If I wrote General Hospital: A 2023 (almost) midyear review

For the Week of August 21, 2023
Vertical GH Soap Banner
All Two Scoops for
The week of August 21, 2023
Previous Week
August 14, 2023
Following Week
August 28, 2023
Two Scoops Archive
Every GH Two Scoops
What happened minus the opinion
Daily Recaps

2023 has seen highs and lows in Port Charles. Which were your favorite and least favorite scenes so far this year? What would you write if you were in charge? Let's discuss in this week's special Two Scoops commentary.

Dear readers, I was excited when my editor and pal Dan J Kroll asked us to do a slightly-later-than-mid-year review of GH and share some thoughts. Obviously, I love soaps and having the opportunity to write about them.

But reviewing this year's plots on GH made me a little cranky. I saw multiple missed opportunities and stories that made me scratch my head. I kept thinking, "If I wrote GH, I would have done this instead..." So, I thought I'd share some of those daydreams with you, and I would love to hear yours, too! Please let me know what storylines you would love to create or rewrite on our favorite soap!

First, I want to say the temporary GH writers fixed a problem on day one that has been driving me mad -- Ava not telling Sonny she was being blackmailed! I kept screaming at my TV, "Ava, just tell Sonny!" She finally did. If not for the writers' strike, I wonder how long they intended to drag this awful story out. I know I am supposed to be mad at the scab writers, but if they don't come in and write, there are no soaps at all, so I can't decide how to feel about this.

I adore Roger Howarth. But readers, if it meant getting rid of Mason and this long draggy storyline, I would write Austin out. If I wrote GH, I would rewrite the entire storyline since Roger was recast as Austin and pull a Bobby Ewing and have it be a hallucination from Franco's brain tumor, which has now been removed. Franco can go back home with Liz and bake brownies with Aiden. Finn can track down Liz's sister Hayden, Violet can have her real mom back, and the two sisters and their fellas can double date. Franco is the happiest relationship Liz ever had, so of course, they smashed it to pieces. Just like Julexis. Ugh.

If I wrote GH, I would write in Jax. I would nominate James Hyde, most recently Jeremy Stark on The Young and the Restless. Joss needs a dad, and Carly needs a savior. As much as I loved Ingo in the past, he can never come back after his ill-fated lawsuit with ABC, but that doesn't mean Jasper Jacks can't come back in another form. In this instance, a recast is necessary. There is no way the Jax I know would let Josslyn go through everything she endured this past year and not show up. Sex tape scandal? He would have been on his private jet with croissants fresh from Paris and a decadent hot chocolate from Belgium to cheer her up.

If an actor is leaving and the character is integral to the storyline, by all means, recast. GH needs a Jax because of Joss, Carly, and his long rivalry with Sonny. It's like having Victor Newman without Jack Abbott. If you are a multi-soap viewer like me, you know that Brooke and Taylor's BFF status would only last until Ridge returned to town. I think GH desperately needs the characters of Jax and Jason.

But with Jason, it must be Steve Burton. Were both Steve and Ingo let go for the same reason? Yes. Then why is it okay to hire Steve back and not Ingo? Because Steve is brilliant and didn't burn his bridges. He wasn't a jerk about it. Jason is integral to the Q family, Carly, Sonny, Anna, Liz, and Jake. It's time to dig Jason out of the rubble on Cassadine Island and bring him home. Carly would dump Drew as fast as lightning! We all know Drew is merely a stand-in for his brother Jason. I dare you to fight me on that point.

If I wrote GH, I would write Jason in to save Sonny from the bad choices he has made getting into business with Pikeman. I would write Jason finding out who Dex really is, and I would write Jason staring down Ms. Wu until she realizes whose town she lives in. I would also write about Jason disappearing Gladys, probably on day one.

Speaking of Dex, rumors are floating around that he might have a Q bloodline. Dex is rumored to be a child of A.J. Quartermaine or Jason Morgan. If it were A.J., and Dex and Michael were brothers, how juicy would that be? This is one rumor I hope turns out to be true. Joss is already sleeping with Dex, so having him be A.J. or Jason's son would be perfect soapaliciousness, since Carly slept with both.

In other situations, recasts are a challenge. I find it so disconcerting when there are multiple changes all at once. If I wrote GH, I'd lock every actor into a ten-year contract. Okay, I know that's not practical, but I would at least recognize that it's upsetting to fans of the show when they tune in one day and don't recognize anyone.

