Jumping the shark in Port Charles

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Aliens, doppelgä;ngers, and people back from the dead, as well as latex masks and memory transplants are just a few of the crazy plot twists that make up some of the most shocking developments in GH history, but even soap scribes can occasionally jump the shark. This week, our columnist dives into the top five most outrageous storylines in GH history

In last week's Two Scoops, I talked about the five current storylines that I think need to find quick resolution or disappear altogether when the show returns, so I figured that this week I would delve into the five most outrageous storylines of all time.

These are not necessarily bad storylines, but rather, extraordinary developments that for one reason or another defied logic, science, or what we know to be true. These storylines were a disturbance in the show's continuity, and some are better off locked away and forgotten in the annals of the show's history.

Casey the alien immediately springs to my mind whenever the topic of GH's most fantastical storylines is broached, as I'm sure it does with most. At the time, it was an interesting, albeit silly, attempt to step outside the box by having Robin Scorpio befriend an alien from the planet Lumina who was searching for a crystal. Basically, Mork and Mindy meets E.T., except with a soapy twist. It's not my cup of tea, but I do know several who loved the storyline.

With that in mind, let's start our stroll down memory lane (or memory lame...).

Mikkos Cassadine attempts to freeze the world
There's science and then there's science fiction, but Mikkos' diabolical plan was pure fiction.

The year was 1981, and Edward's niece, Alexandria Quartermaine, introduced us to the infamous Ice Princess (no, not Elsa), which looked like a Kingsford charcoal briquette hot-glued on a rod and mounted on a marble pedestal. When the world's largest uncut diamond was stolen during transit, Alexandria enlisted Luke Spencer's help to track down the thieves -- the Cassadines. Before long, a handsome WSB agent named Robert Scorpio joined Luke and his lady love Laura Webber-Spencer on their quest.

Everything about this storyline was exciting and interesting, and it ushered in a new era that would give rise to the best soap opera villain ever -- Helena Cassadine -- who has terrorized Port Charles for decades. Even in death, she continues to find ways to reach beyond the grave to remind all of her favorite victims that they will never be rid of her. Ever.

However, there is a reason that this storyline landed in the top spot on my list. Had the writers made the plot about recovering a priceless stolen diamond, and in the course, Mikkos had died, it would have been perfect, but that's not what happened. Instead, the writers foolishly inserted a mad plot to hold the world for ransom under the threat of freezing the planet. To prove that the Cassadines meant business, Mikkos set his sights on Port Charles. As the town was blanketed in record snow and frigid temperatures, Mikkos gloated with maniacal glee as his dreams were about to be realized.

When people talk about this storyline, it's Mikkos' crazy plan that is on the forefront of their minds, not how it solidified Luke and Laura as a supercouple or that it introduced fan favorite Tristen Rogers as Robert Scorpio. Few recall the exciting action, the island adventure, and all the quirky characters and plot twists as Luke and Laura hunted down the diamond and those cunning Cassadines. Instead, it's all about Mikkos' desire for world domination by using a weather machine to create an ice age.

That brings me to the weather machine. It was an impenetrable room on Cassadine Island, full of computers, television monitors, and a freezing chamber. There was also a relay station, an all-powerful lever, an extremely long code, and, of course, the diamond that powered it all. Along the way, several ended up as frozen popsicles, including Mikkos' beloved brother Tony. Mikkos also revealed that his scientists were on the brink of finding a way to reverse the effects of a human being frozen, which would prove important down the road.

In the end, Mikkos found himself in a fight for his life when Luke tried to wrest the gun away from him. Mikkos put up a valiant fight, but Luke managed to shove the original Dr. Evil into a chamber that froze the Cassadine patriarch to death within seconds.

Stavros Cassadine, the zombie popsicle
The death of Mikkos, and the specter of the man who only appeared in a dozen or so episodes, spurred countless stories through the decades. Recently, Mikkos' codicil to his will helped his grandson Nikolas unseat Nikolas' uncle Valentin from power.

