Wednesday, July 15, 2009

simply why watching sometimes feels like a chore

i've caught up on a week's worth of episodes of "general hospital" and have to admit that it is always a roller coaster ride. [except the more i think about it, the roller coaster would be a pretty terrible one that mostly stayed straight and close to the floor and had an occasional loop that would exhilarate you and then nauseate you just a quickly.]

from the sublime:



robin and patrick singing "i had the time of my life" was possible one of the most enjoyable things to happen on gh in a long time. the best thing about the whole karaoke evening was that you could clearly see how much fun everyone was having. you could see that these people genuinely enjoy each other's company. there's not often a lot of joy on gh so every little bit of it counts.

and picking a song from dirty dancing was actually genius. song choice being key to every karaoke perfomance, both kimberly mccullough and jason thompson sold it. i started watching gh the summer karen, brenda, jagger, and jason were all hanging out by the lake. there was romantic tension there...at the time jason and karen were sort of dating, but karen was starting to fall for jagger...but it was also fun and frothy and sweet. sonny and the mob weren't really in the picture, action usually took place at the hospital, elq, the quartermaine mansion, kelly's, and the brownstone. the show's palette was much lighter then. and it wasn't like it was all so innocent...there was the whole thing with ryan chamberlain, serial killer...and several marriages were on the verge of imploding...but it all felt soapy. and the shows leads weren't criminals.

it's still hard to think of the darkness that would come and how much the show has changed since those days. it's frightening for me to realize that it was almost twenty years ago that i started watching!!

to the ridiculous [and i'll begrudgingly admit, cute]:



i wish i could like this pairing. this whole scene was very sweet. but i just don't see it long term. i would like spinelli just a little bit more if he were just a little more self-aware. in fact, during his bouts of self-awareness, like when he realized that he was a terrible singer after overhearing maxie on the phone talking about it, he actually becomes more tolerable as a character. his speech is less convoluted, his facial tics are less spazzy, he shrieks a lot less, that old adage of less is more really rings true here. also, i have to admit, i have no idea what age he's supposed to be playing.

maxie was maybe six years older than lulu, she was also at least four years older than georgie. those age differences were erased in later years, so she may now be a year older than lulu and georgie. but now it's like she's the same age, and i think spinelli is the same age as lulu and georgie. but for a twenty-three to twenty-four year old it's like he has been living in a cave his whole life. he has no social awareness at all. very limited social skills. the fact that he lives with a brain-damaged mobster and he comes off as the one who needs to be taken care of is rather frightening.

what does he think is going to happen if he and maxie get married? they move into jason's apartment? spinelli doesn't seem like a fully functional adult, able to live independently. he needs twenty-four hour care. maxie can't and shouldn't provide that. she's going places, her promotion to assistant editor at crimson is wonderful. as a character maxie has been redeemed so as to be one of the more enjoyable and refreshing elements of the show. why can't the writers give her a romance worthy of that. as cute as spinelli and maxie are together i just don't buy it as a long-term thing. mostly because spinelli doesn't have the capacity or maturity to be in a long-term functioning adult relationship.

and the absolutely terrible:



there are no words to convey how wrong this scene is. or even the scenes that follow:



more than anything, these scenes creeped me out. mostly because they were so demeaning. the women are merely victims. the men are users and abusers. i don't want to watch this. what woman wants to watch this? who thinks that this is okay behavior? it's scenes like this that leave such a bad taste in my mouth that i think, yeah, maybe i won't keep watching. and i'm sure that many other of the female viewers still watching this show feel the same way.

viewership has been on a steady decline for soaps in general. more tellingly, general hospital is only bringing in more viewers than two other soaps [and one of those will be off the air permanently sometime this fall], this was not the case several years ago [okay, so i just checked again and it looks like the three abc soaps earn more or less the same number of viewers with minor shifts that cause all three of them to rank in different order, so basically there are the top three soaps (y&r, dool, b&b), the abc soaps (gh, oltl, amc), and then atwt and gl]. what needs to happen before the show tries to fix things? because the way things are headed, everything just looks terrible. so many squandered opportunities. the cast is talented and all that talent is being wasted on lazy writers with no creativity in their souls.

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