We are on our third Molly this year. I know this is not GH's choice or their fault. Molly was first recast by Holiday Mia Kriegel after Haley Pullos' accident and subsequent arrest. This tragic story broke all our hearts, as we have watched Haley grow up in front of our eyes on GH.

They cast Holiday, thinking she would be there as a temp for a few weeks. Still, as the news of Haley's incident unfolded, it became clear Haley was not coming back anytime soon, if ever.

I liked Holiday in the role, but since they recast Kristina simultaneously and the two actresses were unfamiliar, my brain kept having to translate, "Which one is this one? Is this NuMolly or NuKristina?"

Just as I was beginning to come to the acceptance stage of grief and began to enjoy Holiday in the role, they replaced her with another actress, Brooke Anne Smith. I feel bad for her because she was not well received by many GH fans. It has been reported that she will be the permanent Molly recast. I wish the powers that be had kept Holiday in the role. But I will try to give Brooke Anne a chance and not be a total B about it, even though my first reaction was unfavorable.

I always like to use the character of Carly as my gold standard for recasts. Sarah Joy Brown was phenomenal as Carly. When she was recast, I was sure I could never accept anyone else in the role. Then they hired Tamara Braun, and she was a fantastic Carly. When she left, I was crushed because lightning could not possibly strike a third time, right? Well, yes, right -- there was a Carly in between who did not have favorable reactions and was soon gone. But then, Laura Wright showed up and was instantly Carly. I rejoiced at the sight of her beautiful face and fierce Carly-licious attitude. So, three out of four Carlys have been fantastic. It is possible to do a decent recast. But it's not always necessary.

I adore Lexi Ainsworth. If she left on her own accord, I am fine. But if GH fired her, I'd be mad. I am starting to embrace Kate Mansi in the role, I think she has the potential to be a great Kristina, but I'm still mourning over losing Lexi.

This has been a tough year for GH -- starting at the end of 2022, losing Kelly Thiebaud, and then over 2023, we had so many heartbreaks -- losing Sonya Eddy and Jackie Zeman in the span of a few months was brutal. I cried for them like they were family. But also, so many firings. Kin Shriner? Really? Scotty Baldwin? Was the iconic character for 40 years of GH just tossed to the curb? And right after he found love with Liesl, and the two of them were so delightfully entertaining together. Who made such a dumb decision? I know Victor had to go for a while after trying to destroy all humanity except his kinfolk, but couldn't they let him escape to fight another day? Charles Shaughnessy was such a charming and delightful villain. I hope he finds his way back to life again someday. I'd rather see him in prison with Cyrus, attending Bible study, than six feet under.

If I wrote GH, I would write Nikolas Cassadine back into existence. I'd love to see Tyler Christopher on-screen again, but I don't know if that's realistic. Marcus Coloma, Adam Huss, and Colton Scott have all brought our dark prince to life in the past. I still don't understand why Marcus was let go. If the writers allowed him to have some happy scenes where he can sparkle and shine the way he does in his own social media videos, he'd be golden.

I would also bring Laura's other kids home, Lucky, who apparently became enchanted by leprechauns in Ireland and forgot his family, and Lulu, who has been lingering in a coma for years and rarely is mentioned. I honestly don't care who plays any of them. My favorite Lucky will always be Jonathan Jackson, but I also liked Jacob Young and Greg Vaughan in their spins at Lucky. As for Lulu, I'd love to see either Julie Berman or Emme Rylan back in Port Charles. In my humble opinion, Laura, the Queen of GH, deserves to reign over her own kids versus being stuck with Esme as the only one to advise and nurture.

Of course, Spencer is her grandson, and I love him completely. Still, Nicholas Alexander Chavez will leave to film the Menendez brother's TV series, and I don't know how long he will be gone. The good news is he is not being recast and will return to GH after filming concludes. But what does that mean for Sprina in the interim? I pray they do not find some dud like Rory to hit on Trina while Spencer is gone. I would instead have Trina befriend Esme and try to teach her to be a decent human being. An odd couple sort of thing.

Carly would get everything back if I wrote GH, and Nina would be crushed. First off, Ava and Nina would never be friends in my world. Never! If a woman kidnapped me while I was pregnant and stole my baby, would I ever in my life have martinis with her and let her anywhere near the baby she tried to steal? Oh, hell no. I am not saying I don't enjoy the scenes with Cynthia Watros and Maura West; they are both skilled actresses, and I like them on-screen together. But considering their history, the concept that those two people would be besties is inconceivable. And yes, please read that in Wallace Shawn's voice in your head.

