‘General Hospital’s New Plot is a Blast From the Past

Congratulations, “General Hospital.”  You’ve progressed from ripping off Bob Guza’s mob and disaster storylines to ripping off the awesome mid-1990s Claire Labine storylines.  I am being completely sincere here.

Since I’ve accepted that GH will never come up with anything new (nor, in all fairness are there many completely original possible storylines under the daytime sun), I am glad that the show has delved deeper into its vaults and realized that there is good stuff besides click-boom to recycle.  Lisa (Brianna Brown) has a new scheme:  get her doctor friend Terrell to seduce Robin (Kimberly McCullough) thereby freeing up Patrick (Jason Thompson) for some more crazy girl loving from Lisa.  If Terrell succeeds, he gets to sleep with Lisa too, because her love for Patrick may be many things, but it is apparently not sexually exclusive.

This storyline echoes the glory days when Damian (Leigh McCloskey) bet Lucy (Lynn Herring) that he could seduce any woman in town – with his prize for succeeding being sex with Lucy.  Lucy picked Bobbie (Jacklyn Zeman) as his target, both because she thought her marriage to Tony (Brad Maule) was rock solid and Damian would fail, and because she hated Bobbie.  (I always thought Lucy should have bet him that he could seduce Lila away from Edward – because that would have been a real test for Damian.)  Of course, Damian succeeded, which ultimately led to Tony having an affair with Carly (then Sarah Brown), and the rest was soap history.  It was everything a soap plot should be: fun, sexy, with longterm consequences that impacted numerous characters.

This time, Terrell features that far less daunting challenge of getting a woman who has already separated from her husband to hook up with him.   Terrell has had one of the stranger character introductions in recent soap history.  He showed up – at night – to scope out GH to prepare for his job interview for a pediatric surgery position.   Then he ended up treating Morgan’s broken leg even though he had no staff privileges just because he announced he was a doctor.  It’s just like writing up a case study before an interview to showcase your knowledge of the company, only it was quite possibly a breach of medical ethics!  Apparently, Terrell is replacing the late, lamented Bus Driver as the sole black man in Port Charles.  When he died, another promptly appeared, like vampire slayers in the Joss Whedon universe.

My initial impressions of Terrell Jackson: he is a doctor! Hooray for continuing to put the hospital back in “General Hospital”!  His name is embarrassingly ethnically clichéd.  The actor who plays him, Khary Payton is not bad, though he clearly is new to daytime. (His Wikipedia entry hilariously highlights his numerous voiceover credits with the excellent sentence, “He is often confused, vocally, with Dorian Harewood due to their similar voices and portrayals of African-American males with cybernetic enhancements.”)  Maybe Dr. Jackson will turn out to have a robot arm! Hopefully, in a couple weeks he will relax and stop conveying his belief that he is a big sexy bag of sex by doing his best imitation of Tim MeadowsSaturday Night Live’ character The Ladies Man.  I also question why, given the numerous hotties roaming around Port Chuck, Robin would fall for a man who seems to take his hairstyling cues from Phillip Michael Thomas circa “Miami Vice.”   Maybe Terrell and Dante (Dominic Zamprogna) can start a 1980s hairstyle fan club.  Now that the show has entered its Labine recycling kick, maybe it can bring back great dialogue, three dimensional characterization and romance as well.

Incest is Not Best

I continue to be baffled by “The Bold & the Beautiful’s” fascination with near incest.  Brooke (Katherine Kelly Lang) and Thomas’s (Adam Gregory) semi-flirtation has been alternately hilarious and cringe inducing.  The conceit is that the Forrester family’s foibles are so widely known that the general public would even get an ad campaign featuring a fashion company executive and her step-son posing suggestively to market a line known as Taboo.  Be honest.  Do you know what any designers who have not appeared on “Project Runway” look like?  How about the rest of their families?  I did not think so.

The show ratcheted up the creep factor by having Thomas’s mother, psychiatrist Taylor (Hunter Tylo) discuss how Brooke was Thomas’s mother figure during a large portion of his childhood while Taylor was busy being presumed dead.

Taylor: I hope not. It’s just that– see, I-I know that all of our behavior is emotionally tied to childhood experiences and–and our upbringing.

Whip: Right. Right. Right. Very–oedipal complex.

Taylor: And when Thomas was a child, yes, I-I was gone. I was suddenly taken away from him, and then guess who stepped in?

Whip: That’s right. Right. That’s when Brooke came in, and she became his mother.

This conversation was juxtaposed with Thomas and Brooke drinking champagne on a private jet.

Brooke: I used to watch you when you were sleeping at night and think about you growing up into a strong, talented, amazing man, just like your father. And here you are…

The episode ended with Thomas looking longingly at Brooke while she slept.  It was gross when Ridge (Ronn Moss) and Bridget (then Jennifer Finnegan) briefly dated, especially since he mistakenly believed he was her biological father for a while.  This is creepy, too.  Soap characters often end up sleeping with their step-parents – but it’s usually their parent’s much younger spouse that they did not meet until they were both adults.  B&B, it’s not a real Oedipal complex until someone stabs his own eyeballs.  In this case, it may be the viewers who are motivated to blind themselves.

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

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