Soap Opera Weekly: Blogging With Mala

I am still on Cloud Nine from last night’s NIGHT SHIFT! The dorky grin has yet to leave my face. And all because I rolled out of bed, settled in with my morning coffee, and got to travel back to the 1980s, which was when I was first introduced to GH by my mom. My only beef? They needed to put up an extra title card after the classic ambulance opening with “GENERAL HOSPITAL NIGHT SHIFT” in that old school font: “SPIT-TAKE WARNING, WATCH AT YOUR OWN RISK.” Because if you put Tristan Rogers (Robert), Anthony Geary (Luke), John J. York (Mac), Finola Hughes (Anna), John Reilly (Sean), and Sharon Wyatt (Tiffany) in a room together, it is a laugh-a-minute, spill-your-coffee-down-your-shirt extravaganza! (Thank goodness I was still in pajamas.)

I can’t even tell you how many times I choked with giggles — and if we’re keeping track, Geary did it to me the most! He’s also the one who managed to make me cry, when Luke shook Robert by the shoulders, telling him they both deserved better deaths and shouting that he’d kill Robert himself if he had to. I actually had to stop the tape right there and get ready for work — and, yes, I didn’t finish watching until I was ensconced in my office some 45 minutes later. That was amassive hardship. 

The trope of Robert’s past confronting him during his coma was a brilliant one, allowing GH: NS to dust off his old townhouse (I mistakenly thought it would be his penthouse, which is now Sonny’s old digs in Harborview Towers), and, more importantly, it allowed Robert to dust off his old pals! They even explained why Holly wasn’t there. Anna “innocently” saying that her invite to Robert’s death party got lost in the mail was hilarious. But aside from all the in-jokes, the scenes just resonated with history, with candor and camaraderie. I loved the device of Robin’s speech at Robert’s bedside being intercut with the pep talks from everyone in his dream. I LOVED the classic clips of Robin and Robert’s first meeting and Robert and Anna’s first wedding that were shown before the commercial breaks. And I loved the not-so-subtle message that the past creates us, shapes us, and is always with us, but can’t be recaptured. You have to take it and move forward: which is a beautiful way to summarize NS’ handling of GH’s history. It respects it, celebrates it, and uses it to move story into the present and the future. 

Oh, wait, other stuff happened in this episode, too, didn’t it? Claire resigned. Jagger got served with custody papers by Stone’s Mystery Mom — and then got a serving of Saira’s undeniable charms. Kyle and Eric had an achingly sweet scene where Kyle actually admitted his vulnerability and Eric promised to come back to him from clinical trials in Portland — which, I might add, went a long way towards soothing the pain of Calvin and Michael’s breakup earlier that night on GREEK. Toussaint found out he has a secret baby. And Patrick, totally rocking the threads of gray hair, was receiving threats from those skinheads he refused to treat two weeks ago. 

Which means we can all guess what was coming when they cued up the closing montage to “Make You Feel My Love,” by Adele. Soaps have trained me well. The minute everyone began pouring into the parking lot — a wistful Kyle and Eric, despondent Claire, Patrick with his Concern Face, and an all-too happy looking Saira and Jagger — I knew trouble was ahead. I was actually yelling at my TV, “No, Saira, don’t walk away!” because she totally had the pre-Lily Clink!Boom expression on her face. (For the uninitiated, that refers to Lilly Melgar’s character on the Day Shift blowing up in front of Sonny’s eyes in Luke’s club’s parking lot in the ’90s. She had this wonderful, beatific smile on her face as she glanced back at Sonny and you just KNEW she was toast.) As Patrick gazed around the lot, it was just a matter of guessing WHAT was going to go boom. The ambulance, like in the NS season one premiere? The dumpster? (Yes, it was the dumpster.) And the thing is, I didn’t even MIND the flashy FX and very typically “Friday cliffhanger” feel! 

Why? Because the biggest boom, this episode’s most powerhouse moments, didn’t come from violence. They came from love, the love Robert’s friends and family feel for him — and the love viewers feel for the wonderful show that GENERAL HOSPITAL used to be.


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