Wednesday, April 23, 2008

General Hospital: I See Dead People!

I don’t watch The Soaps very often. When I do, I usually try to catch One Life to Life and General Hospital. I have no idea why I even bother anymore. But sometimes television can get so boring, and even with limitless choices there still doesn’t seem to be any good programming on, so I turn on The Soaps just to see if anything new is happening. (Usually I can go months and still find the same storyline going on with little changes over that time.)

While watching GH today, though, I saw one of the most ludicrous storylines ever: Nikolas Cassadine (Tyler Christopher) is seeing his dead girlfriend, Emily Quartermaine (Natalia Livingston). I was so happy when Emily met her maker in what seems like a year ago…yet she still lives on in the mind of Nikolas, who seems desperate for the hallucinations to continue.

This is not the only dead character that continues to have a presence on GH. Occasionally we see Alan Quartermaine (Stuart Damon) who has returned to haunt his sister Tracy (Jane Elliott).

I just cannot figure out the people who are running this show. They get rid of characters…but then find reasons to bring them back. Is this a case of the show not understanding their fan base? Do they kill off a character thinking no one will care and then have second thoughts? In the case of Emily, they should have just left her dead. Killing off Alan, well, I think that was just a mistake on their part.

Now we have the ever-annoying Michael Corinthos (Dylan Cash) – who I like to call David Caruso in training - who is being booted from the show. This kid has been annoying for years, and now that he appears to be in a coma, we can only expect that 6 months down the road, his character will return to the show, magically matured to the age of 18 or 21 or something like that. This is another case of the show letting a kid grow into a role, only to find them horribly restrained by the kid's awkward age. The only way they can get out of the mess is some sort of convenient tragedy – in the case Michael being shot by a bullet meant for his father. Of course, the real news is that they are recasting Michael’s role for someone older – which is why poor young Michael will be in a coma for a little while.

I’ve said it before and I’ll repeat it again – it’s no wonder that shows like General Hospital find themselves continuing to loose viewership. The viewers expect stories to be at least somewhat credible. It’s always been a soap standard that anybody who dies on the show in some sort of mysterious way can usually turn out not to be really dead, and return to the show. But if you’re clearly shown dead on the show – excuse me, but YOU’RE DEAD and we shouldn’t see your face anymore. Well, except when they want to bring back the character as some sort of twin that nobody ever knew about, or some sort of doppelganger. You know, that really sounds even more ridiculous when I put it into words.

So here’s a suggestion to the producers of The Soaps: make sure that when you kill off a character, that you really want them dead, because storylines where they magically come back are just plain silly. And make sure that before you kill off a major character that you have a really good idea that it’s what the viewers want. If you’re not sure, or you just want to leave your options open, find another reason to have their character leave other than death. This way if you want them to come back – or they want to come back – the show won’t look so foolish and the fans won't have their intelligence insulted.

So, General Hospital, please give Nikolas a lobotomy or something to make her stop seeing Emily so she can go ahead and be really dead. Have Alan get bored with haunting Tracy so Alan can rest in peace. And please find someone to replace Michael that doesn’t look like David Caruso, please.

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