November 24, 2009By Mala Bhattacharjee Posted: Nov 24, 2009
A lot of mainstream critics are weighing in about James Franco's first few days on GH, so I guess it's my turn! First, I think it's terribly sad that, in GH's shot to draw in new viewers with Franco's guest appearance and the surrounding media blitz, the hospital has not been shown once so far. If that isn't an indicator of just how astray this show has wandered in 10 years, I don't know what is.
With my obligatory warbling of "The Way We Were" over, let's talk turkey! (Mmmmm turkey.) One thing that current GH does excel at is creating good villains. And I don't mean the Mobster of the Week, like Joey Limbo or Karpov. I mean the likes of Manny Ruiz, Mr. Craig and now Franco. Pardon my French, but ... bitch crazy! I guess if you're going to blow dough on new sets, they might as well be as thoroughly disturbing as Franco's studio and his gallery installation. He sure does love him some crime scenes! And James Franco impressed me by reining it in and not going "big," as some outsiders might perceive soap acting to be. No histrionics, theatrical gestures and over-emoting. In fact, at points he was a little TOO laid back, his whispery voice and heavy-lidded eyes almost giving the impression of a sleepwalker.
Or maybe that was just me snoozing while watching the denizens of Port Charles get herded in to the art gallery to kiss the new bad guy's ring. 'Cause, see, I generally don't watch soaps for psychopathic killers. That's what I watch my procedural dramas at night for! And as charming and fascinating as Franco may be, I just do not care that he's obsessed with Jason and likes playing with corpses. Unless the next stop on Franco's tour is OLTL and he and Mitch Laurence set up a play date to pose corpses together. Because that would be awesome.
I watch soaps for love stories, for family stories, for cheaters and forbidden romances and babies — for drama and action sequences that makes sense. So you know what part of Franco's first two days I liked best? Fraxie! Yes, Franco and Maxie. Because, to me, that was the moment James Franco became a soap actor.
Maxie: I'm not an art critic, I am a fashion expert. I had no idea who this pompous twit even was until my magazine editor made me swear I would throw my skirt over my head so we could get an exclusive with this guy.
Franco: Love the visual.
Maxie: All right. Come on. Seriously. What are you doing here? Are you like a fan of this guy's or something?
Franco: He and I go way back. Which is why I can guarantee that the artist known as Franco won't mind that you trashed his masterpiece.
Maxie (flustered): That I trashed it? Wow. I wasn't the one lounging around here like I...owned the place.
Franco: Yeah? Use your words. Sounds like...?
Maxie: Well, you're either a psychopath who doesn't give a damn what happens to him or....
Franco: Why does it have to be one or the other?
Maxie: Nooo. Really? You can't be him, right?
Franco: Pompous twit, at your service.
The banter, the flirtation, the decidedly kinky hijinks with the blindfold... if we just take out the morbid part where Franco made Maxie lie down in a chalk outline, it was hot. When you have an actor with James Franco's talent and good looks at your disposal, why waste it having him step on a thug's throat or waving at Jason like he's on a Rose Parade float? For crying out loud, put him in a short term love story and stick him in a white labcoat! That's the GH we want newcomers to the genre to know and love!