First, allow me to admit I bawled like a baby. My friend Susie warned me that it was a tearjerker, but I didn't grab near enough Kleenex before I fired up my Tivo. I have watched Anna Lee on GH for 20 years, and losing her was painful, like someone I actually knew had died. It wrecked me. I felt a sense of loss. Perhaps I am too involved in GH? Did anyone else shed genuine tears, or am I a freak of nature?
Emotion aside, there were a few things missing in their tribute, and it troubled me. History was not sufficiently represented. We were cheated by imposters. Because we have a new Edward, we were cheated out of years of brilliant flashbacks of Lila and Edward. I'm a savvy viewer, they could have shown more flashbacks of John Ingle and David Lewis, and I would have been pretended I didn't notice it was a different Edward. In fact, our current Edward never had a single scene with Lila. I wish John Ingle could have come back just this week so we could have seen an Edward who actually KNEW Lila grieve. I know that's not the way it works in Hollywood, but I wished it just the same.
Because we have a new Emily, we were cheated out of tender flashbacks of Emily as a child being embraced by Lila. Because we have a new Lois, we missed out on flashbacks of Lila encouraging Lois to hang in there with Ned after he got busted for being married to 2 chicks at once. Because Luke is on vacation we missed out on all the times Lila flirted shamelessly with Luke. Because AJ has vanished into the atmosphere, we missed out on all the times Lila forgave him for his drunken reckless behavior. Speaking of AJ, did I miss a scene? Did anyone ever mention where he was? Did I cry through the explanation? All I am saying is- I wanted to go through Lila's "photo album" Although I was thankful for what I got; I wanted a much longer montage of all her great scenes.
Enough whining - the scenes we did get were fabulous. When Edward touched Jason's face and told Jason he reminded him most of Lila? Forget it. I bet my neighbors 3 floors down heard me wailing uncontrollably. When Tracy shrieked "I want my Mommy" - I cried so hard my chest hurt. And to you younger viewers, I am so delighted you actually got a chance to see what Jane Elliot can DO. Most days they just have Tracy running around sniping at people and making threats and gloating in her bitchiness. But this week, when you got to see her cower away from any human touch, and drop into heaving sobs in Alan's arms? Well, now you know why we older viewers were so happy when she came back. The woman is a phenomenal actress. The best part of these shows, other than honoring Anna Lee's contribution over the years, was the fact that the veteran players of GH actually got some air time and a chance to flex their acting chops. But then again, they probably weren't acting. They really loved her, and sadly, she is really gone. No turning to another channel and finding her on another soap.
The scene where Jason explains to Michael about being related to the Quartermaines is one of the sweetest things GH has shown for years. You can't help but think about all the times Jason has made sacrifices for Michael, and this time, Michael makes one for Jason. Michael asks Jason if HE would like him to go see the Q's. Jason says a very small and soft 'Yes' and that cinches it - Michael says "Okay, then I'll go." Jason wanted him to, and that was enough reason for him. Some of the best acting this week had no lines, no script - it was the power of a glance, a look, something visible and present in someone's eyes. The way Alan and Monica looked at Jason when he came in with Michael was perfect. They knew what it meant. They knew it cost Jason something to bring Michael to them. And nothing had to be said -the loving, lingering glances in his direction, and the glow on their faces communicated everything that needed to be said.
The funeral itself and the eulogies were wonderful. Again, Tracy's eulogy sent my hand into the Kleenex box again for backup tissues. Just knowing what a horrible person she has been, (like keeping Edward's heart pills from him while he lay dying on the floor for instance) and knowing that Tracy lost the only person who ever truly, purely, unconditionally loved her - it hurt me to watch her deal with that.
Jason's attempt, walking forward but being unable to speak was also immensely touching. I say this so often you probably tire of hearing it, but Steve Burton is so rarely allowed to show such tenderness in his role as Jason, that when he does, it just rips your heart out.
I also wish to say that if I were Lois, I'd probably nag Brook Lynn to sing, too - because the girl has a fabulous voice. There are things in life I think are criminal and that is one of them, people with amazing talents that don't sue them. Keep encouraging her to sing Lois. Notice I did not say nag. Her song was such a perfect moment in Lila's service.
Usually, my columns are silly and sarcastic. Usually I end up with a bunch of nonsensical questions. But I don't want to this week. (Okay, just one - I am so glad we will never have to hear Felicia say the word "Memoirs" again.) I spent most of my GH week sobbing, and it was a somber occasion. The fictional character of Lila Quartermaine died, and she has been Grandma to us on TV for years. And while that is sad enough, Anna Lee, the brilliant, gracious, talented classy actress died for real. And regrettably, this past year was the year ABC ditched her contract which made me doubly sad. If anyone in Anna Lee's family by any chance reads my column - I just want you to know a total stranger in San Diego has watched Anna for years, and I cried real tears this week because she is gone. The character she played brought joy and wonder into my life, and her talent blessed me, and I hope you know how many people's lives she touched. God bless you and thank you for sharing her with us.
What will happen tomorrow dear readers? Only tomorrow knows, and I will tune in tomorrow as long as there are tomorrows.