Dear readers, I have missed you. I hope you missed me, too. I'm delighted to start off a new year by writing a GH Two Scoops column for soapcentral.com. I wrote this column for about eight years until 2012 when... life got in the way. There were a series of hardships, both personal and professional, including my mother's death from breast cancer in May, that kept me a bit too preoccupied to write about soaps.
But I still watched. While I was caring for my mother, late at night after she fell asleep, I would lie in the dark on the sofa beside her hospital bed and watch GH on my iPad. It's one of the few things that helped me momentarily escape the intense pain of watching my mother die.
I was talking to my friend Ronny Carlton this week, and he told me how soaps helped him through his difficult childhood, and we talked in depth about specific things we learned from various soap characters over the years. (I'm a little afraid that he took life lessons from Victor Newman, but…) I have gotten a myriad of letters from viewers who have been genuinely impacted by the stories soaps tell and feel less alone in the world because of the emotional connection they feel to the characters as we witness them navigating through the ups and downs of life day after day for decades.
Are the stories sometimes far-fetched? Of course. Casey the space alien springs to mind, and baby switches and evil twins and such. But the feelings beneath those stories are raw and relatable. Not long after my mom died, John Ingle passed away, and in turn, his on-screen presence as Edward Quartermaine. There was a scene with Tracy in the Q mausoleum, lamenting about being the last person in her family standing, and it was exactly what I was feeling and what I had been trying to express to people about how I felt. Like her, I had lost both my parents and my sister and was the only person left to remember our life as a family, and she said the exact words that my heart had struggled to explain.
Soaps mirror life. Soaps matter. And dear readers, we matter, too. This community we have formed, where we watch these shows as one giant family and discuss them, matters. Collectively, we have followed the story of the residents of Port Charles for nearly 50 years, and our loyal devotion to these flawed fictional characters has kept the story from ending. At least for now…
This week, GH had two pieces of great news -- the impending returns of both Genie Francis and Jon Lindstrom. I've also heard rumors of more 50th anniversary drive-bys with names like Jack Wagner, Kin Shriner, and Vanessa Marcil tossed about. Not confirmed, but fun to speculate! Imagine Frisco returning to see his first grandchild born!
"What grandchild?" you say? Oh, please, come now -- if you don't see this coming from a mile away, you must be new to soaps. Maxie was carrying Lulu and Dante's baby and miscarried, and then slept with Spinelli the same night. Will she end up pregnant? Absolutely! It's written in the Soap Opera Bible, and no one cares if it's actually medically possible or not. Just trust me, it will happen.
This story could go several ways… 1) WitchDr. Britt was in such a hurry to bang Patrick on New Year's Eve that she rushed the tests, and Maxie never lost the baby at all, and the baby will actually be Dante's and Lulu's. 2) The baby will be Maxie's and Spinelli's, but since Spinelli will stay with the recently paralyzed Ellie, Maxie will never tell him and give her own baby to Lulu and Dante to raise. Or, 3) Maxie will drop by the Quartermaines' and fall down the spiral staircase (as all pregnant women in PC have done at one time or another) and lose another baby.
It will be interesting to see it play out because all of the characters in this story arc are so well written and compassionately acted -- there is a depth to Maxie and Spinelli that just radiates on the screen, and Ellie is a great third for the love triangle because we just can't hate her -- she is precious, and we root for her and against her, sometimes in the same breath. There is no bad guy in this trio, but someone will be hurt in the end.
Across town in jail are members of another love triangle with two bad guys, Johnny and Todd, languishing in a cell together, both having betrayed the trust of Carly Jacks. Who ever thought we'd see a storyline where Carly was the victim?
Let me go on record right now and say I am highly invested in the Todd/Carly romance. They are two beautifully broken people who make questionable decisions time after time, who blow up their lives without thinking of the consequences, and who hurt the people they love without ever meaning to harm them. I understand that. I relate to that. I want them to find a way past this because I want to believe that broken people who repeatedly screw up can be loved and forgiven. If happy endings don't exist for the likes of Todd and Carly, how can they exist for us?
Todd was transparent with Carly about his core character -- he told her over and over he was a bad person, but she saw the good in him and rejected his honest confession. Todd knew what he had done, the lies he had told, the truth he was keeping from her, but he couldn't bring himself to confess for fear of losing her. He didn't know Carly well enough to know how deeply loyal she is to her friends. It's my favorite quality about her character.
