You’ve come a long way, baby…

… a long way down, that is.

Ten years is hard to judge in soap time — that’s about 2,500 hours in the lives of people who can take a month to get through a single day. On the other hand, as much as we complain that nothing ever changes on this show, check out what the canvas looked like in 2000:

(Back then, General Hospital was my mid-afternoon thesis break, down in the basement of my college dorm. It’s hard to believe — since the thought now gives me hives — but I actually looked forward to watching the entire episode every day. I know! Craziness!)

(Also, I really miss the old “Faces of the Heart” credits.)

So, yes, it’s been a busy decade in Port Charles. Let’s take stock, shall we? The death toll has risen while the ratings have dropped. Entire families have been invented and then slaughtered, old faces have returned as new characters, and old characters have returned with new faces (and accents… and personalities).

Ten years ago, Bobbie could still move the muscles in her face. Luke still liked his children (and he only had two). The Quartermaines were numerous, fabulously bitchy, and — this part is key — alive. Chloe… existed. And Alexis was childless, married to Jax, in love with Ned, working for Sonny, and an internet pin up girl:

Over the course of this decade, Carly Benson became Carly Benson Quartermaine Corinthos Corinthos Corinthos Alcazar Corinthos Jacks — and went through four different actresses to do it. Jason left, then came back… then left and came back. Then he got amnesia. Again. (It got better.) Sonny fathered five children, adopted a sixth, and retroactively conceived a seventh. He also got two half-siblings who both kind of sucked, two high school sweethearts who suck more and more as time goes by, and a Bipolar diagnosis.

Elizabeth went from artist to receptionist to waitress to cosmetics model to nurse, had two kids from two one night stands, five weddings, two husbands, and one almost relationship that spent ten years never really getting off the ground. Lucky went from dead to alive to GQ model to dunce to Jonathan Jackson again. His sister went from mute brunette to blond who never shuts up. Emily started off the decade as Amber Tamblyn, then: became Natalia Livingston, broke her back, had cancer, was raped, boned Sonny, was strangled to death, and became a ghost tumor. (It… was a bad ten years for her.)

Stavros, Anna, Robert, and Roy DeLuca all came back to life. AJ, Carly, Sonny, Elizabeth, Helena and Jerry all faked their deaths. (Then AJ died for real.) Genie Francis was fired while Tony Geary was given unlimited vacation time, because there’s no room on the canvas for Laura freaking Spencer, but Luke’s descent into surly, self-involved functional alcoholism never gets old.

Sweeps stunts became more and more elaborate. Both the hospital and the Port Charles Hotel burned and were rebuilt, practically every form of transportation there is found a way to explode, bad CGI replaced good writing, monkeys ran amuck, and the word “balls” got used an awful lot.

And yet, astonishingly, the show won a combined total of six Emmy awards for Writing and Best Drama during this decade. (Yes, it makes us a little crazy to think about that.)

Frankly, if we had to sum up the last ten years of General Hospital in just one sentence, it would be something like: Boring, offensive, completely divorced from reality, and… occasionally mildly entertaining.

But when have we ever been able to limit ourselves to just one sentence about anything? So here’s our Best and Worst of the decade:

BEST HAIR: Megan Ward, pre-bangs. When you have hair that perfect, why would you mess with it? Stop with the bangs, already, Megan!

WORST HAIR: Steve Burton, circa 2007. First, it was greasy. Then it was long. Then, it was long AND greasy… and kind of feathered. ::shudders::

BEST RECAST: Jonathan Jackson reclaiming the role he originated. (Sorry, is that a cheat answer? WELL, I DON’T CARE.)

WORST RECAST: Jennifer Bransford as Carly #3. (Runner up: Lesli Kay as Lois Cerullo.)

BIGGEST WASTE OF A WELL-KNOWN ACTOR: Corbin Bernson.

BEST SCENERY CHEWER: Bruce Weitz as Anthony Zacchara. Seriously. The man is a national treasure.

WORST STRIPPER: Daisy, aka Courtney.

BEST DRUNK: Sam “boozy” McCall:

BEST BITCHFACE: Rebecca Herbst. Hands down.

