The Best and Worst of General Hospital 2021 (Part One)

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What were your favorite and least favorite moments of 2021? Do you agree with our columnist, or do you have a completely different list? Let's review the year that was in this week's Two Scoops!

My dear readers, it's been quite a year. Remember how we rejoiced at the end of 2020 and piled our hopes onto 2021 for a return to normalcy and sanity? Well, yeah, that didn't exactly pan out as we had hoped, not for us and not for the fine citizens of Port Charles, New York. I advise that we ease into 2022 very quietly and with low expectations.

I have notes on multiple devices. I have handwritten notes on my "remarkable." I thumb-typed notes on my phone at 4:00 a.m. on nights I couldn't sleep well. Which is all the nights, which some of you know because you are up tweeting with me at 4:00 a.m. Thanks for that, by the way.

There is a lot to cover. I debated on how to open this column, and I am still wrestling with myself on what is the very worst thing on GH this year. There are so many angles, I would need 15 columns to cover them all. Is it that Peter is still alive? Is it the backstage drama and controversy over the firings of Ingo and Steve? Is it that the writers chose to kill off Sasha and Brando's baby at Christmas? Why, that's not very festive at all! Is it months of watching "Mike" continuously rearranging chairs and wiping down the bar in Nixon Falls as multiple people from Port Charles walked into the Tan-O but never saw him?

Let's just start with the thing I think most of us will agree on. The worst part of GH this year is that Peter August is still breathing. Many fan groups surround our beloved soap. Some people want Sam to be with Dante, and some want Sam to be with Drew. People are rooting for Sonny and Nina, some for Sonny and Carly. People are rooting for Chase and Brook Lynn, and some people are still holding out hope for Chase and Willow. But literally, no one is rooting for Peter.

He's awful. He's irredeemable. He's been driving us all mad for a very long time now. At least 20 people have threatened to kill him, but no one ever actually does. Or maybe Brad poisoned him with tainted scrambled prison eggs. We just don't know yet. By the way, that looked like a pretty fancy plate for solitary confinement food. I'm just saying. That looked like something I'd get at a decent champagne brunch.

Peter must go. The longer he stays, the angrier the audience is getting, and there is no point in him lingering around other than to keep Wes Ramsey employed. I have a great idea. Make Wes play Austin Holt and give us back Franco, who is next up on my list.

So, the writers finally gave Liz a pairing worthy of her and then snatched it away. Franco was a great stepfather to her sons, who have honest to God never had a decent father figure before. Franco genuinely adored Liz, had a fantastic job at the hospital as an art therapist, had fun relationships with Ava and Liesl, and had mad comic chemistry with his dad, Scott Baldwin. So, naturally, they killed him off. It makes me want to scream. Come on, GH writers, pull a Dallas, have Liz wake up from her bad dream in January, let Roger be Franco, let Wes be Austin, and let Peter be DEAD. There, I fixed it for you.

I have not warmed up to Austin yet. I have loved Roger Howarth since he was Todd on One Life to Live, and I just am not digging this new character. But I adored him as Franco. I don't understand the writers' motivation to do this AT ALL.

Another worst for me touches on the controversy of Jason's death and how it was handled. I have opinions, and my thoughts may not be yours, so if you disagree with me, that's totally cool, but please be nice in your disagreement. Both Steve Burton and Ingo Rademacher were let go from GH for not adhering to ABC's vaccine policy. And, readers, yesterday, the US Marine Corps discharged 103 Marines for refusing to get a vaccine. The company I work for requires vaccinations, and in addition, they do COVID testing every week. Over Thanksgiving, everyone got a take-home COVID test on their desk on Wednesday and had to take it before returning to work on Monday.

It's not like ABC is unique here. Many companies and even the US military have vaccine requirements. Why? Because a deadly virus swept through the world and killed (as of today, source Worldometer) 5,363,801 people. Over 5 million people. A business has the right to protect its employees. And sure, an employee has the right to refuse. But if you are a soap star, like Ingo and Steve, or if you are a US Marine or a travel agent like me, your company has the right to fire you if you don't comply.

