RESPECTING THE BRAND
Oh, Dearest GHers and Friends,
It’s always hard to balance my personal feelings about our beloved soap while trying to maintain a positive voice who encourages all of you readers to find The Beauty of GH daily. I do read all of your comments, emails, messages, and even those 12 page texts, like the one I got today. LOL! I want to make sure you understand that I hear your concerns, and yes, I even share them.
That being said, I find that because of the way some people have approached the actors, writers, and now even the executive producer of GH, it’s a fine line between being able to share some of those deepest and most worrisome concerns while being taken seriously, and sounding like a “fangurl”. 😉 In my head, I want to believe that the actors, writers, and producer all still want to hear honest feedback from respectful, sincere fans, even when what they are hearing is, “WHAT ON EARTH WERE YOU THINKING?”
When I started this blog, and met all of you wonderful people, I truly had one goal in mind: to help people realize that our words have power – not just in my adored preschool class – but even on all of these incredible, new avenues with which to communicate with those who have brought us the best kind of entertainment for decades. It worried me when I signed up on Twitter three years ago and saw people attacking actors, like Steve Burton, who was taking time away from his family and kids to chat with us, and wishing GH canceled because they weren’t getting what they wanted.
I thought that if we could only do our part as fans of the Soap genre, and use our own communication to spread a positive message, then maybe we could drown out all of that negativity. Sure, it was a bit Pollyanna-istic of me, but, I think over the years, we’ve done that pretty well. I am proud of The Bella Mafia family. I am proud of every soap fan who uses their words to build up and encourage, instead of to tear down and attack. Which is why a day like today is so hard for me.
So many of you shared your frustrations with me after today’s episode, and I appreciate the fact that everyone is trying to vent among friends. Even more, I am honored you consider me among those friends. As your friend, and more than just a blogger, I wish that I could offer a different point of view for today, where I could tell you about something I saw differently. But I can’t. Not this time. Not today.
It was like watching a horror flick – and you guys know that I just don’t do horror flicks. I watched and found myself covering my eyes, covering my ears, and wanting to avoid whatever “popped out at me” next. Yes, I have to describe it as “popping out at me” because everything was so unexpected, so abrupt and seemingly impetuous, that it literally scared me. The way a horror flick would.
There. I said it.
It was not very The Beauty of GH-ish of me, I know, but more than anything I would think you want me to be honest. And honestly, I don’t know what to make of what is going on with our GH.
So many of you thought that Maxie’s continued torture of Mac and Robin’s family as they are still reeling with her painful loss with her continued song and dance about having killed Robin is beyond bizarre, and that it takes her self-centeredness to an all-time low. I get it. You’re right.
Others think that while Carly will get no sympathy from them ever again, it is really sad that she has become this cold, calculating sex-maniac, who has forgotten about her kids. Anyone remember just how the despicable character of Carly, who slept with her (iconic GH character) mother’s husband for revenge, was transformed into a rootable character? I do. They turned her into a fierce, loving mother, who would defend her kids with her life. Some of my favorite moments of Carly through the years have involved Michael, Morgan, and Joss, even though they have been almost non-existent lately. Somehow, she has reverted to the same Carly she was back then. All that’s missing is a blonde Sarah Joy Brown.
It’s never easy – or okay with fans when their characters morph right before their very eyes, into people they don’t recognize. However, I don’t know that there has ever been such a flagrant case of that, as there has been with Jason and Sam since Jason woke up from his surgery. I knew that Mr. Carlivati would probably give Jason and Sam some layers we hadn’t really seen before, because let’s face it – he’s the new head writer, and that’s what head writers do, and Jason and Sam are a new love story TO HIM. Yet, what I have seen happen to Jason and Sam lately cannot be described as added layers – it can only be described as being buried by said layers!
I think I have thrown my support behind Mr. Carlivati, and trust me when I say this – no one wants him to succeed more than me, because I cannot imagine a world without General Hospital. But he makes it so hard on days like today…with dialogue like today’s! I understand that we have to allow for creative license here, but when you change the very essence of something, I believe that creative license has gone too far.
There was this restaurant I loved growing up. It wasn’t just about the food, though I have never tasted a still-bubbling dish of manicotti like theirs in my entire life; it was also about the atmosphere, the owners who watched me grow up, right along with their own kids, and knew me by name, and the memories I’d made there over the years with generations of family and friends. Then the owners decided to retire and go live the life they had dreamed of since the first dish of manicotti they ever made. “Don’t worry,” they would say to all of us faithful patrons upon breaking the news to us. They were handing the business down to nieces and nephews, since their own children would follow them wherever they went, but everything would be the same. We believed, though our hearts were broken. We wanted their legacy to live on, even through the unknown nieces and nephews, because this place was a part of our family history.