MOST ANNOYING CHARACTER: Winifred Leeds. Who in their right mind looks at this show and thinks, “You know what would make this better? Two Spinellis!” ???

BEST PREVIOUSLY UNKNOWN TWIN BROUGHT ON TO RETAIN A POPULAR ACTOR: Lorenzo Alcazar. Ted King was so fabulous, you guys. Why did the show treat him like crap?

WORST PREVIOUSLY UNKNOWN TWIN BROUGHT ON TO RETAIN A POPULAR ACTOR: Rebecca Shaw. Eyeliner. Beret. Lack of facial expressions. Ugh.

BEST FEMALE TEAM: Elizabeth and Sam. Is it wrong that I kind of wanted them to make out during this?

BEST MALE TEAM: Dante and Lucky. Smart cops. Plural. Pinch me, I’m obviously dreaming!

BEST CASTING FINDS: Michael, Kristina, Morgan, and Molly, newly SORASed. (Runners up: Scott Clifton as Dillon Quartermaine; Josh Duhan as Scott Baldwin’s son.)

BEST FUNERAL SMACKDOWN: Alexis eviscerates Sonny at her sister’s funeral:

(Runner up: Maxie rips into Felicia at Georgie’s Funeral.)

MOST ENRAGING DEATH: Georgie Jones is strangled in the park.

MOST SATISFYING DEATH: Courtney Matthews succumbs to the dreaded monkey virus. (She used to stare at that snow globe for hours!)

BEST SWEEPS STUNT: The Metro Court hostage crisis.

WORST SWEEPS STUNT: The Toxic Balls hospital crisis.

BEST NON-WEDDING: Spinelli and Maxie love each other enough to not get married.

WORST NON-WEDDING: Jax humiliates Brenda at the altar.

CLUMSIEST ATTEMPT TO CASH IN ON AN ACTRESS’ PRIMETIME SUCCESS: Dancing With My Doppleganger.

MOST AWKWARD ROMEO & JULIET RIP-OFF TO FACILITATE AN ACTRESS’ PREGNANCY: Elizabeth fakes her death so Rebecca Herbst can take maternity leave.

MOST EMBARRASSING CROSSDRESSING STORY: Dobson. Just — ugh.

MOST IRREDEEMABLE STORYLINE: Ric and the panic room. Seriously. There’s no coming back from that crap, writers, no matter how hard you tried.

WORST DREAM SEQUENCE: What if BJ had lived? (Well, apparently, she’d have had HORRENDOUS taste in wigs.)

SKEEVIEST AFFAIR: Ric and Sam sleep together while Alexis has cancer. (Runner up: Carly and Sonny in the back of his limo.)

WORST RETCON: AJ tried to have Jason killed after the accident. (Runner up: Scottie killed Rick Webber and let Laura take the blame.)

MOST POINTLESS RETCON: Skye’s a Quartermaine! Whoops — no, she isn’t!

MOST UNBELIEVABLE SECRET SUBTERRANEAN LAB: Helena’s “Endgame” lair buried several stories underneath the hospital.

MOST IRONIC DEFENSE OF SONNY AS A FATHER, IN RETROSPECT: Carly to AJ, pre-tumble down the stairs:

MOST CONTRIVED EXCUSE TO GET THE ENTIRE CAST TOGETHER: The Great Train Crash of ’05.

LEAST AMUSING “WEEKEND AT BERNIE’S” HOMAGE: Lucky, Nikolas, and Dead Ted.

MOST UNBELIEVABLE PLASTIC SURGERY: Julian Stone becomes Sebastian Roche. I mean… really?

MOST UNBELIEVABLE MONEY PROBLEMS: Lucky and Elizabeth, a cop and a nurse, don’t have health insurance and barely make a combined living wage.

BEST SECRET CHILD: Sam is Alexis’ daughter. They haven’t used the connection to even half its full potential, but I really like the mother/daughter chemistry between Nancy Lee Grahn and Kelly Monaco.

WORST SECRET CHILD: Ethan is Holly and Luke’s son. When you have to twist history that hard to make something work… it doesn’t work.