I am on the fence with Carly. Because two weeks ago, I thought I wanted Carly to get the Metro Court back. Still, now that the new writers have given us the potential of Carly running Kelly's and turning it into a place for college students and hospital interns to live, I'm intrigued! There would be many opportunities for good soapy drama and hot diner sex. It's been a while since we had a Scrubs type of romance like Robin and Patrick had back in the day. Of course, that would mean adding some hot young doctors. T.J. is already spoken for, but Amy needs a love interest, and Liz needs some young teen nurses to boss around.

Let's send Esme to nursing school to learn how to care for Ace and realize she is passionate about medicine. And Joss is supposed to be in pre-med, although all we see her do is have sex with Dex and gossip with Trina. Maybe Cam returns from college all studly as a medical intern to follow in his family's footsteps. All the young nurses flock to him, and Joss realizes she screwed up big time. This twist has excellent potential, including many flashbacks to Ruby, Luke, and Bobbie, as Carly thinks about her family's history.

If I wrote GH, I would springboard this into a proper sendoff for our beloved Jackie Zeman and the character of Bobbie Spencer. She needs an entire episode, maybe two, to honor her decades of storyline and work on GH. I want to see Bobbie when she first comes to town, fighting with Laura over Scotty, bringing her big brother Luke to town, weeping with Tony over B.J.'s death, her romance with Dr. Noah Drake, and, oh yes, I'd get Rick Springfield to come back and attend Bobbie's memorial. As I write this paragraph, I see so many scenes flashing through my memory, like a video history of GH. I am waiting for some science nerd to invent a way to download your memories onto a flash drive to watch them repeatedly.

I would keep Tracy forever if she is willing to keep working. I would add Monica at least once a week to walk in and remind Tracy that the Q house is hers because Alan gave it to her. I miss seeing those two feisty broads together.

Also, if I wrote GH -- and I am sorry to say this -- I would write off Sasha and Gladys. Sasha has been the writers' punching bag for two years now, losing her baby on Christmas, losing her husband, being hooked on drugs, being tortured by Cyrus, and now being bankrupted and drugged by her mother-in-law. I can't stand the torture anymore. When Sasha was with Michael and pretending to be Nina's daughter, I was rooting for her character. But after so much agony, I just want her to take what's left of her money and go to Bora Bora for a few years to recuperate from all the loss.

Next up, young love. Dex and Joss have had a plethora of steamy love scenes. I like them as a couple, and although I was mad at Joss for cheating on my sweet Cam, I totally get it. When I was in my 20s, I cannot say I would not have dumped the nice guy for the dangerous guy. So, how can I judge Joss?

But my problem is, where are Trina and Spencer's lusty love scenes? If I wrote GH, Trina and Spencer would have just as many as Joss and Dex. Probably more. Why? Because they are THE it couple of the year. But their relationship has fizzled lately as Spencer goes to diaper-changing class with Esme. Stop it. Seriously. I have heard rumors that the powers that be are afraid to write a real romance for them because of pushback from viewers that have issues with them being an interracial couple. But this is 2023, not 1923. I don't think a few whiny bigots should get to control what everyone else on the planet sees. Give me my long-awaited Sprina love scenes!

The next issue I am on the fence about is how much to involve characters from other ABC soaps. ABC has settled its cases with Prospect Park, so there is an opening to use characters from All My Children, One Live to Live, and Ryan's Hope. We already have Delia as Ava's mom from RH (Oh, the love I have for this show). Also, a recent visit from Jackson Montgomery delighted fans. But do we want Port Charles overrun with people from Llanview or Pine Valley, PA?

No, but an occasional visit that fits into the storyline would be joyous, in my humble opinion. In fact, if I ran Netflix or Hulu, I would start running classic soaps on their channels and see how many soap fans would be glued to their channel, reminiscing about the golden age of soaps when they had big budgets, big hair, and location shoots for days. How about Todd and Starr (Kiki) if we can't have Franco back?

Alexis. I love Alexis; she's one of my favorite characters. Why can't she have a decent love match? If I wrote GH, I would bring Julian to life or get Molly's dad, Ric, back to town. I loved the chemistry with Nancy Lee Grahn and Rick Hearst. Or even Jax -- they were fake married once; maybe it's time to try it again for real. I would get Alexis' lawyer's license back and get her out of Invader hell.

