Saturday, August 18, 2007

General Hospital’s Kinky Season




I admit it, I came out a long time ago with my guilty secret: I watch a soap opera, and it’s General Hospital. I’ve been watching it off and on since I was about ten years old. In the days before TIVO and VCRs, I had to watch General Hospital - which was in black and white -- and give a summary to my mother when she got home from work.

Steamy sex has been a part of soaps for awhile now, along with “controversial” topics, like homosexuality, teen pregnancies, etc. That’s not what I’m talking about here: just seems like the recent story thread going on right now is intentionally kinky. Not that I mind, it’s just an observation. I don’t know if they have a new writer or two, or what, but there’s a definite undercurrent of kink there.

There’s the story line of mob boss Sonny Corinthos (actor Maurice Benard,pictured above) and his childhood love who’s come to Port Charles under a new image: hoity toity chic world famous fashion editor diva Kate Howard. In behavior reminiscent of politically incorrect romance novels, the Diva behaves irresponsibly and gets herself jailed, to her surprise. She gets out, long story but ends up having to change at Sonny’s place and there's a scene of her wearing a “school girl” outfit: short plaid skirt, etc. There she stands, while Sonny scolds her for her behavior. All that was needed was a ruler, and we’re off . . .but that doesn’t last long, and the next scene is her in more approbate clothing. However, a couple of days later, Sonny Corinthos tells the snooty Ms. Howard that he’s going to “teach her a good lesson about respect.” Hmmm...

Then we have poor Jasper Jax, husband of Carly (ex-Mrs. Corinthos, for those that care) held captive by a dominatrix. Of course, that’s not what anyone is calling her, she’s some kind of spy spurned ex-lover, as far as I can tell, but in scene after scene for a couple of weeks now, she’s been beating up Jax, tying him to bed posts, forcing him to have sex with her, taunting him, ordering him around, while he’s tied and or gagged, bloody from beatings. This character goes from wearing tight Emma Peel type clothing (though not anywhere near that level of class) to deceptively frilly peasant girl type outfits.

It’s not all like that of course. There’s the usual teenage angst, silliness and over the top story lines, (current thread of above mentioned kink innuendoes aside) including the oh no Jason Morgan is up for murder again! plot lines.

GH has had some of the more bizarre plot lines in soap history; verging on camp. (Of course in some ways, soaps are camp, by definition.)In the seventies and eighties it was hip for screen stars to appear on soaps: Elizabeth Taylor and Sammy Davis Jr. appeared on GH back then, among others. Right there there’s singer (“Jesse’s Girl”) Rick Springsteen playing the character of Dr. Noah Drake And there was a kind of sort of paranormal plot for awhile; more like a super spy comic book thing: the “Ice Princess” (no, not a character, a machine) that was intended to freeze all of Port Charles, home of General Hospital.

(Speaking of camp; I loved the television comedy show SCTV from many years ago. They had a hilarious bit they did on soap operas; one character, the maid, who wasn’t too bright, would always respond “Am I a cup?” I know, doesn’t make a bit of sense and it’s utterly out of context. My husband and I still say that to each other when we’re stumped, caught, or clueless. Cracks me up every time.)

What will happen next in Port Charles? Only the sands of time will tell. . . or something like that.

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