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GH’s Ava Has Been Cleansed By Fire & Ready For A New Start! What Did You Think Of The Avasode?

Courtesy/ABC

Wednesday’s episode of General Hospital served up the standalone Avasode featuring Maura West (Ava Jerome).

In story, Ava goes under the knife to restore her face and remove the last of the burns she suffered in the art warehouse fire quite some time ago.  Once again, West delivered another multi-layered and riveting performance. While under anesthesia, Ava goes on a journey and in essence an attempt at a rebirth.  During her self-discovery trip, she encounters many angry residents of Port Charles, who she wronged in one way or the other.

Laura has some choice words for Ava for selling out Nikolas and Spencer. Ava recalls Nina wanting revenge on her from taking her husband, Silas. Let’s not forget Nina taking Ava’s baby right out of her womb!

Later, Morgan shows up at Ava’s door.  He is alive and survived the car explosion, but says someone is after him.  Two-time Daytime Emmy winner, Bryan Craig made a return for this episode, and once again delivered in his scenes opposite Maura West.

Courtesy/ABC

After summoning all of Morgan’s family and more to the art gallery to make an announcement that Morgan is alive, he is nowhere to be found.  Instead, Ava gets a visit from a bloody Connie Falconeri (Megan Ward) reminding Ava that she shot her, because she knew about her plan to pass off Kiki as a Quartermaine, not only because Connie knew that Derek Wells was really Julian Jerome.

In the key moment in the episode, Ava lashes out and confronts everyone for their sanctimonious attitudes towards her when they each have done terrible things in their own right.  Those people would include: Sonny, Kiki, Julian, Nina, Carly, etc.  Throughout the episode Ava continues to see a dark-haired girl who is later revealed to be a grown-up version of her daughter, Avery.   The young woman calls out her mother for her misdeeds. However, Ava fires back that her soul has been cleansed by the fire, and ready for a new start, while she refuses to be defined by her past.

In the present time, Griffin and Ava celebrate alone as Ava’s face is restored.

So, what did you think of the episode? The performances of Maura West, and Bryan Craig?  Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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Carol
Carol

Performances by all involved were wonderful especially Maura. When viewing the flashbacks of Ava with blonde shorter hair, she looked amazing. I really thought that for the big reveal with her restored face they would put her hair back to blonde for more of a stronger impact.

Debra m
Debra m

I was disappointed in the episode. Not Maura’s fault. The writing could have been better. The actress playing Avery, was that Maurice’s daughter? She looked alot like him.

Bobbie P
Bobbie P

That wasn’t Maurice’s daughter for she was played by Celesta Deastis!

Jamesj75
Jamesj75

This episode did a great job in showcasing Maura West’s talent, as promised!

My only regrets?
1. Sonny and Carly were included… yawn… puke… [items thrown at TV]…
2. It was only a dream state in which Ava told off these jerks (above and others)…

Fanny
Fanny

As usual Maura West delivers. Ava a tattered soul, searching for redemption
hence her involvement with padre. Forced to face follies & foes, will she
Constru this as a simple nightmarish episode during her op….or travel the
road of accepting responsibility for her major gaffes.

Celia
Celia

Hey, Fanny,
I agree with everything you said…. Her major gaffes were bigger than Colossus. LOL.
Nonetheless, I believe she has accepted responsibility. Maura is meritorious of an Emmy—yet, not everyone will agree. Sometimes we do change our minds about a character after witnessing
a “change” where he/she displays certain nuances which compel us to reconcile those virulent thoughts we may harbor toward a character.
But, obviously, we are not all of the same mind…..as we have seen on this site, many are very dismissive, to say the least. Opinions are personal, and as such, they differ. I accept that.
Also, I agree with Carol….Ava/Maura needs to go back to being a blonde—she suits it better.
Later, my lady.

Fanny
Fanny

@Celia aka CeeCee aka SWEETS…
ABSOLUTELY agree ….Maura should return to her glory blonde day’s.
She can even try out platinum blonde a la Monroe or West.

Fanny
Fanny

P.S. Definitely Emmy worthy… Should be a compilation of the 10 best scenes
Performed by a single actress…I honestly believe she deserved to win last year..

Soaphound
Soaphound

Other than seeing incredibly sexy Bryan Craig, I was disappointed in the episode. Too much back and forth…I nearly took a Dramamine halfway through. And was anything resolved?

nancy dillingham
nancy dillingham

Didn’t impress me either.

Mary SF
Mary SF

If this was the show’s lame attempt to redeem Ava not sure that it work– it seem more about Ava defending her actions rather than repenting from them– I guess how they write the character going forward will tell whether Ava has really changed or is trying to appear she has changed because that will get her something- because in the end Ava has always been one of the most self absorbed characters on the soaps today

Shay
Shay

Very well put, MarySF! I remain as unconvinced of this character’s supposed reinvention to the side of right as do you. Quite frankly, the entire Ava-centric effort seemed more an unnecessary, self-indulgent bid for yet another Maura West Emmy nomination than a worthy standalone GH episode of substance. Color me not impressed by either the scenario…….or the transparent reason behind it.

