Let General Hospital's Ladies Lead
Now that most of Garin Wolf’s storylines have wrapped or are evolving into something new, GH no longer feels like it's jumping from one thing to the next. We’re beginning to see umbrella storylines immerge. Before, I rarely watched General Hospital live. Now, thanks to storyline hooks, I’ve found myself watching it live more and more. With Ron Carlivati and Frank Valentini firmly in place, it's time to infuse Port Charles with what made them so great in Llanview, their leading ladies.
At One Life to Live Carlivati excelled at driving storylines by capitalizing on the struggles, rivalries and love lives of its female characters. To me it was his biggest strength. Who didn’t enjoy his writing for Dorian (Robin Strasser) vs. Viki (Erika Slezak)? Blair (Kassie DePaiva) and Tea’s (Florencia Lozano) frenemy status was often more enjoyable to watch than in their opposite sex romantic pairings. Natalie (Melissa Archer) took on any woman in her path, even her sister. We may have called Jessica (Bree Williamson) “Messica" on the podcast, but even the men in that crazy character’s life revolved around her, not the other way around.
The men of General Hospital have led the pack for years. It's time for the ladies to take the lead and let Carlivati play up one of his strengths.
Currently, few of GH’s logical female rivalries enter each other’s orbit very often. Sam (Kelly Monaco) and Elizabeth's (Rebecca Herbst) interactions have been farily limited, considering the drama in Sam and Jason's marriage. Carly (Laura Wright) and Alexis (Nancy Lee Grahn) only share scenes in passing. Monica (Leslie Charleson) and Tracy (Jane e Elliot) have immense history. Fans love the Quartermaines, but we rarely see them opposite one another, unless they are trading barbs in the mansion. I’d even suggest destroying Lulu (Julie Marie Berman) and Maxie’s (Jen Lilley) friendship and return them to loathing one another. The closest female rivalry GH has is Carly vs. Sam, but even that has become muted.
There are bright spots among GH’s female characters. Carlivati did the impossible by making me care about Sam’s emotional pain. Kelly Monaco has been fantastic in conveying her character’s coming to grips with what happened to her. I look forward to Olivia (Lisa LoCicero) vs. Heather (Robin Mattson). Epiphany’s (Sonya Eddy) attempts to pull Patrick (Jason Thompson) back from the brink were welcome. The impending birth of Sam and Tea’s babies holds promise. Kristina's (Lindsey Morgan) return to Port Charles will hopefully provide us with more Davis women moments. All My Children had the Kane women, One Life to Live had the Cramer women and GH should have more of the Davis women. The return of Anna Devane (Finola Hughes) has been stellar, providing many of the female driven moments I care about.
I felt her pain over the loss of Robin (Kimberly McCullough). I felt her anger at learning of Patrick’s betrayal of Robin. I cheered her lethal warning of retribution. I felt her compassion and forgiveness of him later on. She has been John McBain’s (Michael Easton) voice of reason. Unlike a large number of other GH characters–male or female– I felt myself connecting to her the way Carlivati connected me to most of OLTL's prominent female characters.
I'm not ignoring the current crop of ladies leading Gh story. Maxie's plight to save her man, Sam's rape that ended with a baby spawned by the enemy and the Bensonhurst DID Chronicles certainly have women front and center. However, these stories always comes around to the men of Port Charles. Sam's rape has been more about what a jerk Jason is. Kate's crazy alter tends to focus just as much on Sonny as it does on the patient. Maxie's prison sentence was more about Matt and Spinelli than being behind prison bars.
Empower the female residents of Port Charles by having them driving story, whether through underhanded tactics, standing on principal or even–dare I say it–being a victim. Many fans, myself included, care more about the lives and rivalries of GH's female residents than Sonny (Maurice Benard) vs. Johnny (Brandon Barash), Sonny vs. McBain, Sonny vs. Todd (Roger Howarth), Jason (Steve Burton) vs. McBain, Jason vs. Franco’s (James Franco) ghost or Spinelli (Bradford Anderson) vs. Matt (Jason Cook). These male characters are still important in helping up the stakes or showing out at pivotal moments. However, after all the gun pointing, chest beating and angry staredowns are over, we need the ladies front and center with the men as support, not the reason they're driving story
Let the ladies lead!