The pulse of General Hospital

For the Week of August 14, 2023
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Are things headed in the right -- or wrong -- direction with GH? Is there supercouple potential on the show right now? Are the medical dramas gripping or boring? Liz Masters checks in with a special Two Scoops of the good, the bad, and everything in between.

Folks, this is a special column. Soap Central's Dan J Kroll thought it was a good time to check in and see how things were going with General Hospital, especially since there are changes in the air. Lots of good things have been happening, but also some not so good. Without further ado, let's start with romance.

Love is a many splendored thing -- or not

If love were a carnival ride in Port Charles, it would be a high-speed carousel, and the passengers would be violently ejected from their seats as it careened out of control. No one is safe. In fact, if you think your favorite pairing is in a good place, then they are most certainly doomed.

Soap writers are a ruthless bunch. If a couple is too happy, they are either relegated to the back burner or blown up. There is no middle ground with our current scribes, which is disappointing because I believe a healthy couple can face interesting challenges without having to constantly test the strength of their love. I've long accepted that writers find happy couples boring, but at least I could console myself with lots of romance and steamy scenes. Unfortunately, those have dwindled down to a few scenes a week -- if we're lucky -- and only a select few are apparently deemed worthy.

No two couples exemplify each end of the spectrum more than Spencer and Trina (Sprina) and Josslyn and Dex (Jex).

Spencer and Trina met when Spencer returned to town to secretly wage a campaign of terror against Ava. Sparks flew the minute Spencer and Trina laid eyes on each other, but the arrival of Spencer's girlfriend Esme put a quick kibosh to things. Despite their best efforts, Spencer and Trina couldn't fight their feelings, and after two years, they finally got the chance to have a real relationship. Except, not so fast, because since then, Spencer and Trina have faced nothing but obstacles.

For whatever reason, Spencer and Trina, and their fans -- me included -- have been left hanging. A few steamy kisses, a chaste hug or two, and that's it. Two years of build-up and instead of giving in to their passions like two healthy young adults who have been longing to be together, they have barely spent two minutes with each other. Worse, now Spencer is softening toward Esme, the woman who tormented and nearly sent Trina to jail. What a way not to capitalize on good romance. You don't let the iron cool; you strike while it's hot.

I realize that part of the problem is that Nicholas Chavez is slated to step away to film for a Netflix series, so the writers are paving the way to accommodate that, but couldn't we have had a Spencer and Trina love scene before that that happens? Two years, writers. We've been waiting two years for this moment, and instead, we get Spencer and Trina agreeing to keep their relationship on the downlow for now. Grrr. It makes me want to throw something.

By comparison, Josslyn and Dex's relationship took off at warp speed, and it gets all the love. Literally.

Dex arrived in town May 2022, and a few weeks later, he met Joss in a stairwell while Dex was giving a sleazy photographer a beatdown on Sonny's orders. The stuff of romances. By January, he and Josslyn were ringing in the new year with a romp on the sofa and a stab to Cameron's back. Since then, Jex have been two randy bunnies who can't seem to keep their hands off each other. In nearly every scene, they are either tearing off each other's clothes, or they have their hands all over each other.

I have no problem with love scenes, but why can't Sprina get even one? Heck, at this rate, Ace is going to grow up and have a love scene before Spencer and Trina can get past handholding and kissing.

We also have a supercouple problem. As in, can anyone name the last one? It's been years since we've had one, which is tragic because soap viewers are predisposed to root for supercouples. You just have to give us a couple worth rooting for. That means one or both can't keep doing stupid things, crossing personal boundaries, and breaking up every two minutes. An edge of danger is fine as long as it's not a black abyss of mayhem.

Chemistry can only take the actors so far. Without a commitment from the writers, the couple will never reach their full potential.

