1) What do you love about each?
2) What do you think are the strengths and weaknesses of each?
Comment on this article to answer! Discussion is encouraged; please be respectful when responding to another user's comments. Thanks! :)
Here's where I'll be pic-posting & dishing about my favorite soap opera, ABC's "General Hospital."
Note: Comments will be disabled on posts if discussion becomes hostile, off-topic or obscene.
One of the things I love about the soap opera genre is that each series, both past and present, has its own personality. The range can be from glitzy and histrionic, to cozy and sentimental. For those of you who watch all 4 of the remaining daytime dramas (or at least 2/4), I have 2 questions:
1) What do you love about each?
2) What do you think are the strengths and weaknesses of each?
Comment on this article to answer! Discussion is encouraged; please be respectful when responding to another user's comments. Thanks! :)
JuLexis & The Davis Girls
What Happened: Alexis (Nancy Lee Grahn) is accused of killing Carlos Rivera because her prints are on Julian's murder weapon, A.K.A. the dagger Helena used to murder Alexis' mother (6/17). Julian (William Devry) wants her to stand trial, promising to get her off (6/20). Alexis teams up with the PCPD and wears a wire, hoping to coax a confession out of him in the homicides of Duke Lavery, Rivera and a court witness (7/6). Julian finds the wire, takes her to the docks and nearly slits her throat before Sonny rescues her and she's able to stab him (7/8). As a result of working in Julian's favor while she was Carlos' lawyer, Alexis is temporarily disbarred (8/17). Leading up to being a star witness for the prosecution in Julian's trial, she has hallucinations of him and ends up freaking out on the stand (9/15). This, coupled with Paul Hornsby doctoring documents so that the wire recording is inadmissible (Ava blackmailed him; she knew he was the hospital killer), sets Julian free (9/20). After all the distress and failing to rebound with her career, Alexis develops a dependency on alcohol (9/27). She blacks out while cookies are burning and Danny is in her care (11/8). While drunk, Alexis accidently hits Julian with her car and flees the scene (11/23). Desperate to reunite with her, sober her up and hide from the latest mysterious crime-lord stepping on his neck, Julian hangs the hit-and-run over Alexis' head to move into her house and force her to nurse him back to health (12/6). He is being controlled by the sister he thought he executed in 1990, Olivia Jerome (Tonja Walker; 1/17). Olivia made Julian carry out his 2016 misdeeds to avenge herself and Duke, whom she loved. She also wants the hospital building to be turned into condominiums. She threatens Julian's family to keep him in line. Tom Baker tried to sexually assault an intoxicated Alexis at knife point over Christmas, but she got away. She thinks she stabbed and killed him (1/9) until her full memory returns while talking to the police (1/30). Alexis joins Alcoholics Anonymous (1/11) and tells Sam what's been going on (1/24). Kristina (Lexi Ainsworth) cheats on Aaron and has sex with Parker (Ashley Jones) when she reveals she may be getting a divorce (7/20). Sonny sees Kristina kissing Parker (7/22) and they have a heart-to-heart about her sexual orientation (7/26).When Alexis confronts and reminds Parker that she has no long-term intentions with Kristina (7/26), she sends a "Dear John" letter (7/28). Kristina blames Alexis for Parker's change of mind and throws Julian in her face (8/12). Parker tells Kristina she's going back to her wife, proving Alexis right (8/25). Molly (Haley Pullos) and TJ (Tequan Richmond) get a place together (6/16).
