In this month's Busted to Blissful, Soapdom's Lesleyann Coker is fed up with All My Children, but she couldn't be more delighted with General Hospital. What on AMC has busted Coker's bubbles? Oh, only the entire show, that's all. But all is not lost. GH has put her in bubblicious bubble bliss! Read on...
Do You Agree? Dish Busted to Blissful with Lesleyann Right Here!
Everything's Wrong on AMC
Who are these strangers running around Pine Valley taking valuable air time away from beloved characters? How long has it been since Brooke has had a storyline -- or appeared onscreen for more than ten minutes for that matter? Why does the camera move so fast? What happened to Dixie? What is Zach thinking? When will Jack get his own storyline that doesn't involve him acting like an overbearing parent? Why are we forced to watch petulant brats who can't act? And again, just who are these people? Those are the questions swirling around my mind when I turn on All My Children.
AMC used to be known for social issue storylines, but with the reversal of Erica's historic abortion, the show has made itself into a punch line for some very bad jokes. As if the non-abortion/TV producer/doctor/Erica's son, Josh, plot wasn't horrific enough, we had to suffer through weeks of Josh's adoptive father, Dr. Madden, literally sweating to death in a coffin for what felt like an eternity.
I breathed a sigh of relief when Dr. Madden finally died, and thought his death would free up storyline for benched favorites. Instead, Pine Valley suddenly became ripe with teenage newbies sporting impeccable pecs and tiny bikinis. Is this a joke? Someone please wake me when all the fluff is over. I know soaps try to cater to a younger demographic in the summer, but this is ridiculous. If you're going to turn the show over to vapid teenage terrors, make sure they have acting talent to go along with their pretty pouts and spectacular abs.
It was only last summer AMC was thriving with hot couple Ryan/Greenlee, the complex Zach/Kendall/Ethan triangle, and the emotional push-pull brink of reconciliation of Babe/JR. In the fall, we were treated to Myrtle/Zach scenes as she helped him realize his love for Kendall; the Di isn't really Dixie storyline heated up; scenes with Brooke, Adam, Krystal, Tad, Joe, Opal and Palmer increased as the Jonathan/Janet stalker mystery unfolded; and of course, Erica was in the mix figuring out her connection to Dr. Madden.
Now we have strangers -- Annie, Terry, Jamal, Colby, Sydney, and Sean along with relative newcomers Erin, Amanda, Di, NuDel, NuJeff, NuDerek and the insufferable Jonathan and Josh -- sucking up the airtime of favorites like Brooke, Adam, Jack, Opal, Palmer, Stuart, Marian, Livia, Simone, and David. About the only familiar faces mixed in with the interlopers are Ryan, Kendall, Zach, Dixie and Tad. We catch glimpses of Babe and JR together, but the show looks like it's angling for an inexplicable Babe/Josh pairing, which is almost as hard to understand as newbie Annie being shoved down Ryan's throat. We get it already -- she's slated to become his new love interest. Pack all the newbies in fatigues and ship them to Afghanistan.
Lack of storylines for veterans and forced couples isn't the worst offense. AMC has ruined the character of Dixie Cooney Martin. It was unbelievable when Dixie skulked around behind bushes not revealing she was alive to her loved ones for months, but now she has fallen for Kendall's husband, Zach, instead of trying to reunite with her true love, Tad. Also, Dixie and Zach may or may not be responsible for burying Dr. Madden alive, which is something the old Dixie would never have done. It's like she's had a complete personality transplant in the four years she was gone. Her tough-as-nails facade is keeping more in line with the character of Rosanna from As the World Turns!
Character grievances aside, it's still hard to watch AMC with the show's new camera techniques. When it debuted at the ConFusion nightclub opening, it was appropriate, and I figured it would be gone afterward. A couple of months later, the show is still using fast cuts and jerky angles every day. Time to cut their losses and realize they'll never be Gray's Anatomy.
The same could be said for the entire show - cut your losses with everything that's not working and bring us back to the basics Agnes Nixon created.
Everything's Right on GH
General Hospital is on a roll. The show has recently had tremendous success bringing back fan favorites such as Kimberly McCullough (Robin Scorpio), Tristan Rogers (Robert Scorpio), Finola Hughes (Anna Devane), Rick Springfield (Dr. Noah Drake) and John Ingle (Edward Quartermaine), and now comes word the legendary Genie Francis will return as Laura. With her counterpart Tony Geary (Luke) still around, it should make for some can't miss viewing.
Besides bringing back beloved characters and for the most part, involving them in storylines, the show has some attention-grabbing predicaments playing out every day. The writing and acting has been top notch, especially in the recent episodes where Elizabeth discovered her husband, Lucky, cheating on her with Maxie in their bed. When Elizabeth turned up at Jason's apartment, it was right after he saw his ex-fiancee, Sam, having sex with his worst enemy (and her stepfather), Rick, so the two were poised for an intimate encounter.
It was great to see GH recognize its history, when Elizabeth and Jason discussed their past, and how they almost ended up together seven years ago, until she broke Jason's heart by having a one night stand with Zander, and became pregnant. It was a long overdue moment and very poignant, when the two decided this would be the only night they could ever spend together. For Liason fans, it was bliss watching their favorite couple release years of unrequited, unfinished feelings. Those feelings will stay messy and unfinished since Elizabeth just discovered she's pregnant.
GH is sensible for telling the story of Elizabeth and teenage LuLu (Luke and Laura's daughter), who both slept with someone once, used a condom, and got pregnant anyway. To have a storyline focusing on a defective batch of condoms, and the realistic choices the women now face, was an unusual departure from the typical one night stand pregnancy storylines usually played out on soaps. For Elizabeth and LuLu to have used condoms that didn't work, raises lots of interesting debates, and makes for good "safe sex might not be so safe" talking points with real life teens. In addition to...
... the unexpected pregnancy storylines, the show is pulling out all the stops with Alexis' lung cancer storyline. Nancy Lee Grahn (Alexis) is a brave actress to appear without makeup every day, while her character's disease progresses. Since Alexis is not a smoker, it will be fascinating to see where the show goes with this, and the opportunity they have for education and prevention.
It seems the show is doing a lot of educating lately, since it just wrapped up Maurice Benard's (Sonny) mesmerizing manic depression storyline. As a fascinating byproduct, now that Sonny's on his meds, he even seems to have a sense of humor!
If teen pregnancy, defective condoms, non-smoker lung cancer and manic depression weren't enough, the show is also tackling a doctor becoming exposed to late stage AIDS during an operation. GH was on the forefront of AIDS awareness ten years ago, during the storyline of teenage Stone's death. His then girlfriend, Robin, tested HIV-positive and has lived with the disease ever since. Robin is with Patrick now, which makes Patrick's exposure, and his desire to protect Robin, all the more moving.
It's refreshing to see a soap showcasing so many out of the ordinary and educational stories all at once. Most shows are lucky if they can do one big story well at any given time. If only the rest of soaps were as jam packed with moving and heartrending stories as GH, then ratings might go up across the daytime spectrum.
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