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Our mid-year review tells the tale of a wild ride both on-screen and behind the scenes. Let's reminisce about all the GH happenings since January.

Dear readers, it's been quite the year so far on General Hospital, both in the fictional Port Charles and the very real Los Angeles.

I just want to say up-front, my love for General Hospital is unconditional. I have watched GH through the superb years and highlights like B.J.'s heart, Stone's death from AIDS, Brenda wearing a wire, Carly revealing herself as Bobbie's daughter, Laura showing up alive after being declared dead, Anna and Robert blowing up in a boat explosion and then coming back alive, the Metro Court hostage crisis, Faison wearing a Duke mask to trick Anna, the romances of Scotty and Laura, Luke and Laura, Bobbie and Tony, Anna and Duke, Holly and Robert, Stone and Robin, Jason and Robin, Patrick and Robin, Nikolas and Emily, Nikolas and Courtney (because it gave us Spencer), Sonny and Brenda, Sonny and Carly four times, Laura and Kevin, Tracy and Luke, Lois and Ned, Olivia and Ned, Valentin and (original) Nina, Valentin and Anna, all the way up to Trina and Spencer.

I have loved to hate villains and lunatics like Helena Cassadine, (and family, Stavros, Mikkos, Valentin, Stefan, and the delightfully charming Uncle Victor Cassadine), my all-time favorite Caesar Faison, Alcazar, the Balkan, Manny Ruiz, Frank Smith, Ms. Wu, Jerry Jacks, Peter August, Ryan Chamberlain, Anthony Zachara, and Heather Webber, who, in my mind, will never be reformed, no matter how much Laura tries to convince me.

I loved the swashbuckling old "love in the afternoon" days, when people in Port Charles had steamy sex all the time, the location shoots of old, like Sonny and Brenda in Puerto Rico (swoon), Jax and Brenda in Malibu (before we knew his true character), Jason (before the brain damage) shipwrecked with Karen (filmed in Big Bear), Laura and Scotty's honeymoon in Hollywood, Felicia and Frisco's journey into the Mexican jungle, Lois and Ned at Coney Island, even up to today, when the location shoots are just in some park in L.A.

GH is much better at this compared to when The Young and the Restless recently featured a carnival scene, and they were riding a fake Ferris wheel with old carnival movie footage behind them and had a scene in the stables with some old footage of Black Beauty in the background. I understand budget cuts, but maybe if they invested more, they'd get better ratings. People have many choices of entertainment now, and perhaps the old ratings will never return. But I know the soap genre isn't dead and that people haven't stopped loving serialized drama. Look at Bridgerton, Emily in Paris, Acapulco, and Palm Royale, just to name a few. People are still binging juicy soap shows; they just want quality.

The highest-rated soap opera episode of all time was Luke and Laura's wedding in 1981 at 30 million viewers. Thirty. Million. Viewers. People famously called in sick to work to see it. It was the event of the year. So, when I see people who weren't alive back then totally outraged by the storyline of Laura marrying a guy who raped her, I understand that this storyline wouldn't fly today. If you think it was glossed over, it was not. Here's proof!

In 1981, this storyline was intricate. We watched them slowly fall in love. Day after day, week after week, year after year. And it was mesmerizing, sad, and beautiful. And even in their divorce scenes, they were and to my mind still are, the best soap couple ever to take to the screen.

But as much as I love GH, treasure its history, and am devoted to watch it forever, that doesn't mean that I like everything that shows up on my screen. Especially in a time of chaos like this current season.

I have watched GH through total trash storylines like Maxie falling for Levi Dunkleman, Casey the space alien, Sonny marrying the woman who lied to his family about him being dead for a year, Julian Jerome being killed off despite all of soapdom yearning for a Julexis reunion, and killing off Franco, half of the beloved Friz pairing, to inexplicably turn soap god Roger Howarth into the pointless character Austin Gatlin-Holt.

