When I saw that EOS was opening up its inbox to potential muse writers, my first thought was “Cool! I should give that a try!” My second thought was “What the heck should I write about?” A few other folks have done general commentary on each show, so I decided to go a different route. I didn’t want to cover the same ground that has been covered beautifully already by other writers. Instead I decided to write about specific storylines on each show. Two specific things stood out to me in the past week, one on AMC and one on GH. Unfortunately OLTL is not that terribly compelling right now so that show will have to sit this one out. 

First off, AMC. Soaps have always been kind of hit-or-miss with me, meaning that I love them as a whole but each show goes back and forth very frequently with how compelling the action is, especially in recent years (I’ve been watching all 3 ABC soaps since 1992). AMC has been a bit more “miss” lately, but every now and then a scene will really make me sit up and take notice. That happened this Monday on AMC, when JR made his big forgiveness speech to Babe, Krystal, Tad, Di, Jamie and David. I, like many viewers, have been bored and slightly annoyed with JR and Babe’s childish, back and forth “I love you again… hey! You looked at me cross-eyed, now I hate you again!” nonsense, and I really thought we were in store for another round once Babe escaped from Janet and refused JR’s proposal. 

Instead, we got what many of us have been waiting for, ever since the Bess/Miranda/Little Adam fiasco – JR actually realized that he needed to let go of the hate and the anger that has ruled his life for so long. I have to tell you, I was stunned. I was amazed that the writers actually realized it was time for something to give, and that they seem to be willing to let this character grow up. This was the first time I have ever seen the “grown-up” JR actually behave as an adult. JR asking for forgiveness by first granting it himself was in fact one of the most mature things I have seen ANY soap character do in a long time. I loved that he individually forgave each of those people in ways that were honest, personal and appropriate to each character’s relationship to JR.  

The biggest surprise in all of this was the amazing way Jacob Young handled these scenes. I have never been much of a fan of his acting, although he has grown on me in recent months, but seeing him given the same material to play over and over again (i.e., JR getting mad and lashing out at someone, justifiable or not) has been tiresome. Watching him on Monday, I really got the feeling I was watching an actor who was energized by new material and new beats to play. JR emanated such a sense of relief from letting go of so much anger, and it was almost as if you could feel the same sense of relief from Young himself, playing out an emotional catharsis that was long overdue for both the character and the actor. I was actually moved to tears by this performance, and I am someone who almost NEVER cries at TV shows or movies.

Now on to GH. I have to admit, I was excited when I heard that Nicholas Di Nardo was appearing again as Guy. I was quite impressed with this young actor when he first appeared as Georgie’s gay classmate, and I couldn’t believe GH would actually have TWO gay characters appearing on the show at the same time.  

Guy being targeted by Frank was a bit predictable, but what followed was utterly disappointing. His attitude towards Lucas when he discovered that Lucas had also been attacked as well, but had kept quiet because of his own fears about his sexuality, was unacceptable. Sure, I can understand him being a little upset that Lucas had kept quiet, but as one gay man to another, he should have showed more compassion. Coming to terms with one’s sexuality is a different experience for everyone. Guy is someone who obviously accepted it pretty easy, but he should know better than to think it’s that easy for everyone else. Personally speaking as a young gay man, I had a fairly easy time coming out myself, but I have ALWAYS shown compassion and understanding towards others who have a more difficult time, because I am acutely aware of how tough it can be. Guy berating Lucas was a shame, because clearly that is not what someone in Lucas’ position needs. I was glad to at least see Lucas stand up for himself in Wednesday’s episode, and I hope that Guy gets the chance to redeem himself. It would be great to see these two find a middle ground and form a friendship that Lucas desperately needs. 

So that was my first shot at a muse column. Hope you enjoyed it, and I hope I get the chance to write more in the future!

By Topher Sherman

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