Should Children and Babies Be Killed off on Soap Operas?

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

Jason Thompson and Teresa Castillo as grieving parents

Back in the day … way back, actually … it was unheard of to kill off children, especially babies, on soaps. The traditional audience was, after all, stay at home moms who watched or listened to their soaps while rolling out pie crust or ironing the family laundry.

Today, the taboo has long since been abandoned, though such storylines are still distasteful to many viewers. Thus the dilemma lingers. Though this high stakes plotting has engendered much good drama, some of it award-winning, it’s done at the cost of making at least part of the audience queasy.     

This rule was first broken in the early 60s, when As the World Turns killed off Chucky, Lisa’s son, in a car accident. Others followed. In the late 80s, Laura, Brooke’s daughter, was similarly killed in a very affecting storyline All My Children. Just this year, young Delia also was killed in a car accident on The Young and the Restless, bringing about many nominations for the show in next week’s Daytime Emmys.

The controversy sharpened this month when General Hospital chose for a premature baby, Patrick and Sabrina’s son Gabriel Drake Santiago, to die at the age of barely six months.  The baby was born prematurely after Sabrina and Patrick were run off the road by a bad driver, who this week was revealed to be young Rafe. Sam, a private investigator, is currently investigating to find out who caused the accident.

The storyline has been given lots of time by GH.  Sabrina and Patrick were seen tending to their baby in the ICU for over a month.  The baby’s death led to many dramatic moments, such as when grieving mother Sabrina developed temporary amnesia, not even remembering the death of the baby, and planning her “wedding” to Patrick  (which had taken place seven months prior) the day of the funeral.   The baby’s real funeral is scheduled to take place this week.

Storylines like these, controversial or not, certainly bring out the best in the actors involved.  Jason Thompson, who is always excellent as Patrick, was so good he frequently upstaged Teresa Castillo as Sabrina – quite a feat since she, too, was in top form.  Also excellent in this storyline has been Marc Samuel who plays Teresa’s best friend and moral support Felix.

Yes, yes, I know times have changed. Graphic violence, grisly death and raw treatment of life’s calamities in general, once confined largely to pulp fiction and film noir, now are standard fare on television drama. I get it. Even so, when children are involved … count me among the queasy.

So what do you think?  Is it okay to kill off babies and children on soap operas, or are these storylines just too hard to take?  Drop me a line.

Daytime Emmy Hostess Announced

The hostess of next week’s Daytime Emmys will be Kathy Griffin.  She’s fast and funny should certainly keep the proceedings moving and most entertaining. Indeed, Ms. Griffin is such a draw, she may help the ceremony recoup a good portion of the audience it is certain to lose by moving from television to internet broadcast. I’ll be watching on www.daytimeemmys.org next Saturday, June 21 at 8PM EST. 

This Week in Soaps: A Terrible Tragedy and a Stunning Debut

Katherine Kelly Lang and Don Diamont on location in Dubai

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

The Bold and the Beautiful just finished two weeks of exciting drama centered around the soap’s on-location trip to Dubai and Abu Dhabi for Brooke and Bill’s aborted wedding.  The sequences featured great scenery and exciting action footage.

As you know, Bill planned a memorable elopement for himself and Brooke to the Middle East.  Unfortunately, Quinn sent a photo of herself and Bill in bed to Ridge, and Ridge immediately  jumped on a plane to the glitzy emirates to stop the wedding.

The wedding ceremony held on the beach, and was as beautiful as could be in this stunning setting.  But Ridge arrived, halted the ceremony and absconded with the bride, dragging her off to a waiting helicopter.  Then Ridge, shocked to observe that the helicopter was being piloted by one of Bill’s men, Justin, actually fell out of the flying chopper! It was a spectacular fall and as of now it’s unclear whether Ridge survived.

It’s also unclear whether or not Thorsten Kaye did his own stunt work in this sequence. (As a longtime fan of Thorsten’s, I’d like to think so.)

In any event, Kaye’s new Ridge is too strong a character for the show to lose, though chances are Kaye just won’t be seen on screen for a few weeks.  This is a shame since his performances have become one of the great highlights of B&B over the last few months.  We have a feeling he’ll be back.

A Promising Debut on General Hospital

Also spectacular this week was the debut of Michelle Stafford on General Hospital as Nina Clay, Silas’ wife, who had been in a coma for twenty years.  She showed up all full of sweetness and clinginess at little Danny’s birthday party. Only the day before, Silas and Sam had declared their love for each other.   Stafford of course  played the show-stopping role of Phyllis Summers Newman  on The Young and the Restless for fourteen years.   Her strong performances in her first GH scenes show great promise for a Nina-Silas-Sam triangle, which should make quite a strong story for a long time to come.

