How many times did you say that this week while watching General Hospital? I lost count. Every day there was a new "gasp" moment that left me grinning wider than the smile on Duke Lavery's mask.
Mr. Ron Carlivati and team, you're going to need a dump truck to hold all the praise I'm about to heap on you in this column. So, get your scoopers and let's get digging into this week's storylines.
Duke and Robin
First and foremost, thank you, GH scribes, for the return of the Friday cliffhanger. This week's was a doozy. When "Duke" ripped off that mask, and the camera panned to a horrified Robin, it was a moment of pure soap opera ecstasy.
I loved that we didn't get the reveal of who is running around town, dancing the tango, as Duke. We only got the anticipation and build-up, and that's how you tell a great story. Now we have the weekend to hypothesize who could be masquerading as Duke.
I've heard everything from Grant Putnam to Cesar Faison to Lisa Niles. Yeah, that last one would be a real feat, if true. Even show-runner Carlivati got in on the fun on Twitter, jokingly revealing Richard Simmons as the man behind the mask. (At least I think he was joking!) The point is, this is how you tell a story -- slowly, with layers and layers of suspense and drama, topped off with an OMG moment every few days.
If you're like me, you were probably screaming at Robin to shut her trap with her spaghetti/pizza dinner quiz for "Duke," as she tried to trip him up. I kept thinking, "You've got to be smarter than this! You're the daughter of two spies! At least wait until you're free of that creepy hospital to bust him!" But I get why it played out this way. If she had stalled fake Duke just to escape, we wouldn't have gotten that OMG mask moment on Friday. Well played, team.
Robin has worse timing than Romeo and Juliet. Of all the times for Robin to call Patrick for help, it had to be when he was chatting up Sabrina at the front door. (Was that a coincidence? I think Sabrina has a secret, too!) Add on the fact that Anna had just given Emma a toy phone that she was pretend calling her dead mommy on, and it's no wonder that Patrick didn't believe poor Emma that Robin was on the phone.
The suspense in that scene, as Robin tried to block the doctors at the door while she begged Emma to put Patrick on the phone, was nerve-wracking. I loved every suspenseful second. I was on the edge of my seat for the entirety of Robin's escape scene.
I'm still reeling from the shock that Robin is even back on our screens. I thought she was gone for good. I have no idea what is happening with Kimberly McCullough's contract, and I like it that way. I know it's not the usual method for a soap columnist to ignore spoilers, but I am first and foremost a soap fan. I'm telling you right now, if you read spoilers, you are missing part of what soaps are meant to be: exciting. The viewing experience is so much more enjoyable when you don't know that Robin, or Alan, or A.J. is going to pop up on screen.
That brings me to my next OMG! moment of the week.
Ghost Alan is back at the Quartermaines'
Did any of you know that Alan was supposed to be on-screen this week? I hope not. I hope you all had the chance to experience the same OMG! gasp that left my mouth, as Alan put his hand on Monica's shoulder while she worried over A.J.'s situation. Stuart Damon, I miss you.
Alan was there for Tracy, too. Bravo, GH! Who among us has not felt the comfort of a deceased loved one in times of stress?
I love that the show is using humor as a balance right now for all the heavy drama. (Check my oversized Best Lines of the Week section for proof.) Tracy thought Monica had gone around the bend when Tracy heard Monica talking to her "dead" son. Luke summarized it beautifully, "A Quartermaine talking to the dead? Wow, who would have thought that?"
A.J., Michael, and Carly
Payoff -- it's something soap fans wait months for, or in this case, a short decade. (Note my sarcasm.) I had given up on Michael ever finding out the truth about his early years. (Carly drugging A.J. and tricking A.J. into thinking he had fallen off the wagon, and Sonny hanging A.J. from that meat hook to sign away his parental rights.) Despite my years of screaming, begging, and pleading for the truth to come out, it was like the soap honchos had amnesia when it came to Michael's history.
Thankfully, this week, it all came out. Michael was stunned and gave Carly the comeuppance I've been waiting ten years to see. Michael screamed that he already had a father and that Carly should not have shopped around for a new one because she didn't like the circumstances. It's not like A.J. killed people back then. Woo-hoo, Michael! I absolutely cannot wait until Michael confronts Sonny about his meat hook/death threat tactics. I'm just sorry Jason isn't around to get a taste of Michael's ire. Jason deserves some of it, too, as he played a major role in that travesty.
