Langford on Soaps: Is “General Hospital” Getting A Gay?

LANGFORDS PICKS AND PANS

EastEnders

I’m glad Amira has finally gotten the message, given up on Syed and left town. Given that Syed cheated on her for over a year with Christian, ended their marriage to be with Christian and wanted nothing more than to be with Christian after Christian dumped him late last year, it’s pretty clear that he’s just not that into her. I just hope she doesn’t give him a hard time about finally getting a divorce and lets him see his daughter regularly without a hassle. Her character has worn out her welcome, and it’s time to move on. I will miss scenes of Christian and Amira being bitchy to each other though. That was always fun to watch.

As for Zainab finally confessing that she purposefully sent Yusef to his death, which led to Tamwar being seriously burned, it was a moment long in coming. But the end result fell flat, mostly because of everyone’s non-reaction to it. It makes sense that Afia already sensed what really happened and made her peace with it, but everyone else seemed far too nonchalant about it. As this show has tendency to do, they want to move quickly past a plot point to get to the next one. Even it means sacrificing the current storyline.

Amira finally realized she was the third wheel in this relationship…

Regarding the other moment that has been long awaited. That of Zainab finally accepting Christian and Syed’s relationship and welcoming him into the family. It was nice, but exactly what was it that finally made her put aside her long held hatred for Christian, realize he truly loved her son and make peace with their coupling? The whole thing seemed to come out of nowhere. It came across and hallow and meaningless when it should have been a powerful moment. It was well acted though. Nina Wadia and Christian Clarke are always excellent, even if the material consistently undermines them.

But with the Masood family and Christian putting their problems of the last year behind them, I wonder where they are going next with this group of characters. Judging by past history, I’d say that we won’t see any of them, especially Christian and Syed for the next few months.

Good Times, Bad Times

So Mike is the show’s new hunk, huh? Interesting that he’s Edwin’s uncle, but I don’t think he’s gay and Lucas’ next boyfriend. Though Lucas dating his dead lover’s uncle would be an interesting twist. However, the show just lost one of their male leads so Mike is probably taking over that role. Though it seems Lucas will somehow be involved with him given Mike’s obvious interest in Lucas’ family.

My wild prediction is that Mike will have an affair with either Lucas’ sister Nina or his mother Janine. Maybe both to make it really spicy. I thought the fantasy sequence at the funeral service utterly ridiculous. I know the show was trying to make a point, but I find it hard to believe these woman would be drooling over the new stud in town at that time and place.

I don’t know what to make of Lucas’ brush with the law, though I will say that his comments to the police officer could be taken as racist. I’m sure that’s not what the writers or Lucas intended, but it could certainly be read that way.

Dangerous Relationships

I have a lot to say about last week’s Dangerous Relationships, so much that it could fill most of this week’s column. But since there’s a lot to cover this week, I’ll try to hit the most salient points.

Let’s start with the revelation that Javier was paid by Max and Gonzalo to date Alejandro so they could humiliate him. While I can see Max and Gonzalo doing something so despicable, the problem for me is that when this plot arc first began, it was pretty clear in that opening scene between Alejandro, Sebastian and Javier that Javier didn’t know who Alejandro was and it was Sebastian he was interested in.

I know it had to seem that way for plot purposes, but that scene should have been written differently or played differently so how things turned out would make more sense once the truth was revealed. It seemed as if the writers thought of Javier’s true intent after the fact. On the other hand, another minor detail was handled well when we found out that Diego’s father was a doctor in the hospital, which finally explains why Diego didn’t want his name given after Alejandro brought him in for treatment a few weeks ago.

I had to chuckle that once again, DR found a way to get another of its male characters in a near nude scene, like when Alejandro wandered in a naked daze around Maximo’s mansion. And it was very interesting how after Alejandro stumbled upon a drugged Nora and Diego, interrupting them right before they were about to have sex, how Diego simply couldn’t take his eyes off of Alejandro. Diego is obviously intrigued with Alejandro, though I’m not sure he realizes he’s attracted to him at this point in the story.

