‘General Hospital’ Takes A Strange Path to A Tragic Accident

Becky Herbst on General Hospital (ABC)

Becky Herbst on General Hospital (ABC)

“General Hospital’s” Weird Week

Thursday, East Coast “General Hospital” fans screams intermingled with those of NCAA basketball fans who picked wrong in their tournament pool as the heavily promoted episode in which little Jake gets hit by a car was interrupted by a presidential press conference. As I would rank informing Americans about whether dangerous amounts of radiation are going to end up in the U.S. atmosphere as a good reason to interrupt a soap, I am not going to criticize ABC. If you are one of the viewers who missed a decent chunk of the set-up, you can watch it here.

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I was disappointed that a lot of the lead-up to the accident seemed like it was written via Mad Libs. Johnny (Brandon Barash) decides to send Robin (Kimberly McCullough) and Lisa on “The Amazing Race: Syringe Edition” because… well, I’m really not sure why. Lisa is his friend with benefits that he seemed quite interested in both blackmailing and protecting. He barely has any connection to Robin. I can only assume that between the time when Jason (Steve Burton) pulled a gun on Johnny and the time that Johnny returned to his penthouse to find Robin and Lisa waiting for him, Jason launched into a heartfelt soliloquy about the happy times he spent with his first love Robin that made Johnny feel guilty enough to give Robin a shot at finding the syringe that ostensibly will prove Lisa was out to get her.

Obviously, there was a scene that was cut in which Johnny told Jason that he suspected Theo was in Paris and Jason let him go. I recognize that scenes have to be cut for time, but couldn’t the show have picked something that didn’t create a gaping continuity error? I recall GH did something similar after the big Franco art show debacle when one show ended with an armed standoff between Jason and Dante (Dominic Zamprogna)  – I don’t even remember who was holding the gun on whom – and the next time we saw them, they were on an airplane. I guess the editors have decided that the audience is aware Jason is not going to kill any major characters and doesn’t need to see him put down his gun.

The scavenger hunt itself is equally perplexing. How did Johnny, or his minions, manage to insert index cards with clues written on them inside medical files at the hospital and in Carly’s penthouse? It would have been hilarious to see Johnny sneaking around such allegedly secure areas.

There was more weirdness Wednesday, when a scene of Brenda preparing to leave the hospital ended with an obviously ad-libbed non-sequiteur of Brenda telling Sonny to take his shirt off.  I can only assume it was an inside joke between Vanessa Marcil Giovinazzo and Maurice Benard, since they did indeed have a sex scene on Thursday where he was shirtless. Maybe that should have been the moment that the editors excised.

The last year of GH has hammered home that Michael (Chad Duell) being sentenced to prison was the biggest tragedy to befall Port Charles in years, culminating in Michael’s heartbreaking admission that he was raped behind bars. Michael has been angry and traumatized ever since. Nobody has felt worse about the situation than Dante, who blamed himself for not allowing Sonny to cover up Michael’s killing of Claudia. So my jaw dropped when Dante, after catching Michael accepting a shipment of whatever it is Sonny imports, wondered if it would be worse if Michael went back to Pentonville or deeper into the mob. Later in that same episode, Michael told Jason, “It took going to Pentonville to finally learn to stand up for myself. The thought of going back there, yeah, it scares the hell out of me, but not half as much as living a life someone else wants, having some corporate job, feeling completely numb.”  Yes, Michael now thinks that wearing a suit to work is much worse than being locked up and living in constant fear of being attacked by sexual predators. I guess after a couple of off-screen therapy sessions and a few dates with Abby (Andrea Bogart), he is totally over that whole sexual assault thing.

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As  for the accident itself, the only way Liz (Becky Herbst) could have looked like a worse mother is if she handed Jake a plastic bag and suggested he amuse himself by sticking his head in it. She didn’t notice her little boy sneaking out of the house and running into the middle of the street because she was reading the results of a paternity revealing the identity of her youngest son’s Baby Daddy. Liz may have been resurrected by the fans, but her character’s being assassinated.

The final montage of everyone in Port Charles taking to the roads established the official hit-and run suspect list: Luke (Tony Geary) , Robin who is being chased by a crazed Lisa, Sonny and Brenda who are smooching in the car and not entirely focused on driving, Carly (Laura Wright) who was talking on her cell phone to Jax who is in the hospital with an ailing Jocelyn, and Sam (Kelly Monaco), who has been having headaches since she survived being blown up by a car bomb. Who hit Jake and ran? Lisa is the most expendable character. If Sam is at fault, the Liaison fans may storm the set.  If the spoilers that abound about this storyline turn out to be accurate, Carly would be the darkest, most ironic choice.

Blind Item Identity Revealed: Shelley Hennig Books Pilot

Yesterday, Daytime Confidential posted a blind item about an actress who recently left a soap booking a role in a high profile pilot. Today, Deadline reveals the answer. “Days of Our LivesShelley Hennig (ex-Stephanie) has been cast in “The Secret Circle,” a pilot for the CW that is executive produced by Kevin Williamson (“Vampire Diaries“). Hennig is playing the head witch in a coven. “The Secret Circle” has another daytime connection. It is being written by Andrew Miller, husband of Eden Riegel, who plays Heather on “The Young & the Restless.” Miller also wrote Riegl’s hilarious web series “Imaginary Bitches.”

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

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