If you’re a soap fan who watches both CBS Daytime's The Young and the Restless and ABC's General Hospital, you’re probably experiencing déjà vu. Remember in The Matrix how Neo (Keanu Reeves) is told déjà vu is a bad thing? The same can be said for soaps.
When it was first announced that Jean Passanante and Shelly Altman were becoming co-head writers of General Hospital, I warned my Daytime Confidential co-hosts—based on their track record—that “Jelly” were boring, lacked creativity and had no interest in learning character history.
It didn't take long for Jelly's brand of tepid storytelling, which tends to plod along slower than a Clydesdale, to negatively impact things in Port Charles. The reveal of Jason Morgan’s (Billy Miller) true identity underwhelmed. Long-held character relationships no longer mattered. Monica (Leslie Charleson) and Carly (Laura Wright) are now friends after all!
Only a creative drought, or laziness, explains their desire to recycle their awful Music Box storyline from The Young and the Restless on General Hospital. Don’t believe me? Let’s compare.
On The Young and the Restless, Jelly wrote Jeanne Cooper’s passing into the show by having Katherine Chancellor die. The reading of Katherine’s will launched the Music Box storyline that lasted nearly a year and involved multiple asinine twists. No one cared what Kay left behind by the time the story wrapped.
On General Hospital, Jelly is using the onscreen death of Helena Cassadine (Constance Towers) to launch a near-identical mystery. On Y&R, Jelly sent Katherine’s long-time rival Jill Abbott (Jess Walton) on a goose chase to solve the mystery. This time it's Laura Spencer's (Genie Francis) turn.
On The Young and the Restless, control of Chancellor Enterprises was given to Victor Newman (Eric Braeden), instead Jill. On General Hospital, the status of Helena’s will is raising questions about if Nikolas (Tyler Christopher) really has control of the Cassadine fortune.
As Jamey Giddens pointed out on this week's Daytime Confidential podcast, head writers recycling their old storylines isn't always a bad thing. Soap Opera legends Agnes Nixon and Bill Bell managed to successfully adapt stories and characters they created on one soap on subsequent sudsers. Unfortunately, Passanante and Altman aren't recycling their best stories.
It doesn’t take a road map to know where Jelly’s General Hospital mystery is going. We’ve seen it all before.