By Katrina Rasbold

Up until a year or two ago, I used to actually tell my columnists (and I have had and have some spectacular writers) to try to keep it positive.  I mean, if we are bashing the shows, bashing the actors, bashing the stories, aren't we essentially saying, "I don't know why you're watching this piece of crap!" to our readers?  Perhaps then, people stop watching, then stop reading, then our EOS audience just *fades away*.  If we can find some positive and fun aspects of the show that were not previous considered by the reader, maybe they'll feel better about watching and we can continue our writing-reading relationship.  Makes sense, doesn't it?

Finally, I conceded to the hopelessness of it, somewhere around the time of Loon Lake, and told the writers to just go for it and speak their hearts, be it positive or negative.  We can polish a turd all day and get it nice and shiny, but we still can't sell it as a paperweight... just a polished turd (which only has a market on e-bay and the limited profit margin doesn't merit the personal sacrifices inherent in the turd polishing profession).  

Many on my current staff of writers don't know (until now) of a time when there was an "EOS Positivity Policy."  Still, for the most part, largely because I have a great staff who are all talented enough to instinctively know how to balance a column, we manage to achieve an overall raving:bitching ratio that keeps us from sinking into the pits of endless complaining.  Cold pricklies, but with a good supply of warm fuzzies, if you will.

I am about to wreck that balance since I'm in a cynical mood (I make Kate look like Pollyanna today) and almost everything about GH is hitting me wrong.  What I am going to do is revolutionary and ground-breaking in the Soap Journal.  I am going to bitch about everybody and I do mean EVERYbody.  Not just everybody, but ev-er-y-bod-y. . . just . . . because . . . I . . .can (well, except Stephen Nichols - moment of reverent silence).

Lesley Webber - Probably the second biggest waste of talent in the returns department, trailing just behind our #1 most abused vet, Chris Robinson, her TV hubby.  At least when Lesley returned, she was merely made into a shell-shocked babysitter who had no life outside of baking yet another freakin' batch of cookies and rubbing Laura's hair while she fretted over whether to love Stefan, Luke or Scott.  The only two smidgens of decent entertainment came when she slapped the snot out of Stefan and unreeled on him about keeping her prisoner (two snaps up, bebeŽ) and when she opened the door to find her "guess what, I'm not dead, dear" husband (ex-husband?) standing there.  In both instances, the writing was secondary to the exemplary performances by both Denise Alexander as Lesley and her leading men, respectively, Stephen Nichols and Chris Robinson.  They showed what real soap acting, nay, real(ly) GOOD soap acting is all about.  It's not about over emoting, flaring out your nose, waving your arms or interjecting pregnant-and-three-weeks-overdue, poignant pauses three or four times in the same sentence.  It's about playing on the subtleties of the situation and allowing the writing to meld with emotion in such a way that it feels real.  In those scenes, we knew we were in the screen presence of greatness, not just another soap actor standing on a stepping stone to a nowhere career in show biz that some agent pumped them up into believing they deserved.  THAT's what *I* want to see, not a daily dose of the same manufactured, prefab crap I watched the week before and the month before that. 
Anyway, back to Lesley/Denise Alexander.  Since her performance and the rich and vibrant history of the character of Lesley obviously has zero importance to the powers that be, she has been cast onto the heap of corpse characters whose zombie-fied remains will only be invoked if they may aptly serve to prop up one of the chosen few who aren't fit to shine their party pumps where acting is concerned.  Yes, it's true.  We have 6 players on the field playing every single ending and about 30 sitting on the bench, seldom, if ever, getting in the game.  Verily, since Genie Francis was rolled away with her tongue lolling out of her mouth and her eyes as dim as those of a dead trout, there has been no need for Lesley or LuLu to be around.  The presence of Luke or Lucky or Nikolas certainly does not constitute "family" except for the occasional spitting of the word "brother" in the heat of anger.  God knows they don't need the wimmin around mucking things up and bringing them together.  That would just complicate the natural flow in the World According to Bob Guza (co-head writer) where women are nothing more than a tool to nurture a man's ego, a punching bag for their amusement or an eager and oh so forgiving and hetted up receptacle for their blessed seed.
