Soap Opera Weekly: 04/22/11

It’s a hallmark of daytime characters that they never learn from the past; they keep jumping to wrong conclusions, believing lies, and fecklessly accepting assumptions. (Honestly, it’s like they don’t know they’re just characters on a TV show!)

That’s why I want to say “Bravo” to GENERAL HOSPITAL’s Sonny the Skeptic! He has actually shown signs of learning. Sonny was suspicious of Lucian from the moment Suzanne brought him to the house. His jaundiced eye demonstrates that he paid attention to the usual hijinks in Port Charles; he’s seen characters with secret agendas lie, and he’s familiar with Suzanne’s past cruelty to Brenda (Y’know, all that “letting Brenda think her child was dead” stuff.) His wife wants a kid, and lo and behold, Lucian materializes? Seriously?
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Soap Opera Weekly: 03/04/11

I don’t know about you, but in the wake of the second car-bombing in eight months and the recent crash of that ski-trip bus, I’m expecting a boom (too soon?) in bicycle sales in GENERAL HOSPITAL’s Port Charles.

If you factor in the 2005 train crash and all the citizenry hit by cars, it’s little wonder that most characters are seen walking around town; neither automobile nor public transportation is safe! You might have thought the reason people walk the streets in winter was just so they can bump into each other and have conversations, but perhaps they’re afraid to take to the roads! Heck, thanks to the late poisoner Andrea Floyd, one cannot even attend a carnival in town without getting run over by a car…
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Port Chuck in Concert

I joined a couple of colleagues from Soap Opera Weekly to check out the first show of Port Chuck’s 2011 tour, at Studio Square NYC in Long Island City, N.Y., on April 15.

For those of you who don’t know, the band Port Chuck is made up of actors from GENERAL HOSPITAL, including Brandon Barash (Johnny), Steve Burton (Jason), Scott Reeves (Steve) and Bradford Anderson (Spinelli). All the guys sing, and they have backing musicians to fill out the band. Scott plays guitar – and Steve can clang a pretty mean cowbell when he wants to! (Yes, we shouted, “More cowbell!”) Check out my photo gallery after the cut.
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Soap Opera Weekly: 11/12/10

After all these years, GENERAL HOSPITAL’s Luke Spencer has not learned a very basic lesson: You should not drink and wed!

Getting Tracy trashed in Las Vegas a while back was what got Luke into his current nuptial mess, so I expected him to be smart enough to close the deal before breaking out the bubbly. Who celebrates a marriage before the vows are recited and the rings exchanged? That was just asking for trouble. But, then again, that’s Luke all over.

On the bright side, however, getting Luke, Tracy, Ethan and Maya blitzed did make for some entertaining scenes. (Just don’t try this at home, kids!) As soon as it became clear that no one remembered the night before, I figured Ethan and Maya would turn out to be the “happy” couple. Also, truth to tell, GH would never pass up the opportunity to showcase another epic (and potentially riotous) wedding for Luke. And hitching Ethan and Maya has its own appeal. The pair are charming together, and the bonds of matrimony will no doubt test their fun and easy-going relationship.

Only one question remains: How soon can Mr. and Mrs. Lovett share the big news with Kristina?

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Soap Opera Weekly: 8/18/10

What does GENERAL HOSPITAL have against Brook Lynn? She was brought back to Port Charles as a hired…er, gun to break up Lulu and Dante by sleeping with him (and documenting it). Already hounded by charges of credit-card fraud, Brook accepted the job as a prostitute. Then, yesterday, she became something worse than a scam artist/hooker: She became a would-be rapist, stopped just short of her goal.

At Jake’s, Brook slipped Dante a roofie that left him zonked out and unaware of what he was doing. Then viewers watched Brook continue to feed him alcohol, steer him to a deserted location, and take advantage of him sexually. Clearly, his faculties were impaired and the babbling guy was in no condition to make judgments or give informed consent. She started kissing him, stripped off her clothes and climbed on top of him. That was a clear violation.

Brook was clearly in the wrong, and if the roles had been reversed, surely viewers would have been outraged by a man drugging a woman in order to molest her. If GH’s intention was to show how low Brook has sunk, well, then, mission accomplished.

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Soap Opera Weekly: 8/12/10

So…that was it? After weeks and weeks and weeks of hype that culminated in surrendering an entire afternoon’s programming to reruns, GENERAL HOSPITAL refrained from revealing Vanessa Marcil Giovinazzo‘s face until the very last seconds of Wednesday’s episode. And when she finally did appear, Ms. Brenda Barrett did not speak a single word!

Considering the unavoidable megahype that completely dominated both ABC and SOAPnet ever since the Brenda’s return was announced, GH’s bid to camouflage her presence was a real head-scratcher. Tiny scenes throughout the episode depicted a mystery woman from behind, teasing viewers with everything except her face. Was anyone fooled into thinking we were going to see the shocking (and unheralded) return of V. Ardanowski?