Daytime Emmy Broadcast

The Daytime Emmys, which for the first time in decades will not be shown on television, will be streamed live at www.daytimeemmys.net on June 22nd at 8PM EST. This should be an interesting show and we’ll be watching!

Don Diamont’s “Dollar” Bill Spencer Is Worth a Lot More Than a Buck

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

Don Diamont — His “Dollar” Bill deserves a nomination

Right now, The Bold and the Beautiful’s “Dollar” Bill Spencer is on top of the world:  He’s standing on a balcony in a hotel in Dubai about to marry the current love of his life, Brooke Logan.  He’s also the CEO of Spencer Publications.  But can Bill keep having it all?

Of course he thinks he can.  Bill is the epitome of self-confidence to the point of arrogance.  He is mucho macho.  He habitually wears skin tight shirts and sports bling, including a sword necklace which all the Spencer men wear.  This includes his two illegitimate sons Liam and Wyatt and his soon to be step-son R.J. Forrester.  He also has a baby son named Will with his ex-wife Katie Logan.

Bill was born with the proverbial silver spoon in his mouth.  He is the son of nasty, obnoxiously self-confident Bill Spencer Sr., mogul and friend to Stephanie Forrester. His sisters are the late Caroline Spencer and Karen Spencer, the latter a lesbian whose lifestyle Bill Jr. approves of in one of his most positive aspects.

When Bill first came to Los Angeles he married Katie, a woman who is the most opposite of him in many ways.   She is gentle and kind and not pushy.  Katie and Bill’s marriage broke up, some say, because in a post-partum depression Katie pushed him away. But undoubtedly the real cause was the fact that Bill started a torrid affair with his sister-in-law Brooke.

In Brooke he met his perfect match.  Brooke is as self-centered as Bill and believes love is all and that her whole life is based on love.  Bill lost Brooke for a while but through his own steadfast belief got her back.   The two finally found the opportunity to get married and will do so — unless someone (like Bill’s enemy Ridge Forrester) comes to break up the wedding.

What makes Bill Spencer work is the vastly underrated actor who plays him: Don Diamont, who once played Brad Carlton on The Young and the Restless.  He plays the role with tremendous energy and edge and thus brings out the best in his scene partners.  This year three of them have been nominated for Emmys, including  Heather Tom for Best Lead Actress as Katie the wife Bill wronged; Scott Clifton as Liam Spencer, Bill’s new found son as Best Supporting Actor and Katherine Kelly Lang, Best Lead actress nominee  as Brooke,  Bill’s love.

But there’s no nomination for the excellent  Don Diamont – and that’s a tremendous oversight. 

General Hospital: Plots Progress at the 2014 Nurses Ball

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

The 2014 Nurses Ball on General Hospital, marking the twentieth anniversary of the celebrated soap opera event, is now in the history books.  It did not disappoint. There was the usual male strip tease, and young people singing and dancing to pop tunes. But what really worked was the way the performances furthered the soap’s various plotlines.

A true showstopper came when Luke (Tony Geary), now secretly a criminal drug runner sang “I Am What I Am” from the Broadway show La Cage Aux Folles. He called his fiancé Tracy (Geary’s long-standing partner in melodrama Jane Ellliot)  to the stage and proceeded to marry her on the spot. The joy of the nuptials failed to move Tracy’s son Ned, who immediately removed his mother from her post as chairman of the board of ELQ, all the better to prevent Luke from using the company in his nefarious activities.

Also showstopping were the pair of numbers performed by Dr. Leisel Obrecht (Kathleen Gati), the despised Dr. O, Displaying a tuneful if still somewhat sinister side of her personality, she welcomed the audience in top hat and tails singing “Wilkommen” from Broadway’s Cabaret. She followed it , and then sang a most soulful rendering of the Willy Nelson hit, “You Were Always On My Mind,” to her alienated daughter Britt and her newly revealed son Nathan. Evidently the song had its desired effect, because the three were seen leaving the ball together.

Another plot reached its apex when a lingerie clad Lucy was revealed to be kissing Scotty when a curtain accidentally opened.   After a five month affair, this was the first time Lucy’s husband Kevin (Jon Lindstrom) saw that his wife was being unfaithful to him.  Lindstrom, a very strong actor, drove the subsequent highly emotional breakup scene with Lynn Herring’s Lucy. Will the hurt husband forgive his regretful and sobbing wife? These two pros make us want to tune in to find out.

