Soaps

‘General Hospital’ Week In Review: A Town Called Port Charles

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This past week of General Hospital was the debut of Jean Passanante and Shelly Altman’s reign as head writers. So far I’m liking the changes. The story arcs are still very much Ron Carlivati’s for now but structurally there is a noticeable difference. GH didn’t need a hard reboot like, for example, Days did. The stories and characters weren’t as much of an issue as was the way it all was put together and told. We didn’t always get to see the journey from one point to the other. Instead of quick scenes and long reveals, we’re now getting lengthier scenes and slow burns. The end result actually makes the show feel much more fast-paced and higher quality. Some of the major issues that made the ratings dwindle this year are still present and probably always will be unfortunately. But if GH can balance itself, make good use of the great acting talents it has, develop its characters and take advantage of the possibilities a full cast can provide, all will be good.

One of the highlights from the new team’s material was more of a feeling that Port Charles is a community as characters moved around town more. Tracy left her living room to visit Paul at work. Sabrina went from the hospital, to The Floating Rib, to Kelly’s and then home. Valerie bumped into her cousin Michael at Kelly’s as she was picking up doughnuts on her way to work. Ava brought Avery into the hospital and had a nice conversation with Liz in the process. Julian hung out with his sister and niece at Kelly’s then went home to Alexis’ place. Sam and Patrick chatted with Laura at their home then told Jake and Liz their good news at Kelly’s, then Sam hung out with Emma and Anna at home before spying on Nik with Jake on Spoon Island. This list goes on. I loved seeing the large cast utilized and the feeling that I was watching a town.

I also enjoyed the way scenes were written less for the causal viewer and more in the moment. There was still recapping but it was done within the actions of the characters rather than lengthy dialog. We were reminded that Hayden knows that Jake is really Jason and that Nik tried to have her killed as a result by watching Hayden eavesdrop on Nik and Laura’s conversation. This lead Hayden to wanting to have some fun getting revenge on Nik as told to us by the sly way Rebecca Budig cooed, “You’re so good to me. Some day I’m going to make it up to you.” Viewers were told that Nina and Kiki have a rocky past, Franco used to be an art therapist, Franco and Kiki used to think they were father and daughter and that Nina and Franco have yet to take the next step in their relationship through all the bickering over the murder apartment. All this served well to get new and returning viewers up to speed on story while not alienating those who watch daily and moving story forward.

As always a lot happened during the week that was and I wasn’t able to write about everything. If you want to share your thoughts or get my take on anything I did or did not mention, feel free to leave a comment below or tweet me and we’ll chat!

General Hospital Week In Review is for the episodes that tried between October 5th – October 9th, 2015.

A Positive

What a difference a week makes! In last week’s column, I mentioned what the hexagon was lacking and this week the story started making steps that filled in all the voids. Dillon got more ballsy in his pursuit of Lulu thanks to a pep talk from his dad, Val not so silently pined for Dante and Nathan continued to grow uncomfortable with Maxie’s movie make-out sessions.

What really moved this story was a lot of misunderstandings which drove the actions of the characters into a bunch of different directions. The biggest misunderstanding being a bag mix up between Val and Sabrina in which Val ended up with Sabrina’s positive pregnancy test instead of a bag full of Twizzlers. Of course Nathan finds the test, tells Dante that his one night stand just got a lot more complicated, Dante confronts Val, Val sets the record straight with Dante while giving him a piece of her mind and then Maxie finds the pee stick in the garbage thus jumping to the same wrong conclusion that Nathan did. Meanwhile, Dillon is being crabby to Lulu leading her to think she’s done something to upset him, Maxie clues her BFF into the fact that Dillon is in love with her, Lulu tells Dillon she knows the truth but she’s happy with her marriage and Dillon responds with a kiss! You get all that? Good! It was actually fun to watch.

In just a few episodes the hexagon got woven tightly together and each character is now playing a pivotal role in the story. Dillon and Valerie were both given some spunk. Dillon’s moodiness gave him an edge and I loved that he’s stopped being quiet in his longing for Lulu. I also loved the strength that Valerie displayed both when telling Dillon to keep his mouth shut and when telling Dante off after he had the nerve to accuse her of hiding a pregnancy. Nathan and Maxie’s roles in the story line picked up a bit too. Nathan is jealous of Dillon and I wouldn’t be surprised if somewhere down the line Maxie becomes jealous of Valerie. This keeps them in the story while giving them something else to do other than worry about their respective BFFs.

Sabrina and Michael’s story line has now been connected to the hexagon too via the pregnancy mix-up. Sabrina is pregnant and is freaking out! This poor woman never gets knocked up at a convenient time. What’s got her so stressed is Michael’s sudden (much, much too sudden) decision to become the next godfather of Port Charles. Sabrina fell for Michael Quartermaine not Sonny Jr. Michael is embracing the same lifestyle that made it impossible for Sabrina to be with Carlos. Sabrina is a sweet-natured former nurse. She wants Prince Charming not Rebel Without a Cause. She didn’t sign up for Michael’s about-face. So instead of excitement over the start of a new family, she’s scared.

