Deep Soap: ‘General Hospital’ is Top Soap Among Young Women; ‘Y&R’ Eliminates Hated Character

by | May 18, 2012 at 10:40 AM | Deep Soap

Sonny Corinthos on "General Hospital." (ABC)

“General Hospital” Beats “The Young & the Restless” Among Young Women

General Hospital” just got some new ammunition in its fight for survival. The week of May 7-11, it was the number one show among Women 18-34, the key, hard to reach young female demographic. Granted, GH still only had a paltry 0.6 rating in the demo, compared to Y&R’s 0.5, but it’s been a long time since any soap beat Y&R in any measurement. (Yes, the much missed “One Life To Live” managed to do it a couple times during the early stages of The Tale of Two Todds. No, its cancellation still does not make any sense.) This is a sign that the audience is starting to respond to the show’s creative improvements. Last week was especially action packed, with Ronnie holding Sam and Lulu hostage, the return of OLTL refugee Todd (Roger Howarth), the arrival of another Llanview expat Tea (Florencia Lozano), and Spinelli (Bradford Anderson) finding proof that Matt (Jason Cook) killed Lisa. It’s proof that if a show gets better, some viewers will eventually return.

“Young & the Restless” Casting Shakeup

Fans of “The Young & the Restless” rejoice: the nightmare is finally over. Yvonne Zima has taped her final scenes as one dimensional villain Daisy. According to Soaps Uncensored, this is really, truly the end of Daisy, who left the show once before only to return like the  proverbial bad penny. The combination of Daisy’s ridiculous backstory (raised by a Lauren lookalike who was Sheila’s never before seen sister), lack of a clear motivation (if her goal is to get her baby and Daniel, why is she doing everything she can to drive Lauren insane?), and Zima’s flat performance made Daisy a character that was not love-to-hate but truly unpleasant to watch,. The only mystery is why the show brought her back for a second time after fans made it clear how much they hated her.

Watch the Latest Episode of “Y&R”:

Soaps Uncensored also claims that another “controversial” male character is on his way out. That could point to Ricky, who is being written as a psycho who is essentially the male equivalent of Daisy, or it could mean another newcomer, Carmine the walking Italian stereotype, or even Tucker (Stephen Nichols), who despite being played by one of daytime’s most popular actor’s has never really gelled with the audience. His recent one night stand with Harmony leaves him hated by pretty much everyone in Genoa City.

Whoever goes, it’s bound to be a better change than last week’s decision to let longtime star Eileen Davidson (Ashley) go. Writing off a member of a core family with tons of history from which to mine story played by a talented actress makes no sense. These days, when a big star is written off a soap, it usually means that the show is facing budget cuts. Surely Y&R could have gotten rid of a half dozen less important characters (I suggest Avery, Carmine, Eden, Chelsea, Gloria and Jeffrey) and kept Ashley.

The Great Soap Character Migration

The fish out of water scenario is a television staple. It’s the basis for numerous sit-coms. It’s also the dynamic that is making the arrival of the Llanview Four on GH so entertaining. Not only are they bringing out new sides of vetean GH characters, as well as offering snarky commentary on the differences between the two soap towns, they come across completely differently in their new setting. John (Michael Easton) was one of my least favorite OLTL characters. I found him to be self-righteous, self-pitying and smug. In Port Charles, I love him. First of all, just by being a competent police officer who hates Sonny (Maurice Benard) and Jason (Steve Burton) he is a welcome addition to the town. But somewhere on the road from Llanview to Port Charles, John picked up a sense of humor. His deadpan, dry wit makes me laugh out loud on a regular basis. Yet, he still seems like John. It’s just that the absurdity of life in Port Charles amuses him.

It’s not a surprise that I still love Todd, but seeing him function in a setting where, on one hand, he has no power base, but, on the other, he is not the pariah, gives him a completely different vibe. Even though his past is a matter of public record — assuming Llannet is operational in upstate New York, nobody that he has hurt lives in town. I was concerned that he might come across as too similar to Sonny given that both are in theory bad boys with abusive childhoods and soft spots for the people that they love, Instead, the writing has cleverly highlighted the differences between the two men. Todd commits criminal acts on impulse, then usually later regrets them, while Sonny is a criminal who rarely feels bad about anything he does. Todd tried to blackmail Sonny by threatening to reveal that Kate was the one who shot out the tires of Anthony’s car, causing two deaths. Sonny told him to go ahead. Todd was shocked, remarking that he always cared about the women he loved even after their relationships ended. Sonny scoffed that Todd was an idiot. This is why I find Todd far more sympathetic than Sonny.

Tea, who has only been on the show for a couple of weeks, and has so far functioned mainly as Starr’s lawyer, seems the same in Port Charles as she did in Llanview. If she sticks around over the long term, I want her to join Alexis’s law firm. They would be an unstoppable team.

Starr (Kristen Alderson) has had the least successful transition, in large part because she went from being a teen with romantic problems to someone seeking vengeance for the loss of her child and boyfriend. It’s a jarring transition, and I understand why people who did not watch OLTL are finding her unlikable. But I do think she has chemistry with Michael, and him turning her in for an attempted murder in which she did not even fire a shot puts an interesting wrinkle in their relationship.