Deep Soap: Is ‘General Hospital’s’ Baby Switch Too Dark?

Not Another Dead Baby

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General Hospital’s” Llanview/Port Charles baby switch went from campy fun to unpleasant when Tea’s (Florencia Lozano) baby died. I’ve said it before, and I will say it again. Daytime needs to stop killing babies. It’s just too bleak to be entertaining. There’s a reason why Meredith and  Derek’s baby was nowhere near the plane that crashed in the “Grey’s Anatomy” season finale. Nobody wants to see that, especially the predominantly female daytime audience. Starr (Kristen Alderson) is already roaming around GH vengeful and depressed because her baby died. It’s overkill — pun intended.

In addition to being depressing, it’s also a cliche. It’s the identical set up to the Jessica/Starr baby switch on “One Life To Live” and has echoes of the infamous Babe/Bianca two soap crossover baby switch on “All My Children.” It would have been a much more interesting story if Heather (Robin Mattson) and Todd (Roger Howarth) — two people with no medical training whatsoever — were wrong about Tea’s baby being stillborn. (Maybe it was just sleeping really deeply?) Todd, unable to switch the babies back, figures no harm no foul. Everybody’s happy, and one baby is pretty much the same as another. Then one baby turns out to have special needs, and months later after the kids have been slightly SORASed, the truth comes out. Everyone is torn about whether to keep their biological child or the one that they have raised — with the issue even more complicated because one child is “damaged.” I’ve stolen this scenario from the excellent teen primetime show “Switched at Birth“, which deals with the emotional ramifications of a long-ago accidental baby switch. It is more interesting than watching some people scheme to cover up what they did and others mourn the wrong child. I hope GH manages to shift the current switch in an unexpected direction. Otherwise, the show risks becoming a better structured version of the dark show it used to be.

The World’s Saddest Cha Cha Cha

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The Bold & the Beautiful” tried to create its own version of “The Bachelor” with a “suspenseful” midnight countdown in which Liam (Scott Clifton) would decide whether to finalize his divorce with Steffy (Jacqeline Wood)  or dump his fiance Hope (Kim Matula).  Except,  in “The Bachelor” universe there is truly only one guy, it’s a competition, and the consequence of losing him is being humiliated in front of the entire nation. Also, everyone involved is well aware that nobody is truly in love and the relationship is unlikely to last.

Why Steffy, Hope and their over involved families see nothing wrong with two attractive, wealthy, theoretically intelligent young women waiting patiently for a man to choose which one of them is worthy of him. Neither woman told Liam that the whole “making up his mind” thing was a two way street, and they would be dating other people as well. After all, there are quite a few guys in Los Angeles, guys who will in all probability treat them better, have more likable personalities, yet have equally ripped abs. I would have loved to see Liam watch gobsmacked as both Hope and Steffy showed up on the red carpet at a Hollywood event on the arm of some hot young actors. (Come to think of it, why does B&B essentially ignore the entertainment industry? It could add so much to the show. I would thoroughly enjoy a storyline about the Forresters doing crazy things to make sure that an A-List actress wears one of their gowns to the Oscars.)

Instead, fickle Liam invited Steffy to his place and their was much hemming and hawing about what his intentions were, and of course Ridge Junior never made any declarative statements about what he wanted. Just as he and Steffy were about to kiss, Hope, who at this point is a Taylor Swift song come to life, finally made the decision for him, videochatted him while wearing her fluffy, princess-style wedding dress. Steffy decided that since Liam loved them both, she was going to walk away and let Hope have her Barbie fantasy. Then, hilariously, as she said goodbye, she let out a mournful, “cha cha cha.”  I have never laughed harder while watching B&B.

The oddest thing about this storyline is that while Steffy and Liam were married, Steffy was portrayed as a schemer who was keeping Liam away from his true love. He spent all his time fantasizing about Hope. It was only after they broke up that the writers decided that off camera they had all sorts of fun times hanging out in retirement homes singing “Thanks for the Memories” and saying “cha cha cha.” Well, that is my fan wank for how two people in their early twenties came to love Bob Hope movies. I expect Liam to be a movie buff thanks to his uncanny resemblance to Dillon Quartermane. But Bob Hope? Really? Stephanie (Susan Flannery) and Eric (John McCook) aren’t old enough to be Bob Hope fans.

Of course, the love triangle did not really end with Liam’s divorce becoming official. The numerous relatives who are obsessed with the relationship encouraged Steffy not to give up, arguing that Liam was just going ahead with the marriage because he felt obligated. If B&B actually wanted to be groundbreaking and boundary pushing, the show would have all three characters attempt a polyamorous relationship, which would inevitably implode in a spectacular fashion. That would be something that has never been seen on television, unless you count “Big Love.” Instead, we are stuck in the 1950s triangle from hell. What can I say but cha, cha, cha?

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

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