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Til Death or 3pm Do Us Part

June 27, 2003


I have been married since 1963.  It was my mother's idea, actually.  Mom was 21-years-old and I was two.  We snuggled together on an old plaid, upholstered couch with a bowl of popcorn and cold Dr Pepper (mine was in a yellow sippy cup with a bear on it) that had been in the freezer just long enough to have tiny ice chunks in it.  That was our wedding cake and champagne toast and is how I grew up watching GH and having warmy, fuzzy nurturey feelings centered around it.  When I started school, I was always excited to get home and find Mom watching the end of GH.  Sick days and snow days and summer were a glorious field day because in 1968, being the polygamous little devils that we were, we also wedded OLTL.  Edge of Night never really captivated us with the seductive charm employed by GH and OLTL, nor did AMC (although I did start to watch it after I created Eye on Soaps and usually do enjoy it).  As she sprinkled the clothes she was ironing (and would put the sprinkled ones in the chest freezer to "keep" if she didn't get around to all of the ironing), she would tell me what happened on OLTL and the beginning of GH to keep me current.  Mom was my first recapper. 

We were nothing if not faithful.  Janie and Howie and Jesse and Phil and Steve and Audrey and Lee and Meg and Larry and Meredith and Viki and Joe and Carly and Ed and Vinnie and Wanda were our extended family.  The marriages were a wonderful bond she and I shared. 

Somewhere along the way, Mom stopped watching.  I didn't.    Mom missed the whole Luke and Laura madness and I watched their wedding while I was hanging drapes in Holloman AFB housing.  I have a picture taken of me that I treasure more than any other because there in the background, in perfect glory, frozen on the TV screen in brazen immortality is a screen shot of Rick Moses as "Hutch," the finest hit man to ever pull a trigger.

Dr Phil talks about Not Very Good Old Friends who are old friends, but not necessarily good friends and I guess the same can be said for GH as a TV Spouse.  I've had a good bit to say about GH over the past few years that wasn't particularly flattering and to wit,  a number of readers over time have asked my why I still watch.  In one column, I Iikened GH to having  a sister who is going out with someone who beats them.  The current GH regime beats the crap out of the characters and the show on a regular basis and we are forced to watch it because she just won't leave.  Why do we stay?  Because we love her.  Because we have a history with her.  Because we are convinced that, at some critical point, enough will be enough and the abusers will get the boot.  We'll be there to watch and applaud and heave a sigh of relief.

If we go with the analogy from this particular column of GH being our thirty-year spouse, it makes even more sense as to why some of us stick around, mumbling and grumbling and wishing things were different.  Imagine that you've been with a spouse for that long, that you really do care a lot about them, but well, they've just fallen in with a bad crowd.   They aren't acting like themselves any more and haven't for a while, but you know that they have a good heart and you really can't deny that time investment.  There is very little doubt that eventually, they'll be running with another crowd and everything will change.  I want to be around for that.  Any of you who, like me, divorce after decades of marriage can relate to wanting to know what happens to that person who was a part of your life for so long.

So if you love an old spouse and share a long, rich history (even if they can't seem to remember half or more of it - should we leave just because they've developed Alzheimer's?), why not stick around?  It's not like I have another option waiting in the wings or anything better to do.  Besides, it's a spouse I only have to deal with from 2-3pm, 5 days a week.  I can definitely check in and visit for that amount of time.  Just my historical time investment in the show is worth that much.

I'm here for the duration and believe me, I've seen Head Writers and Executive Producers come and go.  We've had bad times before and no doubt will again, but the good times will be in there as well.  Does it suck?  My yes, it does.  Let me count the ways... some other time.  My theory is that I get to see Tyler Christopher and Stephen Nichols and Robin Christopher and others that I really, really enjoy seeing and that's enough for me.  Without even a bad GH, they could forever disappear from my life.  Some fans may be altruistic and selfless enough to say, "I'd rather have these actors OFF the show then humilating themselves like this!!"  Pfft.  Not me!  I'm all about ME and I'd like to see my buddies!  Jane Elliot could walk into the Quartermaine living room and start reading the Port Charles phone book and I'd watch.  She's emote through the entries (Anderson, Andrews, Ansop, Apperson) and deliver it in such a way that I'd be in tears of either laughter or sorrow by the C's.  Stefan isn't a killer!!!  Um.  OK.  No, in my opinion, he's not.  But if Stephen Nichols was appearing at the Sacramento Convention Center starring in the play, "Stefan Cassadine's Murderous Rampage and Homicidal History," I'd be in the front row after camping out for days to get the tickets.  What can I say?  I'm easy and cute.

