It's that time of year again. You know, the time when people are reminded to be thankful for things. I'll admit that I am not really a fan of holidays, if for no other reason than I dislike the idea of having a single day to mark something that we should be doing all year 'round. Like Mother's Day. Or Valentine's Day. Or Love Your Soaps Day.
That last one is a made-up holiday. I just made it up now. Oh -- and don't even think about starting a line of cards, Hallmark. It's mine. Copyrighted, trademarked, and hashtagged. Mine. So back off.
With or without my banner-toting support, Thanksgiving is here. The regular Two Scoops columnists have the week off, so you're stuck with me this week. There have been a bunch of preemptions, and since I haven't made a guest-starring appearance in quite a while, this week's column will span more than the usual previous week of shows. If you're ready (and I suppose even if you're not), it's time to grab a plate and get ready for a heaping helping of Two Scoops.
The Days of our Lives "scare" from a couple of weeks back should give every soap fan some pause -- even if the reports of DAYS' demise were completely blown out of proportion. There are just four soaps left on the daytime dial, and they all sort of need each other. If Days of our Lives were to disappear, General Hospital would be the lowest-rated soap. We don't need any reason for any more soaps to disappear, so let's give thanks for what we do have. But don't worry! I'll be roasting some turkey-of-a-storylines a little further down the column.
I'm really glad that General Hospital seems to have embraced its history over the past bunch of years. I think it might have started back when Ron Carlivati took over as head writer. There seemed to be a want or even a need to mine the show's history. If a show is on the air for over 50 years, it's a pretty safe bet that there's a reason for it. The Nurses Ball returned. Veteran characters were once again front and center.
I loved that Tony Jones made an appearance a couple of weeks ago. If I didn't mention it at some point in the last thirteen years, killing him off was an error of Pretty Woman proportions. Big mistake. Big. Huge! Same goes for Alan Quartermaine. Just because an actor has left the show, either by their own choice or by the horrifically terrible choice of an executive, it doesn't mean that their character doesn't live on off-screen or in the memories of loved ones.
Thankfully, the show didn't kill off Tracy Quartermaine when Jane Elliot decided to retire, and that means that Tracy can return to Port Charles in living color whenever needed. As luck would have it, that is sooner rather than later. Tracy makes her return in early December. It will be interesting to see what she's been up to. Will the writers go into detail about her off-screen life, or will they leave it ambiguous in the event that Jane Elliot wants to make a more permanentish return to the canvas?
I want to know what she's been up to. Okay, I really just want to know if Tracy forced Luke to get rid of that, um, "hairstyle" he had when we last saw him. I'm sure there are other pressing details that fans want to know, but that's number one on my list.
It's not easy to say this, but I find Mike's battle with Alzheimer's to be the most powerful storyline on the show at the moment. It's heartbreaking to watch this once vibrant man's decline. On the soapy side, it's riveting to see how it impacts the town's biggest, baddest mobster. Oops! I misspelled importer. The story is layered. Mike's illness isn't necessarily a plot point. It's been pretty successfully woven into the show as a whole.
Thank goodness Anna is back in town. She was gone way too long. I'm not really sure what sort of story I want for her now that she's back, though. Before all the Fanna Fanna Bo Banna fans start chasing me with pitchforks, I want to make it clear that I like(d) the Finn and Anna relationship. To be fair, I think I have liked every one of Michael Easton's on-screen romances. Ditto to all of Finola Hughes's fictional loves. Is that all I want to see for Anna? No. Do I want to see a love triangle? Not necessarily, but more on that later. Do I want Anna to have another rare illness? No. So that leaves me trying to figure out what I do want to see for the character.
If I had my way, I'd have Vincent Irizarry reprise his role as Anna's former All My Children love, David Hayward. I'd keep him around just long enough to generate interest and then usher him over to an online reboot of All My Children. Or maybe Dimitri Marick could seek out Anna to punish her for "mistreating" Alex, his ex-wife and Anna's twin.
I'm also glad that we finally found out if Nikolas was still alive. We all suspected it, and it seemed like the "Nikolas is returning!" rumors have been rumbling for years. Now that Nikolas is alive (re-alive?), I am hoping that there is a fleshed-out story to keep the character interesting. That wasn't the case with another character, but I'll discuss that later in the column.
Sometimes I think fans need to remember that just because they want something, it doesn't mean that a show has to give it to them. Many fans expressed disappointment that the role of Nikolas was recast. Some threatened to stop watching. There's almost always a reason for everything. I don't think it's my place to talk about actors' personal lives or to speculate on private matters. That said, my thoughts and prayers always go out to those who need them.
