Experiments in Pain, Part I

Hey, remember when you could look forward to every Friday for an exciting cliffhanger of some sort on soaps?

It’s been a long time since I sat down and watched an entire episode of General Hospital without fast forwarding. Normally, I’m pretty okay with that. Let’s face it: the show is painfully bad.

But since incandescentflower convinced me to start this blog with her, I’ve been feeling a little bad about ranting over things I haven’t even had the stomach to watch. So this afternoon I looked at the Friday episode sitting there, taunting me on my TiVo, and I thought to myself:

“Self, what if you’re being unfair? Maybe all those scenes you skip are actually great! Why don’t you try watching this sucker with no interruptions? An experiment, if you will, in the name of science.”

So here we go: the Friday, February 20, 2009 episode of General Hospital, recapped in its full horror — er, glory. Um, enjoy?


We open on Winifred, aka Special Agent Leeds, aka “The Priestess,” aka…the most irritating and unnecessary character currently among this bloated cast of irritating and unnecessary characters.


My resolve to really do the whole episode thing is immediately tested. Normally I can take about 2.5 seconds of Winifred before my thumb starts twitching toward the fast forward button. But then I thought of you, dear readers! And of science! And I persevered.

(I feel I should note that I have nothing against Senta Moses, for whom I still harbor fond feelings from her days as Delia Fisher on My So Called Life. The fact that she was too old to play a high school student even then and yet is still able to pass as one now that she’s in her mid-thirties isn’t even enough to make me hate her.)

ANYWAY. Winifred has come to pester Jason about saving Spinelli from the evil FBI, who might actually have the nerve to punish him for all the laws he’s broken. Which they all — even Spinelli — freely admit he knowingly did on numerous occasions. But he’s so nice! And nice people who mean well should be able to commit whatever crimes they want to with no repercussions, or something. I don’t even know. Trying to parse the complex code of Port Charles ethics makes my head hurt.

So Wini’s here to make her case that Jason should save his stupidly nice grasshopper, even though she and the audience are both well aware that Jason has already made his intention to do just that abundantly clear. But since Spinelli is fast becoming the second saint of Port Charles under good old St. Jase himself, we have to repeat it some more, I guess.


Before we can get into this no doubt scintillating meeting of the minds, however, we jump over to the Crimson offices, where St. Spin himself is feeling the worse for wear after his adventures in the slowest moving fire in history. Maxie hovers over him in histrionics — wearing an absolutely delicious red top, I might add — as Johnny and Lulu look on, pretending to care.

Johnny and Lulu

I feel you, Johnny and Lulu!


Meanwhile, over at the MetroCourt, Alexis is happy to see Nikolas alive, even though he greets her affectionate hug with a trademark sucked lemon scowl:


Dude, Nik, if Alexis wanted to press her fabulous bosoms to my breast and whisper sweet nothings in my ear, I would not be complaining. I know she’s your aunt and all, so copping a feel might not be in good taste, but you could at least muster a little enthusiasm here, you know?

But Nikolas is in a bad mood, you see, because his efforts to stalk a complete stranger who happens to look exactly like his late wife have been thwarted by said stranger’s total lack of interest in his creepy, creepy, overbearing behavior. Too bad, so sad.


We head over to Sonny’s fortress of solitude, where Claudia’s discovered cat burglar Kate (who’s breaking and entering ensemble comes complete with a gaudy petty larceny broach and — I kid you not — sparkly black gloves) in her living room, raiding the liquor cabinet.


I’m unclear on who the audience is supposed to be rooting for in this confrontation. Personally, I hate what’s been done to both of these characters, who started off with such great potential to be strong and interesting, and each degenerated into the pathetic, needy, horrible wrecks we see before us today.

I’m at a loss as to what either of them sees in Sonny, frankly. Kate’s been so ruined by his presence in her life that I hardly want her to succeed in winning him back. And Claudia is guilty of setting off a chain of events which led to the shooting of her husband’s child. Am I supposed to want her to get away with that? Both of them suck.

I’m also completely confused why Kate feels the need to find “proof” (as if the word of Jerry Jax would be considered airtight evidence anyway) before going to Sonny with any accusation. He supposedly loves her, right? And has very good reasons to mistrust Claudia. Drawing out the “tension” here by delaying Kate’s announcement of the truth is ridiculous.

In any case, Sonny walks in before Cat Fight, Part Two-Hundred can really get rolling, and we leave them staring at each other blankly to join the credits.



(I know money’s tight right now, but would it kill them to put in a new ending shot that 1. included some women, and 2. wasn’t full of dead people?)


Okay, back to the show. (My God, TiVo informs me I’m only four minutes in. How is this possible?)

