General Hospital is set to do something the lone ABC soap has done only twice in the past 20 years this week when it airs a new episode on Thanksgiving Day.
While General Hospital viewers have different favorite Thanksgiving memories, storylines, or themes -- like the inevitable disaster that annually leads to pizza at the Quartermaine mansion -- of the show, those moments have typically aired on the day that precedes or follows the show's annual "Turkey Day" episode.
As things stand now, the Thursday, November 23 episode of GH is set to be just the series' second new episode to air on Thanksgiving Day since 2003. Since then, the show has typically been preempted with reruns or other network programming.
While the show did air a new episode on Thanksgiving Day in 2019 due to excessive preemptions that year, viewers would have to go all the way back to 2002 to find the last time that General Hospital aired new episodes on the holiday with any sort of regularity.
In light of this relatively rare programming feat, we decided to take a look back at what was happening in Port Charles in both 2002 and 2019, the only years General Hospital has aired new episodes during the Thanksgiving holiday over the past 21 years.
So, what was happening when viewers tuned in to GH on the actual day of Thanksgiving, 21 years ago? A bizarre dream sequence by Courtney Matthews, which was actually revealed to be a dream sequence by Jason Morgan.
Here's a brief summary of the episode, courtesy of Soap Central's General Hospital Daily Recaps archives: Courtney experiences a series of strange dreams, which are all vaguely similar in the sense that she keeps reliving the same day over and over again with a few different twists. In each dream, Courtney anticipates kissing Jason but always ends up sharing a kiss with someone else. After growing weary of the repetition, Courtney goes on a preemptive strike to end the outcome of her day. Courtney finally gets to kiss Jason in her final dream. But as it turns out -- all the dreams were actually part of another dream - Jason's dream."
If you'd like to watch the episode, we've included at the end of this article for your enjoyment.
While the Thanksgiving Day episode centered around Courtney and Jason, here's what else was going on in the rest of Port Charles that week in 2002, courtesy of Soap Central's extensive GH recaps page.
A.J. pressured Skye to name Jason as Luis Alcazar's killer, but Skye revealed that she had seen Brenda with Alcazar just before his death. The police were forced to release Jason and to arrest Brenda. Benny Abrahms, an accountant for the Corinthos organization, suffered a heart attack. Alexis told Ned that she planned to raise Kristina alone. Cameron Lewis assisted Luke, who was obsessed with Summer Halloway. Luke offered Summer, a call girl, $2000 after he scared away one of her best customers. Elizabeth met Kelly's newest tenant, the man who had been following Sonny around Port Charles."
For the next 17 years, viewers who tuned in to ABC during GH's normal time slot were offered something different -- usually a rerun of the show from the past year. But in 2019, facing a backlog of episodes due to preemptions, General Hospital made the rare decision to broadcast a new episode on Thanksgiving Day.
Also from the Soap Central archives: Kendra bashed Alexis in the head with a rock. Sonny spent a bittersweet Thanksgiving with Mike, after which Sonny decided that Mike was no longer safe in his home. Elizabeth comforted Lucas, who shared that he had only agreed to work on Thanksgiving Day because he and Brad had hit a rough patch in their marriage. Julian tampered with Brad's car in an effort to have him killed.
To read the full Soap Central recap from that day's episode, click here.
On a programming note, General Hospital will not air a new episode on Friday, November 24, due to ABC airing a college football game. GH is scheduled to resume airing Monday, November 27.
If you miss the Thanksgiving 2023 episode, fear not. Soap Central will have a full recap of the episode -- just as we have been doing every day since 1995.
Are you excited that GH is airing a new episode on Thanksgiving? What was your favorite Thanksgiving Day episode of General Hospital? We want to hear from you -- so drop your comments in the Comments section below, tweet about it on Twitter, share it on Facebook, or chat about it on our Message Boards.