Deep Soap: Brenda’s Anti-Climactic Return To ‘General Hospital’

Vanessa Marcil (Rick Rowell/ABC)

Vanessa Marcil (Rick Rowell/ABC)

That Was It?

I stood outside in the rain, put on my low rise ripped boyfriend jeans, set my Pandora station to music of the 1990s and prepared for the big day: Brenda Barrett’s return to ‘General Hospital.’   If only ABC had been able to get the day declared a holiday so that everyone I knew would be able to experience this momentous event in real time.  Brenda! Brenda! Brenda! Then I watched the episode.   Wow…. that was… underwhelming.  I have not felt this let down by a heavily hyped pop culture event since the last season of ‘American Idol.’

Despite the fact that ABC has gone to great lengths to make sure that even astronauts on the space station were aware that Vanessa Marcil Giovinazzo was returning to daytime August 11th, GH opted not to show her face until the final segment of the episode.  Gee, who could that dark haired woman in Italy who has absolutely nothing to do with anything else happening in the episode be?

So we got to see Brenda get ready for a speaking engagement on behalf of an organization that helps exploited children, then a couple of goons attempt to stab her in a poorly staged attack scene.   Meanwhile, the rest of the episode featured more of the plodding, repetitive scenes of Brooklyn (Adrianne Leon) flirting with Dante (Dominic Zamprogna), Claire’s (Dahlia Salem) disgusting quest to get Sonny (Maurice Benard)  to be her sperm donor (or convince him that’s what she wants) and Kristina (Lexi Ainsworth) studying.  The show has seemed like it’s been treading water since the MOCA show, stalling until the It Girl returned.  Apparently, Port Charles will not be jumping again until Brenda makes her way back to town.

Brenda’s Back:

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Thursday was not any more exciting. Brenda talked to her new BFF Suzanne, played by Adrienne Barbeau about her determination to keep her position as the organization’s spokesperson despite the attack and her new job as the face of Couture magazine– the magazine Kate used to edit.  Well, that could lead to something interesting.

Having spent Tuesday immersed in GH of the 1990s, I had Brenda’s last return fresh in my mind. She started off with a bang. She was trapped on Luis Alcazar’s boat, which was conveniently docked in Port Charles, and had to escape from the sexy villain’s clutches.  That was good, even if we had to endure weeks of a Vanessa body double’s feet leading up to it.  It brought her into the action right away. The stakes were apparent. She was immediately involved with the show’s other key characters.  Why go through all this labored, dull set up?  Brenda’s job could be established in a few lines of dialogue.

I still think it’s going to be awesome once Brenda actually starts interacting with characters I care about.  At bare minimum it will be the end of the infinite Sonny and Claire scenes, which qualifies as a small miracle.  But this was the dullest possible way to bring back such an exciting character.

Slow Trial

This is the week of things that should be awesome but are actually boring on daytime. Adam’s (Michael Muhney) legal hearing on ‘The Young & The Restless‘ should be high drama.  Everyone in town has good reason to hate him.  He is guilty as sin but there is not a lot of evidence that will hold up in court.

I was looking forward to Sharon sweating it out on the witness stand, as she struggled to hide her strange attraction to the man who stole her baby and let her believe it was dead.  Instead, at Adam’s insistence, his lawyer did not ask Sharon (Sharon Case) any questions and she did not have to go on the record about kissing Adam.   Ashley’s (Eileen Davidson) testimony was a fairly dry recounting of what Adam did to her followed by Adam’s lawyer grilling her about her history of breakdowns.  I do not think her prior emotional problems would make her less credible as a witness given that Adam is accused of exploiting that history and causing her more mental anguish, but this is soap justice.

I think the problem is that Adam is clearly going to be on the show for the foreseeable future.  His character is morphing from unspeakably evil to love-to-hate villain who is semi-redeemed by his true love for Sharon.  That means he needs to be acquitted.  A  juicy trial, where everything came out, would result in him being found guilty.  This forces the writers to come up with a scenario in which everything goes Adam’s way, and none of the fifty thousand ways that Adam could get nailed come to pass.  Unfortunately, that makes for a boring few episodes.

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

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