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'General Hospital' Stars Anthony Geary, Jane Elliot Dish Luke's Intervention, 'GH' Future

by Michael Maloney, posted Apr 25th 2011 1:20PM
General HospitalLately 'General Hospital' has become known for its the mob storylines and special effects like hotel fires, train wrecks and bus crashes. But, as true fans of the show know, soap operas have thrived on putting people in a room and letting them go at it.

Good news soap fans, 'GH' is going back to those basics on Thursday April 28 at 3PM ET when Luke Spencer's loved ones stage an intervention with the the alleged alcoholic.

While he technically may not have been drunk the night he got behind the wheel and accidentally killed toddler Jake Spencer, Luke's been dealing with the tragedy by getting hammered.

This special episode has two goals -- the first is to get Luke to admit that he has a problem and the other is for the show to prove that the daytime serialized storytelling format still has some life left in it.

Six-time Emmy winner Anthony Geary (Luke) and Emmy-winner Jane Elliot (Tracy) spoke with AOL TV about Luke's intervention and how soaps have to up the fight to stay in the game.

Is Luke an alcoholic?
Geary: I do not believe he is, [despite] evidence to the contrary, perhaps. I don't think he's drinking anymore than he has in the past. He does use alcohol to deal with depressing situations and there's nothing more depressing than killing a child. That has changed his life. The real issue is he's responsible for the death of a child and that's gong to haunt him for the rest of his life. He did fall into the bottle, but I don't think that necessarily means he's an alcoholic. He doesn't wake up each morning saying, "I have to have a drink!"

Was he drunk the night he hit Jake?
Geary: He wasn't.
Elliot: That's what he says.

Where's Tracy in all this?
Elliot: Tracy and everyone around him believes that Luke is an alcoholic. We all see alcoholic behavior [on Luke's part] since the horrific catastrophe of Jake's death. We see him get through the day by drinking. Is he sloppy, falling-down, blackout drunk? No. But he is existing with a bottle in his hand. So for the rest of us, we believe it's a disease and it needs to be treated.

General HospitalHow does the idea for the intervention come about?
Elliot:
It's Lucky's idea. This [intervention episode] is entirely different. It's nothing that anyone has seen in the way it's shot, acted and directed. It's new. Yippee! How great is that. Bill Ludell, who directed it, has done an extraordinary job of doing something in a new way.

Soaps have done plenty of alcoholism storylines -- including one you, Jane, were in on 'Knots Landing.' How is this one different?
Geary: The whole show is in one set. There are flashbacks involved, but they're used in a very unique and creative way, a way in which I've never seen before. We go in and out of reality and not fantasy, but [something else.]

Is it good that the genre's trying something like this? The genre's never been about special effects as much as it's been two people in a room with a conflict.
Geary: Well said. That's what this medium has done best -- two characters, having connections and disconnections. This is cinematic in that it's artistically done.
Elliot: It's like theater. This is done stylistically. It's a very gripping episode, visually. It's also very simple. We're in a circle with folding chairs. Luke is paired up with his children [Lucky, Lulu and Ethan], Sonny, Carly, Nikolas and [my character] Tracy.

Why does Luke listen to Tracy in a way that he might not listen to anyone else?
Geary: He loves her and he knows that she loves him in a way that nobody has ever loved him before. She has accepted him for who he is like nobody ever has. This is a very mature relationship that isn't based on youth, romance, adventure ... this is based on two people who have been around the block and absolutely appreciate each other for who they are. When Tracy says something to him -- he may not like it -- but he'll hear it.

What does Luke bring to Tracy's life?
Elliot: He's like nobody she's ever known. He's gritty, uneducated, unrefined, and honest. He loves to manipulate, he loves to do the con, but with her, that's the game between the two of them. The manipulation is the con, the game. Some families sit down and play Scrabble at night. Luke and Tracy try to out-con each other. There's a rawness, earthiness and reality to him that she's never experienced from anybody before.

General HospitalDo you think at a time when the soaps are facing difficult times that it's important to experiment with how stories are told?
Elliot: My philosophy is leaving 'em wanting more. That's what you do. If we're going off the air, we should do the best work we've ever done just to make a point. Yes, I think everyone should try harder. What are they going to do? Take us off the air? We should go out with a bang. I'm very proud of Bob [Guza, head writer] and Elizabeth [Korte, writer] and of Bill Ludell by taking a chance on this. There are wonderful actors in this episode. We don't get asked to bring our A-game enough.
Geary: In this episode, actors brought their best game, but the cameraman do, too. When you have an opportunity to do something a little bit different, it makes people very happy. They want to participate.

Will Luke have a revelation?
Geary: He has several revelations in the show. I don't think that there's a resolution, but he certainly sees things that he hasn't seen.
Elliot: Luke Spencer never plays it like anyone expects him to -- and he's true to that.

What can the remaining shows do to maintain and even build their audiences so they can stay on the air?
Elliot: Don't give up. Don't sell out. Don't do less than you're capable of doing. Leave 'em wanting more.
Geary: This medium is about the people, the characters that the audience has grown up with; there's nothing like that. This is the only medium that has that. This is the only medium where Jane and I who've been doing this show for 30 years ago and you have the same actors; that's the strength that this show has. I say, it's about these people, these characters; it's not about flesh and glitter; it's about hearts and characters that the audience has invested in.

