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General Hospital Opinion Articles and Essays!

By Suzanne 5/1/12

Part Two: The Garin Wolf' Experiment Failed

In 2011, long-time head writer Bob Guza was fired from General Hospital. For most of the show's fans, it was way over due. He'd been head writer of the show since 1996 and had completely changed it (and not all in a good way).

The only photo I could find of Mr. Garin Wolf!In late 2007, there was a writer's strike, so writer Garin Wolf stepped in to be head writer for the show. A lot of people liked what he wrote. I was kind of in the minority about it. For one thing, I don't approve of scabs during strikes. For another, although he did write a lot for characters that Guza ignored, especially Alexis and Diane, I didn't think the writing was good quality. He made Diane and Alexis out to be idiots, basically, in a contrived situation, just to have them show a little humor. Humor is great, but not at the expense of the characters or their dignity.

When regular headwriter Bob Guza was fired, though, they gave his job to Wolf. I was hoping Wolf would show that he was better than Guza, despite my feelings on his scab period, but I was unfortunately, right about his writing skills. He did try to do the things fans wanted, to a certain extent, by concentrating more on the hospital and the non-mobster characters. He did less with Guza favorites Luke and Sonny.

However, his writing skills were just not up to the challenge. He made the stories very boring. There were many scenes where people were just arguing endlessly. It was so tedious. I was not the only one to feel this way because he was replaced in February. 

Boring is the WORST thing you can do for a show.  Guza had moments where you wanted to throw things at the TV, but he was rarely boring. To his credit, he had many great stories and did a lot of interesting things. Wolf tried really hard to write the show the way the audience wants it, but he lacked the one thing we really want: compelling, interesting stories that surprise us.

By the time 2012 rolled around, GH was in danger of being canceled and everyone was worried about it.

I'm guessing it must be really hard to be a soap opera writer. Wolf did work for years on many soaps, including GH, and he seemed to know the right things to say in interviews.  I'm sure it must have been very hard for him to realize that he could not save the show.

The soap industry is very incestuous. They re-use the same writers over and over. It's one of the few jobs I know where they will fire you and then someone else will hire you, thinking you can do the job, regardless of the fact that you keep getting fired. I have read that learning how to write soap operas can take a lot of training. Maybe they need to figure out a way to make that process faster and get some better writers into the soaps.  Do you know what happens if you keep using the same writers and producers over and over? They keep re-writing the same stories over and over and hiring the same actors over and over (whether they can act or not). That is just plain stupid.

The only writer that I think they should ever hire back is Claire Labine. She is the best living soap opera writing, in my opinion. She wrote great stories when she was on Ryan's Hope, GH, and OLTL. I did not see her work at Guiding Light, and I know fans didn't like her clone storyline, but I'm guessing she was not the only one who wrote that story or approved of it.

I think that there are many behind-the-scenes things that happen with these shows that we never hear about. They don't just let the writers write. The headwriter is not the only writer and not the only one to blame. He or she is just the only one we know about and so they take the fall if the stories are bad. I do know from many years of reading about the soaps that it's frequently the producers or people above them that force the writers to write things they are not comfortable with or to use characters they don't like. I try to cut the writers slack, but ultimately if you don't like the writing, who do you blame?

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Page updated 5/21/12

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