Bye bye boom

For the Week of November 30, 2020
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It was a short but action-packed week in Port Charles this week. But readers, I didn't feel especially festive. Let's dig into the rubble in this week's Two Scoops.

Dear readers, it was an explosive week in Port Charles, and I mean that literally. The Floating Rib went up in an instant, and the pieces came hurtling back down, landing on the unsuspecting citizens of Port Charles, just out for a night of fun at the local bar. With their kids...

I could not possibly write a better sentence about this week's #GH than William Devry tweeted, so I'm just going to quote him...

"Nothing says Thanksgiving like bombs, exploding limbs, tumors, brain damage, dying teenagers, stabbed inmates, pissed off Mobsters, panicked mothers, betrayal and comas!!" -- William Devry.

Despite the calendar, it was not a very festive week on GH. There was no Quartermaine pizza, no Eddie Maine leading us in a beautiful chorus of "We Gather Together." We did not see an awkward family dinner where exes and in-laws were all sniping at one another while simultaneously counting blessings. 2020 is that sort of year. Our own traditions have fallen by the wayside, and GH traditions are no different.

I have heard that a Thanksgiving episode is still coming, but at this point, the most the citizens of Port Charles can be thankful for is that they weren't at the Floating Rib when it blew up. At least the ones that weren't there.

I'm restless and unsatisfied with GH storylines right now, just as I am restless and unsatisfied with the world outside, and I am sure you are, too. Nothing feels right or normal and probably won't for some time. The holidays will be smaller and less ornate. The choirs singing carols will be like the genius at Macy's that Zoomed together an ensemble for a Thanksgiving treat at the socially distanced parade.

This Thanksgiving in Port Charles, they will bury their dead. How many more are dead will remain to be seen. For sure, at least Dev, played by the very likable Ashton Arbab, and (handsome) Dustin, played by beloved soap vet Mark Lawson. I hate to see them both go, even though I realize that ABC can't continue to support a vast cast in these financially lean times.

They were probably told to downsize their staff by "X" percentage point, just like many other companies have done this year. ABC's parent company Disney laid off nearly 30,000 workers. I saw yesterday some car dealership in Florida is selling off a fleet of Minnie Mouse minivans. In the market for one? Here you go.

Here's something I dislike...I am always disappointed when a show lets an actor go, and the writers preemptively trash their character right before they leave. Dev was a sweet kid, and suddenly, he started doctoring Joss's journal and lying to his friends. I knew then it was curtains for him because that's part of the nonsense of soap logic. "The audience won't be mad at us for killing off a character if we make them hate him first." Ugh.

They went the opposite way with Dustin, had him down on one knee, proposing to Lulu, as he got blown to smithereens. Which tactic is worse? The first one. I'd rather be sad to see a character die than to feel like I was manipulated into hating them.

Which leads us to Julian Jerome. I am hoping with all of my heart that it was not, in fact, Julian's call to the burner phone that set off that bomb. I hope we get the last shot of Cyrus pressing a button to detonate as soon as the phone rang. I am angry that they made Julian the bad guy in this explosion storyline. Mind you, Julian was willing to blow up Jason, the love of his daughter's life, so I shouldn't feel too sorry for him...but wait, that was written for him, also.

I feel like the characters of both Ava and Julian have evolved over the years. While they are certainly capable of doing bad things, it's not their first choice anymore. They both try to walk the straight and narrow, although trouble does seem to find them at an alarming rate. The scenes where Julian found Danny's hat and thought he killed his own grandson were heartbreaking. The Julian/Ava scenes with William DeVry and Maura West feeding off one another's energy on Wednesday were absolutely gut-wrenching. The line he said to Alexis about being a light in his dark left me reaching for my box of Puffs.

I don't want Julian to go this way. He deserves better. I don't wish for Alexis and his kids and grandkids to believe he is a murderer. But it appears that's how this is going down. It may make for a riveting storyline in the short term, but it undoes all the work Julian has done over the years to better himself. Is the message, "people can't be redeemed, don't bother trying"?