These two men handled the situation very differently. Steve, I think, dealt with the situation with more finesse. He made a statement. He was very gracious. Steve admitted he was let go for refusing the vaccine, just told the facts, and let it be at that. Ingo, on the other hand... yikes. But I'll just leave that right there.

My point in even mentioning this is that I have loved the characters of Jason and Jax over the years, and I am sad they are gone. My mother once told me the reason I was never satisfied in real relationships in my life was that I thought Jax was real. No one was flying me to New Orleans for beignets for breakfast. But I was saddened to find out that the actor behind the mask of romantic, fun, white knight Jax was kind of a jerk. I like to pretend all the people who play heroes are actually heroes, but that's not always the case.

On the other hand, there is a road back for Steve/Jason on GH in the future. Maybe three years down the line, we will find out that Jason was pulled from the rubble by the mystery prisoner that all the P.I.s and super sleuths missed on their sweep of Cassadine Island. But seriously. Was it Holly? Was it Hayden? Anna, Robert, Jason, Drew, Britt, Liesl, Sam, Dante -- who else was on that island? I lost count. But all of them just left the mystery prisoner there, all alone to be eaten by rats. Or rescue Jason.

The next thing I mentioned in my opening was baby Liam Mike Corbin. This is a mix of best and worst. Sofia Mattson needs an Emmy. Full stop. Just give it to her now. Johnny Wactor was spectacular, too, but that wail at the end of Sasha's scene will haunt my dreams. The acting was top-level, and the emotions were intense. But the timing. I read a gorgeously written and soulful thread on this from Johnny Wactor on the importance of telling devastating stories and letting people who have lived these stories know they are seen. And I agree with every lovely word he typed, except for the timing.

These past two years have been a nightmare for all of us. I will confess that the day Hallmark started airing Christmas movies, like the day after Halloween, I started watching them. I have watched 40 so far. How do I know? Because they have a tracker app, and I have been checking them off. Mock me all you want. I need them. I need to watch a story where the right people end up together, and Christmas is saved, and all the obstacles standing between true love melt away into the mist.

But GH didn't read the room. Absolutely tell this story. It was beautifully written and executed. The actors involved gave the performances of their lives. But if baby Liam died January 3rd, after we had a happy Christmas in Port Charles, would that have been so bad? We are already so sad. We have lost so much. This Christmas, five million-plus families around the world will have an empty seat around the tree. Did it have to be a dead Christmas baby? Ugh. Timing be damned, though, when ghost Mike came down and took the baby to heaven. I was heaving and sobbing like a banshee.

Now let's mix it up and talk about a few bests. I will name two bests that are GH-related while not exactly GH.

Max Updates GH. Readers, if you watch GH and love GH and are not following Max Updates GH on Twitter, you miss out on five minutes of sheer joy every day. Max is a little kid who loves GH and does daily video updates on the show. He always notices things I don't, and they always make me laugh. I watched his video after Friday's episode, and the thing he was perplexed about was Scout saying she was going to find Grandpa and that both of her grandpas, Alan and Julian, were dead, so WHO was she going to see? Did she say Grandpa instead of Grandma? I don't know. I don't care. This kid's take on our favorite show is absolutely sensational. My husband, who pretends he doesn't watch GH, can actually be convinced to watch Max with me. Find him. Follow him.

This brings me to another GH-related joy -- Maurice Benard's State of Mind on YouTube. These two go together because Mo (Can I call you that Maurice? I like to pretend we are friends.) interviewed Max on his show a few weeks back, and it was perfection. But most weeks, Maurice interviews fellow soap stars and celebrities about mental health issues. They tackle serious problems and have essential conversations, and I always walk away from the episodes with enormous respect for the actors who come and open a vein to talk with him and let us see their scars.

I am crying while thinking about the episode he did with Laura Wright on grief over losing her mother. I lost my mother to breast cancer back in 2012, and even that far removed from my grief, hearing her relay her pain wrecked me. It was poignant and beautiful. His conversation with Cassandra James was another transparent conversation as she shared her truth and helped him understand the plight of a transgender actor. Or the episode when Cynthia Watros talks about drinking to excess and being killed off on Lost. These episodes pull no punches. They are meaningful and genuine. Just take some random Saturday, pull up YouTube, and binge them all.

