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News for the week of 01-Apr-2013

by Carol Banks Weber

Maurice Benard (Sonny) seemed restless about his time on GH, despite heaping positives on the soap’s improvement overall, the return of vets John Stamos (Blackie’s coming back?!), Jack Wagner (Frisco), Genie Francis (Laura), et al, and his current storyline with a favorite actress, Kelly Sullivan (Kate/Connie). Referencing boredom as the killer and wanting to retire at 50, Benard nevertheless indicated he’d probably have to continue on to provide for his brood and he missed the mob aspect in Chuck Barney’s Contra Costa Times, March 22, 2013 interview. It’s the missing mob aspect that hints at a deeper dissatisfaction. “At this point, I think we need to get back to it a little bit more. On the other hand, I think it's great that we've been able to bring a little more balance to the character (of Sonny) and to put him in the position of having to fight for the woman he loves. I do think we can be doing some more with the mob, but they (the producers and writers) know what they're doing.” Even the vet returns have had Benard a little restless. He loves seeing them come on, but worried about the continuous revolving door diluting the heart and soul of the soap. “They're people I've watched a lot over the years. I don't know if we can keep that door revolving for long. You have to have a staple of what the show really is and not confuse viewers. But it has been fun.”

Teresa Castillo (Sabrina) is the subject of much controversy on soap boards. Whether executive producer Frank Valentini and head writer Ron Carlivati care or not, many fans can’t stand Sabrina and the propping of her character by other, more popular characters like Elizabeth and Patrick. She’s supposed to be a heroine but comes off to these fans as more of a victim, and a whiny, obtuse, self-centered, petty victim at that. Last Wednesday’s episode was Sabrina’s lowest point as a character not to root for when she had to be talked into compromising with her BFF Felix over Milo and continued to insist that she was right and he was wrong. What a lovely, mature friend, RME.

Nevertheless, in Castillo’s world, it’s peaches and cream, and to TPTB, she’s the Cinderella of the Nurses’ Ball with an impending beauty transformation. Attaining this role wasn’t easy. Castillo initially tried out for Delores, Dante’s ill-fated police partner. But her impression nearly caused TPTB to revise that role to fit her personality. Instead, she would go up against 900 some odd actresses months later (last spring) to test opposite (again) Jason Thompson (Patrick) for the Scrubs spoiler, Maya-turned-Sabrina. In a March 28th interview with Michael Fairman, Castillo seemed blissful about her GH blessing, from the lead story to the co-stars.

During that audition process, she was the only one to ask Thompson for advice, which touched the actor. It’s a habit she would continue once she won the coveted role, and one that saw her through a tough revelatory scene — when Sabrina finally confesses she loves Patrick. “That day, for some reason, was really hard for me to play, because all this time I had been leading up to … tell him, tell him, tell him! So now I have all this weight on it. Suddenly, I started panicking and Jason said, ‘OK take a breath. Feel your feet and just talk to me.’ He eased me, and it did not have to be so big this reveal of hers. That is why I am so thankful to work with Jason. He is really caring, and knows how to reel me back in from the psychosis. [Laughs]” Kimberly McCullough (Robin) has also given her seal of approval, after having observed Castillo really grow into the role. “She was on set a couple of weeks ago at the GH 50th anniversary cast photo shoot. Kimberly came up to me and told me she is a big fan, and that she watches the show every single day. She loved how my character was growing and saw me settling into the world of it, and saw a major difference from the day I first stepped on set to now. She is a very kind person. Kimberly told me to not be so hard on myself, which was really nice to hear. She is very encouraging.” Read more of the interview to see how well Teresa Castillo gets along with Lynn Herring (Lucy), Marc Samuel (Felix), Kelly Thiebaud (Britt), and Brooklyn Rae Silzer (Emma).

Teresa Castillo (Sabrina) tried to keep from correcting certain fans tweeting their hope that Felix would turn straight and be Sabrina’s new love. Felix is gay; there’s no such thing as turning straight. But she told Michael Fairman in a recent interview she tried to understand where they were coming from, in simply wanting to see this winsome pairing pair up. “Marc is fantastic, and we have so much fun. The relationship Marc and I have on-screen is what we are like off-screen together. We hang out and we are really close. He expected to get that flack, first of all being a gay character, and then being a black gay best friend. He was not blindsided by it, and he is very much aware that prejudices still go on to this day. Somebody tweeted, ‘I love Felix and Sabrina. I hope that he turns out to be straight so that they can be together.’ I am very careful. I really want to say stuff back, but you have to bite your tongue. It made me so upset, because also in the fans’ mind they love these characters, but if only Felix would be ‘fixed,’ or whatever, was the message I took from that.”

