Fundamentals of drama: look it up, writers.

A sampling of the many things I’ve recently found puzzling about General Hospital includes:

– An extended plot involving Lucky and Maxie fighting over possibly the ugliest lamp in the world was one of the most engaging parts of the week.

– The contention that putting a kid on the stand against his father is basically the moral equivalent of EATING PEOPLE, such that even hardened criminals who willingly spend their lives KILLING OTHER HUMAN BEINGS  FOR MONEY can only look upon the depraved animals who would do such a thing with disgust.

– The fact that there was an episode in which Spinelli was actually the character making the most sense:

SPINELLI: Despite your word of discouragement, Stonecold is determined to save you from that fate. But what Stonecold does not comprehend is that you chose to build a criminal empire fully knowing of the risks and consequences. It is neither noble nor right to allow your most trusted friend to bear the consequences of your actions.

(The words, “Sing it, Spinelli!” just feel really wrong coming out my mouth, you guys.)

But the most confusing thing by far has been the writers’ decision to end the Kristina abuse arc with such a dramatically unsatisfying mess. Another hit and run, show? Really?

Let’s break this down. From his very first scene, it’s been very clear that we were meant to hate Kiefer. (With this show’s characteristic subtlety, of course – hey, remember when he incessantly made fun of Michael for having been in a coma for a year? School yard bullies are well known for their hatred of gunshot victims!)

This was a kid with basically no redeeming features. A snotty, snobby, control freak bully who nevertheless managed to spend nearly a year getting away with abusing Kristina, tormenting Michael, scaring Morgan, and making Molly do his freaking homework.

In short: this was a kid badly in need of a take down.

I wanted to see Kiefer humiliated. I wanted to see his future ruined, his reputation destroyed, his facade of respectability utterly and completely torn apart. I wanted to watch Alexis and Sam read him the riot act. I wanted him to be spit on in the streets. I wanted him to have to look his parents in the eye and tell them what he’d done. I wanted Kristina to finally  face him with her head held high. I wanted her to get her self-respect back and want nothing more to do with him. And I wanted him to know that she and everybody else saw him for the pig that he was.

You know what I didn’t want? For him to DIE without ever having to face any condemnation or reflect at all on what he’d done. For him to be made into a martyr. For this very real social issue to get sidelined into an even more unrealistic circus as Alexis’ inevitable trial proceeds.

And now we’re left with Kiefer’s horrible, over-the-top parents as the only villains. Seeing as we just met them, you’ll forgive me if I don’t take nearly as much satisfaction from their eventual take down. If Kiefer was alive and they weren’t one dimensional clichés of WASP entitlement, watching them have to come to terms with the truth about their son might have been a painful, moving story.

Hell, even with Kiefer dead, if the Bauers weren’t so utterly awful, balancing the natural sympathy most viewers would feel toward parents who’ve lost a child with the knowledge of who and what that child really was could have been a dramatic goldmine. But where’s the fun in actually dealing with hard, complicated issues when we can deal in broad stereotypes  instead?

Nancy Lee Grahn and Lexi Ainsworth have been spinning gold out of straw with this story, and I’ll admit the scene where Alexis confessed she was the hit and run driver and Kristin forgave her had me blubbering like a baby. But seriously, writers? What were you thinking with this crap?

(Nevermind, I know what they were thinking: after all the build up with Sonny and Ethan, there was no way to justify him not ordering a hit on Kiefer. But watching Jason murder a teenager — even a reprehensible little shit like Kiefer — might have been a bit much for even this show. But hey, if someone else kills him before Sonny gets a chance, then problem solved! And bonus “irony” points if we can somehow make Alexis look bad in the process!)

In conclusion… I hate this show.

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14 thoughts on “Fundamentals of drama: look it up, writers.

  1. I agree with everything you said. I don’t understand why they thought Alexis killing Keifer was the best dramatic choice. I too wanted to see Kristina stand up for herself and the fact that they are showing Keifer being martyred by family and friends is so disgusting. I just don’t understand the show’s choices one bit.

