Faith Can Move Mountains... But Dynamite Works Better

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Sopranos Want To Blow Up General Hospital

It's been awhile since I've done this, and once again, I'm jumping into unknown territory with a soap opera.

Today it's the long lasting General Hospital, known these days by the moniker General Mobsters.

I'm not going in unarmed, of course. I've been fed information (which tends to get very, very convoluted) and I've watched the odd episode as preparation (enough to know not to form a habit of watching it).

The show's been around for some forty odd years now. For most of that time, it was about a hospital. These days the main characters on the show are apparently a mob godfather with an anger management problem and his enforcer, a guy who seems to spend all his time killing people.

And this is what passes for main characters on a soap?

Full disclosure: I don't like gangster films or television (one exception: Miller's Crossing, the all time best Coen Brothers film). I have issues with the depiction of mobsters as protagonists. As far as I'm concerned, mobsters are absolute scum who make their living preying on the weaknesses of weak people. So any depiction of the mobster as a "family man" or "respected businessman" in film or television tends to bother me. It's a personal thing, what can I say?

Getting back to it. This soap is essentially revolving around these two characters, Sonny, who's the really pissed off godfather, and Jason, who seems to be really really good at killing people. A few episodes of watching solidified my impression of Sonny as a really angry guy who's about five seconds from blowing his stack. This character talks about family and honour and respect while he's busily making a fortune shipping drugs. The show doesn't come out and say it, but let's face it, gangsters deal in drugs and prostitution. That's a cornerstone of their market. And this is a character who makes his living breaking the law. And his right hand man is a cold blooded killer. And these are the heroes!

What happened to the idea of a show revolving around doctors? One that's not infuriatingly annoying (Grey's Anatomy, I'm talking about you).

Apparently for some reason these two characters are the most popular on the show, so it's doomed to stay in this rut (at least until it joins the rest of the soaps in the inevitable cancellation-ville). No doubt sooner or later they'll get around to blowing up the hospital itself just to kill off the latest threat to their criminal empire. And the audience will be expected to applaud, and understand.

Uh huh. Nice try, guys. Don't expect me to watch. Your two main characters should have their criminal asses tossed behind bars for the rest of their lives.

Apparently thirty years ago the show featured things like weather machines and Elizabeth Taylor doing a really weird cameo, so let's face it, how much does a hospital really feature into it?

These days James Franco is the latest one doing the film star stunt appearance on a soap. It seems he moonlighted in recent months on the show playing a psycho (I guess he must have had downtime in between filming 127 Hours, so he wanted something light hearted to do).

Somebody tell me he wasn't playing a pirate. Because that would be silly.


  1. The master is back and in top form!

    Soaps are not known for realism. My mom used to say if my dad's ex tried to pull half the crap Joan Collins got away with on Dynasty, she'd be in the hospital...for a very long time.

  2. General Hospital has nothing on All My Children. I've got to go find my Susan Lucci earrings.

  3. Hmmm, let's see here... to do actual research on All My Children, or to go with the Susan Lucci as blackmailer angle, what to do, what to do...


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