Many times, we have writers who take control of this show of ours who don't know it or love it as much as we do. My fellow Scooper Liz and I have lamented that we wish we could write GH, just for a month or two, and set everything right again. I have watched this show for 47 years, and I've been a soap columnist writing about GH for 20 years. In this current writer's shakeup, I wish I could say with certainty, "The writers love and know this show as well as I do, and they will take good care of it..." But it doesn't always seem that way. Writers coming and going and coming back again has made me dizzy, as everything keeps changing tone and direction. There were so many stories started then stopped and so many cliffhangers with no payoff or resolution.

I should have titled this column "Almost" -- because we almost got a full-blown Trina and Spencer romance. We almost got a Nikolas recast. We almost had a compelling reunion for Jason after Steve Burton returned with great fanfare after four years. We almost got to see the story of Taggert developing a drinking problem after finding out he's not Trina's real dad. We almost got to see if Curtis is really Trina's dad, or if Ms. Wu changed the DNA results. We almost got a Nina and Valentin reunion as he offered to start a new magazine for her after Crimson was snatched from her grip.

We almost had a story of Selina Wu trying to take over the Savoy for her poker games. Now, no poker and no Selina. We almost got a storyline about Charlotte recovering from being brainwashed by Uncle Victor into terrorizing Anna. We almost found out who the gender-changing boss of Austin and Mason was -- the shrouded villain was initially referred to as a "she" but then turned into a he...Cyrus Renault. By the way, who murdered Austin? No clue. Also, why did Austin ever exist? What was the writer's original plan for him? We almost had several storylines that came to a logical conclusion. But then they didn't.

Is Cyrus still a bad guy pretending to be a religious convert, or is he genuinely reformed? If so, why did he goad Sonny into assaulting him? But then again, if he's bad, why don't we see him scheming behind the scenes? And now, where is he? Off someplace having a fling with Ms. Wu? As of this writing, we have no idea. Also, where is Martin? Who left Ava a note and a gun? Was it Nikolas? If so, why didn't he reveal it to her when she visited him in Pentonville?

Let's deep dive into Nikolas...Why is he even in Pentonville? Hear me out. 1) His mother is the mayor. 2) He is a prince; doesn't that give him diplomatic immunity? 3) His accuser is dead. 4) Liz is the only witness against him, and she could recant. 5) Extenuating circumstances: he believed at the time that Esme was the Hook serial killer. A jury might be sympathetic to a man protecting the town from a serial killer. 6) Diane and Aunt Alexis could have teamed up to stage a genius legal defense. I really don't care how it is resolved; I just want Nikolas back on canvas. He is one of the most compelling characters ever on GH. Adam Huss? Marcus Coloma? Someone new? I don't care. Give me my dark prince.

Same with Spencer. If Nicholas A. Chavez has ditched us for the big time, we get it. When someone like him comes along, we always know we won't get to keep them long. But Spencer is a vital character on GH and also should be recast and brought back to Port Charles. On the other hand, if Mr. Chavez is willing to come back and wrap up the Sprina story for us, I suppose I can be patient. As I mentioned in an earlier column, a fantastic soapy story would be that Cam comes home from college, he bonds with Trina over grief for Spencer, the two develop feelings for each other, and then Spencer shows up alive. Instant love triangle with three characters we hold dear.

Heather Webber. Another head scratcher here. My guess is that this ridiculous story about Heather only being a serial killer because of a hip replacement will get Heather out, then Nikolas will get out and get custody of Ace back, Heather will try to kill him because of what he did to Esme, and then the world will know that she's still crazy!

Readers, I have been watching GH for decades, and let me tell you, Heather was nuts and dangerous way before she had a bad hip! I just pulled out my GH encyclopedia to confirm I was remembering things correctly. Heather has been wreaking havoc since 1977! I just reread the sordid tales of her '70s exploits. In 1977, she sold her baby Steven Lars for $10,000 to try to get money to make it big in Hollywood. She lied to Jeff Webber and told him their baby was dead. Then she got herself hired as the nanny to watch the baby she sold. She was not pals with Laura, as the writers are indicating now. Heather was already nuts -- already a criminal -- and was not an innocent young bunny before her hip replacement.