Maybe it's my terror of something happening and ME missing it that motivates me to turn in to a show that I know is going to make me flinch at least a couple of times each episode.  Holy SHIT, Mike just slapped Sonny!!  That whole episode blew, but Mike slapped Sonny like a bitch and I saw it.  In Guza's world, women slap each other all the time.  It's how they communicate dismay.  It's how they deal with the weighty oppression of being female in a man's world.  They whack on one another.  You know that when he closes his eyes and goes to his special place, life melts around him and he's suddenly the star player in the "Hurts So Good" video by John Cougar Mellancamp.  Eh.  He's a misogynistic freak, but that's no newsflash.  This time, however, Mike slapped Sonny into next week... and I SAW IT!  Hell, I can pull the arm of that one-arm-bandit remote a few hundred times and see the bars miss each other over and over, but the one time the triple bars line up with their brothers and the jackpot starts to chinka chinka chinka out makes it all worth it. 

I think the best times are seriously the ones you don't see coming and honestly, I doubt the writers, etc were expecting either.  When I first read the spoilers that said "Sonny and Carly have hate sex," I seriously thought it was a joke.  Before I knew it, Carly had stars in her eyes because she, Jason and Michael were going to be a family, she saw Jason snuggly buggly dancing with grief-stricken Liz and wound up at Sonny's.  They exchanged barbs, she on a course of self-destruction, he out to hurt someone, anyone.  He reached out and touched her blouse and before you knew it, Sarah Brown was climbing Maurice Benard like a monkey scrambling up a coconut tree and it was up the wall, on the nightstand, finally hitting the bed and knocking one out just because they could.  The pain and degradation that came afterward, especially the absolute boot heel on the throat treatment of Carly by Sonny was pure Guza, but he sure struck gold with the scene before it.  THEN, as if THAT were not enough, Jason is shot by Moreno or one of his lackeys and stumbles in, just in time to see Carly bop down the stairs in Sonny's shirt, cue the abject look of a thousand hearts breaking in an anguished moment and he tears off toward the boxcar where Liz finds him and Liason is born. 

Every now and then, no matter how bad the show is, there will be some kind of synergistic snap as the hydrogen slams into the helium and kaboom!  But you see, that's what they were trying so hard for with Journey and what they don't *get* is that if you're trying, it's just not going to happen.  It's not that the actors aren't worthy or the couple sucks or anything, because that's all subjective.  It's just that Journey doesn't have that super couple zing and Guza & company keep dressing it up like a super couple and sending it out to trick-or-treat at houses where people aren't home (it's not even Halloween).   What they fail to realize is that not every couple can or should be a super couple.  Bobbie and Tony were wonderful together, but were not a super couple.  Mac and Katherine were GREAT, especially when she would tool into The Outback wearing nothing but an overcoat and order a martini with three olives while Mac raised the bar up a couple of inches.  There shouldn't have to be a designated super couple at any given time.  Sometimes, there are just couples and families and friends and that's OK.  Sometimes, it's like real life... on meth.  Sonny & Carly, Luke and Laura were The Beatles... they just happened and a new era was born.  Journey is O-town, carefully planned and strategized and manipulated and not quite hitting the mark because it's over thought, over exposed and the whole just doesn't add up to the sum of its parts.

Historically and currently, Guza & company are bane to admit when something isn't working and continue to beat the decaying meat off the dead horse, long after the stench and flying putrid flesh has driven everyone away.  They've long since stopped listening to the viewers, having determined (and in Executive Producer, Jill, Farren Phelps' case, actually said)  that THEY know best for the show and THEY know best what we want to see... WE just don't realize it.  Thank goodness we have these omniscient, self-effacing beings to protect us from our own inane ideas and wishes. 

