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News for the week of 09-Dec-2013

by Carol Banks Weber

GH hit a new ratings high the week of November 25, 2013, continuing the upward trend. Grabbing 3.30 million overall viewers, GH posted a nearly six-year high for itself with the return of Robin, Sabrina and Patrick’s wedding, and chasing down Faison. Check out the demo breakdown on Michael Fairman’s page, posted December 6, 2013.

For some odd reason, B&B opted out of the annual Writers Guild of America Awards. That’s alright. GH, Y&R and DOOL didn’t. They’re in the running for best daytime drama. The 66th annual WGA awards ceremony takes place February 1, 2014 on both coasts, L.A.’s JW Marriott and New York’s Edison Ballroom. GH’s writing team better win. The Scrubs/Patina scenes last week alone should give GH’s cast and crew a sweep in the Daytime Emmys.

Jason Thompson (Patrick) did a lot of thinking to prepare for his scenes at the church when Robin showed up. Filming those scenes for the entire cast and crew involved 10 hours of hard labor. Thompson hoped he was able to convey both a history and a regard for Kimberly McCullough (Robin) and what he and Teresa Castillo (Sabrina) managed to build in the nearly two years since Robin’s absence. The actor spoke to Michael Fairman in detail for the December 5, 2013 interview.

“It was a full day of shooting, and probably one of the hardest days I had. We did so much back and forth. We did it five times, I think. They had to get different shots, and then there are all of the reactions, but it just kept going!” Thompson described. “I felt I was hit by a truck by the end of the day. There was just a lot going on: Being there in the moment and being 100 percent truthful with Sabrina and knowing that is happening … and then there is a small percentage of Patrick being in the reality of, ‘Oh, my God! Here I am again.’ … There were all the different kind of layers that were happening, and they were exhausting, but we continued through it.”

Thompson tried to get inside his character’s head, amidst the joy of having his friend back on-set and hanging out with her for breakfast. Thompson’s first scene with McCullough was a doozy (where Patrick lays his eyes on his dead wife at the church). Imagine the storm raging in his head. “I was really nervous about it. I had a hard time for a couple of weeks leading up to that moment knowing what was going to happen,” Thompson explained. “I knew Robin was going to walk in. I knew it was going to be one of those things where I was trying to find the right balance. I was trying to find the human element of this moment, of somebody that you lost walking back into your life in the most shocking, dramatic, kind of way. It’s just not something that you really kind of wrap your head around. I thought about past loved ones, my dog, and people who came back into my life. I was thinking how I had been so happy and so shocked, but then thinking… what is going on? Knowing that Patrick went through these hallucinations, let’s say, or the moment of seeing visions of Robin in the past … was it just another one of those? Or, wanting it to be true, but Robin is holding Emma, so what is going on? All of those moments in my own mind and my own process I was trying to figure out. It was daunting. I knew it was an important storyline, too! There was that extra added bit of nerves because of it, and trying not to let that influence my reality in that moment. I would do it a disservice to play the soap of it without trying to be as honest as I could with it, but at the same time, understanding what it is. It is Robin coming back from the dead in Patrick’s world! That is a very dramatic soap moment. I think it’s an amazing opportunity in the medium in which we work to be able to do something like this.”

The part of this entire tale that hasn’t been so amazing — dealing with the fan backlash, mostly against the actress many perceived to be getting in the way of an eventual Scrubs reunion. Too many of those invested fans began to make up stories about how the actors might think and feel, lumping in Jason Thompson (Patrick) in the process. They accused him of phoning it in with Teresa Castillo (Sabrina), because he was pining away for Kimberly McCullough’s (Robin) return. Fans have been particularly harsh on Castillo — for simply doing her job as an actress — reading things into her and Thompson’s portrayals that simply weren’t there. “I get it on my Twitter that people say I don’t like her, but it could not be further from the truth. To come in to do a job like this and knowing the pressures that come with it, and doing the amount of pages she had to learn per day, and knowing the story itself that she has done, is doing, and will continue to do, is pretty commendable. The character of Sabrina is not going anywhere from what I know. Teresa has made herself a main character on our show! That is not an easy thing to do.”

Gossip for the week of 09-Dec-2013

by Carol Banks Weber

Patrick and Robin will give Scrubs fans some love with their brief reunion. But it doesn’t look like these two will stay together. Look for December 19th to be the date Patrick chooses the woman in his life. According to Daytime Dish’s HNY December 5: “I heard RC's main focus was on Robin's long journey home and Robin's follow-up story would be short-changed. I have been ‘not so gently’ warning Robin fans for months to expect RC to gloss over her captivity and the mob war umbrella story to expand and ‘eat this show’ next… Robin and Patrick will be drawn into that umbrella story, but as far as I heard, they are not main players. Robin’s cure will be a factor in the new year, however, it sounds like more of a mini-arc to me. I wish I could tell you there is another big Robin/Patrick story coming up, but I simply do not have that. Not yet at least.”

I’ve been Teresa Castillo’s (Sabrina) worst critic since she was given the delicious role of Ugly Betty (a truly beautiful girl who overcomes her awkwardness) after Scrubs was unceremoniously decimated by Guza & Co. with the lab explosion, killing Patrick Drake’s Robin. IMHO, Castillo and the writers didn’t do enough to portray the backstory explaining why this nursing student was so awkward, living in her dream world and her work instead of living. Even worse, they seemed more enamored of giving Sabrina the Cliff Notes Disney version of a princess title through character propping, instead of letting her earn the insta-heroine status — a common mistake in the quick-fix world of soaps.

That all changed this past week when Robin returned from the dead, at Patrick and Sabrina’s wedding. For this to work, all three major points of light — Kimberly McCullough, Jason Thompson, and Teresa Castillo — had to bring everything to their roles and with each other. Castillo had it much harder. This soap newcomer had to rise to the occasion with two major, Emmy-caliber actors who’ve worked together for years and already developed that trust.

In pivotal scenes with a brilliantly raw Thompson, Castillo finally turned up the volume in her formerly one-note role and gave a multi-faceted performance that surpassed soap opera material, rising from the pages of her script, and hitting the faces of the stunned audience with bracing, conflicting, noble and hurt reality. Castillo actually showed the emotional struggle within Sabrina in physically wrought detail, to do the right thing against her love-struck will, while helplessly lashing out in bursts of resentment, impatience, and incredibly heartfelt anguish. She also generously gave Thompson the weight of those scenes as the truly grief-stricken, blindsided groom, which validated Scrubs in a way neither Patrick or Robin could on their own.

For all the fan backlash this young actress has quietly endured, she did an enormous favor to the vocal and sometimes mean-spirited Scrubs fan base by heightening Patrick and Robin’s reunion with priceless tension and raising the stakes of an outcome that is most definitely not assured, and making this triangle love story truly something dramatically special. She lifted fiction into the hemisphere of reality, as a collective experience for everyone who’s ever experienced the wounds of rejection and dazzling splinters of hope.

If Teresa Castillo, Jason Thompson, Kimberly McCullough, and head writer Ron Carlivati don’t earn Emmys for their show next year, it’ll be a travesty.

With all this talk of Lily, Sonny’s Clink-Boom dead wife, might Carlos be a relation? Cody Murphy — who spoke with the 1990s portrayer, Lilly Melgar — seems to think so. Read his December 5, 2013 Murphy’s Musings, “Two (or several) wrongs don't make a right.” Or maybe Lily is Sabrina’s mom, which makes her Sonny’s daughter.

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