This Week On General Hospital: Watching, Remembering and Perhaps Thinking Too Much … The Bold and the Beautiful’s Game-Changing Pregnancy

By Marlena De Lacroix a.k.a. Connie Passalacqua Hayman

I certainly ran the full gamut of emotions while watching General Hospital this week.  Tell me you didn’t also have tears in your eyes when Luke and Laura were reunited and Luke flashed back onto an earlier reunion when Laura came back from her Cassadine kidnapping in 1983.  I was surprised that I was so thrilled to see veteran actors return. Kin Shriner’s always obstinate and self-righteous Scotty is older but otherwise hasn’t changed. Didn’t you love when Luke took some jibes at his decades-long rival, referring to Scotty’s “increasingly heightening hairline” and “troll” hair?  I actually screamed out loud when former spouses Laura and Scotty told Luke they were engaged.  As you may recall, in 1979-80 Luke raped Laura, then stole her away from Scotty to create “the greatest love of all,” thus launching the golden age of GH, brought to us by its executive producer, the late great Gloria Monty.

The great love triangle, reunited
Who’s got the most hair?

What is it about the memories of the Luke-Laura-Scotty triangle, the very center of GH’s prime years, that brings back such an intense wave of nostalgia and strong emotion?  GH became a nationwide phenomenon. I was in my first job, as editor of Afternoon TV magazine. What a truly great time to be a part of the soap opera world! Mon readers, were you watching GH then, too?

But let’s stop crying for the old days. Back to this week’s GHand my gamut of emotions.  I laughed a lot this week, too, and I don’t mean in a good, funny way.  You had to snicker at the fact that Sonny was able to boff Connie back into Kate. What a guy!  When Johnny first made love to the mentally ill Connie, many felt it was rape.  Now that Sonny’s similarly serviced her, it’s being treated as a world-shattering miracle!

Coitus with consequences
Sonny boffs Connie into Kate

And there was a sequence in the Port Charles jail this week in which inmates Todd, John and   Rafe discussed the realization that Caleb, the serial murderous “vampire,” was John’s double.  Soon Todd was talking about his own “double,” his twin brother Victor and the fact that there were so many doubles walking around Port Charles in its recent history, including Connie/Kate and Duke/Faison. All two personalities are/were played by the same actor, and all the storylines going on at the same time. Tell me the writers weren’t sitting around in the writers’ room chuckling at pulling off such an old soap gambit on such a large scale with a straight face.

And lastly, something else on GH this week actually made me very angry. It happened when John, Lucy and Rafe escaped from jail due to a conveniently set fire. Another escape. How many jailbreaks and escapes from Ferncliff have there been in the last few months? And where did all these escapees wind up? In the murdered professor’s office where, with the use of a computer, they finally concluded that Caleb was not a real vampire at all, but really a mental patient/serial murderer — a mortal — named Stephen Clay. This is the upshot of the weeks of storylines we’ve had to sit through after we were led to believe Caleb was a true vampire? What a letdown!

Well, okay, the writers were having some fun with those of us who remember what life was like back in the day in Port Charles. Despite the unreality and silly soap devices, I actually l felt very, very entertained by GH.  Go figure … perhaps this Thinking Fan … just thinks too much!

The Bold and the Beautiful: So this week, Steffy finally told Liam she’s pregnant — right in the middle the impromptu wedding, pushy momma Brooke threw for her daughter Hope and that indecisive, empty-headed schmuck!  A wedding stopped dead in its tracks – one of the oldest soap tricks in the book.  I had to ask myself, why am I still watching a storyline that’s insulting to the intelligence of women?  Why would mature, intelligent young women (plus their mothers Brooke and Taylor) spend their entire lives playing tug of war over Liam?  I mean, he’s not even an especially dazzling, show-stopping guy like George Clooney or Derek Jeter or Hugh Jackman! He’s more like Perry Como, without the intelligence and talent. As I complained here last summer, this all-encompassing Steffy-Liam-Hope business has succeeded in eating up the entire show!  Even so, somebody must be enjoying it, because B&B’s ratings are still relatively good!  (By the way, I once interviewed late Perry Como, and he was an amazingly nice guy …)

Comments

  1. MissD says:

    I totally love the Luke, Laura, and Scotty stuff this week! When Luke saw Laura for the first time, the way his face lit up totally melted my heart. I’m kind of reluctant to see another Luke vs. Scotty fighting over Laura story since I’m sure we know it will end with Luke winning back Laura for the 50th anniversary. I’m hoping there’s more story to be told for these three amazing actors.

