By Marlena De Lacroix a.k.a. Connie Passalacqua Hayman
When I think about Old Man Soap Opera, I think of someone teetering on a cane off to the inevitable. So who thought today he’d pull one of his oldest tricks out of his pocket: the element of surprise!
Did you see today’s General Hospital? We all knew (from a cliffhanger on Friday’s episode and via Frank Valentini’s tweet) that something big was being revealed today. But (and listen up, other producers) he did not spoil it.
So when it was revealed almost at the end of the episode that it was Duke Lavery who was lurking at the sanitarium … wowee! I actually screamed! And clapped! Finally, a soap keeping a plot twist secret! Before the advent of spoilers, which reared their ugly heads in the late 70s, wanting to know what is going to happen next is why soap viewers tuned in to soaps, and why they kept tuning in. And spoilers have been one of the main culprits that have ruined the crucial soap element of suspense. And in so doing, almost killed off daytime drama as a medium, too.
So congratulations to Mr. Valentini for somehow sealing the leaks that let the secrets filter up to the magazines and the Internet. And Mr. Carlivati and company did a masterful job on the writing of the episode, during which the citizens of Port Charles also found out via TV that Jerry Jacks had poisoned the water supply. Loved the initial fake out, when Anna found out that the anonymous person whom we all thought to be whoever they were revealing lying in the bed next to her was no one of any consequence. Whee!
Oh! I knew I had the right instinct to watch GH this past couple of months (almost) spoiler free. Being shocked is the best soap opera, no? Was today’s grand episode of GH a one shot wonder? Or could the renewed use of absolute surprise really save Old Man Soap Opera?
Note: In the spirit of this remarkable achievement, this post isn’t going up until 7 p.m. EDT, all the better to avoid spoiling the no spoiler for Marlena’s West Coast readers. Relish the moment, thinking fans!