen Buchanan and A Martinez – who named his daughter after JFP, maximum exposure).  Bobbie and Roy, although prime poster kids for “Nymphomania in the Afternoon and the Morning and the Early Evening and Midnight Mass,” were at least believable in their passion (bet Jackie Zeman HATED going to work back then) and made us get lost in memories of true love never dying and looking back on our old loves (the ones we wish would return and the ones we wish would just stay dead!).  Their break up, such a pfft after the dramatic build up and sizzling relationship, was not just anti-climatic, it was unrealistic.  Just “Pfft.”  Super Roy and Our Lady of Melissa were equally as hard to swallow.  Sonny and Carly were red hot until Evil came on board and got a hold of them.  Now there is so much baggage on board, it will be impossible to believe that they can get back what they once had.  Even the most die-hard Sonny-Carly fans must admit that her betrayal of him was utterly devoid merit or purpose and was totally out of character.  The damage it did just bringing such a thing into their relationship is a crying shame.  The reunion of Liz and Lucky had been just as disappointing.  I’m lost, are they actually together or not now?  I know, of course, that they are together, but seeing a year of this whole business of Jacob Young making Neanderthal eyes to indicated “I’m hypnotized,” not to mention the “I’m transfixed by the Ice Princess, no I’m transfixed by any diamonds, no I’m transfixed by refrigerator freezer frost, hey, none of this stuff affects me at all” routine had left a lot of us wishing Lucky had either stayed in Faison’s Bunker for Electronically Gifted Children or at least stayed Jonathan Jackson.  Elizabeth managed to turn into such an unmitigated bitch, especially where Gia was concerned, that she was impossible to watch.  The most lovestruck couple on the planet, Zander and Emily, our modern version of Stone and Robin, were torn apart under the cruelest of circumstances and now have been broken up off screen by the dumbest of them. 

Another hallmark JFP’s passion for nonexcellence is her abysmal and insulting dismissal of veteran cast members.  They fade away into nonpeople and essentially become as proplike as the croissants on the Quartermaine Brunch Bar.  Brad Maule, Jackie Zeman, the indomitable Stephen Nichols, John J York, Ron Hale, Chad Brannon and any Quartermaine over 40 have been relinquished to the status of “talking coffee table,” when they get lines at all. 

I will even go so far as to defend Felicia, who was portrayed as the consummate mom.  Not only was she taken totally out of character to abandon her children and chase Luke all over the globe (admittedly, half of this mistake belongs to Guza), but she was also forced to betray her dearest friend, Mac, most hatefully, which never would have happened.  Her character was sorely abused, beginning with that first lie to Mac (Boston, wasn’t it?), carrying through with the furry handcuffs and Victoria’s Secret prison wear Faison provided and ending with a biotoxined Luke humiliating her in an alley.  I wonder whose toes she stepped on.

When a wonderful actor does come along and steal the show, such as the fabulous Lynne Moody and the heart of GH comedy, Loren Freeman or even the quintessential mom, Denise Alexander’s Lesley, not to mention Stephen T. Kaye or Landon Wine, they are rendered missing in action for months at a time or else, relegated to a few lines and nothing more than a walk on.  So just where ARE Johnny and Big Alice??  What happened to the romance (OH, forgot!  That’s a forbidden word) between Reginald and Leticia?  What happened to Benny?  Are we just supposed to stop caring about these characters because someone deemed them useless?  Instead, we got to watch Angel Bore-us and Tamara Braun flop around like fish out of water for weeks on end.  Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know TB “is much better” now, but she was terrible for weeks and weeks.  It wasn’t me missing Sarah Brown or expecting her to BE Sarah Brown.  I actually had high hopes for the recast.  It has her lame acting in the beginning that really put me off.  I’ll admit that she has done well for JFP’s version of Carly and wears it well now, but my eyes were aching for weeks on end!  I maintain now what I said then, “My soap is NOT a training ground for models to come in and get their land legs in the world of acting.”  Bring me competent actors!  Here’s a guideline to follow:  If they can’t get into The Actor’s Studio, let them start out on NBC and leave ABC to the big boys.  

I can’t think of one storyline in the past year of GH that hasn’t been cumbersome and out of character at best and an insult to the actors involved at worst. 