On a shallow note, I don't know where A.J. has been, but wow is he looking good. He's more gorgeous than ever. If he really is a changed man -- and I pray that the GH team keeps him on this track -- then I hope we see him as a romantic lead for someone.
My only complaint right now with the show is that there is little or no romance. The town if full of single people with more baggage than an airport, but we don't really have that "super couple" to root for like in the days of Robert and Anna, Frisco and Felicia, Jax and Brenda and Sonny, and Luke and Laura. What say you, Scoopers? Who would you love to see as our next romantic couple? A.J. and Liz? Todd and Carly? Michael and Serena? Oops, that pairing is off my next casting wish list.
One last thought on A.J. I love that we're getting humor in this storyline, too. His idea of tossing Carly into the harbor had me worried at first. But then I realized it was for fun. Hey, I've wanted to send Carly swimming with the fishes a few times myself. I also love that funny girl Alice was putting the chokehold on Tracy to keep her quiet. Maybe A.J. will realize the best way to keep Tracy quiet is blackmail. It always works for her enemies.
Frankly, though, I want the truth to come out that A.J. is alive so that we can get him settled back into Port Charles society. I want the charges to go away so that we can focus on the family drama that is going to play out with Carly, Sonny, and the gang.
A.J. should hire Diane Miller and plead temporary insanity, which I believe is what happened. (If someone took away my son, I think I would lose it, too.) The A.J. I grew up watching -- boating with Jason and Brenda at the lake -- would never have shot his father or kidnapped Michael. He would have slept with Jason's girlfriend, not shown up at work, or lost the Quartermaines' millions. But kidnapping and murder? Nah.
It seems this time around, the writers remember that Alan Jr. isn't the crazy man he was written to be during his last tenure. Amen and thank you. Let's have a ball at the Nurses Ball! As if I didn't have enough to celebrate with all the great writing, cast returns, etc., we got news last week that Lucy Coe is headed back to town, and so is the Nurses Ball. OMG!
Honestly, I feel like the soap gods have read my complaint list for the show and are slowly checking item after item off my wish list of how to fix things. The Nurses Ball has always been a fan favorite, because who doesn't love a good song and dance number? Plus, we get to see the whole town in one room, and that always means fireworks. I recently watched some past balls, and I can't wait to see how this team tackles the event.
Even better is the return of Lucy. I hope she ends up in her underwear, though, because that is always the climax every year. If Coe doesn't host, I think Maxie would be a good replacement. She seems to have some of Lucy's zaniness.
Sabrina, I will heart you forever for bringing up interest in the Nurses Ball. We haven't seen one since 2001. I think the timing is perfect to have it in honor of Robin. And maybe, as my editor Dan suggested, Robin could show up at the ball as the big cliffhanger.
I have a wish list for guests and entertainers for the ball. I'd love to see Jax and Brenda come strolling in arm and arm. Hey, it makes sense. The guy is a billionaire who would jet into town for a charity event, and they both loved Robin. I also hope to see Ned, or Eddie Maine and his leather pants, make an appearance. He played at every Nurses Ball, and in one of my all-time-favorite ball moments, took the stage to rescue Robin when a looped Alan left her humiliated in their number of "Someone to Watch Over Me."
As for performers, I hope we hear the sweet sound of Steve's voice. Scott Reeves had a successful country music career for a reason. The man can sing. I also think Johnny should showcase his talent. I also want to see people who you wouldn't think of doing routines, too, like Luke. Sure, some claim he killed disco when he and his sister did "The Last Dance" at a past ball, but I loved that number. That was the wackiest, most enjoyable disco dance I've ever seen.
Drop me a line, Scoopers, and let me know your wish list of guests and performers for the Nurses Ball. And please, be sure to send some feedback to ABC and General Hospital for listening to fans and bringing back this event.
Little scenes with big impact
Someone in charge is spending a lot of time watching old tapes. I don't blame them. Those were the good old days. I love all the flashbacks we saw this week. Alan and Monica's scene where he literally gave her the shirt off his back was magical. If I were writing a soap 101 moment, that would be a perfect example. It had passion, romance, and great dialogue. I was just a kid when that scene aired years ago, so the hotness of Dr. Alan was lost on me, but all these years later, not so much. Wow, that was a great scene. They don't write them like that anymore. We also saw some adorable Robin flashbacks with Duke. Thank you! Using history in present storylines was another item on my wish list.