MOST UNDESERVED REWARD: Courtney gets a fortune for tying a dog to a railing during the hotel fire.

MOST HILARIOUS EXCUSE FOR AN OUT OF CHARACTER TATTOO: Nikolas’ secret pirate ancestry.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN INANIMATE OBJECT: Carly vs. The Rock. Classic.

WORST PERFORMANCE BY AN INANIMATE OBJECT: Sam, Jax, and The Dead Man’s Hand playing cards.

DUMBEST GEOGRAPHICAL FLUB: Courtney miscarries her baby in the freezing waters off the coast of landlocked Bolivia.

MOST RESPECTFUL TREATMENT OF A RETURNING VET: Robin returns for Lila’s funeral.

LEAST RESPECTFUL TREATMENT OF A RETURNING VET: Holly withholds the monkey virus cure for profit; lies about Ethan’s paternity for kicks.

SILLIEST PHYSICAL REPRESENTATION OF EMOTIONAL PAIN: Jason’s box of pain, containing pictures of all the children he’s given up, stored in the closet next to the guns… which are the reason he’s had to give the children up.

LEAST TRAGIC TEMPORARY PHYSICAL MALADY: Jason hurts his hands and loses the ability to shoot. Oh, the humanity!

MOST OFFENSIVE RESOLUTION OF A CUSTODY DISPUTE: Sonny hangs AJ on the meat hook until he gives up all rights to Michael.

MOST LUDICROUS COURT CASE: Scott Baldwin is appointed Laura’s legal guardian.

WORST KEPT SECRET IN TOWN: Wait a minute — you mean Jake is really Jason’s son? HOLY CRAP!

MOST DESERVED BEAT DOWN: Johnny defends Claudia from Sonny. I will never get tired of watching that.

MOST INAPPROPRIATE SIBLING RELATIONSHIP: Claudia and Johnny. They started out so sweet… and then got so creepy.

MOST AWESOME SIBLING RELATIONSHIP: Stefan and Alexis. Man, I loved them.

BEST STEP-FAMILY RELATIONSHIP: Tracy and Lulu.

WORST CHARACTER ASSASSINATION: Stefan tries to kill Emily, sets Alexis up to be arrested.

LEAST AUSPICIOUS BEGINNING: Sonny shoots Carly in the head as she’s giving birth to Morgan.

BEST USE OF CHLOROFORM: Helena kicks Courtney off the docks. I knew there was a reason I loved that woman.

WORST USE OF “MODERN” TECHNOLOGY AS A PLOT DEVICE: Robin and Patrick’s blog wars (Runner Up: The Text Message Killer).

MOST UNBELIEVABLE INSTANT CELEBRITY: Sam “Everyday Hero” McCall.

BEST DRAMATIC USE OF A FARM IMPLEMENT: Carly has a mental break and tries to kill Emily with a scythe.

WORST DRAMATIC USE OF A FARM IMPLEMENT: Nadine inherits a plow patent. (No… really. That was the story.)

MOST HILARIOUSLY BAD CGI: Jason’s speedboat ride of DOOM during the Black and White Ball. Even after two years, it never fails to crack me up. Priceless.

STUPIDEST DOPPELGANGER PLOT: Noah and Eli Love.

BEST LONG TERM COUPLE: Patrick and Robin.

BIGGEST TEASE: Jason and Elizabeth. (I want a t-shirt that says “Ten Years and All I Got Was This Lousy Painting of the Wind.”)

MOST HORRIFYING USE OF THE WORD “BANG”: Emily, to Sonny. ‘Nuff said.

MOST PATHETIC FAILURE TO CARE FOR ONE’S OWN GIRLFRIEND: See Above.

WORST USE OF A MEDICAL ISSUE TO KEEP AN ACTOR AFTER THE CHARACTER DIED: Nikolas’ tumor.

MOST PROMISING INITIAL CHARACTER CHANGE, WHICH LATER TURNED TO CRAP: Kate, briefly making Sonny palatable for the first time in years.

WORST REACTION TO A SPOUSE’S SEXUAL ASSAULT: Carly accuses Jax of “cheating” on her after he’s raped. (Runner up: Nikolas cheats on Emily after she was raped by his doppelganger.)

