Culture, Entertainment, Television

General Hospital: A New Generation of Soap Opera Viewers

It has been nearly 54 years since General Hospital first debuted on ABC on April 1st, 1963. In 2013, the show celebrated its 50th anniversary. ABC aired the very first episode again on April 1st, 2013, followed by a weekend long marathon for devoted fans. When a television show lasts five decades, soon to be six, there is obviously something special about it. What is it about this show that makes it so popular? Is it the characters? The storylines? 44 million women between the ages of 18 and 34 began watching the show in 2013, and overall viewership jumped 19% after the 50th anniversary.

According to the L.A. TimesGeneral Hospital was the soap opera that broke the mold. The show was shot on location many times, and it also touched on sensitive issues that most other shows wouldn’t touch at many times throughout its run. Issues such as rape, cancer, and AIDs. And then there was Luke and Laura’s wedding. Would you believe that on the day that it aired, 30 million people tuned in to watch? It set a record in daytime programming. Princess Diana even sent a congratulatory bottle of wine to the couple because she was such a fan of the show. The show has also won several Daytime Emmy Awards over the years as well, including one this past year in 2016.

As someone who only recently became a fan of the show, I can tell you that at first it’s very confusing trying to figure out the family dynamics of the citizens of Port Charles. I began watching the show with my mom last January, and even though she didn’t show it, I think she was secretly annoyed that I had to keep stopping and asking her questions. “Who is that? Well how do they know each other? Why did that happen?” I made the mistake of asking her who Luke was because he’s not a main character now. Her jaw dropped to the floor and I heard the entire Luke and Laura saga within 15 minutes.

When I first started watching, Jason Morgan, former body guard to mob boss Sonny Corinthos was about to marry GH nurse Elizabeth Webber, much to the dismay of his former/current wife, Samantha Morgan. However, he regained his memory just before and the wedding was off. When I stopped watching, the infamous and evil witch Helena Cassadine, was about the spill the secret of how Jason Morgan came back from the dead.

The show has all the drama you could ever imagine. Infidelity, secrets, lies, love, affairs, sickness, death…the list goes on and on. There are characters who have died and come back from the dead, sometimes with a new face. There is also a lot of heartbreak as well. I can tell you that so far in watching, I’ve cried two times. The first time was when they killed off Michael’s girlfriend, Sabrina. She was murdered by the District Attorney who went on a revenge killing spree. The second time was after the death of Morgan Corinthos, Sonny’s son. He was the victim of a car bomb meant for Sonny’s rival, Julian Jerome.

There are also some familiar guest stars that can credit part of their career to General Hospital. Actors and musicians such as Jack Wagner, Rick Springfield, John Stamos, Demi Moore. Richard Simmons even had a guest starring role on General Hospital that launched his career as a fitness guru for women. Sean Cassidy, Sammie Davis Jr., Ricky Martin, and so on. They all got their start on General Hospital.

If I don’t have your attention now, check out the following links for more information on the show:

You can also find past episodes on YouTube as well!

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