General Hospital More Sopranos Than Soap Opera
James Franco's guest stint highlights shows thuggery
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 19, 2009 12:05 PM CST

(Newser) – Sure, it’s weird that James Franco is guest starring on General Hospital—but what’s weirder is that the soap is one of the small screen’s most violent creations, even by daytime television’s dubious standards. It stopped being a show about a hospital long ago, writes Willa Paskin for DoubleX, and now focuses on thugs—of whom Franco will be the latest—and their murders, rapes, and love affairs.

“Of course, it’s a daytime soap’s prerogative to create cheap, outrageous, morally dubious plot lines,” Paskin allows, but GH has taken it to the next level: Mobsters who shoot pregnant lovers and praise stepmother-murdering teenagers are the heroes of the show, inexplicably beloved by the town’s citizens. It has something to do with the fact that, like all soaps, GH has a reputation for touting conservative values—“Apparently, after almost 50 years of talking this talk, soaps can walk over and kill almost anyone, execution-style.”