Soaps have always been about characters sharing their thoughts and feelings with one another. Last week, General Hospital viewers were reminded that nothing is ever going to change that including COVID-19 safety protocols, shrinking budgets, or anything else.
Genie Francis: Performer of the Week
The scenes that drove this point home featured Daytime Emmy winners Genie Francis and Michael E. Knight, who play relatively newly discovered relatives Laura Webber Collins and Martin Gray, sitting for a quiet lunch. The moments were sweet and touching, filled with pathos, drawing viewers in, and prompting Soap Hub to award Performer of the Week honors on Francis.
While both actors have known each other for decades (going back to when Francis was a cast member on All My Children where she played Ceara, and Knight, of course, was Tad “the Cad” Martin), Laura and Martin are still getting acquainted, bonding over the fact that they share the same father — the late Gordon Gray — and wariness over their mutual sibling, the unpredictable Cyrus Renault (Jeff Kober).
Laura realized that she and Martin really don’t know each other. She tried to find common ground with her half-brother, recollecting her own childhood, which had difficulties, just as Martin’s did.
Kudos to the GH writing team for having Laura recall her late sister Amy (the late Shell Kepler). In her day, Amy was a gossipy busybody who was often scolded for sticking her nose into other people’s business. However, there’s always more to the story, and Laura’s thoughtful recollection of her sister shed some light onto Amy, and, in the process, herself so that Martin could understand her better.
“I was a lot,” Laura recalled. “So, Amy had to be twice as loud and twice as gregarious just to get the same amount of attention I was getting. I think it must have been very hard for Amy to live with me.”
Laura truly opened up a vein, hoping to connect with Martin. Mission accomplished. Such introspection often only comes with the passage of time. For veteran GH fans, who’ve watched the show through Francis’ run and who recall Kepler’s irrepressible Amy, a scene like this was gold on multiple levels, the type of quiet performance that belongs on Emmy reels.
It not only created a bonding moment between Laura and Martin, but it also showed Laura being vulnerable as she recalled her storied life. Martin was presented with a belated birthday cake, but it was GH viewers who got the gift.
And while Francis is our “official” choice for this week’s performer of the week, major kudos go, of course, to Knight, a prince among actors, who played great vulnerability in these scenes as well. General Hospital (GH) airs weekdays on ABC. Check your local listings for airtimes.