The big question that will come into the heads of a lot of people reading this column will be why, then, given the three pages of ranting I’ve just done, would I still watch GH.  I’ll confess that I’ve wondered that myself, lately.  Hearing of the departure in disgust and frustration of Stephen Nichols made me want to switch off right there, especially on tail of the abortion of a story that was laughingly called “Endgame.”  (Just what WAS “Endgame” that was being chanted through the loudspeakers in the seemingly endless mazes and rooms that cropped up unseen and ever increasing number of floor below GH?)   In deft and talented hands, the changes necessitated by the events of September 11 could have been smoothly integrated without losing the cohesiveness of the story.  As it was, I’m not sure anyone has the full story of what went on with the version of Endgame we saw.  I spoke with Stephen Nichols last July and it was clear that the Powers The Be had no intention of using him.  He commented that he had been left out of the loop for more than six months and pretty much just showed up and worked when they told him to and didn’t ask questions.  The only balm on the wound of losing him is the fact that in every scene in which he now appears, he can’t seem to stop grinning.  Now we have rumors of Tony Geary making noise to leave and Maurice Benard being offered a prime time role.  Since I’m fairly indifferent to Sonny and Carly, I don’t see much coming up in the spoilers that interests me.  The only real fascination I have is this attempt to reunite Luke and Laura and the knowledge that Loren Freeman has been filming plenty of Elton scenes. 

As I said, I have to admit that I’ve strongly considered just reclaiming the extra hour that I spend watching GH.  The things I feared when JFP came into power with the show have all come to pass in trumps.  What keeps me going is hope.  JFP’s contract is due for review this month and it’s possible she and/or McTavish will *go away* and be replaced, hopefully by someone with greater competency who has not butchered previous shows.  At this point, rumor has it that JFP will stay and Megan McTavish will leave, but I’m still hoping. 

I also have had GH as a part of my life since the first show aired.  My mom watched it and I carried on the tradition.  We have weathered some pretty strong storms before (The Sword of Malkuth!) and no matter how bad it gets, this too shall pass.  If I stop watching, I have let them take GH away from me, no matter how bad it gets.  I will not let them win that way!  I figure if we set it out for another year at the longest, the ratings will continue to plunge, just as they did for OLTL, and JFP will be quietly retired to some public access channel in Smallville, Utah and GH will fall into loving and talented hands that will help it rebuild to the show that used to sweep the Daytime Emmy Awards.  Meanwhile, rant I shall! 


OLTL and AMC have been my welcome respite in the storm that GH creates in my heart.  Both shows have been entirely entertaining this year and I’m grateful to have been pulled, kicking and screaming, into the AMC web.  I was one of the people who “didn’t get” Erica Kane.  I thought there was a very good reason why Susan Lucci didn’t get the Best Actress Award for over a decade.  I thought it was because she was a terrible actress.  My son recently wrote something very insightful on his site, indicating that most things that people say they “can’t stand,” is actually indicating that they don’t understand it.  “Rap music sucks” as a blanket statement actually means that you aren’t in a place to “get” what other people enjoy about it or how it speaks to them and not to you.  I will be the first to say that I “didn’t get” Erica Kane.  Now I do.  Now I am entranced with LaLucci.  I love Erica and all that she, as a diva, is about.  I love how she chews up classic soap material like going to jail for life to protect her daughter who didn’t really kill her lesbian lover.  How can you NOT love it.  She gets the greatest lines and the writers really seem to know how to write for her.  Her reaction to “Positively Arresting” was magnificent.  Her friendship with Opal, a most unlikely friend-target for a glamorous cosmetics mogul, is heartwarming and refreshing.  The way she twines men around her well-manicured pinky is inspiring.  Her perfectly pulled, nipped and tucked fifty-something year old body and fabulous wardrobe is to die for.  Love, love, love that Erica!!  I really just didn’t get her before. 

The comic relief of Jesse as Tad’s nefarious guardian angel has been priceless from the first “boo.”  Watching Greenlee fall in love with Jake and not even realize it is so bittersweet and filled with promise of things to come.  The mystery of “Who is Proteus” has unfolded at a comfortable pace that doesn’t drag out so long that we lose interest or rush through to the point that we wonder what hit us.  There have been a reasonable number of Proteus Suspects presented and any would be a satisfying conclusion. 

The relationships portrayed on AMC are strong, multi-textured and respectful of a rich and vibrant history.  Many of the characters have been on the show for a long, long time and their symbiosis in nearly every scene shows it.  As on all of the ABC soaps, it’s a shame that so many of the vets are pushed aside.  I’d love to see more of Palmer, Myrtle (the reason I even started watching, somehow I thought she was ON the show), Phoebe (if she can, she seems kind of the Lila Quartermaine of AMC), Derrick, this phantom kids named Petey and Jamie and any number of other MIA’s.  It’s well understood and obvious that not everyone can be in a front burner story at once, but that doesn’t explain characters in the three shows who are NEVER in a story.