I am riding the fence on GH rewriting history. There are two groups of GH fans. Group #1: People like me who have watched for decades and know the history of GH characters as well as we know our own family. Group #2: people who are just now tuning in and getting to know the show and aren't bogged down by decades of GH history in their brains.

The writers have to juggle those two groups. They need to try to write things that line up with GH days gone by, but they also have to explain to newer viewers what is going on and why and bring them up to the current day. That can't be easy, particularly when some old popular storylines have not aged well.

But in the long-time viewer category of the GH fanbase, we will *never* accept that Heather's evil ways were due to a rusty metal hip joint. Never! Because, as I noted, she's been a villain since I was 16, and now, I'm in my 60s. I have too many decades of watching her evil villain antics. I have watched four different actresses embody Heather, Georganne LaPierre, Mary O'Brien, Robin Mattson (who played her for the longest time, from 1980 to 2016), and now Alley Mills. Heather has been unbalanced, lethal, mentally ill, and pure evil all along. Also, very funny -- like painting BLTs.

But back to the topic of dropped storylines. In some cases, there were very good reasons storylines didn't progress. For instance, Mac didn't find out that Cody was his son yet because John J York was battling cancer in real life. Thank goodness he is recovering and back at work! I am so excited to see that storyline finally unfold and for Mac to get a son. Cody has become one of the warmest and most likable guys in Port Charles, I mean, even Tracy has succumbed to his charm. Can you imagine the Tracy of old befriending a stable hand? She has grown and mellowed with age.

Hey, does anyone remember Adam? Played by Joshua Benard, Maurice Benard's real-life son, college dorm neighbor of Joss and Trina? Yeah, he nearly ODed and was in the hospital, finally about to confront his controlling parents to fight for the future he wanted, and then...we never saw him again. I guess he's fine now. We may never know.

Readers, before I bring up this next topic, I want to make this clear. I love Cameron Mathison. I find him charming, handsome, and likable. I was thrilled when I heard he was being recast as Drew. I adored Billy Miller, but he didn't want to come back, so I was happy to see the role recast with someone as great as Cameron. Nu-Drew's first few scenes with Sam and Scout sent me over the moon. I was very hopeful.

But then, the carousel of writers forgot his entire backstory. The guy who scratched Scout's name in his prison cell 400 times suddenly forgot he had a kid. The glow of Carly made him forget all else in his life. He went to prison to protect her, was nearly beaten to death, and then immediately dumped her when Jason came to town because he was so insecure about Jason's hold on Carly's heart. Then he hired Nina back at Crimson and had desk sex with her. The woman who turned him in to the SEC and got him sent to prison -- the woman he loathed two weeks prior. Then he started flirting with his nephew's wife Willow.

Wait. I think that's right... Michael is A.J.'s son. Jason is A.J.'s brother, so Drew would be Michael's uncle. Drew is Jason's twin -- so, yes, uncle. Drew also flirted with Jordan a few times. Then he decided to run a charity with Willow as the spokesmodel. The name "New Tomorrow Institute" makes it sound like a charity Shiloh would run, so, of course, Willow said yes. Then, the congressman has Drew nearly convinced to run for office, despite the fact that he's a formerly brainwashed felon who was programmed to murder. Yeah, sure, exactly what America needs, another felon running for office.

As much as I like Cameron Mathison, the character of Drew has become someone I don't recognize. His entire character seems like the outcome of a fight the writers are having at the writers' table. "I want him to be in the mob!" "No, I want him to be a congressman!" "I want him with Jordan!" "No, I want him to steal Willow from Michael!" I just can't handle the insanity of Drew's storyline anymore.

This next complaint pains my heart to have to say. I started watching GH because of Genie Francis. Laura. Laura. Laura. Laura with Scott. Laura with Luke. Laura with Stefan. Laura every day. She is the same age as I am, and we have gone through stages of life together. She's been my favorite since forever. But lately, the writers have changed her into someone different.

The fiercely protective mom of old has instead forgotten all her kids. Lulu is in a coma. Laura never visits. Nikolas is in jail. Laura never visits. Lucky went to Ireland a decade ago, and Laura rarely mentions him.