Stavros was the eldest son of Mikkos and Helena Cassadine and the heir to the Cassadine empire. I'm not sure that Helena was capable of loving anyone -- she actively tried to murder her second-born son on numerous occasions, and she had her daughter killed -- but if she did love anyone, it was Stavros. She certainly showed him the devotion and loyalty of a mama bear, both in life and in death. Except, it turned out that Stavros' 1983 death when he fell down a flight of stairs in the mayoral mansion and succumbed to his injuries at GH, had been a tad bit exaggerated.

It seems that Helena had her flying monkeys spirit Stavros' broken body to a cryogenic chamber hidden in the bowels of the hospital where she had a secret lab. Helena picked up where her husband left off, and she had her mad scientists continue the work on reversing the effects of freezing. Eventually, Helena forced poor Tony Jones to help her with the final step of the process by reviving her beloved son Stavros.

The cryogenic chamber would later be used on others, including, most recently, Jason Morgan when Cesar Faison shot him then tossed Jason's body into the harbor, so this leap of science continues to be rolled out every now and then. It shouldn't be, because I simply can't take a human popsicle seriously.

I'm all for cutting-edge medicine and cures for various diseases, but I draw the line at dead people being revived from fatal injuries and laying around on ice for an extended period of time in a state of stasis until their body recovers. Storylines like that are better suited for a sci-fi show, not GH.

Emily Quartermaine is saved by true love's kiss in the Garden of Aphrodite.
This story was a mixed bag of nuts, starting with Helena Cassadine and Tracy Quartermaine joining forces! I loved it, and had it been all about Helena and Tracy working together, it wouldn't have made it to this list.

What I didn't love was the stupid curse that Helena put on Emily that slowly sapped Emily of her life force until Nikolas figured that the spell could be broken by kissing his true love in the Garden of Aphrodite. Don't get me wrong -- I love a good curse, and Helena certainly knew how to toss them out. It was that this particular curse -- and Emily's reaction to it -- were just so stupid.

An argument can be made -- and actually was on the show -- that Emily had fallen victim to the power of suggestion, but the writers made a point of ruling out that her decline in health was a self-fulfilling prophecy. It was the curse, and if there had been any doubt, the celestial light that appeared during Emily and Nikolas' moonlit kiss underscored it.

As much as I enjoyed seeing Tracy and Helena matching wits, I detested every aspect of the curse and the premise that someone like Emily would put any faith in anything that Helena said, let alone a silly curse.

If Helena had truly had that kind of power, she would have ruled the world.

A brain tumor turns a mild-mannered artist into a prolific serial killer
Yes, technically, this is plausible, but beyond being an unimaginative plot twist, it's a cheap trick known as the brain-tumor defense, and no soap viewer that I know likes it.

If the brain tumor triggered Franco's murderous impulses and desire to wreak havoc on people's lives through grisly artistic stunts and street tags, I would expect there to be other side effects like hearing voices, double vision, or even headaches. I could understand if one grew since childhood (as was the case with Franco), and certain behaviors developed as a result, but not this Jekyll and Hyde stuff. It's all too convenient.

Giving a character a brain tumor with the expectation of instant redemption for the heinous crimes they committed does the opposite. I want to see a process that includes penance and some personal growth. Beyond that, you can't have characters do the unforgiveable (murder and the rape of a young man many watched grow up) then expect that character to be a fan favorite.

Ultimately, I gave Franco a second chance, not because I love Roger Howarth, but rather, because I saw true remorse as well as a desire to be better. More importantly, Franco has not murdered anyone since his brain surgery.

These days, I like Franco, but I know people who still see him as a serial killer who threw Michael into Carter's diabolical clutches. They have every right to hate Franco because the writers saddled him with some very vile crimes. Tumor or no tumor, Franco did commit them.

Plot twist: memory mapping
Where to begin with this storyline?

In the world of Port Charles, doctors found a way to download specific memories and transfer them to a person's identical twin without the twin being any the wiser that they had undergone a memory transplant or that they were even the victim of a DVX experiment. The memory mapping and transplant is all done with a flash drive, laptop, electrodes, and an injection of some kind. But wait, there's more. It's not just for twins anymore, and Dr. Maddox found a way to reverse it!

Several sets of twins in Port Charles were targets of this mad science experiment including Anna Devane and her twin, Alex Merrick; Kevin Collins and his twin, Ryan Chamberlain; as well as Drew Cain and his twin, Jason Morgan. Collectively, they were known as Patients 1 through 6.