BIGGEST LOSS: The end of the Nurses Ball.

BIGGEST SURPRISE: The second season of Night Shift honors history, respects veterans, and… is genuinely good! (Runner up: James Franco… wants to come on GH?)

BIGGEST WTF!? MOMENT: Undead Diego is the effing Text Message Killer?!?

Finally, we’d like to take a moment to remember the characters who gave their lives in the service of often cheap and violent drama over the course of the last ten years:

IN MEMORIAM

Benny Abrahms
Rachel Adair
Diego Alcazar
Lorenzo Alcazar
Luis Alcazar
Sage Alcazar
Cooper Barrett
Jesse Beaudry
Brian Beck
Connor Bishop
Mary Bishop
Andy Capelli
Kristina Cassadine
Stavros Cassadine
Stefan Cassadine
Raylene Crowell
Ian Devlin
Andrew Domman
(for the record, I have no memory of this dude, but Wikipedia lists him as “Thug shot and killed by Jason Morgan in 2005,” so I think he’s relevant)
Sasha Donev
John Durant
Cesar Faison
Andrea Floyd
Catherine Flynn
Russell Ford
Summer Halloway
Logan Hayes
Brianna Hughes
Irina
John Jacks
Stan Johnson
Georgie Jones
Tony Jones
Leticia Juarez
Andrei Karpov
Trevor Lansing
Cameron Lewis
Joey Limbo
Reese Marshall
Courtney Matthews
Cody McCall
Danny McCall
Lila McCall
Leyla Mir
Chloe Morgan
Nico
A.J. Quartermaine
Alan Quartermaine
Emily Quartermaine
Lila Quartermaine
Kyle Ratcliffe
Faith Rosco
Hector Ruiz
Javier Ruiz
Manny Ruiz
Zander Smith
Joseph Sorel
Asher Thomas
Evan Tucker
Justus Ward
Rick Webber
Claudia Zacchara

For those too lazy to count, that’s sixty-one characters* killed off in the past decade alone. Sixty-one. And that’s not even counting the six miscarriages this decade — a distressing number of which happened to the same people (for the record: Carly and Sonny, Elizabeth and Ric, Courtney and Jason, Elizabeth and Jax, Carly and Jax, Claudia and Sonny). Or all the mob thugs Jason’s offed who didn’t even rate names. It’s a wonder the PC mortician isn’t the busiest character on the show at this rate…

*Edited to include Raylene Crowell, who I forgot. Sorry, Aunt Raylene!

And that’s the last ten years in a nutshell! Coming soon: our wishlist for the coming year (or decade, assuming this show will still be around in another ten years, which — frankly — I kind of doubt).

Last but not least: the blog is a year old this week. There’s been a sharp learning curve, but we’ve had a blast doing it. We’d like to thank everyone who’s read and commented — regardless of the quality of the show, if the next year is as fun as this one has been, we’ll count it a success!

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13 thoughts on “You’ve come a long way, baby…

  1. SO FUNNY/TRAGIC! Great post.

    “Dorman” was played by the adorable sexy Tuc Watkins now of OLTL and Desperate Housewives. He was a naughty drug dealing MD who had an affair w/ Monica and got Emily supplies of heroine if I recall. He was a bad bad boy.

    Do you want to add all the babies Carly and Liz lost from downward falls/shoves down staircases?

    Again, excellent post. I really enjoyed the trip down memory lane.

    • Thanks, I’m glad you enjoyed it!

      I remember Dorman — but he was killed in the 90s, wasn’t he? So I didn’t mention him.

      Staircases are a menace to pregnant women in Port Charles. I’m afraid the only category I could come up with for that would be something really tasteless and offensive, though (Most Reliable Free Abortion?), so it’s probably for the best I left it out…

    • Okay, it’s too early in the morning for my reading comprehension skills, apparently. You mean include the miscarriages on the list of the dead? To be honest, the only reason Lila McCall is on there is because she was still born and listed as a deceased character on the Wikipedia entry.

