In which I rant about ranting. Oh, the irony!

Y’all, I just don’t know how I feel about this Robert/Ethan story. Sorry, scratch that: I do know, and it’s mostly irritation mixed in with confusion. But I’m also experiencing this strange new sensation — I think it might be faith in the writers? (Or possibly heartburn. I don’t know.)

Here’s the thing: it’s not like I think the overall idea of Robert needing a new purpose and a child to protect is a completely crazy one. (And psst, Carlivati… MUCH will be forgiven if it turns out that Ethan really is Robert’s son after all.) In fact, his determination to protect a child he just found out was his is actually a nice call back to the story that brought Robin into his life. See him here, minutes after discovering the truth, vowing to keep her safe:

(Sidebar: How much guy-liner were they slathering on Tristan Rogers in the 80s? And how is Finola Hughes so much better looking twenty-seven years later? INQUIRING MINDS WANT TO KNOW.)

But that’s not the point. The point is that for some reason, they’ve rushed Robert and Holly out the door after approximately a nanosecond of on screen grieving and I cannot for the life me figure out why. Was Tristan Rogers only available for a few days or something? I mean, seriously… why time it like this? How hard would it have been to just give Robert his breakdown after the funeral? Is this all just as an overly complicated justification for Nathan Parsons’ exit story? (Because if that ends up truly being the only reason why Robert Scorpio misses his own damn daughter’s funeral, I will effing stab something.)

But forget the Doylist analysis — it’s not like the Watsonian one holds together brilliantly either:

ROBERT: Luke’s many things. Altruistic isn’t one of them.
ANNA: Yeah. I guess he wouldn’t lie about that right now.

Oh, Anna. It’s so cute that you think Luke has any sort of judgment or moral compass. I guess it’s not out of character for Luke to assume the best way to deal with a difficult emotion is to suppress it while abandoning everyone who loves and needs you to go off on a pointless adventure, but would it have killed him to first just try to make the case that Robert should maybe go on living for Emma’s sake? I guess so — much better to soothe the loss of one child by inventing a second child he’ll have to eventually lose as well. Makes sense to me!

Two things semi-redeemed if for me, though — Finola Hughes, who continued her unending streak of BREAKING ME… and this expression from Robert:

… which showed how much of a forced sham his manic, cheerful act the minute before had been. (Which is good. Because I was about ready to reach through the screen and punch him in the throat if he kept bouncing and smiling about leaving Anna alone to face Robin’s funeral for one more second.)

So, I don’t know. Maybe we’ll be surprised by him showing up at the funeral anyway? And maybe we won’t, and it will just be one of those things that bugs me forever. But I don’t think Robert has been ruined as a character either way, at least. So that’s something.

On a happier note, Todd met Carly. And it was kind of fun? I’m not sure where this is headed, but I really like the idea of these two characters becoming friends. Or at least friendly co-schemers. Especially when it means they get to play fun dress up games together. (Laura Wright? Always looks super cute in scrubs. She should wear them all the time.)

But most importantly of all? Roger Howarth is on contract now. OH, HELLS YES. Hopefully Kassie DePaiva will follow. Gaining two power house actors with well-drawn characters and years of history? Seems like an excellent trade for the loss of the likes of Cassandra, Maggie and yes, even Ethan (even though he’s somewhat grown on me lately). Let’s face it: this show has been really terrible at introducing new characters in the last few years. I think Matt might be the last good one they brought in, and that was nearly four years ago, and he still has yet to get a decent front burner story. Four years! We need new blood that does suck, stat.

And here is where I step on my soap box a bit (pun intended): I know there’s been grumbling from some quarters about fears of OLTL folks eating the show. And it seems like the comments section of every GH-related article or blog post I look at are filled with people just waiting in anticipation of the first hint of a mistake from the new team to pounce on as proof that they’re hacks who will ruin this show.

And I just… don’t understand that attitude. I don’t understand rooting for failure here. Real talk: the show’s already been ruined. We are on life support along with the entire genre. If importing a couple of OLTL characters brings in even a fraction of their audience, then that’s a fraction WE DEARLY NEED. Are people in denial about how close to being canceled this show is? Or maybe there really are fans out there who would honestly rather see the show gone completely than spend 15 minutes fast forwarding through some characters from a show they didn’t watch?