Audrey Hardy - I am amazed and astounded that Rachel Ames could make her prim little mouth form the name of Steve Hardy in the same conversation where she talks about Liz's farce of a marriage.  So we're to believe that all this time that Ames has been summarily dismissed after decades of tenure on the show that Audrey has been keeping close tabs on Liz, through the miscarriage and poisoning and all the other crap that chick's been through, just all offscreen?  Why doesn't she have the Elizabeth (Webber) Lansing memorial suite built at the hospital already?  Liz should have a bed on reserve at GH at all times (Like the Corinthos table a the No Name) at the rate she's been going for mortal injury.  I am also interested in having my family treated by GH since a person recovers from "you'll never walk again" anguish to fully standing in a couple of weeks and has surgery for a deadly aneurism and walks out two days later.  Those GH docs are such miracles workers, I'm betting they could bring Lazarus back from the dead.  As far as Audrey is concerned, though, sure, sure she's been around...Bobbie too.  Right.
Sonny Corinthos - I was working really, really hard to remember back when I was a Sonny lover.  I know I was still seriously into him when I started the site in 2000.  I had such a cuddle place in my heart for this tortured, gorgeous man who muttered in Spanish and was so consumed with passion.  Two words:  Hannah Scott.  I remember getting really vomitously sick when he was banging away at Hannah when he was immersed in white-hot hatred for her.  You could see that Bob Guza was screaming from the sidelines, "Give it to her, Mo!  It turns him ON!  Sonny is a SEX MACHINE!!  The hatred is his Viagra!!" 
THEN, I was at the GH fan event in 2001 and while I was in line to get a cuddle with Ron Hale, still having a bit of a Sonny buzz going on, I watched as Maurice Benard got up from the dais where he was sitting, walked over to Ron Hale, said something to him and pulled him aside.  MB then proceeded to rip Ron Hale a new one over God knows what, right there in front of the fans.  Of course, I took pictures.  Admittedly, there is no way of ever knowing what motivated Benard to go off on Hale or if he was actually going off TO Hale rather than ON Hale, but regardless of the reason, I felt it was completely inappropriate for him to be saying whatever he was saying, the way he was saying it, in front of fans, thereby creating the impression that it was a confrontation even if it wasn't.  After that, I was finished with my Sonny attraction.
Storywise, I loved the way Sonny and Carly's relationship unfolded and I was cheering as loudly as anyone when Sonny plucked Carly and Michael from the Quartermaine hell hole and kidnapped them to the penthouse.  The unfolding of their love story was good stuff and I bawled my eyes out when they lost their baby.  That was then.  This is now and since we've had every story revolve around Sonny for two years, I've more than had my fill.  I enjoy Sonny in small bits as a single story or to compliment other stories, but there isn't one character in the GH cast that I'd like to see nonstop for two years.  Not one. 
Jason Morgan - Although, I do quite like the character of Jason (still don't want to see him all the time or even as often as I do), I just absolutely can't stand Journey.  Like so many other fans, I thought from the beginning that the relationship was stiff and prefabricated to the point of wanting to pull my eyes out with an olive fork any time they were on the screen.  Quickly, AJ and Courtney were wrapped up and thrown onto the funeral pyre and the Sonny Hour became the Sonny, Jason and Courtney hour with a side order of Carly when she's not dead or missing.  I rather enjoyed the other day when Jason was barking at Courtney in Ric's house, largely because Courtney taking on the recent role of mob enforcer cum secret agent woman has really left a bad taste in my mouth and it felt great to see someone, anyone, tell her to mind her own damned beeswax and take her kickboxing, drop kicking, judge and jury, Laura Croft Wannabe ass down a notch or two. 
As with Maurice Benard and Tamara Braun, I enjoy Steve Burton infinitely better when he's NOT with the people he's usually with onscreen.  I love watching Carly and Jason together and would excitedly welcome that pairing.  The scenes when Brenda and Sonny were stranded on the island and Jason and Carly were searching for them were, in my opinion, some of the best GH has offered in months and months.  Jason and Courtney together suck all of the air out of a room and fill it with a toxin that turns anyone present into a bubbly 14-year-old who says the word "like" a good deal.  Separated from their respective mates, I can tolerate or even enjoy any of the fab four, but with their dearly beloveds, I, like, nod off every time. (see?)