My Commentary: The downward spiral of 'JuLexis' was exciting, entertaining and fascinating, and anytime Grahn is given sordid material it's a good day because she slays it, but it was also another example of detrimental short-term writing. Julian was written into a such a hole, that it would be virtually impossible to get him out or restore the coupling in the way that wouldn't be utterly absurd. Take his trial verdict, for instance. Within the story, it's detestable and ludicrous that he got away with his crimes. Externally, however, he's a front-burner figure that's 1/2 of a popular pairing. There aren't a lot of viable options to keep him on-screen while serving an acceptable sentence. I knew whatever "fix" to reconcile Julian with Alexis wouldn't be justifiable, but geez, recycling Fluke was the best they could do? If Alexis doesn't turn him away for any other reason, it should be he's so easy to puppeteer. Many 'JuLexis' fans are criticized on social media for still wanting them together, but I understand their reasoning; they view the events of the past year as they are--the product of stunt scripting. I don't know if I agree with their assertions that Julian was pulled out of character, though. It was so aggravating to see so many in PC question and harshly chastise Alexis before and after her botched testimony, as if she didn't just have the most harrowing experience of her life and had the most to lose if Julian was found innocent. I knew what the jury outcome would be, but I was still shaking my head in disbelief. Grahn had me devastated and shocked with her. By the way, where the hell were the Davis girls and Diane then? I hate when necessary people are missing from important scenes. I very much enjoyed Carlos being some sort of morbid Jiminy Cricket (6/24); Jeffrey Vincent Parise is so fun and I miss him. It also made me smile watching Lucas (7/18) and Sam (8/5; 9/20) take turns disowning their father. I got my entire life when Julian used Danny yet again to manipulate to Sam, and not only did she let him know that Danny doesn't need his bone marrow anymore, but that she'd sic Jason on him or kill him herself. As I feared, Kristina's saga with Parker was summarized and cut short, but there was great beginning discussion about sexuality and heartfelt father/daughter action. Also, many points where Kristina was finally given the business by her mother and sister (i.e. Molly 8/17) for being so destructive, bratty and disrespectful. I jumped up and cheered when Alexis told her "You're not the only person with a problem here, so stop being so damn self-involved and grow up!" Of course, Alexis didn't do this without being reprimanded (8/24). *Rolls eyes* Is she ever allowed to parent?? I passed out when Parker cockily told Alexis she slept with her daughter (7/26). I thought "This is the wrong time to test this woman. Alexis' ability to take B.S. has diminished," haha. I love pissed-off Alexis. Why are Molly and TJ moving in together?! Why did no one object to this?! She's a college freshman! If it isn't having her off-screen most of the time, it's hurling her light-years ahead.
Paul, Sabrina & How It's Painfully Obvious the Writers Are Winging It
Soap-fans are used to a fair amount historical revisions and logic-defying tales, but rapid plot and characterization changes are happening so frequently now, consistency is non-existent and you're left wondering if the writers are fully mapping out concepts before they air. This was no more apparent than with the return of Paul Hornsby (Richard Burgi). First, he came to town wanting to take over Sonny's territory and use Ava Jerome as a lackey. Then, when the writers seemingly considered pairing him with Anna Devane, he was an undercover good guy that was trying to stop arms dealers. Though Paul took TJ hostage to bait and shoot Sonny (he was paralyzed and wheelchair bound for months after), this was never addressed. Finally, Paul was made the hospital serial killer, whose motive was to avenge his daughter's rape, with expectations she'll come out of her post-traumatic state. It was evident that he wasn't the intended culprit initially, as the attempted murders of Lucas Jones and Bobbie Spencer didn't fit into the payback score and were put on Heather Webber. Somehow, she quietly escaped a super-max prison with the goal of keeping suspicion off her son, Franco, and returned. It was more than a possibility that the murder mystery was just as whipped up as Paul's arc. I felt sorry for Burgi; it was such a hot mess and he ended up without a job. He went out swinging: his performances were so emotionally grabbing (especially on 9/27 and 9/28), that you had sympathy for Paul, even when he strangled sweet nurse Sabrina (Teresa Castillo) to death (9/14). He convincingly conveyed grief and ruefulness in Paul's final attack, as Sabrina was an inadvertent witness that had to be eliminated. The scenes were particularly hard to watch because she begged for her life for several minutes and was on the brink of rescue the whole time. At one point, she even pulled the blinds up on the medical room window and banged on it. As if that weren't agonizing enough, her best friend and boyfriend (i.e. Felix and Michael) giddily talked about an impending marriage proposal right outside the room where she lay dead. Then, in what felt like multiple episodes, we saw her pale corpse be photographed and grieved over before going to the morgue. Michael even put the (gorgeous and unique) engagement ring on her finger! The icing on the tear-jerking cake for me was when Felix (Marc Anthony Samuel) stopped the gurney for a last goodbye (9/16). His monologue closes with "I am going to miss you for the rest of my life," and a beautiful BFF montage played. I was done. Also, kudos to Sonya Eddy with Epiphany lamenting her treatment of Sabrina on 9/21. It was ridiculous that Felix, Epiphany and Lucy were all sitting on rows further back at her funeral, while Michael and both sides of his family were perched up front (9/23). Even her killer was front row! Her cousin Juan (who was on GH long before she was), Joe Rivera (Carlos' twin brother and Sabrina's ex), and other mentioned connections were absent. Sometimes they don't get this kind of thing right. Many of those that were aggrieved by Castillo's exit felt she and her character were never given proper wings to fly during her 4 year stint. Like Burgi, Castillo went out shining and showed what could have been. I discussed the lack of support I feel actors/characters are given on the series and how it affects the future here. On 10/3, Paul is taken down by Anna in front of Dillon before he can inject Tracy, who found out about the homicides, with a fatal syringe. It was a pretty tense and sad episode. I go on to pinpoint other chaotic and slapdash plots throughout this article.
