Soaps

‘General Hospital’ Week In Review: Proceed With Caution

Last week’s General Hospital didn’t have me as enthusiastic as the previous week did. It wasn’t the escapism that I wanted it to be but perhaps real world events were distracting me from the reel events in Port Charles. It was kind of a dark week with focus on a funeral, mourning, suicide, alcoholism and criminals roaming free. The heavy material did provide some food for thought though.

In soap news, The Young and the Restless’ new head writer Sally Sussman had a must-read interview with TVGuide’s Michael Logan. Her comments about the state of her show apply to the soap genre as a whole. “Y&R has a bigger audience than, say, Mad Men, but Mad Men had a devoted audience. You didn’t dare miss it. That’s where daytime has missed the boat. It has failed to make the shows cultish and contemporary,” states Sussman regarding the genre’s ratings woes. Her thoughts on the rivalry between Victor and Jack could be easily interchanged with GH’s continued mob rivalries, stating the dilemma is “that Victor always wins” and “The show has been hamstrung by that.” I also think she was spot on with her thoughts on creating super couples and real emotion. The interview made me feel hopeful for soaps and others should follow her lead.

I wasn’t able to write about everything that happened last week. If you would like to share your thoughts on anything I did or did not mention, please leave a comment below or tweet me and we’ll chat.

General Hospital Week In Review for the episodes that aired November 7th-11th.

Unwelcomed Return

When I first heard that GH was bringing back Liz’s rapist Tom Baker, I was really surprised that the writers would go there. I instantly had flashbacks to One Life To Live’s 2009 KAD killer story line a.k.a. Spring Fling Redux. Anyone who had the misfortune to watch that story knows how awful it can be when a show’s history gets used in a way that equates to fan fiction rather than something that will have a real impact. For those not familiar with the KAD story line, Todd’s cousin and fellow rapist Powell along with his ex-girlfriend Rebecca went around town killing a bunch of people because…well I’m not really sure why. The story wasn’t necessary or memorable. I pretend it never happened and Rebecca is still an innocent nun living Texas. Thankfully this won’t be that bad and, after looking at what’s ahead, the story has me intrigued. I think it could be really good if done right.

TVSource senior staff writer Johnathon K. had similar thoughts on the controversial story line, “I’m super interested in it, because I think it’s a good story to tell, with that said, I don’t know that I trust this show to tell the story the way it deserves to be told. From what I’ve seen on Youtube and from reading history, Liz’s rape was a very powerful moment for the show, and this just already sounds like it is building for a ‘who dun it’.” Liz’s rape was indeed a powerful story line. The story was initially controversial. How couldn’t it be considering the subject matter? Back in the 1990’s, soaps didn’t shy away from tough topics and the story of Liz’s recovery garnered praise from both viewers and critics. Fans felt very emotionally connected to Liz’s experience. They still do. With powerful stories like this one, sometimes it’s best to leave what’s sacred alone.

Liz gets news that Tom is up for parole.
Liz gets news that Tom is up for parole.

What happened to Liz is a part of her though. As she told Franco, “It’s part of who I am. I don’t hide the fact that I’m a rape surviver.” Tom was sentenced to 20 years in prison not because of what he did to Liz. It’s because he doctored photos of an underaged Emily Quartermaine and tried to extort money. His time has been served and the courts no longer consider him a threat because Emily is dead. So, much to everyone’s horror, he is now a free man. While some fans are understandably upset at this current story line, there are others that have been asking for Tom’s return for the same reason as those who oppose it – because the story was so important to them.

Personally, I land somewhere in middle of nervous and excited for Tom’s return. I’m going to give it a chance before condemning it. The actors involved are all phenomenal and I feel will do their best to be careful with the material. I hope that Laura and Liz’s relationship is played heavily for the story. Fans always love Genie Francis and Rebecca Herbst together. The story should also have impact on Liz’s new relationships too otherwise there isn’t much point in playing this beat right now. It has already made Franco take a hard look at his own past actions. He is in love with Liz but how can he be her hero after what he did to Sam? What will this mean for their future together? There is also Liz’s new family drama. Hayden isn’t happy about Liz being her sister. Their rivalry began over Nik. Hayden didn’t like how her husband always put his friend before her. She even slut-shamed Liz regarding her mismatched children. Hayden doesn’t know what Liz has been though or why Nik was so protective of her. It would be everything and more if GH were to actually have Liz’s parents show up in Port Charles. They weren’t there for her when she needed them as a teen. Would they be there for her now? What explanation would they have for their long absence in their daughter’s life?

Pulp Fiction

Finn tries to save an infected Hayden.
Finn tries to save an infected Hayden.

I like Finn and Hayden but I’m over the deadly disease story line. Couldn’t Robin have cured Finn when she was in town? I mean the super doctor did cure Jason from being a popsicle so surely whatever’s ailing Finn would have been like a walk in park. Alas this story continues!

Much to Brad Cooper’s chagrin, Finn had taken over the General Hospital lab in hopes of finding a cure. But his hands are shaky from his drug habit and he spills the toxin. Before he can clean up the mess, Hayden steps into it and gets the goo all over her paper cut. She’s now infected with a stronger strain of the disease that Finn has. Can Finn save Hayden or will he fail to cure her just like his wife? I guess it sounds romantic on paper.

Finn’s sloppy treatment of Brad’s lab made him lose his lab privileges and he convinces Tracy, Laura and Liz to help him move Hayden to the Quartermaine mansion for treatment. It seems that Finn has gotten himself a reputation and isn’t welcome at Mercy either. I have no doubt that Finn will find a way to save both Hayden and himself. Hopefully it happens soon.

About the author

Jenn Bishop

Jenn Bishop was TVSource Magazine's Soap Editor. She's a thirty-something fan girl of soapy television and anything involving Joss Whedon. She began sharing her views on daytime soaps in 2012 with her blog Save Our Suds. A former philosophy major, she loves discussing different view points with fellow TV addicts and aficionados. When not watching television, she enjoys art, live music, exploring the Midwest food scene, and drinking too many lattes. Follow her on Twitter at @SourceJenn.