Other plots progressed, too. Brad (Parry Shen), who had been having a romance with Lucas but lost him to Felix, sang “Brokenhearted” to Lucas and attempted to kiss him.  Lucas brushed off his kiss and went back to Felix.  For daytime, this is a rare gay love triangle. Sadly, it’s been a disappointing one, lacking chemistry and passion. It shouldn’t be this way.

Perhaps the strangest act at this year’s Nurse’s Ball was the appearance of the 1970s band Player, who sang its big hit “Baby Come Back.”  This band’s lead singer is Ronn Moss, who, in an inside joke, is known to soap fans as Ridge Forrester on the competing soap The Bold and the Beautiful, a role he’s played for 25 years.  Seven year old Spencer Cassadine supposedly hired the band for the appearance, hoping to appeal to his pint sized straying girlfriend Emma Drake to dump Cameron Spencer and come back to him.   Emma, for her part, sang “Little Things” and did forgive Spencer for hiring the band, but wouldn’t give Spencer another chance. Even so, Moss, in a smug scene, thanked Spencer for the opportunity to be part of the Nurses’ Ball.

Lots of musical entreaties and declarations of love went back and forth this year. They don’t call this soap opera for nothing. 

Soaps: Where Intelligent Women Still Rule

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

Jane Ellliot’s Tracy Quartermaine is one of soaps’ leading Brainy Ladies

Women are still the core of soap opera.  They are what the plots are about and they make the stories go.  An overwhelming number of women on soap operas are very intelligent, assertive and masters of their own fates.  Here’s a round-up of the most intelligent and sometimes devious women on soap opera right now:

Quinn Fuller, The Bold and the Beautiful (Rena Sofer):  Quinn came onto to the show as a jewelry designer more than a  year ago.  She is sharp as a tack.  She will do anything to make sure her son Wyatt lands up with Hope, instead of his half-brother Liam, with whom Quinn has frequent arguments. This week Quinn bribed Bill Spencer into giving Liam the Spencer name, her leverage being sex pics of herself and Bill, which she threatened to show to Brooke.

Katie Spencer, B&B (Heather Tom): Katie fancied herself a regular girl until husband Bill cheated on her with  Brooke.  So she stepped up, using all her intelligence to run Spencer Publications, and at the same time obtaining custody of son Will.  Recently she lost it all because of supposed lost ownership and custody papers she previously signed, but wound up with soap’s ultimate prize: the love of and engagement to rich and handsome Ridge Forrester.

Jill Foster Abbott, The Young and the Restless (Jess Walton): Jill started her Genoa City life as a hairdresser, but grew into a more prominent position as she got older.  She married John Abbott and went to work at his company. Recently she married  charming Aussie  Colin Atkinson, but strongly assumes he only married her for Katherine’s inheritance.  This week she handcuffed Colin to a pipe in the attic and made him sign divorce papers.

Leslie Michaelson, Y&R (Angela Conwell): Leslie is a lawyer who represents unpopular causes and equally unpopular people like Ian Ward.  Recently she spurned the love of crybaby and general pain Neil to make a fast marriage to Dr.  Barton Shelby.

Alexis Davis, General Hospital (Nancy Grahn): Alexis is the smartest woman on daytime television, a very good lawyer and a strict mother. Only a smarty like Alexis could  keep criminal Sonny out of jail all this time.   Alexis’ problem is that she always gets involved with bad men like Sonny and her current crush, Julian Jerome.

Tracy Quartermaine, GH (Jane Elliot): Tracy has always been the smartest of the smart, a leading Quartermaine since the rich family came to town decades ago.  Her Achilles heel is Luke Spencer, to whom she has been married three times.  These days a secretly criminal Luke wants to wrest control of  the Quartermaine company ELQ to himself.  Will Tracy catch on and ward off his evil efforts?

There are more, of course. Who are your nominees for the Soap Opera Brainy Lady Hall of Fame?   

