General Hospital is airing encore episodes and keeping viewers entertained with flashback shows until they can bring our beloved soap back to us. It can't happen fast enough. It's not that I don't love looking back -- I do -- and I'm eternally grateful that GH remains on the air, but I dearly miss my stories. I know that I'm not alone.
As I'm sure many can empathize, life is pretty stressful right now, and more than ever I need my daily escape from the realities of a world in turmoil.
Thankfully, we only have to wait a few months for GH to return -- unlike some of my other favorite shows that force me wait a ridiculously long time between seasons. Knowing GH will be back sooner not later makes it marginally easier, but the anticipation continues to mount because all this time gives our creative writers a lot of time to think and retool things.
I don't mind a few changes because I know that it can often be a good thing, but I also believe that GH was in a really good place before life so rudely intruded. I wouldn't blame the writers if they picked up where they had left off as if nothing had happened, but should they? The world is a different place, and right now, there's a new normal that will be reflected in what we see when the actors return to the studio.
I can't imagine love scenes will be on the table -- or anywhere else -- given the current restrictions in place to safeguard the actors and reduce the spread of COVID-19. I guess the exception will be if an actor tests positive for the antibodies, but even so, precautions might be necessary in light of our current environment. If physical contact is an issue, fight scenes and even interactions between doctors and patients at the hospital will be limited.
I don't envy the writers, but I really hope that they can find a way to make Port Charles (and the set) a safe zone from the virus because I'd don't relish seeing characters talking through masks and standing a minimum of six feet apart at all times.
Public safety issues aside, I'm eager to see what the writers have in store for us. Will they give us a time jump? I hope so, and I hope they kick the show off with a bang. Literally.
Ideally, the opening scene will be on a dark and stormy night as the camera slowly zooms in on a body at the bottom of a staircase -- a smoking gun within reach. Nelle's body to be precise. It makes no difference if it's at casa Corinthos or the Quartermaine mansion, since both are filled with a plethora of prime suspects who would want Nelle dead. That is what makes Nelle the ideal victim and will put viewers on edge as they begin to worry that one of their favorite characters might have pulled the trigger on the madwoman.
The twist can be that Nelle survives the shooting, but she lingers in a coma for an indefinite period of time. That will have the added benefit of giving the writers an opportunity to set Nelle on a new course if they decide to flip the script completely and wake her up as a new (and reformed) woman. Hey, it happened with Franco, so who's to say that lightning can't strike twice with Nelle?
What transpired between now and the opening scenes can be filled in through flashbacks as the police hunt for the shooter.
A mystery (Who shot Nelle?) with almost an entire cast of suspects not only is a great hook to get viewers' attention, but a time jump allows the writers an opportunity to shake things up with the weaker storylines.
For example, the disaster that is Peter, and his ill-fated relationship with Maxie.
I admit, in the beginning, I was not a fan of Peter and Maxie essentially bonding over Nathan's death. I was a fan of Ryan Paevy's and grew to love Nathan. That hadn't always been the case, because, in the beginning, Nathan's motives were questionable, and he was a bit of a jerk. However, in time, it became clear that Nathan was a good guy.
Not so much with Peter. Nothing is clear with Peter. One minute, he's Anna's son then next, he's Alex's love child. First, we are told that Peter was a pawn of his father's then it's revealed that, nope, he was Helena's partner, which would mean that Peter outranked his own father in the evil villain hierarchy. The worst, though, is the transition back to bad guy when Peter began putting hits on people, orchestrated Drew's disappearance over the ocean, and sent Sam to jail in an effort to hide his dastardly deeds.
Is Peter a good guy forced to do terrible things or a selfish guy pretending to be good because he fell in love with his brother's widow? I used to believe the former, but these days, I fear it's the latter.
I like Wes Ramsey, but I really don't want Peter sticking around while Drew is dead.
That brings me to what I'm hoping we will see when she show returns to ABC. A mystery hooks viewers, but a return of a favorite draws out an entire fanbase, so nothing will get viewers back on track like a few dramatic returns, starting with Drew Cain.
I've said this before, but it remains true. Drew has a lot of story left to tell. This character belongs back on the canvas, fighting for Sam, since Jason can't seem to close the deal or make Sam and the children a priority. I'm not talking about now. I realize that Sam is prohibited from having contact with convicted felons like Jason (although Sonny, Michael, and others are okay), but what about before?
Jason and Sam had plenty of time to get married before she was sent to prison for Shiloh's death. Sonny could have easily been ordained on the Internet and married them in a secret ceremony during that whole Shiloh and Dawn of Day nonsense. Even before that, Jason and Sam could have gone to the courthouse. Instead, they always found reasons not to get married, even though they both insisted that it was what they wanted.
Truth be told, I liked Sam better when she was with Drew. With Jason, it always feels like she's settling for crumbs and doing stupid things. With Drew, she was more content and less prone to taking crazy risks.