...Because everyone spills their guts, literally & figuratively, at Pier 52.
In a period of 24 hours starting on September 14th (I'm sure a record was broken), it was announced that ABC's General Hospital lost 3 actors: Tyler Christopher ("Nikolas Cassadine"), Bryan Craig ("Morgan Corinthos") and Teresa Castillo ("Sabrina Santiago"). The former 2 won Daytime Emmys just 6 months ago for Outstanding Lead and Younger Actor in a Drama Series, respectively. Christopher originated his role as an heir of a wealthy, unbalanced royal family in 1996. He's left the series twice; the second time he was unexpectedly let go in 2011 and fans rallied for a reversal, not seeing him again until 2013. Christopher was temporarily replaced during a sabbatical this summer, while Nikolas faked his death, only to be shot by Valentin Cassadine (portrayed by James Patrick Stuart) and presumed dead again. There wasn't a formal send-off with a wrapped-up storyline, flashy funeral and sentimental montages, as Christopher said in late July he thought he'd return to set in September. Somewhere in that short month and a half, contract negotiations reportedly fell through. Bryan Craig came on the scene in 2013 as the first actor to play an aged Morgan Corinthos. His performance was applauded out of the gate, with him nabbing a Daytime Emmy nomination in his first year and consecutively since. He chose to leave the series, stating he felt it was "the right time." Castillo arrived a year before Craig, as a nerdy duckling-turned-swan nurse with a heart of gold. Apparently, it was a writing choice that led to the actress' contract not being renewed; her character was strangled by the hospital serial killer (9/14). Sabrina joins the long list of newer figures to not stick around for the long haul or full-time. With the extremes of a veteran actor and freshman talent, these departures bring attention to GH's secret elephant of a problem: they aren't building for the future.
As I wrote in my "We Need Tyler Christopher Back on General Hospital!" petition mission statement (click here if you'd like to sign it), legacy characters/actors are the backbone of a soap opera. They are the threads in the tapestry and help maintain a sense of familiarity. That said, they should be regarded with great care and respect. However, 30+ year personas (ex. Monica Quartermaine, Lucy Coe, Laura Spencer & Kevin Collins) are given little or nothing to do, while the 10-20-year class is allowed to walk--sometimes in the middle of a front-burner storyline-- as if they're dispensable. In 2016 alone, contract impasses saw Jason Thompson ("Dr. Patrick Drake") heading over to CBS' The Young & The Restless, Rebecca Herbst ("Elizabeth Webber") almost out, and now Christopher. It might be unfair or inaccurate to say there isn't reverence, but it feels like the attitude is that we viewers should just be glad to see the older-set, even though they're treated like relics instead of legends with these barely-there plots. Further, when actors don't seem to be fought for, it makes you wonder if they're valued by the honchos. How can you lay the groundwork for the next generation if you let the foundation, from which they'd launch, fall out? That is...if they ever launch.
There's been an effort to broaden and add to GH's canvas (ex. there's been more minority-race casting in recent years than in the last decade), but that's where it stops. New characters are cut off at the knees, never to blossom into proper supporting players because they're habitually used as romantic placeholders, props, plot-devices, side-kicks and air-time fillers. Promising storylines are abandoned and/or characterizations are altered in an unfavorable way. The mixed reaction to Sabrina's death online, for instance, was all about what they didn't do with the part. Numerous comments on Twitter were in the frame of "She was useless anyway" or "It's a shame because she had potential." Sabrina was never given her own tale. She spent the first-half of her tenure helping Patrick lick his wounds until his wife (and true love) came back from the dead, and the second-half championing Michael Corinthos through a breakup with Kiki Jerome and a custody battle over his half-sister. Consequently, most followers she had weren't exclusively hers--they were interested in her as long as she was with their guy; otherwise, they weren't paying attention. It was only legitimately about her twice: 1) when she tried to cause Ava Jerome's miscarriage to avenge her own, and 2) when she went on the run with the only link to her past in the cast, Carlos Rivera (Jeffrey Vincent Parise). The miscarriage angle was a flash-in-the-pan unfortunately, and the other was wildly whipped up for Castillo's maternity leave. That was another issue--rather than creating clever and convenient exits, both of Castillo's pregnancies were written in, causing Sabrina's life to be deconstructed repeatedly. Determined to work again as a nurse, Sabrina pronounced to Michael that she needed to have her "own life." I thought that meant she would finally get a meaningful day in the sun, but in actuality, the sun was setting. One of many missed opportunities, in my opinion. As TV Guide magazine's Michael Logan tweeted, Castillo is a "lovely, luminous actress." Parise was wasted too; Carlos was a plot-device hot potato, passed around to fill in several stories and recklessly killed twice.
