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Sunday, January 26, 2014

General Hospital: There You Go Again, Carlivati #GH #General Hospital

The fans of One Life to Live General Hospital may be experiencing déjà vu as they adjust their screens while they are watching the current goings on. Friday’s episode, the most watchable of recent vintage, gives a glimpse of what might be if. Ron Carlivati has already ventured into cartoon land in previous episodes and there is fond hope that he can get his viewership out of it and onto more realistic territory. Hope does indeed spring eternal.

David A Gregory Ryan Paevey’s addition to the cast fulfills the Valentini/Carlivati penchant for strikingly handsome young men. On General Hospital One Life to Live those shoes were filled by talented actors portraying the Ford brothers. Their presence came to front burner status on the heels of the gay story line, which the Brass blamed for low ratings. No one seemed to notice the ridiculous story line featuring the very talented Robin Mattson Rosco Born nor the ridiculous subplot featuring Kathleen Gati Robin Strasser’s Dorian Lord proclaiming her homosexuality to get elected mayor. There was indeed a great gay triangle with supporting player Parry Shen Nicholas Rodriguez and Ryan Carnes Brett Claywell.

To forget history is to fall victim to its mistakes.

The first time was the charm for One Life to Live's gay oriented plots when the young Ryan Philippe played a gay teenager and the plot meshed with a story about the AIDS Quilt. General Hospital’s history doesn’t even have that.  It was all downhill since. Even when the likes of Frank Valentini and Ron Carlivati were at the helm of the Kyle and Oliver story telling, it got sabotaged through ridiculous subplots—the gay marriage and mayoral race scenario and the loony tune main plot centering around Mitch Laurence’s shenanigans. A lot of good will was lost by the abrupt truncating of Kyle and Oliver’s love story, which became either the sacrificial lamb or the scapegoat depending on whose lens you decide to peer through. 

Ryan Carnes is a solid, attractive actor who embodies those same qualities in the character of Lucas Jones, an adult gay man. There were many a happy dance when his return to the role was announced and how great was it that this story was going to be told by a writing and producing team who truly understand gay men. Oh, wait …

It is also a good thing that mature, talented women are working actresses thanks to the show. General Hospital is blessed with the likes of Robin Mattson and Kathleen Gati among others. If only their supervising team respected their talents. If only their supervising team respected their audience.

All of the actors of this venerable series are loved by their respective fans. If only it were validated by the writing,

The fragile state of Soap Opera keeps getting more fragile. It is becoming a caricature of itself. Historically shows like Santa Barbara and, even, All My Children gained a lot of momentum when stories were done tongue in cheek and when lines were delivered letting the audience in on the joke. A little bit of camp goes a long way. It works when the circumstances permit it and it is done intelligently.

Messrs Valentini and Carlivati, it is not working on your show.

Here is an opportunity to tell a grown up gay story, General Hospital, featuring a great actor who has clout with gay viewers in the person of Ryan Carnes. Do not squander it.

It seems the same recipe which helped bring down One Life to Live is being cooked up again. A lot of good will was established in the 50th Anniversary edition of General Hospital. There is fear that it is capital being badly spent and the gay story will simply get smothered in the overwhelming stupidity of the main story. Other watchable story lines will also lose their value in the circus which currently portrayed on ABC’s surviving Daytime Cartoon Drama. Many fans declare that the FF button is their friend.