Friz Rocks My World
On Friday February 3 several significant developments occurred but only one of them shook the earth. A federal judge in Seattle put a stay on a racist travel ban thereby reminding Americans that the United States has a founding document. It’s called the US Constitution and it matters. Congress took steps to loosen the Dodd-Frank law so mark your calendar for the next financial collapse. And, the Ag Department scrubbed all of the data pertaining to animal cruelty from its website thus allowing POTUS to kick puppies. Yet, none of these events matters more than what took place in Port Charles where General Hospital’s Elizabeth and Franco had sex for the first time. #FrizLove teaches me that if a reformed serial killer can find happiness with his lady love then there is hope for my world too.
Franco and Elizabeth have taken a traditional but not well-worn path to soap love. They spent a year or more moving towards one another at a snail’s pace always wondering if their growing feelings justified action. Was he capable of reform? Could she withstand his imperfections? Was he the one to finally put her first? Could he make amends with so many? GH used its playbook to put multiple obstacles in the couple’s way most recently the return and murder of the man who raped a teenage Elizabeth. This storyline compelled Franco to take stock of his own crimes against Sam much like the original storyline pushed Luke to do the same with his against Laura. Most soap romances rely on plot development to the exclusion of character growth. Not so in the case of Liz and Franco.
To understand the difference between Liz and Franco’s love story and that of other entertaining PC couples, we have to start with Roger Howarth and Rebecca Herbst. Howarth’s reservoir of talent elevates every scene he’s in and the performance of every scene partner he has. His mastery of language and subtly, pushes Rebecca Herbst to new degrees of emotion. The writers know what they have in Howarth and that they are writing for a couple whose natural chemistry cannot be denied or wasted.
Rather than rush Franco and Elizabeth into bed GH exploits every interaction, every eye-lock, every brush of a hand on an arm to maximum potential. The final effect of this excruciatingly delicious build-up leads audiences to feel as though they are watching real people fall in love. So much so that when it comes time for Franco and Elizabeth to make love the audience’s mood becomes voyeuristic as if we should not be watching two people share such an intimate experience. Franco and Elizabeth’s romance is not just story telling at its best, its acting and writing at their best.
Not every GH fan sees the virtue in Franco and Elizabeth’s romance. One individual took the time to send me a personalized anti-Friz tweet and I felt torn when upon further investigation I discovered that this person includes #F*CKTRUMP in their profile. As a general rule I have great respect for the average F*CKTRUMPer, yet how can I relate to one who shows contempt for Franco and Elizabeth? It’s a real conundrum.
These days I see the world through lenses clouded by Executive Orders and alternate facts. I find it impossible to separate politics from my work, my writing, and my television viewing. That is part of the reason why Liz and Franco’s big step matters. It is a welcome distraction, but it’s also something else. It’s the payoff for investing in a beautifully constructed, perfectly paced romance. Soaps do not get better than Friz. Period.