Thoughts and observations of Port Charles happenings.
Julexis, The Davis Girls, Corinthos Clan & Jeromes
What Happened: Kristina (Lexi Ainsworth) tells Sam (Kelly Monaco) she was suspended from college for offering sex to a professor named Parker in exchange for a grade (1/18). Kristina questions her sexuality (3/16), as Parker is revealed to be a lesbian (1/19). Her parents find out about the suspension and confront her (3/17). When Kristina admits to Alexis (Nancy Lee Grahn) that she may not be heterosexual, she assumes Kristina was influenced by Parker and that her past with men is the root of her confusion (3/30). Molly (Haley Pullos) has sex with TJ (Tequan Richmond) off-camera on 2/12 after being taunted by Kristina for remaining a virgin and accused of being gay, and gets outed by Kristina before Alexis and Julian's wedding (2/19). Morgan (Bryan Craig) intentionally interrupts an enemy gun deal on Sonny's territory (2/22), where Kiki (Hayley Erin) is shot trying to shield him. When police show up, one of the ringleaders, Dixon, runs into the church and holds the wedding guests hostage (2/23). Dixon shoots Nathan and tries to kidnap Kristina before Sonny (Maurice Benard) jumps him; everyone sees he's no longer paralyzed (2/24). Morgan blames himself for Kiki's injury and nearly jumps off a building (2/26); Sonny and Carly decide to have him committed for thorough treatment of his bipolar disorder (3/4). Ava convinces Morgan to break up with Kiki for her own good (5/19), and Kiki's budding relationship with Dillon leads to a kiss (5/26). To save his and Ava's necks, Paul says Ava was a cohort for the gun bust. Julian (William Devry) rejoins the mob to protect Ava (Maura West) from the organized crime groups, who think she's a rat (1/7). Sonny teams up with Anna to bring Carlos to justice for killing Duke on Julian's orders (4/13). Julian enlists Alexis to defend Carlos (4/25). Julian snoops through Alexis' papers to locate and murder a prosecution witness (5/2), and later stabs Carlos (Jeffrey Vincent Parise) to death with the dagger Helena used to slit her mother's throat (5/12). She keeps Julian's bloody shirt and considers turning him in (5/17). Carly (Laura Wright) gets a hold of Ava's sex tape with Paul (Richard Burgi) and uses it to retain custody of Avery (5/25).
My Commentary: As it relates to diversity, GH has always been sadly behind the curve. Though we've seen more minority-race and LGB (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual) characters in recent years than in the last decade, most have been given back burner plots or used to prop others. Hopefully, Ainsworth being a popular actress and Kristina being the child of two major figures in GH history will mean the story of our first (possibly) bisexual female will gain the traction and attention it deserves (even though the last we saw on 4/27, she was going out with a guy. *Rolls eyes* They better not get chicken). It's been written extremely well so far, with detailed discussion about sexual development and usage of important terminology, such as "polysexual" and "queer" (3/23). When Parker visits Kristina, she argues that Kristina subconsciously fixated on her as opposed to another woman because she was essentially inaccessible--Parker is both married and her professor. The odds of them really being together were next to none; no realities to deal with (3/25). I said, "Ooh, psychology. Thoughtful." It appears that this isn't just about the sensationalism and drama of a hidden secret, and that the writers actually want to teach us something. Ainsworth superbly captures the fear, confusion and frequent deflection that comes with the journey of sexual identity. I was a crying mess with the suspension confrontation; she was using her entire body to emote, down to the point of visibly quivering.
Ava, Morgan & Kiki, Who Killed Silas?
What happened: Silas (Michael Easton) was murdered (7/31) before he could tell Kiki (Hayley Erin) that her mother, Ava (Maura West), was alive, disguising herself as a long-lost aunt (Denise Demuccio) and sleeping with her boyfriend, Morgan (Bryan Craig). Scotty grilled Ava as a suspect during the subsequent trial and she blew her cover (8/24). Madeline Reeves turned out to be the real killer; she wanted to forge Silas' signature to have access to Nina's (Slias' ex-wife) money (8/31). Kiki swore Morgan and Ava off once she learned the whole truth from Franco (Roger Howarth; 9/1). Scotty became Ava's lawyer and got her off for killing Connie, having the 1 shred of evidence in his possession: a recorded confession (9/16). The recording was stolen by new district attorney Paul Hornsby (Richard Burgi), who wanted to use Ava as the face of his mob ring while he tries to dismantle Sonny's organization (9/22). Ava finally regained custody of her daughter, Avery, by goading Sonny into threatening her and taping it for the judge to hear (11/10). Nina and Franco moved into Silas' apartment to look after an alcoholic Kiki, who later ran Carly off the road in a druken stupor (11/3); Carly dropped the charges (11/24). Michael and Carly had an intervention with Morgan (11/23) to get him treatment for bipolar disorder, of which he showed signs starting on 9/2.