Daytime Emmy Nominations – Marlena Still Cares

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

The Daytime Emmy nominations for 2014 have been announced. Do you care?  After all these years, Marlena still does. So let’s discuss:

Best Actor:  Aside from Jason Thompson (Patrick, General Hospital) the other four nominees all come from The Young and the Restless:  Peter Bergman (Jack), Doug Davidson (Paul), Christian LeBlanc (Michael) and Billy Miller (ex-Billy.)  Miller, who performed with great strength in the storyline in which Billy’s daughter Delia was run over by a car, should be the winner.  Oddly enough, Michael Muhney, who so masterfully played guilt-filled Adam, who ran over Delia, was not even nominated.  (Muhney has since left the show.)

Best Actress:  Eileen Davidson (Kristen, Days of Our Lives) by all accounts had a particularly good year, and she is the favorite in this category.   Also nominated from Days was Arianne Zucker (Nicole).  Katherine Kelly Lang (Brooke, The Bold and the Beautiful), who had her big scenes the year before when Stephanie died, was also nominated.  But never underestimate Heather Tom, whose teary Katie on B&B had a stellar year as her character survived her husband Bill’s infidelity with Brooke.  Tom has won the statuette five times before.

Best Supporting Actress:   Y&R’s Elizabeth Hendrickson (Chloe) and Melissa Claire Egan (Chelsea) had great years as Chloe’s daughter Delia was killed by a drunk driver.  Also nominated from Y&R  as the so-so Amelia Heinle (Victoria).  Kelly Sullivan, whose Connie was murdered on GH also had a very emotional  year.  But the best of this worthy slate is Jane Elliot (Tracy, GH ), who  virtually steals the show in every scene she’s in, and should be the big winner here.

Best Supporting Actor:  Nominees in this category include Steve Burton (Dylan, Y&R), Scott Clifton (Liam, B&B), Dominic Zamprogna (Dante, GH) and Eric Martsolf (Brady, Days). But Bradford Anderson (Spinelli, GH), who had tear-filled scenes as baby Connie’s biological daddy before departing for Portlandia, deserves the win in this category.

Best Younger Actress:  This category is a toss-up.  Nominated are Kristen Alderson (Kiki, GH), Linsey Godfrey (Caroline, B&B), Hunter King (Summer,Y&R), Kim Matula (Hope, B&B) and Kelley Missal (Danielle, One Life to Live).  Each is eminently watchable and has much to recommend her.

Best Young Actor: Another category where there is no clear winner among the deserving nominees.  Nominated are Bryan Craig (Morgan, GH), Chad Duell (Michael, GH), Max Ehrich (Fenmore, Y&R), Chandler Massey (ex-Will, Days) and Daniel Polo (Jamie, Y&R).

Best Show:  Incredibly, GH, which had a relatively good year, was not even nominated.  On the list are the cancelled One Life to Live; Days (which won the Emmy last year) and Y&R. But clearly the winner, à mon avis, should be the excellent B&B, which had a year with virtually no bad storylines.

The Daytime Emmys will be awarded on June 22nd at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.  So far, no network has signed up to televise them, which is quite a statement on the state of daytime. They have been televised since 1974—but apparently won’t be this year as of yet.

Disgraceful, Delightful and Disgusting: This Week’s Soap Events

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

Ashlyn Pearce is Aly

From The Young and the Restless: This week Nick found out that a doppelganger for his dead daughter Cassie has been in town for months disgracefully spooking Sharon into getting shock treatments.  The look-alike (who doesn’t even have a name) admitted the sham and said that Victor had been paying her to impersonate Cassie.

When confronted, Victor tried to use every trick in the book to get out of admitting his guilt.  His main tactic was to say that Sharon herself has a secret and that she is no good for Nick.  Sharon decided not to press charges against the fake Cassie and Victor, so the net effect is that Victor gets away with yet another crime.  Why is Victor never caught or prosecuted for his treacherous, often criminal acts on Y&R?  It gets unbelievable after a while.

From The Bold and the Beautiful:  This week a delightful romance bloomed between late teenager Aly (Ashlyn Pearce) and Oliver (Zack Conroy).  Their kiss-filled scenes were very refreshing, including a pool sceneat the Forrester mansion involving underwater photography.  “She did a 180,” Carter raved about Alex’s personality switch from sour to sweet and in love to Maya, who didn’t believe that Oliver was sincere in his new affections for Aly.

But Aly is going to need all of her strength now that it is revealed that her father Thorne is sexually involved once again with Taylor.  Fifteen years ago, Taylor ran over and killed Aly’s mother Darla in a car accident and Aly has been a troubled, mercurial soul ever since, frequently acting out her anger.  Will the young sweet romance of Oliver and Ally, one of the nicest thing to happen on daytime in ages,  be able to survive all of Aly’s troubles and personality swings? 

