Getting Back to Basics on General Hospital

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Is there a doctor in the house on GH?

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Dear Suds Buds,

I have a confession to make. I was weaned on ABC soaps.  I grew familiar with NBC and most CBS soaps rather recently – about 6 years ago.  So for the most part, my soaps frame of reference comes from ABC daytime -- except for CBS Daytime’s Y&R which was my mom’s soap.  Gawd forbid my dad would call my mom between the hours of 12-1 PM.  That’s when Y&R aired on the east coast in the early days.  Her favorite Genoa City character?  Snapper.  Poor dad had to wait until after 1 PM and my mom had her fill of Snapper, before he could get her on the phone. LOL  Speaking of Snapper, wasn’t he Jill’s brother?  I digress…

In the beginning of my watching soaps as a wee lil babe, the storytelling on General Hospital revolved around – the hospital.  Stories involved nurses and doctors and hospital administrators, their relationships with each other and with their patients.  It wasn’t rocket science. A show called General Hospital told stories about medicine and those who practiced it.  Sort of a no-brainer.  And we shared their pain and their joy as patients succumbed to their illnesses, or miraculously overcame them.  The hospital was the “gathering place,” “the core,” “the center” from which all things emanated. Jesse, the head nurse, knew everyone and everything about them. What she said was gospel.  Dr. Hardy saved lives on a daily basis as he juggled the politics of a city medical center.

Those days on GH I was riveted to the TV each afternoon to see what would happen next.  You long time GHers out there know what I am talking about.  Top characters would be killed off or die from some rare tropical disease in a surprise move to shake things up.  I remember reading somewhere some time ago, that the soap actors of that time were always in fear of their jobs being ripped out from under them for the sake of some compelling life and death storyline.  Producers never revealed story – or gave out scripts – more than two weeks ahead, for fear the actor would learn of his character’s ultimate doomed fate and phone in a lackluster performance, biding his time till his character bit the dust. Regardless, you knew that when you tuned in to General Hospital, you were going to see a show that was predominantly about a hospital.  That was then.

But something happened.  Suddenly there was the era of  the Scopios.  Cops and robbers.  Rapes and victim trauma.  Police investigations and court room drama. That led way to mobsters, more good guys and bad guys. Suddenly the relationships and story telling revolved not around the life and death of the doctors and nurses of General Hospital, but of the rapists, mobsters and their cronies.  Yes, one of the most memorable stories to ever air on soaps – the saga of Luke and Laura – grew out of that, and there was the heartbreaking story of Stone dying of aids, but for the most part, what happened to the hospital in General Hospital?

I am happy to report that with this year’s November sweeps, we are taken back to the root of General Hospital – the hospital!  Life and death.  Sam’s loss of her baby whose stem cells helped another child fight death off. We were on the edge of our seats as the truth regarding Kristina’s true parentage came out.  We have a new hunky doctor in Steven who – mark my words – will be breaking a few hearts in Port Charles before long as he saves lives and deals with death on a daily basis. His loyalty to Durant notwithstanding, it appears that General Hospital is going back to its roots.  I hope it lasts more than just November Sweeps.

But that’s what I think.  What do you guys think?  Tell me your thoughts on the Criticize the Critic boards.

Til the top of next week,

Linda Marshall-Smith
CEO, Soapdom, Inc.

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