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Home Features Busted to Blissful November 2004 ~ ATWT and GH

November 2004 ~ ATWT and GH

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Jack's amnesia dull. Sonny realizing he's the daddy scores big

In this month's Busted to Blissful, Soapdom's Lesleyann Coker sees trouble on ATWT, and good things on GH.  What is it about the goings on in Oakdale that busted her bubble and what's going on in Port Charles that has put her in bubblicious bubble bliss?  Read on!

 Busted: Amnesiac Jack on ATWT

The character of Jack Snyder on As the World Turns has always been known for his good conscience, his nobility, and his heroic tendency to do the right thing.  All of that has disappeared with the storyline of Jack’s amnesia.

Jack was a cop, and even if he doesn’t remember that part of his life, one would assume some of his cop-instincts would carry over.  Not that soaps are known for their realism, but it was far fetched, not to mention completely out of character, when Jack decided no one was looking for him because no missing persons report had been filed.  Then in what seemed like warp-speed, he moved in and fell in love with his nurse Julia, and obtained false identification so he could marry her.

While I realize Sarah Brown, who plays Julia, is on a short term contract, thus the need to rush, it was a shame to sacrifice a character’s integrity in the process.  If the writers were being true to Jack, he would have spent more than ten seconds in one episode wondering about his past before throwing in the towel and beginning a new life.

Things have gone from bad to worse since Jack’s wife Carly found him, and he along with Julia and her son J.J. in tow, returned to Oakdale.  At first Jack was belligerent, and didn’t want anything to do with Carly and his old family, declaring that Julia and J.J. were his family now.  Thankfully, this unlikable Jack seems to be diminishing as Jack slowly becomes curious about who he was in the past, and his relationship with Carly.  However, he still continues to make out with Julia in front of Carly every chance he gets, which means along with his amnesia, he has acquired insensitivity.

Despite the writers implausible and inconsistent characterization of Jack, the actors should be commended for doing their best with this clichéd plot.  Maura West has never been better as Carly first struggled with her grief and denial over Jack’s “death,” and then her hope and determination to find him, when she suspected he might be alive.  When she finally did locate him, West managed to convey Carly’s elation that Jack was standing in front of her, combined with the heartbreak that he didn’t recognize her, with one agonizing look as the light went out of her eyes.

For his part, Michael Park has made Jack appear almost child-like in his blind devotion to Julia, even when he learned she didn’t tell him he had a wife and kids as soon as she discovered this fact.  It’s hard to hate a guy that still possesses loyalty, as misplaced as it might be.

  Sarah Brown found herself in a difficult position coming in as the spoiler to the popular Jack and Carly relationship, but thus far, as hard as she has tried, she has been unable to infuse Julia with any likeability.  It’s time for Jack and Carly to slowly fall in love all over again, and for Jack to send Julia packing.  Brown, who originated the role of Carly on General Hospital, and is a three-time Emmy winner, has plenty of experience portraying heartbreak and anger, so I hope the show’s writers will allow her to showcase those skills on her way out of Oakdale.  It might make this story worthwhile.

Blissful: Sonny Learns the Truth About Kristina on GH

General Hospital gave us one of the most mesmerizing weeks in soap history, with the reveal that mobster Sonny Corinthos is Kristina Davis’ biological father.  Even though the subject matter was depressing (two-year-old Kristina is dying and needs a life saving bone marrow transplant), the acting and writing were superb.

Usually, I don’t like when a show focuses almost exclusively on one plot for an entire week, but in this case, it was justified.  The repercussion of Carly’s disclosure to Sonny that she had known the truth about Kristina’s parentage for nine months and never told him, shattered the Corinthos’ marriage yet again.  While one marriage crumbled, another began, as Alexis hastily married Sonny’s brother Ric, in order to present a stable family situation in preparation for an eventual custody battle.  And last but not least, there was the sick little girl Kristina, who Sonny had been deprived of knowing, and now might never have the chance.

There was also the rush to have Sonny and his family tested as donors, in the hope that one of Kristina’s new found relatives might be a match.  When none of them were, the drama only intensified.  A last ditch plan was devised to induce Sam’s (Sonny’s former mistress who is carrying his daughter) labor at 38 weeks, in order to use the newborn’s stem cells to save Kristina.  Sonny was immediately faced with the impossible decision of taking a 10 percent risk to his unborn daughter if labor was induced, versus a 100 percent risk his new found daughter would die without the procedure.  Sonny chose not to play God with his children’s lives and left the decision up to Sam, who decided the risk to her unborn baby was too great.

After months (some would say years) of mob shootings and violence, this story feels more character based.  Who among us can’t sympathize with Sonny (who hasn’t been very sympathetic lately) as he learns he has a child, only to discover she’s dying, and that the only one who can save her is her unborn sister?  For Sonny to be put in a position of choosing between his children is unthinkable, yet all week I found myself wondering what I would do if I was in Sam’s shoes.  Any soap story that gets viewers thinking must be doing something right.

The actors appear energized as they bring this powerfully written story to life.  Maurice Benard has been at his brooding best as Sonny struggles with his options.  Tamara Braun was electrifying in the scene where Carly poignantly made love to her husband, before quietly telling him the truth.  And Nancy Lee Grahn has been through the emotional wringer day after day as Alexis fights for her child’s life.  In this situation, through the actors’ raw portrayals, there aren’t any winners or losers.  Everyone has been wronged in some fashion, and earns sympathy on some level.

As of this writing, Alexis has just confronted Sam about her choice not to save Kristina, and the conversation became heated and emotional, with the end result of Sam agreeing to have her labor induced, before doubling over in pain.  Talk about your Friday cliff-hanger!  General Hospital has been lacking suspense, interest, and fan support for months, but with a few more Fridays (and weeks) like this, their audience is bound to come back.

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