Aside from my need for Carly to shut her yap, a week and a half in I do have other, less visceral, responses to GH’s sweeps event.

When they made it clear that they were going to do some semblance of a real time event again, I didn’t actually have a problem with it. I still don’t. It may now be unoriginal, but what doing something like this over three weeks allows is for most of the cast to be involved and for all their stories to be told over the period, rather than trying to squash things together.

It also allows room for quite a deal of cast integration, which is always a positive. And even though both GH and Days have vastly improved in that area in the last 12 months, I still always welcome a chance for it to happen to a greater degree.

That general point aside, the execution this time around has been vastly inferior.

The main reason is the lack of suspense.

During the Metro Court crisis there were two main things that drove the action in terms of keeping the stakes clear and urgent. First there was the quite literally ticking bomb waiting to go off. Second there was a villain who, no matter how convoluted and painful he has become since, drove the action and was always raising the stakes by being genuinely unpredictable. In other words, shooting Robin was a great move.

This time around there is no ticking bomb, literal or otherwise. There is the promise of Nikolas waking up next to an as yet unidentified but rather obvious unconscious female, whose fate is also obvious (and ridiculous), so the only unknown is the cause of said fate. Other than the writers of course. I’ll rant more about that when said female and their fate is actually revealed on screen as opposed to in the mags.

There is no one driving villain. Instead there is one highly amusing but not really scary lunatic who no longer has any clear target, one long term character suffering fits of violence and black outs – who is far more scary and yet also a character with a future on the show so how far will he actually go? – and a series of potential red herrings/character assassinations and nameless so-called mercenaries. Against those are the whole rest of the cast, most of them more heavily armed than the people they supposedly fear.

It just doesn’t have me anxious to find out what happens next. How they get from point A to point B, point B very possibly involving everyone but Nikolas and The Body having left the island some time before, for all we know.

In more traditional sweeps fashion, I’m actually more interested in the personal revelations that may or may not occur: Jake’s parentage, Kate’s past, Coop’s role in the Metro Court, Logan’s military misdeeds, etc. And most of that is more about a sense of oh, they’re finally going to deal with that then, than anything else.

The secondary reason it’s not working this time around is the refusal to acknowledge that they’ve done this before. They seem so afraid to draw attention to the fact that they undertook a similar exercise a mere nine months ago – as if we didn’t notice – that they’re avoiding even the most obvious references to the Metro Court experience and its undermining the drama. It’s silly.

That is particularly noticeable in the Patrick/Robin/Ric section of the drama. For a large part they put Patrick, Robin and at points Emily in a situation that they have experienced in different ways before, with a group of people who didn’t experience it, and they refuse to even refer to it.

There should be no circumstances in which those three doctors who are preparing to sew up Ric with fishing line do not refer to the fact that rather recently one of them guided another over the phone as to how to do exactly the same to the third, and it all worked out. That they’re studiously ignoring that fact is ridiculous. If there were any depth to the character portraits they’d be drawing on that experience, not acting like this is something entirely new that they’ve never had to cope with before. It doesn’t undermine the story to acknowledge that; we all know it – ratings clearly indicate that there’s no new viewers watching now that weren’t watching in February and even if there were, this would be helpful background – and not referring to it just looks like the writers are trying to hide the perfectly obvious.

Also, they’re missing a golden opportunity to have a few genuine bonding moments between Patrick and Robin that would be relevant even if they have medium term plans for the chemistry vortex that is the Leyla/Patrick pairing. I can’t believe that anyone, including the writers, see Leyla as anything other than an obstacle, and high crisis sweeps events are the time you focus on the core pairings even if only for a short time, not the obstacles.

Given I think that they’ve got the overall pacing and focus wrong, there are things, moments that have worked, definitely. I think Tyler Christopher is doing a great job. The moments between Ric and Alexis were fantastic (though I guess we see no more of those going forward). Throwing Luke and Scott into a room and having them actually speak to each other – no matter the general sacrelige of some of Luke’s other statements – after the bluster and the yelling, is a good thing. Nadine has, remarkably enough, turned into a breath of fresh air.