My commentary: I love a good "who dun it?" murder mystery and a Friday cliffhanger! The clues were well-placed and properly misleading (Morgan, Ava and Nina were all at scene and had motive; the Madeline factor was introduced later), and the investigation and trial didn't go on for too long. 1 of the stand-out moments was when Nina (Michelle Stafford) left for Silas' apartment in a rage after learning he let her stand accused of kidnapping Avery to keep up Ava's 'Denise' rouse. "Once again, he's chosen Ava over me!," she yelled (7/31). The lines were great and I enjoy watching Stafford's 'heat to an exploding boil' anger work. Hell must have frozen over on 8/4, because I felt sorry for Franco when got pegged as the killer in trying to protect Nina. Around this time, there was a lot of excellent dialogue about Ava's flaws and desires (ex. when Silas' ghost haunted her on 8/12); character psychology is a rarity. West rocks everything given to her; she's so emotionally animalistic and convincing. It's awful and ridiculous, for example, that a grown woman would weep like a teenager over her daughter's boyfriend (8/28), but West will break your heart, make you sympathize and...get hot and bothered over it. Ava was speaking to Morgan from behind jail bars, but fogged up the place reminding him of their chemistry (8/27): "...the way I touched you, my breath on your neck, the way I bit your lip when we kissed...you know my body blindfolded and I know yours just the same." Which writer was responsible for that erotica, haha? Kiki finding out that her mom wasn't dead should've been stimulating, but it was underwhelming. The Denise thing was fun at first, but I was glad when it was over. I like that Ava's in a position to be a mob queen again and has a new love interest, but I don't like that it's all at the mercy of a man who's stepping on her neck. I want her to finally be in complete control. It's backwards to me that she sleeping with Paul. It was fun to see her back in action at the 5 families meeting on 9/28 and put little Michael, who's always trying to sit at the big boy table, in his place. As for this custody business, I'm sick of Avery being bounced around and fought over. I'm also sick of it being painted like Sonny is Ava's victim and she's uncompromising, as if the baby wasn't literally ripped and kept from her since birth. I love Carly, but I clapped when she called herself Avery's mother and Ava snapped " You're not her mother...bitch (9/24)."
Thoughts and observations of Port Charles happenings.
Guys, I'm trying a new format this time; please let me know what you think of it! :)
The Spencer Clan
What Happened: Luke's long-lost sister, Patricia (Dee Wallace), told Bobbie and Tracy that his mental breakdown was likely the result of repressed memories of murdering his parents, Lena and Tim, as a teen (4/1). Luke (Anthony Geary) fatally hit Lena in the head with a bat on accident, trying to guard her from the abusive Tim (Bobbie was too young to remember this). When Tim berated a devastated Luke after a hospital call confirming Lena's death, Luke snapped and struck him dead. Patricia and Bill Eckert covered up any remnants of the event, and she sent Luke and Bobbie (Jackie Zeman) to live with their Aunt Ruby. After this was explained, Patricia, who was already ailing from multiple sclerosis, presumably died from shock (Luke bound and gagged her) and Luke was sent to a psychiatric hospital. Patricia's daughter, Valerie, who was also attacked, nearly slit Luke's throat for revenge (4/8). Later, Luke is cleared for release by a doctor. Laura (Genie Francis) returns to town and alerts Luke that Lucky and Ethan have been kidnapped by Frank Smith and they're commanded to tell no one (6/15). Lulu and Dillon find out and demand to help in the rescue. Tracy is led to believe that Luke dumped her for Laura (6/9) and Dante (Dominic Zampronga) is told Lulu is visiting her grandmother. Dante assumes Lulu and Dillon (Emme Rylan, Robert Palmer Watkins) are having an affair when he discovers she actually booked a hotel room with her ex-lover (6/30). Dante kisses Valerie on 2 separate occasions and they ultimately have sex (7/6). When he learns the truth, he only cops to kissing Valerie (Brytni Sarpy) and makes her vow to keep the rest quiet. Tracy (Jane Elliott) feels that Luke doesn't see her as an equal and he needs time to heal from his childhood revelations; they agree to separate (7/21). Lucky (Jonathan Jackson) finds that Helena Cassadine has had his adopted son, Jake, on Cassadine Island since 2011, when he was thought to have died after a freak accident where Luke hit him with his car (7/6).
