General Hospital Reaches a Storyline and Ratings High

 

” …let them speak now or forever hold their peace …”

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

Last week General Hospital reached a very admirable ratings high, scoring 3.3 million viewers, its highest numbers since 2007. The timing for this benchmark is something the show had long been leading up to: the revelation to Dr.  Patrick Drake that his wife Dr.  Robin is still alive.  Of course, this being soap opera, that revelation came right in the middle of Patrick’s wedding ceremony to Nurse Sabrina.

A key to this ratings spike was the fact that Patrick and Robin (“Scrubs”) have long been fan favorites.  After all, Robin has been on the show since she was six years old.  But the real secret behind the ratings high was that GH did everything it could to prolong the reveal of Robin’s survival.

They gave Robin more than two whole months in town before her existence was exposed to her widower.  During that time Robin had to formulate a miracle cure for Jerry Jacks, the same cure she had found for Luke’s plutonium poisoning.  Along the way there were many near run-ins between Patrick and Robin.  At Halloween, Robin wore a costume to disguise herself at the hospital.  In fact, Sabrina’s ex,   Carlos, actually ran into Robin in the lab.  He recognized her from a picture in Patrick’s house.  When Carlos tried to warn Patrick Robin was still alive, Patrick didn’t believe him.  Ava also tried to convince Patrick of the fact that Robin was alive, but he didn’t believe her either.

GH upped the ante by slowing down time as Patrick and Sabrina’s wedding approached.  Sabrina took forever to choose her wedding gown and finally got her mother’s gown from her visiting cousin Juan.   The day of the wedding, Robin came to the church and watched the ceremony from the doorway. The show let almost the entire ceremony (and an entire episode)  go by until Emma saw Robin standing, fully alive, in the back of the church.  

Dragging out the revelation to Patrick and Sabrina that Robin was still alive created a lot of anticipation for the audience.  It also deepened the pain of the situation.  After all, there were no villains here Robin was taken from her family innocently, and Sabrina fell in love with the man she knew as a widower.  Losing Patrick would be a true tragedy for Sabrina, even though the reunion was a pure thrill for Scrubs fans.

The dragged out drama was rewarding in that it afforded opportunities for some great acting. The moment that Patrick saw Robin, actor Jason Thompson  captured perfectly the pain his character was feeling, down to his very soul. Likewise, actress Kimberly McCullough projected both the joy in Robin’s reunion with her husband and the character’s ambivalence about breaking up Patrick and Sabrina.  And actress Teresa Castillo did a masterful job of showing Sabrina’s great pain at seeing all her dreams come unraveled.

 All in all, this was one of GH’s finest hours. It was soap opera at its best and well worth waiting for.

General Hospital: The Ugly Denouement of the Baby Connie True Parentage Plot

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

Wasn’t it ugly?  Incredibly, the denouement of General Hospital‘s Maxie admitting she is the biological mother of Connie plot was even worse than could have been predicted.  The fact that Maxie – who supposedly mothered the baby as a surrogate for Lulu and Dante — is the baby’s biological  mother  was disclosed by a complete stranger, namely lab tech Brad, right after Connie was christened.  At first Maxie and Spinelli, the true biological father, denied the truth and tried to hastily to exit the church, but detective Dante kept riding the two until they fessed up.  And it wasn’t pretty!

Bradford Anderson as Spinelli: This time an Emmy?

What made this ugly sequence memorable at all was the acting.  Dominic Zamprogna’s Dante was fierce and Emme Rylan’s Lulu practically breathed fire as she found out how her best friend Maxie had betrayed her by passing off her biological daughter as Lulu and Dante’s own. But the most winning of all — as has been so this entire dreadful plot — was the acting of Bradford Anderson as Spinelli.  The loss and pain of the situation have been continuously written on Anderson’s face and in his tears. As you recall, Spinelli didn’t find out that he was a father until after the baby was born.  Anderson  has  given this horrible situation all the humanity it lacks in plotting.

We hope that Anderson, who has been nominated in the past, may finally win a Daytime Emmy for this transcendent performance. If he does, it will be the only good thing to come from a storyline in which no one won, and everyone lost, especially poor baby Connie.  Will Dante and Lulu now fight for custody of the baby that isn’t really theirs?  Does anyone out there know the legalities of surrogacy in New York State?

Speaking of GH … isn’t it great to see Robert Scorpio  and Robin Scorpio Drake  back on the show this week?   Tristan Rogers had denied several times to assorted news outlets that he was coming back and it’s been almost two years since Kimberly McCullough left GH for her directing career.  Does McCullough look a bit different or is it us?  Robin’s renewed life will certainly break the heart of nurse Sabrina, who is in love with Robin’s “widower”’ Patrick.  At least Sabrina will have the arms of her first love Carlos to fall back into.  Speaking of which, the casting of talented, charismatic and  sexy Jeffrey Vincent Parise  as Carlos is one of GH’s best choices this year.  Kudos to super GH casting director Mark Teschner for finding and casting  this intriguing new actor.   

General Hospital: Can This Show Be Saved?

By Ed Martin

Watching General Hospital these last two weeks, as the energetic efforts of One Life to Live veterans Frank Valentini and Ron Carlivati to save the show from almost certain doom begin to play out, it occurs to me that my time as a fan of this once-formidable serial has come full circle. I began watching GH in 1978, shortly after 

I’d like to see the new regime make moves as bold as those the late Gloria Monty made way back in the Seventies since, again, there is nothing to lose. The best suggestion here would be to eliminate the characters whose storylines have brought the show to its knees.

fearless executive producer Gloria Monty had been brought on board to save the show from seemingly certain cancellation. In fact, as legend has it, [Read more...]

Soaps March: When a House Is Not a Home

Thinking Fans Comment Update: Ann demands to know, “Why is Guza doing this to Robin? It kills me to see people on the GH boards calling wonderful brave Robin a slut and a cheat because this PPD is being used to destroy her character” … while Elvira rejoices, “Guiding Light’s creative resurgence (headed by the old-school Otalia story, which is every bit as good as the stories that riveted me during the golden age of soaps) is still going strong” … and more. See Comments below. 

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By Marlena De Lacroix 

I had a really hard time watching soaps during March.  My old favorite,  All My Children, was a dead bore. My other old favorite, The Bold and Beautiful, went from the ridiculous to out of control, as warring, one-upping “brothers” Rick and Ridge seemed more like those old rival cartoon characters spy vs. spySpy vs. Spy in Mad Magazine than living, breathing human beings. On As the World Turns, 17-year-old Liberty married Parker, who is barely 16.   How desperate for story can a soap get?

Marlena is a hardcore soap watcher of countless decades, so my feelings of overall alienation from soaps this month may be part of a much larger  trend. Are you a loyalist who didn’t feel so loyal to soaps in March?  And how does that make you feel?  I feel … homeless.

But here are a few brief comments on soaps I could watch:     

One Life to Live: At least there were some wonderful, powerful  performances by almost  everyone in the Matthew is paralyzed/Shane has leukemia story.  But this new Stacy … yikes!  She is clearly intended to be [Read more...]