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'General Hospital' fan recap: Engagement and derangement

Season 53 | Episodes 73–77 | Aired Jul 13–17, 2015

There’s a trend on social media, with viewers tweeting about General Hospital using the hashtag #WhyRatingsAreLow. But, as with last week’s poll, not all viewers can agree with what is causing the current ratings decline. Is it Luke’s farewell tour? Is it “new characters” (which apparently covers anyone not with the show since 1991)? Is it the newly undead Jake? Is it how long the Jakeson reveal is taking? Or is it just overall general apathy with the show?

Not everything is currently working. Take the Nina/Ric/Madeline storyline, which has isolated Ric from all the characters he has personal history with. After the quick reveal of his Jakeson/Hayden scheme and the ending of his relationship with Elizabeth, Ric was placed into a storyline with characters he’d never interacted with before. Add in the new gaslighting plot device, and the plan to gain Nina’s inheritance devolves into a full-out mess. Nina hasn’t proven herself the brightest crayon in the box, but certainly she has to notice that she only hears the baby crying in her husband’s presence? Hopefully Silas can intervene with his baby-napping truth before Nina ends up back in Shadybrooke, thanks to her husband and mother’s machinations.

The Denise/Ava arc takes a baby step forward this week, when Ava asks Franco to help her obtain the incriminating “Ava killed Connie” recording that Scotty has in his possession. Ava surmises that if she destroys the recording, the murder case against her will fall apart, since all the other evidence is hearsay. How has nobody mentioned that the recording sat in the hospital lost and found, was audio-corrected by Spinelli, and went through several hands before it ended up with the police? Shouldn’t it be easily suppressed in court due to its chain of custody?

Perhaps Ava’s fixation on her daughter’s boyfriend is blurring her common sense. Yes, after weeks of kissing and poorly resisting one another, Ava/Denise and Morgan finally did the deed. Even though the two hadn’t been a couple since A.J’s funeral, their connection was apparently too strong to resist, and they fall into bed together, with Kiki just outside the penthouse door. Naturally, Kiki doesn’t actually bust the twosome, leaving Franco to deliver the news that Sonny denied Michael’s attempt to arrange Denise/Avery time. Ava sends Franco away, lying that Alexis and Julian are going at it … to keep Franco from finding out that Morgan is in the next room.

But Alexis and Julian are busy having an afternoon tryst at the Metro Court, role-playing businesswoman/hotel employee. In their afterglow, they view a news report that mentions a mob-related hijacking and wonders if the Jerome crime family is returning to prominence. Alexis promises Julian that she believes he has left the business. And viewers are left scratching their heads as Julian sits on the hotel bed. Why would anyone make the bed post-coitus in a hotel room? Franco spies the twosome kissing in the hallway and wonders what/who Ava is hiding in the penthouse.

Are you ready for round five? After four failed attempts at marriage, betrothments to others, and prison time, Sonny and Carly once again vow their eternal love and get engaged. Carly lists Sonny’s faults (arrogant, violent, ruthless) and positive traits (loyal, charming, dimples) and insists she’s in it for the long haul, even helping patch up a wounded soldier to avoid police interaction. With the mob story seemingly rising again, is it time for Sonny and Carly to have more to do than discuss others and babysit? The mending of Michael’s relationship with his parents continues, although he isn’t quite ready to RSVP affirmatively to their nuptials.

Dante confesses to Lulu kissing Valerie, but leaves out the part about sleeping with her cousin. Lulu is understandably peeved, and Dante doesn’t do a good job of selling the “his fault” portion of the equation. Granted, the kiss is only part of the story, but Dante could have really pressed the “Valerie pushed him away” angle to defuse his wife’s anger.

The Jakeson reveal appears to be gaining a little steam (hopefully) toward a possible resolution. Jakeson and Monica shared real screen time, and while Monica didn’t recognize her son, she was immediately comfortable with the “stranger.” Monica spoke to Jakeson in depth about Jason, from his parentage and medical dreams to the life-altering car crash that changed his personality. Can viewers take this as a sign that Jakeson may eventually be a Morgan-Quartermaine mashup?

Elizabeth yammers on to Lucky about her love life before he is able to interrupt and tell her that little Jake is alive and right outside her door. Elizabeth has a mixture of emotions, and Jake is surprisingly calm for a child whose entire known life has been upended. Lucky takes leave, allowing Jakeson to appear and meet the boy he doesn’t remember is his son. Regardless, Jakeson and Jake immediately bond over motorcycles, allowing a visible wave of guilt to flow over Elizabeth’s face. Will it finally be enough to push her into telling Jakeson the truth, or will she continue to play house with her imaginary family?

Lucky confesses to Luke that he is wrestling with his own dark side, feeling as if he might be a better father from a distance. But the confession probably has more to do with Jonathon Jackson’s availability than actual storytelling; it’s gravely out of character for Lucky. However, Lucky continues the confession when he makes his way to Nikolas’ living room. Surprisingly, Nikolas admits Jakeson’s true identity to Lucky, as a way to show his brother that his family will be cared for by an amnesiac non-stranger if Lucky opts to leave town again. Lucky is disturbed at the news that Elizabeth is keeping the information a secret, but doesn’t reveal what he plans to do about it.

Luke finally makes his way back to the Quartermaine mansion, set to reconcile with Tracy. Instead, he finds Tracy and Paul in bed together after a drunken hookup. Luke gets Tracy to hear him out, but rather than leap into his arms, Tracy blasts Luke for not trusting her and including her in his life. Tracy points out that Luke doesn’t see her as his equal, and she wanted Luke as a whole, not a piece. And with that, Tracy declares her life a Luke-free zone.

Elsewhere, Jordan vows it her mission to bring Sonny down. If she wasn’t solely motivated by getting her son out of Sonny’s house, it might be noble. Sabrina lets Michael know that the GH board has agreed to fund the A.J. Memorial Clinic, even with Obrecht dissenting. Isn’t Nikolas on the board? Wouldn’t he have objected as well?

Back to the original hashtag: Here are a few thoughts on #WhyRatingsAreLow. If asked, I would point to the show’s pacing as the biggest culprit. Monday and Tuesday flowed together as Jake came home and Lucky’s visit culminated. But after that: silence. The storyline simply disappeared from screen as other stories took center stage for the remainder of the week, none with the same sense of urgency.

To keep viewers invested, stories need to air throughout the week, not just compacted at the front or back end. Nothing is ever universally beloved, and dissenters usually speak louder than those who are satisfied, so it would be a challenge to pin it on a single character or arc.

What do YOU feel isn’t working?

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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