There were so many little scenes this week with such big impact. Perhaps lost in all the drama was just a lovely Anna and Mac scene. Seeing those two finally interact and even comment on the fact that former cop Mac now slings drinks was perfect. These two used to be related, and they should be visiting and sharing screen time. Mac was Robin's onscreen father, since Robert was MIA, and I want more of Mac and Anna bonding. We've all been screaming for our veteran favorites to get more screen time, and the soap folks are listening. Monica has had great dialogue with Tracy, Michael, A.J., Carly, and Alan recently. OMG! Again, I'm giddy.
Another great little moment was when Patrick confessed to Anna that Britt had asked him to spend the night. (Awkward much, confessing that to your mother-in-law?) It wasn't really. It was a touching, quiet scene that actually got me choked up, as Patrick continues to mourn his dead wife. I've said this before, but Patrick and Anna have great family chemistry.
Another small thing was just the mention of Election Day from Lulu and the gang. These are small but important things that this writing team seems to get. It grounds our characters and makes them seem like they're just like us, except with problems like psychic visions and such. ("Who is going to win Dancing with the Stars, Todd asked Olivia recently.) Brilliant.
In other musings
Lulu, I want to hug you and shake you at the same time. I can't blame her for lying about her family. On paper, the Corinthos-Spencer clan is a nightmare. At the same time, I think she doomed any chance she had of ever adopting a baby, and my heart breaks for this couple. How many of you actually went and tried a peanut butter and tomato sandwich after Connie wouldn't stop gushing about how great they were? Not me. I remembered that the woman is crazy. Even crazier is the possibility that Johnny and Connie could fall in love. Forget what I said about Duke not being masculine enough for me. I think I was looking at him with that kilt, through the eyes of a teenager. This "Duke" is a hottie.
I shouldn't be surprised, but I am, that Sonny hasn't taken two minutes to mourn Jason or at least break some barware over his best friend's death. Sonny has reacted worse when his marriages have ended. Jason served the mopey mobster for years and played father to Michael. I expected more from selfish Sonny. Sabrina is Juan Santiago's cousin. Hmm, interesting. It also seems she has a secret, when she said that she "never would have met…" I wonder to whom she is referring?
My apologies if it seems I have ADD (attention deficit disorder) this week, with my comments, but I am so absolutely giddy at the storylines on GH right now that I want to talk about all of them instead of narrowing my scope. It's tough to control my excitement. Please, folks, if you know fans who used to watch GH in its heyday, bribe them, blackmail them, throw them down an abandoned well to get them to watch. GH needs the viewers, and this show is absolutely delightful right now.
Best Lines of the Week:
(Sonny tells Carly that she must have imagined seeing a dead A.J. Quartermaine on Halloween.)
Carly: "They don't sell A.J. Quartermaine masks, Sonny!"
(Duke and Anna discuss his new job as a bartender.)
Duke: "It was quite a challenge, you know, because everybody wants everything made into a martini. There's appletini, pomegranatini, gasolinitinis."
(Johnny catches Carly and Todd making out and discusses it with his blackmailing bride.)
Johnny: "Give me one good reason why I shouldn't kill Manning."
Connie: "Oh, I don't know, maybe you'll go to prison for life."
Johnny: "I'm already in prison, here, with you,"
Connie: "Oh here we go again, drama queen."
(Fashionista Maxie tells genius Ellie that they can't live together because they are opposites.)
Ellie: "I can be the proton to your electron, as they say."
Maxie: "Nobody says that."
(Later, Spinelli tries to dissuade Ellie from living with Maxie and tells her that they are polar opposites.)
Spinelli: "I've lived with Maxie. I know her like HTML."
(Carly calls Todd for a friendly ear, telling him she had no one else to call, since Jason is dead.)
Todd: "I don't mind being a substitute. I'm wearing a black shirt, right?"
(Sonny testifies against Kate in court, telling the judge that her alternate personality, Connie, is actually in court.)
Sonny: "That's not my fiancée right there. That's a symptom of Kate's mental illness."
Connie: "Who are you, Sigmund Corleone?"
(After a lengthy conversation, Carly tells Todd that she saw her dead husband.)
Todd: "Way to bury the lead, Carly."