Back to the actual GH...

Should this be on the best or worst list? Worst -- The dumb story about Finn maybe being his brother's dad (gross). Best -- Thank God, the DNA test made them brothers again.

Best new mobster: Auntie Selina Wu, played by the lovely Lydia Look. Back when Carly had briefly taken over the mob while Sonny was dead -- I kept saying that they needed to give us more Ms. Wu, and finally, my wish has come true. First off, she's a badass lady mobster. Formidable, stunning, reasonable, lethal, loyal as long as it suits her. She sees "potential" in Brad. That can't be good. I don't think she's looking for a lab tech. I believe she has higher plans for Brad in her organization. The impending catfight between Britt and Ms. Wu will be epic, and you know it's coming, right? I know we have a kinder, gentler Britt these days, but trust me, those Britch Claws are still in her paws.

Couples... this is a tangled, messy web, but I will try my best.

Best love triangle: Spencer, Esme, and Trina. I will fight you over this one. The new Spencer and his psycho boarding school girlfriend Esme are fantastic additions to the canvas. Nicholas Chavez is a revelation. He has taken all of young Spencer's arrogance and bravado and melded it with older Spencer's pain and angst. This year, whoever cast him and Kristen Pohl should get a giant Christmas bonus. Esme is conniving and manipulative, but I feel she can be more than that, and I hope the writers give her a chance. What is her connection to Ryan? Why is she so broken? I want to know.

Then, enter the radiant Sydney Mikayla as Trina into the mix. She is fierce and fabulous. A loyal friend, a lover of art, and crushing big time on Spencer. She encourages him to be his best self. Spencer will become a better man if she wins the fight for his heart. While I am talking about the teen scene, I can't leave out Joss and Cam; William Lipton and Eden McCoy are both incredibly passionate young actors, and they hold their own with the veterans. I feel like this pack of five powerhouse performers could have real longevity and be around as long as Liz and Nikolas have been. I would add Lucky -- but he went to Ireland for some floozy and never returned.

Best New Couple: Scotty and Liesl. I mean, they get to say Schnitzel in their make-out scenes. They make me laugh. Both Kin Shriner and Kathleen Gati have a firm grasp of both comedic and tender scenes. I can laugh and cry with them. They bring much-needed romance and lightheartedness to the show.

Best new/old couple: Valentin and Anna. They have known each other for years and are now seeing each other in a new light. I'm in. If Michele Stafford were still Nina, I would be on a totally different team, but she's not.

Instead, Nina, played by the talented Cynthia Watros, is better matched with "Mike." But he's not real. And "Mike" doesn't exist. Or does he?

I will tackle Nixon Falls, and it's a tightrope to walk. I am glad that Maurice Benard got to take a break from playing the brooding mobster Sonny. I am pleased we got to see him in a new light and that he got to wear a cowboy hat and line dance. I enjoyed the chemistry between "Mike" and Nina, but all the while, I was thinking, "This is so, so, wrong." I understand why Nina hates Carly. I know why she would keep it a secret that Sonny was alive for maybe a few days, just to watch Carly cry. But nine months? Nah. It's inexcusable. Do you remember when the GH writers made Luke be Fluke forever, and we were all losing our collective minds?

I was almost at that point with Nixon Falls. However, I like the new Sonny. He's evolving. He's softening. He has brought some of "Mike" home to Port Charles with him. He is still tender toward Nina, even though he mentally knows that what she did was wrong. He still remembers how "Mike" felt about her. So, bottom line -- while the story was fun and exciting and set up a great new love triangle with Carly, Sonny, and Nina, it lingered too long, and I got impatient for the payoff. I am, however, glad we got to keep Phyllis. I love Joyce Guy. Also, I would imagine it started out as a quadrangle in the writer's mind -- Sonny comes home to find Jason and Carly married. He has lingering feelings for Nina. Carly has lingering feelings for Jason. Jason is torn between Britt and Carly. But with Jason gone, we lose some of that intrigue.