    I skipped over the scenes of Sonny and Connie/Kate because it is so icky. But from what I’ve read online, a lot of people also think of what Sonny did as rape. Another controversy I’ve seen come up online is that Luke started drinking again on Friday as he talked to Tracy about seeing Laura and Scotty.

    Marlena says: I’m sure you are right that they will get Luke and Laura back together again for the 50th anniversary. But how long will they let it last this time?

    • tess says:

      I agree MissD that the Connie/Kate story is sick and when they allow her to have sex with someone, I find it even more disgusting. The show is not dealing with Kate/Connie’s mental illness and why would they allow a man to sex up a mentally unstable woman? It’s vile. I guess some men will get it anyway they can. There is an old movie, THE THREE FACE OF EVE with Joanne Woodward. I seem to recall a scene with David Wayne who was Eve’s husband. They were in a hotel room and another personality of hers had emerged. Maybe, this other persona was crass and promiscuous. I seemed to recall the David Wayne character wanting to have sex with her. I don’t know what that says about some men.

      Marlena says: Good catch, Tess! I’m sure all these multiple personality storylines on soaps owe a lot to that film. Carlivati/Valentini never had much regard for mentally ill women when they were at OLTL. Remember when they turned Blair’s mentally ill mother Addie into a clown? Far from great stuff!

      • MissD says:

        Also, on OLTL when Ford took advantage of the mentally ill Jessica. RC has a history of writing this stuff.

        Marlena says: I sure remember that! Thanks for the great example, Miss D!

        • Chris says:

          RC also wrote Cutter also taking advantage of the mentally ill Tess/Jessica on OLTL too when he eloped with her and used her as an extortion deal to blackmail her parents Clint and Viki out of some of their money and The Buchanan Mansion in exchange for commiting their daughter into St. Anne’s!

          Marlena says: Thanks, Chris.

  2. tess says:

    I’m so conflicted about the revelation that Caleb is actually a crazy rock star named Stephen Clay. When I got the impression that GH was bringing on a vampire, I was upset. I didn’t want to see any unlikely scenarios incorporated into the show. I know that soaps are fake, still the overwrought stories are probable.

    So for that reason, I’m happy that Caleb/Stephen is nutter than a bag of pecan chips, but conversely, I wanted Caleb to be an actual vampire because I was intrigued by the story possibilities. I’m not being wishy-washy. Ron Carlivati and company did a commendable job telling the Caleb/John story. I found it extraordinarily entertaining. John was falsely accused of committing crimes that he didn’t commit. He repeatedly claimed that he was innocent when people actually saw him–or so they thought–breaking the law. Enjoyable stuff. I also loved the previous story about the pathogens in the Port Charles water supply. I usually don’t care for such tales, but the writers made it believable and captivating.

    And what did you think of Sam telling Caleb post-haste that she knew he wasn’t John? Not a terribly bright move to make. She knew the man was a wacko and she confronts him while holding chubby-cheeked Daniel, no less. If I can digress for a minute, I wonder if twin babies rotate playing Daniel, who is absolutely adorable. Notice every time we see him, he is always pigging out on something? I guess that’s how they keep him quiet. But I think two bambinos play the part because sometimes Daniel’s cheeks appear larger. But I couldn’t believe Sam was so dumb to put herself and her baby at risk. Also, the fact she knew instantaneously that it was Caleb and not John standing before her shows that she and John have a connection.

    I love, love, love seeing all the vets. I’d like to see Gail and Lee make an appearance. Scott owes them a visit. I’m hoping, but I won’t hold my breath that Sabrina Santiago turns out to be Scott’s daughter.

    GENERAL HOSPITAL is marvelous these days. I look forward to watching very episode. For years, under the previous regime, I didn’t bother with the show. Couldn’t stand it. What a difference a switch in head writer and show runner can make.

