So long, and thanks for all the fondue.

Well, I was going to post something about Luke and Bobbie’s last scenes, which — for the record — made me cry. (And for once, not just because of Jacklyn Zeman’s face!) But then the big news dropped that Ron Carlivati is out and Jean Passanante and Shelly Altman are in, and I’ve got a lot of feelings about that.

Bobbie and Luke goodbye

Most of them are sad.

When this team rescued this show three years ago, they saved it from the brink of cancellation and restored it — for a while, at least — to the show I loved. A fun, funny, soapy show that didn’t have contempt for its own history and audience.

Obviously, that’s changed. And while I don’t pretend to have enough insider knowledge to know for sure what was happening behind the scenes between then and now, I seriously doubt that it was all the fault of one man alone. Which leaves me with little confidence that things will change. But if the new team were to ask me for advice (HAHAHA) this is what I would say:

Character first. Everyone agrees this is the number one issue with the show right now, right? I love shocking surprises and campy craziness and convoluted schemes as much as the next girl, but the heart of soap opera is characters and relationships. The story needs to flow from those things and not the other way around. Come up with motivations first instead of thinking up a cool ending and then contorting the characters to make it happen.

Nik and Liz bad poker faces

WHY DO WE DO ANYTHING WE DO?

Show your work. Almost every single current story requires both the characters and the audience to leave their brains at the door. I can hand wave certain things in the name of soapiness, but giant plot holes left dangling unexplained and completely unremarked on by anyone or “twists” that only work if half the town are completely idiots are just not compelling story telling. There’s so much narrative sloppiness and so much of it could be cleared up with just a little effort. START MAKING THE EFFORT.

Streamline the cast. Three years ago, we were coming off a decade of story focused on the same three or four characters and it was horrible. Now things are out of balance in the opposite direction. The cast is so bloated that entire plot threads  (hello, Brad and Lucas!) are left dangling for weeks or even months at a time, and while key events (Lucy and Duke’s entire relationship? Valerie getting to know the rest of her family?) develop off screen.

Kiki ugh

WHY DO I STILL EXIST?

And frankly, it doesn’t matter how much talent you’ve got if they’re not playing good characters. I enjoyed the original integration of the One Life to Life cast into the Port Charles. But their re-imagined, post-Prospect Park characters have been a complete failure, and everyone else now involved in their stories have only compounded the problem. There needs to be a mass culling of the entire Nina/Franco/Silas/Kiki/Ava/Madeline crew so we can get back to focusing on people the audience actually cares about.

Actions have to have consequences. When nothing sticks, then there’s no reason to care about anything that happens. If someone does something heinous, then they need to pay a price for it. Murderers and psychopaths cannot be roaming around town with impunity, treated like wacky comic relief. Betrayal can’t be easily forgiven.

Sonny wins again

WHY???

And I love a good return from the dead, but FOR GOD’S SAKE, if someone dies, they need to stay dead from now on. At least for a few years. Otherwise, characters should start refusing to hold funerals at all anymore, because what’s the point?*

(*Except Georgie. I will always accept a resurrected Georgie Jones, no matter how many Mack truck sized plot holes they need to drive through to bring her zombified corpse back to life.)

ANYWAY. To end on a less depressing note, I’ll just say: Arrivederci, Mr. Carlivati. We’ll always have the Nurses’ BallBritt and Brad: BITCHY BFFs FOREVER, Alexis finally getting someSO MUCH PININGMichael’s beautiful hatred, and the most amazing moment in modern soap history:

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37 thoughts on “So long, and thanks for all the fondue.

  1. Yes! So much yes to this.
    Georgie can come back anytime. And I wouldn’t mind a bit of soapy OTT to explain Liz’s decision. Mind control, evil twin just an explanation that doesn’t end with her being the town punching bag. And then move on from it. I was actually digging her and Carly becoming friends?
    And agree they need to trim the cast. Find the foundation to build all the rest off of. Just that foundation can be more than three people. Build their connections. We had the Qs, Scorpios, Spencers, Jones, etc. Whole families and friendships and marriages that connected the town and, yes, brought new people into the fold. Not 3 people that everyone propped up.
    I will say the idea of letting people go does make me sad. It used to be if someone like RH was off a soap one of the other 7 would snap him up.

