Monday, September 29, 2008

If You Upload It, They Will Come...

I’m ashamed of myself, bloggers. Thanks to the perfect storm that was the 2008 Summer Olympics and Democratic and Republican (ew) National Conventions, I have gone for more than two months without blogging. I was so enraptured by the performances of the entire U.S Swim Team, not just the gold medal hog, Michael Phelps, and Barack Obama’s history-making speech at the Democratic convention (and well, avoiding television so I wouldn’t have to hear Republicans openly bash Obama’s history as a community organizer, and avoid mentioning how they’re actually going to create the change we so desperately need). I know that I missed a shit-ton of pop cult opportunities to riff on. I mean, I have enough fodder on Sarah Palin to create eight to ten scathing blogs alone! (LIPSTICK!) I even wrote a very poignant, hilarious, and possibly award-winning article about the Olympics, but I was too wrapped up in the medal counts and counting the baby teeth of the Chinese gymnasts, that I completely forgot to post it, and now, it’s so five minutes ago.

Sadly after the Beijing Games, regular summer programming—which includes such highbrow programming like “Hurl” and the abysmal “Deal or No Deal!”—I had to seek out other ways to get my popcrack fix. So naturally, I sought out the one and only Youtube. And alas, my friends, I am higher than Joel McCale after an episode of “ America ’s Next Top Model” as I have every possible kind of entertainment at my fingertips. There is the surreal cuteness of the baby and pet videos. There is the catalogued stupidity of teenage boys who’ve seen one too many episodes of “Jackass” but apparently paid no attention to the disclaimer. There are people singing current songs…some who are beyond talented and others who are utterly tone deaf. There are snippets of TV shows and music videos (Skip Chris Brown’s Doublemint-sponsored joint, “Forever” and go immediately to Pink’s “So What” video…it’s the best video I’ve seen since…well, “Stupid Girls”). It is a veritable smorgasbord of pop cult entrees ready to be consumed.

My favorite youtube dish right now is definitely soap operas. After a summer of “Ironman,” “The Dark Knight,” and the (slightly-less) male dominated, never-ending election, I needed some good ole fashion Estrogen TV. And thanks to Youtube, I have re-discovered my buoying, obsessive love for “ General Hospital ”—the soap opera that plays like a neverending movie complete with music montages, amazing performances, catfights, mob shoot-outs, and a ton of cheesy romance and dialogue.

I started watching “GH” in 2005, thanks to a visit from my Aunt who watched nothing but Soapnet after 6pm. I was in college and 90% nocturnal, and Soapnet ran current soaps through 2am, so it was a definite match made in heaven. I dabbled in the viewership of “All My Children,” “One Life to Live” and “Days of Our Lives,” but “GH” was always my one true soap love. I lost track of my soaps when I graduated from college and became an official 9-to-5er. Thanks to my recent and lengthy stint of unemployment, I was sucked back into the salacious goings-on of the unrealistically hot people who live, love and reside in Port Charles, NY. On Youtube, I love is that amazing people like Cazigirl put up daily episodes that are commercial-free, and you can easily fast forward through storylines that don’t tickle your fancy. Take that, SoapNet! Even cooler, thanks to the dedication of GH Superfan Lori22GH, I can watch playlists of past scenes that center around one character or storyline. Some of her playlists go all the way back to 1992!

I’m going to be straight-up unoriginal when I say that Jason Morgan (formerly known as Jason Quartermaine), Mob Enforcer/Mob Boss, is my favorite character (although he seems to save more people than he kills). Steve Burton, who has spent half of his life on the show, has created one of the most intimidating, loving, badass, awesome characters in the history of daytime. He is a fantastic actor who plays Jason consistently and leaps at any chance to showcase his range. Jason, who was severely brain-damaged in a car accident in 1996 and emerged from a coma with no memory of his family or life before, has transformed from an angry and terrifying mob enforcer to a loving stand-in father to a stone-faced mob boss wrangling his free spirit live-in protégé in Damian Spinelli (the dynamic between those characters alone is worth trip to the land of daytime entertainment or Youtube). Burton, the 1998 Emmy-Winner for Best Supporting Actor, can be hilarious, heartbreaking, stubborn, masculine, adorable and heroic all in the span of one scene, and because of this, I wasted the better part of my free time on Youtube watching all of the drama I missed (and also to watch Steven swell from a scrawny kid to a muscle-bound man! Look at those guns, and I’m not talking about the ones from the prop department!)

It must be said most of the cast on “General Hopsital” are fantastic actors, who manage to pull off the impossible premises and ridiculous dialogue that is daytime staples.

I write this with a heavy heart because it is rumored that Steve will not be reupping his contract with his soap opera. While part of me thinks it’s a great career move as Steven is 38 years old and a very capable actor, so there’s no reason why he couldn’t pursue bigger projects; the other, slightly larger part of me, hopes that he says on the soap for another year just so I can see him crank out fantastic performances day after day! Admittedly, “GH’s” caliber of writing has diminished along with the viewership of daytime telelvision. After spending many nights watching 1996’s Jason/Robin/HIV storyline and even 2004 Jason/Sam/Baby/Stemcell storyline, I wish the writers took chances like that now. Hopefully one days soon!

Now, people, stop using your free time to do unimportant things like exercising or having a social life. Log onto Youtube and watch some “GH” or whatever tickles your fancy. I can guarantee you it’s all there!