But she coddled amnesiac Esme and moved Esme into her home. At least that one made a little sense because she was trying to keep her grandchild Ace safe. But this thing with Heather? Laura advocating to get a crazy serial killer released from prison while allowing her own son, whose crimes were far less violent, to rot in prison makes zero sense to me. I don't understand why the writers hate Laura. I mean, that has to be the only explanation for why they are writing her so despicably.

I adore Genie Francis. I feel sad for her. I bet Genie goes to work, reads her scripts, and says, "Really? This is what you have for me? Are you serious?" I hope that in the second half of the year, possibly with more new writers at the helm, Laura will find her soul again.

Readers, I wish Brytni Sarpi would come back to GH as Valerie. Why? So, Kristina could be drawn to her, and we could get rid of Blaze and her mom. I am tired of them already. There are too many characters I care about that aren't getting any airtime. Sometimes the writers want a couple to catch on so badly that they put them on constantly, trying to make us catch the spark. For me, it's not working. The worst example of this currently is R.J. and Luna on The Bold and the Beautiful. Half the cast is getting no airtime to push this coupling. The writers at CBS clearly want them to become the IT couple like Trina and Spencer, but they just aren't.

No offense to Jaqueline Grace Lopez or Eva Larue. They are both lovely and are doing a great job with the material that's been given to them. In fact, if it turns out that Blaze's mom is somehow connected to the Alcazar family, as has been suggested, and she is the one pulling the strings to target Sonny, I will retract this entire statement. But if she's just a homophobic, controlling stage mom, I'm not interested in watching that.

Kate Mansi has had some wonderful scenes lately. We know that the current storyline isn't true to GH history, but she has to work with the material she has been given, and she's crushed the scenes where Kristina suddenly realizes who her father is (even though she's known for years if you've been here for a while). I think she's a fantastic actress. But I don't know if I will ever stop wishing for Lexi Ainsworth and Haley Pullos.

One more complaint. Liz. Why is Liz only used as a prop for Finn? Jason is back in town; why has Liz barely had a scene with him? Liz is the head nurse at GH. Why does she not have the scenes that Epiphany used to have ruling the roost and bossing doctors around? Rebecca Herbst is a fan favorite, and it seems like viewers are always begging for more airtime for her. She has such a deep and rich history, why not use it?

Liz was married to Heather's son Franco. If we are going to have to deal with Heather being reformed, why not have Liz visit her and tell Heather how much Liz still misses her son? Liz and Nikolas have been friends since they were teenagers; why not have Liz visit Nikolas in Pentonville and apologize for testifying against him. Liz is BFFs with Terry; why don't we see them having drinks and discussing Terry's romance with Yuri? Liz doesn't always have to be in scenes with Finn.

Ava. Freaking. Jerome. Dearest readers, Maura West is phenomenal, and I think Ava is one of the most interesting characters in Port Charles. But after years of character growth, one of the swirling writers thought it would be good to let Ava watch Sonny go crazy off his meds to the point of beating Dex in public at a wedding. Will she ever tell him? Does she want Avery to lose her dad? I am perturbed and perplexed by this turn for the worse for Ava.

If Ava had found out about the meds and told him right away, she would be atoning for what she did to Morgan. She would gain Sonny's trust for life. The two of them might have actually had a real relationship. People are speculating that they are writing Ava this way because Maura West is on her way out. I hope they are wrong. I can list ten other characters I would sacrifice to keep Ava. But I won't. Well, maybe just one. The new Quartermaine chef. If that's what Sasha has been relegated to, they are clearly done with her, anyway.

Now, after all that whining, here is what I love about GH right now. In the number one spot, Tracy Q. Jane Elliot's return had been a total triumph in every way. Tracy still has her fire, but she's gotten warmer and softer over the years. Her relationship with her granddaughter Brook Lynn has been so satisfying and touching. I have loved every minute of screen time that Amanda Setton and Jane Elliot have shared. I have loved every tender moment Tracy has shared with her son Ned, played by the incomparable Wally Kurth. Tracy with Gregory. Tracy with Finn almost makes me like Finn. Tracy with Chase, deciding whether or not he was good enough for her granddaughter. Tracy is even being nice to Lois! I hope Jane Elliot never retires. She makes every scene better.

