The Sour Pickle (Lila) Awards: The Worst of General Hospital 2023

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No look back at the year in soaps would be complete without a look at all the things that weren't so great. This week, Liz Masters and Tamilu wag their fingers at all the things on General Hospital that didn't quite work in 2023.

And... they're back. Last week, Liz Masters and Tamilu shared their picks for all the things that had them tuning in to General Hospital in 2023. We hope it was a fun read -- even if you didn't necessarily agree with all their choices. They had so much fun writing together that they are teaming back up for a look back at the things that... well, weren't so great. This week, it's a dive into all the things that we didn't, um, relish about GH in the last twelve months. Prepare yourself for the inaugural edition of the Sour Pickle Awards celebrating the worst of General Hospital 2023.

Worst medical drama: Doctors take an oath to do no harm, but writers don't

Liz's pick: Willow's cancer saga
I love a good soapy drama, but this was not it. It was frustrating, unrealistic, and oh, so unnecessary for Willow to keep Michael out of the loop of her cancer diagnosis until the second trimester when she could have treatment without it harming their unborn baby. I took issue with that because -- as the father -- he had a right to know what was going on. She did it because she was afraid that Michael would insist that she terminate the pregnancy. Mind you, she never had so much as a hypothetical conversation with him about the situation to determine that. Rather, she just assumed that's how he would feel. In the end, Willow nearly died because of her secret. As someone whose husband dealt with cancer, heart failure, and a lifesaving transplant in 2021, I found nothing about this storyline even remotely relatable or all that accurate.

Tamilu's pick: Sasha's endless torture
Readers, it just seemed cruel. From 2021, when Sasha and Brando lost Liam, to 2022, when Sasha lost Brando, to the entirety of 2023, Sasha has been in misery. Losing a child and a spouse, drug addiction, being Cyrus' obsession, being put under a conservatorship with Gladys in charge after Brando's death, being sabotaged by Haven (played to perfection by '80s diva Morgan Fairchild), being swindled by Gladys, and now, here's where we get to the topic at hand, being drugged and tied down by Dr. Montague... I am pretty sure Kevin Collins didn't hire Montague. How did he even get privileges there? Is this the first patient he drugged and tortured? I think not, because he was a bit too comfortable doing it. He didn't even flinch. It's storylines like this, the One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest sort of tales, that make people hesitant to get mental health treatment. Dr. Montague wasn't just careless; he was purposely evil and willing to drug Sasha until she died to keep her from finding out that he and Gladys had funneled all her money away to Ms. Wu.

Dear God, what sort of sick and twisted writers are in that writers' room? I understand the storytelling value of having a damsel in peril and having her be rescued by a strapping, manly hero, but month after month and year after year of Sasha being brutalized was just too much for me to stomach.

Worst storyline: Lots of things happened in Port Charles, but these storylines were duds and not worth remembering

Liz's pick: The SEC nonsense
In a fit of spite and anger, Nina decided to cut Carly out of Willow's life by anonymously reporting Carly to the SEC for insider trading. Carly was guilty, but so was Drew. However, there was no real evidence of a crime other than second-hand information based on a theory and an anonymous tip. The fact that Carly invested in her son's company shortly before a failed merger attempt, which resulted in her losing millions and her hotel, is not proof of a crime, just a bad investment. At best, the SEC had circumstantial evidence, since there were no recorded conversations, emails, text messages, or even a witness who could confirm that Carly and Drew had, in fact, engaged in insider trading. Despite that, "Killer Miller" failed to get the charges dropped or her client acquitted, and Drew's attorney was even more ineffectual. This storyline had more holes than a sieve.

Tamilu's pick: Cyrus
Is he an angel or a devil? The writers can't decide, so neither can we. Cyrus is a drug dealer, a kidnapper, and a creep. But no, wait, he found God in prison, has a church service behind bars, and has led many of his fellow inmates to repent. But no, wait, he was Mason and Austin's boss, who was called "she" for seven months before "she" turned into "he." Cyrus wants to be a new man and gain acceptance from Laura, his mother, and Martin. He is mopping up floors for work, humbling himself to do menial labor to make amends. He genuinely protected Spencer in Pentonville. Family seems to matter to him. But then again, he is also spying on Sonny, creeping around hiding in bushes, eavesdropping on Sonny's kids. To what end? Cyrus threatened Mason and Austin, had Ava kidnapped, and possibly had Austin killed, but as of this writing, we are unsure.

