Dear readers, I must take a deep dive before we talk about this week's General Hospital. Please indulge me.
Did you know that at its peak in the '80s, General Hospital averaged 14 million viewers per episode?
Did you know that 30 million people -- still the highest ratings ever -- tuned in for Luke and Laura's wedding?
The top three soaps in 1981 (all ABC soaps) all had viewers in the tens of millions. GH had 17.5 million. All My Children was second with 11.7 million and One Life to Live followed close behind with 11.6 million. Number four on this list was Guiding Light, with 8.2 million viewers.
But back to the present day. Last week, GH had just over two million viewers.
Call me crazy, but I think this is the perfect time for Daytime TV to get its second wind and dominate the airwaves again. I keep waiting for a savvy marketing guy to take advantage of the fact that nearly everyone in the U.S. is home right now and may continue to be home for months to come.
I see so many "I'm bored" posts and so many people tweeting about trying to find something to watch, and I'm wondering why there isn't a massive marketing campaign for soaps. I was the assistant to a genius CMO, and I keep thinking that he would be jumping on this opportunity.
"Stuck at home with nothing to do? How about a little Love in the Afternoon!" with a montage of clips highlighting legacy soap characters. Or "Remember how much you used to love General Hospital but then you got a job and had to stop watching? Now is the perfect time to come back home to Port Charles and catch up with your old friends."
I'm quite serious. I have heard rumors that AMC and OLTL may get reboots now that they have settled all the lawsuits. Look again at that graph above. Millions and millions of people used to faithfully watch and adore these shows! Why isn't anyone taking advantage of the fact that everyone is home to remind them GH (and The Young and the Restless, The Bold and the Beautiful, and Days of our Lives) exists?
It's not just about ratings; it's about the fact that Daytime Dramas are a perfect way to take our collective minds off the phenomenon that a deadly pandemic is sweeping the globe. Every headline is more horrifying than the last. I watch the news until my brain and heart are about to explode, and then I stop and find something happy to watch, so I don't lose my mind. I've watched every season of Grace and Frankie. I've watched Moana on Disney +. I've watched musicals and Gilmore Girls and Christmas movies and, yes -- lots of soaps. I think it could help GH's ratings, and I think it could help America.
But there is one flaw with my idea. Most of the legacy characters do not have a storyline right now. Former viewers would tune in, possibly get a glimpse of Monica and Bobbie walking around GH, or maybe see Mayor Laura give Sonny a stern talking-to, or see Scotty giving Franco a pep talk. Anna and Robert both have a storyline right now, and Lucy Coe (Lynn Herring) has a storyline as she relaunches Deception.
However, many 90s characters are still front and center -- Jax, Sonny, Liz, Jason, Nicholas, Elizabeth, and Alexis.
But I think if we could just get them to tune in, they'd fall in love with GH again. If you have a heart that loves soaps, how could you not love Ava Jerome, Valentin Cassadine, Damian Spinelli, Liesl Obrecht, Nelle Benson, Brad Cooper, Willow Tait, and Hamilton Finn and his adorable new daughter, Violet?
Our canvas is full of wonderfully complicated characters that I think returning soap viewers would come to love.
There's my pitch. ABC Marketing team, if you are reading this, take heed.
Of course, GH only has a few more weeks of episodes filmed before we run out of content. I hope the powers that be find a way to pick up production while keeping everyone safe. Seriously, you can have one person film a scene on their iPhone from Maurice Benard's living room, and I would still tune in.
Here's a serious question -- how are you all doing out there? I'm praying that you are safe and healthy and hunkered down with lots of snacks, wine, and toilet paper.
Now to this week's GH!
Alexis drank. Oh, Alexis. I'm so conflicted. I loved the days when Alexis and Diane would have girls' night out and get hammered and do crazy things, but then the writers had to go and make Alexis an alcoholic.
The scene with Sam and Alexis was such a powerhouse scene. Kelly Monaco was so dynamic and engaged in this scene, and it made me wish the writers would give her more moments like this to show off her skills and shine.
Following their fight, an unknowing bartender put a shot down in front of Alexis. In a moment of extreme sadness and hurt, she downed it. I'm glad Finn wasn't available when she called because that led her to call Julian, who, of course, came. Their relationship still matters to me. It's morphed from a passionate love affair to BFFs; they have each other's backs. I would love for them to be a couple again someday, but I do like watching their relationship in any form it takes. It's true to life.
In my own experience, it's a blessing that I am still friends with all of my old boyfriends. I think if you've ever loved someone, you always still love them on some level. I like that Alexis can call Julian for a ride when she's drunk and knows he will come and get her. I wonder if she will be there for him when Sonny finds out Julian knew that Brad switched babies and wants to kill him?
Sonny always figures things out eventually. This week, he and Jason figured out that Cyrus has T.J. Jordan tearfully admitted that Sonny was right and that her son's life was in danger. It was refreshing to see Jordan show some actual emotion in this reveal. Jordan's life is extremely complicated because she has to enlist the help of one criminal to get her out of trouble with another.
When Mike was admitted to the hospital, I was concerned that Cyrus' men had gotten to him in Turning Woods. I am still not convinced that isn't the case. Now that he's outside of the safety and security of Turning Woods, will Cyrus kidnap him to make Sonny fall in line? Will Mike die at the hands of a villain instead of complications from his Alzheimer's? I'm worrying myself about this, and I don't even know if I'm right yet.