(Really? Do you know how many years I’ve spent watching crappy, one dimensional characters I hate who originated on this show? Waaaaaay more years than I’ve been ranting about it on this blog, that’s for damn sure. There have been YEARS when maybe one scene a week was barely watchable, and you know what? I still wouldn’t have said I wanted the show to be canceled.)

I’m not saying don’t complain about things you don’t like (obviously — see the first half of this post). I’m not even sure what point I’m trying to make, except that it makes me really sad to see people leaping to the worst possible conclusions about everything, hating on the new characters before they’ve even aired, and ripping the new writing team to shreds when they’ve barely had a chance to get their bearings.

Do you see Mac’s face? That is how sad it makes me!

Look, I know we’ve been burned before. I know. But I hope that doesn’t mean soap fandom has become a place where we automatically bite the hand that’s trying to pull us out of a pit of quicksand. It took ten years for this show to get to this point. It’s going to take more than two weeks to fix it. That’s just facts. And the practical financial realities they’re dealing with mean that sometimes compromises are going to have to be made that we won’t love. But a great soap isn’t one where everyone agrees with every single decision the writers make; it’s one where there’s enough diversity and balance in the storytelling that at any one point, there’s at least one thing for most people to enjoy.

(Frankly, even a show where I watch more things than I fast forward is a vast improvement over the last few years — the fact that Carlivati and Valentini have already given me that means more to me than any one decision they make for any single story or character going forward.) (Unless they make Elizabeth into a child-molester or something. Then I may have to cut a bitch.)

The bottom line is that I want this show to survive. I want this genre to survive. And the only way to do that is to get people to watch. So, I don’t know. Maybe a little less negativity and little more benefit of the doubt, General Hospital fandom? Be the change you want to see in the world and [insert overused cliche about optimism here]? </soap box>

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14 thoughts on “In which I rant about ranting. Oh, the irony!

  1. I don’t entirely disagree but then again I do mostly lol Sorry :) I am waiting for a couple of weeks but last week for me was pretty darn awful. I felt like I was watching a combination of the Mannigs OLTL and the mobster half of GH with a moment or two of things I might have wanted to see if I hadn’t been totally irritated. I watched and loved OLTL but I think it was a terrible choice to import a whole family and plop them right in the middle of the aftermath of Robins death and give them a ton of airtime the same week Robins husband and Emma’s father entirely disappeared down some dark hole somewhere in Emma’s bedroom, to instead concentrate on Starr’s family, Starr’s loss, Starr’s grief and Starr’s anger with flashbacks of stuff that happened sometimes the episode before??? I do resent it; I don’t feel that as a fan of GH I should just be happy for whatever they decide to give me as long as they call it General Hospital. I will admit I probably would be less annoyed if I had actually liked this family on OLTL but I never saw the appeal of Todd any version; Starr makes me stabby on a good day and while I like KDP’s Blair and John McBain well enough; I don’t like them as much as I would have loved to see Ingo come back or Tyler Christopher’s Nikolas, Dillon, Ned, or even a resurrected Georgie or Emily. I was excited about RC/FV because I wanted to see General Hospital revitalized but I seriously thought it would be with GH actors and characters and maybe just maybe sprinkled in judiciously some OLTL actors playing recast GH characters.

    I was very upset over what occured with Robert Scorpio’s character; I don’t believe he would ever attempt suicide and certainly don’t believe he would have been taken in by that silly story Luke sold him and def he NEVER would have left before Robin’s funeral. That to me was Guza like writing. They needed/wanted to get him off screen along with NP and poof one destructive unbelievable PP coming up.

    Lastly as a LIz fan I am not happy that she suddenly just disappeared; I am not sure if she is still wandering around Patrick;s house or at home with her broken furnace LOL

    I am watching; I have been watching and I intend for the time being to continue watching because I love the show and want it to continue but I will also let them know just as I did in the past if I am not happy and frankly if the show looks like it did last week a few weeks from now I probably will reconsider watching…so while I think we need to be respectful when we criticize and also point out the stuff we like ( I def like the faster pacing, better lighting, the almost daily cliffhangers) we aren’t obligated to just smile and play happy if we are not.

    • I don’t think we’re obligated to smile and play happy, but I do think we’re obligated to not make blanket judgments about the overall success or failure of a new guard after just two weeks. So many viewers just come off like they’re DYING for Carlivati/Valentini to fail. Two weeks is not enough time to right that ship. I’ll criticize specifics that I don’t like, but I’m a long ways away from ready to declare the entire show revitalized or dead, as the case may be.

