Saturday, March 23, 2013

GENERAL HOSPITAL: For the love of Lulu

When it comes to soap characters – and actors – there are some you like, there are some you tolerate and there are some you outright hate.

For me, though, Julie Marie Berman’s Lulu was a character (played by an actress) that I absolutely loved.

Now, I wasn’t as attached to Lulu as I was to Brenda, Robin, Anna and Laura – be she was high on my list of all-time favorite heroines.

How could she not be? She was the daughter of Luke and Laura, the cousin of Carly, the wife of the smoking hot Dante and the sister of the perennially pouting Lucky and Nikolas. She had it all – as a character, that is.

If it wasn’t for the engaging and capable Berman, though, Lulu could have been a righteous mess. In fact, I know a lot of fans that are still all worked up about that whole seducing Dylan thing – even though both Dylan and his then girlfriend, Georgie, are long gone from the canvas.

Still, Berman’s Lulu had a certain spark.

I first noticed the spark in scenes with onscreen father Luke – played by the always awesome Anthony Geary. Luke had been an absentee father (to say the least) to Lulu throughout her entire life. So, when the character was aged into a petulant teenager, the interaction between the two was wrought with tension from the get-go.

As a relative newcomer, Berman could have faltered under the pressure of being one of daytime’s premiere couple’s offspring. Instead, Berman stood toe-to-toe with Geary and they shined together.

Berman’s Lulu wasn’t done any favors early on in the writing. She was pitted against the beloved Georgie and then had the hapless Spinelli foisted on her. That would have killed a mere mortal actress. Thankfully there was something "super" about Berman.

Lulu really began to shine as an adult character when they paired her with Brandon Barash’s Johnny. The couple had a doomed Romeo and Juliet vibe – and their summer on the run mirrored a similar summer for Luke and Laura.

Sure, it’s a soap, and Lulu and Johnny were sacrificed at the altar of the soap gods. Their chemistry, though, was memorable.

Lulu’s next love interest, though, came in the form of Dominic Zamprogna’s Dante – an undercover cop out to take down resident mobster Sonny (who just happened to be his father).

Berman really got to show a playful – and soulful – side in this relationship. The destined-to-be duo sparked in even the most mundane scenes. When it came time to pour on the emotion, though, Berman wowed as she attacked Sonny for shooting Dante in the chest and then broke hearts as she fought not to crumble as her beloved fought for his life.

The truth is, Berman shined alongside whoever she was put onscreen with. Greg Vaughn’s Lucky, Tyler Christopher’s Nikolas, Jonathan Jackson’s Lucky and even Nathan Parson’s Ethan all were elevated by Berman’s performances.

Back in the day, Laura Wright’s Carly and Berman’s Lulu also shined as close cousins, while Rebecca Herbst’s Elizabeth was a best friend at times and a family foil at others and Jane Eliot's Tracy was a welcome mother figure -- and stepmonster.

The real shame of the Lulu character under Berman’s tenure is that she – along with Dante – has been wasted over the past year. Poor Lulu and Dante have been shuttled to the sidelines, while ridiculous characters like Dr. Britt, Sabrina, Ellie, Kate and Spinelli have eaten up far too much airtime.

With Berman exiting the soap, I wish her well. The selfish part of me hopes she fails in her primetime and movie endeavors, though, and returns to GH relatively soon to give me back the character I love.

I have nothing against Marcy Rylan – but I already know she’ll never be Lulu to me. That honor belongs to Berman.

What do you think? Will you miss Berman’s Lulu?


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