      But you raise a good point. Since none of the babies who were miscarried had first names yet and several would have had the same last name, it felt too confusing to include them in the actual list, but I’ve added a mention at the end. Thanks!

  2. Excellent Best and Worst of the decade! Too many Quartermaine died, it’s a shame. I miss AJ the most.
    Oh and Elizabeth had 5 weddings: 1 non-wedding to Lucky (I think it was in 2001, when BH came back from maternity leave), 2 weddings with Ric (2003), 2 weddings with Lucky.

    • You’re right, good catch — the first wedding to lucky was with Jacob Young, while he was still brainwashed not to love her, as I recall… *edits*

  3. Morning,

    I mentioned Dorman because you listed a Andrew Domman and you wrote about not recalling who that was exactly. I think that was just a typo from wherever you got that list? The first “m” is supposed to be an “r”. But time wise you are correct, Dorman was bumped off in 98 I think. Just another one of Guza’s casualties either way right?

    For the new show opener they should have a long slow shot of the names on the ever growing Quartermaine crypt!! Uchh, so depressing.

    Happy New Year, your blog is one of the best things about being a GH viewer :-)

    • I got Andrew Domman from this list on Wikipedia. I don’t think it’s a typo because they specifically say he was killed in 2005, and also have Pierce Dorman listed separately. But Jason’s killed so many random baddies, he could really be anyone…

      The thing that really killed me about that list was how many were from the same families. The Alcazar list alone is quite shocking. And the Quartermaines just kill me. Such a waste.

      Happy New Year to you too!

  4. Great list! My only quibble is for Best Casting–I think Patrick Drake deserves a mention. Not only does Jason Thompson bear a remarkable resemblance to Rick Springfield, his tv father, the man can act! And the character (although backburnered too often for my taste) was a non-mob creation that actually has found a home in Port Charles in one of the best fictional relationships GH has created. Plus, Jason T. has actually lasted as Patrick and has thrived in the role–whereas Josh Duhon…well, we all know what happened there.

    • I don’t know about my co-blogger, but I wouldn’t quibble about that. IMO, the casting has been the one thing that has been consistently good on GH for the last ten years and I think that definitely includes Jason Thompson. For me, the current SORASed kids are really striking because all four of them are talented young actors.

      • I agree. With a few exceptions, I think the casting department does a consistently great job. The show actually has an embarrassment of riches where the pool of talent is concerned…but the producers and writers don’ use them. Poor Jason Cook. Poor Jane Elliot. Poor John Ingle. Poor John J York. Poor Nancy Lee Grahn…okay, my fingers are getting tired. Just too many wasted players to name. Back to the original point, I think Mark Teschner is very good at what he does. Just in the last 4-5 years, if you look at all the talent he has cast: Jason Thompson being one of them, but there was Julie Berman, Bradford Anderson, Laura Wright, Brandon Barash, Bruce Weitz, Jason Cook, Sonya Eddy, Minae Noji, Kent King, Dominic Rains, all 4 SORASED kids as you mention, Josh Duhon, Jason Cooper (sad ending for him and all), and the list goes on. I didn’t love them all, but the track record is pretty darn good.

        • And not to mention, I love the casting of the young kids and babies too! My absolute fave are the little girls who play Emma Scorpio-Drake. Such adorableness and resemblance to TV parents. And when Emma was born (played by different actresses then), they actually cast babies that looked close to newborn. I believed it. They were small and wrinkly and cute. Don’t think they were as successful with baby Jocelyn–she looked like she was 6 months old in that cabin right after birth. LOL!

          • Yeah, Jocelyn is already as big as Emma! And Emma is absolutely adorable. I get seriously weak in the knees when Patrick holds her. There is something about the hotness colliding with the cuteness. I have a problem.
            Honestly, as much as we complain and rage over GH, more than anything I am sad about the wasted talent on this show. I love so many of the actors and characters and I don’t think I would care so much if there wasn’t such potential for good storytelling. These days if I’m pulled in, it is because the actors are doing the best they can with what they have.

  5. For best & worst ,The worst it would have to all the angst with the couples which are badly written and not rooted in the characters history at all.

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