GH's excellent adventure

Nikolas is in a coma and being hidden from everyone. Mason has him stashed, but Laura doesn't know that. She thinks that Nikolas might have left willingly, so she and Kevin are on the hunt for her son, and I'm loving every minute of it. I'm a Cassadine fan, and their storylines have always interested me the most. I'm eager to find out who the new Nikolas will be (I'm certain a return is imminent), and I'm looking even more forward to seeing Nikolas take charge of things. If Esme can avoid paying for her sins with a convenient bout of amnesia, then Nikolas should get a clean slate for being help captive in a coma for months on end.

It's clear that Esme is slowly returning to her scheming ways, and Heather recently hinted that Esme had killed her adoptive parents, so I want Nikolas to get his son. Spencer is well intentioned, but he really has no business raising a child when he's still more child than man himself.

I'm delighted that Sonny's story with Pikeman is also connected to the Putz from Pautauk (Mason) and his shadowy organization. I'm so ready to get some answers and to figure out if Austin is a good guy caught up in a bad thing or a bad seed like his cousin. I'm hoping that it's not the latter because I do like Roger Howarth and Maura West's chemistry. I have ever since we learned that Ava and Franco had history.

To my surprise, I'm also interested in the story with Deception. The writers pulled me in by giving Martin ties to Pine Valley, and I'm now eager to find out who mystery ex-wife #3 is. As a loyal ABC Daytime viewer, I was a huge fan of All My Children, so I'm fully invested in the big reveal. Could it be Skye Chandler Quartermaine? She has obvious ties to both Tracy and Pine Valley. I don't know, but every day, I have a new theory about the identity of Martin's ex-wife, and I find myself hanging on every word uttered about her, hoping to pick up on a clue.

This storyline is important for another reason. Tracy has a lot to answer for, starting with why she dragged her granddaughter into it and opened Brook Lynn up to corporate espionage. Was Tracy not paying attention to what happened to Drew and Carly when they got caught for insider trading? It's shameful what Tracy has done, and it crossed a line she shouldn't have. Tracy did Brook Lynn dirty, and I can't wait to see Tracy get her comeuppance. I will be sure to have my popcorn ready.

Bad omens

You know what I miss? I long for the days when we had good medical dramas. Maxie's heart failure and B.J.'s gift of life will always be the gold standard, but through the years, there have been other really good storylines that centered around the medical world, like Stone's brave battle with AIDS, the deadly virus that claimed the lives of several including Dr. Tony Jones, Monica's -- and later Emily's -- battle with breast cancer, and even recently when Finn was in a race to find a cure for Blackwood's syndrome because Hayden had fallen ill.

The show is called General Hospital, so it makes sense to focus on the hospital. However, these days, it's almost embarrassing to watch some of these stories unfold. Willow's cancer storyline was a hot mess of poor choices, plot holes, and mixed messages that included a brief and confusing afterlife visit with Harmony. Harmony had killed many, yet somehow, she was waiting to usher Willow to Heaven.

Afterlife visits have become a thing in 2023. Not only did Willow spend time with Harmony, but Curtis got to hang out with his mom in a park during his brush with death while he was on the operating table, and most recently, Cyrus had a spiritual visit with his sister Laura during his heart attack. The real Laura was busy in Chechnya, looking for Nikolas. With the exception of Cyrus' epiphany, the other two "visits" served no purpose. They didn't offer the person who experienced the visit clarity or guidance.

The writers need to find another schtick. It makes the doctors at GH look incompetent. Why are they always losing people on the table and having to fight to get them back? I suspect that it has something to do with the fact that they don't like to turn on all the lights in the OR while they are operating.

There are two storylines that I absolutely detest. The first is the animosity between Nina and Carly. Each has her reasons for hating the other -- some are valid, some are not. Carly is no angel, but it's really been Nina who has been driving the revenge train for quite some time now. I want the truth to get out -- that Nina was the snitch who tipped off the SEC -- but I don't want Carly to go after Nina. Sonny needs to deal with Nina his way, and Carly needs to keep living her best life and leave Nina to wallow in her misery.