I hope when they rescue T.J., Molly realizes she wants to commit herself to him and accepts his proposal.
When T.J. gets back, he will find a lot of new staff members at GH. It's nice to see the hospital finally has an adequate workforce. With Portia, Neil, and Britt all hired; Felix called back into active duty; and Lucas out of his coma, we have a hospital staff again on the show with the word "hospital" in its title.
I'm excited GH is hiring. I look forward to the storylines they have coming around the bend.
I am not convinced that Portia is telling the truth about Trina's paternity. I think Curtis probably is her bio dad, and Portia allowed Taggert to believe he was her father. Since Taggert is gone (sadly!), this will give Trina a chance to still have a dad. If I'm right, there will be a long road to forgiveness and a relationship because she hates him now and blames him for Taggert's death.
I love the bond Trina has with Ava, and although Portia hates it, I think Trina needs Ava right now -- and I think Ava needs Trina. I loved the scene with Ava and Franco. I agree with his assessment that Trina would be lucky to have Ava in her life. As long as she doesn't fall for the same guy Ava does, of course.
Trina probably needs an appointment with Neil, just like Cameron did. Readers, I'm not particularly crazy about Neil as a love interest for Alexis, but I do love him in counseling scenes. I loved him when he was deprogramming Christina from Dawn of Day, and I loved his session with Cam.
The teen drama is on point right now. Cam kissed Trina! Joss doesn't know! (By the way, where is Dev? Did they send him off to boarding school one of the days the COVID-19 press conferences interrupted GH in my area?) If I were a teen and watching this all play out, I'd be in deep. All of our younger actors right now are spectacular. All we need is for Spencer Cassadine to come back to town and start crushing on Joss. (He's 14, and she's 16, so it sounds like him, right?)
The young adult drama is very compelling, as well. Michael, Nelle, Willow, Sasha, and Chase are all embroiled in an intense storyline over Wiley's custody. I have to tell you straight up that if I were Chase or Sasha right now, I would have dipped out awhile back. I don't have the patience for all of this drama. I would not want to be in the middle of a custody battle and daily proximity to crazy Nelle.
Don't hate me, but I was actually on Nelle's side this week. I would not want my toddler to have a dangerous surgery if there was a good chance his heart might repair on its own. I don't see the urgency. Wiley having trouble breathing might be a respiratory infection or a cold. It doesn't necessarily mean his heart is about to explode. I hope they convince Nelle to sign the papers, something goes wrong with the surgery, Wiley fights for his life, and Nelle can say, "I was right."
However, I guess that this is the way we are going to find out that Nina is Nelle's mom. Nina being Nelle's mom is not a spoiler, it's just a guess, and all the signs I have seen could just be a red herring. Nina hires Nelle, has a plot to destroy her, finds out Nelle is her child, ultimately helps her, etc. That's all just speculation. For a while, I thought Willow was going to be Nina's daughter, but I have switched teams. Back when Michelle Stafford was Nina, there was a more significant physical resemblance to Nelle, but I think it still works.
Then again, Harmony said how much her life changed when Willow "came into my life" -- does that mean Harmony adopted Willow? Oh, jeez, readers! I can't decide. What is your take on all of this?
Nelle got hired, and Brook Lynn got fired. She is now willing to sell her ELQ shares to Linc, who will, in turn, sell them to Valentin, and that makes me happy. I know Valentin has a bit of villain in him, but I am still rooting for him. I want him to shake up ELQ and mess up Ned's plans for a hostile takeover.
Here's one soap trend I wish would die off... writers writing women as immature, petty, stupid, horrible people. Consider these examples: Lulu and Brook Lynn got into a catfight at Metro Court, Carly locked Nelle on the roof of the hospital, Nina pretended to help Nelle only to crush her, Sam spied on her parole officer to try to blackmail her (and nearly got herself and Spinelli thrown in prison). I mean, seriously. All of these characters are smarter than that. I know it's excellent for soapy drama, but will the writers ever allow women to grow up?
The best example I see of this is Laura. They have allowed her to mature and soften and be a reliable member of society, even though she was a wild woman in her youth. More of that, please? You can have scenes that show Lulu and Brook Lynn having a rivalry without them pulling each other's hair. Help me here, ladies. When was the last time you saw two female rivals slapping each other? Please, make it stop.
What will happen tomorrow, dear readers? Will Franco's painting of Ava reignite his art career or his old feelings for Ava? Will Liz and Nikolas talking about their strong bond in the early days help to heal the rift between them? Will Britt and Julian move from just "fun" to something more? Will we find out if Nelle has chronic pain? (I'd like to see it shown on canvas if she suffers from it.)
Will Britt still be singing her half-brother's praises when she finds out that he framed her mother? Will Obrecht tie Peter up in the cabin again when she gets out of jail and leave him for the wolves to find? Will Violet get her birthday wish with a visit from Hayden? Will Delores make Sam's life twice as hard now that Sam tried to frame her? Will Alexis call Diane for one more happy hour before she gets back on the wagon?
Only tomorrow knows, dear readers, and I will tune in tomorrow as long as there are tomorrows. (And this time, there might not be for a little while due to the production stoppage. But keep checking in because we might have some creative ideas for the writers for when our shows are back on the air!)
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.