So, is Cyrus a bad guy who is trying to redeem himself, or is he still a bad guy who can just act really remorseful from time to time? I can never tell. Sometimes, like the scene where he talked to Laura tearfully about everyone else getting second chances, I believed him. But the next day, he was acting all sketchy again. I can't decide what's up with Cyrus because he changes back and forth from day to day. I will roll with either lane the writers choose, but they need to choose one.

Worst debut: First impressions are everything, but unfortunately, these left a taste as bad as Tracy's pickle relish in the mouth

Liz's pick: Mason Gatlin (Nathanyael Grey) -- and his stupid lollipop
There are villains that you love to hate, and there are villains that you just hate. I hated Mason. He had zero charm and zero redeeming qualities, and he wasn't even an effective henchman. All he really did was lurk and blackmail -- and steal Kojak's gimmick. Who loves ya, baby? Not me.

Tamilu's pick: Gladys Corbin (Bonnie Burroughs)
Can we both hate Mason? Ugh. But second choice -- GLADYS. I wanted to slap her silly.

Worst supporting character: Everyone needs a purpose, but these characters have lost their way

Liz's pick: (Please don't hate me) Lucy Coe
Lucy likes to take full credit for Deception's success, but really, it's because of Maxie Jones that Deception was even able to crawl back from obscurity. The launch of the Deceptor earned the company oodles of money, but that turned out to be more because of Blair Cramer's innovative brilliance than Lucy's. Lucy is a flighty, self-aggrandizing, perpetual teen, who has consistently shown really bad business sense. She could have totally walked away with controlling interest in Deception in exchange for the share of ELQ stock that Tracy wanted. Honestly, I prefer Lucy as a Realtor than one of the heads of Deception. Now, she's contemplating ruining the good thing that she has with Martin because she feels bad that Scotty is lonely. I just can't with Lucy.

Tamilu's pick: (Please don't hate me) Maxie Jones
I have always loved Maxie, but this year, she had no real storylines of her own and was just a glorified admin at Deception. She finally moved into a new house but still has no romance and no storyline other than being the mediator between bickering kids. Also, where is Bailey Lu? Is Peter's offspring so hideous that she can't be seen in the light of day? I have seen Georgie, I have seen James, but zero Bailey Lu sightings for months. Remember when that baby was her entire world? Now barely a mention. Maxie needs to be back in Spinelli's orbit. Other than Nathan, he's been her only decent love interest. (Can anyone say Levi? Eww!) Spinelli did show up wet with no place to live, so I hope his "temporary" crashing at Maxie's place leads them to a hot one-night stand where she gets knocked up again. Then he will stay around for a while.

Worst rivalry: A good rivalry brings drama. These are the opposite of that

Liz's pick: Sonny Corinthos vs. Cyrus Renault
Why is Cyrus still alive? How in the world was Cyrus able to run a little crime ring from prison without any of Sonny's inside people being any the wiser? The writers really don't do Sonny any justice as the big bad wolf of the East Coast. More like the toothless paper tiger. The same goes for Sonny and Selina. We all saw Selina target Gladys, and when Gladys got too deep in debt, Selina asked Gladys to spy on Sonny for her. What did Sonny do? Not much. Selina walked away with a slap on her wrist and a stern warning.

Tamilu's pick: Ms. Wu vs. Curtis/Marshall/Gladys
Honestly, she's going to harass a man who is crippled to take his business? Swindle Sonny's cousin-in-law out of her husband's business? Ms. Wu has gone from Sonny's ally to frenemy -- and without a clear motive. Being Sonny's ally made sense for her and was a comfort to Sonny. So, out of all the people on the planet, why would she make marks out of Gladys and other people dear to Sonny? Watching Ms. Wu try to bully Curtis out of the Savoy when he was fresh out of the hospital was beneath her. Watching her spar with Marshall made me think perhaps we were going to go back to when Marshall first came to town and seemingly had some mob background, but nope. I love Ms. Wu (and Lydia Look!) and have enjoyed her slinking around Port Charles, seeking whom she may devour, but when her prey became a recently paralyzed man and Sonny's cousin, I had to question her motives.

