Thinking Fans Comment Update October 26: Brandon says his patience was rewarded as NS2 got better and better … Marybell says the end of NS2 left her near tears … and more. See Comments below.
By Marlena De Lacroix
“I love you …” I lost count after about half a dozen the number of times one character said that to another in the last half hour of the last episode of General Hospital Night Shift 2. Anna to Robert. Robin to Robert. Leo to Saira. Claire to Kyle. Robin to Patrick. Patrick to Robin …
You’d think all this would be kind of treacly, but love is what the 13-week run of NS2 was all about, and proudly so. Relationships, family, friendship — these are fueled by love, and that is simply what this show is made of. Darlings, if they could only bottle NS2, they’d save soap operas.
Because … challenging a ten- to fifteen-year slide, when daytime soap operas have come very close to self-annihilation by trying to hook viewers with “faster, more sensationalistic” elements, gimmicks and “improvements” like the mob, tornados, a
The show even closed on a scene of Patrick and Robin kissing. Isn’t true love much better than endless shouting?
whole show taped on location in exotic New Jersey, hostage crises, characters who screw their fathers, earthquakes, an endless parade of cleavage and over developed pecs … here was a little summer cable show that dared to remember and deliver what soap opera is really all about: love. And of course, a deeply realistic and honest depiction of authentic human emotions. Which is what good, pure soap operas were when Irna Phillips dreamed up the form in Chicago in 1937.
(Okay, NS2 did have an explosion in front of the hospital in its last episode. Only Saira, a loving, very wise heroine after Irna’s own heart, was injured, but she quickly recovered.)
What I liked the most about Night Shift is that it expertly delivered traditional soap opera in a modern form while reinforcing love as the center of the medium, instead of devaluing it as so many soaps do today.
I loved the pairing of Kyle and Eric. In a short hospital stay in which Dr.Kyle saved Eric’s life, a genuine adult love took root. Chad Allen is such a great and experienced actor (Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman, Our House and other series) and he really had a great mature rapport and chemistry with the very fine Adam Grimes. If the Kyle and Eric love story is continued, they could easily become a soap supercouple.
Dr Saira and Jagger fell in love, not because of her cleavage or his muscles, but through their mutual admiration for each other’s care of Jagger’s autistic son, Stone. It was beautiful! All the characters on NS2 were intelligent adults, the way they used to be on soap operas before about a decade ago when most characters were rendered brainless and stupid.
Night Shift even took a by now overused soap gimmick — bringing back old characters as guests — and turned their appearances into a showcase of pure emotion. Of course it was terrific to see Sean and Tiffany (and Anna and Luke and Robin and Mac) visiting Robert in his dream last week in the reconstructed Scorpio living room! But the visit showcased how close each of his friends felt, even after many years, toward Robert, who was dying of colon cancer. What good times, what indelible friendships! The show underscored the depth of their relationships by running as a conclusion a montage of all the characters from the dream individually hugging Robert. I sobbed! A “terminal” Robert came out of his “dream” and for the first time began to recover! What a deep comment this was on the strength of their friendships. And with Robert’s unending bond with Robin and Anna. In other words, love.
So whose idea was it to dare to write a real soap opera, going against the tide in our misguided, self-destructing soap world. Sri Rao, who before NS2 had minimal soap experience, has practically been crowned king already by soap posters. Though I’m always a bit leery of the syndrome I call Internet Headwriter Worship, I admire what Rao has done. He can be quite proud of himself for writing this show.
But when I watched NS2, its maturity and pure soap opera sensibility felt to me as if it was also guided by someone who had been in the industry for decades. I knew the show’s executive producer Lisa Hesser (now de Cazotte) in the 80s when she worked as a production assistant at One Life to Live (she subsequently was the executive producer of Passions) and her talent was quite impressive even then. I think she deserves a lot of credit for the success of the show.
I’d like to send both Lisa and Sri undying thanks for doing something I’d never thought could be done in my lifetime: By the middle of the last episode, I realized that Patrick and Robin had finally stopped arguing with one another, as they have done pointlessly and endlessly since the moment they met. Glory hallelujah! The show even closed on a scene of Patrick and Robin kissing. Isn’t true love much better than endless shouting? As NS2 proved definitively, when it comes to soap opera, all you really need is … is love.