Also as with the Metro Court situation, so far at least not everything has been about Jason being heroic. Sure, he’s running around ferrying people to the barn and occasionally saving Carly’s life, damn him, but really, to date, Jax has come off as the most active and heroic in actually getting stuff done. Aside from the doctors and nurses, of course.

So, they haven’t done everything wrong by any means, but if they were aiming for edge of your seat action, which I suspect they were, then they’ve failed. I do want to see what happens, but that’s mainly to find out: (a) how many characters they can unnecessarily kill and then resurrect in track suits, or other inappropriate outfits; (b) whether Carly’s head does actually explode when certain revelations are made; (c) whether Skye’s hair ever moves; and (d) just how many characters they can arm with what variety of weapons in such a short period of time.

Advertisements

Shut up!

11Nov07

I do have other comments about how the GH sweeps event is progressing, but I’ll get to those in the next couple of days. In the meantime, I feel that it’s necessary to state that whatever its other failings or successes, watching Thursday and Friday’s episodes did have me shouting at the screen a lot.

Shouting “Shut Up!” specifically.

I rather resent being made to look like a loon shouting at fictional characters on a screen, and therefore I would like to call out the following characters for making me do exactly that:

– Carly

– Lulu

– Leyla

– Carly

– Trevor

– Carly

– Sam (eventually – it was the Carly-like nature of the screeching the second she entered every room that was the problem, not what she was saying. Take a breath, woman)

– Carly


A week into sweeps and the GH death and injury count (plus a few other things) is as follows:

Deaths
– the Wyndemere generator – chopped with an axe by presumably, but not certainly, Zacchara, A.

– 1 member of the general staff guest – stabbed in the back by presumably, but not certainly, Zacchara, A.

– 1 boat – bombed for reasons that don’t even begin to make any kind of sense at all and were, so far as I can see, completely unnecessary – assailant unknown and couldn’t possibly make sense even if they were known

– 1 launch radio and other assorted parts – assailant unknown

– 2 henchman mercenaries(!) – shot by Jacks, J. (since when did he have deadly aim?) and Jacks, J. (he always had deadly aim) after having something randomly thrown at them by McCall, S.

– 1 defenceless hay bale – shot by Morgan, J. and Webber, E.

Injuries
– Scott – hit over the head by Zacchara, J.
– Elizabeth – punched in the face by McCall, S.
– Elizabeth’s dress – torn by McCall, S.
– the Wyndemere pier – chopped up by Zacchara, A.
– Leyla’s necklace – torn off her neck by Jones, M.
– Ric – run through with a sword and pinned to the wall, assailant unknown
– Patrick – beaten about the head by Cassadine, N.
– Logan – punched in the stomach by Zacchara, J.
– Lucky – thwacked over the head by his loving brother, Cassadine, N.
– Trevor – had strips torn off him as well as being slapped upside the face by Davis, A.
– Cooper – knocked out, assailant unknown
– Carly – stunned, having tripped over herself. Twice. The second time being especially hilarious

Highly Inconveniently Occurring Medial Conditions

– Alexis has sudden onset appendicitis

Guns Pulled
– Jason on Zacchara’s quite sensible henchman
– Johnny on Trevor
– Carly on Coop
– 2 Henchman shooting at Jax, Jerry and Sam
– Johnny on Sonny and Sonny on Johnny, simultaneously
– Sonny on Johnny some more
– Sonny on Trevor

Pokers Wielded
– Nadine, showing more forethought than most of the rest of the characters, at Anthony Zacchara and random hallways (of course, by then letting Spinelli get hold of a sword, she lost points)

Armed With Guns (Where the Fuck Did They All Come From?)
– Jason
– Sonny
– Johnny
– Jerry
– Jax
– Sam
– Carly
– Elizabeth
– Nikolas
– Random henchmen

Order in Which TPTB Regard Characters Who are not Jason as Being Able to Take Care of Other Characters

1. Luke
2. Lucky
3. Jerry

That is, judging by Jason’s asking who was there to look after anyone else. Jerry? Really? Also, Lucky of the unconscious for the last two episodes, really?