Spixie. Spixie all day long. I am so thrilled about the reunion of Maxie and Spinelli. And I want it to stick. I want to tune in ten years from now and watch them take Georgie to her graduation. I love these two together. I am also thrilled that the feisty badass Maxie of old has returned. First, on a totally shallow point, she looks gorgeous. Our former fashionista is back, and it's good to see her stunning styles. Second, Kirsten Storms is another actor who has chemistry on-screen with everyone. Lucy and Maxie, Brook Lynn and Maxie, Sasha and Maxie, Cody and Maxie, Mama and daughter, Felicia and Maxie -- anyone she is in a scene with, it is always gold. When Mac is back on set, I want to see Maxie react to his absence. I'm so looking forward to Mac being reunited with his family and especially the Cody revelation.

Jason. I adore Steve Burton. Readers, if you do not watch Steve Burton and Bradford Anderson on their That's Awesome YouTube channel, you're missing something special. Start with their interview with Jackie Zeman and listen to all of her great stories. Those two guys are so silly together, which makes you realize what a great actor Steve is to play Stone Cold when he is the opposite. Since we haven't learned all the details of Jason's missing years, I am left to consider the possibilities. When Jason saw Mrs. Cerullo at the wedding and she asked him if he had ever become a doctor, he called her by name and remembered her. I don't think Jason Morgan ever met her, so does that mean Jason Morgan has remembered his Jason Quartermaine past? Will he be a mixture of both moving forward? Will he stay on the side of truth and justice and continue to work for the FBI or go back to the mob?

Will Jason and Carly get married for real or will she go back to Sonny once he's back on his meds? Will Dante be peeved to find out Sam and Spinelli are trying to save Jason and pull a Drew and dump Sam because she still cares about Jason? Will Liz decide to blow up her boring life with Finn to have a fiery reunion with Jason? The possibilities are endless, and I am excited to see how it all falls out. But Jason being an informant for the FBI because there is a recording of Carly saying she's in charge of the mob is laughable. Everyone knows she is not the mob kingpin. There would be no other evidence. And how did they get this evidence? Carly went to that mob meeting as a last-minute emergency decision. No one would have known she was coming to want to record that conversation. Unless Ms. Wu is an FBI agent.

I am somewhat rooting for the FBI. Which brings me to Jagger. When we discovered the new hunky FBI agent was in fact John "Jagger" Cates from days of old, some soap fans were mad that he was recast. I'm not mad at all. In my humble opinion, Adam Harrington is just what Port Charles needed. No offense to the previous actor in the role, he was very handsome, but he was not a compelling actor. I like Nu-Jagger with Carly. I like him with Anna. I like him in general. Please, can we keep him?

Maurice Benard. His friends call him Mo. I wish I could call him Mo. Oh, how I love him. On-screen and off. His State of Mind podcast touches my soul. I have struggled with emotional and mental health over the years. I have experienced loss and trauma. His open discussions with people I admire talking about their mental health struggles, grief, anxiety, depression, etc., makes me feel less alone in the world. I appreciate his willingness to shine a light on things and take away the shame people feel when they struggle with life's big emotions and hardships.

Mr. Benard's portrayal of Sonny Corinthos is soap perfection. Sonny can be a kind and supportive father, be lighting candles in a church like a man of deep faith, and then explode with rage into a monster beating Dex in broad daylight at a family wedding! The genius is in the buildup. If you watched that episode closely, you saw the nuanced glimpses Sonny was giving Dex while the anger built in his chest. Dex casually chuckling with Mrs. Cerullo while Sonny's face hardened. Dex and Lois chumming up while Sonny's blood started to boil. And then, when Dex left to take Carmine's hearing aid to him, Sonny pounced like a cat out of his seat to go after him. Maurice Benard is always on point. I know it must be a challenge to play this darkness sometimes, but Sonny Corinthos will go down in soap history as one of the most unforgettable characters to ever grace our airwaves.