I could definitely get into a Liason revisit.  If Luke and Laura can rekindle after years, I'm sure that Jason and Liz could get back that spark and really piss off Ric in a big way.  I'd also love to see Jason running things on the mob front for a while.  The friendship between Sonny and Jason is great, but the animosity is more interesting and you know, Jason is just good at what he does and I'd like to see some room for advancement rather than being Sonny's bitch for all eternity.
Zander Smith  - If this young man didn't get the biggest bait and switch I've ever seen then I'm looking in my California back yard right now and seeing snow.  After being heralded as the new Luke for the 21st century, he was dropped like a bad habit the second Amber Tamblyn got an itch to leave.  After idling aimlessly for months, his only decent scene being with a payphone, finally he got not only a dad, a back story and relief of his heretofore unknown and unmentioned guilt over killing Peter, but topped it off by landing his woman back in town and back in his bed.  Although he should be thrilled to be getting ANY screen time on a show where only 5-6 of the slot machines in the whole casino of screen time ever pay out, he's now being used as little more than grist for the mill that's grinding out a brand new super couple:  Nik and Emily.  The scene on Friday between Nikolas and Zander that amounted to little more than, "YOU take her," "No, YOU take her!" was, I fear, a dark harbinger of the slipping away of Zander, a complex and interesting character played by a brilliant young actor.  If Chad Brannon gets opportunities away from the show, I hope he takes them and doesn't look back.
Carly Corinthos - I was not a fan of Carly for quite some time because she seduced Tony right around the time that my husband left me for another woman (not my current husband, mind you, it was some old one I'd had for 20 years or so prior).  The words Carly snapped off to Bobbie when she caught the two of them together on her wedding anniversary, "Yeah, well, at least I make him happy which is more than you can say for yourself, lady!! You think he would be here with me if you were what he wanted?!  If you had anything he wanted?!" cut me to my very core.  All three actors (again, as with my Lesley rant above) played it to perfection and I wasn't sure I could get through it.  I couldn't look at the character (the CHARACTER, mind you, how psychotic is that?) in the face on screen for a while.  I think I really began to notice her again when everyone in the Quartermaine house was being so horrible to her.  The depth of AJ's cruelty was a shock to me and I began to identify with the pain she was feeling and the loneliness of a woman who basically had no one. . . except her friend Jason who she adored.  We were led to believe that Jason just didn't feel that way about Carly until one brilliant month or so that started when Jason put a set of replacement wedding rings on Carly's hand after she was mugged.  He watched Carly dance with AJ at Luke's, her rings glittering on her hand.  She caught his eyes, looked away nervously and then locked eyes with him again.  His gaze never wavered.  Later, he confessed his love to her and they made plans to be together as a family.  Then the bottom completely fell out and culminated with Carly and Sonny hate-sexing while Jason, who'd been shot by one of Moreno's men, stumbled into the penthouse in time to see his lady bounce down the steps in nothing but one of Sonny's shirts.  Ow. 
When Tamara Braun came on board, I wasn't at all excited, but she's made the role of Carly her own (meaning basically it in no way resembles Sarah Brown's Carly, but we've gotten used to it and her acting has improved immensely, so no harm, no foul) and Carly has evolved into something different than the underdog that Sonny hauled out of the Amityquartermaine Horror House.  Still, during the boat scenes and the bar scenes, it was obvious that Carly and Jason have one hell of  a vibe that I'd love to see explored more fully. Now, I completely enjoy Tamara Braun's Carly when she's not with Sonny and especially love the twice yearly scenes she gets with Bobbie.  I do, however, wish they'd let her be a wee bit smarter, like running for the door instead of the phone when she makes a break for it.
Michael Corinthos (the little 'un) - How could AJ know when he was banging away at Carly, drunk as a skunk, that he was in the process of siring someone who would get hoards more screen time than he'd ever have again?  Irony at its finest.

Monica Quartermaine - I have to admit that I am puzzled as to how, commitment to professionalism aside, Leslie Charleson can force herself to say the words that script out this insane story in which the writers have her mired.  To have the cancer story take a back seat to the triangle between Nikolas, Zander and Emily, then to have the cancer glamorized by there being no efforts to make Emily appear even remotely ill (I'm quite sure many chemotherapy patients would love to have a few hairs on a brush and a dizzy spell or two be the extent of their visible symptoms) does little more than thumb its nose at the deeply troubling and emotional tour the characters of both Monica and Paige took through a real cancer story.  It only goes to show how twisted the current powers that be are around the image of the size zero, "beauty at all cost," Melrose Place image.  In my opinion, Carly looked far sicker hanging out in the panic room than Emily looks leaving the hospital after her chemo treatment.  OH!  I hear the protests of "but Carly has no make up in the panic room!!"  Honey, there ain't enough make up on Fifth Avenue to hide chemo pallor.
