Good news: there is finally an explanation for James Franco's appearance on General Hospital. Unfortunately, the reason is the sort of meta, po-mo, super-self-referential masturbatory intellecto-speak that it makes me a little bit queasy.
Because apparently Shell Kepler on General Hospital is acting, but James Franco on GH is Performance Art. Or more specifically, by being so super famous and appearing on a show where super famous people don't usually appear, Franco is re-contextualizing the soap-operatic medium within the meta-narrative of the televised performance sphere. Obvi!
In the Wall Street Journal, Franco talks about his performance as a larger rumination on the meaning of art. It's a heady piece, involving such melon-scratchers as, if James Franco were to wear green face make-up and fly – not as the Green Goblin in Spiderman but "on a subway platform" – would that be art? (The answer, by the way, is slightly less worrying than the notion that James Franco thinks he can fly.) Since I don't want to be accused of raining on James' parade, I'll open the question up to you: is James Franco's GH appearance performance art?
A. No! What with trying to get two (two!) super-fancy master's degrees at the same time, (and occasionally sleeping through class ) the poor boy just got a bit confused.
B. Yes! Are you a fool? Have you read neither Deleuze nor Guittari?
C. No! Performance art is when you live naked in a phone booth eating only sausages for a month. This is an actor, acting.
D. None of the above. But if James Franco was actually living in a naked in a phone booth eating sausages, I would totally go see it.