Tuesday, May 13, 2014

GENERAL HOSPITAL: Highlights (and lowlights) of this year’s Nurses Ball

The best thing Ron Carlivati did when he took over head writing duties for General Hospital was resurrect the Nurses Ball.

Last year, the long beloved tradition was dusted off to pay tribute to Robin Scorpio, a girl that grew up on the soap and contracted HIV in her teens. Fans knew Robin was alive, but her husband and daughter were still mourning her “death.”

The move was actually a way to celebrate GH’s anniversary.

Some of the most popular actors from the show’s history were dusted off and reintroduced to the canvas, including Jack Wagner’s Frisco and Lynn Herring’s Lucy.

Now, most fans will agree that last year’s Nurses Ball was a mixed bag. Seeing Frisco croon to Felicia was
a win for everyone – but Carlivati turning the Nurses Ball that was supposed to be dedicated to Robin’s memory into a coming out party for Sabrina was fairly insulting.

Still, most fans were just glad to have their show back.

This year is a different story, though.

Carlivati has had some time to perfect his craft and make this year’s Nurses Ball better. It was markedly worse – which is a commentary on Carlivati’s writing and not the actor’s involved with some of these numbers.

So, what worked and what didn’t?


5. Obrecht steals the opening. I’m one of those people that thinks Obrecht has worn out her welcome, but I couldn’t help but laugh at how she managed to slide in and steal the entire first act of the Nurse’s Ball in a campy little number that was all about fun and nothing about seriousness. Just funny all around. That being said, the second time she did it towards the end of the ball was too much.

4. Eddie Maine returns. Timing Wally Kurth’s visit with the Nurse’s Ball was a stroke of genius. As a Kurth fan, I was happy to see him take the stage again – and it didn’t seem out of character for him to do it. That being said, they could have picked a better song that wasn’t so repetitive and Ned constantly gesturing to the woman in the band was kind of off-putting. Still, it had more elements of awesome than bad, though, so it was a win.

3. Epiphany belts out a winner. The truth is, there’s not a lot of actual singing talent on the GH cast these
days. Sonya Eddy is one of the few exceptions. Letting Epiphany close the show with such a poignant and well produced number was a smart move. The only other move I could see them making was the number one entry on this list for the closing, but that would have changed the end too much. Bravo on the song choice and Eddy’s talent.

2. Lucy ends up nearly naked. Again. Sure, this time Lucy was caught making out with Scotty while her husband, Kevin, was watching. It was soapy greatness, though. Lucy is such a vital and important character that she should be given more to do (how about she reopens the Brownstone so all these young people have some place to live?). Lynn Herring’s performance when caught in the act by her husband was both poignant and spot-on.

1. Emma Drake sings. As the daughter of GH’s beloved Robin, Emma has a special place in everyone’s heart. Emma’s number, a simple song about being happy and everything being all right, was juxtaposed with her possible (I still think he's going to turn out to be Carlos' kid) half-brother's  medical battle. While I didn’t like Sabrina being propped again, I did like Emma’s easy performance. This is what the Nurse’s Ball should always be.


5. The Red Carpet was lame. I don’t know about anyone else, but I find the red carpet arrivals for the
Nurse’s Ball cringe-worthy they’re so cheesy. As an actual reporter, I cannot imagine asking the local mobster at a public relations event what he’s importing these days and who he’s killed. Okay, that didn’t really happen, but it was close enough. That being said, Brad, Britt and Maxie watching the arrivals and commenting on them – including Britt and Brad rewinding Sam’s fall multiple times for laughs – was actually pretty funny. If you could do more of that, it might be worthwhile to keep the red carpet.

4. There were too many mangled performances. I get that we are supposed to look at this as a local fundraiser and these characters are amateurs, not professionals (for the most part) but some of the performances were so cheesy it almost hurt to watch them. I’m including Brad’s really odd song for Lucas, Emma and Cameron’s unfortunately awkward tango, the girls singing about being dogs in heat (yeah, think about it a second) at a fundraising event, Obrecht interrupting again, that random guy late in the show, Mr. Marbles, TJ and Molly’s really forced . . . whatever that was, and Luke’s serenade to Tracy. Sure, we know that’s not really Luke, but when they referred to him as a “staple” of the Nurse’s Ball I practically choked. I remember him participating twice with Lucky as a child. That doesn’t make him a staple.

3. Mac and Mr. Marbles. I didn’t get the whole point of Mac bringing that stupid puppet out again –at a
somber, yet fun event – and then having his act get interrupted. It just seemed really out of place and forced. There were other things the writers could have done – like having Mac join the Magic Milo act as a dancer. The truth is, TJ’s inclusion in that event was kind of out of place. The actor may be in his twenties, but he’s playing a teenager (and while we’re at it, the song choice for Molly’s little dance with the other girls was also inappropriate). He shouldn’t have been included with the older stripping men. Mac would have been a lot more fun there.

2. Felix makes the Nurse’s Ball about Sabrina. Again. Here’s the thing, the Nurse’s Ball is about raising money for AIDS and HIV awareness. So why, with that in mind, did Felix take to the stage and go on and on about Patrick and Sabrina’s out-of-wedlock baby? Isn’t that counter intuitive? I know that Carlivati is obsessed with propping Sabrina, but sometimes enough is enough.

1. John Stamos hate. I don’t know what Carlivati’s deal is with Stamos, but what he pulled this year was just
juvenile. Stamos, who got his start on GH back in the day as Blackie Parish, has said that he would do a limited return to GH if he had an actual story and wasn’t just a face in the background at the Nurse’s Ball. Carlivati didn’t like that so a big pronouncement was made that Blackie was at the ball and then it was announced he was a no-show – as a way to embarrass Stamos. That’s not clever Carlivati. It’s bitter and pathetic. Grow up.

What do you think? What were the best (and worst) moments of this year’s Nurse’s Ball?


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