By Marlena De Lacroix a.k.a. Connie Passalacqua Hayman
I just finished watching Tuesday’s General Hospital 50th anniversary episode (which was supposed to air yesterday on the actual April 1st anniversary but was delayed a day because of a pre-emption for a news event preemption earlier in March). All I can say is — wow! Was the episode surreal, or what?
I mean, quite literally surreal. To keep Monica from kicking Tracy out of the house over her sister-in-law stealing Lila’s Pickle-Lilia relish recipe which belonged to her son A.J., some former key characters appeared in the Quartermaine living room, back from the dead literally. Succeeding in persuading Monica not to do it were late husband Alan (Stuart Damon) and her late lover Rick (Chris Robinson). Both looked as old as Methuselah, but it was so nostalgic and heart-tugging to see them. Both were fast, fresh and slyly funny as always, even as these two rivals shook hands and made up.
The episode was filled with genuine surprises (how does Frank Valentini keep them so quiet, especially in this internet age?) The lovely Emily (Natalia Livingston) appeared as a ghost to back Alan up and, on a nice note, saying later she would visit her ex-husband, the now comatose Nicholas. Also coming as a total surprise was the reappearance of Ethan (Nathan Parsons), whom Luke and Laura found on the Haunted Star. It was an awkward situation, but in a very graceful heartfelt way, Ethan, Luke’s illegitimate son by Holly, introduced himself to Laura, Luke’s ex-wife and legendary love.
And the vets kept coming: Brenda (a marvelous looking Vanessa Marcil) showed up on Sonny’s doorstep and I was shocked when Brenda seemed to want him back. Even though it came out that she was newly engaged to her other ex, Jax. That would be Jax (Ingo Rademacher, fresh from Dancing with the Stars) who showed up at Carly’s, finally producing their long awaited divorce degree. All four characters ached with the sense of what if? As in, what if our old romances had worked out differently. What a bittersweet feeling for all of them — and for most of us who have been through the similar lost loves in our own lives.
Very sweetly and respectfully for the anniversary, Patrick led a historic tour of General Hospital for new interns, ending up near the nurses’ desk where hung a huge picture of the hospital’s late founder Dr. Steve Hardy — the late great John Beradino, who had been on the show its first day April 1, 1963. Admiring it was his widow, the newly returned Audrey (Rachel Ames), also a veteran GH actress, who debuted on the show in 1964.
Everyone at the hospital clapped as Audrey blew a kiss at the portrait of her late husband. And so do we at such an intelligently written and produced episode which so aptly and in such a classy way celebrated GH’s exact 50 year anniversary. What did you think?