Tuesday, April 2, 2013

GENERAL HOSPITAL 50th Anniversary Episode Is Flawless (Many Spoilers!)

John Beradino played Dr. Steve Hardy for 33 years
GENERAL HOSPITAL's 50th anniversary was Monday but the actual anniversary show aired on Tuesday due to a March pre-emption. The episode was worth the wait, a flawless tribute to the past 50 years in Port Charles which started with a portrait of Dr. Steve Hardy (the late John Beradino) which was going to be hung in the General Hospital boardroom.

Below are some thoughts on the episode (spoilers for those on the west coast)

In the very first episode of GENERAL HOSPITAL on April 1, 1963 head nurse Jessie Brewer (the late Emily McLaughlin) uttered the show's first line. On Tuesday, head nurse Epiphany Johnson (Sonya Eddy) said the first line, and it was a nod to GH creators Frank and Doris Hursley.

"Hey Doris. How'd you like Frank's big surprise?"

Viewers were then treated to a series of returns which started at the end of Monday's show. Alan (Stuart Damon), Emily (Natalia Livingston) and Rick (Chris Robinson) all showed up in the Quartermaine living room as Monica (Leslie Charleson) and Tracy (Jane Elliot) continued to battle it out. After eating a newly-created batch of Pickle-Lila, Monica told Tracy she was kicking her out of the house. I predicted on Twitter, the return of the three deceased characters was probably a Pickle-Lila-induced dream and that turned out to be the case. But what a dream it was. Rick and Alan made peace with each other, and the three of them force Monica and Tracy to call a truce as well, punctuated with an awkward hug.

Brenda (Vanessa Marcil) showed up on Sonny's (Maurice Benard) doorstep, and Jax (Ingo Rademacher) on Carly's (Laura Wright). As they were talking about the past and rehashing issues in their relationships I began to suspect that Brenda and Jax were together again. It turns out Jax and Brenda have moved on... with each other, and are now engaged.

The return of actor Nathan Parsons was one of
the many surprises on the anniversary episode.
The mystery person from the end of Monday's episode turned out to be Ethan (Nathan Parsons), who shared some nice scenes with Luke (Anthony Geary) and Laura (Genie Francis), especially Laura who was happy to meet him.

My favorite part of the superb (and entertaining) episode was happens at General Hospital. Dr. Patrick Drake (Jason Thompson) welcomed a new group of interns and gave them a history lesson about GH. This coincided with the return of Audrey (Rachel Ames) who came to visit Elizabeth (Rebecca Herbst) and to see the new portrait of Steve. Elizabeth told Audrey she was lonely without her family there then gave an update on the much-missed Hardys:

- Sarah Webber is in Monterey
- "Mom & Dad are in Asia" (Jeff Webber and her unnamed mother)
- Tom Hardy is in Africa (Ames' real-life daughter, Christine Cahill, played Tom as a baby)
- Tommy Hardy just graduated from medical school (Tom and Simone's son)

There was even a wonderful flashback of Steve and Audrey.

There were cliffhangers that will be continued on Wednesday, and action all over town (even on water!) but main focus was clearly General Hospital, and the proper reverence and respect was paid to the show's history.

Congratulations to executive producer Frank Valentini, head writer Ron Carlivati, the cast and the crew on such a wonderful episode full of drama, humor and heart. And for 50 glorious years of GENERAL HOSPITAL.

EDITOR'S NOTE: #GH50 and 'Brenda' were both trending on Twitter during the east coast broadcast of GENERAL HOSPITAL.

- Watch the GENERAL HOSPITAL marathon episodes here
- Watch the GENERAL HOSPITAL Special 50th Anniversary Opening
- 20/20: GENERAL HOSPITAL – THE REAL SOAP DISH Airs Saturday, April 6
- ABC Partners With amfAR For Nurses' Ball


  1. I started off teary and stayed that way.

  2. It was nothing short of spectacular. Very rewarding episode! I teared up!

  3. I totally agree, Roger. Here's my review--


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  5. zyx * Ray, teared up here too!