    Also, I can’t stand BOLD AND BEAUTIFUL. I’m truly SICKENED by the Liam/Steffy/Hope triangle. I don’t like the idea of Taylor hooking up with Eric.

    Marlena says: Love your remark about the pecan chips and dig your comments about the babies. I forgot to mention that Stephen Clay was also a rock star. People have so many identities these days on General Hospital, they’re copying me (a.k.a. Connie/Marlena) don’t you think? And as far as a new writer/producer for B&B: I don’t think so. I have a feeling that Bradley Bell will have those titles as long as he wants them.

  3. DS0816 says:

    Dear Connie/Marlena,

    I sometimes question whether the Hope/Liam/Steffy triangle was enough to make last year’s timing of Susan Flannery’s decision to retire—and Ronn Moss’s choice the exit—all the easier. Devotion to this storyline has eaten up so much (you used the word “entire” portion) of “The Bold and the Beautiful.” It’s enough that I’m not currently following “B&B.” I know Brad Bell and company are taking that trio and playing them out just like Brooke and Ridge with a given third wheel. But when other stories fall by the wayside (or get airtime which pales in comparsion), the dominance better be worth it in order to sustain the quality of the soap. “B&B” is hugely successful outside the U.S., so in terms of quantity it can get away with it. And it does.

    I have lately viewed “General Hospital” more in spurts. I felt it was nonsense for Laura to say that she is sure of her decision with becoming once again engaged to marry Scott. But on the other hand, Tracy has it right with Luke in her suspicion that the former spouses will never be truly over. Which is sensible, unlike the Hope/Liam/Steffy infatuation on “B&B.” (Not so much an infatuation between the characters but “B&B” itself. Hey, everyone has to have a gig, right.)

    Marlena says: Hi DSO. It’s true, we are stuck with the Steffy/Liam/Hope storyline as long as the ratings hold up. Will it be eternal, like Luke and Laura? That’s madness! Thankfully, there are fairly good actors in the role. As I’ve written before, it reminds me of Bill Bell’s Bill/Laura/Mickey storyline of the 70s which lasted seven years on Days of Our Lives, as the ratings soared. I hung in there with that one, too. Don’t know how much longer I can stand the current B&B triangle, though, because of feminist issues and the fact that it eats up almost the entire show.

  4. Dale says:

    Hello Marlena! I can’t believe that I am responding to a General Hospital topic! I hope to see more of you when OLTL returns. In the meantime, I cannot believe I have been sucked back into GH, a show that I loved long ago, but had given up for dead. Really, I was VERY into GH in the late 70′s and early 80′s. The very first episode of GH I ever watched was the day Laura killed her older lover, David Hamilton in 1978. The ensuing Lesley-covers-for-Laura story made me a lifetime fan of Genie Francis and Denise Alexander. Gloria Monty and Douglas Marland masterfully brought in teens like me to a show that I would probably otherwise never have watched. Laura was a kid, just like me, and Genie Francis brought such a ferocious emotionality to that part that I’ve never forgotten it. But I stuck around for the more adult stories, too, like the Heather Webber saga in which culminated with the famous iced tea switcheroo. LOL! The Rick-Lesley-Alan-Monica mess never gets enough credit for GH’s resurgence, but that quadrangle was very hot property at the time. And let’s not forget Tracy Quartermaine holding back daddy Edward’s pills while he was having a “heart attack”. I remember being quite disturbed at the image of Diana Taylor, dead on her kitchen floor, with “Anne” written in blood next to her body. Do you remember that? I have so many vivid memories of specific scenes and storylines from 1978-1982.

    That’s what makes all the vets coming home so sweet. Soaps are the only place where you can peek into the lives of characters 10, 20 and 30 years later and remember where they came from, their experiences and how they all relate to each other. Regarding Luke, Laura and Scotty, I always thought that Scotty got a raw deal from Laura and it’s nice to see them on such good terms. There is SO much history to mine between those three characters! And what’s with the re-emergence of the Ice Princess? Talk about iconic! I love it! It brings back sweet memories from the summer of 1981 when Luke, Laura and Robert saved the world.