    • I’m not saying anyone is obligated to pretend they like things they don’t; I’m saying that more focus on the positive than the negative (and a little more perspective) wouldn’t go amiss, especially when we’re looking at what is literally this show’s last chance at life.

      (I honestly don’t feel like the Mannings have had all that much screen time in the grand scheme of things. Maybe it feels that way if you don’t like them? I also don’t see Elizabeth as having disappeared. Part of a more balanced show is hopefully that no one is on all the time. We saw Liz get a reaction to Robin’s death; we saw her comfort Patrick and help tell Emma her mother is gone. We know she’s helping plan the funeral off screen, so presumably she’ll be a big part of that when it starts mid-week.)

  2. I like Dante and Siobhan, and both came after Matt. (I think Olivia came after Matt too?) Well, I liked Siobhan for the potential she could have had, but the writers messed that one up rather quickly.

    I think I can get used to Todd and Blairr, but Starr, I just don’t see happening. However, if she’s paired with Michael I can ff them. And I was probably bound to ff whoever was with Michael anyway.

    I’m just mostly left utterly confused by the whole Robert/Ethan thing as well. Maybe Carlivati was afraid that making Ethan NOT Luke’s son would be unpopular after all and thought this would be a sort of compromise?

    • Oh, Dante! I knew I was forgetting someone big. Definitely the biggest success story in terms of new characters this show has had in recent years. But that was still nearly 3 years ago. (I wouldn’t count Siobhan — I agree she had potential, but it was completely botched. Olivia, maybe. She showed up a couple months after Matt; I love her, but I also think she’s been vastly misused.)

      (Am I crazy to think we might still be getting a further “twist” from the Robert/Ethan thing? IDK. I feel like we’re all so impatient now because we’re used to being disappointed, you know?)

  3. I really don’t understand the purpose of Holly coming back to reveal that Ethan is Robert’s son, only to change nothing about a storyline that has been reviled by so many different fanbases and critics. Keeping the infidelities and the cheating didn’t really do much for this storyline, nor did Luke lying about Ethan’s paternity and Robert leaving Anna when she asked him to stay for the funeral (for a “fake” rescue for a “fake” son).

    Todd and his attitude about ‘Sunny’ ‘Corn-Toes’ is the only part of the Sonny storyline that I find entertaining… especially in a storyline where Sonny has tried to murder two people, but is being arrested for a crime that he likely didn’t commit.

    I agree with you about the OLTL characters. I don’t see the point in wanting failure for the show simply because there are some “new” characters on the GH canvas now. I think Starr and Kristina (with a return by Emmy nominated Lexi Ainsworth) would make good friends (on a show that has failed to depict some good friendships for a long time now, especially between women). I think McBain can be the catalyst for the PCPD to be competent “good guys” again. Just imagine McBain and Mac solving crimes! I think Todd is an interesting foe for Sonny, since he isn’t a mobster and won’t serve as one of the mob apologists on the canvas (who have whitewashed Sonny and Jason for years).

  4. I could not agree more, tenillypo. Guza and GW get years to screw this show up, but RC has maybe a month to fix everything. Well IMO, he’s doing it. The ratings are going up. Katie Couric wants GH to lead in to her show. And friends of mine who would never post a comment on the internet are watching again after years of ignoring this show.

    The writing is better, the directing is better and the lighting is better. Finally, I’m seeing stories that are interesting, instead of watching a woman I don’t care about flit around a mansion in white clothes for months. Or another woman I don’t care about flit around a hospital in white for months. Dead weight is leaving and some heavy weight actors are coming in. Yay! I’m finally seeing a light at the end of the Guza/Wolf built tunnel.

  5. Good Lord, if RC could fix things in two weeks I’d rather have him working on, oh, I don’t know, the economy? Sure, I may have a skewed viewpoint because I know the “new” characters, but even if I didn’t, you’re always going to get new characters on a soap, attrition being what it is, and, more importantly, for the first time in a long time I’m also feeling that “faith” of which you speak. Maybe even optimism. It’s been so long, it’s hard to recognize. And if I’m optimistic on this evil of all evil Mondays in which someone has so callously stolen my hour from me, there’s something there.