I could do without David Hayward, could do without Anna (send her to GH, already!) and I could do without Laura and Brooke, but you can’t like all of the characters and certainly, they all add to the overall quality of the show. 

Count me as a grateful convert.


It’s hard to call whether this is my favorite show or AMC, but hey, OLTL has Todd!  As of late, it also has Nigel!  As much as I love AMC, I’ve got to give it to OLTL for the writing and acting as of late.  Tonya Walker’s return has been a delight and seeing her scenes with Peter Bartholomew (Nigel) was beyond a joy.  A happily married, gay, bankrupt troll?  Nigel was cracking me up. 

I have been utterly swept up in the saga of Todd’s search for his son, his brutal and much deserved haranguing of David Vickers, his declaration of love for Blair and his skillful, though unorthodox wrangling of Starr.  The scenes Todd had with his ghost son and the real baby were heartwarming and such a pleasure to watch.  His interaction with Buck and the local law was priceless (“Try using the jail keys next time; those are my house keys”).  For a story that started out with an unbelievable display of malice and cruelty, it emerged as a roller coast ride through every emotion in the human psyche.  The credit goes fully to brilliant writing and incredible acting.  Tears were running down my face as I watched Blair cradle the baby that Todd gave her and seeing the look on Todd’s face as he processed the idea that he’d done a good thing was wonderful.  It was obvious that Roger Howarth brought blindingly forward the impression that Todd is a man who counts his happy moments as they come, never dreaming there could ever be another one.

The reunion of Alex and Asa was a hoot, although I thought the whole “cheap perfume” thing dragged out a bit too long.  Poor Hank is chomping at the bit to issue yet another bogus arrest warrant.  It’s a good thing that Bo is there to accidentally stumble upon the right combination on his Dick Tracy decoder ring and spell out that Gabrielle and Max are being set up.  This has to be the first time these bumblers have figured out anything before arresting a few wrong people in sequence.  I think Bo must think infinitely more clearly without a woman there to distract him from the pesky business of police work. 

Thank the Soap Gods for the Keri Reynolds story line!  We’ve seen the best work of the Gannon Brother’s yet, even if Henry comes off as far too sanctimonious this round.  Fortunately, Keri’s continued presence in Llanview guarantees good exposure on this intriguing story with, as in so many other OLTL places, great writing and outstanding actors.  They are definitely using their resources to the fullest potential.

A story that was teetering on boring and one-note, the Jessica Buchanan switch, has leapt back with gusto in the past few weeks with the introduction of the character of Roxie.  From the first time Viki encountered the Queen of White Trash, the story has, again, been off and running.  Bringing Natalie down to a real person with a tragic upbringing has opened Viki’s eyes to her biological daughter’s true vulnerability and you can see how the door to her heart is opening a crack at a time to let the frightened, wounded girl in.  It is totally like Viki to be able to look beyond the brass, angry persona and see what really lies beneath.  Despite the havoc and pain brought by Natalie’s actions, I have to say that I am surprised it didn’t happen earlier on.  Roxie’s reappearance on the doorstep of Llanfair marked another turning point in the forging of an alliance between Natalie and Viki when Viki went after her ghetto counterpart like a lioness whose cub was under attack.  Now that Jessica seems determined to find Roxie, one has to be eager for the fallout that is to come.

Although integral to the story, the character of Allison Perkins is getting most annoying and it is my heartfelt wish that she will be finished on the show soon, preferably in the form of a tragic death.  Seeing her break Jessica’s heart today as she told her about how casually the baby switch came into being was enough for me.  I agree that all soaps need a villain, but I can do without this one.

Speaking of what soaps must have, dammit, I need a diva!  Bring me my Dorian!

Lastly, I just want to say that another reason OLTL would get my vote for favorite show is that it gives me hope for GH.  Two years ago or even a year ago, OLTL was such a mess that one could barely stand to watch it.  It, too, had been ravaged by poorly considered new characters, tragically bad acting, horrible story mismanagement and was little more than the bloodied battleground with barely moving bodies inching around in the muck.  Under the apt hand of Gary Tomlin and Chris Whitesel, OLTL has come rolling back in no time flat, sailing up in the ratings and re-igniting our love for Llanview and its citizens.  If it can happen to the mess that JFP left on OLTL, it can happen anywhere!



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