By Suzanne 5/1/12
Part Two: The Garin Wolf' Experiment Failed
In 2011, long-time head writer Bob Guza was fired from General Hospital. For
most of the show's fans, it was way over due. He'd been head writer of the show
since 1996 and had completely changed it (and not all in a good way).
late 2007, there was a writer's strike, so writer Garin Wolf stepped in to be
head writer for the show. A lot of people liked what he wrote. I was kind of in
the minority about it. For one thing, I don't approve of scabs during strikes.
For another, although he did write a lot for characters that Guza ignored,
especially Alexis and Diane, I didn't think the writing was good quality. He
made Diane and Alexis out to be idiots, basically, in a contrived situation,
just to have them show a little humor. Humor is great, but not at the expense of
the characters or their dignity.
When regular headwriter Bob Guza was fired, though, they gave his job to Wolf. I
was hoping Wolf would show that he was better than Guza, despite my feelings on
his scab period, but I was unfortunately, right about his writing skills. He did
try to do the things fans wanted, to a certain extent, by concentrating more on
the hospital and the non-mobster characters. He did less with Guza favorites
Luke and Sonny.
However, his writing skills were just not up to the challenge. He made the
stories very boring. There were many scenes where people were just arguing
endlessly. It was so tedious. I was not the only one to feel this way because he
was replaced in February.
Boring is the WORST thing you can do for a show. Guza had moments where
you wanted to throw things at the TV, but he was rarely boring. To his credit,
he had many great stories and did a lot of interesting things. Wolf tried really
hard to write the show the way the audience wants it, but he lacked the one
thing we really want: compelling, interesting stories that surprise us.
By the time 2012 rolled around, GH was in danger of being canceled and everyone
was worried about it.
I'm guessing it must be really hard to be a soap opera writer. Wolf did work for
years on many soaps, including GH, and he seemed to know the right things to say
in interviews. I'm sure it must have been very hard for him to realize
that he could not save the show.
The soap industry is very incestuous. They re-use the same writers over and
over. It's one of the few jobs I know where they will fire you and then someone
else will hire you, thinking you can do the job, regardless of the fact that you
keep getting fired. I have read that learning how to write soap operas can take
a lot of training. Maybe they need to figure out a way to make that process
faster and get some better writers into the soaps. Do you know what
happens if you keep using the same writers and producers over and over? They
keep re-writing the same stories over and over and hiring the same actors over
and over (whether they can act or not). That is just plain stupid.
The only writer that I think they should ever hire back is Claire Labine. She is
the best living soap opera writing, in my opinion. She wrote great stories when
she was on Ryan's Hope, GH, and OLTL. I did not see her work at Guiding Light,
and I know fans didn't like her clone storyline, but I'm guessing she was not
the only one who wrote that story or approved of it.
I think that there are many behind-the-scenes things that happen with these
shows that we never hear about. They don't just let the writers write. The
headwriter is not the only writer and not the only one to blame. He or she is
just the only one we know about and so they take the fall if the stories are
bad. I do know from many years of reading about the soaps that it's frequently
the producers or people above them that force the writers to write things they
are not comfortable with or to use characters they don't like. I try to cut the
writers slack, but ultimately if you don't like the writing, who do you blame?
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