  6. I don’t want the show to be all about the OLTL characters either, but so far I don’t think it’s been all about them. Right now their introduction to the canvas and Robin’s ‘death’ are the stories in the spotlight, so we see more of those 2 stories than the rest. That’s not always going to be the case.
    Hell, between the upcoming Todd/Sonny scenes and kooky ass Kate I haven’t been able to fast forward Sonny much lately. The less I use the ff button the better I like my show.

    • I keep hearing criticisms about how the Mannings have taken over and “this isn’t General Hospital anymore” and I really wonder if we’re watching the same show. Roughly 75% of most episodes has been about traditional GH characters and the remaining 25% involves GH characters either directly or tangentially. But then, I also keep hearing things about how Robin’s death is being “ignored” — this after two weeks of intense mourning from large swaths of the canvas. And we haven’t even gotten to the funeral yet! So… yeah. I don’t get it.

      The less I use the ff button the better I like my show.

      WORD.

  7. I agree too. It takes a little time to get out of the ditch, and they are in a pretty deep one. I never watched OLTL, but I like the Todd character so far, and Blair seems ok (Starr kind of grinds on my hide). I wish they had had written Robert differently, but maybe this is all a set-up for better things. I don’t worry nearly so much about RC as I do about Tony Geary getting his drawers in a wad and messing up any shot we have of a Luke and Laura happy ending.
    And on this “evil of all evil Mondays” there’s always this….it’s in my bookmarks for bad days when I really need a laugh. So long Ethan – I wish you and mongoose well.
    https://despairintheafternoon.wordpress.com/2011/07/12/in-which-i-wax-nostalgic/

  8. I agree to reserve judgement especially because I am not a long time viewer. Although I do have the same problems as some others. With the little I know about Robert, I still could not believe his attempted suicide or leaving b4 the funeral.

    Not seeing Patrick/Anna etc for days now, is kind of killing the moments we could still be having.Matt and Maxie have still not seen them. We left Mac and Maxie hugging days ago, but lets see what happens as the funeral starts. I’ve been trying to keep in mind that poor JT has had a rough few weeks, so he probably needed a break before having to cry again!! I know he is going to continue to rock his scenes, especially with Noah aka RS.

    As far as Ethan, I think they wasted him. He should have been a Scorpio and they had a golden couple in Kristina/Ethan and they blew it. To me, it could have been another Hope/Bo type story.

    Lastly, I just saw a promo that upset me. It is about the funeral but focuses on Jason finding out and how he is going to handle it……quite frankly I dont care how he handles it and hope that we are not going back to Jason’s pain overriding everything else. I know he has a history with Robin and his reaction should be shown but not the be all end all.

    Guess it doesn’t matter in the end b/c Robin is not really dead :) At least not on YouTube!

    • As I understand it, it was Nathan Parsons’ decision to leave — in large part because he was upset that RC was nuking the Cassandra story. Which… yeah. I agree his entire character was mostly wasted over the entire time he was on the show. They never seemed to know what to use him for other than as another excuse to denigrate the memory of Luke and Laura. It’s a shame.

      As for the rest, we last saw Anna on Wed. and Robert on Thursday. So there’s been two days without either of them, and that doesn’t seem unreasonable to me, especially after the heavy episodes they had previously. As I said in one of the comments above, part of a balanced show (and a balanced budget) means spreading things out. And even though it’s been weeks in RL since she died, I think in show time it’s really only been a day or two. So we’re not missing a lot of grieving off screen; we’re just seeing a lot of things happening at the same time.

      Re: Jason and Robin… here’s the thing. I know that Jason is the center of the GH universe and it’s tiresome and enraging. I get it. I feel that way too. But there are times when it actually makes sense for him to be involved in a story, and this is one of them. His relationship with Robin was a super important part of this show for years, and regardless how I feel about him now, I would be really angry if their connection wasn’t acknowledged.

      But I didn’t interpret that promo to mean his reaction would be the be all and end all — they showed a bunch of flashback clips that had nothing to do with him and most of the promo talked about her family. IDK. Personally, I’m a little amazed that it’s been two weeks since she died and Jason’s basically been off screen almost the entire time! That would NEVER have happened under Guza. I think having him unconscious was a nice way of letting her family get the focus in the immediate aftermath. But now everyone else who was an important part of Robin’s life has gotten a chance to react. I’m ready for some Jason grief as well.

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