I know that the return of Emily must have sparked hopes in both Leslie Charleson and Stuart Damon of a front burner storyline for the Quartermaine family, but having been reduced to little more than Emily's toadies and the bearers of bad tidings, I'm sure they are smiling wryly and saying, "Oh well, same ol', same ol'."  These vets, as so many others, have earned better than this.
Skye Quartermaine - I have only known Skye through two soaps, OLTL and GH.  By the time I got to AMC, she was already a historical figure in Pine Valley.  While in Llanview, she definitely did not impress me with her bitch-in-heat routine around Max and especially her treatment of Max's wife, Blair, in her own home.  The whole situation left me feeling queasy.  I didn't really warm to Skye until she learned that Adam was not her real father.  Robin Christopher's incredible talent allowed Skye's incredible vulnerability to unfold and by the time she was announcing her Quartermainehood in the family parlor, I was alternately in tears and cheering her on.  I was devastated by the turn her marriage to Jax took and thought RC played it like a pro.  I have been disturbed, as of late, by the portrayal of Skye as someone who is borderline psychotic in her efforts to secure Kristina for herself and destroy Alexis in the process.  Her pointed cruelty seems uncalled for and excessive, especially considering that Alexis already is doing herself in just fine on her own.
I am so pleased to have Tyler Christopher back in the role of Nikolas.  I didn't know how much I missed his quiet regality in the role until he'd actually been around for a couple of airdates.  It would please me greatly to see a renewing of the affection he and Stefan shared during the "You're my father??  You're my uncle??" days.  Seeing Nikolas war over his feelings for Emily and working overtime to figure out "the right thing to do" definitely gives credibility to the character as being Laura's son.  One of the things that I've always appreciated about TC's portrayal of Nikolas is that he seems to embody perfectly both the Laura and the Cassadine sides of his heritage and it's rare that an actor just seems to "fit" in the role.  I also have to give him big kudos for diving into that lip gloss laden mouth of greasy death on Emily without even flinching once.  And what about that Lydia lovin?  Was he not just so, so, so very hot in Wednesday's monkey sex scene with NotLydia??  Whoa.  Wait.  I said I was going to bitch about everybody.  thinking...  thinking...  Nikolas does NOT have his shirt off NEARLY enough, dammit!  There's my Nikolas fuss. 
Lane Davies is a new interest for me, but the pot was stirred before he ever arrived by my friend, Sherry Mercurio, who had a long lust, um, I mean appreciation, for the actor, stemming back to his Santa Barbara days.  As soon Alexis found him at the homeless shelter, I was hooked.  Like many, I was baffled by the story shifts around why he blamed (or didn't) Zander for his brother's death and I never did feel that the story was resolved to any degree of satisfaction.  As with so many things, we wave it off as bad writing.  The acting was above reproach, but the story was little more than a disconnected afterthought and in my opinion, both Lane Davies and Chad Brannon deserved better.  The blossoming romance between Alexis and Cameron deserves better.  Zander thinking his father is having a gay moment deserves better.  Any of these things could easily have been built into a quality story, even as a back burner story, I don't care.  To just throw something together with no real thought or attention merely to create a few seconds filler time while the "real" GH cast gets their make-up reapplied and takes a run through wardrobe is insulting to more than the actors involved... it's insulting to the viewers.  In Lane Davies, GH went to the trouble of bringing a seasoned and well loved soap actor on board and now they are basically ignoring him.  I'm not completely sure why they bothered.  Certainly, they could have gotten someone to just stand there and say a line or two now and then for a lot less than they are paying Lane.    Just because I'm feeling generous, I'm going to give GH a break and throw some advice their way.  They can always save the money they're spending on Lane and just use this cardboard stand up of Humphrey Bogart (it's lifesize).  It's only $29.95.  If they buy 2-3 and take good care of their product, it should last them at least as long as they were planning on keeping Cameron around.  Since I love the character, I'm sure he's on the fast train out of Port Charles anyway.