The big event was, of course, Diego interrupting Alejandro’s suicide attempt and Alejandro going in the blink of an eye from wanting to kill himself, to turning defiant, courageous and admitting he was gay for the first time in his life. Those scenes were a little preachy and after school special-ish, but given that this type of storyline has not been seen on a Telemundo soap and the show is trying to get a message across, they can be forgiven for the soapbox. Besides, Kevin Aponte was really good in those scenes, and he played Alejandro’s new found strength well. I just wish Jonathan Freudman, who plays Diego, was a better actor. He’s really green and it shows.

Now, there was a lot of talk about this, with some people thinking that Alejandro’s change came rather quickly, but I don’t think so. Yes, Alejandro was about to kill himself, and were it not for that fateful knock on the door, he’d be dead. But I think it was hearing that Elizabeth nearly died because of Max and Gonzalo that made him realize what a mistake he was making and that he couldn’t let them win by killing himself. Sometimes in life, something suddenly clicks in your head and everything changes in that moment. I think that was the moment for Alejandro.

Clearly, Alejandro and Diego are headed for a love story if viewers didn’t know it already. Those scenes between the two teen boys were very intense, and I couldn’t help but notice that during Alejandro’s coming out speech, Diego kept looking at him like he wanted to make out there and then. Of course, another telltale ‘clue’ was Diego’s father announcing that he didn’t raise thieves, homosexuals or drug users. Unfortunately for Dr. Barron, he’s about to find out he’s hit the trifecta because Diego is all three.

Diego’s father is in for a big surprise…

Some observations and questions: twice Diego looked through the keyhole of Alejandro’s door when he was visiting, though when the door opened, it was obvious there was no keyhole there. And did Alejandro go to dinner with Nora in his bare feet and wearing pajamas? Also, why was Cassius at the party? The last time we saw him with Max and Gonzalo, they were strong-arming him into helping Santiago get fired. And this was after they had kidnapped him, stripped him down to his underwear and painted him white! So why would he attend their party, and why would he feel obligated to clean up the mess to hide the fact that drugs had been used?

As for the rest of the show, I’m loving the fun triangle between Patty, the hunky ex-con and her fellow teacher. What a lucky girl she is! And I’m interested in seeing how the battle for school president goes. But the main story of Miranda and Mauricio is getting increasingly ridiculous. I’ve never bought their romance, mostly because Miranda seems far too bright to sleep with a student. And to me, they don’t have enough chemistry, despite being two amazingly beautiful people.

The latest plot twist of Mauricio being sent to Georgia for protective custody and Miranda being able to join him to continue his education is utterly ridiculous. And you don’t want to know what I screamed at my television when Mauricio gloated that the age of consent was only 16 in Georgia. Somehow it didn’t come across as romantic, if that was the writer’s intention. Thankfully, the rest of this show is far more entertaining, even if it’s over the top and outrageous.

Emmerdale

I’m sorry, but I am not buying this sudden bond between Ed and Aaron. After such a long and protracted romance between Aaron and Jackson, that Aaron fought all the way, it’s hard to believe that he would click with someone so quickly. Of course this is because Danny Miller is leaving the show and the writers are steamrolling through the story and not playing any of the necessary beats. But they’ve known Miller was leaving for a long time. They could have plotted the romance out better. Then again, Emmerdale has always been horrible at crafting love stories.

 

Of course it doesn’t help that Miller and Lloyd Everitt don’t have much chemistry. Miller doesn’t seem as uneasy playing romantic moments with Everitt as he did with Marc Silcock, who played Jackson, but then the show isn’t giving us much romance beyond a few kisses. Everitt and Miller are good actors, but they can’t sell this material. And it was sad and very significant that the only way you could tell Aaron and Ed had spent the night together is because of Chas’ pithy remarks.

Another problem is that most of Aaron and Ed’s scenes revolve around the angst of Aaron’s past, which is not very romantic and far too heavy for a fledgling relationship to be burdened with. This of course raises the question of why a smart and funny guy like Ed would want to deal with the emotional mess that is Aaron Livesy. Then again I felt that way about Jackson’s interest in Aaron. The show has still yet to convince me why these great guys fall for this… for lack of a better word, loser.

There were some nice scenes revolving around this drama though. I did like the banter between Ed and his rugby pals as they griped about being used so Ed could make progress with Aaron. I also liked the scenes between Cameron and Aaron as Cam teased Aaron about his romantic situation with Ed. On another note, Cameron is such an appealing and sexy character and his flirty scenes with Chas were fun to watch. Now there’s a duo with chemistry.