Refreshingly Out Of Character Demonstrations of Common Sense
– Maxie pointing out to Georgie that going after Spinelli is not a good idea and the best idea is for them to stay where they are so no one has to go looking for them

– Sam pointing out to Jerry and Jax that when dividing up tasks between them she gets the boat, Jerry gets the mercenaries and Jax gets the hardest job of all, Carly

– Nadine, again, asking who exactly put Jason in charge (she clearly hasn’t been in town very long) and pointing out that racing around with a gun is not the be all and end all, AND that the most interesting thing about Jason is that he has Spinelli for a friend. She’s so clearly going to end up dead (unspoiled comment)

Hairstyles Improved by Being Sent into the Rain

– Carly
– Sam
– Elizabeth
– Jax

Hairstyles Not Improved by Being Sent into the Rain

– Jason (stunned, aren’t you?)

Hairstyles Apparently Unmoved and Undampened by Being Sent into the Rain
– Nadine

Hairstyles That May Yet Benefit from Being Sent into the Rain
– Logan – his hair keeps getting poufier the longer he stays inside

Questions I Have to Ask

O- being the universal blood type, why are there so few people on that island that have it and exactly what blood type are all these people if they’re neither A- or O-? G?


Oh, Days. It’s sweeps. And you’re boring me. That is not good.

Especially when the answer to keeping me interested is so easy: do not spend 2 (and judging by the previews, heading for 3) days in a row having either all, or 4/5ths of the show be about Belle and Shawn and people talking about Belle and Shawn.

You’re doing so well with the college stuff – the one bright point on Tuesday – and you may get around to shooting EJ shortly (not actually spoiled about that but I have watched the odd soap in the past so I have this vague sense about what may be coming, I don’t know why), but unless Belle and Phillip are actually having sex they and all people talking about them are painfully boring.

Perhaps you could even take a lesson from GH’s treatment of sweeps. I know, I know, sacrilege, but bear with me here. GH has taken the unusual step of making this November knock-out sweeps month. Every few minutes another character is getting hit over the head and rendered unconscious – two on Monday alone – by unknown assailants, by their nutso brothers, by random mad mobsters. I’m just suggesting that perhaps that type of attitude could also be put to good use on Days. On Shawn, specifically.

Just a suggestion.


Monday was kind of a nothing day on Days.

Kayla and Hope having a nice conversation unfortunately on a loop.

Phillip telling Belle what she feels and only very occasionally listening to her at all. A soap trait which makes me increasingly frustrated. Phillip does it, EJ does it, over on GH Sonny absolutely does it (though he’s a bit better now than he was earlier in the year). I know there’s the whole ‘she’s denying her feelings’ thing, but frankly when someone is actively saying no, no, no, I don’t care what their feelings are, respect them for half a second and listen to what they say. Eventually their feelings will come to the fore without the badgering. Probably faster without the badgering.

Shawn whining. Again.

Which brings me to be favourite part of an unremarkable episode: Bo telling Shawn exactly how it is, that he brought all of this on himself and that he should suck it up and get on with making up for his mistakes instead of complaining about it.

It’s particularly refreshing for a parent to be telling their screw-up child that they’re a screw up and to take responsibility, but doing it in a heartfelt rather than a ranting way. I really like Bo as a Dad over the last period, really since he reached détente with Chelsea.

Also refreshing, Hope weighing not only whether to spill the beans about Belle’s tryst, but also considering the consequences of talking or not talking. That was a nice change from soap characters being generally incapable of considering the consequences of anything.