    RE: Lucky and Maxie. During their scenes I kept thinking “What the hell is this about?” And yet, I really enjoyed their snarky friendship. I should have guessed it was about making Liz jealous. *yawn*

    • Maxie and Lucky have shared a few scenes since JJ’s return and I’ve thought they had chemistry every time. I really, REALLY hated their first go around back when he was basically pimping himself for drugs, and Greg Vaughn seemed so much older than Kristen Storms that the whole things was just ooky on multiple levels. But I would totally be down for a serious romance between them now.

      • I obviously can’t spell Kiefer. *facepalm*

        Speaking of stupid character names, I think it is fair to assume that the tall red-headed waiter named Conan was intentional. Why is it that we see this guy and no Matt?
        *shakes head*

        • Ugh, I think my finger had reflexively hit FF as soon as that waiter appeared every other time, but yesterday I actually watched his scene, and… really, show? Really?

          UGH. HATE.

  2. Hellz to the yeah about Kiefer. I think the viewers could write this show better tha the “professionals” who are currently employed at GH

    • I am absolutely certain that there are plenty of viewers who understand the conventions of what makes good soap drama better than anyone on the current writing staff.

  3. This was absolutely perfect, in a nutshell you pinpointed everything that is wrong with this show, and why its getting harder and harder to watch….THANK GOD for DVR. I can fast-forward thru anything with Sam, Sonny, and Carly. I haven’t even watched yesterday’s episode, 4/19, and the truth is with how its talked about on ABC’s own website, I think I’ll just delete it.

    • What, you don’t want to catch Carly’s moment of heroic perjury? Or Molly trying to put a hit on a mean man she doesn’t like? What wrong with you?

  4. The better storyline would have been to have Michael kill Keifer, after some vigorous abuse by the rest of the town, of course. Michael would have two kills in under a year, and prove that he’s mob material. Then they could have done that whole Michael is like Sonny stuff, because we all know they love comparing the kids to Sonny.

    • That would have made complete sense for Michael as a character. Unfortunately, after the requisite five seconds of hand-wringing over the damage their choices have done to this kid they all claim to love so much, Carly, Sonny and Jason would forget all about it and go right back to murderous, criminal, self-righteous business as usual…

  5. Sonny and Jason ruin everything. I really didn’t realize until reading this post that Kiefer’s death was the only storyline option for Guza.

    The Sonny that Guza’s written for the past decade would’ve ordered Jason to murder Kiefer despite his promises to Kristina because he is a narcissistic asshat.

    For Sonny, Kristina’s abuse is about his pain and her justice is forgotten for the sake of his vengeance and because he can’t allow himself to be seen as weak.

    Because Guza is SBu’s bitch Kiefer had to die without Jason getting his hands dirty and NLG is one of the few members of the cast who could handle this storyline.

    I wish the PFM would think it through – JUST ONCE

    • You mean the entire universe is being warped to accommodate the needs of one character? Heavens, not on this show!

      I swear, Jason is he biggest Mary Sue EVER.

  6. Unfortunately, I am disappointed that Kiefer died too because it totally ruins the story arc with more violence. I would have loved for Kristina to stand up and have the courage say “it was Kiefer”. How dramatic would that be? How fitting and empowering will it be for an abuse young woman to story ending like that… and Kiefer going off to jail. But no not in this new GH. The same way I don’t like the fact that Dante still lies about the shooting all to save Sonny. That is the reason I rarely watch. When will the PTB learn that Sonny’s character has lost his usefulness and is unredeemable. I’ll leaning next to never.
    BTW I did think Maxie’s and Lucky agrument was cute. I think they are just chemistry testing JJ and KS. Honestly I would like to see Lucky away from Liz for a while. I feel Liz’s character is in serious need of rebuilding so as a viewer (and LL@ supporter)I need something more than a baby just to reconnect LL2 again. Although I think JJ and RH have best chemistry as LL2 to much has happen to those character to just throw them together again without a renewed build up to them as a couple. JMO

    • I hope they are chem testing KS and JJ, because I see a lot of potential there, and I agree that Lucky needs some time away from Liz at this point (and she needs time away from him). My only problem with a Lucky/Maxie redux would be the Maxie/Liz conflict brings out the worst in both characters, and you know these writers wouldn’t be able to resist the temptation to have them both flinging bitch/slut/whore/tramp epithets at each other every other episode. Ugh.

      But I sense it’s probably a moot point anyway, because the writers seem fairly wedded to Maxie/Spinelli. *sigh*

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