This brings me to Jason's death. What a mess. Britt and Jason had a one-night stand. They were together for like a month. Liz and Jason have been involved on and off for decades. Sam and Jason were married. But Britt got more time to grieve him than Jason's two most significant love interests. No beautiful montages of young Liz and Jason in her art studio. No heartwarming flashbacks of Sam and Jason's Noodle Buddha wedding. I'm still mad. And I already told you how I felt about Carly and Britt going to Jason and Robin's bridge. No. Just no.

I know I am bouncing around like a kangaroo, but I have ADHD, and there are so many things I don't want to forget!

Another worst for me this year is fashion. Yes, I know we face a pandemic, budget cuts, and probably not as many wardrobe people. But good lord, why is Brooke Lynn always in a blazer? Can you not find any other outfit for her to wear? When she was in the sauna with a blazer on, I was screaming at my TV: "Take it off!" The neighbors probably thought I was getting lucky or had Chippendales at my house. It feels like casual body shaming to force her to wear a wool blazer in a steam room rather than see that Amanda Setton recently had a baby. Let her be her gorgeous self in better clothes!

In like manner, they keep putting Maxie, who used to be the queen of fashion at Crimson, in these giant baggy sweaters. Same thing. Why? Because she had a baby? As a plus-size girl myself, I can tell you there are plenty of lovely fashions out there in sizes larger than 2. See Chrissy Metz or Melissa McCarthy for ideas. They are always breathtaking. And neither Brooke Lynn nor Maxie is by any means fat. They don't need to hide their bodies. However, maybe the actors themselves feel self-conscious and have asked to dress like that for their own personal comfort. If so, then disregard my rant.

We already talked about one continuity issue -- the missing extra prisoner on Cassadine Island. But here's another. Remember how Shawn went to visit Alexis in prison almost every day? Where did he go now that she's home? He's seemingly on an extended holiday vacation.

Here's another Best and Worst together. Best husband? Ned. Worst wife? Olivia. I mean, Ned Quartermaine has the patience of a saint. I am always Team Ned. I love him. So, allow me to rewind. Olivia has spent the entire year punishing Ned for a one-night indiscretion with Alexis. But why did that happen? Because the week a serial killer slit his daughter's throat, Olivia suddenly had to rush off the see Dante with Robert, and he thought she was having a fling with Robert when they were gone for weeks, playing spy games in Monte Carlo while Robert searched for Holly. Okay, I am not absolving Ned of the cheating, but I'm just saying he had reason to believe that his wife was cheating on him.

Fast-forward to this year. Olivia has been a shrew for most of the year. She has been unnecessarily cruel to Ned. Olivia went utterly nuts when Ned suggested Leo might need to see a doctor. I didn't understand why she was so adamantly against that idea. If you think your kid is okay, why not just take him in to be checked out and shut everyone up? Her extreme reaction never made sense to me. It took Leo running away and nearly drowning in the harbor to get her to listen to her very wise husband. And he bought her that dog painting while she was making out with Robert, too! Oh, Ned, she doesn't deserve you.

Next up: the Peter Pop storyline. So, Finn thought he killed Peter and Liz, and Finn dragged him away and put him in some hospital freezer. Um, okay...But after months of them lamenting over their guilt, we find that he wasn't dead and was not even in the freezer? I don't know about you, but if I hid a dead body in a freezer, I would have piled some crap on top of that freezer or locked it so no one else would have gotten into it. Not that I have thought about such things before this column, mind you... Just the fact that massive-head-wound Peter somehow didn't suffocate by the time he came to and pulled himself out of the freezer was too nuts for me.

Back to the best.

The recasting of Victor Cassadine with the charming Charles Shaughnessy. The new self-appointed patriarch of the Cassadine clan is a welcome addition, and I hope Thanksgiving was just the first of many crazy family gatherings.

Nancy Lee Grahn's 25th Anniversary episode -- the stand-alone was beautiful and a fantastic tribute to our beloved Alexis Davis.

