Boy, you take two weeks off from this show and the whole world explodes. First things first: BRENDA’S BACK!
Do you see this face? That is the face my heart makes every time Vanessa Marcil and her glasses and pigtails and ridiculous laugh come on screen:
Can I tell you guys how sad I was when I realized my business trip would coincide with her debut? (And then how sad I was to realize I was actually feeling sad about missing General Hospital? Believe me: it was a low moment on multiple levels.)
And forget about James Franco. Who needs him when the fabulous Adrienne Barbeau is wandering around, being her fabulous, power-suited, charity-running, girl-talking self?
Seeing Vanessa Marcil again has reminded me of two facts: one, she’s not the greatest actress in the world. But two… it doesn’t matter. Because damn, has she ever got charisma. There’s just this way about her, a focus that she brings to every scene, even when her scene partner — like, I’m sorry to say, the dude playing poor man’s Matt Damon — is a complete block of wood. She’s like a magnet.
Have I mentioned that I love her? And that I’m terrified by all the ways they could mess this up?
I also love that suddenly, Brenda really is the great love of Sonny’s life after all! And don’t get me wrong: SHE IS AND ALWAYS WILL BE. But, psst, Sonny from last week… don’t tell that to Sonny from nine months ago. For some reason, he seemed to think Carly was his soul mate to end all soul mates. Whoops!
(Here’s a hint, writers: if you don’t want your characters’ whiplash changes of heart to appear as contrived and dictated by off-screen events as they actually are, it might help to write in some motivations and reasons for their feelings.)
We did get this bit of inadvertent truth in the midst of all the awkwardness:
MIKE: It’s not who Brenda was to you. It’s who you were when you were with her.
SONNY: Everything was so much simpler back then.
ME: Yes, you “simply” weren’t such an enormous douche. Amazing how that works.
Preach it, Mike!
I can only imagine how much worse it’s going to get when Brenda actually makes it to Port Charles. I’d almost rather watch her wander the world helping children and having boring conversations with her block-of-wood boyfriend than subject her to the steaming hot mess Sonny’s life has become. If this new, world-weary and mature Brenda doesn’t take one look at that and want to run the other way screaming, I’ll be so sad for her, you guys.
I was going to spend some time talking about all the big happenings elsewhere in Port Charles, from the truly surprising (Lucky got to rescue his own baby for once!) to the utterly not (Jason got out of prison early! On the flimsiest “legal” justification yet!) — but thinking about how sloppy and poorly executed the baby kidnapping story was just makes me embarrassed for poor Jonathan Jackson. And the only positive thing I have to say about Jason’s release is that at least it lessens the chances I’ll have to hear five characters a day indignantly bemoan the unfairness of a KILLER FOR HIRE being forced to spend a measly two years in prison.
(Yes, I’m looking at you, Spinelli.)
(Oh, and Diane — that is some great lawyering there. Way to earn your enormous retainer by completely failing to notice this apparently air tight get out of jail free card that’s been sitting there all this time in the damn plea agreement.)
Over on the Dante/Lulu front, Brook Lynn’s seriously making a bid for Most Unbelievably and Inappropriately Sanctimonious Asshole in Town. (She won’t win, of course — so many other characters have such a great head start. But it’s a valiant attempt!) It’s all so very petty, childish, and ridiculous. But it’s also pretty damn soapy, and let’s face it: my standards on that front have lowered a lot in recent years. So the upshot it, I’m kind of enjoying this story.
I also appreciate Lulu making the connection between what Brook did to Dante and what Dante didn’t do to Lulu in a similar position. (Which was also the moment I sort of fell in love with this couple in the first place, so thanks for the reminder, writers!) I have no faith that this show would ever have the guts to call what happened to Dante what it actually is: sexual assault. Clearly, they can’t even bring themselves to say the word with Michael when they’ve all but hung a “TRAUMATIZED RAPE VICTIM” sign on his back. But at least the implication was there, even if just by proxy.
I just wish they’d give Brook some motivation for horribly betraying her old friend that’s a little less odious than laziness and greed, but… this is still General Hospital, you know? Can’t have everything.
All those developments pale beside the Scrubs happenings, though. First Lisa went super extra batshit crazy in the space of about a week. This could have sucked, given how badly the build up was screwed up. But all credit to Brianna Brown — who has obviously embraced the batshit with an admirable amount of scenery-chewing zeal — it has actually been pretty damn entertaining:
(Her delivery of the accompanying “that would be crazy!” line when Patrick accused her of stealing Robin’s meds was so delicious I’m still kind of chortling over it.)
Then yesterday… oh, yesterday: Kimberly McCullough and Jason Thompson totally stole the show. The angst! The desperation! The breaking voices! So good! So soapy! (And who knew they were both such pretty criers?)
PATRICK: It was only one time. Just one time.
ROBIN: Just one time? Yeah, just– just once, you broke our marriage vows. Just once, you betrayed me. Just once you let me think that I was paranoid when Lisa was dropping all those hints because you didn’t want her to tell me the truth.
You could see Robin’s heartbreak all over her face. Loved her anger, and especially loved her throwing Patrick’s condescension over the past months back in his face. All those times she was suspicious of Lisa and he told her she was crazy… I would have kicked him, honestly.
But even though Patrick’s been a total ass through this whole thing, and even though the writers gave him next to no reason for cheating on Robin in the first place, I still kind of felt for him here. He doesn’t deserve Robin’s forgiveness right now, but I could feel his terror at the thought of losing her, and the shot of him looking in at her crying was brutal. Oh, show.
How come you can’t do soap like this more often?