“General Hospital” Goes Live!

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"General Hospital" went live to 2 days during May sweeps.

HOLLYWOOD—Ok, I must admit, I don’t ever recall a soap opera going live, I could be wrong, but a big spectacle was made for the ABC soap “General Hospital” upping the ante for May sweeps. The show aired its first live episode on May 15, with its second airing on May 18.

It’s an interesting dynamic to say the least. For those not in the know, soap actors and actresses remember tons of lines in a given day. They tend to shoot a multitude of episodes in a series of days. In other words, many of the episodes that you watch in June and July may have already been shot. So imagine what chaos would appear when the actors behind some of your favorite characters couldn’t yell ‘cut’ if they made a mistake.

It was smart for the series to not try to focus on too much in the episodes. There might have been 2-3 stories that Friday’s episode focused on which was great. The focus was really on these characters and propelling that narrative. There was one thing that I thought was overkill: you don’t have to continuously implement the word ‘live’ during the episode to wink to the audience that it’s live.

Guess what we know! You’ve only been talking about it for the past few weeks. When you have characters try to implement that into the dialogue, it just comes off a bit forced and not as smooth as one hoped. I would argue that the scenes and the energy was fun, exciting and unlike anything ever seen. Perhaps the other soaps will consider taking a similar approach in the near future. I did notice two flubs: one from actress Kelly Monaco who struggled with a word which wasn’t that obvious, but I caught it.

The other mishap in my opinion came from actor Grayson McCouch who seemed a bit too excited during Friday’s episode. His cadence seemed a bit louder than I expected, perhaps that could have been a technical issue compared to nerves.

What was the most exciting thing about the live episodes? The ability to deliver cliffhangers that literally makes the audience yank out their hair until the next episode airs. In addition, there were a few surprises, two to be exact. First, Hayden decided to confront Nikolas and Elizabeth about their lie involving Jason Morgan. Their blowout led to Hayden choosing to speak to Jake and Sam, but will the truth actually be revealed? Fingers crossed, as the reveal is long overdue.

The other big surprise was the FBI agent Anna Devane confronting Carlos Rivera for his involvement in the shooting and death of her lover Duke. I expected Anna to place the cuffs on the suspect, no, she went rogue and fired a shot right into his chest! Yes, it was bold, unexpected and delivered a shock to the audience. Carlos is a goner, but what does that mean for Anna? Is she headed to prison or is this just the beginning of more chaos on the mob front. Monday’s episode delivered answers to fans as we got to see the mystery guy that Nina planned to marry, and the truth about Jake Doe aka Jason Morgan reached a fever pitch.

Of course the writers would drag out the truth about Jake by having Hayden take a bullet before spilling the beans. Sean was arrested, and surprise, the actor will soon be leaving the canvas. Did not see that one coming? To make matters worse, Sean didn’t shoot Hayden, it was Nikolas who put out the hit on the vixen. Wow, Nikolas is sure proving he is a Cassadine with his recent actions.

We can’t forget about the revelation that Nina’s groom to be was none other than Ric Lansing. Ok, this is beyond crazy, which means Ric has something sinister up his sleeve, I can only wonder what that might be. Not to mention he is assisting Sonny with his latest run-in with the law, which means he must have something cooking for Carly. Oh, by the way Sonny discovered that Jake was working for the Port Charles Police Department as an undercover cop. Yep, the mobster might be in some serious hot water this time around.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the two-day live event was Friday’s episode which featured actress Lilly Melgar with the credits. That was no coincidence. Why do I have the feeling that Sonny’s supposedly dead wife, will be returning back from the grave with a vengeance? I expect we will find out real soon. “General Hospital” airs weekdays on ABC.