Sunday, March 30, 2014

'General Hospital' Character Mistake

Not every TV show is perfect- there will be mistakes that were bad decisions. They seemed right at the time but once it succeeds, the realization knocks it right off its feet. Soap operas are no different. General Hospital have made quite a number of blunders through it's 51 years. In my opinion, the most recent mistakes have been killing off Alan Quatermaine and Georgie Jones, the firing decision of Anna Lee (who played Lila Quatermaine)- she died not long afterwards, as did her character. The decision could come from a number of different directions. It could be the actor who wants to leave/quit, storyline purposes, fired by the Executive Producer/The Powers That Be (TPTB), the network suits. But in this situation, it's not about a firing or a departure of a character and actor. It's more about the actor being a recast of a character-- Roger Howarth, who originally played Todd Manning from One Life to Live and General Hospital (there's previous entries about this) and due to the legal tangle web with Prospect Park over One Life to Live that Todd Manning had to disappear and no longer exist. Luckily for General Hospital, the actor- Roger- did not have to disappear. The Headwriter had to create a brand new and past characters for the actors. Kristen Alderson and Michael Easton both got brand new characters- father and daughter team of Silas Clay and Kiki Jerome. Roger got the recast of Franco, aka Robert Frank, previously played by James Franco. Big mistake!

James Franco have the same agent as Steve Burton (Jason Morgan) and decided to further his acting talents to soap operas after being in movies, television, theatre, and now soap operas. It was arranged for James to come on and play a serial killer yet popular artist obsessed with Jason. The part was especially written for James- just like Helena Cassadine was for Elizabeth Taylor. Granted, the part of Helena Cassadine was eventually replaced by Constance Towers but there's a couple of differences:
1) It had been well over a decade between the recast of the character. Elizabeth got the part in the early 1980s while Constance took over in the mid 1990s.
2) By the time Constance took over the role as Helena, Elizabeth had already retired from acting. The only exceptional acting role Elizabeth did after retirement was a TV movie written by her former stepdaughter Carrie Fisher.
With James Franco and Roger Howarth as Franco, it had been less than 5 years when the recast happened. The character was originally killed off by the previous headwriter and when the new headwriter came in and had to come up with three "new" characters, the idea of Franco somehow came up. I believe the original intent was because Franco was already connected to many people in Port Charles. At the time, he was believed to be a Quatermaine and interacted with others during James' tenure on the show. For some reason, it became a brilliant idea to resurrect the much-hated character (honestly, I didn't hate that James Franco was on the show- I am a fan of his- but the character was made to be hated), somehow redeem him by saying that many of his ideas were made to twist their minds of believing something bad happened but it didn't really happened or it was pushed too far and turning out that he had a brain tumor, becoming a changed man. Not only that, but as the chemistry between Todd and Carly worked before, the headwriter teamed Franco up with one of his victims- Carly. The headwriter said that he was aware of the risk and took it anyway. But somewhere along the way I feel some backpedalling going on. Eventually, Franco turned out not to be a Quatermaine after all, but instead was the son of Heather Webber and Scott Baldwin. The problem that I've seen surface a lot is not the actor- the viewers enjoy the actor- it's the character that is the error. And I agree. I've been trying my best to try to accept the situation because at this point, it's way too late. It's been very close to one year and it's already been cemented. It's a difficult go-with-the-flow to be on. I've been pretending that the character isn't named Franco, but instead a James or a Fred. Any name but Franco. I don't mind Heather and Scott being the parents, I don't really mind Roger's character is romantically involved with Carly...although I really wish he interacts with other actors more than just the same ones over and over. When James was Franco, he was romantically (to put it mildly) with Maxie and believed to have raped Sam, making her believe that her baby was his rather than Jason's. James was in Kirsten Storms and Kelly Monaco's age range. Roger, on the other hand...well...with his height and size compared to James, even Kirsten and Kelly, it's like a decade older giant. There's like a decade age difference between Roger and James. Plus the height, body mass, all different. I know it's what happens when a recast happens but every time those 'memories' were brought up for Roger with Kirsten and Kelly, it just does not bode well with me.
I would have preferred Roger to be a completely different and brand new character like Silas Clay and Kiki Jerome. My ideas were having Roger play Lucy Coe's brother, or, as he's now being as Heather and Scott's son, but not as Franco. Keep the storyline of when Heather and Scott conceived their baby and Heather selling him off as she had done with her other son, Steven. Then have this brand new man coming to Port Charles trying to find his biological parents. Yes, it's been known to happen so many times before (Carly was one!) but at least it would've been much better than resurrecting a negative-reacted character like Franco. 


  1. Good read though I don’t agree with all points. You mention what you don’t like able Roger Howarth playing Franco but I’m curious what solution you think the show should take. Do you think they should fire Roger?

    1. No, it has nothing to do with Roger's performance. It's only the character that he's playing.