New and renewed locales -- the Tan-O, the summer pool parties at the Metro Court, Curtis' new club the Savoy, the under-new-management Charlie's, Drew's Christmassy digs.

About that -- while I adore Billy Miller, I think recasting Drew with Cameron Mathison was freaking genius, and now I am torn. Before he arrived, I liked the idea of Sam and Dante -- weird sleeping with both father and son, The Bold and the Beautiful vibe notwithstanding. But now that Drew is home? When Sam and Drew held each other by the Christmas tree as Scout looked on Friday, I may have switched teams.

Lexi Ainsworth's performance when Sonny comes back from the dead. Of every person in Sonny's family, she is the only person who gave the reaction a natural human person would have if they found out a parent who was thought to be dead was alive. She was breathtaking. I wish they would use her so much more.

Molly and T.J. I love their story and their relationship.

Yuri. Now that Jason is gone and Max and Milo are AWOL, maybe Sonny can hire Yuri.

The budding prison to real-life friendship of Harmony and Alexis. Let this grow. It's redemptive and beautiful.

Valentin. 100 times. He's the character I'm kind of in love with. The speaking French to his daughter(s), the piano playing, the longing looks he gave Anna in Greece. OMG.

Kirsten Storms's tortured year of trying to hide her baby from a madman, befriending her archenemy, and the most vicious and welcome speech dumping her psycho fiancé Peter when she growled out the fact that she was repulsed by him.

Her partner in crime, Amanda Setton, who took the abuse and judgment of the entire town, trying to do the right thing. They better all apologize to her when this ends.

The Quartermaine Thanksgiving. When Drew showed up with pizza and Monica collapsed into his arms -- OMG. Leslie Charleson may want to retire, but I hope she resists the urge. She is still so stunning, and her scenes are always brilliant.

Britt and Terry as co-CEOs and the evolution of Britt. Kelly Thiebaud is playing the heck out of all her scenes, the comedy and the tragedy. I hope she and Brad stay besties despite Ms. Wu's warnings.

More Worst

The split of Curtis and Jordan. Sure, Portia is lovely and Curtis is probably Trina's real dad, but Curtis and Jordan fought so hard to be together.

Keeping Nik and Ava apart for so, so long over a fake stalker, which we all knew was Spencer, and then having them reunite and barely seeing them. Give me more Maura and Marcus.

This one is tough to say because I love Laura Wright, and Carly is a force of nature. But I agree with the chatter online that she doesn't need to be on every episode, every day in nearly every scene. There are other worthy characters that we barely got a glimpse of in 2021 -- so spread the wealth a little bit, GH. Perfect example: Gladys was not there, waiting, when Sasha and Brando pulled the plug, but Carly was.

Another best/worst -- most of the year, Gladys drove me mad, but in the past two weeks, I have fallen for her, thanks to Bonnie Burroughs nailing every scene as a grieving grandma. I didn't want to ever like Gladys, but dammit, now I do.

Drew's "conditioning." Dante's worrying about his "conditioning." I'm over the mind control turning Navy SEALS and WSB agents into zombies with a playing card.

Valentin's broken heart over "Bailey."

TBD -- Storylines still developing!

Curtis' dad -- is he a bad guy or a dying guy? One of the two. Is he here for good or evil? We don't know yet.

Alexis and Sam P.I. -- will this work or fail miserably?

Spinelli without Jason -- will he join the P.I. ladies or venture into something new on his own?

Cyrus, Martin, and Laura's outcome.

Liz and Finn. I am not sold on them yet. I still want the writers to take my earlier suggestion and bring Franco back and let Finn have Liz's sister and Violet's mother, Hayden

Remember that our year-end Two Scoops columns are a two-part affair. To read what Liz Masters picked as the best and worst of the year, be sure to read her column because it's posted now.

What will happen in 2022, dear readers? I am afraid to even guess. Merry Christmas. Happy Chanukah. Happy Kwanza. Happy New Year. Have a joyous holiday, no matter what you celebrate. Embrace your loved ones and be thankful you are still alive when so many lost their lives this year. Thank you for reading and for those late-night soapy Twitter conversations. I love you guys.
- Tamilu

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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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