Let's be clear; Willow didn't have Nina at the wedding because Nina has treated Willow like garbage since meeting her during a parent/teacher conference to discuss Charlotte's behavioral issues. Nina -- who makes everything about her -- took it to mean that she was lacking as a mother, and she hated Willow for it. It was laughable when I heard Nina say during a recent visit with Willow, "You know, Willow, I know that we've had a lot of false starts and miscommunications." Is that what you call getting someone fired from a job they loved -- miscommunication?

Nina always mitigates or downplays her wrongs, and as a result, she never really pays a price for her transgressions. She continues to do the same things over and over because she's not held accountable. When Nina returned from Nixon Falls, Sonny's family and friends were mad, but what did Nina lose? Nothing. When she faced charges, Sonny ran to her aid. She still had her career, her home, her family, and her friends. They remained loyal. It was Carly who lost -- her marriage, her career, her money, and now her lover and possibly her home. Carly is finally picking up the pieces and carving out a new life for herself. I want her to stay on track instead of letting Nina suck her down into the snake pit that Nina will soon find herself in.

Nina is Willow's problem.

The worst storyline this year -- by far -- has been the constant torture of Sasha. It's horrible to watch. The writers have made Sasha completely gullible and na´ve about her sobriety, and they've made everyone around her blind. All of Sasha's friends have failed her in the most fundamental way because they left her unguarded and unchecked in Gladys' care, even though Gladys has never given anyone any reason to trust her.

The gaslighting by Sasha's doctor was another layer of awful, but will Sasha be the heroine of her own story? No. It looks like the writers are going to add insult to injury and have Cody step in to save the day. Honestly, at this point, I'll take it if it puts an end to this nonsense.

It takes a village

The final scripts of GH's writers are being aired, and we'll soon be seeing the work of the temporary writers. The Writers Guild has joined the Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists in going on strike earlier this summer. I have no idea how this will impact the storylines, but I'm really hoping that everyone can go to the bargaining table and work something out. Selfishly, I worry about my beloved genre, which has already been hurt in the past decade by greedy suits who care more about profit than quality television.

Have I mentioned lately how much I hate news programs? I know they are cheap to produce, but I'd rather read a book than watch 87 hours of news about the same five things. Want me to sit through commercials? Give me a good show to watch. I support the strike, and I don't think the unions are making unreasonable demands. I really hope that things are resolved soon because losing viewers is definitely not the answer to anyone's problems.

Thankfully, GH has the best actors in the industry (I'm shamelessly biased), so I'm sure that they will continue to give us quality performances and maintain a steady course until the strike is settled.

Random thoughts and observations

Why does Anna not have a state-of-the-art security system at her house? No wonder assassins boldly walk up to her door and spray-paint messages.

How is "Eddie" paying for his partying ways? Is he using Ned's credit card?

I'm not sure how Nikolas would ever get away with hiding out on Cassadine Island when that seems the most logical place to start the search for him.

I empathize with Gregory's situation, but enough of the suffering in silence. It's kind of shameful that Alexis knows the truth, but his doctor son doesn't.

Reader feedback

Yuri!! And Terry! It's about time. I want to see more of these two and explore their relationship. I hope Yuri doesn't go back to Russia and end up getting killed. Why do I say that? Because The Writers Hate Us and We Can't Have Nice Things. -- Missez Premise

I am so sick of hearing about Willow's "bubble". Nina was at the hospital, no mask, then went to visit HER DAUGHTER (every time she says this phrase, I think of all caps lol). Most of the "bubble people" take no precautions so Willow is essentially around everyone they are around. -- DC

When Sonny confronts Selina Wu about Gladys and how that led to Sasha being hospitalized, the writers better have Selina say, "I thought you no longer cared about your family especially after you threw them away for the woman who let your family grieve for you for 6 months." There is no way Sonny's relationship with Nina doesn't make him look weak. -- RAH

What are your thoughts about what's happening on General Hospital? Do you agree or disagree with anything that I've shared in this week's column? I love hearing from everyone and reading your thoughts, so drop me a comment in the Comments section below. You can also join us over on the message boards for even more conversation.

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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