Waterloo Road

To be honest, the most interesting aspect of this storyline was Josh’s flirtation with his drug dealer. Grady is an alluring character, and I liked his and Josh’s scenes together. Besides, I always like a bad boy. I think pursuing a relationship between these two and a story about Josh’s involvement with a guy who is totally bad for him would have been a much better storyline than what we got.

As for the drama with Matt and his daughter, like I said last week, it’s just not all that interesting. There are so many other stories they could be telling with Matt besides this. Besides, it’s pretty obvious where this is headed given that Rosie is sleeping with her doctor. I have a feeling that she’ll be wanting him to play daddy to Martha and leave Matt out in the cold. And that makes me even less interested in this already tedious storyline.

Hollyoaks

I know some readers might be offended by this, but I am totally not a pet person, nor do I get people who treat their pets as if they were their children. It just seems strange to me. Animals have their place, and it’s not being treated on the same level as a human being. That, in part, is why I was totally horrified that Phoebe lured George into Deena’s clutches to save her dog. At least George had the good sense to be appalled and disgusted by Phoebe’s behavior, and I loved the scene where George let Phoebe have it over her betrayal. Let’s hope that when this crisis is over, George kicks Phoebe and her dog to the curb.

I liked seeing George’s pals mobilizing to find him, but the scene that rang most true to me was the one where Maddie realized how little she knew about George even though they were supposedly close friends. It just makes you wonder how well you really know the people you see every day and that you think are an important part of your life.

It was nice to see a softer side to Maddie, whom I’ve never really cared for because she’s usually nasty for no reason other than the script requires her to be. And I have to add that the actress who plays Maddie is quite lovely. Breathtaking in fact. I still don’t think she and Callum are a good match though, whether he winds up romantically involved with George or not.

Regarding the developments between Brendan and Joel, I wish I could say I was shocked, but it looks like what I predicted last week is going to come true: Brendan is out to seduce Joel into his bed, just like with Ste and all the other young twinks he’s developed a yen for. The thing is, we’ve already seen this storyline. And unlike with Ste and Brendan, Brendan and Joel have no chemistry.

Besides, Brendan was closeted back then and manipulating young men into his bed was the only way he could get them without having to come out. Brendan is out now and he’s been seen having sex with men without all the games, so what is the point of all this? Brendan can find plenty of young guys with daddy fixations by going to the local gay bar. This just seems like a waste of time.

But likely what is really is going on here is: these writers have no plan for Brendan and have no clue how to write for him. The character has lost a lot of his teeth over the past few months and continues to have no direction. It just seems they are destined to ruin one of their most compelling characters because they simply can’t find a strong story for him. And this is a character whom it should be easy to write for.

Days of Our Lives

There’s really not much to say here because there isn’t much going on. Will hasn’t been on much lately, and when he is on, he basically recaps what happened weeks ago when he made out with Neil. The show is dragging out the story and Sonny has seemingly vanished again. The scenes with Marlena were nice and Deidre Hall and Chandler Massey have terrific chemistry. But this isn’t anything we haven’t seen numerous times before. And I suspect we’ll be seeing it again and again.

SCOOPS AND SPOILERS

What does Graham have in mind for George?

Hollyoaks – While his friends continue searching for him, George is terrified at the fate that Deena and Graham have planned for him and Phoebe as they plot to pimp the teens out. When George makes a bid for escape, he is attacked by Graham. Things get quickly ugly and George fears that Graham might rape him. Meanwhile, Ste and Doug’s business partnership hits a bump in the road when the two of them continue to clash over the direction their business should take. It looks like everything could fall apart unless Amy can convince them they’re better off as a team.

Good Times, Bad Times – Lucas’ legal problems continue, but it’s his own impulsive nature that proves to be his worst enemy. Lucas hopes to get another detective assigned to his case, hoping that he can be rid of Aysen, who he feels has a personal grudge against him. But he only makes things worse, leading to another confrontation with the cop. Meanwhile, Lorena has her own issues with Aysen and she uses Lucas’ issues with her to get him to help with a plan against the cop. Unfortunately for them, their plan backfires and has unexpected fallout.