If Todd had told Carly the truth, that he had switched the babies and why, I believe she would have not only found a way to forgive him, but to defend him, just as she said. But when we lie, we always think the truth will never have to be faced, and we push the limits of risk to keep our sins covered up until they blow up in our face. Todd is clinging to the hope that what they share is real, that the bond they have formed is unbreakable and that eventually she will be able to understand why he did what he did and give him another chance. I'm hoping for that too. Switching a dead baby for a live baby is a despicable action, but we know that his motives for the deed were not awful at all.
Carly feels so betrayed by both of her former lovers, she is so desperate for a shoulder to cry on, she will talk to A.J. about her troubles. Remember when A.J. and Carly were friends? Back before they hated each other? I'd love to see Michael's biological parents come to a truce and let go of the past. We all spend way too much time carrying baggage from old vacations.
When Sonny finds out A.J. and Carly are speaking, it might just push him over the edge for good. The depth of Sonny's loneliness was highlighted on New Year's Eve when he was passed out in the boxing gym with an empty bottle next to him, hallucinating about Kate. He's lost Jason, his best and most trusted friend; Bernie, his trusted money launderer; and Kate, his childhood sweetheart, all in one fell swoop.
The worst part about Kate is that she still exists. She's in the same town. He can see her, but the connection they had fell victim to Kate's dissociative identity disorder. Sonny still feels their connection and yearns for it, but her brain has shut off the part that loved Sonny. Brutal. Jason is dead. Bernie is dead. Kate is alive, but his heart still has to grieve her as though she were dead. So many losses are unbearable and crush a person's spirit. The only hope for Sonny's emotional recovery lies in the broken part of Connie's brain.
Dear readers, was it just me? I was surprised this week that I felt so tender towards Connie Falconeri. Seeing her exude real emotion and watching her grieve over Trey's brain injury impacted me more than I could have imagined. Her character has been comic relief, and a crazy villain, but this week, she moved from being a caricature into a real, viable person with genuine feelings. And I saw Sonny change, too -- instead of trying to coax Kate out, he actually saw Connie's pain and felt compassion for her. Is that the way to integrate her two personalities? Sonny falls in love with Connnie? Interesting.
I'm disappointed that Trey was killed off before he and Connie/Kate had a chance to connect -- a lot of missed storyline opportunity there, but that story should have been explored months ago. After Joe Jr. died, there wasn't a lot of story left for Trey's character, so I understand the decision. In fact, they could kill off Britt and Sabrina, too, with no tears from me, and just bring Robin back home to Emma and Patrick. All that build-up with Duke, Anna, and Faison, and Robert finding Robin, was wasted and left fizzling with no satisfying ending to a great lead-up story. Perhaps they have it on hold until sweeps? Who knows, but I can't take much more of Britt. I actually preferred Lisa Niles as "Crazy Patrick-Obsessed Stalker."
I'm also sad to see Scott Reeves depart as Steven Weber. It was nice to have a little family continuity for Liz and for GH history, but they never really found a storyline for him to sink his teeth into. And now, the whole LSD Olivia seeing puppies has just gotten annoying. Olivia used to be one of my favorite characters, and now I mostly fast-forward her because all of her scenes are cray-cray.
In other news: Luke is in a Turkish prison with a black eye. Robert is in the Swiss hospital being taken care of by…whom? Faison's creepy Fraulein flunky nurse is gone, and I've never seen any other doctors or nurses in that creep factory. Anna is wincing from the touch of Real Duke because Fake Duke's face melted off in front of her, Indiana Jones-style, and that's not an image you shake easily. Tracy is in cahoots with Lucy Coe, and I'm dying to see what Tracy traded for Lucy's vote. I hope it has something to do with ducks. Alexis got laid for the first time in years with the super hot Shawn, while her daughter and his (sort of) adopted son are probably having sex, too. How very The Bold and the Beautiful of them.
What will happen next week, dear readers? Will Starr fall back into grief over Hope and Cole or find sexual healing with Michael? Will GH viewers embrace Steve Burton on Y&R or hold an eternal grudge? Will GH install a shower with a bit more privacy so their doctors can have hot shower sex without pesky nurses walking in on them? Will the Port Charles Police Department close the road on which everyone who drives crashes their car? Will Luke's head explode when he has to choose between Tracy, Anna, and Laura? Will Todd adopt the devil puppy when he gets out of jail just to have a loyal companion? Will super fertile Carly have drunken sex with A.J. and make Michael a new baby brother? Will the Nurses Ball have singing and dancing and multiple costume changes? (Here's hoping.)
Only tomorrow knows, dear readers, and I will tune in as long as there are tomorrows.