On an island with a castle we have trapped the following (some people are counted twice):

4 lawyers
2.5 doctors (Emily’s not qualified yet, right?)
3 nurses
2 cops
9 mobsters of one variety or another (once Jason lands, which we know he will. And yes, I do count Skye)
2 ex-soldiers
1 mercenary type of unknown current employment
1 con woman/ex-salvage boat operator/TV host
1 student/waitress/hospital volunteer
1 waitress/student does Lulu even go to school anymore?
1 boutique saleswoman/hospital volunteer
1 unemployed magazine editor/hospital orderly
2 hotel owners (one of whom is running around with a gun and the other is likely just thrilled this is not taking place in his hotel)
1 prince/businessman
1 businesswoman (once Tracy arrives, which we know she will)
1 oft travelling house husband/con man/club owner
1 butler
numerous other staff
numerous professional ballroom dancing extras
numerous characters of questionable sanity

With that combination, after a mere three days the death and injury count is as follows:

Deaths

– the Wyndemere generator – chopped with an axe by presumably, but not certainly, Zacchara, A.
– 1 member of the general staff – stabbed in the back by presumably, but not certainly, Zacchara, A.

Injuries
– Scott – hit over the head by Zacchara, J.
– Elizabeth – punched in the face by McCall, S.
– Elizabeth’s dress – torn by McCall, S.
– the Wyndemere pier – chopped up by Zacchara, A.
– Leyla’s necklace – torn off her neck by Jones, M.
– Ric – run through with a sword and pinned to the wall, assailant unknown
– Patrick – beaten about the head by Cassadine, N.

Highly Inconvenient Medial Conditions Not Previously Foreshadowed
None. Yet.

Guns Pulled
– Jason on Zacchara’s quite sensible henchman
– Johnny on Trevor
– Carly on Coop

Glaring Continuity Errors
– Episode One starts at 5am and then quite reasonably goes back 11 hours to 6pm the previous day. Unfortunately Episode Two starts at 5am and then goes back 11 hours to 7pm the previous day. Someone in the graphics department made a typo
– Carly sends a text message to her mystery texter at 4.29pm. Instead of, you know, 7.29pm. Bad continuity person, bad

Just by comparison, over on Days the only sweeps injuries so far are Kate’s forehead (fake) and Kate’s car (also fake). However they do have the lead on the rape scale, with one from pre-sweeps admitted, one attempted, and pretty likely one currently being suppressed. Though, of course, they did kill off a major and a minor character in the lead up to sweeps, so it’s not as if their hands are entirely clean.


Arg, this is what drives me nuts about GH (and soaps generally though Days has vastly improved on this front in recent months) at sweeps time. It’s not that they bring out the big stunts and pretty dresses, it’s that they also remember the soap fundamentals. None of that is frustrating in and of itself, it’s that they don’t remember it for so much of the rest of the year that drives me nuts. Sweeps proves they know how to write and then they ignore all of it the rest of the year.

Look at Thursday’s episode. Leave aside the mob stuff, though even that was related, and look at what it was really about. Family. Little scenes between family be they antagonistic – Luke, Lulu, Scott and Logan, or Trevor and Ric – or sympathetic, or new and not yet explored, or old and neglected.

I like that they’re starting to play up a relationship between Nikolas and Sam. I hope it’s the start of much more Cassadinery to come, beyond this sweeps event.

Away from the sinister and on to the wonderful, I so enjoy it when they emphasise the relationship between Robin, Maxie and Georgie. It happens so rarely that in between I forget that they are basically sisters and then wonder why they’re sharing such friendly scenes together. It’s a travesty that I could forget for even a moment that the children of Robert and Anna and Mac and Felicia and Frisco have a relationship. And then it all comes back to me and I’m happy and annoyed that it doesn’t happen more often.

And I know she’s always good, but special props to Kimberly McCullough for that perfect little tearing up during her chat with the girls. Very real among all the over the top that is, by necessity, sweeps.

I thought they did a good job across the board on Thursday, bringing in the ongoing stories – Nikolas’s condition, the animosity between Sam and Liz, etc – and weaving in the sweeps stories (amazing how much more attractive Johnny is when he’s not acting the whack job) and the build up to getting stranded and the lights going out.

As for Friday, there were three parts to it: the good, the predictable and the downright hilarious. I’ll let you guess which is which:

1. the bulk of the show appropriately creepy and building nicely with lots of cast integration (and aided, perhaps, by me watching it while a thunder storm was going on here too);

2. Carly being an insane stubborn harpy; and

3. bwahahahahahaha!

Caps courtesy Clarissa.