    This GH renaissance is something that I never thought would happen or even a possibility. Jill Faren Phelps and Bob Guza utterly decimated and gutted that show, so what we are seeing amounts to a daytime miracle. I plan on watching up to the 50th anniversary and see how things go after that. In the meantime, I am loving the fact that GH is providing so many links to the past and honoring its impressive history. I wonder how many other 40-somethings like me have been lured back to the show because of that?

    Marlena says: Darling Dale! How good to hear from you. As we’ve discussed, you started watching GH about two years or so before I did (1980) and all the storylines you mention (especially Lesley/Rick/Monica) were terrific and set up the Monty era. The man who did all that was the wonderful headwriter Doug Marland, who is often overlooked whenever the “golden era” of GH is discussed. Of course he created Luke and all the other storylines you are talking about before he left in 1979 or so after disagreeing with Gloria Monty. (He went on to win awards at Guiding Light.) I’m sure many, many, fans of GH of your years and mine are returning to the show now, and Carlivati/Valentini seem to also have a real regard for the golden years. What a treat it has been for all of us old fans!

  5. William says:

    Thanks for another great article and equally great comments following the article. I too watched GH during its ratings highs. Clearly the current powers that be are either trying to pay homage to those days or trying to use that era’s magic to re-gain lost viewers.

    But as a fan of the more cerebral and wonderfully melodramatic soap opera, GH’s heyday didn’t happen, for me, in the early 80′s. It took Wendy Riche and Claire Labine, a decade later, to decide that GH could thrive creatively by telling more realistic stories. GH really began to resonate for me in ways that early 80′s GH, because of the ludicrous nature of some of its plots, never could. (That being said, Monty balanced the more ludicrous plots with tons of romance and more classic soap plots—something I think this regime has failed to do.)

    So sure, I still feel soap tingles when Luke looks at Laura as if she’s both his greatest blessing and biggest curse. I love the nostalgia of Scotty and Luke’s banter. As much as I don’t like the overall writing at GH, one can’t argue that they can deliver a one line zinger with the best of them. But I need more than nostalgia. Perhaps I’m greedy. I needed Laura in those scenes to be powerful. I needed her to be the fully realized woman she was for much of the 90′s before Guza and Phelps decided that GH needed another mentally unstable female character. (Can we just burn down Ferncliff already?) It’s too late to judge this return because who knows where this plot will take us. Maybe Laura’s been brainwashed and we’ll get a re-telling or re-visiting of the Ice Princess story. Maybe she’s been on another planet with Casey the Alien? I’ve learned very quickly with this regime to expect the most ludicrous plot possible and then to still be prepared for it to be more ludicrous than that.

    Still, I’m left thinking GH can be (and in fact has been) so much more than the sometimes campy days of the 80s. No daytime soap will ever be as popular as GH was when Luke and Laura’s romance swept across the nation. I’m glad they are honoring that. But being greedy, I want more. As a much more mature viewer than I was in 1981, I need more than the Ice Princess and a rapist turned romantic lead to keep my interest. Nostalgia keeps me tuning in but I confess not as often as I have in the past year. When I began fast forwarding through episodes featuring my beloved Lucy Coe, Anna Devane and Tracy Q, I knew that nostalgia wasn’t enough. I needed a story to go with it, and one that is at least somewhat grounded in reality.

    Marlena says: Thanks, William. What a wonderfully profound letter. I agree with you, I need more, too. I want to see Laura be the wonderfully wise fully realized mature woman she was under Wendy and Claire. I too am afraid the current regimes won’t do this; they don’t have a record of being deeply psychological with any of the GH characters since they came on. However, I’m a little more accepting than you are of the current show. I’m just happy at this low point in daytime history to watch a soap that is at least entertaining and successful (desperate is the word). As I’ve written here, you just can’t use your brain too much while watching GH, and perhaps your heart either. But you’re right, they ruined Lucy. Anna has at least maintained her dignity. Tracy seems the same to me. As I wrote endlessly, FV and RC were never very deep and cerebral with their characters, especially the female ones, when they were on OLTL.

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