Often it has appeared that the current GH regime is at war with the show's fans, holding the glorious tidbits hostage (such as the wonderful Amazing Grace montage that heralded Brenda's reunion with Sonny) until we pay out in hours and hours of viewing.  Other shows are much more gracious and don't feel a need to illustrate to the viewer exactly how stupid they really are.  Case in point is the current story on AMC where Jack has been revealed to be Greenlee's birth father.  We all suspected it the last time Mary was around and we learned of her prior connection to Jack.  The message boards were abuzz with the notion, everyone sitting all smug at having figured it out.  Then... nothing.  Mary left town and nothing was said.  Rats.  Here we'd created all this drama and hope and subterfuge where there was none.  But wait!  Jackson is shot, a donor is needed and wallah (sounds so much more dramatic than "voila"), AMC says without a trace of condescension "You clever little minxes!!  You figured it out!!"  *we bask in our brilliance*

OLTL offers us the same graciousness.  "Oh, I just know Dorian has something up her couture sleeve and is going to turn the tables on Mitch in a big way."  "Well yes, she is!  How astute of you to see that!"  GH employs the approach of "I'll bet Liz and Jason are going to have a sweet reunion now that he's in town."  "Are you STUPID???  Are you going to believe me or your lying eyes?  There was never a spark there!" and "Oh good!  Rick is coming back to town!  He can reconnect with Lesley and spend time with Liz and Lesley Lu and help Laura through her memory crisis and be the wonderful stepdad we know he is!"  "Oh... sheesh...forgodsake... does it ever end??  Put your helmet on and stop acting like you know anything about this show.  He's a CHEATER, a KILLER, a LIAR, a MANIPULATOR!!!  Don't you remember ANYTHING???  Idiot."

The slots are definitely looser at AMC and OLTL as far as payouts.  Nearly every day on OLTL I find some gem to polish and admire.  It can be a moment between Roxy and anyone, Mitch and anyone, Lindsay and Dorian, Viki and either daughter, Andrew and Joey, Bo and Gabrielle, Mitch and Bo, RJ and Dorian, Nigel and anyone... there is such a mine of diamonds that it's almost impossible not to find something wonderful every day.  Sure, there are things about the show that I don't enjoy.  I can do without Keri, Jennifer, Cris (but speaking of the unexpected, was he ever HOT with Blair?), Rex, Carlotta, Rae... sure, there's quite a list, but since it's very much an ensemble show, I don't have to deal with a steady feed of the characters I don't particularly enjoy.  I can take a pee break and pretty much figure that when I come back, we'll be on a scene I love.

Marcal (Marcie and Al) pretty much solidified for me the biggest difference between GH and OLTL.  GH takes characters that I hate and force feeds them to me in an effort to convince me that I like them (it's like some bad dream where the Easter Bunny holds you down while a demonic Captain James T. Kirk shoves forty-year-old fruit cake down your throat while screaming that you'll LOVE HIS FRUITCAKE LOVE HIS FRUITCAKE LOVE HIS FRUITCAKE!!

OLTL listens to me say, "God, I hate Al.  I wish someone would pick up Jennifer and beat Al to death with her and have Bo think it was a pedestrian accident.  God, I hate Al.  He looks like Puddy from Seinfeld and now he's going to be drug addicted.  *sigh*  Spare me." and replies, "Oh yeah?  You don't like Al?  Watch this and tell me what you think."  Little bit of Marcie.  Little bit of cuddles.  Little Voice of the Night.  "Oooh, I like Al! How'd that happen?"  "You like Al?  You like Marcal?  Let's give you more of that then."  They listen to me bitch endlessly about "Hyatt Regency, Hawaii" and Keri pushing Rae's history until she breaks the woman and says, "Psst.  Watch this.  We'll kill her, just for you!"  "Yippee."  "Sorry, she's not dead after all."  ">:<"  "Don't worry, Antonio is all hetted up for Jessica and doesn't like her any more."  ":)  You guys rule, thanks."   OLTL has a love affair with it's fans.  GH has an outright hatred of them.  OLTL takes the most repulsive of characters and makes me like them and GH takes my favorite characters and makes me despise them.  What's to love about that?

It's not a good friend, but it's an old friend.  It's just hanging with the wrong crowd.  If I'm patient and wait it out, it will come to its senses before it consumes itself entirely.  It's an hour a day that I can invest to keep current and sift out the jewels from the muck. 

God, I'm such an enabler.


E-mail Katrina


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