News Round-up: The James Franco Edition

Not only are soap fans and the soap press weighing in on Franco Friday on GENERAL HOSPITAL, the mainstream media is also paying attention. Here is a round-up of some of the feedback on Franco's first full day on GH.

L.A. Times' Robert Lloyd: Mostly he lurked, "disguised" as a homeless person, his face half-hidden or turned away. When the camera finally allowed us a good look at him, he did shine like the superior screen presence he is.

It is hard to tell yet just where on the good-evil scale Franco is meant to fall -- actually, it is hard to tell that about any of these characters, a situation I would imagine that more familiarity would only partly relieve. But artists on TV shows are usually some sort of crazy, and all signs so far point to trouble.

Hitfix's Daniel Fienberg: Well, he wasn't distractingly James Franco-y. He wasn't lit or shot any differently from the other males in the cast and since most soap stars are pretty good-looking, it's not like Franco popped up on screen and you suddenly went, "Well there's a handsome dude" (not that I'm prone to doing that anyway).

He also wasn't distractingly good. Just as you didn't go, "Damn, that guy looks like a movie star" when he appeared, you also didn't go, "Damn, that guy's a Golden Globe-winning thespian whose last regular TV role was on one of the greatest network dramedies of the past 10 years." He's always been an actor prone to twitching and smirking and that's what he got to do on GENERAL HOSPITAL, but from what I could tell, he's far from the only affected twitcher in the GH cast. Dominic Zamprogna, Brandon Barash and Bradford Anderson all seem capable of giving Franco a run for his money.

Entertainment Weekly's Ken Tucker: Franco was initially seen witnessing an awkwardly staged gangland shoot-out (I had forgotten the way everything on a soap set, right down to the stairs people run down, looks like flimsy cardboard). I’m not going to pretend I’m a regular GH-watcher — you’d figure that out fast, if I tried to pass — but I’m also the sort of person the producers want to attract: that is, a new viewer, to boost the generally sagging ratings of the soap opera genre.

The show kept cutting back to some endless argument involving a woman name Olivia, who babbled ceaselessly about her son Dante. She seemed sullen, defensive, and either terribly rattled or else trapped in a terrible storyline.

New York Magazine's Lindsay Robertson: The day people who had never watched GENERAL HOSPITAL before in their lives watched a little bit of GENERAL HOSPITAL, just to see James Franco. Never forget! Turns out, it's not very hospital-y, at all, and it's about the mafia and the art world and a lady having a meltdown in her living room. But also, at least for now, starting today, it's about Franco, a famous artist whose art is killing people or maybe rearranging them after they die, or something, and whenever he's on the screen, the piano part from that song “Mad World”, popularized in a cover version on the Donnie Darko soundtrack plays. The best part was at the end, when James Franco reveals his beautiful, glistening face and kisses a lady.'s Leslie Gray Streeter: Something interesting happened Friday, even though much of the action, particularly Franco’s, involved a big stupid mob shoot-out and the death of a guest-starring mob dude named Joey Limbo – the reactions were restrained, and everybody, particularly Bernard, had some beautiful moments. If you don’t watch the show, just know that Sonny’s had some family problems lately, like finding out that the mob princess he married accidentally got his kid shot when she put out a hit on Sonny (whoops).

As for Franco the artist, he apparently likes rearranging dead bodies and recreating crime scenes, and he’s stalking Jason the hit man – there was a creepy scene where he waved at Jason as the mobsters drove away from the shoot-out, and gave Jason the shivers. It was sort of awesome, because I really don’t like the mob. Later, you see him getting all sexy with his agent, the deliciously slinky Marsha Thomason of LAS VEGAS, and you see there’s just something off about the guy. Sadly, it all comes back to the mob. But Franco’s so intriguing – there’s an amazing amount of there, there – that I’m hooked.

- James Franco's First Full Day on GH: What Did You Think?

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