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Liason Finally

Its a crying shame what they have done to the great Tracey Quartermaine on this show they won't write for her outside of being leeched to drinking Luke...there are so many scenes she should have been in that she wasn't "as his wife." This was the time to write the emmy reels not only for the six time winner but for Tracey Quartermaine. This is an example of the "rancid writing of this show. "Women do not drive story." its a malecentric show..no cajones, no story. I adore Jane Elliot as Tracey and its being rumored that she is leaving GH with the new cuts and I certainly hope this isn't true...

April 27 2011 at 1:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1964Nickel

Been wondering something for 9 years now. Who is the petty b*****d behind this train wreck. And who is the target? Genie Francis? Laura? Luke and Laura fans? All of the above? I find it sadly ironic that the rape victim in this particular saga is the one exiled in the end, but then Laura isn't the one being exiled, is she? But is it her who fuels this resentment, this vendetta that's just gotten worse in the past few years, culminating first in that farce of a wedding (which was a bat used to beat us over the head the moment they decided the wedding should happen on Laura's birthday. One of the few actual birthdays of a soap character EVER.) So it must be the fans as well that are despised. Why? I really want to know. Who do you think got all those brothers, boyfriends and husbands to watch back in the Luke and Laura heyday? And just who the hell do you think they were watching? Sure not Luke or Tony Geary. One boyfriend even told me he would have watched the show if Genie kissed the wall. But no, Mr. Geary is the MAN. HE'S the reason for the success. Genie was just a stupid little teenager who he took along for the ride. Does anyone but me realize how condescending that sounds? How completely self-centered? And I've heard the arguments, "Do you expect Luke to be alone? For Tony not to have an acting partner?" That isn't the point folks. The point is, someone, somewhere decided Genie Francis'contribution to the greatest story in daytime was negligible at best. If this was the idea all along, then why get her fired from AMC, a show and character I watched faithfully, just so Tony could play Luke again. And this bitterness that's so apparent just about anytime TG has to deal with L&L is pathetic. Yes, Tony. No one wants to see you unless you are Luke. Never have, never will. Genie on the other hand HAS been successful in other roles, and will be again quite soon, I promise. Because all those fans you don't want? All those fans GH has been trashing so methodically for the past decade? Guess what we're going to be watching from now on. And thank you, as well. I've been unable to quit watching GH since 2002, no matter how I tried I kept getting pulled back in. But no more. Why be a fan to a show or an actor who doesn't give a damn whether you watch or not? I'm not doing it anymore.

Oh, and Mr. Geary? You're welcome for your success.

April 26 2011 at 9:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
sussezqtou

OMG if MR. Geary calls Lunacy a MATURE relationship one more time I am gonna have to start hitting the bottle myself. Give me a break.. has he watched their relationship play out on the television like we have; constantly lying to each other, harping on each other, cheating each other, breaking up with each other every five seconds, Luke taking off every 6 months ditching his wife, stealing from her sounds very "mature".. it's like middle school. Their sick, one up, head games is infantile. It's like War of the Roses. Not people who really get each other and love each other. If they are acting that.. we ain't feeling it! PLEASE. Seriously if he thinks this is what a "grown-up" relationship is like I truly feel sorry for him. Mr. Geary pissing off the L&L fans (30 MILLION people certianly didn't think it trivial) isn't going to help the situation either... he may be done with it, but sorry to act like it was a relationship about "YOUTH".. hello.. When L&L returned in 1993 Mr. Geary was almost 50 years old, when they did the amazing 2006 wedding he was a half year shy of 60. WTH??..and exactly the shows need to concentrate on the characters we know and love, and care about and they need to be true to history and true to character. They need to portray woman as smart, intelligent and not the stage props of the bad boys of Port Charles. The sins of the father?? Who cares! (Do any father's watch this show?) BAck when the show was great they told wonderful female centric stories about characters we could relate too.. not just mob ****** and woman who are punching bags, or mentally deranged. Mr. Geary and Ms. Elliot are two of the best actors daytime has ever had.. they have been playing side show circus clowns for years now. I have grieved the loss of the utilization of their talent...but to try to spin that as a time of a great mature development of a realtionship between Luke and Tracy... nope didn't happen. Well perhaps only in the mind of Robert Guza. I am excited for Luke's drinking story, Mr. Geary and Mr. Jackson have moved me so far, like I have not been moved watching this show since 2006. Someone messed with a winning formula and GH is so far lost at sea that without concerted effort to tell the emotional stories about characters we care about, and people and emotions and situations we can relate to cancellation is imminent. You can't constantly and consistently allienate the long term fans of a daytime drama and expect it to survive. Plot point television and stunts don't work for soaps. You can't compete with movies, and streaming net flix. You can't compete with on-line adult entertainment either.. so the pathetic sex scenes without the emotional build up doesn't work either. What you got is an audience that cares about the characters they have known for years, and fantastic actors capable of showing us joy, pain, grief, elation, jealousy, anger.. all in one episode. USE IT..or unfortunately loose it!

April 26 2011 at 8:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Beth

Can't wait for this episode! I am heartbroken over AMC & OLTL. Website like this one... finally covering soaps just go to show that there are people that watch soaps! Thanks for the article!

April 25 2011 at 9:02 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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