Soaps

‘General Hospital’ Picks and Pans: Nurses Ball 2017 Edition

Franco and Liz are concerned about Jake’s sudden stage freight.
Franco and Liz are concerned about Jake’s sudden stage freight. (ABC/Todd Wawrychuk)

Despite its tendency to be a bit campy, I find General Hospital’s Nurses Ball fun to watch. I love seeing everyone dressed up and mingling with each other. It’s a few days of much needed lightness for the residents of Port Charles. Overall the performances and visuals exceeded my expectations while the stories running parallel to it felt misplaced.

Picks

Great Gowns

Andre and Anna made a stylish pair. (ABC/Todd Wawrychuk)
Andre and Anna made a stylish pair.
(ABC/Todd Wawrychuk)

I know it’s superficial but one of the best parts of watching the Nurses Ball is seeing how everyone is dressed. My favorite gown was Liz’s stunning backless number. The romantic black and white floral pattern along with the high neckline, open back and mermaid cut made for a flawless look. Honorable mentions go Olivia, Anna and Ava’s dresses. I loved the trail of sparkly flowers down Olivia’s deep blue dress; Anna made quite the temptress in her shimmery gown; And femme fatale Ava channeled classic Hollywood noir in a style that I assume was inspired by Marilyn Monroe. Also kudos for finally giving Epiphany a pretty dress that showed off her lovely curves rather than hiding them.

The guys were all pretty much dressed the same, right down to the plague of white pocket squares. I get it. Men’s fashion tends to be less adventurous than women’s but it was still a little disappointing. More color would have been welcome. A man in a nice tux is always a good thing though regardless. Andre’s well-fitted suit with the blue tie won him the honor of best dressed guy with Scotty’s blue suit and Felix’s sparkly suit following.

Gotta Have Faith

Ned and Olivia perform a duet.
Ned and Olivia perform a duet.

There wasn’t one musical number this year that made me cringe from second-hand embarrassment. I liked them all. The tributes to George Michael and David Bowie, as performed by the Quartermaine boys and their ladies, were nicely done. You really can’t go wrong when Wally Kurth and Robert Palmer Watkins get to play rockstars. James Patrick Stewart won over the audience with his serenade of Billy Joel’s “So It Goes”. I also enjoyed the girl power performance of Sara Bareilles’ “Brave”. Lastly, the Leonard Cohen masterpiece “Hallelujah” was a perfect choice for the closing number with its spiritual theme and multiple lyrical interpretations.

This year’s Nurse Ball didn’t have as much variety as past years. It was all musical numbers. There were no tangos or stand-up routines. I saw a lot of online fans make note of this. I thought this was a positive. For every sexy nod to Dancing With The Stars, there’s a Mr. Marbles. I say stick with what you know will work.

Pans

Missing Persons

In what feels like a forceful attempt to set the current regime’s Nurses Ball apart from former head writer Ron Carlivati’s, we went another year without a performance from evil diva Dr. Liesl Obrecht. Fans like seeing Dr. O’s over the top theatrics. Also missing were hospital employees and popular, yet rarely seen Brad and Lucas. Sparkling events such as the Nurses Ball are designed for these outrageous characters who bring humor with their silly yet heart-warming dramatics. Instead this year’s drama was about funky biotoxins and Morgan’s pills. It doesn’t feel right that these characters were missing from the festivities. The value they add to the show was sorely missed.

Kristina, Valerie and Amy get ready to take the stage.
Kristina, Valerie and Amy get ready to take the stage.

Also missing were some of the relationships which should have been played between musical numbers. Maxie may have missed the event but her husband and mother were both there. Why didn’t they interact? As a friend of mine pointed out, it would have made sense for Nathan to be his mother-in-law’s escort. They could have discussed the difficulty of the young couple’s long distance relationship, adding some emotion beats leading up to Maxie’s eventual return. At the very least, it would have been interesting to have Felicia’s thoughts on Nathan arriving with another pretty blond on his arm. And speaking of Amy, the Nurses Ball would have been the perfect time to show the audience her #GHOffscreen relationship with roommate Kristina. We have yet to find out how these two apparent gal pals ended up being roommates and how their relationship fits into each other’s story lines. It was odd that they barely spoke to one another and hardly acknowledge each other’s presence.

Tales From The Darkside

As mentioned above, there were some fun stories that could have been played during the Nurses Ball. Instead the powers that be decided to focus on Morgan’s pills and a deadly biotoxin named after a mythical Greek kitten. I get that mayhem tends to break loose during big events but this felt a little much and made for some clunky storytelling. For example, the connection between the chimera and Jake was revealed and instead of seeing our heroes take action, they all sat down to listen to a David Bowie cover.

CarSon confront Ava.
CarSon confront Ava.

It’s no secret that I’m not a fan of the pill story line. It shouldn’t have been written to begin with and at the very least it should have ended months ago with Scotty switching the pills. I can’t wrap my head around why the writers think it is so important to have Carly and Sonny repeatedly punish Ava for behaviors that mirror their own. I also find it tacky that Morgan is getting more story line than everyone who is still on the show. For me, Maura West is this story’s only saving grace and her performance on Friday’s episode was mesmerizing.

As for the chimera story, I was really looking forward to exploring Jake’s backstory on Cassadine Island. I wanted to see a gothic, psychological drama evolving art therapy, an eerie island adventure and Liz dealing with her little Omen child. That’s the story that was set up anyways. Instead, viewers got only fragments of this. This plot-heavy story has mostly focused on a repressed memory that Jake and Jason share much to the chagrin of Jasam fans and disappointment of Friz fans. I’m not saying that GH should pander to fanbases – quite the opposite actually – just that they should know their audience. The story could have easily been a lot better.

Nurses Ball Highlights

So It Goes

Modern Love

Faith

About the author

Jenn Bishop

Jenn Bishop was 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.