Worst leading female character: A good lead can make a storyline, but a bad one can ruin it

Liz's pick: Dr. Portia Robinson
I used to love Portia, but her hypocrisy drives me up the wall. I have to question why Finn is being sued for malpractice, but no one has caught on to the fact that Portia broke all kinds of ethical standards when she brought Oz out of his coma to expose Esme's lies. Also, Portia really has no room to judge Spencer, much less undermine her daughter's relationship with him, when she spent years lying to Trina and Taggert. I don't know what's going on with Portia, but she went from being a rootable character to Miss Messy Boots.

Tamilu's pick: Nina Reeves
I hate Nina. I know some of you love her. I do not. I have no beef with Cynthia Watros; in fact, I am very fond of her from her days on Lost as Libby. I'm mad about her! But I still hate Nina. I find her petty, cruel, conniving, vindictive, and exceedingly selfish. Carly may be a few of those things, too -- but at least she's up-front about it. Carly doesn't pretend to be a helpless waif and then backstab you; she tells you to your face what she's going to do to you. Nina smiles in your face and then calls the SEC. She wanted Carly out of play so badly that she didn't care if Drew got caught in the crossfire, up until she needed him to find Dr. O for Willow's bone marrow transplant. Only then did she have regrets. I'm tired of all the blackmailing -- Ned and Michael are both blackmailing Nina, and now she is trying to blackmail Michael to get rid of Ned. I just want someone like Donna or Avery to innocently overhear it and blurt it out. "Grandma Nina said she called the SEC, Mommy, what does that mean?" But the way it is now, Nina will probably skate -- unless Cyrus has something to say about it -- and Sonny will probably throw his wine glass at the wall and then forgive her, although for the life of me, I don't know why he likes her.

Worst leading male character: These are the fellas we swipe left on

Liz's pick: Austin Gatlin-Holt
Biggest. Missed. Opportunity. Ever. The writers squandered Austin's potential on a horribly mismatched romance with Maxie Jones, and then they made him a spineless coward instead of Cyrus' downfall. I love Roger Howarth and hated to see him go, but the writers seemed lost with this character from the start. The only thing that worked with Austin was his budding romance with Ava, which the writers quickly ruined with the revelation that he'd stood by and let Mason blackmail Ava for months with threats of exposing her as a murderer, all the while knowing that Nikolas was alive. Good riddance, Austin. Can we please have Roger back as Todd Manning or a back-from-the-dead Franco?

Tamilu's pick: Drew Cain
I 100% agree with Liz on wasting Roger Howarth. It's criminal. But I also don't think Drew is all that great, either. He volunteered to go to prison for Carly, whom he had been dating for about four minutes, leaving his supposedly beloved Scout in the lurch. Remember when he used to carve Scout's name into the wall like she was his greatest treasure? Drew was only out of prison for two days when he decided to start scheming ELQ and Aurora stuff with Michael against Ned again. Drew immediately left town on business for the holidays after all that time away from his daughter and Carly. If this were a Hallmark movie, Carly's childhood sweetheart from Jacksonville, who is now a toymaker, would show up in Port Charles and sweep her off her feet while her mogul boyfriend Drew was away on business.

Worst Couple: Love might be a many-splendored thing, but these are just plain bad romances

Liz's pick: Sonny Corinthos and Nina Reeves
This relationship was literally built on a foundation of lies, and it continues to be. Nina couldn't even be honest with Sonny when it became clear that the SEC were trying to get Carly and Drew to roll on him. Luckily for Nina, both Carly and Drew remained loyal to Sonny, and Drew fell on his sword for everyone by taking a plea deal that was quickly tossed out and landed him in Pentonville for three years. I get the attraction on Sonny's part. He sees shades of Kate Howard/Connie Falconeri in Nina, and she's definitely his type -- tall, blonde, and manipulative. What I don't get is what Nina sees in Sonny. He's a mob boss, not a part of the high society that she grew up in or someone with impeccable manners like Valentin. It must be Sonny's dimples. I'm torn about how Sonny will react when he learns the truth about Nina's role in Carly's legal trouble. A part of me thinks this new, "improved" version of Sonny will ultimately forgive Nina, but Sonny has a long and well-documented history of ending relationships over betrayals. Nearly getting him sent to the slammer is definitely a betrayal.