From General Hospital:  Sonny just gets deeper and deeper into his troubles after shooting and murdering A.J.  This week, the very day of  A.J.’s funeral (which questionably centered more on Sonny than on memories of A.J.)  Sonny and Ava disgustingly made love in the Quartermaine tomb.   They were immediately caught by Morgan, Sonny’s son and Ava’s longtime love.  Can you imagine a father making love to his son’s girlfriend?  Yuck!  Morgan  is just about to tell Olivia, Sonny’s love, of his infidelity.  Will Olivia be able to forgive Sonny?   Regardless, Sonny is on a fast road to self-destruction.  Even though it is fascinating watching Maurice Benard’s performances as the disintegrating Sonny, this is indeed a sad story to watch.

General Hospital: Who is the Real Luke Spencer?

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

Tony Geary — Is it Luke or his doppelganger?

On soap operas, situations and characters change very slowly.  So it’s been somewhat of a shock that Luke Spencer, for most of his 35 years on General Hospital a lovable rogue, has turned into a major criminal.  It was revealed in the last few months that he’s the one who is bankrolling the drug ring run by Julian Jerome and that he wants to bring down Sonny Corinthos, the drug dealer who has been his friend for decades.

Some may argue that Luke is actually coming full circle.  After all, when he came to town in the late 70s, he was a criminal, albeit a low level one, in the Frank Smith organization.  But through the love of Laura Spencer, he transformed himself and became a hero.  He saved the world from the Cassidines’ weather machine and even became the mayor of Port Charles.

But what has really been strange about the Luke of recent days is why and how he has become a criminal again.  The “old” Luke was last seen when he was knocked out and held a drugged hostage at the Miscavige Home for the Criminally Insane by one of its residents, Heather Webber.  The “new” Luke, without any explanation, was seen plotting the take-over of the drug trade with Julian at Nicholas and Britt’s engagement party.

But is the new Luke really the same character as the old Luke?  Of course, he’s still being played by Tony Geary, master of the soap acting game after 35 years. But some fans suspect he may really be Luke’s look-alike cousin Bill Eckert, and a fan or two have suggested he might even be Heather in disguise.

Whatever, the new Luke is certainly behaving a bit differently than the old Luke.  He’s been seen doing drugs. He made more than one  pass at young Kiki, who kicked  him in groin in retaliation.  And he threatened the life of his fiancé Tracy’s Ned, who was trying to get him to sign a pre-nuptial agreement.

But whoever it is is certainly using Luke’s physical guise.  He’s again engaged to his ex-wife Tracy, not for love this time, but to get a job at ELQ, which he’ll use to launder the Jerome drug money. Does he still love Tracy? Who knows?  Geary’s excellent scenes with co-star Jane Elliot as Tracy continue after all these years. (How many total hours of air time have these two racked up together? Guinness Book of World Records, anyone?)

Why has GH decided to change Luke thus, especially without explanation.  It’s a question that needs to be answered if the audience is to get much further satisfaction out of the current storyline.  After years and years, it may be time to bring the unquestioned king of the Port Charles drug trade, Sonny Corinthos, down for good.  Sonny has been shown disintegrating with guilt after shooting and killing A.J.  Quartermaine. He’s poised for a fall.

But the last person anyone suspects might bring down Sonny is our Luke Spencer, the good guy who is a criminal once more.

Ridge Forrester: Master of B&B’s Universe

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

Thorsten Kaye, the new Ridge

Every soap opera needs a leading man.   But perhaps because Ridge Forrester seems to have been at the center of most plots since The Bold and the Beautiful debuted more than 25 years ago, he seems more like a Master of the Universe than just a plain leading man.

Born handsome and rich, the son of Eric and Stephanie Forrester (Massimo Marone, an old lover of Stephanie’s, is Ridge’s biological father)  Ridge has always had everything he wanted.  His father Eric is head of Forrester Creations, a leading couture house, and he himself is the fashion house’s leading designer.

Ridge’s problem has always been women.  Is it just because he is so attractive?  It seems that he’s always involved with two women at a time, whether it’s Valley Girl Brooke and the late Caroline Spencer (his late first wife) or Brooke and Taylor, another wife of his. Taylor, a beautiful psychiatrist, seemed to at least understand Ridge.  His attraction to Brooke, to whom he has been married three times, seems more physical, and the two certainly have had quite the tumultuous romance over the years.

