I think it’s safe to say I lost interest in James Franco‘s run on General Hospital roughly a week after his Nov. 19 debut. The Jason worshipping lunatic just didn’t hold my attention. (Isn’t it bad enough that the show is in love with Jason’s career as a hit man, without introducing the meta element?) And the supposedly heightened tension of Franco grabbing Lulu and Sam this week has me yawning and studying my nails. (I need to repaint them and my cuticles are a wreck!) It’s just another mob story, just another tale of somebody after Sonny and Jason and using their loved ones to get to them. Lather, rinse, repeat. Nobody’s going to learn anything and we’ll see the same story again in the fall, just featuring a different villain.
However, the news that Snoop Dogg is returning to One Life to Live next month has me cackling with glee. Oh my God, I love it and I cannot wait. Just check him out behind the scenes, chilling with Robert S. Woods (Bo) and Hillary B. Smith (Nora).
Why the monumental difference in my reaction? Well, I think it’s pretty simple: Snoop feels like “one of us.” He’s a fan, who used to watch the show as a kid. He has an emotional connection to the genre that brought him to Llanview last year and led him to make a return visit. It’s not an experiment, an attempt to do performance art and shatter audience expectation. Snoop Dogg is doing it for fun, for love, and because he wants to be a part of the story. And who is he in scenes with? Who is he paying homage to? Bo freakin’ Buchanan. Not the Todds and Mitches of the world, but someone he identifies as a hero, as a character who’s really cool.
Cameos and guest appearances have to be done with a certain amount of camaraderie — not just with the show, but with the audience, because its their living rooms you’re being beamed into. And Franco effortlessly fit into the mobtacular world, cracking wise and winking at violence as art, but I think the connection with the viewer is what was missing. A lot of people watching soaps don’t even know who this young whippersnapper is. With Snoop, I feel like he’s a household name even if you don’t listen to rap and hip-hop. And, so, when you have a good looking guy pop up as yet another enemy of Sonny and Jason, with perhaps no real identification except for, “I think he was in the Spider-Man movies,” where’s the giddiness factor? I mean, beyond the fact that he’s, as Cher from Clueless would say, “kind of a Baldwin.” (Sorry, showing my age there…remember when the Baldwin brothers were the standard for a family o’ hotness?) So, yes, Franco is charismatic and easy on the eyes…but so is almost every other guy on daytime!
Snoop being an OLTL fanboy gives him a kinship with soap viewers, because we’re that way, too. We may not be famous rap stars or actors, but sharing that passion makes inviting him into our living rooms in the afternoon an easy prospect! We know we’ll have something to talk about over coffee and snacks!