I am glad Sonny is free of Nina. I am glad Ava is free of Nina. I hope Willow stays free of Nina. I'll just leave that there. As you know, she's not my favorite character. But I love Cynthia Watros. I just wish they would write Nina more sympathetically. The scene where I started to like her was when she went to call with humility and said, "You told me he would leave me." Not that she kissed the ring, but that she is starting to have some self-awareness and admit times she was wrong. I like her softer side. I hope for more of that the rest of the year.

Speaking of Carly, her character is polarizing. I am on Team Carly. Some people complain that Carly is on too often and involved in too many storylines. I think Laura Wright is one of the finest performers in daytime, and I could watch her all day. If there was a spinoff show called Just Carly, I'd watch it. The loveliest scenes so far this year for me were of her grief over losing Bobbie and her reunion with Jason. Both brought me to tears. Not dainty little ladylike tears, but full-on sobs. I think she's magnificent, and I don't mind Carly being up in everyone's business. Although I think she may be in over her head with Brennan...

The hardest thing this year so far was Bobbie's funeral and having to say goodbye to Barbara Jean Spencer and the adorable and legendary Jackie Zeman. This was handled brilliantly by both the writers and the cast, and I am sure the tears they were crying were real. On a side note, seeing Ryan Carnes and Mark Samuels back made me wish we could keep Lucas and Felix.

In sad real-life news, we just got the tragic details of the untimely and senseless murder of Johnny Wactor. I feel such compassion for his family and friends as well as the cast and crew of GH. They have lost so many people they love in such a short time. I'm still sad that Brando was killed off and that he and Sasha lost baby Liam at Christmas, and I'm frustrated that his character didn't get a fair shake. But now my hope that one day Brando would turn up alive, as dead people in Port Charles sometimes do, has been dashed. That this talented, handsome, and by all accounts exceptionally kind young man was cut down so randomly and cruelly is hard to wrap my heart around. I am so sorry for all who knew him and loved him. I wish Sonny could find the guys who did it and take them to the Pine Barrens.

Readers, I love Anna and Valentin, and I was peeved that they were split up. Now that Anna is pretending to be interested in rekindling their romance to get information, is there a chance they could accidentally fall back in love and save each other? I'm rooting for that.

Couples I love this year: Sam and Dante. When Dante was shot and Sam thought Jason did it for a minute, Kelly Monaco gave such a heartbreaking performance. Tracy and Gregory, I was rooting for a last-minute cure. Alexis and Finn should be lovers instead of just pals. Michael and Willow because "ew" for Drew. Laura and Kevin, a long-suffering man who puts up with a lot.

I have been writing for days, and I still have so many notes. There is no way I can comment on all the crazy happenings in Port Charles in six months' time. I have tried to hit the highlights that stand out in my mind. How about you? What did I miss that you either loved or hated? I would love to hear from you!

But we have six more months in 2024!

What will happen the rest of the year, dear readers? Will Charlotte come home from boarding school, newly brainwashed by an undead Uncle Victor? Will Dex's eye ever open up again, or will he get a cool patch like Stephen Nichols? Will Danny follow in his dad's footsteps and become either a vaping doctor or a vaping mobster? Will Nina write an article about women falling for men with amnesia and how dangerous that can be because they might be thugs? Will Violet give that wedding bouquet to Maxie so she and Spinelli can get hitched for real this time? Will Natalia end up being a mob queen or just a nagging stage mom? Will anyone be able to adequately explain to me why Anna and Laura both suddenly turned their backs on Sonny after knowing exactly who he was for decades? Will Jackal P.I. successfully take down the FBI? Will Curtis regret working at Drew's new charity/possible cult?

Only tomorrow knows, dear readers, and I will tune in tomorrow as long as there are tomorrows.

What are your thoughts on General Hospital? What did you think of this week's Two Scoops? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.

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Two Scoops is an opinion column. The views expressed are not designed to be indicative of the opinions of Soap Central or its advertisers. The Two Scoops section allows our Scoop staff to discuss what might happen and what has happened, and to share their opinions on all of it. They stand by their opinions and do not expect others to share the same point of view.

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