I'd also love for Hayden to resurface and perhaps stick around. Not just for Violet, but to force Finn to finally admit that he is no longer in love with Anna. The same is true for Anna because I see more sparks between her and Robert than I do Anna and Finn, and she's not in love with Robert. It's just painful to watch Anna and Finn, especially knowing that, once the truth is out about Peter, their relationship will implode because Finn had been right about Peter all along.
Rebecca Budig is one of my favorite actresses, so I wouldn't mind in the least if Hayden stayed for longer than a few episodes.
Now that Valentin is free, perhaps the writers could explore things between him and Anna. It would give Nina something to think about other than finding her daughter. I shudder at the thought as long as it remains a possibility that Nelle is Nina's long-lost child, and I pray to the soap gods that the writers have a last-minute twist up their sleeves to undo that atrocity. Nelle already plays Nina like a maestro. I'd hate to think what a doormat Nina would turn into, trying to be the mother that Nelle wants.
It's really a shame that Sasha can't be Nina's daughter because I love Sasha, and more than ever, she's going to need a mother, especially one like Nina.
Sasha's unfolding addiction is one of the most important storylines that GH has on the canvas right now, and it's the one that I am most eager to get back to because I have a feeling it will ultimately lead to Cyrus' downfall. Sofia Mattsson is a wonderfully talented performer who has the acting chops to make this a gripping and compelling story. With everything going on this crazy world right now, opiate addiction remains a significant health crisis, so the topic is very much relevant.
No doubt, the writers and network will treat GH's return like it's Sweeps. At least, I hope so, because the ratings during the early days of the shutdown proved that there is still a hunger for serial storytelling. The show was pretty awesome in the months before a nasty virus changed everything, but there is always room for improvement.
One of those areas is fleshing out some of the supporting characters like Dev, Martin Gray (whom I'm secretly hoping is Laura's long-lost paternal brother), and even Neil Byrne. I don't want Brando added to the list, although that seemed less likely after his one-night stand with Molly.
Dev is a different story, as is Neil, because they've both been around long enough that we should know a lot more about them than we do. That's especially true for Dev, who lives with a mob boss and his ever-suspicious wife. Why is Sonny not digging into Dev's past to at least find out who his parents are and if there are any family members who might seek him out? It's hard to root for Dev when all we know is that he's here illegally and idolizes Sonny. I have a similar issue with Neil because Alexis has a terrible penchant for attracting the worst guys possible, and we know next to nothing about Neil.
Finally, while the show is in reruns, I would love to see a week dedicated to Genie Francis. She has earned it, not only because Laura has been a pivotal character since Genie was cast, she was part of the original supercouple, and one of her weddings made television history, but also because Genie has been playing Laura since 1976 and remains a leading character on the show to this very day.
Think about what an incredible accomplishment that is. Genie has been on the show longer than Leslie Charleson, Kin Shriner, Jackie Zeman, and Tony Geary. Only Denise Alexander and Rachel Ames have a longer tenure on the show. Genie is the heart and soul of the show, and her incredible contribution to GH, ABC, and the world of soaps should be recognized and honored. There are so many powerful episodes to choose from that the only difficulty will be in deciding which five to air.
I also hope that the week before GH returns, we get to see the last five episodes (without all the extra flashbacks) because it will remind viewers where we left off and get us ready for what comes next.
I find it curious that with as many sets of twins as have walked the streets of Port Charles -- the Alcazars, Emily Quartermaine/Rebecca Shaw, Anna/Alex, Jason/Drew, Kevin/Ryan -- we have never actually seen twins born to a couple on the show. Ever. Jason and Drew don't count because that's a rewrite.
A friend of mine said that she would love to see an episode where everyone has a group session on Zoom with Kevin Collins. I love it. That would be pretty awesome and hilarious.
Liz, thank you for writing another column to keep the conversation going on our beloved soap! But instead of just watching one episode of these stories, why not give them each a week to play out these pivotal episodes. I am not talking about the filler ones, but the really important ones that engaged us the audience and make us cry like babies, but also rejoiced with smiles by or even laughter with their conclusions! -- marlene
I never got to see Liz Taylor as Helena or the Ice Princess story. I think it would be both entertaining and informative to run a short series of classic episodes on each of our current "legacy" characters to detail their development over the years such as the Jason Quartermaine to Jason Morgan saga or for Sonny lovers, the transformation from small time strip club owner to major crime boss. Mac and Kevin as "Norma and Eve" would be a hoot! -- JDF
I was not watching during the Susan Moore story so it would be new for me. That was when Monica came to love little Jason when Alan brought him home. For Sonny and Brenda fans, seeing how they first met and got together would also be a good idea, or Bobbie finding out Carly was her daughter. I would also like to see Jax's first appearance on GH: as soon as the camera focused on that Greek God, I literally gasped out loud, he was that gorgeous, LOL. Lots of possibilities. -- Eileen
Thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts. I love hearing from readers, so please feel free to drop me a line or leave a comment below. Take care and happy viewing,
READ MORE OF THIS WEEK'S TWO SCOOPS
The Bold and the Beautiful | Days of our Lives | The Young and the Restless
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