I started watching General Hospital back in the Luke and Laura hey day of the late 70's, and yes I had a front row seat on the living room floor right in front of the television for their wedding. I watched all the way through to the late 90's. After that I watched a couple of times when Genie Francis (Laura) came back and Luke and Laura reunited. So naturally I started watching last month when I learned that Tony Geary (Luke) would be leaving the soap for good. I fully expected to be crying like a baby during his final episode. Instead I was left with a slack jaw thinking how could that be it.
Over the past couple of months the soap brought back a lot of past cast members to do final scenes with Geary, including Genie Frances, Jonathan Jackson (Lucky) and Emma Samms (Holly). But the storyline was rushed and very contrived. A fact that Geary talked about in a current interview.
"I loved that they brought back Emma Samms [Holly], Genie Francis [Laura], Jonathan Jackson [Lucky] and Nathan Parsons [Ethan] so I could work with them one last time, but I did not like the conceit that brought us all together," he said. "It was ill-conceived, cheesy and showed a lack of imagination. We saw Luke shoot Frank in the back over 20 years ago. And by the way, that character was old then. He would have been in his hundreds by now."It truly was the stupidest plot-line since young Robin met an alien back in the 80's. Geary's final episode dedicated maybe a total of ten minutes of screen-time to their most popular, longest lasting actor. Ten minutes.
I know that in order to stay alive soaps need to compete with the faster pace of the current younger market, but as an editor I can say that the way they chop General Hospital up is horrendous. There's not a single show on television that edits as badly as they do. But that's still no excuse for not giving the character of Luke Spencer the send-off he truly deserved.
As for the writing, well after Geary made these comments below we found out that head writer Ron Carlivati has been fired. Coincidence?
Geary also talked about how he wouldn't miss newer writers and producers coming into the fold and trying to tell him how to portray his role--something he grew to detest over the years.
"Acting is an interpretative art and that's really forgotten on our show, where the actors are expected to be slavishly devoted to the stage directions in the script. I get scripts where I'm literally told where to take a deep breath and what line to cry on and when to turn my body. Sometimes the writer's stage directions are longer than the scenes themselves," he said. "...There's a mistrust of actors on out show, as if we're going to misunderstand the material. To be told to weep on a certain line is absurd. I don't know when the hell I'm going to weep, if I weep at all, until I'm actually playing the scene. You don't plan that s--t out!"
"In all modesty, Jane Elliot [Tracy] and I have 90 years of professional acting experience between us and for us to be handed a scene where we are told how to read every line is insulting," he continued. "Now, she and I will just laugh it off and get on with the damn scene, but I feel bad for the younger ones because it can thwart any creative moments they might have. Any real moments. We should be spontaneous and thinking on our feet, not acting by rote."However when TV Insider asked him about a different way to send Luke off Geary noted:
"I would have hated to miss my final scenes with Jonathan Jackson. I don’t mind telling you that, for our last episodes together, Jonathan and I sat in my dressing room for two nights in a row, well into the night, and we deconstructed the scenes we’d been given, and it was an incredibly creative, collaborative experience. Without changing the writer’s intention, we tried to bring to the fore what the audience knows about Luke and Lucky’s relationship, because it just wasn’t on the page. I feel our work it resulted in some of the best moments Jonathan and I have shared on screen. And that’s saying a lot, because we’ve had many. The boy is extraordinary and a true artist. He lives like an artist. He can’t get enough of this world. He is so curious and alive. A real Renaissance man and I so admire him. For that selfish reason, I am glad we ended the way we did."