Deep Soap: Luke’s Trip to Rehab Leaves ‘GH’ Viewers Jonesing

'General Hospital' (Photo: ABC)

'General Hospital' (Photo: ABC)

They Say Luke’s Got to Go To Rehab, But Did He Say No, No, No?

Wednesday’s episode of “General Hospital” featured one of Tony Geary’s most powerful performances of all time. Luke finally hit rock bottom when he bullied Lulu for attempting to reach out to him during his latest self-destructive binge. He told his family he was ready to attend rehab. They, as fed up with his bottomless well of self-pity and denial as much of the audience, did not believe him, especially because he insisted on waiting until the next day to leave. He ended up having it out with Lucky (Jonathan Jackson), who called him out, addict-to addict. “You’re completely content letting your only daughter blame herself for your own cruelty. You see, you’ve set it up so that you don’t have to examine any of this stuff. How you abuse women, how you treat people like crap, how you let booze shield you, let it justify you. I drink, therefore I am.”

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Luke punched his own son, then realized that he did need to get treatment pronto. It was gut-wrenching, moving, and some of the best acting I have seen on television this May ratings sweeps, daytime or prime-time. I was thrilled, not only because Luke needs help, but because there was finally some movement in this story.

I realized that since Luke realized he was responsible for his grandson’s death, not one one single thing has happened. There has just been scene after scene of Luke being drunk, depressed and belligerent. The plot’s raison d’etre seemed to be to give Geary a lot of meaty individual scenes. The whole has been far less than the sum of its parts. I was ready to see Luke in recovery, anticipating tha Geary would put a fresh spin on a familiar situation. Instead, the cliffhanger of the episode was Luke cheerfully offering the doctor at the facility a bribe for a drink. In other words, Luke was right back where he started.

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I was aggravated by the twist, but eagerly anticipating what happened next. Was this yet another one of Luke’s cons? Had he arranged this with the doctor in advance? Or was the doctor going to see this as typical addict behavior, turn down the bribe and force Luke to get with the program? I am still wondering, because Thursday’s episode did not feature Luke at all. This was one of the first real cliffhangers GH has had in weeks, and the show just ignored it. There were scenes of Lulu (Julie Berman) talking about Luke going to rehab, but no Luke. I am irritated, frustrated, and just plain baffled. If GH wanted viewers to experience the frustrations of living with an addict first hand, mission accomplished.

Now You Can Buy Jack Abbott’s Incredibly Effective Anti-Aging Elixir

Finally,  a soap consumer product tie-in that makes sense. Beginning in June, Jabot branded cosmetics inspired by the fictional cosmetics company that has been a part of “The Young & the Restless”  for over two decades will be available in stores, on-line and on the Home Shopping Network. In a press release, Executive Producer Maria Bell stated, “We are proud to bring Jabot to the consumer as a real brand. This is the perfect platform to deliver such an offering to our fans who, for many years, have wanted to know how they could get real ‘Jabot Cosmetics’ and own a piece of the show that they have helped make #1 for 22 years.”

This is so much more logical than, say, having a supporting character suddenly decide to write his memoirs and hire another supporting character, who is not a writer, to ghostwrite them. (I have nothing against The Secret Life of Damian Spinelli.It’s well written and funny. But it was shoehorned into “General Hospital.” A line of Jason Morgan black t-shirts and leather jackets would have been a far more appropriate GH retail endeavor.) Jabot has been an integral part of Y&R, not something that was shoved into the show specifically to sell products. Plus, if the products are good, people will keep buying them resulting in a potential long-term source of additional revenue for both CBS and Sony, at a time when the show desperately needs to remain profitable.

I am also impressed by how upscale the products sound. The products will be priced from fifteen to forty-five dollars, which is not cheap. They will be sold in ULTA stores, which feature some high end brands. It seems like an attempt to create products that accurately reflect the way the brand is portrayed on the show. Jabot is supposed to be worn by glamorous, wealthy women. Daytime’s prior foray into the cosmetics market, Fusion perfume based on “All My Children’s” fictional cosmetics company, sold only at Wal-Mart, which is not how the brand is portrayed on the show. In a funny coincidence, “Jabot Cosmetics will be created and manufactured by leading beauty company Fusion Brands.” Wow, Kendall and Greenlee are such great business women that they’ve done a stealth takeover of Jabot. Nobody saw that coming!

My only concern is that the attempts to promote the new products on the show will be awkward and heavy handed. According to the press release, “Story elements to introduce the real Jabot Cosmetics will begin airing on THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS on June 13th when a shakeup in the leadership at the fictional company Jabot Cosmetics leads to the development of a brand new formula that revolutionizes the industry. The new product line for the fictional Jabot will mirror the actual development of Jabot Cosmetics and is currently scheduled to air on June 24th.” Forewarned is forearmed.

Tracey Bregman, who plays Lauren, will be the official spokesperson for the line. This strikes me as odd, because Lauren has nothing to do with Jabot. But maybe Eileen Davidson, whose character Ashley actually creates all the products, was not interested in the gig. Maybe Lauren ends up working for Jabot as part of the storyline. In any event, Bregman will be shilling the “Red Carpet Collection” which includes, “a Photo Ready Face Lift, Picture Perfect Eye Lift and Crushed Diamond Facial Resurfacer” on HSN June 21st and 22nd. Those sound more like surgical procedures than cosmetics. I assume they are skin products that are supposed to make the user look decades younger.  In October,”a full line of color cosmetics” will launch, AKA lipstick and eyeshadow. Given how diverse Y&R’s audience is, I hope there will be colors that will look good on women of all ethnicities. It sure is nice to write about a soap that is attempting to capitalize on its audience rather than give up on it.

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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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