Just like a circus…or a carnival.

Despite the fact that General Hospital and I have a dysfunctional, on-again-off-again relationship that’s probably rivals Sonny and Carly’s (except GH has never shot me in the head!), I am still perfectly capable of recognizing what it does well. And that is ensemble-driven action work. The Carnival o’ Death playing out this week, the scope of it and the effort put into pulling it off… this is the stuff that makes the show riveting and makes me wish they could at least pull off the cast integration, if not the shiny special effects, year-round. I enjoyed yesterday’s episode thoroughly. I loved seeing Coleman running the shooting gallery, and Sonny and Alexis just crackled as they watched over Molly and Morgan. There’s a huge difference in seeing characters together who have history we watched play out vs. history the show made up to suit the current arc. I also loved Nikolas telling Ethan he could have Rebecca when he’s done with her. Harsh? Yes. Cassadine? Oh, yes. And the montage at the end was a typical GH montage, but you give me cutie pie Jake running around and Edward Q as the catalyst for mayhem, and I’m sold. Of course, it had to end with Spinelli getting shot at point-blank, and me knowing full well he’d live. Oh, GH, why must you TEASE me?

Probably the same reason OLTL had to tease me with Todd getting shot and kicked around like a soccer ball. Heh. And as much as I love OLTL right now, I have to admit their high tension action sequence with the Sergei/Todd/Starr standoff was… not so tense. I mean, what IS it with all these houses with “security” having people just stroll in the patio doors? From the moment Sergei did that, while Starr was reduced to blubbering and Todd stood around so pulse-less he might as well have been watching TV, I was laughing quietly. Shaun was the only one who gave the scenes the proper sense of urgency. Heck, even baby Hope was chillin’ in the arms of one of the thugs… which, okay, I loved. Heh. It’s like such a Mala episode: “Hey, let’s beat the crap out of Todd and then have a guy hold a cute baby.”

I’m also cautiously optimistic about the new Melrose Place, which debuted last night at 9 on The CW. Katie Cassidy is the obvious breakout star, as the calculating but surprisingly layered Ella. I loved Cassidy as the duplicitous Ruby on Supernatural and am so glad to see another show has picked her up. And as MP introduced us to each of its tenants, making each a blatant “type,” I was pleasantly surprised at how they tied together Ella and Michael Rady‘s do-gooder filmmaker, Jonah. It made me go, “Oh,” and scoot to the edge of my seat. They’re definitely my early favorites, with Sarah Connor Chronicles alum Stephanie Jacobsen and AMC’s Colin Egglesfield (ex-Josh) rounding off the list as Lauren and Auggie. Now if I could just get Britney Spears’ “Circus” out of my head. I mean, the show has premiered, you’d think the earworm would wither and die now, right?

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