We join Carly and Jax in bed, still enjoying the afterglow of their elevator tryst, and — apparently — the discovery that they’re both enormous exhibitionists. Before things get too interesting, however, Max bursts in, accompanied by the twinkly music of wacky hijinks. Max is bemoaning Diane’s reaction to the tiresome product placement/PSA he subjected her to on Thursday, which I — since I wasn’t torturing myself with the no fast forwarding rule then — did not feel compelled to watch in its entirety. I was much wiser Thursday.

I think Jax and Carly’s reaction to this turn of events pretty much says it all:



Back over at Crimson, Maxie gives V8 another plug before recapping the entire saga of the Crimson dress that didn’t get worn and the Campbell’s gala and the blah, blah, blah. Bottom line, as a heart transplant survivor, she’s going to wear the dress to the gala but she doesn’t have an escort.


It seems the famous Federico can’t go out in public at the moment due to some cosmetic enhancement that has yet to heal. But he does have a designer tuxedo he can provide and, wouldn’t you know, the measurements just happen to match a certain someone whose name begins with “J” and rhymes with Bonny. Delightful!

(No, that wasn’t sarcasm. I’ve always thought that Maxie and Johnny had the potential to be an intriguing couple with chemistry to spare. Their scenes during the Toxic Ball crisis were among the only ones I legitimately enjoyed. So hooray for more contrived interactions — in fabulous formal wear, no less!)


Lucky — sadly accompanied by his new, greased up pompadour hairdo — comes upon Sam sitting outside the hollow wreck of the beloved institution which used to be the center of this godforsaken show back when it was actually good, i.e. the hospital.

Turns out Sam called him there for another super awkward break up chat. Fun!


Winifred and Jason. Remember them? Ugh. I think my brain repressed the fact that I’d have to return to them at some point. Winifred wants Jason to roll on Sonny if Anthony can’t be found and brought into custody.


(I feel it’s my duty to point out — you know, for science — that Steve Burton is really rocking the plain black tee in these scenes, by the way.)

Now, something that’s been puzzling me about this whole ‘Jason as FBI Rat’ idea is how Jason could possibly give them leverage on Anthony when he’s not a part of Anthony’s organization. I mean, don’t moles usually come from within? And if they’re now ready to take Anthony into custody, what information, exactly, has Jason provided the FBI which would allow them to do so when they couldn’t at any point before the fire, when he was walking around free as a bird and everybody knew exactly where he was?

These are the questions that keep me up at night, people.


Back to Casa Corinthos, where Kate continues to be passive-aggressive and vague. Joy.


At the MetroCourt, Alexis reacts to the continuing idiocy of the Rebecca/Emily saga with her trademark aplomb —


— which leads Nikolas to get uncharacteristically snarky with her:

Nikolas: How do you continue to remain so unflappable? I mean, if I were to to say to you right now, “Hey, guess what, Alexis? I met a real pretty alien today,” you would calmly inquire, “From what planet?”

Alexis: Okay so you met a woman who looks like Emily and she’s from Mars?

Nikolas: Yes, exactly. No, her name is Rebecca Shaw —

Alexis: That’s a nice name!

Nikolas: Thank you. Can we be serious now? Thank you. So at first I thought I was imagining her, but then everyone else started to see her too, and had the same reaction I did. Well, not exactly the same reaction, but you know what I mean.

If you mean that no one else has reacted by going crazy and stalking her, than yes, Nik, I know what you mean.

Nikolas: I don’t even know if it’s possible she’s related to Emily.

Alexis: Well, did you ask? (ed. note: HAH!)

Nikolas: Of course I asked her, and she insists she has no idea who Emily is. I just find it unlikely that she looks so much like Emily, yet there’s no connection somehow.

Okay, I know that he had a brain tumor fairly recently, but has Nikolas forgotten his own completely coincidental and unrelated doppelgänger? Yeah, it’s been a couple of years, but the man did brutally rape Emily, which led to her (quite reasonably) being too traumatized to be comforted by a husband who looked exactly like her attacker, which led to Nikolas cheating on his recently raped wife, which led to the son he now frequently ignores and pawns off on poor Lesley, who really ought to be enjoying her golden years at this point instead of still raising other people’s children.

But that’s a rant for another day.

The point is, in the GH universe, it is quite possible for identical strangers to have no blood connection to one another, a fact which Nikolas — of all people — should know very well. So this obsession with proving Rebecca is somehow related to Emily is not only based on a false premise, but ultimately pointless. But I’ll let Alexis say it best. She almost always does:

Alexis: Please don’t take this the wrong way, but even if there were some connection, what difference would it make?

Indeed, Alexis. Indeed.


Kate continues to be passive aggressive and vague — sorry, didn’t we already watch this scene? God, this is stupid and boring. Shit or get off the pot, Kate!

She ignores me, of course — as usual — and storms off in a huff. Claudia can’t believe Sonny was defending her. Sonny wants to know the truth about why she and Kate were fighting. Claudia claims Kate’s just jealous. Fascinating! I’m on the edge of my seat here with all this hardcore drama!


