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.
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.
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.
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.
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’ Ball, Britt and Brad: BITCHY BFFs FOREVER, Alexis finally getting some, SO MUCH PINING, Michael’s beautiful hatred, and the most amazing moment in modern soap history: