General Hospital: Will Night Shift 2 Be Nightmare 2?

GH Night Shift

Thinking Fans Comment Update July 26:  horselover thinks NS2 has potential … Thirty misses Cody and Lainey … pjs opines NS2 is up slightly from NS1′s nadir … and more. See Comments below.

_______________ 

By Marlena De Lacroix

I can’t stand watching General Hospital because of the din of Crazy Carly’s constant yelling about Jax’s relationship with Kate (when Carly secretly screwed Sonny).  I could hardly bear watching last year’s incoherently plotted GH: Night Shift because in the end it was sound and fury signifying nothing.

So the last thing I expected the premiere of this year’s season of Night Shift to be was deadly boring.  Did anyone make it through the entire hour?

The premiere of any show is at least supposed to be exciting, vamping you for the entire season.  I think it was supposed to be exciting when the car crashed through the hospital’s wall into the nurse’s station.  But, not only was it cheese-ily produced, but we soap fans have seen the car-crash-through-the-wall shtick twice before: on Another World, when Wallingford and Lily hilariously crashed through the wall of Felicia’s nightclub Tops, and on Passions, when Ivy drove into somebody’s wedding (Julian’s?).Patrick

In the Night Shift crash, Dr. Ford, whom I liked, was handily killed by a piece of flying glass so that Dr. Patrick almost instantly was made hospital chief of staff.  How old is he? 28? 30? Geez, Patrick look-alike Ben Casey was barely an intern at that age!   What obvious, clunky writing.

And clunkiness didn’t end there. In fact, it had just begun. Pregnant Robin was knocked down and out  in the crash but got up apparently without a scratch, and was seen bizarrely running around following a commercial.  The driver of the car (who was said to be drunk) was lovingly shuffled into a hospital bed and coddled throughout the episode – to no avail, as it turned out, because she suffered a stroke.

Meanwhile, where were the cops through all of this?  If you drove through the wall of any building in your neighborhood, the cops would arrive and, at the very least, want to know what was going on.  They might even put you in handcuffs, even if you were in a coma!  Don’t you hate it when soap writers are so illogical, they insult your intelligence?Robin

Throughout of the episode Patrick and Robin did exactly what they’ve done on GH and last year on NS, which is argue.  Now, I love them, you love them, they are one of the most divinely matched couple on soap operas.  But does anybody out there still find their endless arguing entertaining?  Honey, I’ve had my share of “romantic” relationships in my life, in which all we did was argue.  I’m sick of watching it on soaps, and I’m sick of ABC wasting these two wonderful characters this way.  The first thing  new chief of staff Patrick did was  fire workaholic /pregnant Robin so she’d get some rest.  And she snuck back to work anyway.  What is this, an unfunny I Love Lucy?   

The rest of the episode was devoted to reintroducing Jagger shirtless (been there, seen that, and I don’t care if it was thirteen years ago) and introducing new characters, mostly hospital interns.   These include an Iranian, an Indian woman who is into holistic medicine, and of course a curvy, gorgeous intern shown in her in her lingerie even before the first commercial   What is this, a checklist of politic correctness and clichés?   A friend of mine says all primetime shows are cast this way these days. Oh please!  Where is a Jewish girl Epiphanyfrom the Bronx, an Amish man from Pennsylvania, a WASP from Beacon Hill or a French Canadian? All of these ethnic  types and more are unfashionable right now, I guess.

And of course, another sign of the times — foul language.  It caught my attention when one character was telling another about an intern who had “a pole up his ass.”  Darlings, you don’t have to remind me so prettily that this is a nighttime show on cable!  Same thing with Robin and the blonde intern shown only in bras before the opening credits. I watch other shows besides daytime soaps  — sex is everywhere on TV!  But deep cleavage and semi-nudity and characters having sex on sofas alone aren’t going to make a night time soap any better than it’s daytime counterpart.  Try good writing.  Yes,  NS head writer Sri Rao has done a teenish soapish series for MTV, but this is really his first effort at a full-blown soap.  His clunky, abysmally paced first episode showed that inexperience.Billy Dee

Okay, was there anything Marlena liked?  I’m so glad they brought back Billy Dee Williams as Toussaint for Sonya Eddy’s Epiphany.   Incredibly,  even in his 60s,  Billy Dee still has a hint of that idiosyncratic sex appeal that made women of the 70s swoon. (Saturday Night Live did a parody of his iconic Colt 45 commercial last season.)   And I always love Epiphany.  She is the only character from both GH and the first season of  NS to have total integrity.  Whenever she speaks, you know she’s telling the absolute truth.  There’s hardly anyone else on soaps you can say that about these days!  Call her the anti-Carly! 

Comments

  1. S. Brenner says:

    I couldn’t agree more with your review of Night Shift. I was bored to tears. The only laughs I got were unintentional ones. The bad acting, cheesy story and horrible pacing were just the beginning of it’s problems. I like Patrick and Robin just as much as the next person but I don’t find them interesting enough to anchor a show. The actors are good and their chemistry is wonderful but the characters just aren’t all that interesting and their banter & arguing passed tired a long time ago. The worse offense this show committed though was it was simply boring. Mind numbingly, will this hour ever end BORING.

    NS 2 gets a big bored thumbs down by me.

  2. Shauna says:

    Um, I’ll take a shirtless Jagger over the gummy-bear mob and the three Carlys any day. And yes killing Ford was cheesy as heck as was making Patrick “acting” chief of staff, but at least there was no Carly screaming “it was a redo”, no Jiz ho-humming the fact that they can’t be together, no NuEckertszzzzzzzzzzzz stealing more time from vets, no “events that will change the canvas forever” only NOT.

    And oh — the best part-Robin’s got her spine back, standing up to Patrick, she’s got a friend who isn’t be-littling her skills as a physician, there’s no lame-ass nurses who can’t act, Billy Dee Willaims and big-daddy Scorpio’s coming back in episode four.

    Marlena says: Do we really have to wait until Episode 4 to see Tristan? Now that’s brilliant programming, Mr. Frons. The older GH audience who love and remember him will either by asleep by then or watching the local news.

  3. Elana says:

    I agree that the NS premiere was far from perfect, and that some of its biggest flaws were among those you named (such as the cheesy car crash). But SO much of it was loads better than GH these days that I found it a refreshing change. Patrick and Robin center stage was a pleasure, and I would term their interactions “banter” rather than “arguments.” They provided the kind of light, flirty, romantic engagement that is nowhere to be seen on the daytime show these days.

    The pacing was certainly different from daytime’s, to which I attribute the quick shift to Patrick as chief of staff and Robin’s rapid recovery. Moments like these required no-questions-asked suspension of disbelief, but I didn’t mind that, as they worked in service of more pleasurable ends (P & R grappling with their issues, albeit in a light-hearted way).

    There were way too many concessions to current prime-time conventions–the lingerie scenes, the half-hearted attempt at diversity–but also a real appreciation of the GH characters’ histories and the real sense that the creative forces at work actually LIKE these characters and want us to like them, too.

    Marlena says: Thanks Elana. Those rapid fast forwards during the show made absolutely no sense to me. As to Night Shift 2 being better than regular General Hopital — anything is better than the violent, sexist, illogical mess that GH has become, especially the last year or so (Michael getting shot in the head?). The new Night Shift has a long way to go to prove it’s even barely entertaining.

    I’ve maintained since the beginning of Patrick and Robin that if this were real life, intelligent, educated, wonderful people like this would be happily engaged and/or married in less than two years. The “bantering” shtick ain’t heart-stopping drama.

    These two characters/actors are capable of doing the richest, most pyschologically sophisticated of soap opera drama. Sadly, all they are given is to do is to argue superficial inanities. You’ll accept that little of a soap opera?

  4. Guest says:

    Count me in as one of those so bored by the episode I fell asleep. Come on now how lame was that car crash and so anti dramatic almost non-occurrence death of Dr Ford, my three year old could have written and directed something better. As for Patrick being made COS, they had me LMAO. The bickering Scrubs has gotten old, please do something else with them or put them and me the viewer out of my misery! I give NS2′s premiere show a big fat F!

  5. Gina says:

    I couldn’t disagree with you more, Marlena.

    That hour passed incredibly quickly for me. Not a single mobster was in sight. I found the banter between Patrick and Robin witty, sly, and at times provocative. They resolved more issues in ten minutes on NS2 than they did in two years on GH. I didn’t find the writing at all clunky. Dr. Ford? That character has always been stiffly portrayed and terribly superfluous. His death scene was unintentionally funny, but not from the writing, but the incredibly stiff acting. Dr. Ford shall not be missed by me.

    And couples don’t lie post-coital and talk about world issues. They talk about personal ones, Marlena. Like getting a better couch to snuggle on post-coital. They’re banter reminds me of David and Mattie on Moonlighting. I find it delightful. I don’t know about anyone else, but I haven’t found anything delightful on GH in a long time. So that’s enough for me. I was thoroughly entertained by NS2. I laughed out loud, more than once.

    My soaps are supposed to be heart-warming, dramatic, fun and soapy. NS2 was all of that. And you know what? The best of it is yet to come. Tristan comes on in the third episode, not the fourth, just to correct you.

    So I think you’re dead wrong about NS2.

  6. pjs says:

    My take on what was compelling about Night Shift’s season 2 premiere? None of the characters and none of the story. Sketchy suggestions of plot. Dull introductions of character. Nothing about the show had so much as a whiff of believability or reality.

    Patrick and Robin, the show’s strongest (only) couple, were treated with Guza-like disdain for just letting them be … good doctors and 2 likeable people in love. Epiphany and the improbable Toussaint were barely present. The newbies had generic conflict and banter. The return of Jagger Cates had skin and a smile. The show’s only through-line was a fairly dull patient-of-the-week case that effectively suggested (as so many of last season’s cases did) that the GH staff is collectively incompetent. This season won’t even give us SuperJanitor, er, Jason to give us our weekly chortles of disbelief. With luck, perhaps the exploits of SuperJagger will make us similarly roll our eyes.

    I thought last year’s Night Shift was a nadir of American television. On a positive note, this year’s premiere gave me a sense that it may strive a bit toward more believable stories. Not a strong sense, mind you, but a couple of the continuing story elements (Jagger’s autistic child, homophobic conflict between brothers) have a degree of serious intent embedded in them.

    Love in the Night Shift? The premiere promised little. Patrick and Robin … already familiar, not terribly well-handled. Epiphany and Toussaint? A continuing promise but, honestly, where’s the drama? Not a hint of romance from any of the rest. Even the would-be groom bails on his stroke-stricken bride. Why should we care about any of these people. As presented, were they witty, funny, interesting, noble, loving, self-sacrificing, intelligent (or even remotely bright), sophisticated, earthy, etc.

    The actors that play Patrick, Robin, Epiphany, and Toussaint are far and away the most successful of the premiere’s ensemble. The rest of the actors seem young, generic and at seas as to how to make the drivel they’ve been dealt dramatic.

    That the parent ship (the strident and degrading mobfest that Guza, Frons and Phelps still call General Hospital) is infinitely more watchable than Night Shift is due to a first-rate cast that knows how to transcend the garbage they’re given. Perhaps in time, Night Shift’s newbies will be able to navigate their CGI waters with as much success.

  7. Soap says:

    I must say that I was a little skeptical going into the 2nd season of Nightshift, but I enjoyed the first season and with new writers, I was a little more excited about the new season.

    Robin and Patrick are fun, sexy, flirty, and had great banter on NS2 unlike their angsty, bitchy, judgmental arguments on GH. The two of them having sex on the couch was a reminder as to who Robin and Patrick are as a couple. It’s staple for them to have sex on the couch and the dialogue was funny. It was a lot of fluff for Robin and Patrick, something that doesn’t exist for them on GH.

    As for the newbies, I enjoyed the new holistic doctor and I loved the connection with her and Robin. I do miss Dominic as Dr. Leo, but Ethan wasn’t all that bad, it was just different seeing him in the role. Touissant and Epiphany are adorable! I love Sonya Eddy and she was glowing in her scenes with Billy Dee Williams. I love them together.

    The editing is something to get used to but if anyone watches Y&R, will know this type of editing. It was definitely different than season 1, but I like it. It moves the stories along rather quickly. So instead of having a 12 hour shift per episode it’s a week’s worth of shifts in one episode. It made it quick paced and I like that in a soap.

    ASJ does nothing for me and I can take him or leave him as an actor. But it was nice to see him and it was a nice touch to remember Karen and her death. It was a nice touch on history.

    Night Shift season 2 is not perfect but it was overall a really good episode. I enjoyed it and I’m excited to see where the storylines are heading. And the best part – there was NO Sonny, or Jason or Carly – ZERO mob – and that’s always a PLUS!

    Marlena says: What a nice letter! We don’t agree on much, but you’ve illuminated a lot about things I never thought about before about the show. I wasn’t impressed by the new Dr. Ethan — is he supposed to be a jerk? Also, it’s very interesting to see that a lot of the respondants to this column talked about Night Shift at least being better than regular GH. (Save for pjs in the letter immediately before who feels the opposite.) I didn’t even compare the two in the original column.

  8. JONNYSBRO says:

    Marlena, I have to agree about Night Shift. Does Frons thinks this is ABC’s answer to Grey’s Anatomy? LOL. The funny thing is Grey’s tapes right where GH/Night Shift tape at Prospect studios. Too bad they could not get Sandra Oh, Ellen Pompeo or Dempsey to make an appearance LOL. I am just sad about GH anyways. The show is a dark, dismal, violent and terrible mess. The show is operating on Guza’s ego and JFP’s ego. Guza loves violence and mob galore and JFP loves to do her all bells/whistles type episodes that win her emmys. What is missing is the heart of GH.

  9. horselover says:

    I have to agree with Soap. It wasn’t perfect it was pretty good. The fact that there was no Sonny, Jason or Carly gets HUGE points. There was not a mobster in sight! I think a lot of us long time viewers have become so jaded that anything remotely better than Guza’s GH just shines. I mean, Jagger (a vet) came back and I recognized him. He didn’t become totally unrecognizable like the other GH vets that Guza trashed. (Rick, Robert, Holly, Anna, Felicia, etc)

    I’m happily awaiting the third episode where I will see the REAL Robert Scorpio. And little things like seeing the Tania Jones Daycare Center bring a smile to my face. Obviously, this NS2 regime cares way more about GH history than the current GH regime.

    Night Shift 2 was a little cheesy. The newbie acting wasn’t the best. But Patrick and Robin were together as a couple. An actual couple. Wow! I’ll definitely be tuning in for the next episode.

    Marlena says: Horse, I love your point about Jagger being his old self as opposed to the Guza reinventions of Anna, Felicia, etc. I’m dying to see what the new show has done with Robert. Weeks ago someone told me a rumor (I don’t know if this is true) that he will return as an amnesiac. And I almost started to cry! “You mean he won’t know Robin?” Let’s see what really happens.

  10. Wendy says:

    Hi Marlena! I am in a small minority, but I loved Night Shift 1. It brought me back to soap-watching, which I hadn’t done much of since Sophie (Wendy’s daughter) was born. I kept watching because of Spinelli and yes, Jason, with whom I wasn’t bored yet because I still remembered Jason/CarlyIncarnation1. I loved the fact that it was set in the hospital. I liked Scrubs, and Jason Thompson surprised me by being both hot and a passable actor.

    This year I will still watch for Scrubs, Jagger’s kid, Pip and Toussaint, and Kyle, who was the only newbie who made an impression. And I’ll see what happens with Robert.

    Marlena says: Wendy old friend, I love that you call Ephiphany “Pip.” How old is Sophie these days?

  11. BarbE says:

    Everybody is entitled to their own opinion. Mine is that I enjoyed the heck out of the opening show for this season of Night Shift. Season 1 was a complete waste of time but it looks like things are looking up this time around.

  12. crimelord says:

    I was very disappointed with the premier of NS2, it didn’t have the sense of fun or excitement of NS1. I ended up fast forwarding through much of it. I didn’t like any of the new characters (including the new Leo). They needed stronger stars than scrubs.

  13. Thirty says:

    Marlena,

    My question about the season two of GH: Nightshift is where are Cody (Graham Shiels) and Lainey (Kent King)? For me, they were two of the best things about the show’s debut season. There was a new and exciting actor, crackling chemistry with his co-star and a story that evolved into something that was genuinely moving. Caring for an elderly and ailing parent is something people can relate to, not Mob Man No. 2 performing surgery in a hospital elevator.

    I had hoped they’d bring the promising pairing over to GH. For a second it looked like they would. But before long, King was put on recurring and we discovered that neither she nor Shiels would be back for Nightshift 2.

    Now, a year later, Shiels is getting some facetime on GH, but, knowing GH, I bet asking for a Lainey return and a story go with it is asking too much. A Lainey and Cody pairing promised something soaps don’t do anymore — the slowburn. A totally involving, addictive romance that could evolve out of opposites attracting, individual personal hang-ups, and tragic backstory. I was hopeful for a second last summer, but, oh well……

    Thirty

    Marlena says: As the kids say, WORD, WORD, WORD! I loved, loved , loved Lainey and Cody and wrote a whole column a year ago that was almost a love note to Mr. Sheils. (Outside of his great acting talent, Marlena has always loved baldies.) I think it’s pretty low of regular GH to give him a couple of days of work, just to cover up the fact that he wasn’t cast full-time on the new Night Shift. You got it right baby: we loved Lainey and Cody because they did the slowburn (as opposed to the usual for soaps quick you-know-what!)

  14. Robb says:

    Marlena, I absolutely loved your review of Night Shift. It was fascinating to read, but I do have a question to ask. You mentioned the late, great Another World’s Wallingford and Lily (what truly unique characters) crashing through the wall of Tops. But, my dear, I have to ask: what kind of a car were they driving? They must have been driving an amazing flying car ala the one that Harry Potter and Ron Weasley took to Hogwarts in “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.” Because that’s the only way they could have crashed through the wall of Tops, which was at the very top of a high-rise building in Bay City as I recollect. (And Ivy crashed through the wall of the local church when Ethan and Theresa and Luis and Sheridan were planning to wed in a double ceremony — now that was damn good to watch!)

    Nonetheless, loved your review…and your comments about Mr. Shiels. Baldies are so hot

    Marlena says: Robb, you caught me! Maybe that was a Bay City club that came before Topps? Does anyone know? And thanks for the clarification through which wall Ivy drove through on Passions on what occasion. Did you know that Lisa De Cozotte, who is the executive producer of Night Shift previously held the same position at Passions?

    Baldies are indeed sublime! In the end, however, I married a man (Moose!) with a full head of hair. I will always adore Mr. Shiels though!

  15. Robb says:

    Marlena, I did some research on the Interweb (what a great resource) and supposedly it was Wallingford and Felicia who crashed a car into Tallboy’s. Man, how I miss Wallingford, Felicia, and Lily. Those were the days!

    Yep, I knew about Lisa De Cozotte helming Night Shift. Passions was great around the time Ivy crashed her car into the church. Shortly after, I lost interest.

    Baldies, baldies, baldies. They are indeed sublime. I’m constantly trying to persuade my partner to shave his head but he refuses. As Mrs. Slocombe would say on ARE YOU BEING SERVED?, “weak as water…weak as water.” But, hey, maybe Moose will have his head for you!

    Marlena says: No, Moose will have his crew cut eternally. We’ve got a tremendous Ira Blutreich illustration of him, which we’ll run some time when he writes something for this site.

  16. Rachel says:

    You have very good points! I liked and disliked NS2.

    I like that Robin and Patrick are the center since it is about the hospital. I thought their banter was less abrasive as it is on GH and that they were more romantic.

    I hated everything else. I thought the point of the spinoff was to spot light the people on GH who don’t get enough air time? That’s why Lainey, Dr Lee, Cassius, Pip were on the first time around? Where’s Regina? Why can’t we get more Lainey & Cody?

    Why did they recast Dr Leo into a jerk? He wasn’t like that the first time around? Why couldn’t this guy have been a different doctor?

    I agree that all the newbie actors were horrible at acting except the Kyle character.

  17. Gene says:

    I agree with you, Marlena, that the opening was not great, but it least was better than seeing another mob character that no one cares about taking over the show. I do agree that why wasn’t the first season characters on NS1 was on NS2. I didn’t make sense and the fans didn’t feel connected to the characters and the s/ls was not there. I hope for better writing for the season, but I not holding my breath.

  18. BL says:

    The premiere of Night Shift season two was just okay. I wasn’t wowed, but I didn’t scream in horror. The only annoying thing to me was that I wish they would have had more time crossing the new/old characters and had more than just Scrubs/Epiphany/Toussaint from last season. It would have been nice to see Cody and Lainey as mentioned above and the new Leo is so different than original Leo even if the actors are brothers due to the writing.

    I thought there was another time in soaps where someone drove through a building, way back on Guiding Light someone drove into the Reardon boardinghouse, and then a restaurant was added to the premises.

    Marlena says: Blossy, reading your message I seem to remember the car crashing into the Reardon’s boarding house resulting in the birth of Company. It was during Doug Marland’s tenure on GL, which means around 1981, 82 or 83. I don’t remember them ever actually showing the crash though. Does anyone?

  19. James says:

    Chere Marlena,

    On Guiding Light, a truck crashed into the Reardon kitchen. The truck was moving a house at the time that it crashed. The house fell of the back of the truck. They decided to leave it on the boarding house property and open a bar named Company in it.

    This was in fall 1982, one of Pat Falken-Smith’s first scripts of her very short lived tenure there. From what I recall reading at the time Falken-Smith’s wasn’t interested in having the Reardons running a boarding house, so decided to make them bar keeps.

    Another car crash through a building was on Days of Our Lives in fall 2006. Shawn ran his car into the living room at Victor’s house, upset that his grandfather had a hand in hiding the fact that Shawn, not Phillip, was Clair’s biological father.

    It was one of Hogan’s first scripts. It was also very early in Brandon Beemer’s tenure in the role of Shawn and did a lot to help fans accept him as Shawn.

    Marlena says: Thanks for the info, James. One of the things I love about my Thinking Fans is the long, precise and very accurate memories they have!

  20. Liz says:

    I tried to watch Night Shift 2 but I turned it off about 20 minutes into it. I thought the acting was bad accept for ASJ and Patrick and the storyline were ridiculous. I have not tuned back in sense.

Speak Your Mind