    • Yeah, I don’t like advocating for people to lose their jobs. I think several the the actors I’d like to see cut are terrific and it is not their fault their characters aren’t working. But If someone has to go, and someone does, it shouldn’t be core GH characters. I want to see Maxie Jones more than once a month, you know?

      • Yes, absolutely agree. I was so irritated when they had Doc on and never showed him. I’m not even sure if he is still on now.

  2. I . . . definitely do not think Passanante/Altman will be much of an improvement, although I’m hoping for slightly less campiness and a streamlined cast. And I think Frank V. is responsible for the choppy editing, grey paint, and models-as-actors casting choices. I definitely don’t think Ron is responsible for ALL of the badness, but I do think it was mostly him that was making us suffer through Denise/Nina/Franco/Kiki/Morgan the past couple of months. so hopefully that will be gone, soon.

    My favorite Faison moment by Ron has to be him gaping in horror when Obrecht tears off her Anna mask.

    • Right. People act like Ron wielded extreme executive power over every aspect of the show, and that’s just not true. I definitely think he’s made some bad choices, storywise, but I know the situation we’re in wasn’t his doing alone. And at least with RC, there was the hope that he might course correct, because when he is on, he is really on.

      Now… well, we’ll see. I also have doubts that it will improve with the people coming in, one half of which was also half the team responsible for the absolute mess RC came in to fix in the first place. But I’m trying to have an open mind and be optimistic, because the alternative is just too depressing.

      • Oh, I wouldn’t say Shelly Altman was responsible. She only co-wrote with Garin Wolf for about a month, I think her stuff made it to air for like a hot minute before Ron took over. Yeah, she was a breakdown writer before then, but from what I’ve gathered from Ron’s interviews, the breakdown writers don’t ultimately have much power if the headwriter wants something done a certain way.

        I still am thinking her stuff will be kinda ponderous, because that’s what they said of this writing team at Y&R, but I’m hoping it won’t be the deeply misogynistic stank Garin Wolf pulled out. We’ll see I guess.

        • You’re right. I don’t blame her completely for the Wolf regime, but I’m also not filled with confidence, you know? Especially with what I hear about their tenure at Y&R. I have a feeling the show will get less enraging but also a lot more dull. We shall see! OPTIMISM!

          • “less enraging but more dull”

            I’m thinking that too. And apparently Passanante is a big fan of Budig so probably lots of her.

    • Ugh. I like Budig too, but her character is a hot mess and the last thing this show is another stunt casting newbie eating the canvas.

        • Does anyone really believe that Liesel and Madeline are actually related? I write fiction and one of the things that is always hammered into our heads is GMC (Goal, motivation, and conflict). Right now on GH, none of their characters actions seem to be motivated consistently. I mean, we’re now supposed to buy that Brad is married? And he has never once said anything to either Felix or now Lucas? Come on!

          i agree…those two being sisters is ridiculous…I would believe it if maybe one was adopted…I mean you don’t have one sister who’s clearly American and one’s well we don’t really know what she is….as sisters…..steps yes….or whatever……

          and I haven’t seen it…but didn’t brad supposedly say to felix that he’s married…but yes of course that all happened off camera…that’s the problem…we need to see some of this stuff on camera…..not all off….

          and you are right…..that’s what is in a good story…oh and add consistency into that…which gh so doesn’t have anymore…..

  3. I would love it they brought in some new blood. This recycling of writers is tedious. Like all merry-go-rounds when you’ve been on them too long.

  4. I completely agree with your post. More than anything, I was hoping Ron would get a co-head writer, b/c I know this wasn’t all him. He isn’t responsible for that overly bloated cast. He’s just not. He had some great ideas, and when GH was good, it was amazing. I always felt he needed a counterpart to sort or reign things in when it looked like they were about to fly away or someone who could help the show move at a better pace, so stories would stop disappearing for weeks and months.

    Just an example: I find it absolutely ridiculous that Maxie has been back in town for such a long time and she has no career aspirations right now. And, no, a throwaway line about planning weddings and being a personal shopper is not enough. I feel that was written to simply shut the audience up, but it’s insufficient when we know as it’s been said by Maxie that her parents are paying her bills. Ava was reading an issue of Crimson on the Friday episode. Why is Maxie not working there??? And I still don’t see why she was written to have a child, esp. since she’s not raising her. I’m not a fan of Maxie, but she is an enjoyable and important character on this show. She’s more than being thrown into a chemistry-less (my opinion) pairing with nothing more. This character needs a course correction ASAP.