My Commentary: The multi-episode flashback arch revealing Luke's parricide was beautifully done and directed, and a sight for sore eyes with continual, in-depth storytelling. It had my heart and caught my tears. It was a sweet thrill to see Laura Wright (who portrays Luke's niece, Carly) as Lena, and Jason Thompson and Rebecca Herbst as GH genesis characters, Dr. Steven Hardy and Nurse Jessie Brewer. The arch was great independently, but within context of the "Fluke" storyline, it still left a lot unexplained. Why break now, after all these years? If the drugs Heather's Miscavige men gave him caused the memory to come back, why would it bring out an evil side? The deaths didn't happen callously. The implication is that Luke is inherently evil, but he assumingly showed no symptoms of this before the trauma. Most of all, this incident doesn't explain the inclination towards womanizing and sexual assault (in addition to raping Laura, Luke attempted to do the same to Kiki and threatened Julian with it against Sam), or logistical details, like being in WSB custody with Julian Jerome. I did like how the writers connected the parricide to Bill Eckert's final words: "forgive yourself for what you did to your mother." Geary suggested last June that this year-long journey (that fans found arduous, by the way) kept him from leaving GH, but allegedly after having a post-surgery epiphany, he opted to go anyway. Rather conveniently, the double-homicide unveiling provided a built-in exit, but the writers wanted to take Luke down the corner of Ridiculous Lane and Unnecessary Road one last time. Jennifer (Frank's daughter) wanted to blackmail Luke into sleeping with her to get "closure" from their broken engagement 35 years ago (6/22). Frank, who's supposed to be dead, wanted to avenge being shot 21 years ago (7/3). A retro villain was resuscitated (and recasted) to be shot again after about 4 episodes (7/6). Oh, and he has something to do with Little Jake (who wasn't born until 2007) being alive, though we won't be told how! It was silly and pathetically underdeveloped. What was the reason for it?! To reunite Luke with his off-canvas sons and ex-boos, Laura and Holly? Him severely needing psychological care was sufficient enough. Was it to bring back Little Jake? Geary theorized the Jake scenario was to redeem Luke from being a child killer, but I think it has nothing to do with him and everything to do with making things more complicated between Liz, Jason and Sam, once Jason regains his memory (more on that in a bit). It would be nice if Jake wasn't killed in the first place or was resurrected to right a wrong, but instead he's being used as a plot device, which I always hate. Luke and Tracy's parting scenes were well-scribed and bright, with Elliott being the queen she can't help but be. The dialogue about how Tracy needs to feed her spirit after chasing Luke and ELQ, and how he needs to recover and can't pick up where he left off gave a powerful and sensible conclusion to their romance that didn't feel hurried or unnatural. The ghosts of Luke's youth reappeared on 7/24, giving him resolve and perspective; again, beautifully done and thorough. Why kill Patricia though? We just got her! I hate when phantom characters are finally brought out of the shadows, only to die almost instantly.
In case you missed it, there's a new Spencer in town! Model/actress Brytni Sarpy joined ABC's General Hospital in March as Valerie Spencer, the daughter of Luke's mysterious sister Patricia, who had all the answers to his befuddling and sudden mental breakdown: childhood trauma (in defending his mother from domestic abuse, Luke accidentally hit her with a bat, resulting in a fatal head injury). Valerie showed she had Spencer blood when she nearly slit Luke's throat after an already ailing Patricia presumably died from shock. This definitely put her at odds with new-found cousin, Lulu, and it isn't helping that she keeps catching Valerie hugged up with her hubby, Dante. Sarpy got with JSaysOnline.com to discuss her GH role and racial diversity in Hollywood.
JSaysOnline: First off, welcome to soap-land and General Hospital! Your entry into daytime is on a 52-year-old serial in a character family with a 37-year legacy and a big reveal. Did you know when you booked GH that you would be a part of such a rich history, and was it intimidating for you?
Sarpy: Thank you! I found out about Valerie's history the day I found out I booked the role. Previous to that, I wasn't given that information. Upon finding out I would become a Spencer, I was given a “Spencers 101” lesson, if you will. Learning that I would be working with Tony [Anthony Geary, "Luke Spencer"] was probably the most exciting part, and has been one of the most humbling and educative experiences in my acting career.
JSaysOnline: What brought you to audition for GH and what's the back-story of how you were cast?