But wait!  Isn't Jax coming back to town in August?  They haven't used him for anything since he and Brenda chewed up all the flavor out of one another and stuck the remains under the church pew where they were to be married.  Once Vanessa blew out of town, so little was seen of Jax that it took viewers a few weeks to realize that Ingo was on a long term vacation for the summer.  The absence of Jax has yet, to my knowledge, to be addressed and one has to wonder what will be waiting for Ingo when Jax returns.  I would love to see Jax banding together with Stefan and Alexis to get Kristina back.  Creating their own "marriage of convenience" would be a lot of fun for Jax and Alexis and would certainly needle both Ned and Skye, considering their mutual pasts with the blonde bombshell.  Taking Jax back to his devil-may-care, corporate raider roots would please Ingo, I know, and giving him a bit of a story surely can't hurt.  If they have no plans to have him do more than stand around in the background, I can get them a good deal on a Fabio cardboard cut out (right) for (you guessed it) $29.95.
As quickly as we have been going through Luckys and given the dramatic personality changes he's experienced as a result, I've decided that Greg Vaughn can be replaced out by this cut out to the left ($29.95).  Since he's been reduced to little more than an "in heat" seeking missile, he doesn't really need lines at all.  They can get a grip or a best boy to stand behind the cut out and launch it at any vagina-bearing creature that walks past.  Lucky's women can be like Pez... one jumps off a cliff and another one pops into place.  YEAH BAYBEE!  SHAGALICIOUS!
Lord knows we evidently don't need "the help" any more.  I miss Francis and Max and Reginald and Leticia and now, Big Alice.  She got dressed up, put on her nice hat to leave after the Dobson incident and I haven't seen her since.  Same for Penny at Kelly's.  Remember Betty who used to babysit Lucas and the Jones girls?  The help shows up and then just faaaaaades away.  Why spend money on interesting character who make us care and cost at least minimum wage when the Hans Solo in storm trooper gear (right)  is only (say it folks!) $29.95.  The real help (the set gremlins) can carry him around and stand him in place whenever a worker bee is needed.
<-------What?  Bobbie's back??  $29.95
Of course, Faith's replacement is a little more pricey. ------------------------>
Little did I realize what would happen if I went to look for a cardboard cutout of Humphrey Bogart to illustrate the sad misuse of Lane Davies.  Little did I realize that I would find a replacement for almost every underused character on the show.  Maybe if they replace out our beloved actors with the $29.95 specials, we won't have quite so much invested in how the stories are written or what happens to the characters.  The derisions of the vets will be complete and we'll stop expecting anything above and beyond the basic two stories that repeat over and over on our screen with the exact same players always involved.
But why stop there??  The Powers that Be have been very blatant about how they view the characters and have damned well insisted that we feel the same way to the point of cramming their view down our throats.  They practically wear signs telling us to either adore or revile them.  As far as the writers and other great visionaries at GH go, we take it all the way with their own tainted GH.
We can cast:
 Edward Quartermaine
Dylan Hornsby

wrong one
AJ - Forgot I was dealing with
the writers' view here
The teens
  $29.95 for all 4, remember.
I love the teens as far as
actors, lordy, they're all
cute and talented, but
as far as the writers go
they're all played as
little more than
rebels without a clue.
Stefan -
Why a cow?  Because Stefan is
my sacred cow about which NO
harsh word shall EVER be uttered.
(get it?  uttered?)
All are cardboard cutouts (except that Faith is vinyl) and all are $29.95 (except that Faith is slightly more).  I looked for one to stand in for Alexis, but they don't make a Tess of the Durbervilles stand up cutout, sadly. 
Why am I even suggesting all of this?  Sure, it sounds ludicrous and my suggestions in no way are intended to reflect the quality of acting being displayed, but instead, the limited usage and lack of appreciation fpr these very valuable actors/characters by the very people responsible for giving them life.  My thinking is that if they lay off (not let go, mind you) the actors who are being replaced temporarily by the cardboard cutouts, maybe they can save enough money from their slararies to hire real executives and buy out whatever demonic blackmailing hold these white bellied pit vipers have on ABC to keep jobs in the industry when they ruin show after show after show.  
Rant off.