Friday, August 26, 2011

General Hospital vs. Generations

(originally written sometime in July)

When you graduate college in December and live in an area that tends to get snowed in, and you don't really have a job, you take up new hobbies. One of mine was General Hospital. My mom has been watching this show for years and I have always been mildly familiar with it because I spend so much time making fun of her. But I got sucked in. I blame it on James Franco's cameo.

Here in Swaziland, and South Africa, Generations is all the rage. I am going to compare and contrast the two shows and maybe it'll look like I did some fancy cultural analysis thing when really, I just love trashy daytime television.
James Franco as a serial killer on GH

Generations Cast

Audience:
Everyone watches Generations, old folks, young kids, moms and dads.
I have never seen anyone but a woman admit to watching GH. Besides Stephen Colbert.

Time slot:
Generations is primetime baby.
GH is on at 3 PM. If you have school-aged children, they will be walking their asses home.

Cast:
Generations is all African and is shot in 5 languages to represent the diversity of RSA, with english subtitles. The actors switch between the languages mid sentence, its pretty impressive.
GH is all white. I lied. There are a few people of color that make sporadic appearances, but really, its lacking and they need to work on that.

Edginess:
An HIV positive, drug addled DJ and  a secret gay love affair in the work place dominate the plots now, which is very edgy for this culture. (for the record, sex scene with host Babe is as awkward as with real parent)
GH…not too edgy compared to other soaps but there has been prison rape, serial killers, terrorist attacks and HIV in the plot for over a decade. Nothing shocks America.

The characters of both fill typical "Soap" roles. Half the cast is in a hospital at any given time on their death beds. Khetsiwe is the Lisa of Generations. Batshit crazy.  Sadly the Jason's and Nicholases of the respective soaps do not match up at all And Generations has no lovable Italian mobster playboy (Sonny Corinthos, obviously). But by and large, the shows are comparable. I hope I have a Make or a Gogo at my permanent site who is addicted to Generations so I get to both fill my soap void and integrate at the same time. Now all I need is an African Hoda and Kathy Lee…

Random Swazi Fact: I don't have electricity so that dream has been dashed. There is a lot of drama between the chickens to keep me occupied though.

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