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'General Hospital' airs its MOCA episode with James Franco

July 26, 2010 |  1:33 pm
James franco and jeffrey Deitch Anne Cusack LAT My favorite part of Friday's ABC-TV "General Hospital" episode, which was shot one night last month at the Museum of Contemporary Art's outpost at the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood, comes right at the start. As the outdoor set for a performance by artist Franco, played by actor James Franco, is being decorated, the soundtrack does its level best to mimic "Masterpiece Theatre."

Stinky cheese is always best when it's served ripe.

However, the witty violins soon give way to a driving techno beat, and everything immediately flattens out and becomes predictably bland. Not least are the jejune musings on art, life, illusion, inspiration, performance, spontaneity, interpretation, death, reality, shock and blah-blah-blah, delivered throughout the episode by assorted characters.

There's no point in recounting the story line, which concerns the usual daytime escape into kidnapping, murder and suicide, here all swirling around the gassy cliche of artist-as-sociopath. Suffice it to say that Franco the actor doesn't just play "Franco" the artist; metaphorically, he also plays actor/artist Dennis Hopper playing Frank Booth in "Blue Velvet" or Howard Payne in "Speed," currently enshrined in a mostly tedious exhibition of paintings, sculptures and photographs at MOCA's Geffen Contemporary.

A film about the soap opera's taping and its television broadcast is slated to be screened at MOCA at an unspecified future date. I suppose the only question now is why anyone would care.

If you missed Friday's "General Hospital," or prior snippets in episodes that aired last Monday and Thursday, and you aren't concerned about losing some time that would be more productively spent hitting yourself in the temple with a ball-peen hammer, they're available for a short time at Hulu.

--Christopher Knight

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Photo: Actor James Franco and MOCA director Jeffrey Deitch. Credit: Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times

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