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>