    Also, I’m not an expert on the team of Altman and Passanante, but I feel like I need to take up of for them a little bit, b/c I’ve noticed elsewhere that people talked about how boring their stint at Y&R was. I could be wrong, but most of their time was spent cleaning up the messes of story left after Maria Bell was ousted as EP. Things like that take time, especially if scripts were still airing from the regime before them. If I recall correctly, Y&R started to improve with their actual material just before they were replaced with Chuck Pratt. I don’t think they were given much of a chance. I’m scared and interested to see what they do, b/c GH is giant plotty mess right now, and I can’t completely blame Ron for that. He answered to someone who answered to the network, so I can only imagine what kind of mess it all became.

    I do think you laid out the very important elements that need focus for GH. I have mixed feelings about all this, but one thing is sure for me: the heart of this how needs to return. I’ve felt that void for a long time now.

    I’m also hoping we stop getting episodes where the scenes are stretched out over the course of the hour simply to have a question answered. I can’t stand all of that stalled writing.

  5. I also wanted to say that I’m thankful to Ron and Frank for saving this show that was on the brink of cancellation three years ago. I want GH to go on and on and on and that almost didn’t happen. Brian Frons decimated ABC Daytime with his interfering and I’m praying GH takes a turn for the better again.

  6. I agree with everything that you have said in this post. It’s the same thing that soap bloggers have been saying for the past six months to a year. I too am grateful that Ron and Frank saved this show from cancellation three years ago. And initially Ron’s work was excellent, particularly the 50th anniversary shows. And I loved that he’d been a fan of the show and knew it’s history but at the same time his story lines didn’t often do a service to the characters. What was the point of bringing on Victor Cassadine, not playing him for weeks at a time and then killing him off? Or bringing back Stavros for 2 episodes only to kill him yet again? Or the whole story line with Levi which referenced the Aztec treasure but Felicia was barely a part of that. Even Frisco’s arc was more about trying to win Felicia back then making amends with his daughter. And if you are going to bring Jack Wagner back why not involve him with the whole WSB/Faison etc. story line?

    But the biggest mistake was bringing back RH, ME and KA back as entirely new characters after the whole Prospect Park debacle. I like Michelle Stafford as an actress but they could have cast her as Skye Quartermaine or Celia Quartermaine instead of Nina. Does anyone really believe that Liesel and Madeline are actually related? I write fiction and one of the things that is always hammered into our heads is GMC (Goal, motivation, and conflict). Right now on GH, none of their characters actions seem to be motivated consistently. I mean, we’re now supposed to buy that Brad is married? And he has never once said anything to either Felix or now Lucas? Come on!

    FV was known for keeping OLTL within its budget, so I’m wondering why he is squandering money on pricey talent instead of dealing with the hugely talented cast that he already has.

  7. I honestly wish the writers would hang out in these blogs etc to see what us longtime fans want– I thought of a dozen more interesting ways to resolve Fluke than whatever that was…. And I think we can all agree that KikiMorganAva must die. Like, in a horrible accident. All of them. And get Maxie back into fashion, give Nic a better reason to be evil (money? really?), remember that these characters have personalities, they’re not just bodies that move around saying shit.

    YOU Tennillypo should be writing the show.

  8. something needs to be done…yes, we don’t care about the newbies, because why should we……val boinks her cousin’s husband in like a second…and all that…why should we care about her why isn’t she getting to know the rest of her family asking if oh gee cousin lucas can I help…whatever….they say that’s all happening off camera…but I don’t think that she cares about any of them at all she’s still punishing them for what luke did to her mom….who really didn’t do anything….her mom was sick, she had a bad heart, she could have gone at any time…gee let’s make a newbie actually grow up….and all that..

    don’t give us all the bitches…all at once….

    that’s why I couldn’t care less about her…hey I’ve always wanted more spencers, but so not like this….

    ava and silas could really have rocked…but noooooooooooo we have to have dava…and morgan all over again…who no one really cares about anyway..

    there is so much more that they can do…

    why exactly is nick taking over elq….

    please give us back character driven stories…and not holes like everyone else is saying

    I wish these women well but I have my doubts that this could be it…if ratings don’t pick up…then this beloved show too will be gone….and that’s so what I dread…

    and you can’t keep on having the same plots all the time…like how many baby plots do we need…

    how many mob people do we need……it’s so over done the past 25 or so years…make it stop…we don’t need brad’s family to come on back…

    and least of all, finish a plot before a year is up….

    susan

  9. If I recall correctly, Y&R started to improve with their actual material just before they were replaced with Chuck Pratt. I don’t think they were given much of a chance.