Tamilu's pick: Hamilton Finn and Elizabeth Baldwin
What is a diplomatic way to say, "Finn and Liz are boring"? I don't know, but they just don't have that magical sparkle of chemistry that I so crave in my daytime drama. I think Finn did sparkle with Liz's sister Hayden, and Hayden is Violet's mom, so her coming back would be sublime. Liz had great chemistry with Roger Howarth, but they killed off Franco, and Austin barely had a scene with Liz. Liz also had great chemistry with Nikolas back in the day. So, when he comes back to town, maybe he can seduce Liz until Ava makes up with him. Finn and Liz have a Violet problem the way Chelsea and Billy have a Connor problem on The Young and the Restless. When the kid is the center of every scene and interrupts every romantic overture, it is hard to get that sexy feeling, if you know what I mean.

Worst plot twist: Everyone loves a good plot twist, but these were more like annoying roundabouts

Liz's pick: Gladys teams up with Dr. Montague -- Sasha's doctor!
Sasha was ready to take back control of her life until greedy -- and deeply indebted to the mob -- Gladys bumped into a gambling buddy who just so happened to be the person who would make an all-important recommendation to the judge that would decide Sasha's fate. For reasons that were never explained, Montague suddenly offered to help Gladys wreak havoc on Sasha's mental health. He drugged Sasha, had her committed to Ferncliff, and darn near killed her with heavy doses of opiates before he was stopped and sent off to prison for his crimes. What happened to Gladys? Nothing. After a stern talking-to, Sonny had her escorted back to Connecticut. What did the police do? Also nothing, because apparently, Sonny is now the arbitrator of justice in Port Charles.

Tamilu's pick: Ned finds his siren in the backyard
Ned dives into a pond on the Q grounds, which looks like the set for The Little Mermaid. Olivia dives in after him, and he realizes she is his siren. You know, the same woman who he has been living in a house with day in and day out, but once he sees her wet, he recognizes her? Hahaha! I was so sure that was why they brought Lois back. I hate being wrong. I have seen the Q boathouse for years, and never once did we ever get any indication that there was an ocean behind the Q house, but Ned and Olivia were swimming for so long, and it was so deep! I was laughing, but it was also mesmerizing. A silly twist, but it got Ned back to us. And it also provided one of the year's best Two Scoops graphics, which you can check out here.

Fatal error: When things go wrong

Liz's pick: Changing midstream
My biggest pet peeve is when the writers drop important clues about an unfolding mystery only to turn around and ignore said clues. For months, we were led to believe that Austin and Mason's boss was a woman who wielded considerable power over the cousins Gatlin-Grimm only to find out that it was Cyrus Renault. Excuse me? Why should I trust any other clues the writers might offer up during the next mystery if they are subject to change on a whim? When they do things like that, it gives the impression that they are just making things up as they go along, and the storyline is as well thought out as a one-night stand. Not cool.

Tamilu's pick: Dropped storylines
There are literally too many to mention. We got a glimpse of Taggart chugging booze after finding out Trina wasn't his daughter, then nothing. Esme having amnesia all year and never even a flicker of anything familiar. Do you remember after Jason Q became Jason M, he still remembered how to give Nicholas a tracheotomy with a Bic pen? Part of Jason Q was still in him. What happened to Esme's nanny? Who are Adam's parents? Obrecht and Scott's breakup. Lulu's coma. Lucky didn't even call when his dad Luke and brother Nikolas were presumed dead, nor was he even mentioned. There are Hayden mentions, but no one is out looking for her.

Jason's body is never found, but no one is out looking for him. Josslyn's dad Jax not showing up after she is humiliated by a sex tape (time for a recast, and I nominate James Hyde). Who are Dex's family? Will Sonny ever learn Dex is spying on him for Carly and Michael? Who are Blaze's parents? What was Harmony trying to warn Willow about in multiple dreams? Why can't Alexis get her law license back, since everyone else in Port Charles gets absolved of their crimes? I know we had a writer's strike, so maybe they intended to answer some of these mysteries for me. Let's see what 2024 holds.