Sarpy: I have been in [auditioned] for GH several times; last year I screen tested for the role of Jordan, but was too young for the role. When the role for Valerie came about, Mark [Teschner, casting director] had me in mind for the role, and the rest is history…
JSaysOnline: Did you watch any soaps growing up? If so, which ones, who were your favorite characters and what were your favorite plots?
Sarpy: My mom watched GH and All My Children when I was growing up, so I'm pretty familiar with the soap world.
JSaysOnline: What we presume/know about Valerie right now is that she grew up the only child in a single parent household and, in recent days, was held hostage, gained an extended family she didn't know about and suddenly lost her mother, Patricia. Will we learn more about Valerie and Patricia's life together? What's on the horizon for this character? What are you hoping will happen?
Sarpy: I think Val's relationship with her mother will always be integral to her character, as it defines her. I think here and there you will find out bits and pieces about her relationship with Patricia. Val's main focus will be finding her place in Port Charles, in regards to her living situation, possibly a job, friends, etc.
JSaysOnline: When Valerie first meets her aunt-in-law, Tracy Quartermaine, she has a hard time processing that Valerie is biracial. In the 1990's, her biracial nephew, Justus Ward, confronted her about her prejudice. Were you surprised to see Tracy's pause with Valerie in the script? How would you feel if racial dynamics became a part of your character's storyline?
Sarpy: The script was written slightly different than how we ended up performing it. We felt it was important to answer the question of Valerie's mixed ethnicity head on. I think racial dynamics as a part of my character's storyline is less likely, but there are great things to be said about being an actress of differing ethnic background in a traditionally Caucasian family, and the prevalence of diversity in writing in today’s age.
NOTE: This campaign is now closed. If you still would like to donate to my GH Fan Club Weekend fundraiser, you can do so here, but please be advised that the donation will not go towards comments or questions to be included in the following interview. Thanks, J.
I'm doing an interview with General Hospital's Brytni Sarpy (A.K.A. Valerie Spencer) and you can be a part of it!! The first 10 people to donate $30 to my fundraiser to attend GH Fan Club Weekend will get to submit a question to be answered by Brytni guaranteed! The first 20 people to donate $15 can submit a personal message or comment that will be sent to and seen by her, again, guaranteed! Here's what you have to do:
1) Go to this link: http://www.gofundme.com/oi2rm8
2) Hit "Donate Now" and follow the prompts. Be sure to use a valid email address and credit card. In the comment box, leave your twitter name (ex. @JSaysOnline) and question or message for Brytni (think "creative" and "thoughtful"). Questions or messages that are explicit or attacking to Ms. Sarpy or any of the cast/crew of General Hospital will NOT be accepted. NO refunds or exchanges on donations.
3) Keep up with JSaysOnline.com on Twitter and/or Facebook to catch when the interview is posted.
That's it! Good luck and thank you for participating!
Thoughts & observations of Port Charles happenings.
Note: Guys, I'm raising money to attend GH Fan Club Weekend, which falls on my birthday this year, for the 1st time. I'd greatly appreciate any donations you'd like to offer; just follow this link: http://www.gofundme.com/oi2rm8. Thank you in advance.
On 1/13, Nikolas (Tyler Christopher) was revealed to be behind the rigging of the mayoral election in which Felicia was the true winner. Nikolas got Janice Lomax in, who promptly fired Anna (Finola Hughes) as police commissioner and replaced her with the shady Kyle Sloane (Grayson McCouch), so Nikolas can have someone to execute his dirty deeds and evade law enforcement. At first, I thought this was all a rouse to convince his grandmother, Helena, that he was conceding to her threats to his inheritance, but after he secured his assets under her nose and banished her to Cassadine Island (2/20), he began following through with the plot she hatched to acquire controlling interest of ELQ, which involves keeping the secret that Jason Morgan is alive and well. What broke the noble prince's moral code? Getting dissed by Liz and deceived by Britt. Sigh. Again, something I long thirsted for came in a disappointing and anti-climatic form. I've always wanted Nikolas to one day go to the dark side of his genes, but not like this. All of the sudden, he went from "No, grandmother, you won't extort me into evil-doing," to "You don't have to extort me. My post-widowing love-life has sucked, so I want to wreak havoc on PC." He went on about how goodness died with Emily and how much he loved her, but he's targeting her family's company and hurting the brother (Jason) she worshipped, who also happens to be the husband of his beloved cousin, Sam. This for ELQ? Nikolas doesn't need that company, he's a prince! He has his own island! Wasn't ELQ Luke's target anyway? When did it become of Cassadine interest or necessity? *face-palms* I need real goals with real motives. Additionally, anytime he expresses guilt over his actions, he hardly mentions Emily as a factor, which is a writing oversight. The best part of this so far was Nikolas holding a knife to Helena's neck on 2/5. In another random event, Lulu had faux beef with Nik and held him responsible for not alerting everyone that Helena and Luke were putting their heads together. *rolls eyes*Meanwhile, Spencer's (Nicholas Bechtel) hilarious and entertaining 10th birthday party (I couldn't with his Rocky entrance) went left in an accidental fire caused by Cameron (2/25) that resulted in Spencer needing the care of Shriner's Hospital.