    Thanks, Marlena. :)

  6. How wonderful that the glorious General Hospital is treated with the respect it deserves for this huge anniversary! A marvelous celebration of the show! If only As The World Turns had been treated with the same love and care. Bob and Kim move to Arizona? I can't picture it. There should have been a huge, happy party for Doctor Bob's retirement. But no. The final months of the show saw beloved characters with rich histories being greatly ignored while Goutman kept the focus firmly on his new personal little pet (Doctor Arrogant Neurosurgeon). What a waste and what a shame!! I truly apologize for being negative - but on days like this how deeply cheated I felt by the final months of ATWT comes rushing back. Back to the topic at hand - raising a glass to the brilliant General Hospital!

  7. file this under a total nitpick that is not meant to detract from the excellent episode - but - General Hospital works on an odd training schedule for a hospital - interns start in April? nurses graduate in March? whatever happened to a September to August training period? do they show the underground tunnels where the Cassadines' hid on the tour? & do they cover how to avoid a baby switch?

  8. A great episode from the Epiphanny talking to her friend Doris about her husband Frank to finding Ethan, to Audrey remembering Steve... all excellent!

    I have simple demands as a soap viewer-- give me the characters I love, honor their history and keep me entertained. Ron Carlivati and his team do this every day and I am in awe of how they have gone even further with the 50th anniversary.

  9. Loved it all, from start to finish. So much of the stuff touched upon in this episode, from Audrey remembering Steve, to Laura and Ethan's talk, to the mentions of the various Hardys to Rick and Alan burying the hatchet in the afterlife - all would never have been touched on by the previous regime. And they were all done and done well in ONE HOUR!

    Kudos to Carlivati and Valentini and everyone involved. Thank you so much for giving me back the GH I have loved since the 70s.

    And we need Natalia Livingston back full time. She lights up every single scene she is in. Damn, what a mistake it was to kill Emily.

  10. one of my fondest, most recent scenes, was after the passing of John Ingle, when Edward wheeled Lyla to the bottom of the stairs....she stood up and together they ascended the beautiful staircase in their mansion..... As a GH viewer since 1971, I am thoroughly enjoying this 50 year celebration!

  11. General Hospital has been a favorite of mine..remembering my mother watching it, and when I was home sick from school, I could watch it with her! Love all the characters...miss so many of the ones that have been written off....keep it going, GH writers....please do not dissapoint all of us GH fans.....look forward to watching it ever y night at 10 PM...because I can record it ! Watching GH is one of the most relaxing enjoyable pleasures in so man y of our lives ! .....

  12. As a 50 year fan (and I'm only 29+!), I loved every minute of today's show! Congrats, Ron Carlivati, Gloria Monty would be proud!

  13. Yes I agree. Also loved that scene where Edward wheeled Lyla to the bottom of the stairs....she stood up and together they ascended the beautiful staircase in their mansion.. Last part of todays episode had me in tears too.

  14. So Happy they finally brought everyone back. I wish Alan, Em, and Rick were alive for real. (Hoping Helena Has them somewhere).

    The Best Audrey scenes since 2002, she needs to come back more often. She looks great for 83!

  15. GH has been on in my house as long as I can remember ( i was born in '62). My mother was a loyal fan (never missed an episode even without VCR and PVR) until she passed in 2009. Today's episode was amazing and brought back wonderful memories that my mother would have enjoyed immensely. To the writers, producers, actors, and everyone else involved, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I hope it lasts another 50 years!

  16. I thought they showcased everything that soaps are about wonderfully. They used the rich history of these people that we love so much to tell a great show today that set the foundation for many show to come. Past, present and future. This whole GH50 celebration, using the veteran actors for all of these weeks, working the fantastic history of the show back into the current stories in such a relevant way, has been wonderful.

  17. I watched it again and loved it even more.

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  19. as a viewer since day this eppy brought back so many memories - i was in tears watching some of the scenes................

  20. This whole weeks episodes have brought back so many memories, just watching flashbacks and seeing the portrait of Dr. Steve Hardy kept bringing tears to my eyes. Thank you for such a beautiful celebration of a wonderful show. I hope it never goes off the air like AMC and OLTL.