    I didn’t hear that they were on yr…but if that’s true then you are right they didn’t have enough time…..and I don’t like chuck’s writing on yr…even though he’s been given cudos all over the place……his plots are lasting too long…and a lot of the stuff isn’t happening on camera anymore…..and it’s appearing choppy…..

    just like gh…

    and I couldn’t stand his writing by the time amc ended…and wasn’t he out of amc by the time it ended…..because he wasnt’ good enough…but yet here he is on another soap.

    no the bottom line is that they don’t want new talent…they just keep on sending the same writers to all the soaps and go oops……we goofed…but yet they do nothing about it…

    they’ve been writing for decades…and it’s time that they were all put to pasture…and let new talent be brought in once and for all

  10. what happened to Lucy’s gym company or whatever it is supposed to be…..laura was supposed to be her partner why not get that story up and running again…and um why is milo working for sonny again……boring..i thought that he was supposed to be working for lucy…in her gym….well that’s if that even exists anymore…and speaking of that…..what’s going on with lucy now that she isn’t with kevin….where is kevin……why not get her involved with paul……where is scotty and bobbie…I thought that they were supposed to be an item…where’s Felicia….shouldn’t the really be the mayor by now….because sloan knows that was a scam…..whoever it is being the mayor..

    come on put all these stories together and actually start writing…..and not just having a plot and a character happen here and there….and whatever….

    that’s why no one cares anymore……you have all these wonderful actors start using them..

    and are milo and tiff still dating…..

    susan

  11. and why should we care that brad is already married…we never see him anyway…who’s his wife if that’s the case….will we even care in the end……..when it’s all said and done..

    why isn’t maxie planning her cousin’s wedding…..why isn’t bobbie planning her son’s wedding….where is lucas anyway…..um isn’t he supposed to be the doctor in charge of Michael’s clinic….so where is he, why wasn’t he there with Michael when he asked luke if it was still ok to use his house….whatever…did anyone mention hey luke….the house exploded how can it even still be there…did you rebuild……

    susan

      • RC has no control over the actors contract and the number of shows they are allowed to be in each week, that’s on FV and the network.

        and that’s just what I’m saying…he’s the scape goat in all of this…

        and no, I do not want that type of franko….if that’s the case, then in the end, he can kill himself…….too…

        susan

        hands to sky* and also not every child born needs to be a paternity mystery/baby swap/stolen embryo

        I agree, that’s not original anymore…..the originality would be I know who the dad is, and I get to keep the baby, and no one’s pregnant at the same time, the baby dies, and I will kidnap the other baby……that story has so been done to death……and then some…and we’re also rumoured to have that same story on yr…why….when pratt wrote what two of over on amc….so now he needs to come to another soap and write the exact same story……no, they need fresh ideas.

        Valerie, I guess it will still come out that she wants to get back at luke and his entire family for killing her mom, which he so didn’t do….you know the type….mommy’s gone…someone must pay….they won’t get on with their own lives, and all that, because they are so boring…

        Morgan with you we know that’s not going to happen because of who’s son he is…..

        the thing is that not all these characters have stories, I’m hoping that the new writers will give them stories…but I highly doubt that part….if someone is pulling the strings from behind, then we’re just going to get the same old, same old by just new/old writers…and that’s the problem….

        susan

  12. I’m glad that with RC’s ouster that means Alexis hopefully will be onscreen more than four times in three months.

    I hope that we’ll actually see more of her and Julian…..in some circles they are the number one couple and I know people who only watch for them…..

    and quite frankly I’m not even watching it right now, doing other stuff in the summer, and I’m finding that I’m not really missing anything at all…..

    but I am with the people who say that julexis rock because they are the only real adult couple on the show right now……and guess what new writers….we do want to see a mature couple…and not just teeny boppers and 20 somethings……all the time…..or mothers boinkng their daughters’ nofriends…..that is not to the most of us a mature relationship….

