Deep Soap: Vanessa Marcil Returns to ‘General Hospital’

Vanessa Marcil (ABC)

Vanessa Marcil (ABC)

This time, the rumors were true.  Brenda Barrett is back.  Vanessa Marcil will return to ‘General Hospital‘ on Wednesday, August 11th.  ABC has released an official statement confirming an earlier report in USA Today. ABC Daytime president Brian Frons is quoted as saying: “True to form, Brenda arrives in Port Charles with a secret that will impact Sonny, Jax and Jason,” adding “‘General Hospital’ has always been dedicated to the strong history of our characters.”  He boldly concludes, “Fans and viewers alike will be thrilled with her storyline and will agree that her return was worth waiting for.”   Philosophical GH watchers, feel free to consider the difference between GH fans (or perhaps Vanessa Marcil fans; this is a rather ambiguous quote) and viewers.

“I feel so lucky to continue to be allowed to visit ‘General Hospital’ and honor where I came from,” says Marcil. “I am humbled by these great people and a character that I truly love.”

Of course, everyone really wants to know what Brenda’s storyline will be.  Here’s the scoop from ABC: “Brenda Barrett’s return to Port Charles comes at a time when the three most important men in her life – Sonny, Jax and Jason – are all in crisis. Brenda’s in trouble herself – when is she not? – possessing an explosive secret. Only she doesn’t even realize it’s something devoutly to be kept secret. Brenda has no idea the havoc this little indiscretion will wreak or that she’ll send the lives of loved ones hurling into chaos.”

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I am definitely intrigued.  I love that Jason (Steve Burton) is considered an important part of her history.  Their brief faux marriage during Marcil’s previous appearance on the show was so much fun.  There is a lot of story left to tell for them. Sonny/Brenda/Jax is one of daytime’s greatest love triangles.  Brenda, unlike Carly (Laura Wright), has always brought out the best in both men. Maurice Benard has openly advocated for Marcil’s return, stating in an earlier interview that Brenda was his “first big real love,” and adding, “I know Sonny needs a girl because he hasn’t had one.  Claudia was just kind of a thing that happened.  It was not romantic.  So if Vanessa comes back it would be great for me, but we’ll see.”

I can’t wait to see what will transpire this time. I hope we will also get to see Brenda in her many rich non-romantic relationships, including her close friendship with Robin (Kimberly McCullough) and her surrogate granddaughter relationship with Edward (John Ingle).

Only Marcil knows why she has finally decided to return to Port Charles.   She has worked steadily in primetime, most notably starring in the long-running series ‘Las Vegas.’ Presumably now that pilot season is over, and she knew she did not have a regular primetime role next season, she was able to make the time commitment for what looks to be an openended return.  Marcil originally appeared on the show from 1992-98.  Unlike most other soap star returns, Marcil’s five month return to the show in 2002-03  significantly improved GH’s ratings.   It remains to be seen if, in this vastly different television climate, she can do it again. But if any daytime star can do it, she can.  There’s a reason that soap magazines keep putting her on the cover years after she left, even though there was no actual news about her to report.

I am an unabashed Brenda fangirl. I cannot wait to find out what her secret is, who she is going to romance this time, or what she is going to wear.  It is so exciting to report some positive soap news for a change.  August cannot come fast enough.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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