We kept making reservations, and we kept ordering our favorites, hoping the “new team” would finally get it right. Instead, they changed the decor. Gone was the jukebox with the John Lennon classics and Bon Jovi’s first hits, replaced by some new contraption that played current Top 40’s. There was no more piping-hot bread served fresh from the oven while we waited for our food, and they sold soda by the can, instead of bringing it in big, glass pitchers. And the world-famous manicotti? It was replaced by something that looked, and tasted, like something they picked up by the mega-box at Costco. It didn’t even bubble when served in its carton-like dish. It hurt me, but we went less and less often, until one day we drove by and saw that it was closed; the building for sale. Just like that – a lifetime of memories was gone. They had changed the “brand” of what that place had been for us all those years, and as much as I tried, I couldn’t help but be offended by the new brand they were suddenly trying to sell us.
The thing about a specific brand is that we can expect it to stay true to itself over the years. We buy the same brand of soap because of the way it smells, we use the same brand of lipstick because we know how it look by midday. We count on a specific brand of shoes because we know they will last longer than most. Brands are a huge part of our society – just pay attention during the commercials between scenes of GH to see how advertisers count on our understanding of brands in order to make the most money.
Jason and Sam are a very specific, and successful brand.
Amazingly, with all of the writing changes GH has had over the years, the JaSam relationship has stayed pretty true to itself over the years. Except for the disaster that came as a result of TPTB thinking that Kelly Monaco was going to leave GH in 2007, the couple now known as The Morgans has always been written, and therefore branded, on a very simple, and extremely successful, premise…from the very beginning: JaSam 6/17/04: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pVBalityNfQ Credit: mk200019, JaSam 9/13/04: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z3zvGReFJMM Credit: LoriJoGH & JaSam 10/25/04: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V7MR-hHayak Credit: NickyM96
They know, understand, and accept each other. Just. As. They. Are.
JaSam January 11, 2005: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UCorYfJ87cA Credit: kjewel13
And They Always Have!
JaSam January 14 & 17, 2005: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ImcxHJb12BI Credit: apac114
They have never tried to change the other, and I do mean NEVER!
JaSam July 6, 2011: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xN0ZZbRnsvY Credit: ashleycramni
They have never tried to get the other person to be anything except the very safest “them” they could be, and therein usually lie their only issues. (I don’t even want to remember those times!)
This is why Jason and Sam have been able to overcome everything that has happened, everything they’ve been through over the years, and why they are still so in love. That has been the brand General Hospital has sold us on all these years.
Mr. Carlivati and Mr. Valentini need to know that it is not okay to mess with that brand. I am not talking about freaking out because John McBain is sharing screen time with Sam, or because Jason said Liz’s name in the sanctity of the penthouse. I am talking about something much more serious, and much more dangerous. I am talking about changing who Jason and Sam are. That’s just not okay! It’s not okay to have Jason, who made us all fall in love with the beautiful and gentle way he treated Sam during her first pregnancy, screaming at his pregnant wife and making her upset, and then have Sam telling Jason she wonders about Sonny being sent away so that “they could be free” and have her now questioning how his work affects their life with the baby coming, a la Brenda!
I nearly fell off my chair! Who the hell do these writers think is watching the show? America’s Alliance of Amnesiacs ? I was completely floored, and just plain angry that they would suddenly mess with the “brand” and the magic that has worked so wonderfully over the past eight years, as if we knew nothing of it! (I also had painful flashbacks of the jukebox being replaced!)
This is not okay with me. I know it’s not okay with you. Meaning we must use our voices like never before in order to make it so that it must not be okay to happen. Ever again.
Loyalty comes when you can trust the brand. I am almost sure that this new team appreciates loyalty, especially at times like this for our soaps. It’s time to save the brand! It’s time to save JaSam’s Legacy of Love and Acceptance!
Let TPTB know not to mess with what works! I don’t ever want to see GH shut down because they’ve lost their loyal “customers”.
Share your favorite “JaSam Brand” moment with them…help them to get to know the Magic and the history that has made you so loyal!
Do it for the love of JaSam…
Call: GH Comment Lines: 818-460-7477, Press 1, then 2, then 3, then 464, GH LA: 323-671-4583
Snail Mail: Ron Carlivati, Headwriter / Frank Valentini, Executive Producer
c/o ABC-TV General Hospital, 4151 Prospect Avenue, Hollywood, CA 90027