Soap Opera Weekly: Blogging With Mala

You’d think that seeing a rapist-turned-hero like GH’s Luke fall as far as he’s fallen in recent years would somehow warm the cockles of my heart. That I would take joy in what a degenerate loser and deadbeat he’s become. But, honestly…? All it does is make me sad. Because I may never have particularly liked Luke or liked that the most famous soap love story of all time sprang from a rape, but I do know what a phenomenon Luke and Laura were, what an impact they had on viewers, and how amazing their 1993 return — and the introduction of their children — was for longtime fans. That’s not something I’m sure the show itself remembers. Because there is nothing worthwhile about Luke Spencer anymore. He’s a drunken, womanizing, lout who is ashamed of his own son for being a cop and a devoted father. It’s as if the years he spent saving the world from freezing, being the mayor, and then raising a family with Laura…that was all an aberration and he’s really just a Florida pimp at heart, who is glad to finally proclaim that fact to the planet at large.

Then again, on a show where the mobsters are the heroes, maybe that’s supposed to be a good thing?

A few years ago, Marvel Comics erased the banner love story of Spiderman and Mary Jane Watson. There was a huge outcry and, trust me, many fans are still not happy with Marvel head honcho Joe Quesada. But in Spidey and the writers’ defense…? He traded his marriage for what he felt was the greater good. What the heck is Luke’s excuse for turning his back on Laura? A little dyspepsia after too much cheap booze?

I would love to point the finger solely at the Ethan Lovett story, but Luke’s decline has been going on gradually for years. The hookers, the conning Tracy, the way he treats Lucky and Lulu, etc. What the push to make Ethan his son did do is finally grind the last vestiges of Luke and Laura’s celebrated romance into powder. GH stepped on it like the glass at a Jewish wedding and then kept on going. And how did it seem like a good idea? I really want to know. Who sits around thinking, “You know what? We’re going to bring on this new actor that we love and to make the audience love him, we’ll have Luke instantly respect his character more than he respects Lucky. And then, we’ll have Luke admit he cheated on Laura constantly and, therefore, could be the kid’s father. The fans will…LOVETT!”

Much like when Nikolas was introduced in 1996 and revealed to be a son Laura conceived when Stavros kidnapped her, there were easy outs in Luke’s actual historythat would’ve respected his relationship with Laura. The show could’ve hand-waved Holly miscarrying his baby when he was presumed dead. The show could’ve had Ethan potentially be Bill and Holly’s. But no. They deliberately pointed out Ethan is roughly Lulu’s age and had Luke cop to stepping out on his wife. To channel Nancy Kerrigan, as I often do, “Whyyyyyyyyyyyyyy?”

How can a show that is so consistent and deft in handling the throughline of Jason and Carly’s friendship be so clumsy with Luke and Laura, the most iconic couple in daytime? I don’t get it.

And, believe me, I’d like to say nice things about GH. I think the cast is so talented, and I have great respect for everyone involved in putting the show on the air. But I don’t praise the show very much, and I sometimes feel guilty about the constant barrage of criticism and the passive-aggressive swipes. Until I realize that there’s one simple solution: Hey, GH, stop giving me the opening.

originally posted on soapoperaweekly.com

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