The memory mapping allowed Helena (and supposedly Peter August) to program Drew to believe that he was Jason because she wanted a ruthless enforcer like Jason to do her bidding. Sadly, Drew proved less effective than his twin, but he had managed to escape Helena's clutches with some help from Robin. The memory mapping proved so effective that even after Drew was struck by a car and underwent extensive corrective surgery, he woke up believing that he was Jason.

The fun didn't end there. Nope, years earlier, a doctor working on the project had used the technique to give Anna the memories of Alex Merrick seducing Cesar Faison then giving birth to their son. At least, that's what Anna's theory is. She attempted to track down her sister for answers but gave up on the search because she decided that she didn't want to know if Peter August, a.k.a. Henrik Faison, is her nephew rather than her son.

I have no idea what memories Kevin received from Ryan or vice versa, but the storyline took a turn into the even more absurd when a desperate and despicable cult leader named Shiloh decided to download a flash drive of Drew Cain's memories into teenager Cameron Webber's young brain. Instead, Franco valiantly sacrificed himself because he didn't want his stepson's brain scrambled by a science experiment run amok. That's when we discovered that even a two-minute exposure to the flash drive's download can turn a person into someone else. Franco became FrankenDrew.

Despite the technique not being able to help those with Alzheimer's disease, I'm stunned that no one is knocking on Dr. Maddox's door to offer him a deal for this medical breakthrough. Perhaps, he should talk to Hamilton Finn, who found a cure for a brain-eating disease.

A few honorable mentions

Dreadfully undead
Sadly, people returning from the dead has become such a predictable trope in recent years that it's no longer the exception but rather the rule when someone is "killed" off. Viewers no longer ask if someone died, but rather, when they will be back. It needs to stop. Let dead be dead and choose very carefully who is killed off. If someone leaves and the character is not recast, and you want to leave the door open, send them out of town. It's the 21st century; it's not unheard of for people to move away.

Latex masks so realistic that it can even fool a lover
Remember when Cesar Faison was running around in a Duke Lavery mask and seducing Anna? I tried to forget, too. I don't mind if they are used for a mission to infiltrate a place or organization, but there are limits to the effectiveness of a latex mask, and the viewing audience knows that.

Revisionist history
Tampering with the past is never a good idea because it can disrupt the continuity of several storylines, depending on the twist and how it impacts the characters.

Reader feedback

I've suggested before that the best thing for Sonny to do would be to focus on his legitimate coffee business, turning it into a successful Starbucks-like national franchise (slogan: "Corinthos Coffee: You'll love it or ELSE!). Then, Sonny could use the profits to open up an exclusive, five-star restaurant, with himself as the Master Chef. The restaurant's success, plus Sonny's notorious reputation, could turn Sonny into a temperamental Celebrity Chef, with his own network Daytime Television show. That way, he could still bully and threaten people, and get away with it. -- Scrimmage

The writers missed a great opportunity once Valentin was revealed as Helena's son. Who is his father? It is hard for me to believe that Valentin is not at all curious about his parentage when he was so obsessed about being a Cassadine. I also thought it was a big mistake to make Valentin so wealthy sans the Cassadine estate. His only motivation for anything seems to be revenge if he doesn't need the money. -- JDF

I would begin from the top down by getting Sonny out of the Mob permanently! I don't care if he willingly retires, and cuts a deal with the Feds, or if Smiley Cyrus forces him out, but having a Mob Boss as the so-called "star of the show" hasn't been in vogue since "The Sopranos" went off the air, and it needlessly complicates the storytelling because it forces the writers to constantly make the PCPD look incompetent, while they bend over backwards to keep Sonny and his gang out of prison. -- Scrimmage

I love hearing from readers, so please feel free to leave a comment below or email me. Take care and happy viewing,
Liz Masters

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Two Scoops is an opinion column. The views expressed are not designed to be indicative of the opinions of Soap Central or its advertisers. The Two Scoops section allows our Scoop staff to discuss what might happen and what has happened, and to share their opinions on all of it. They stand by their opinions and do not expect others to share the same point of view.

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