Deep Soap: Stars Return to ‘General Hospital’ and ‘Days of Our Lives’

Drake Hogestyn (Photo: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

Drake Hogestyn, Jacklyn Zeman & Michael Saucedo Return to Daytime

After seven months away from Salem, Drake Hogestyn is returning to “Days of Our Lives.” His character, John, separated from his wife Marlena after he admitted to being attracted to Kristen (Eileen Davidson). With Kristen about to marry his son Brady, it would seem like an opportune time for his return. However, given how far “Days of Our Lives” tapes in advance, though Hogestyn starts work this week, he will not appear on screen until early 2014. The show has not revealed whether Hogestyn is back for a brief visit or a long-term stint.

Michael Saucedo, last seen on “General Hospital” in 2001, will be reprising his character, Juan. It has been established that Juan is Sabrina’s adopted cousin. In addition, Sabrina’s sexy ex Carlos Rivera is related to Juan’s biological mother, Lily Rivera. Though GH has not revealed any details about his storyline or the duration of his return, it seems likely that he will interact with both Sabrina and Juan. In real life, Saucedo is married to Becky Herbst, who plays Liz, so it would not be surprising if the show with a fondness for meta references has them cross paths as well.

Jacklyn Zeman will also return to GH for what Soap Opera Digest reports will be a “big storyline with daughter Carly.” Bobbie’s other child, Lucas, has managed to be a big part of the story off-camera. Alexis (Nancy Lee Grahn) recently used a sample of his DNA to prove that Julian (William DeVry) was Sam’s (Kelly Monaco) father. Though the show has not announced Lucas’s return, it seems like he should head back to Port Charles to meet Julian and Sam, as well as potentially romance Port Charles’s lonely gay nurse Felix.

Full Episodes of “Days of Our Lives” Are Available Here on xfinityTV:

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Daytime Emmys Add New Category

The Daytime Emmys have added a new category for daytime dramas with fewer than 35 episodes, Outstanding New Approaches to Daytime Drama. This will realistically be a category for web series like “Venice” and “Devanity.” With 38 and 40 episodes respectively, the resurrected online version of “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” will compete against the broadcast soaps in Outstanding Drama Series and in all acting, writing and technical categories. Whether or not the lower budgeted shows, which were still finding their creative footing when production ceased indefinitely receive many nominations, it will be nice to have more than four shows competing. The non-acting categories were becoming the T-Ball of awards shows with every show getting nominated.

Is “General Hospital” BonkersAwesome?

I have been trying to figure out exactly why “General Hospital” is so entertaining right now. I don’t always enjoy camp, which is a big part of Robin’s return, but I am loving every second of Faison and Olbrecht’s Boris and Natasha style evil schemes. In the past, I hated the show’s mob storylines, but I think the Jeromes and Carlos are great. I think that Huffington Post television columnist Maureen Ryan put her finger on it when she identified a group of shows as bonkersawesome.” According to Ryan, shows that are “loony but commit”, including “Sleepy Hollow,” “American Horror Story: Coven” and “Scandal,” are part of a new wave of smart, well written, deliberately unrealistic shows. I think GH should be added to this list.

Catch-up on Full Episodes of “General Hospital” Here on xfinityTV

Olbrecht (Kathleen Gatti) disguising herself as Anna (Finola Hughes) to break Faison (Anders Hove) out of prison, getting into a fight with the actual Anna, then turning against Faison when he wanted her to wear the mask in bed is bonkersawesome. (I think Olbrecht could find true love with “Scandal’s” equally evil Rowan. The duo could bond over their fondness for berating their smart, extremely successful daughters for being underachievers and for holding people prisoner.) Jerry (Sebastian Roche) holding Robin (Kimberly McCullough) in an underground lab so she can formulate a cure for his polonium poisoning is bonkersawesome. Ava luring hot, stupid Morgan into high stakes gambling as phase one of the Jerome family’s revenge on Sonny, then sleeping with him after his marriage to her daughter falls apart is also bonkers and awesome. The show’s attempt to simultaneously bring back Michael Easton, Kristen Alderson and Roger Howarth  as new characters after being forced to write off their original characters due to a lawsuit was attempted bonkersawesome gone very wrong. It’s a difficult genre to write, particularly when a writing team is crafting 250 episodes a year instead of primetime’s 13 to 22.

GH gives viewers enough credit for being aware of when they are being asked to willingly suspend disbelief in order for a worthwhile pay off, like A.J. (Sean Kanan) being alive without any real logical explanation. But the sillier plots work because they are grounded in realistic human emotions, just as “Scandal” works because viewers care about Olivia and Fitz’s relationship and Huck’s struggles to get past his traumas. Robin’s return works because of Patrick, Anna and Robert’s love for her. Julian’s genuine affection for the daughter he never knew he had and his elation at being able to save his grandson’s life by donating bone marrow keeps him from being a cartoon villain.

All daytime soaps have a little bit of bonkersawesome in them. Stefano (Joseph Mascalo) attempting to have Rafe (Galen Gering) castrated on “Days of Our Lives” and every single second of Kristen’s existence bring it to Salem. Arguably, former headwriter James Reilly was one of the genre’s pioneers. “The Bold & the Beautiful” has dipped into the well on numerous occasions, including the recently referenced time Brooke and Oliver accidentally had sex while wearing masks. While “The Young & the Restless” is very serious right now (Sharon is bonkers, but it’s not awesome), Bill Bell had a streak in him that came out when he wrote man-hating Leanna Love and had a plastic surgeon carve the word killer on David’s forehead. I say as long as the writers can find a way to make it awesome, keep bringing on the bonkers.

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

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