The entire viewing audience knew from the relentless PR campaign who the “mystery” person was going to be, so stringing fans along was pointless. The trickle of scenes made the episode drag, and ultimately undermined and blunted the big reveal.

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Soap Opera Weekly: 7/07/10

“You’re a gifted liar, Sonny,” GENERAL HOSPITAL’s Olivia noted. “Just don’t lie to me now,” she pleaded as she demanded to know if he planted the explosive in Johnny’s car.

She was not the only one wondering: Alexis had already confronted Sonny with the same question the instant she heard about the bomb. “Of course not,” he calmly shrugged, then launched into a song-and-dance that climaxed with him rapping his knuckles on the desk as he insisted to Alexis, “I did not put that bomb in his car.”

Which is literally the truth, since the hired bomb-maker actually put the device in Johnny’s vehicle. I was amazed at the ease with which Sonny wove his cover story, but everyone knows the best lies have a dose of truth mixed in. It’s Alexis’ fault for not asking the correct question, right?

A dazzled Michael’s jaw hung open, in awe or disbelief, as Sonny asked, “You understand why I had to lie tonight, right, son?” Um, I think I do, Sonny: You didn’t want to get caught! But the whoppers didn’t stop there. “I’m not used to lying to the people that I love,” Sonny maintained. Later, Olivia made him take an oath to tell the truth. “I swear on Dante’s life that I didn’t do it,” Sonny rasped.

Sonny told Michael, “Someday you’re gonna be a father, and you’ll understand what I’m saying.” I think Michael understands just fine right now: Sometimes Daddy screws up, and it’s too embarrassing (or too dangerous to life and limb!) to admit.

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Soap Opera Weekly: 7/6/10

GENERAL HOSPITAL observed Monday’s Independence Day holiday with another rerun of its most infamous recent episode, the Jan. 29 installment in which Sonny shot Dante.

Okay, we get it, GH, that was a turning-point episode — but it also marked a low-point for Sonny, didn’t it? Dante pulled his badge to arrest Sonny. The gangster pulled his weapon and held the cop at gunpoint long enough to have a conversation with him, then unleashed a stone-cold, “Goodbye, detective” and shot Dante right in the chest. Then he stood over his victim and prepared to plug him a second time to make sure he would die. There is no way to sugar-coat what Sonny did to an officer of the law (and his own son), and replaying the (admittedly emotionally powerful) sequence drives home the point that Sonny is exactly what Dante called him: “A cold-eyed bastard who’d kill anyone to get whatever the hell he wants.”

Point taken. By now we can be pretty certain that everyone has seen this pivotal installment, so I hope we see something a little more upbeat to celebrate Labor Day. How about rerunning the May 5 episode, in which Lulu and Dante make love for the first time?

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Soap Opera Weekly: 4/23/10

With the demise of AS THE WORLD TURNS’s Rocco, I would like to declare a moratorium on mobbed-up Italian-American men in Oakdale.

Speaking as an Italian-American, I can say for a fact that not every one of us is in the mafia. I don’t see ATWT (or any soap) depicting any other minority groups in such a uniformly negative manner. In a genre that bends over backward to wink at the reality of organized crime so that popular characters like GENERAL HOSPITAL’s Sonny can be presented as importing harmless, unspecified “shipments,” I was aghast to see ATWT’s Uncle Ralph depicted as an ugly character who runs a protection racket and threatens pregnant women. And Rocco’s mob ties produced a hit man who nearly killed Dusty. In short, why are some gangsters, like GH’s Sonny, Jason or Alcazar heroes, while Italian mobsters are always scary? Perhaps the closest parallel is the shoddy treatment that South Asians have received, playing cabbies on BOLD AND BEAUTIFUL and YOUNG AND RESTLESS. But hey, at least those guys were gainfully employed doing honest work.

Sure, we all enjoyed watching THE SOPRANOS on HBO, and The Godfather movies are classics worthy of worship, but not every work of fiction needs to be packed with gangsters of Italian descent. I applaud GH for giving us Dante the crusading police officer and his loving mother, Olivia, and we need to see more characters like them. Not every Italian-American is a member of La Cosa Nostra; it’s just not our thing.

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Soap Opera Weekly: 4/01/10

It was nice to see Lindze Letherman back on GENERAL HOSPITAL this week, portraying a spirit version of Georgie. Letherman was cool and controlled, and played Georgie as sentimental without being overly emotional. I found it interesting how Maxie took her dead sister’s appearance in stride. In fact, she seemed much more interested in Spinelli than the sight of her spectral sibling, which says something about Maxie’s dedication to the Jackal.

A ghostly loved one offering someone a choice between living and dying is pretty standard in soaps (most recently seen on ABC when ALL MY CHILDREN’s Dixie dangled paradise before her son JR a couple of weeks back). However, Georgie did not seriously try to tempt Maxie into going into the light. She clearly sensed Maxie’s concern for Spinelli — especially since Maxie mulled her own potential death in terms of the effect it would have on Spin.

Everyone talks about sacrificing his or her own life for a loved one — but Maxie sacrificed her death!

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