Deep Soap: ‘General Hospital’s’ New Nightclub Harkens Back to the Show’s Good Old Days

Thursday’s Episode of “General Hospital” is a Satisfying Soap Mash-Up

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Thursday’s episode of “General Hospital” was like that “Call Me Maybe”/”Somebody that I Used to Know” mash-up: the perfect blend of two very different series. It has taken a while but, for me, the “One Life to Live” transplants are now adding to GH’s flavor rather than being awkwardly grafted onto the show. Wednesday and Thursday’s episodes had heart, balance, and even a hint of the show’s rarest quality, romance. The opening of the new, nightclub-ized Haunted Star was a throwback to the days when Luke’s Club gave Port Charles soapdom’s most happening nightlife. People gathered not for a wedding or a funeral but just to have a good time listening to some music.

I like the way cop’s wife Lulu (Julie Berman) choosing to give up her job with the police department to run a club with her mobster with a heart of silver ex subtly references the original Luke/Laura/Scotty triangle. Johnny (Brandon Barash), who seemed irredeemable after he caused the accident that led to Hope and Cole’s death then persuaded Connie/Kate to take the fall for it, has somehow become a character I hope stays on the canvas. I enjoy the complexity of his attempts to make amends by bankrolling Starr’s (Kristen Alderson)career, being a great boyfriend to Carly(Laura Wright), and helping Lulu out of her professional rut, even though he must know on some level that he’s only digging a bigger hole for himself when the truth about the accident and Anthony’s murder inevitably comes out. Making enemies of Todd, Sonny, Tracy, Luke, and Dante constitutes a death wish.

Seeing Todd (Roger Howarth) and Blair (Kassie DePaiva) together has become a rare treat, like cheesecake. I appreciate every second that I get to spend with one of my all time favorite couples. It’s quietly groundbreaking the way the story is being told in spurts, with the audience having to figure out much of what has happened in Llanview on its own. We’re in Todd’s head, not knowing the status of Blair and Tomas’s relationship — though the brief glimpse we, but not Todd, got of Blair removing a ring is a pretty big clue that this trip is not going to end with a T&B reunion.  Of course Todd, who looks at Blair like she’s the sole reason he survived eight years in captivity every time he sees her, interpreted her request that they have a talk very differently. As he told Caryl on Wednesday,”She said she wants to talk tonight, just the two of us, and that, in blair-ese, blairbonics, that means ‘I love you always, and I always have, and I always will.'” Then he showed up at the club opening with an engagement ring. This has the potential to be a bigger train wreck than the time Ralph Wiggums gave Lisa Simpson a valentine.

Starr and Michael (Chad Duell)have gone from nails on a chalkboard the sort of sweet young love story I like to watch during the summer. All it took was for them to start being nice to each other. It’s amazing how much more likable couples are when the people in the relationship seem to like each other. It was terrific when, after Starr performed her sappy song,Blair, Carly and Todd simultaneously learned that their children were dating each other. “He’s Sonny Corinthos son!” said Todd, with displeasure. “And I’m Todd Manning’s daughter,” she retorted. It was a perfect summation of why there will always be plenty of story for this couple.

Finally. there was the surprise (for the unspoiled) of Patrick having a vision of Robin (Kimberly McCullough) at the end of the evening. I don’t think I have ever seen a better sustained portrayal of grief than Jason Thompson’s performance. Everything about Patrick has changed. He walks differently. The light has gone out from his eyes. It was sheer hell for him to attend the club opening and see happy couples having a good time. I wish that he was not turning to prescription amphetamines to dull his pain, as understandable as it is, but as an excuse to give viewers a final Scrubs scene, it works. I’d like it if Patrick eventually does seek counseling and is prescribed proper anti-depressants that help him. This is a hospital show, after all, and it would be an appropriate, informative social issues storyline.

If there were just one episode every week as good as Thursday’s, I would stop complaining about Sonny and Jason.

Did You Know Texting While Driving is Dangerous?

Every single moment of ‘The Bold & the Beautiful’s” Hope (Kimberly Matula) and Liam’s (Scott Clifton)relationship has been shown, and flashbacked to, and discussed by the other characters. In contrast, Marcus(Texas Battle) and Dayzee (Kristolyn Lloyd), the show’s only African American couple, have existed entirely off-camera. Marcus has a child with Amber. Dayzee has gone from homeless to hobnobbing with millionaires, which should give her all sorts of issues. If they have had a single difficulty over the course of their relationship, we have not seen it. Hope and Liam got a beautiful wedding on location in Italy. Marcus and Dayzee are getting a wedding in the Forrester living room. Before the wedding, Hope and Liam faced the obstacles of Hope’s absentee father paying her a surprise visit and Liam’s continued attraction to Steffy. Before their wedding, Marcus texted while driving and accidentally hit Dayzee’s barely remembered friend who she suddenly decided she wanted to walk her down the aisle. Marcus acted surprisingly sensible for a soap character, calling 911, staying at the scene and admitting to the police that he was the driver. He has yet to confess to the texting, which a simple subpoena of his cellphone records will reveal.  Dude, lawyer up, plead guilty to reckless driving, pay the victim’s medical bills, and offer a sincere apology.  That’s not a complication. It’s a PSA. Hmmm… I wonder which characters the writers like better?

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

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