Ending on a high note: What we would like to see next year

Liz's pick: Better medical dramas
The show is called General Hospital. They should make an effort to honor that with more medical dramas that are realistic and relevant. Instead of having Finn sued for a bogus case of malpractice, they should focus on his specialty. As an infectious disease specialist who could potentially find a cure for a secret bioweapon, he poses more of a threat to an organization like the new, darker WSB than to a patient who refused to show up for follow-up appointments. Germ warfare is still a clear and present danger in today's world.

Tamilu's pick: More use of GH history
GH has 60 years of old storylines to draw from, people we'd love to see again -- maybe a visit from Faison and him being the one to save Anna from her tormentors, or Brenda stopping in Port Charles to see Lois and Sonny. There are so many potential storylines lurking in the GH history files. How about Lord Larry Ashton hears that Tracy is single again and shows up to try to get Tracy back. What would happen to Sam and Dante if Lulu showed up? Would Liz dump Finn if Lucky came back to town? There are decades worth of material to be inspired by.

Quick takes: A few dishonorable mentions

Worst prop

Liz's pick: That weird stuffed badger in Sonny's office. What does it signify? Why does it have a spotlight on it? Is Sonny a secret badger hunter?

Tamilu's pick: Any WSB flash drives or computer screens. They all look like they came from the 1970s.

Worst dressed

Liz's pick: Maxie Jones went from fashionista to fashion disaster. Please, give this lovely young mom a makeover!

Tamilu's pick: So many characters wore such questionable outfits to work, to the Nurses Ball where all the dresses looked like the same dress in different colors, to the employees at a fashion-related business wearing sweats and flannel to the office. What happened to the old days of glamor? If you're on a budget, hit a thrift store. Buy some old prom dresses for $5.00.

Worst set

Liz's pick: That no-name coffee shop with the wall of plants and one table. What happened to Perks?

Tamilu's pick: The PCPD interrogation room has had the same folding table in it since the '90s. Give them a Keurig or some IKEA furniture or something.

In memoriam: Saying goodbye to those we lost

Liz's thoughts
Even though Sonya Eddy passed away in December 2022, Nurse Epiphany Johnson's death wasn't revealed until early 2023 in a couple of beautifully written episodes that included a visit from Eddy's real life friend Yvette Nicole Brown. I still remember the shock of learning that Nurse Epiphany Johnson was Stan's -- Sonny's first tech guru -- mother and how heartbroken I was for her when she learned that her son had been killed in a mob hit. Epiphany suffered her first heart attack right after receiving Stan's ashes. The scenes were gut-wrenching, and Sonya will be missed.

A few months later, in May, we lost Jacklyn Zeman, who played beloved Nurse Bobbie Spencer for 45 years. It's because of Bobbie that we had Luke and the rest of the Spencer clan because Luke came to town to help his sister with her Laura problem. Jackie was a sweet soul, and I had the pleasure of talking to her years ago on one of Dan Kroll's old podcasts. I remember how kind and gracious she was and that she and Dan shared the same birthday!

Months later, we suffered two more devastating losses when Billy Miller (ex-Drew Cain) died in September and Tyler Christopher (ex-Nikolas Cassadine) passed away the following month on Halloween. I loved Billy since his All My Children days, and Tyler was my very favorite version of Nikolas. Each had battled demons, and it breaks my heart that they are both gone way too soon. Billy and Tyler were both amazing actors.

Tamilu's thoughts
Like Liz, I was devastated by the loss of so many beloved GH cast members. But my sympathy goes to the cast. I am grieving strangers that I admired from afar, but the GH cast are grieving their actual friends and coworkers. I can't imagine how challenging it must be to have a pretend funeral for a real person you loved and cherished. I know when Bobbie dies on-screen, I will be sobbing, but for those people who knew Jackie Zeman and worked with her for decades -- that's an entirely different brand of grief.

READ MORE OF THIS WEEK'S WORST OF 2023 YEAR-END TWO SCOOPS COLUMNS
The Bold and the Beautiful | Days of our Lives | The Young and the Restless

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