Ridge was played by Ronn Moss from the role’s inception to 2012, when Moss suddenly left.  Ridge and Brooke broke up over the thinnest of pretexts (Ridge found a text message from Brooke’s former lover Deacon) and Ridge went to live in Paris. During that year, Stephanie suffered from cancer, and later died of the disease.  Ridge, a huge momma’s boy, didn’t even return for his mother’s funeral.

When Ridge did return at the end of last year, he was played by Englishman Thorsten Kaye, a fan favorite from his days on One Life to Live and All My Children. Kaye is of course a very different kind of actor from Moss, who seemed to own the role. Kaye’s Ridge is more introspective, but with his own Continental style delivers a Ridge who is just as much the self-absorbed, immature jerk he’s always been. And as always, Kaye is a treat to watch.  

Thus when the new Ridge returned, he seemed to be the perfect man, suddenly very soft and tender, especially sympathetic toward Brooke’s sister Katie.  Katie’s husband Bill had fallen in love with and run off with Brooke.  Bill and Ridge hate one another. Ridge seemed to be Katie’s knight in shining armor and the two made off together, even after Ridge initially almost married Brooke.  Right now, the two are having an idyllic romance and indeed Kaye and Heather Tom, who plays Katie, are probably the best acted couple in soapdom.

So it was a brilliant stroke when B&B shattered the image of the new perfect Ridge and had him make some moves at Forrester Creations that showed how arrogant and spoiled he could be.  He tried to have photographer Oliver fired and brother Rick ousted from his position as president of the company.  Both moves failed.

Eric offered him the presidency of the company should he and Katie break up.  But arrogant and wanting his way as always, Ridge refused.  Will Ridge Forrester be able to keep his new love Katie, and continue to have it all as B&B’s Master of the Universe?     

General Hospital at 51: A Nifty Anniversary Episode

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

Maurice Benard’s Sonny, facing all the Carlys with a straight face

Soaps rarely celebrate anniversaries on camera.  But General Hospital had such a boffo 50th year, the 51st anniversary show just begged to be done. The resulting episode, which aired on April 1st, was a winner from start to finish.

As it should, it was introduced by pictures of Steve Hardy and Jessie Brewer  at the Nurse’s Desk at the dawn of creation of GH.  The episode centered on the Quartermaines, inasmuch as one of its chief members, A.J., had just passed away due to being shot by Sonny.  Monica was seen talking to his dead body, bemoaning the fact that everyone she had had a hand in raising in the family had died.  First A.J.  (the first time he was believed dead), who had been a troublemaker his whole life due partially to his alcoholism. And now Jason is believed dead. All  her children died way before their time, way too young, including daughter  Emily, who came  back from the dead to console her mother at A.J.’s sudden death.

Indeed, the episode made us realize that almost all the Quartermaines, the show’s central family for 40 years, are dead.  Only Tracy remains from the original family. At the end of the episode, Lila, Edward and Alan (who also is dead) were seen leading A.J. up a hospital staircase, presumably to heaven.   It’s hard for longtime GH viewers to believe that the Quartermaines are virtually gone.  Tracy’s sons Ned and Dillon live on, and A.J.’s son Michael survives. Jason, who is generally believed to be dead,  is actually comatose somewhere, waiting to be revived by some miracle work from Dr. Robin.

The anniversary’s show also featured flashbacks of Sonny and Carly in which Sonny pleaded with Carly not to turn him in for murdering A..J.  The flashbacks were accompanied by performances from Carlys past and present: Sarah Brown, Tamara Braun and today’s Carly, Laura Wright. All three looked great and performed in tour de force fashion, reliving the embattled couple’s many romances, miscarriages, marriages and reunions.  Through it all Maurice Bernard, played it straight as if the faces of Carly weren’t physically changing right before him. Quel plaisir!

Elsewhere,  life in Port Charles went on.  Brad missed his lover Lucas, who had dismissed him, because he had a longtime role in keeping secret that baby Ben really belonged biologically to Lulu and Dante, not to Britt, who stole their fertilized embryos and gave birth to him. Over at Elizabeth’s, the despised Dr. Obrecht kept Elizabeth and baby Ben hostage, waiting for Britt to come over to pick up her son and take him away.  Instead, at the end of the week, Britt showed up to help Dante and Lulu. Will Dr. O, who has kidnapped Ben for a second time this time, get away with her crimes? Will Dante and Lulu ever get baby Ben back?

After 51 years and counting, GH keeps us asking such questions.