Tuesday, July 05, 2011

When Boredom Hits The Office

Last week my co-workers and I spent one whole day at work, bored out of our minds and talking about random and weird things. Somehow it came up about how soap operas are dying but would probably come back around as a reboot at some point like almost everything else. Discovering that we were all fans of different shows, we each picked one and wrote our own version of a reboot... Here is mine for "General Hospital."

I think for any reboot idea you have to get back to the bare bones of the show but keeping key characters and story points as a part of the new history. I would love to do a good General Hospital reboot with a focus on the original characters mixed with popular characters… I would have the hospital be the focus but also keep the adventure and mob aspects as part of the story as the show goes. (Mostly because whether we like it or not—they are part of the show’s history.) Take the best of each era and try and mix it all together.

I would obviously start out with a young 30s hunk named Steve Hardy—a compassionate and well liked general practitioner with a way for managing both his patients and the politics of hospital life. His best friend and fellow doctor is a young 30 something pediatrician named Jessie Brewer—when not working together on cases they spend their days in the break room and talk about their personal lives. Of course Steve is too dedicated to have much of one but Jessie’s complicated marriage to Phil Brewer provides more than enough conversation.

Of course Phil Brewer would hate to know that Steve is butting in on his marriage—the young and cocky researcher has little use for the Good Samaritans of the world including his wife Jessie. While he loves her simple nature and sweet behavior, Phil finds it even more useful that being married to Jessie serves as the perfect political salve for when he goes too far. It’s not that Phil’s a bad doctor—in fact he is a genius research doctor who is just starting to get national recognition when he’s not out drinking and bedding prostitutes.

And Phil’s skill has proven to be a money maker not just for the hospital but for the local corporation—ELQ—pharamuticals love creating new money makers. The company’s namesake Edward Quartermaine has no use for the brash doctor but Brewer’s work does provide a tidy profit. The only thing that 40 something Edward loves more than profit is his gentle and refined wife Lila (40s)—and sometimes his two children young medical intern Alan (23) and spoiled dilettante Tracy (21). While Alan is desperate to have his father respect him—wrangling himself an internship under his father’s star Dr. Brewer, Tracy is always trying schemes to get her father’s attention. Most outsiders would say that her spirited but bitchy nature comes from Edward—turns out that Tracy is more like Lila than anyone would guess.

Despite Lila’s blueblood background, she once spent time out in the world and having adventures of her own-- most notably backpacking across Africa with her dear friend—and private school classmate—Helene Hardwick. The two debutants spent their days volunteering with local tribes and using their family connections to raise money for Doctors Without Borders. That sense of community and charity stuck with Lila and when it came time to open a free clinic in the town of Port Charles—due to a PR fiasco with Dr. Brewer and the company—Lila called on her old childhood friend to come oversee the project.

And Helene (40s)—along with her husband Lars Webber (50) and son Jeff (21)—needed a reason to live and hoped that this new project would provide focus. Her marriage hit shaky ground after her oldest son Rick (26) disappeared and was presumed dead while working with Doctors Without Borders in Somalia—something Lars blamed his wife for. Lars has never been one for pipe dreams and unlike his wife, he relished the chance to mix the kind of wealth her “dear old friends” provided instead of rejecting the privileged life like his wife was known to do. Meanwhile third year medical student Jeff mostly felt lost—between his older sister Terri (28) fleeing the family for reasons unknown and his idolized brother being dead—he felt as if his family has forgotten about him in all the fighting and blame games.

But hopefully enlisting in the medical school at Port Charles University, away from ghost of Rick and the absence of Terri, would give Jeff the fresh start he needs. No one who knows him, no one who knows his family—just new faces to meet. Like the young and ambitious Monica Barb (20)—a talented and crafty medical student who despite her background—foster homes and group living—has managed to make her way through the expense of medical school. Monica may be smart but it helps that she has the looks and drive to make people bend to her will—whether it is securing scholarship money from the ELQ trust or using her sex appeal with various professors. She may play the sex card but isn’t selling it like some people in her neighborhood.

Such as Barbara Jean Spencer. Some would call the 15 year old redhead a street waif but she isn’t alone in the world—it’s just her brother Luke (19) is serving time in juvie and her Aunt Ruby (40s) tries to keep their relationship low profile. It’s one thing to run a whorehouse while paying off the mob and the local police but Ruby knew she couldn’t talk her way around raising a teenager in that environment even with friends in “high places”. Instead “Bobbie” lives on her own in an efficiency apartment across the way from Monica Bard and down the hall from her mysterious classmate Michael and his mother Adella—which is good for her now that she is pregnant and hiding it from everyone. If Ruby ever found out that Bobbie was hooking herself on the street like common trash—even if to high end doctors like Phil Brewer--she could get a real beat down.

And being beat down is something Adella (late 30s) knows all about. On the run from her 2nd husband and desperately hiding out with her son Michael (16), Adella hoped that she finally found a chance to escape the violence of her past. She could take it when Deke would hit her but once he went after “Sonny”--for nothing more than not being his son—it was time to find a new home and a new life. And with her make-do job as a custodian at General Hospital she might eventually be able to break free, send her boy to college, maybe get herself a nursing degree and get them both off the streets for good.

If only head nurse Lucille March (late 30s) didn’t seem to dislike her so much… Everyone at the hospital, even new hires like Adella, knew to stay out of the way of the crusty, gossipy and strict Lucille. Some people said it was because she was an old maid—single and in her 40s!!!--and jealous of the young girls chasing doctors but the truth was Lucille had always been this way. No man had ever broke her heart—though there were a couple women who might have—but having to raise her own sister single handled was more than enough to break anyone’s spirit. Audrey March had always marched to her own drum—and being pretty and popular didn’t endear her to Lucille anymore than the rest else had. Her thirst for adventure and capacity for drama had led Audrey in every direction—one minute getting a nursing degree and the next off to see the world as documentarian following medical missions of mercy. Audrey wouldn’t have even come back to Port Charles—she had some many places left to see before she turned 30—but an opportunity to document the test trials of ELQ’s latest wonder drug led her home. Of course she still likes to cause trouble and break the rules—quickly becoming the talk of Lucille, Jessie and even Steve!

And Audrey’s drama goes well beyond break room gossip. Down the official halls of General hospital, Lee Baldwin’s (late 30s) job as the go-to-man for many of the hospital crisis’s runs the gamut from legal issues in patient care all the way to the possible legal problems from a “guerilla style” documentary being shot under his watch. But even through all the fast paced stress of hospital life, the widowed father of two still made time for his children back at home. And while 20 something Brooke Baldwin might shy away from being called a child—she was too mature for that and too willing to prove it—his young son Scotty (17) was more then willing to behave and make home life easy. Scotty desperately wanted to finish high school and start college, follow his dad into the law but Brooke was more interested in finding a hot young doctor to bed and make herself into something more than middle class.

And Brooke would get her wish—getting herself a cushy job as a babysitter for the upper middleclass Vining family. Jason Vining (40) was a professor at the local medical school and held many a study session at the family home—giving Brooke access to many a young doctor—and his charming if gruff exterior made him popular with students like Monica and Jeff. His wife Barbara (late 30s) was another story—she didn’t understand why they need a sultry young babysitter like Brooke around the house—their daughters Laura (15) and Amy (13) were both in their teens. And even if Laura could be moody--constantly running around with Scotty Baldwin--while Amy was no ease to raise; she could always cut back her hours nursing since Jason made enough money. But she always found it easier to accommodate Jason’s moods ever since the accident that took away his ability to practice medicine or even father children--she knew how hard it was for him to connect to her much less their two adopted daughters.


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