Love in the Afternoon
Confession of a soap fan time! A while ago, I had started watching Days of our Lives again after a very long absence. It was right before Kristen and Brady’s disastrous non-wedding. I instantly feel in love with the pairing of Eric and Nicole. Their forbidden love had been on a slow burn. Nicole had become a better person for Eric and would never do anything to hurt him. They were each other’s salvataion. Then everything did a 180. Nicole destroyed the evidence that would have saved her lover’s reputation, becoming the villian. And Eric went from being the man who would love her despite the nay-sayers to jumping on the “Nicole is bad” bandwagon. I deleted the show from my DVR. I haven’t deleted GH from my DVR but I’ve been having a very Daysja-vu experience with it lately.
Fans who watch soaps for a particular couple nowadays set themselves up for disappointment. When you really think about it, that’s pretty sad. Anytime I was addicted to a show or story line it was because I loved a particular couple. For example, I’m watching The Bold and the Beautiful regularly because Maya and Rick have me hooked. GH doesn’t have that kind of hook right now though and it hasn’t in a long time. I’m not talking about “shipping.” GH has that covered more than enough with its forsaken Jasam vs. Liason shipper wars. What it doesn’t have are supercouples that bring fans together as they root for love to conquer all. I don’t think the current GH is designed to give viewers that.
Couples don’t have to stay together 100% of the time to create the longing fans want to feel. Characters need to be themselves and obstacles can’t be overwhelming. The current story line with Dante and Lulu is a good example of what not to do. I can’t hate the story because the actors are giving it their all and really playing the beats and yet…Dante would never behave like this. He’s smarter than that. He’s not a rash, macho dude bro. I don’t know this Dante and that makes it hard for me to see how Lulu and Dante will find their way back to each other in the end. Lulu loves Dante and what he did was very unDante like. The actors are working their butts off to make this work and I’m glued to the screen when they are on but I’m not necessarily enticed to watch more.
In addition to Lulu and Dante, a couple that I was really enjoying was Nina and Franco. Anyone who follows me on twitter knows I adore the scheming couple trope. These two crazies seem meant for each other, have tons of chemistry, look very pretty together and were on their way to becoming the next version of Santa Barbara’s Keith and Gina. Then they weren’t. The direction the characters were heading (and which I believe the actors were working towards) came to a quick halt and everything did a 180. The story we’re getting right now isn’t all bad but it’s not the journey I was on before. It’s as if I was on my way to Hawaii and the plane switched paths and went to Alaska instead. No matter how pretty the northern state is this time of year, I’d be annoyed because it wasn’t the destination that I wanted and you would have a hard time convincing me otherwise. It looks like someone put plot and BIG MOMENTS!!!!! above romance and characters. That’s something I really want to change.
All In The Family
A part of what fuels love in the afternoon are the families. It’s the key element to any star-crossed pairing. It’s what connected the popular pairing of Julian and Alexis and what should be causing their conflict. It’s a much more natural and relatable obstacle than bombs, faux weddings, masks, wigs, murder and mayhem. That’s not to say that fun and wacky adventure shouldn’t be done too but the heart needs to be there and familiar connections add that.
There are a lot of families on GH but it’s rare that we see them interact. I want Davis girls, Quartermaines, Spencers, etc. And what about the classic families that can be built up such as Webbers and Baldwins? We have the fun new Westborne/Reeves/Obrecht family unit but even they interact in only bits and pieces. That’s how family is played overall on GH. We might get a touching scene between Nik and Spencer but none of Laura, Lulu, Dante, Rocco, Nik and Spencer. Holiday episodes had practically disappeared or been chopped down to a few characters interacting. Alexis, Sam and Molly are rarely seen together anymore. Every past opportunity to add to the Quartermaine family was either not taken or immediately squandered.
Why hasn’t Jake Doe interacted with his family more until recently? Why has GH been teasing the return of Serena Baldwin for years but never followed through? Why was a new Spencer character brought on to only interact with Dante and occasionally Lulu but rarely any of the other Spencers? Why is TJ living with Sonny instead of building a relationship with his mother?
Confusing plot points have taken importance over emotional beats. Passanante and Altman’s writing styles lean more towards character driven material. I’m hoping that means more family disfunction and interaction.
I don’t have Olivia’s psychic abilities (does she still have those?) so I can’t say for sure what the future now holds for GH but I’m looking forward to seeing what the new writing team brings.
Photos courtesy of ABC.