The only crime Julian was guilty of before the explosion was allowing Lucas to believe Wiley was the baby he adopted. I mean, sure, that was bad, but Lucas and Brad loved Wiley, and his real dad, Michael, was in his life as a beloved uncle. (Except for that whole trying to slit Alexis' throat, thereby blowing up Julexis, which I will never forgive the writers for writing.) Julian had an impossible choice. He had to either tell Sonny that Brad stole his grandkid -- and potentially get both Brad and Julian killed -- or try to hide it and possibly live a little longer. What choice would you have made in Julian's shoes?

It's all a moot point now, as Britt told Sonny the truth, so Julian has two mobsters who want him dead -- Cyrus, to not leave a witness alive, and Sonny, just out of good, old-fashioned revenge. Will one of them kill him, or will he let Nikolas Cassadine pay for a speedy exit? Will Nikolas even get involved once he finds out what Julian has done?

Now that we have discussed the two inevitable deaths and Julian's potential fate, let's talk about other possible cuts and a string of mysteriously vanishing characters.

Lulu's brain is wrapped up like a mummy, and Dante is regretting every choice he made. The hospital chapel is getting crowded as people beg God to save Lulu's life. I had hoped if she left, it would be a happy ending with her and Dante riding off into the sunset with Rocco, and we'd see them back when GH could afford to rehire. But with her injuries, I am just not sure she's going to pull through. I thought maybe Emme Rylan was being let go. Perhaps GH would bring back Julie Marie Berman like The Young and the Restless brought back Michelle Stafford and sent Gia Tognoni packing last year. But if Lulu dies, I guess that theory is wrong. And seriously, did you see her scenes when Dustin died this week? That's her Emmy reel right there. A powerhouse performance by Emme Rylan and a reminder of her worth. How do you let someone go after a performance like that?

I don't want to lose another core character in the Luke and Laura Spencer family. Tony Geary retired and left us Luke-less, and Lucky is off in Ireland or France or somewhere other than NY. If Lulu dies, that just leaves Laura and Nikolas -- we don't even have Spencer right now. That just feels so wrong to me. But readers, to not have GH at all is even more unthinkable. If this is what they must do to keep GH alive, make it lean and mean, I totally support that, but communication to fans would be helpful, I think. We aren't casual fans. Many of us have invested decades in this show. We would love to know what you are facing. We care.

I've been watching Laura for 40 years. You know how I know that? Because I started watching during the David Hamilton murder storyline, and Laura mentioned it, saying Cyrus had dug up a case from 40 years ago. Yikes. Was anyone else watching back then? Anyway, my point is that I am invested in this family and their history and their future. Just as I am invested in the Quartermaines and their past and future. So, this is me rooting for Lulu to live, even if she has to live off-canvas for the season.

Next up, let's talk about Lucas. Generally speaking, on soaps, when a new actor is on in a role, an announcer says, "The role of Brook Lynn Quartermaine will now be played by Brianna Lane." You say, "Oh, cool," and you go look up why and find out that Amanda Setton is on maternity leave, and you have a temp fill in. Right? This happens all the time, and we are used to it. But last week on GH, some new doctor was on, and I figured he was just some random doctor. Then he started talking to people as if he knew them. Then someone called him Lucas. What? No announcement, no stories to be found about why Ryan Carnes wasn't around -- he was just dropped in from outer space. As of this moment, I still have no idea if this is a temporary recast or a permanent one. Was Carnes let go? Does he have COVID and can't work? Is he filming a mini-series in Australia? No one knows.

Also, I have heard that Taggert's role has been temporarily recast with Asante Jones stepping in for Réal Andrews. Again, no word as to why, but just a vague "Asante Jones is taking over as Taggert temporarily." With no beginning or end dates and no explanation.

But wait, there's more. Remember when we found out that Willow's mom, Harmony, was released from prison and was secretly working for Cyrus Renault? Yeah, well, she's gone, too, now -- no resolution to that storyline. Just word that Inga Cadranel is out at GH because of timing. I guess it's better to just disappear than to get blown up in a bar.