Sam and Lucky break up. Again. Some more.

But it’s possibly the nicest, most loving break up in the history of soaps, as they both take turns lavishing praise on each other. Turns out Sam has realized she wants to get her P.I. license (which I am all for, by the way), and this is something that we’re supposed to believe Lucky freaking Spencer just wouldn’t be able to live with. Whatever, show.

I know someone’s decided to turn the clock back three years and get Lucky/Elizabeth and Jason/Sam back together like nothing ever happened, but I’m not buying it. There were very good reasons why both of those couples fell apart.

Frankly, even as a Liason fan, I can admit that their story these past few years has been lackluster and disappointing. That’s the fault of the writing, not the couple, but it’s true. So maybe they should be apart for a while. Fine.

But Sam and Lucky were cute together. They had so much potential to be a fun, adventurous couple. I liked who Sam was when she was with Lucky — at least until he became Mr. No Fun Wet Blanket for no discernible reason. Putting her back with Jason is boring and lazy and it does neither character any favors. This sucks — almost as much as Lucky’s new hair.

Sorry, I just hate the super greased look so much.


Oh, GOD. Back to Jason and Winifred again, who are still talking about Sonny and Spinelli and…look, I’m sorry. I was going to transcribe more of this painfully awful dialog, but I just can’t force myself to sit through this scene more than once. Suffice it to say we end with Winifred giving a heartfelt soliloquy to Jason’s magnanimous gentlemanly greatness and —

OMGSHUTUP, Winifred! You are a Federal Agent. This means that at some point, you were a mature, competent adult who was capable of functioning and communicating in normal human society. It also means that you should be more than aware of just how ungentlemanly mob hitmen actually are.

Thankfully, Diane interrupts before my head can explode from sheer asstacular stupidity, and makes, among others, this expression:




Max, for reasons probably known only to the diseased mind of Bob Guza, is now sitting on Carly and Jax’s bed, where they were clearly having sex just a minute ago, and is recapping the entire product placement/PSA I missed out on yesterday when I was wise enough to fast forward through this crap.


God help us all.


My sanity and blood pressure are saved by a return to the Crimson offices, where Maxie and Lulu are bickering over who Johnny will be escorting to the gala. Now we’re cooking with gas!

Maxie: Johnny is perfect.

Lulu: Well, of course Johnny is perfect but you can’t have him.

Maxie: Would you dial down your paranoia a little bit please? I don’t want your boyfriend, I just want his body. *laughs* Not like it sounds.

Lulu: Okay, if Johnny’s taking anyone, it would be me.

Maxie: If you went, it would be a disaster.

Lulu: Could you even pretend to be nice?

Maxie: I’m being honest, which is, like, way better than being nice.

Ha! Oh, Maxie. Never change.

I love that she’s able to put on this air of indignation over Lulu’s paranoia with zero irony, even though Maxie knows full well that she and Johnny were about two seconds from doing the deed the other night. I really do. Maxie is a treasure.


Nadine wanders into the MetroCourt just in time overhear Nikolas spouting off again about his and Emily’s great love that could never ever be matched by any other woman.

(Except, I guess, by the aforementioned mother of his child, since his great, fairy tale love for Emily didn’t stop Nikolas from cheating on her after she was raped by a man who looked exactly like him. Not that, you know, I’m bitter about this relationship being held up as the most perfect, twuest wuv that ever wuved or anything).

I’d feel more sorry for Nadine, except it’s not exactly like she didn’t know what she was getting into here. I mean, the guy was making out with brain tumor induced hallucinations of his dead wife when she met him, so it’s not like this should come as a shock.


In any case, we move onto Jason’s penthouse, thankfully now Winifred-free. Diane and Jason are now shooting pool — which is awesome — and talking about Max’s unfortunate product placement/PSA ambush — which is less awesome.

Look, I think women’s heart health is important too, I really do. But listening to Diane talk about the tastiness of Prego is not going to save any lives.


Jason, bless his black leather clad heart, has about as much patience for this bullshit as I do, and moves the conversation along to his recent legal troubles.

Apparently Diane didn’t know about the deal Jason struck with the FBI? Huh. I’d just assumed this had happened during one of the scenes I usually fast forward. Boy, is this plot moving as a snail’s pace! Anyway, she advises him that as Spinelli is both guilty and stupid, he’s basically screwed. The only choice is to find Anthony or turn in someone else.

Oh my, this tension is just killing me! Will Jason turn on Sonny? Who can tell? Such suspense and mystery!


All right, that’s it. After 30 minutes and nearly 3,000 words, we’ve come to the halfway point of this absolutely captivating episode. And…I need a break.

Tune in for part two of the non-stop, full throttle GH Friday cliffhanger extravaganza sometime tomorrow!


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