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The General Hospital Articles Pages

General Hospital Opinion Articles and Essays!

By Suzanne 4/20/12

Part One: the reign of Bob Guza or How GH was ruined.

The last few years have been very bad for soaps in general, and General Hospital in particular. All of the ratings have gone down. Many soaps have been canceled.  This past week, GH got a reprieve. It has been renewed for another year.

For years, the writing has been hit-or-miss. Long time fans complained because the mobsters took over the show and favorites like the Quartermaines and hospital staff like Bobbie were either written off, killed, or corrupted. For a while, though, the ratings were better, so ABC stuck by these stupid ideas.

Bob GuzaWe all would like to just blame former headwriter Bob Guza for the problems, but he is only one person and did not have the power to do all of this damage. In truth, he was a writer on GH since the mid-1980's, when the show was really good, so he did have a thorough knowledge of the characters and their history. Apparently, at some point, he or someone else decided that GH should no longer be primarily about the hospital and should instead focus on Sonny and his mobster friends and relatives.

Someone watched one too many episodes of "The Sopranos" and thought, hey, we could do this on daytime if we just left out the violence and F words. Well, that didn't work because you can't have realistic mobsters if they never swear or actually kill anyone or, you know, deal drugs or have prostitutes.  Sonny and Jason only seemed to kill the really bad guys, people even worse than them, who terrorized women and children. Yet they somehow didn't kill their enemies most of the time and let them wreak havoc in their lives. Only in the silly fantasyland that is GH can this happen. In real life, or in a real mobster movie, Sonny and Jason would have killed more police and D.A.s as well as innocent people and other mobsters, and spent time in jail.

I believe that the ABC network decided that they needed to bring in more young male viewers, and the way to do that was to have as many car crashes, shootings, stabbings, explosions, hostage situations etc. as they could throw in each episode. The problem with that is that after a while, it becomes a giant Roadrunner cartoon. How many times can Sonny and the others get shot and walk out of the hospital the next day? It's ridiculous.

Not only that, but in order to make Sonny and Jason the heroes of the show (or at least the protagonists), they had to keep bringing in more and more worse bad guys to make them look good, so they could then have antagonists to work against.  We had a long string of really evil bad guys that got worse and worse. Franco is the most recent example. He's almost like The Joker in Batman -- a crazy serial killer with a warped sense of humor.  This way, Jason and Sam get to be Batman and Batgirl.

To give Guza credit, he wrote many exciting and innovative storylines and had done a wonderful job with characters like Sonny and Luke. His main problem, though, is that he doesn't really like to write for good people, or he doesn't believe they exist. He ended up having almost of the other characters either become bad guys or get killed off.  Dramas need some heroes. They don't have to be perfect or boring, but they can still be good guys. But apparently only good writers know how to create them that way, because every time Guza tried to write a good guy, like Jax, or Mac, they were boring.

The women either were liars, harpies, shrews, or complete victims, so that doesn't help with the female viewing audience.  Again, to give him credit, he did create some great characters, such as Patrick (and his love affair with Robin), and Spinelli, and the Zaccharas, and Sam, among others, and he also got the brilliant idea to pair Luke with Tracy.  Or perhaps I'm giving him far too much credit, and the writers under him came up with these ideas.

Once fans balked too much, and the ratings went down, that is when they brought in Patrick and Matt, and brought back Robin, and they focused a little more on non-mobster characters. It didn't really work that well, though. The hospital was still just the place where Sonny and the others would go to get fixed up after they were shot.

Bob Guza was finally fired last year, in 2011.  Stay tuned.

Check out our other articles pages for AMC, ATWT, AW, B&B, Days, GL, OLTL, Passions, PC, SuBe, and Y&R

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Page updated 5/21/12

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