Think we are done? Nope. There was big fanfare about Kim Delaney coming to GH as Jackie Templeton. A soap legend brought back a legendary character and a juicy storyline -- she was Chase's mom. She slept with her stepson right before she married Finn and Chase's dad! Was Finn really Chase's dad and not his brother? Did he still have feelings for his stepmommy that would wreck his upcoming marriage to Anna? Who knows? Kim Delaney is already gone, right after they dropped that storyline bomb on us, maybe never to be resolved.

We lost Joe Flanigan's Neil to a drug overdose, but there's no storyline other than Alexis' drinking to follow up on that. Why did he OD? Was he actually a drug addict or killed by Cyrus for...what? If Cyrus has a vendetta against Laura if he's David Hamilton's brother or child or something, why would he want to kill Alexis' lover? Or was Neil a closet addict the whole time? Nothing in his storyline or behavior would justify that line of storytelling.

And Sasha. Will she die, too? Is her OD at the hands of Cyrus going to be another casualty of ABC budget cuts, leaving Sofia Mattson unemployed with the rest? Or is this a catalyst to dive into fixing the two couples we broke up to save Wiley? Will Chase and Willow find their way back together? Sasha and Michael? Will Willow end up pregnant after one impromptu sexual encounter with her husband, Michael?

There are other loose ends...Amy (Risa Dorken) came back, lip-synched for Brooke at Deception and then Poof! Christina (Lexi Ainsworth) came back on canvas for a brief appearance, and then Poof! Obrecht (the divine Kathleen Gati) now has evidence she was framed by Peter August. Will she be arriving back in Port Charles to be rehired at GH by her chief of staff daughter Britt?

All the kids are missing, too, but in the age of COVID, I understand why we haven't seen Aiden, Jake, or Violet. I was shocked that we saw Danny, to be honest.

And let's unpack that a bit more. Have we ever seen the Floating Rib or its previous incarnation when Coleman ran it as a place where kids hung out? Nope. It's a bar. It's always been a bar. Suddenly, this week, for the explosion scenes, all the underage teens and ten-year-old Danny were hanging out in there like it was freaking Chuck E. Cheese.

Hands down, my favorite scenes this week were with Alexis and Valentin during her interrupted intervention. The two of them with cards listing their sins and crimes, trying to top one another, was wonderful and fun. Nancy Lee Grahn and James Patrick Stuart have mad chemistry. Since they aren't related, can we have those two possibly date a little? Is it too creepy, since they once thought they were related? I can never tell.

Franco and his inoperable brain tumor got knocked in the head by something at the Floating Rib explosion. Thus, he was forced to have an operation on that inoperable tumor. Will Franco wake up as Todd Manning, or not at all? Will he be a serial killer? Will he remember Liz and the boys, or wake up thinking he's in love with Nina and have an LSD flashback? (Tell me you remember that storyline.) We don't know his fate or if he will be yet another casualty of whatever this is at GH right now.

I would rather that ABC would say, straight up, "Hey, we have had to make some budget cuts, and we are temporarily downsizing our cast until things bounce back. Don't worry, we won't forget these characters and will tell their stories again when things are better." I prefer honesty to uncertainty and silence ten out of ten times.

The world right now is a sad place. We have people dying of COVID, people unemployed and sitting in miles-long food bank lines. We have endured political and racial tensions, fires, floods, hurricanes, and just an overwhelming sense of sorrow and dread as a nation. Would it be too much for GH to throw in a little romance and lightness? Can you help us escape, please? I'm serious. Does it all have to be so dreadfully sad?

I bring you back to where we started, with the brilliant summation of the state of GH by William Devry...

"Nothing says Thanksgiving like bombs, exploding limbs, tumors, brain damage, dying teenagers, stabbed inmates, pissed off Mobsters, panicked mothers, betrayal and comas!!" -- William Devry.

Only tomorrow knows, dear readers, and I will tune in tomorrow as long as there are tomorrows.

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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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