First off, can I just say how much I adore Nancy Lee Grahn? Incandescentflower will tell you I’m not actually one to fangirl celebrities all that much, but Nancy is just so delightful in all the interviews I’ve read that I have to make an exception in her case. I love her for her politics and her humor and the way she so tactfully calls bullshit on the ridiculousness of the show.
The whole interview is worth reading for a variety of reasons, including her thoughts on what made Sonny and Alexis’ relationship work, and why it’s unlikely we’ll get to see the two of them interacting again any time soon. But this quote, in particular, really resonated with me:
[Bob Guza] asked me, “What do you like doing the most?” And I said, “Simple, simple relationship stories, because that is what I feel I do best.” You see, nothing happened with the Sonny/Alexis story other than they were discovering one another and getting involved. She was a justice seeker, and he was a law breaker and that was the story. Simple.
I could not agree more. People and relationships and what made them tick used to be at the core of what made soap operas interesting. Everything else — the wacky adventures, implausible plot twists, and over the top melodrama — was just the backdrop against which those core elements developed and grew.
I think the biggest reason I’ve personally been so disengaged from the show in recent years is that the balance has shifted to the opposite: relationships on General Hospital seem to mostly be afterthoughts to the current writers. They’re picked up and discarded as needed in order to facilitate the next big plot point.
I get a lot of mileage out of mocking the stupidity of the writing, but the truth is that it’s always been stupid in certain respects; I was just more willing to overlook things when the characters had better emotional resonance. But these days, plot drives the narrative, not character, which is just so antithetical to the entire concept of the soap opera. I really don’t understand it at all.
I was a main character on Santa Barbara in the core family, and on General Hospital I am a main character, but I am not in a core family. I think relationships are more realized in a core family. So that kind of happens on every soap.
What’s sad is that she’s absolutely correct, but by all rights, Alexis should be part of a core family. I have never understood why the writers bothered to make Alexis and Sam mother and daughter, since they clearly have zero interest in really exploring or utilizing the connection. Sam’s never shown the least bit of curiosity over the identity of her father, she and Nikolas briefly grew close, but haven’t spoken in months. Most of the time, she and Alexis are like ships passing in the night, even when it makes sense for them to interact — why is Alexis turning to the FBI, for example, instead of her own daughter, the newly minted Private Investigator, for help trying to protect Nikolas from Rebecca’s machinations?
With Kristina newly SORASed, Nikolas in trouble, and Helena back on the board, it seems like the perfect opportunity for Sam be get drawn back into her mother’s life — possibly discovering a little bit about her Cassadine roots in the process. But since these writers never met an opportunity for organic drama they couldn’t waste, I’m not going to hold my breath.
In any case, no matter that crap they throw her way in the writers’ room, Nancy Lee Grahn remains a delight, and I salute her for her good humor in the face of it all. Nancy, I’m tipping my glass in your direction!