    susan

  13. I haven’t been able to stay interested for a year now but every time I drop in, nothing makes any sense. You should be able to not watch a soap for 2 months and still recognize the characters. Nicholas is pure evil now? Liz doesn’t care that Monica is missing a son who is ALIVE or that little Danny’s dad is back? Dante’s a cheater? The only thing that looks familiar is Sam’s over exposed cleavage in a tank top. There are even MORE people I’ve never seen before. Jake’s wife? Whoever slept with Dante? Just bleh. I love Maxi and all her weirdness and she has no story at all. Is Molly still on? Did little Jake come back or not? So many half baked plots flailing in the wind. And poor Silas lying dead on the floor while some crazy woman I care nothing about and whose name I can’t think of talks to his corpse? Just BLEH.

  14. I haven’t been able to stay interested for a year now but every time I drop in, nothing makes any sense. You should be able to not watch a soap for 2 months and still recognize the characters. Nicholas is pure evil now? Liz doesn’t care that Monica is missing a son who is ALIVE or that little Danny’s dad is back? Dante’s a cheater? The only thing that looks familiar is Sam’s over exposed cleavage in a tank top. There are even MORE people I’ve never seen before. Jake’s wife? Whoever slept with Dante? Just bleh. I love Maxi and all her weirdness and she has no story at all. Is Molly still on? Did little Jake come back or not? So many half baked plots flailing in the wind. And poor Silas lying dead on the floor while some crazy woman I care nothing about and whose name I can’t think of talks to his corpse? Just BLEH.

    I hear you…to answer a few questions…..that’s hayden….jake’s fake wife that ric got, when he wanted liz back and all she wanted was jake.

    dante slept with cousin val…yes you heard me…..lulu’s cousin…..when luke and bobbie first started on the show, I didn’t see the eppy but apparently they had an older sister named patricia….and that’s cousin Valerie’s mom…we dont’ know who her dad is……mom patricia is now dead for real…..but she was there to introduce her daughter…sorry at first I liked her…but as soon as the gave her the hots for her cousin..i ceased to like her…so her name is Valerie spencer……

    susan

  15. Liz doesn’t care that Monica is missing a son who is ALIVE or that little Danny’s dad is back? Dante’s a cheater? The only thing that looks familiar is Sam’s over exposed cleavage in a tank top. There are even MORE people I’ve never seen before. Jake’s wife? Whoever slept with Dante? Just bleh. I love Maxi and all her weirdness and she has no story at all. Is Molly still on? Did little Jake come back or not? So many half baked plots flailing in the wind. And poor Silas lying dead on the floor while some crazy woman I care nothing about and whose name I can’t think of talks to his corpse? Just BLEH.

    see that’s all he is, about is plot points..no character development no continuation of story at all…

    susan

  16. so sorry…..will not happen again…..generally I don’t even use that word……don’t know why I did it, this time….but I really do not like the character

  17. And poor Silas lying dead on the floor while some crazy woman I care nothing about and whose name I can’t think of talks to his corpse? Just BLEH.

    that’s nina…his former wife…and there’s been speculation all along that she is really kiki’s mother and not ava Jerome…..

    the story is supposed to be that nina was pregnant…..and she went into a coma…and lost the baby….and in the meantime ava was having an affair with silas and had his baby…so…..

    susan

  18. *hands to sky* and also not every child born needs to be a paternity mystery/baby swap/stolen embryo. I don’t care who is Kiki’s mother bc Kiki is a pointless character and Ava/Denise and Nina should shuffle off with poor Silas. It’s as if there is a parody soap within the soap. Please, please cull this cast. Valerie? Buh bye. No character development, betraying her family for no apparent reason, move on to a new town and think about your life choices. Nina, Ava, Kiki…hit the road and take Morgan with you. Robin…I know she is loved…but the coming and going just messes with Patrick’s story and he’s a good actor who keeps getting contorted around unbelievable plot points. Sabrina, I don’t dislike her but I don’t see what plot purpose she serves. I like soaps and they are an endangered species. It’s hard not to get annoyed when horrible mistakes are made that make it difficult to watch bc it’s not like the old days where if your soap went waaaaay off track you had lots of others to defect to or you could abandon your soap knowing it would still be on in a couple years and may have righted its course and you could take it back. Now if enough people lose interest for a year or two, it’s cancelled.

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