Ric, Liz, Jake (Jason), Sam & Patrick
I've said many times that I can't stand how Elizabeth (Rebecca Herbst) is written to have a fair-weather heart and that the character is worthy of more. Once again, she questionably drops a guy-without even sweating-to explore an illogical option. Ric (Rick Hearst) survived being framed, hidden away in police protection, kidnapped from police protection and nearly killed to get back to Liz and his child, and she's given up on trying to make it work with him (3/13) for a stranger with amnesia that could be married (i.e. Jason, who thinks his name is Jake and required facial surgery after an accident, so no one knows his identity). Right.... that makes sense. She's already super jealous too; nosey and in JakeSon's (Billy Miller) grill every time he has a moment alone with Sam or Carly. She was going to take him to bed on 3/20 when a woman claiming to be his wife showed up on her doorstep (Rebecca Budig, formerly of AMC). I about died! They said Budig's role (Hayden Barnes) was going to be a doozy (hey, girl, hey! Welcome back to daytime)! Wait, I just realized something. Hayden Panettiere's character on Nashville, which is on the same network, has the last name Barnes. That's funny. Anyway, Liz's reaction to Hayden was intensely accusatory, borderline angry and territorial, when she should've been written as devastated, but concerned, to make sure he was going with the right person. Liz spoke to her like she was an evil intruder (which she is, but Liz doesn't know that), instead of a woman who's loved one's been missing for months. The audience knows that Jakeson's true wife is Sam (Kelly Monaco), so either Hayden was nuts (ala` Mary (Connor) Bishop) or a con sent by Ric. It was option B for $200, Alex (3/24). This is a fun angle; I just hate that Ric is digging himself in deeper ultimately with Liz and proving he hasn't changed much.
I enjoyed the Haunted Star bomb scenes in early February; any day we have action, which GH is known for, it's a good day. It was supposed to be Luke's show, but the exchanges between other characters, like Jason and Sam, were more interesting. Miller and Monaco play off each other well; I loved their deliveries on 2/3 and 2/4, as Sam went from angry and afraid, to concerned and compassionate, learning that Jason was under Helena's mind control when he held her hostage to free Faison, broke into her home with the intention to kill her and planted a bomb on the Haunted Star. 1 handcuffed to the table and 1 free, Jason tosses Patrick into it when he shows up trying to be a tough guy, which made me moist (it gave me happy memories of him doing the same thing to Carlos too). The break-in was also nicely done (1/19 & 1/20); Jason nearly had a memory breakthrough, pacing around the familiar surroundings of his home and seeing photos of himself. The swaps between Sam and Patrick making love and Jason having a hallucination of Robin as he last saw her was a great directing/editing choice. Jason recognized the Dragon and Phoenix figurines he and Sam received on their wedding night and took the Phoenix. Sam was naturally distressed when she realized it was missing. Despite her explaining the sentimental value of it to Patrick, he referred to it as a "knick-knack," and she didn't check him. In fact, he practically convinced her that she was overreacting (as usual when she has a hunch) and she used the phrase herself. Totally out of character. She would've been extremely insulted by Patrick's passivity. Full of resentment towards Robin, Patrick (Jason Thompson) has been on this "screw my ex" tour and wants Sam to buy a ticket. It's as if he wants Sam to be as dismissive of all things Jason as he currently is of all things Robin. On 3/24, when he suggests Sam move in with him and she asks if it would be weird for her to come in the house he shared with Robin, he says it would be no weirder than the time he's been spending in Jason's home. Patrick is so pressed to move on (literally and figuratively) that he didn't think twice about how such a decision would affect his daughter Emma; Sam had to bring that up. Sam mentions that Emma (Brooklyn Rae Silzer) lost the presence of her mother yet again and a live-in girlfriend with a baby might be a hard adjustment for her. Patrick shrugs this off and emphasizes that Emma likes her, as if that changes the situation. In just 3 years, this little girl has endured 3 serious girlfriends and 2 failed pregnancies right along him. That's a lot of changes. I love when Sam's motherly instincts are displayed, like when she was able to soothe Spencer into telling what he knew about Luke last September.
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