Jason Thompson (Patrick) and Finola Hughes (Anna) partnered up to compete in Who Wants To Be A Millionaire April 1-2. They competed to raise money for the non-profit organization, the Art of Elysium, and were cheered on by superfans in the audience, plus one special GH surprise star. They even got to play with game show host Meredith Vieira (Bree Flanders) in a soapy scene. Vieira will guest-star again on GH as the former madam—all to celebrate the soap’s 50th anniversary.

Sean Blakemore (Shawn) is gonna be a daddy for the first time. He and his wife Nadyia Jones will soon welcome a baby girl into the world.

Say goodbye to Lindsey Morgan (Kristina). She didn’t work out as Alexis’ and Sonny’s eldest daughter, after all. She wrote this for her fans on Facebook: “It is with a heavy heart I have to announce that my time at Port Charles has come to an end. I’m not sure where Kristina is headed next but it was a beyond amazing opportunity to portray her…be part of the Davis Girls…have the Corinthos’ passion and temper run though my veins and to witness history being made on this momentous show!”

Neither Finola Hughes (Anna) or Tristan Rogers (Robert) would give a straight answer to the perennial pesky question of who belongs with their characters? Hughes referenced what Anna said to Robert in GH: Night Shift — “I always thought we would end up together on a beach drinking mai tais” — while playing off that same theme (stewed peas and lawn chairs) for her BFF Ian Buchanan, who plays Duke, the other love of Anna’s life. Rogers was even less decisive, saying that both Anna and Holly were cool women for his Robert Scorpio for different reasons. “I hate it when I get this question [laughs]! Listen, they are two completely different women. One is adventure-minded and could kick ass, and the other could kick ass pulling a sting at a cocktail party. That's the difference, and he embraced those differences.” –Soap Opera Digest 50th anniversary edition

Kirsten Storms (Maxie) has felt a whirlwind of emotions on-set recently, what with the influx of famous vets—including her much-talked-about, on-screen father—and the departure of her good friend Julie Marie Berman (Lulu). She is starstruck by the incoming star power for the 50th anniversary (these are the people she’d watch on TV with her mom growing up), was nervous before working with the Melrose Place hunk Jack Wagner (Frisco), and incredibly sad about saying goodbye to Berman but grateful to have shared those last, emotional scenes. “We could barely look at each other,” Storms told Access Hollywood’s Jolie Lash. “She started a few months after I started. So I really do feel like my entire 'General Hospital' experience has been with her. I feel lost without her now, but I know we have a great actress coming in to pick [up] for Lulu and we’re just going to keep going with the story lines.”

Gossip for the week of 01-Apr-2013

by Carol Banks Weber

Kirsten Storms’ (Maxie) boyfriend Brandon Barash (Johnny) may have announced his exit from GH, but he’s not quite gone yet. He may reappear a final time soon to help Kristina out at Pentonville, before she has to leave too.

To avoid the legal hassle of licensing rights held by Prospect Park for its online OLTL, GH’s team might very well have to invent new characters for when Michael Easton (John), Roger Howarth (Todd), and Kristen Alderson (Starr) return. Easton, Howarth, and Alderson had to return to OLTL to fulfill their online obligations for the launch, and will purportedly head back to GH in a few more weeks. Other sources report that Howarth may return as Todd nevertheless.

Heard through the soap grapevine: Jason Thompson (Patrick) may have voiced some frustration with some of the more diehard (ha ha) Scrubs fans in a tweet to SID’s Richard last week. He tweeted something like… maybe they’d rather he be unemployed than have this current story with anyone other than Robin.

Kelly Monaco (Sam) wants her next pairing to be with Patrick? Does she have a death wish?

Let’s talk about Sabrina, shall we? If she’s supposed to be the viable romantic candidate to replace Robin for Patrick, then why does she continually fall short? She seems more suited to the high school set with her petty, self-righteous, self-centered whining pouting nonsense. Take last Wednesday, when she insisted she was right and her best friend Felix was wrong. She knew Felix harbored a crush on Milo. She also has to know that even if Milo isn’t gay, you never snake on your best friend’s crushes. Yet there she was trying to snottily justify her obliviously selfish behavior. It’s all about her and her inner pain over Patrick, while the rest of the world bends over backwards to treat her right. How is that a suitable replacement for Robin? It’s not. Patrick should be with a grown-up, like Elizabeth, or hell, even Epiphany. Wednesday didn’t do any of those featured characters any favors, least of the 0-to-99 Richard Simmons.

Richard Simmons returned last week Wednesday to choreograph the Nurses’ Ball, fight with Lucy Coe over the lyrics to the “General Hospi-Tale” song, and cackle out of nowhere like a witch on steroids. That was a train wreck. Scary.

TPTB tried desperately to bring Jonathan Jackson (Lucky) back for the 50th anniversary, but failed due to his hectic schedule.

Shouldn’t Luke and Laura know by now not to rush in on Helena without backup? Helena should’ve had them both killed out of principle. Luke first. That stunt with the adrenaline on Nikolas permanently destroyed Luke as a viable character for me. Tony, please retire.

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