Editor's note: Be sure to check in next week when Tamilu offers her picks for Worst of 2010
We had the option of writing our Best and Worst columns early. But I was waiting on the wedding. I didn't want to write a Best and Worst column and miss out on something amazing….or horrible.
And so I begin this column with an admission: I was wrong. There, I said it. But, no big deal, since I'm one of those people who realizes that she's often wrong, and I always err on the side of transparency.
Earlier this month, I loudly proclaimed that I was going to be upset if Luke married Tracy on Laura's birthday. I hoped Laura would come and bust up the wedding. I was wrong. The wedding of Lucas Lorenzo Spencer and Tracy Angelica Quartermaine was uninterrupted by Laura, but…absolutely flawless. I'm happy that Laura didn't show up. The wedding of Luke and Tracy was a testimony to second chances at love, in letting go of ghosts of Christmas past, and embracing the future.
It surprised me that I liked the wedding so much, since I've been invested in Luke and Laura since I was a teenager. But as the day unfolded and each character in Luke and Tracy's life coaxed and cajoled them into believing in love again and holding on to happiness, it rang true. I think it's really the first time I let my heart embrace the love between these two characters. I finally understand why people have been rooting for Luke and Tracy. That in itself is a Christmas miracle.
But that's today and this column is dedicated to reviewing the entire year on General Hospital. So let's rewind a little. I think the most powerful scene that aired on GH in 2010 was all the way back in January. The day that Lucky Spencer realized that his fiancée Elizabeth and his brother Nikolas were cheating behind his back -- a volcano erupted inside him, and the lava spewed all over our screens and burned its way into our souls.
The powerful portrayal of a man betrayed and disillusioned should land Jonathan Jackson an Emmy if there's any justice in the world. He was mesmerizing, and I couldn't take my eyes off of him for a second. His performance was so nuanced: one second a violent drunken rage spitting out the most hurtful things he could think of, and then quiet and sullen as the waves of betrayal washed over him relentlessly. Rebecca Herbst and Tyler Christopher also shined as two people who gave in to their darkest impulses, knowing it could blow up in their faces, but convincing themselves it wouldn't. All around, great scenes and a powerful storyline.
Equally riveting this year was Lexi Ainsworth's brave portrayal of abused girlfriend Kristina. Brave you say? Yes. If you've ever done any acting, there's a touch of reality involved if the acting is to be believed. I once did a play where I was being attacked by a madman -- although the guy playing my attacker was a trusted friend, having a 6-foot-5 guy barreling down on you with wild eyes and rage across his face -- it was still scary. I'm trying to imagine how Lexi must have felt in the scenes where she was crawling across the floor, being dragged back be her ankles and roughed up by Kiefer. Certainly, no one actually punched her, but even so, it must have taken an incredible emotional toll on her to allow those scenes to go far enough to pack the wallop that they did. During that storyline, my inbox was filled with stories of girls who were impacted by her performance, who found the strength to leave unhealthy relationships because Kristina gave them courage. It was brutal to watch, but undeniably powerful and even life-changing for many viewers.
Kristina wasn't the only Corinthos child to have a riveting front-burner story to tell. Michael's imprisonment, the (dare I say rape?) attack he sustained in prison, and the aftermath have made for some gritty scenes for Chad Duell to play. When Michael was recast, I whined. Again, I was wrong. While Drew Garrett was a great Michael, Chad Duell has brought a tenderness and vulnerability to Michael that has been unexpected and very welcome. He can play tough and kick the crap out of a guy who touched Abby inappropriately, and play wounded and flinch when someone tries to hug him, with equal conviction.
Another shining moment of General Hospital this year was James Franco. First, it was a boon to our beloved show that an actor of his caliber gave a nod to Daytime by showing up at all. Better yet, he didn't leave his A game at home. His portrayal of deranged artist/serial killer Franco was one of those things where you can't turn away. The storyline culminated with the big art show in L.A., which left me breathless throughout, and when I thought Franco had plunged to his death, I was sad it was over. Thankfully my sorrow didn't last long when we discovered it wasn't Franco who had died, after all, and the soon-to-be 2010 Oscar nominee (a prediction, not a fact) will be back on GH in February to give us another dose of Franco goodness.
A couple of things are going to be on both my best and worst lists, starting with Lisa. Brianna Brown is amazing. We, the viewers, know that Dr. Lisa Niles is evil. But she does such a great job convincing everyone that she's being framed by jealous Robin, we almost believe her. Lisa has convinced herself she is justified in all of her actions, and thus feels no remorse for anything she's done. When I heard ABC had re-signed her contract for another year, I was surprised but happy. They have somewhat painted her into a corner, but I suppose it's possible for her to be redeemed. I just hope they don't fix her too soon. Jason Thompson as the remorseful cheating husband has also given us some wonderful scenes this year -- he broke something and doesn't know how to fix it, and we see that frustration in his every word. He's angry at Lisa, and at himself. He wants forgiveness, but knows he doesn't deserve it.
I haven't really liked Robin since Stone died. Seriously. Her character irks me beyond belief. But, that aside, Kimberly McCullough has been completely believable as a woman scorned. Let's review: she's been left in a well to die, had her baby kidnapped, had someone sneak into her hospital room and try to inject her with God knows what, had her HIV meds stolen, and endured a plethora of other crimes against her. Robin is understandably angry and incredulous that the person who has repeatedly attacked her keeps getting away with it. For once, Robin is justified in her bitchiness. But that's the thing, Robin is softening a little around the edges, and I'm starting to like her again. Watching her and Patrick trim the tree this week made me hope there is a second chance out there for them in 2011.
Jason and Sam got a second chance this year, which was long overdue. Sam has always been a great fit for Jason because she's the one woman who's ever been in his life that hasn't asked him to change. She doesn't see "potential" in Jason and hope he lives up to it someday; she sees the real live flesh-and-blood Jason and finds him acceptable as is. That's what gives her the edge over all his previous babes. Sam can hold her own in Jason's world and Jason actually smiles and laughs when Sam is around. I loved them together and particularly the "help" they got from Spinelli and Molly. So sweet.
When I heard that Vanessa Marcil was returning as Brenda, I was over the moon with delight. I loved Sonny and Brenda back in the day and anxiously awaited their big reunion. Well, this will appear in both my best and worst because, while I am delighted Brenda is back on canvas and she and Sonny are finding their way back together, it took a Really. Long. Time. The Christmas scenes this week where Sonny bought Brenda a tree apparently from the midst of the Giant Sequoia forest was so romantic and holiday-licious.
GH does holidays up right. The Thanksgiving episode was one of my favorites this year, as was Wednesday's Christmas-themed episode with Luke and Tracy's wedding, and Edward talking to Lila's photo. GH has the capacity to warm my heart. When GH gets it right, they get it really, really right. I'm so happy to be a viewer. I'm happy I get to write about GH, a show with a rich, wonderful history. And I'm delighted I have gotten to share it with all of you for the past eight years. Merry Christmas.
What will happen tomorrow, dear readers? Will Lisa get coal in her stocking from Santa? Will Santa be able to find Morgan to give him his toys, since he hasn't been seen for months now? Will Santa give Jason a new gun for Christmas to thank him for visiting Edward with Michael? Will Alice ask Santa for a new beau now that Mr. Luke is officially off the market? Will Mac leave a little sumpin' sumpin in Alexis' stocking, or not see her again until next Thanksgiving? Will Luke find Foster at the pound and bring him home for Lucky's Christmas surprise?