Ben refuses to tell the truth about his father…

EastEnders – As Phil faces a stiff prison sentence, Ben maintains his lie that his father is guilty of murder. Shirley goes to Ian to convince him to talk some sense into Ben, but Ian believes that Ben is telling the truth. But after a heart to heart talk with the gay teen, Ian comes to realize that Ben fabricated his story.

Ian tries to talk some sense into Ben, but Ben has convinced himself that the world would be better off with his father in jail where he can’t hurt anyone ever again. Desperate to get through to Ben, he strong arms him into visiting his father. Ben is shocked to see that Phil has been violently beaten up behind bars.

Still, Ben sticks to his guns and his position is hardened further when his father disowns him. Ian tries to make Phil see he has to accept Ben as he is, but Phil refuses. Eventually, Ian realizes he can’t let Ben get away with his deception, even if it means Ben might wind up behind bars himself.

Holby City – Malick is delighted when his boss Hanssen tells him about the teaching position he’s being offered, seeing it as a big stepping stone in his career. But when Hanssen orders Malick to push through a patient’s care to free up hospital beds, Malick is conflicted. Eventually, he is unable to follow through with his Hanssen’s orders and confronts his boss about his decision, putting his future as a teaching physician at risk.

Will and Sonny bump into each other, sending fans into a frenzy…

Days of Our Lives – This week it’s the grand opening of Sonny’s coffee house, Common Grounds and all of Salem shows up for the big event. Justin and Adrienne are proud of their son, but how will they feel when they learn that Sonny’s investor is the evil Ian McAllister? And what is Ian’s true motivation for putting money into Sonny’s business? And that isn’t the only surprise revealed at Sonny’s opening.

Meanwhile, Will has a reunion with his father Lucas, who wants to talk to Will about what has been going on in his life. Avoiding any discussion of his sexuality, Will turns the conversation to his working for EJ. Lucas is stunned to learn that EJ has been blackmailing Will because he knows that Will shot him all those years ago. Lucas confronts EJ and demands he stop blackmailing his son.

Surprisingly, EJ offers to free Will from is obligation, but Will declares he likes working for EJ and wants to keep his gig. Lucas is horrified by Will’s decision and vows to get his son out from under EJ’s evil influence.

Matt vows to fight to keep his child…

Waterloo RoadMatt is bonding with his baby daughter, but that bond might be broken when he learns that Rosie has been having an affair with the baby’s doctor and she plans to leave town with him, taking the baby with her. Matt is furious that Rosie kept this from him and vows to fight to keep his child in his life. Elsewhere, Josh’s behavior grows increasingly erratic, and it seems that it’s not caused by any drug use. Josh’s father Tom is urged to take Josh to see a doctor, and a worried Tom does just that. Tom is stunned to learn from the doctor that his son might be suffering from schizophrenia.

AND ALSO THIS WEEK….

Neighbours – Lucas is angry with Chris after he learns Chris kept quiet after learning that Lucas’ girlfriend was cheating on him…

NEWSBRIEFS

Is this General Hospital’s new gay?

Is General Hospital bringing back gay teen Lucas Jones? Yes, according to one soap site. Soaptown USA reports that the character, who hasn’t been seen in a few years, will return to the show this summer and will be played by underwear model Philip Fusco, which would be interesting casting to be sure. While the folks at Soaptown USA usually have their facts right, this casting news should be taken with a grain of salt.

Not only is the casting questionable at best, it just seems unlikely that GH would bring on a gay character, even if the show’s head writer and executive producer Ron Carlivati and Frank Valentini are both openly gay.

Regular readers of this column are all too aware that Carlivati and Valentini brought the popular gay couple Kyle Lewis and Oliver Fish to their previous soap, One Life To Live, only to have the storyline cut short and the actors fired, blaming the gay storyline for the show’s sagging ratings.

This columnist can’t imagine that ABC would dip into that particular well again, though former ABC Daytime President Brian Frons, who wanted the gays gone from OLTL, is no longer with the network. And while it would be nice to have another gay character in daytime, particularly in the hands of talents such as Carlivati and Valentini, the truth is the idea of having to watch General Hospital, which this columnist is no fan of isn’t something to look forward to. But GH wouldn’t be the first soap that I didn’t enjoy that I had to watch as part of the gig. Sometimes you have to look at the bigger picture and having gays in daytime, or on any television show, is very important.

