Thursday, February 5, 2009

Unique Mourning

I apologize in advance, this is not my usual snarky silliness. I decided to talk about a legitimate concern I have for the show. These are just things I need to have down in writing.

So it is obvious that the clever, clever people in charge of the show had the "lyke, totally awesome!" idea to make Winifred a Spinelli clone. Winelli, as I call her, did not come on in the beginning to be a carbon copy of The Jackal, but has since been altered. Now, she speaks Jackalese perfectly, nerding her way around the show like Spinelli's twin.

I, for one, couldn't be more pissed.

Did they really think that making her just like him would do her any favors? Did they think it was cute? Did they pat themselves on the back saying they were just so smart, making a nerdy girl even nerdier?

Why does this upset me so much? Because, Bradford made that character, not the writers. Anyone can get his dialog and read it, and they will not have the soul and charm that Bradford has when in character. If anyone else was in that role, it would fail. It would fail, miserably, and Spinelli would have been an explosion victim or strangled by the TMK, just more collateral damage.

With his portrayal, fans have spent two years trying to figure out his mystery--who is this person, this odd man, that came from Tennessee in a burst of energy and stuck around only to become a most beloved character? People spend hours debating whether or not Spinelli has a personality disorder, a traumatic childhood, a combination of both. People debate who his parents are, where he comes from, why is he like that? He is an enigma, a rare thing on General Hospital these days, when secrets seem to be exposed as soon as they are created. One thing fans all agree on--whatever his back story is, it is juicy.

This is all due to Bradford's portrayal, because the character developed a soul through him. The writers have put off developing his back story for two years now, so any discussion of "who he is" has been based strictly off of small portions of dialog, conspiracy theories of clever fans, and the resounding power of Bradford's performance. He takes Spinelli's cartoonish design and gives him arms, and legs, and a soulful gaze, and a deep heart...And the list goes on and on.

By bringing Winifred on, the writers have said that this character, this Spinelli, this young man that for two years has seemed so unique and special...He is easily copied.

Thanks, GH. Thanks. That's costly and unintelligent logic. That's the same logic that the creators of The Matrix used when they decided that film needed a sequel. Or two.

Think of it this way: Take the role of House from Fox's medical drama of the same name. He is a drug addicted, snarky, genius doctor that always solves the case in time before a patient dies. This is a role that is driven by the astounding acting fortitude of Hugh Laurie. The show itself is pretty formulaic, almost redundant. The cumulative narrative is always the same--Patient comes in sick, gets worse, almost dies, but is saved by a clever clue into their lives. How has this show lasted 5 years with that sort of constant set up? It's simple--You can copy the story a thousand times, but something Hugh Laurie does with the role of House makes him special and unique each week.

Are you trying to tell me it's a good idea for Fox to hire an actress for a drug addicted, handicapped, snarky but genius doctor to play opposite him? Doesn't that take away from his uniqueness? Would it not be insulting? For so long, people have been desperate to figure out this strange creature that is Damian Spinelli, only for the writers to decide that he's not as special as we thought. Where does that leave us long time fans of the character? Not to mention the fact that Bradford Anderson spent two years developing and working his way through the canvas making Spinelli who he is, only for those in charge to essentially say "Good work! Thanks! We'll be doing a quick copy & paste job with this new chick, OK?"

I could pull my hair out, honestly. I'm not one to get overly offended when the writers make choices for things, but this sort of inherent laziness is astounding. There was no possible way for them to leave Winifred alone and let her develop on her own? I don't even think she's necessary to the canvas, but if she has to stick around because of some connection they've made with her, why are they doing THIS?

Also, let's touch on an equally offensive topic. Since Winifred has been brought on, people have been assuming she's going to somehow be angst for Spinelli and Maxie, some even going so far as to suggest she will be their end, no matter if Spinelli and Maxie have been building a steady fanbase for a year! This wreaks of a containment attitude--of keeping certain types of people with their own kind for the "greater good", a demeaning set of standards for society. I'm sorry, but I do not watch General Hospital to for math. These perfectly calculated formulaic concepts of "Boy Nerd + Girl Nerd = Nerd Love" and "Hottie + Hottiette = Hot Love" won't keep me as a viewer, mainly because of it's insulting nature. It's insulting to me as a human with good old fashioned feelings, and as a television student who takes a lack of creativity offensively.

So, if even the slightest whiff of Spinelli/Winifred hooking up after a year of buildup with Spinelli and Maxie shows up on my screens, I'm gone. For real, I have no reason to watch that sort of abuse. I won't watch a show that tells me there should not be any intermixing of personalities, that things should be safe. I want to watch a brave, gutsy General Hospital, the GH spirit I've known my whole life. General Hospital was the show brave enough to give a legacy character like Robin AIDS, to make Jason brain damaged and keep him that way, that even had the audacity (and thankfully so, because of what it brought to the canvas) to have a rape develop into a love story.

That's the General Hospital I will watch. Spinelli and Maxie work because of an extreme chemistry, not to be confused with formulas. I'm talking about real science, two chemicals combining and combusting and making pretty, sparkly lights. If General Hospital doesn't have the guts to develop that, they are not deserving of their own rich history and acclaim, because they are no longer the show with any bravery, choosing cookie cutter pieces that go down easy and challenge nothing.

Now, I can't predict the future, and I don't know if that's where things will go, but I do know that it will be the end of my relationship with General Hospital. I will mourn it like I mourn all good shows that come to an end, because in my eyes that will be the death of GH. I pray I don't have to go to two creative funerals this year, because I'm already preparing myself to mourn the uniqueness of Spinelli being murdered in cold blood.

There is a faint heartbeat still left for his uniqueness, something I will hold onto desperately, hoping what made Spinelli special to me isn't quite dead yet. That faint heartbeat is the factor that has kept him alive for this long--Bradford Anderson.


HollyG3 said...

I totally agree! Although I do like Senta and think Winnie would be cute, but not as a carbon copy of Spinelli!!!

Penny said...

I really like Senta...

I don't want a carbon copy Spinelli and I hope there is more to Winnie (Does not look like it yet) I do find something endearing about her I can't help it but I agree with Lindsay on that the character is very concerning in different areas. I guess I just want to wait a see more where they are going. (I am always a optimist I can't help it)

Sylvike said...

I agree with this post. Why do the writers think that it was a good idea for Winnie to talk *exactly* like Spinelli?

It really does not make any sense.

I hope the writers come to their senses and don't trash Spixie.

Angela said...

ITA with your statement. Maxie and Spinelli have a one of a kind connection that anyone else would never have. I hope the writers don't screw up this relationship.