General Hospital in 2009 brought new characters, old characters, an old star as a new character, a movie star, abrupt exits, SORASed children, groundbreaking television that wasn't, misfires, and some time-honored plot devices that could make viewers think they were watching the show five years ago.
In other words, like all shows, there was good and bad.
Let's start with the biggest events of the year.
The Major Headlines
- James Franco
This was definitely the news that not only rocked the soap world but garnered mainstream publicity - the appearance of film star James Franco in a two-month story arc.
- The Return of Jonathan Jackson
Boy, General Hospitalkept this one under its hat. By the time anyone found out, Jackson was en route to the studio and poor Greg Vaughan was OUT.
- Sarah Joy Brown Leaves
General Hospital apparently had some notice on this one, but again, we were treated to a quick end for Claudia when Brown took a job on Bold and the Beautiful. One day, she was Claudia; the next day, she was a new character on B&B.
- Rick Hearst Leaves GH
Here is another case where the viewers were deprived of a great exit. Apparently, B&B's routine is to hire someone the day before they're due to start work. Since there wasn't time to write an end for the character, Ric Lansing just gets on an elevator and leaves. Bye, Ric.
- The New Set
ABC threw some money at GH, which shows, I guess, some level of commitment. Very handsome. Note to pregnant women: Those who ignore the past are doomed to repeat it. Avoid the staircase.
Now for the top storylines:
- Franco Meets Jason
- Michael Wakes Up
And when he woke up, he was no longer red-headed Dylan Cash, but blond Drew Garrett. And a real brat. Garrett does a terrific job as a confused, often bitter teen turned stepmother killer.
- Murder, She Says
Robin Scorpio was sure that Mayor Floyd's mistress Brianna Hughes was killed at the MetroCourt - and she had a suspect. Martha Byrne, as Mrs. Floyd, was on hand trying to get rid of any stray witnesses. Martha, you left us too soon.
- Edward Goes for a Drive
Unfortunately, it was right through the middle of a carnival, killing the above-mentioned Mrs. Floyd and resulting in injuries to others and major health problems for poor Edward, since Mrs. Floyd laced his drink with digitalis.
- The Spinelli-Maxie "Wedding"
It was lovely, even though the actual marriage didn't happen.
- Holly's Big Reveal...
Was a guy named Ethan. After all kinds of speculation - is he Robert Scorpio's son, is he Luke's - he turned out to be Luke's.
- Dante Becomes More Than a Name
Talk about speculation - and rumors - finally, Dante Falconeri appeared as an undercover cop named Dominic Pirelli. The actor playing Dante, Dominic Zamprogna, is a great addition to the show, except for the fact that the woman playing his mother, Lisa LoCicero, looks like his older sister.
- Emily: The Sequel
Natalia Livingston (ex-Emily) returned to GH as a new character, Emily's tough, street-smart identical twin no one knew about, Rebecca Shaw. This amounted to a new, stylish haircut and '60s eye makeup.
- Because They're Cousins
And also sisters: We were introduced to Alexis' two SORASed daughters, Kristina and Molly, delightfully played by Lexi Ainsworth and Haley Pullos. We also met the new Morgan, the adorable Aaron Revfem.
- Jason and Sam Reunite
They first declared their love in Hawaii while Jason was recovering from being stuck under a fallen choir loft and then shot, and again in Port Charles. Jasam is back.
- Sonny Throws Claudia a Surprise Party
Then he tells her off in public, leading to her kidnapping of Carly (poor woman - will she ever have a normal pregnancy?) and taking off with her.
- Post-Partum Depression
Like Carly before her, Robin suffered from post-partum depression, ending up in a bar in my hometown of Rochester, New York, and picking up a guy. Nothing happened, but Patrick wasn't so sure. Happily for Scrubs fans, Robin got the help she needed and found her way back to Patrick and Emma.
- Kiefer - Girlfriend Abuser
This started out as the controlling boyfriend of Kristina, Kiefer (Christian Alexander) hitting her. At this point, Ethan is now in the picture. Look for this storyline to pick up in 2010.
- Karaoke Comes to Jake's
In an effort to bring back a lighter side of the show, Jake's has become the site of karaoke. We've been treated to all sorts of performances by everyone from Robin and Patrick to Diane Miller to Ethan Lovett, and it's been a great addition.
GH ventured outdoors for a colorful carnival, complete with games, rides, balloons, cotton candy, and a fortuneteller. Before Edward mowed it down, it was tremendous fun and very different for GH.
- Follow the Bouncing Ball
This was supposed to be the great back to the future story, sometimes in the present, sometimes in the future. It all started when a guy swallowed balls the size of baseballs that were carrying hazardous material. The story sort of disintegrated into the hospital being on fire and the usual things, where no one was able to get out of the hospital, but Maxie walked right in past the guards to look for Spinelli. It is, however, where Nikolas saw Rebecca the Emily Sequel for the first time, Lucky and Elizabeth rekindled their love (except then the writers changed that storyline so they took it all back), and Anthony Zacchara led Jason on a merry chase through the hospital. One of the best scenes occurred when Sonny wanted to shoot Anthony, but Jason stopped him. The saddest moment was the death of Leyla Mir. The most powerful moment occurred right at the beginning, in the operating room, as the doctors and attendants were affected by the biotoxin. In the last moment, we see Elizabeth's face at the window in the OR door, and she disappears.
The anticipated meeting of psycho artist Franco and strong, silent Jason Morgan took place, and it was a wow. Franco, so cool, sexy and sophisticated with Maxie, turned into a teenage girl around Jason, offering him red M&Ms, running around making sure everything was perfect, and flattering him. Franco was always wierd, with his CO77x tag, impersonations of a homeless man, and stalking of Jason, but these scenes revealed him as a total looney tune.