For now, this casting news is no more than rumor. But we’ll follow the story and see if there’s any truth to it. Stay tuned.

Thanks to the addition of Paul Ryan – er Todd Manning, GH’s ratings are on the rise…

In other GH news, the show’s future still remains in doubt, with the network refusing to comment either way on if they plan to cancel the show to make way for Katie Couric’s talk show that will debut in the fall. But there might be a ray of sunlight shining down on the soap that could keep it on the air a bit longer.

Since Ron Carlivati and Frank Valentini took over the show, ratings have improved thanks to the infusion of new storylines, the return of some of the show’s most beloved characters and the addition of characters from One Life To Live. Meanwhile, The Revolution, the talk show that replaced One Life To Live, has been a bust in the ratings, stirring chatter that it could be axed instead of GH.

Interestingly enough, Ms. Couric has been quoted as saying she prefers for GH to be her lead in rather than The Revolution as she thinks it would be a better help to her show’s ratings. Perhaps Ms. Couric actually cares about the future of soaps in daytime or maybe she doesn’t want to look like the bad guy if GH is cancelled to make way for her new show.


Luke Snyder’s daddy is back… sort of…

Longtime readers of this column know that my favorite character on As The World Turnswas gay Luke’s sexy daddy, Holden Snyder, played by Jon Hensley. To this day, I still miss Holden as well as the rest of the citizens of Oakdale (except for Noah — sorry!). So I was more than thrilled to hear that Hensley was doing a guest spot on The Bold and the Beautiful, playing a doctor in episodes that will air May 1 and 2nd. I’m not a big B&B fan, but I will check out Hensley in his new, but sadly brief, gig.

Not everybody liked Will’s makeout scene with another guy….

Even in the year 2012, you still can’t have two men kissing on television without it creating controversy. And Days of Our Lives saw a bit of it after the scenes of Will and his flirtation Neil making out over two episodes aired a few weeks ago. The show received a number of complaints (though they don’t say how many) from fans who found the smooch offensive, some of them vowing to never watch the show again, accusing the soap of having gone too far, even though the show has had stories revolving around demonic possession and serial killers in its 45 year history.

The folks at Days, however, seems focused on the positive effects the storyline has brought the show. Marlene McPherson, co head writer for Days says the show has received a lot of good feedback from fans.

“We are hearing from many fans that they could relate to what Will is going through and they are glad we are taking a chance to portray something in such a realistic way.” McPherson told Soap Opera Digest.

Deidre Hall says she hasn’t gotten this kind of story feedback since Marlena levitated over a bed…

And Deidre Hall, who plays Will’s supportive grandmother Marlena, says she hasn’t gotten this kind of attention from any storyline she’s been involved in since she played out one of Days’ most infamous plots.

“With the possible exception of the ‘possession’ storyline, I have never been so besieged by fans wanting to talk about the Friday show and Will’s confession about kissing a man,” Hall told SOD. “We shot the scenes so long ago that I had forgotten I literally held my breath as Chandler played the scene. I was stopped by fans, actors and even a photographer, who wanted to tell me he wept during the scene.”

Hall added that she received over 200 posts on her Facebook page in support of the storyline.

EastEnders’ openly gay executive producer is stepping down…

There might be changes ahead for the gay characters of UK soap EastEnders as Christian Clarke, Syed Masood and Ben Mitchell are about to find their fictional lives crafted by a new hand. Bryan Kirkwood, the openly gay executive producer of the soap, announced that he is stepping down from his job and will exit the show next month.

The news has been rumored for some time, especially since the show’s ratings have been declining for months and many believe that Kirkwood’s story and casting choices are to blame. However, Kirkwood insists leaving the show was his decision.

“Being the executive producer of EastEnders is one of the most exciting jobs in TV, but it’s also the most exhausting,” Kirkwood said in a statement. “…so after two years, I’ve decided it’s time to leave Walford.”

Lorraine Newman, who has been working directly under Kirkwood, will take over as EP until someone more permanent can be appointed. What this means for Christian, Syed and Ben remains to be seen.

That’s a wrap for this edition of Langford on Soaps. See you next time!