Commentary GH

In Defense Of General Hospital’s Nina Reeves

There is a lot of hatred directed at Nina Reeves, despite the fact that others have done so much worse.

nina reeves on general hospital at michael and willow's carriage house looking shockedNina Reeves

If there’s one General Hospital character who gets more heat for what seems like nothing when you compare her to other soap characters, it’s Nina Reeves.

Port Charles Is Full Of Unsavory Characters

While we are not saying Nina (Cynthia Watros) always makes the best decisions and never did terrible things, her ‘crimes’ in the scheme of things can seem negligible at best. After all, this is a soap where a lifelong career criminal — also currently Nina’s boyfriend — is an anti-hero who walks from every crime like the Teflon don he is. We have a man who, along with his brothers, tried to freeze the world roaming free to charmingly menace Port Charles.

Finally, let us never forget that a rapist was once the soap’s biggest male lead, and when he married the woman he raped, that wedding became the most-watched soap opera episode ever. Sure, it was 1981, and yes, times have definitely changed, but let us look at Nina’s crimes and Nina’s origin.

Cut Nina Reeves Some Slack

It makes sense that Nina will always be known as the woman who induced Ava’s (Maura West) labor and then stole her baby. There is no way to condone that, but there was always a way to explain it. When we first met Nina nearly a decade ago, she had just woken from a 22-year coma and believed it was still 1992. She was a young married woman not much older than Josslyn (Eden McCoy) and Trina (Tabyana Ali) when her own mother put her in that coma by injecting her daughter with an overdose of an anti-depressant.

While Madeline (Donna Mills) was only hoping to induce a miscarriage and help end Nina’s marriage, she induced a decades-long coma instead.

Nina came out of that coma still believing she was pregnant, only to learn the year was 2014, her husband, Silas (Michael Easton), had moved on without her, and her baby was gone. Slowly, she experienced a psychotic break, especially after learning that Ava had given birth to Silas’s child around when her baby would have been due, and was pregnant with a second girl all those years later. Nina did her time in Shadybrook for taking Avery while Avery was still an infant, and the fact that she wasn’t in her right mind and was delusional was wrapped up eight long years ago.

Who Nina Became

After that, Nina might not have always been mature, but she never did anything that was purely evil. With Michelle Stafford in the role, we were reminded often that Nina still had the maturity of a college student, knew little of the world around her and the changes that happened during the decades she was comatose, and that immaturity gave way to impulsiveness.

Through it all, her desire to be a mother has been first and foremost. She wanted to have one with Franco, but he did not want biological children. She also learned she was in early menopause and tried to adopt a child, but she failed. She felt she could finally have everything she wanted when she married Valentin and became a stepmother to Charlotte, but there is no denying she was over the top in spoiling the little girl and ridiculous in her treatment of third-grade teacher Willow Tait.

When Nina learned her child really survived, and her mother had given a little girl away, another dream seemed like it came true for Nina, especially when she believed that child was Sasha. To learn that both Valentin and Sasha had tricked her so that Sasha could make a little money and Valentin could play the hero in her life, nearly broke Nina.

But, there has always been forgiveness, both from Nina and for Nina. Today, Sasha is like a daughter to Nina, and Valentin is her friend. Ava, of all people, is her very best girlfriend. As for Sonny, the only other person she has truly wronged since those first days out of her coma, he not just forgave her — he fell in love with her.

Nina Reeves Made A Big Mistake

Since 2014, Nina has been played by two powerhouse soap vets who have infused the character with different traits. Stafford gave Nina a quirky and flighty nature, while Cynthia Watros brings out a more mature (but not totally mature) Nina, who can admit to her mistakes, even when they are huge. That immaturity is still there as a result of the coma, but she is certainly not some horrible ogre that she is often made out to be.

Between 2014 when she took Avery as a result of a psychotic break and 2021 when Nina made that massive Nixon Falls mistake, what had she really done to anyone except be a rude PTA mom to Willow when she didn’t want to accept that Charlotte was indeed a bully? At one time, Nina was even a hero to the people who hate her most today — Carly, Michael, and Willow. In 2020, Nina got up on the stand and testified against Nelle in a custody fight for Wiley Corinthos.

To thank her, Carly decided not to inform Nina that Nelle was the daughter Nina had been looking for when Carly learned that fact. She claimed she didn’t want to burden Nina with that knowledge, but she had also pointedly said to Jax she also feared Nina would again question what happened the night Nelle died and learn that Carly did indeed hesitate before trying to save her. Carly made a decision for Nina and her life for Carly. She never fails to remain in character, and that is neither a condemnation of Carly nor Laura Wright, who plays her. It’s just who Carly is.

Even after learning Carly kept that monumental secret about her daughter, Nina’s first instinct was to tell Carly that Sonny was alive within mere minutes of spotting him in Nixon Falls and realizing he had amnesia. She called Carly to tell her to come get her missing husband, but Carly yapped away as Carly tends to do, chastising Nina for this or that, as Carly also tends to do. Nina made a split-second totally wrong decision to keep the Sonny secret, but it was also completely prompted by Carly. Do two wrongs make a right? Nope. But what do you do with three wrongs?

Nina Reeves vs. Carly In 2023

In 2022, it was immensely clear that Carly never learned her lesson from the Nelle secret debacle and how it sent Nina’s Nixon Falls deceit into motion. If Carly had learned anything, she never would have kept the identity of Nina’s other daughter from her after learning Nina had twins and Willow was Nelle’s sister.

Carly claims she did it to protect Willow, but it’s just another case of Carly playing with people’s lives using one of her favorite tactics, keeping the identity of their children from them. She did it with her own son, Michael. She did it when she didn’t tell Sonny he was Kristina’s father. She did it when she let Nikolas believe that Jax was Spencer’s dad. It’s what Carly does. Carly also kidnaps old ladies and came to town to seduce her bio mom’s husband as revenge for giving her up as an infant.

Yes, Nina and Carly have both made mistakes, but Nina shows remorse, Carly does not. And, Nina is the result of a 22-year coma induced by her mother while Carly’s biggest gripe when she arrived in Port Charles was that she was adopted by a mother who loved her.

In Soap Hub’s view, Nina deserves a break. She deserves to get to know her daughter, despite the years of animosity, and also tepid friendship, between them. She does not deserve Willow’s irrational hate for her, that is for sure. If Carly and so many others can be forgiven for their decades’ worth of egregious sins, why can’t Nina Reeves?

General Hospital (GH) airs weekdays on ABC. Check your local listings for airtimes. For more about what’s coming up in Port Charles, check out all the latest that’s been posted on GH spoilers, and for an in-depth look at the show’s history, click here.

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