Michael, of course, is oblivious. He’s been putting Sonny first – before himself and his lover. He doesn’t notice Sabrina’s uneasiness and he hasn’t thought about how his behaviors may effect her. There’s a lot of ways this can play out. Sabrina could cut Michael out of her life and chose to give her child a safe environment. She could not tell him at all about the baby in fact. What I am hoping happens though is that Sabrina tells Michael and then gives him the chance to do what’s right by her and their upcoming family. And I hope he does. Readers, this “Michael Corleone” stuff is not a good look for my young Quartermaine heir. Out of all the things that GH needs to fix storywise, this is at the top of the list for me. Hallowedding and its fallout was one of the best soap moments ever. It gave the fans what they had been waiting decades for. Ripping that away from us was not a smart thing to do.

Drunk Kiki and Dead Spots

It’s amazing how entertaining Kiki is now. All the writers had to do was switch up her co-stars and let her be a slutty drunk. This is so much better than the clueless vestal virgin of the Corinthos clan we had to suffer through for too long. Kiki has a lot of reasons to be messy right now. Her father was murdered, she’s stuck living in a crime scene and her boyfriend was boffing her mom (again). Plus she’s an unemployed mooch….well I guess that doesn’t seem to bother her yet.

I’m enjoying Kiki’s rockbottom. It’s a good start to rebooting the character and hopefully turning her into something a lot more viable than “the girl” role she has been for the last couple of years. This character was introduced strong but quickly turned into Starr Lite. Not only was her edgier personality stripped but she was given ill-conceived relationships. Having her bed-hop between two brothers with little depth given to either relationship just gave her a lack of common sense and likability. Switching her parentage to Silas only made her more boring due to the lack of chemistry and story. And making her Sonny’s new BFF was just weird. Embracing the character’s aimlessness and tendency to make poor choices feels right.

I like Hayley Erin. I think she has promise as Kiki but she needs good story line to help her make the role her own. I’m enjoying the makeshift family between Franco, Nina and Kiki. Nina and Kiki have their issues with each other but at the same time they have a lot in common. It would make sense for them to eventually become kindred spirits. Kiki also works much better as Franco’s faux daughter than she ever did as Silas’ daughter. Roger Howarth has great chemistry playing dads and I’ve been missing him in the parental role.

While it seems like there are better options than convincing Nina to buy the murder apartment so that they can all live together (seriously, deed in lieu the home of death and buy a nicer place instead), I’m looking forward to the wackiness and disfunction to come. I do wonder if the ladies will ever get comfortable living there though. I mean Nina can’t even walk on the spot where Silas was found dead.

Couples of the Week: Hayden and Nik, Sabrina and Michael

Quotes of the Week: “Yes, too busy to pee!”-Sabrina “Why don’t we find the finger paints? Silas probably had some finger paints.”-Franco

Scene Stealer of the Week: Felix DeBois! Welcome back baby!

For a peek at what’s ahead, check out our General Hospital Spoilers.

Photos courtesy of ABC.

About the author

Jenn Bishop

Jenn Bishop is TVSource Magazine's Soap Editor. She's a thirty-something fan girl of soapy television and anything involving Joss Whedon. She began sharing her views on daytime soaps in 2012 with her blog Save Our Suds. A former philosophy major, she loves discussing different view points with fellow TV addicts and aficionados. When not watching television, she enjoys art, live music, exploring the Midwest food scene, and drinking too many lattes. Follow her on Twitter at @SourceJenn.

  • SaveOurSuds

    Wouldn’t a little happiness be nice? Thanks for commenting:)

  • missmocha15

    Nice article about the changes at GH under the new regime. I like how things are going so far. I think Michael and Sabrina are the next supercouple of GH but I don’t want him to get into the mob either. I want him back at ELQ and having Sabrina help him work at the new clinic he was going to open. I don’t want Sonny murdering AJ to be pushed aside just so Michael gets back into revenge over who shot Sonny. I know some people are speculating that Sabrina could be pregnant by Carlos based on a flashback she had of them kissing a few months back, but I totally think it has to do with the possibility of Michael getting into the mob life. She is terrified of all that and would feel like a hypocrite sticking by Michael if he runs the mob while Sonny recovers and these are the reasons she never made it with Carlos. That lifestyle is way too dangerous. Given everything bad that Michael went through growing up because he was raised by Sonny, I hope the baby on the way has him doing some serious reconsidering and puts Sabrina and the baby’s safety first. I want Michael to get back to his Quartermaine roots so he and Sabrina can have a nice, long lasting relationship and have a nice stable family life and some happiness because these two definitely deserve it. C’mon writers please consider this. We all want happiness for a change instead of the same ole repetitive drama.

  • SaveOurSuds

    Thanks for commenting! I think there are a lot characters that need fleshed out and that takes time. I think Jean and Shelly’s strong suit is character driven drama which is a more gradual (and more satisfying) type of story telling. The really test will be in seeing what the show looks like a month from now I think.

    P.S. Val was awesome wasn’t she?

  • Caitie Rose

    Not much time to comment this week. Like you, I did enjoy seeing more dimension to the characters in the hexagon. Fans may not like what they – especially Dillon – are doing – but at least they are doing SOMETHING – and showing more spirit and overall POV. I especially cheered for Valerie when she gave hell for the mess up with the pregnancy test.

  • SaveOurSuds

    Thanks for commenting! A lot of people seem to think that Nina is Kiki’s mother. I’m not so sure yet. LOL

  • cheryl moore

    So happy about our new writers. Love Franco,Nina. Kiki i miss the ole kiki. But you have hot to know Nina Is her Mother.