On the rare occasions when the writers manage to pull off a legitimately enjoyable episode, I feel kind of petty bitching about one of the few parts that didn’t work. But, hey — petty is just how I roll, I guess.
So let’s talk about Lulu and Dante.
I really don’t understand this show’s approach to “romance.” Even if it hadn’t already been the template for every other relationship Lulu’s ever had, why do they seem to think cocky refusal to take no for an answer is more attractive or interesting than simple forbidden passion? This isn’t brain surgery. It’s freaking Soap 101.
Let’s break this down, shall we? Dante is playing a character 24/7. He’s in constant danger both from the people he’s betraying and the rival mob factions who believe he’s working with the enemy. Not to mention his Mom, who possesses possibly the worst poker face in the universe, could potentially expose him at any time. Meanwhile, he’s got to continue worming his way into Sonny’s confidence, which involves cultivating a relationship with a couple of innocent kids (well, Morgan’s pretty innocent, anyway) whose father he’s trying to send to prison.
He’s got a lot on his plate, is what I’m saying.
Nevertheless, he’s also making time to doggedly pursue Lulu — using the time honored “Brag, Badger, and Belittle” technique known and beloved by proud players the world over. What’s wrong with this picture?
Call me crazy, but I would think romance of any kind would be the VERY LAST thing on Dante’s mind at the moment, if he’s actually the good, upstanding guy we’re supposed to think he is. Any relationship more serious than a one night stand would put them both in danger. Him, because maintaining a cover during even the most intimate moments would make it more likely he’d slip up. Her, because as we all know, just standing next to mobsters is taking your life in your hands on this show. Not to mention the fact that he’s setting up any woman with whom he gets involved for heartbreak when she discovers their entire relationship is based on a lie — up to and including his damn name. And in this case, he’s going after members of her family and her ex-boyfriend. Double betrayal.
So Dante actively pursuing Lulu makes him look like a bad undercover cop at best, and at worst a callous asshole who doesn’t care about either her physical or mental well being. That’s the story they’re shoving down our throats right now with such glee.
Here’s the story they should be telling:
Good Guy pretending to be Bad Guy has to reluctantly lie to a Good Woman in order to achieve his goals. Along the way, he genuinely falls for her in spite of himself, making all the lying and manipulation he has to do to her even more difficult. Eventually, she discovers the truth, and there is DRAMA, but she forgives him because she realizes he was a Good Guy in a Bad Situation.
And yes, I realize what I’ve just described is basically the first season of Prison Break.
Which means that the Emmy award winning writing team (gah!) on General Hospital lacks the keen instinct for compelling drama demonstrated by the guys who thought a dude getting a full body tattoo encoded with prison blueprints in order to save his brother from an evil worldwide conspiracy to ruin the economy of Laos made a great premise for a show.
(Hey, I loved Prison Break, okay? It was made of delicious crack. But if I had a dollar for every time something ridiculous and implausible happened on that show, I would have been able to retire by the end of the fifth episode.)
Anyway, if Dante was doing his level best to avoid Lulu, but kept getting thrown into situations with her; if he kept pushing her away because he didn’t want to get her caught up in his double life, but was obviously drawn to her against his will; if she was turned off by his Dominic persona and mob connections, but was also intrigued by the glimpses of the real Dante hidden underneath…
…well, if any of those things were happening, then we’d have one humdinger of an organic, compelling conflict.
But we won’t get any of that, because the formula for all of Lulu’s romances is clear: dude pursues, she resists; dude tells her she finds him irresistible, she protests; wash, rinse, repeat.
Don’t you just find it charming, ladies? I KNOW I DO!