Lastly, here's a point I'd like to make. Sometimes the soaps blame their lackluster storytelling on a lack of budget. I do not accept this answer. You don't need big budgets to develop compelling storylines and provide entertaining viewing -- ask any YouTuber. Marcus Coloma and Kin Shriner's "Two Dicks" series is hilarious and probably costs gas money to drive to various locations. The Stone Cold and Jackal web series with Steve Burton and Bradford Anderson is a hoot.

Maurice Benard makes an entertaining and informative series with State of Mind weekly, which brings me laughs, tears, comfort, and understanding of mental health issues and everything in between. As a person who has anxiety issues, I admit it's been a real help to my soul. I am sure he doesn't have a million-dollar budget. You can make good TV with limited resources. I don't want to hear that excuse anymore. When the strike ends, and the writers hopefully win and get more money for their work, I hope that motivates them to write some fantastic storylines.

Here is a rundown of some 2023 GH Highlights. Which were your favorite and least favorite? Were there any of your favorite moments that I missed?

Nina is revealed as Willow's mom and not a match for her bone marrow transplant.

Willow's new Aunt Liesl is a match and offers her life-saving treatment.

Victor Cassadine plans to rid the planet of everyone. Still, a heroic band of Port Charles adventure seekers take him down in a daring fashion.

Trina and Spencer go from faking it to making it. (Well, sort of.)

Joss cheats on Cam with Dex.

The paternity test shows Trina is Curtis' child, but Ms. Wu may have switched the tests -- is he really her dad?

Taggart goes downhill and starts boozing it up after learning he's not Trina's father.

Nikolas is presumed dead, but Mason has him somewhere. Watch out, Mason. Sonny is coming for you!

The Hook killer was Heather!

Ryan is really dead!

Esme has amnesia after diving off the parapet at Wyndemere to escape captivity.

GH apparently fires Marcus Coloma, Kin Shriner, and Lexi Ainsworth. Boo.

We lost Epiphany Johnson (Sonya Eddy) and are heartbroken.

We lost Bobbie Spencer (Jackie Zeman) and are heartbroken.

GH also lost beloved producer N'neka Garland

Austin and Mason's characters go nowhere.

Cody gets sucked into rigging Ms. Wu's backroom poker game.

Finn and Liz fall in and out of love.

Gregory has ALS and didn't tell his doctor son...

Anna and Valentin sizzle but are apart more than together. Boo. Their love is so romantic and steamy! Give me more, more, more please.

Laura lets Esme and Ace move in but then promptly leaves town. Smart lady.

Michael hires Dex to take down Sonny and backs down at the last minute, thanks to a request from his dying wife.

Lucy fakes her death. Hijinks ensue.

Lucy and Felicia investigate what Martin is up to.

Victor, the best villain in ages, gets killed off.

Nurses Ball lite

Haunted Star gets to set sail.

Drew and Carly get in big trouble with the SEC for insider trading due to a vindictive Nina.

The Q mansion apparently shrinks, as we are told there is no room for extra people to stay when it used to have 30 people living there.

Where is Liesl, and why did GH break up Scott and Lisel when everyone loves them?

Curtis and Jordan kiss, and Portia finds out.

Curtis tells Portia to let him go once he discovers he is paralyzed.

The impromptu Sprina Leap was the best GH scene of the year, as far as I am concerned.

Joss and Michael's intense hatred of Sonny -- I still don't get it.

Ned amnesia/Esme amnesia/Curtis paralyzed

Sasha's endless torture, Gladys' thievery, and the drugging of Sasha

Cody's sweet relationship with Leo

Liz becomes the head nurse after Epiphany's death.

Diane, Robert, and Holly's mini love triangle

Alley Mills replaces Robin Mattson as Heather and brings a dynamic new energy to the character.

Anna's downfall from the WSB and the compassion she received from Sonny and Dante

Willow's cancer, her bone marrow transplant, and how Michael nurtured her. His care for Willow and willingness to let go of his vendetta against Sonny redeemed him. Team Michael again.

What will happen for the rest of 2023? Only tomorrow knows, dear readers, and I will tune in tomorrow as long as there are tomorrows.

What are your thoughts on General Hospital? What did you think of this week's Two Scoops? We want to hear from you -- so drop your comments in the Comments section below, tweet about it on Twitter, share it on Facebook, or chat about it on our Message Boards.

Post a Comment Share on Facebook Tweet this Submit Feedback

Two Scoops Photo

Email the Columnist

Post/Read comments


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.

Related Information


© 1995-2024 Soap Central, LLC. Home | Contact Us | Advertising Information | Privacy Policy | Terms of Use | Top