I loved that Nikolas first appeared to Ava because, let's face it, Ava hasn't suffered nearly enough. Since it doesn't already read the same in print as it does in my head, that was full-on sarcasm. Ava might be the most tormented character in the history of ever. The woman hasn't had a break in... I'm not sure how long, but I know that it's been a long time. Oh, wait! Since she fell in love with... oh, right. Serial killer. Awkward.
I really love seeing Ava having her craptastic life because Maura West is so amazing when she gets to sink her teeth into those kinds of stories. I'll have to tweet her to see if she wants to see Ava have a few months of happiness. Or even an episode. I also like non-suffering, bitchy Ava.
I want to see more Genie Francis and Maura West scenes. Laura and Ava's quasi friendship was one of the best things to come along. It was something that I didn't know that I needed, and judging by the comments I receive on the Soap Central Twitter feed, a lot of other people love it, too. In addition to friendships, I'd also like to see more family stuff with Laura. Bring back Lucky. Have Spencer/Cassadine family drama without having Luke on the canvas. Laura can handle it, and we definitely know that Genie can handle it.
It's refreshing to see Lucas and Brad being treated like any other soap opera couple. Having a random Johnson -- and not Epiphany -- show up on Brad's phone was a completely 2019 way to cause issues in their marriage. I also like that they are involved in a baby swap story. I like that there is trouble with an in-law. Would it be nice if Brad and Lucas could be 100% happy? Absolutely, but you know what they say about happy couples.
I have to say that I have not been a fan of the whole memories-on-a-flashdrive storyline. It's just so implausible that I can't help but roll my eyes every time it's mentioned. Yes, I know that General Hospital is the same soap that had an uber villain try to freeze the planet. But that was then; this is now. Soap fans have always been willing to overlook some... let's call them "creative liberties." You know, characters that came back from the dead after donating their vital organs, or the evil twins with amnesia that no one ever knew about. But memories on a flash drive? I just don't see that as something that fans can get behind and cheer. Hell, people couldn't take their phone number to a different mobile phone provider until a few years ago.
Deep breath. I'm ready to move on from the story, the weird accents, and the forced romantic strife.
I don't understand why General Hospital seems to be unable to figure out what to do with some of its powerhouse actresses. Let's focus on two: Tamara Braun and Rebecca Budig.
Tamara Braun was brought back to the show. Sure, she couldn't be Carly, since Emmy winner Laura Wright was already holding down the part, but it seemed like the writers were determined to make Kim as unCarly as possible. In doing so, it just made Kim bland and, at times, unlikeable. I'm also not really a fan of hitching a female character onto a male character's star. Kim could have been a completely viable character without a man in her life. It seems like everything got screwed up the minute the show realized that Billy Miller was going to be exiting. Okay, I get that Kim lost a child and later the father of her child. Then she... kinda sorta lost him again because the man who had Drew's memories uploaded into his cerebral cortex (not sure if that is remnant terminology from med school or from the Star Trek marathon I watched last week) was previously in love with another woman. I wish things could have been handled differently because it's a shame that the character was completely mismanaged.
Likewise, everyone was thrilled to have Rebecca Budig reprising her role as Greenl... Hayden. Finally, Finn would learn that he has a child! Then we went the sick-kid-has-an-illness-so-the-secret-is-out route. Now we've learned that Rebecca Budig has already filmed her final scenes. That was all rather lackluster.
Let's fudge some things and reveal that Hayden is really Greenlee Smythe. The writers can do the same thing as I said above with Vincent Irizarry. Get folks interested... and then scoot things over to an All My Children reboot. My fascination with a new version of AMC isn't strictly because of my love of all things Pine Valley. I don't like having General Hospital as its own island. I think having All My Children and One Life to Live in the same universe actually helps GH. Bring in some new eyeballs, show viewers why General Hospital is special, and then grow things from there.
2019 is winding down, and that means it will soon be time for a look back at the best and worst of the year. But before that, I'd just like to say that I am grateful that ABC remains committed to General Hospital. I am thankful that it looks like General Hospital's new head writing team seems ready to retool things that were not working and get the show back on track. I'm appreciative of all the fans that continue to support the show and share that soapy love here on Soap Central.
Now if you'll excuse me, I am off to order the Thanksgiving pizza. I've been watching GH long enough to know how holiday meal preparation goes. Who said soaps aren't educational?!
What are your thoughts on General Hospital? What did you think of this week's Two Scoops? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.