Jimh
Jimh

i agree…

nancy dillingham
nancy dillingham

Agree with you. Can’t redeem “unredeemable” characters.

rebecca1
rebecca1

Hi Mary SF…

This is just my take but: I don’t think the episode was meant to be about Ava defending or repenting. It was a psychological journey into her guilt, which she has harbored for a very long time. She showed some remorse, not much, but some, over AJ and Connie. But Morgan? She was destroyed in her unwitting part in that. She certainly didn’t mean for him to die (she cared for him so deeply) and, while I think ALL of these actions were abhorrent they are certainly no more so than Carly and Sonny, her mortal enemies…who have possession of her daughter.

As for being self-absorbed, Ava, herself, has questioned her own vanity asking herself if fixing her outside would wipe out the ugliness she sees within…should she pay for Morgan’s death by wearing what she considered ugly on the outside/her face? Much more introspection than we’d ever get from Sonny, Carly…and of course not a shot of remorse ever from pathological Faison or our supposedly dearly-departed Helena.

I find Ava to be likeable and in her insecurity vulnerable, someone struggling to be better, who WANTS to be better…and who is… in my opinion, better than Carly.If, however, she returns to a one-sided LOL, “evil-doer” she may take her place beside Carly in my eyes. Though she’s never as smug..only one time recently when she lashed out at Alexis for no apparent reason…for wanting to help Julian in jail. Made no sense for her to react that way and in that moment she lost all my sympathy. But then it returned. 😉

So, for me, her defending herself wasn’t to absolve herself of her crimes, but to show the guilt, the remorse…and the utter frustration that I, too, feel: that Carly and Sonny are never called out for their hideous crimes, while they make her out to be the pariah. She was screaming inside her head at the hypocrisy that they would call her soulless, selfish, a murderer, someone who hurt their son…and yet, they seemingly forgot all their crimes (including AJ which I would have loved for her to throw in their face)l

There are three types of “people” on GH..the truly good as in Laura, Monica, our beloved LIla and a few others. Then there are the truly non-redeemable…Helena, Faison (LOL, in my book Carly) and then we have those that straddle the fence…Ava, Julian, Jason, Franco…characters who are criminal yet have a conscience and seem to be, at one time or other, tortured and conflicted by their choices. Which make them interesting.

If they were all good, we’d be watching The Brady Bunch! 😉

A belated Happy New Year!

su0000
su0000

I want the REAL Ava back !!
I’m so sick and tired of the redeeming of great characters.
Ava is a Jerome as is her brother.
Both have been turned into boring stagnate saints with drab personalities/wallpaper.

Ava and Julian used to rock it but for some reason, the writers are catering to the holy coumity of fans and eventually it will kill off the soaps that desperately need intrigue, adventure and spellbinding drama that only the good/ bad layered characters can bring, and that’s the excitement.

GH has not one, not one, exciting character and that includes the devil himself Valentine= false advertising.

I do not want the Nun Ava, I don’t want to sing along to Ava Maria, I want the great Ava Jerome!! She was two sides of the coin switching back and forth.

( even Sonny has been pussyfied, shameful)

Give me some bad boys to hate and love to pieces..
And she which the old bitching hag Carly is wearing very thin.. She is not scary she gut retching annoying..

I want my GH back!!! not this junky PSA junk..

K/kay
K/kay

Did not see it but I guess Kelly pooped in franks Cereal where was SK ABC better start reeling this guy in or talk show or game show is on the horizon maybe that’s what they want

Celia
Celia

Do you know the version of Ave Maria, in Latin????—-just joshin’, SuzieQ.
I think you have a point….as I had intimated, is Ava being redeemed because of Griffin? The irony here is, Griffin is excommunicated….regardless of how TPTB present his leaving the Church.; regardless of the fake priests/bishops/monseigneurs ‘they’ bring as a cameo appearance, does not change canon law…..neither here nor there , Griffin is a good person, Christian, if one goes that far.
However, I do not appreciate the offense on my sense and sensibilities about my faith that is presented in a ‘shady’ light. That’s all.
Even if you look online, you will find misinformed facts.
I am curious to see if the ‘new’ Ava will make as much of an impact as a cleansed, reformed ex Mob Moll, or will she replicate Rosetta Cutolo? …..pulled the wool over the authorities’ eyes, and everyone around her…
Looking forward to what the writers have in store for her.

nancy dillingham
nancy dillingham

Hey there, su0000,”
Don’t believe there is much chance of seeing “Nun Ava.” Now I would go for “None Ava”! 🙂 🙂

Ric
Ric

I loved it, anything she does is great! Maura West is an amazing actress.

jeanine girard
jeanine girard

Let’s just give Maura West the Daytime Emmy now and call it a day! Bravo!

James R. Poissant
James R. Poissant

In my opinion, Maura should always win a statue every year she’s on daytime. I’ve loved all her characters she’s played and she really does give it more than everything in her perforrmances.

nancy dillingham
nancy dillingham

Whoa! Hold those Emmys, partner!

toscanti
toscanti

Fantastic! Bryan Craig (Morgan)is must see and plays so well opposite Maura West (Ava). Emmy worthy performance!

Debra m
Debra m

I agree. Ava had much more hot chemistry with Morgan then Griffin. He is too good. The character needs more of an edge. Wish Maura would go back to her blonde hair. That orangey red shade is awful and distacting.

nancy dillingham
nancy dillingham

Hold those Emmys, redux!

Jules
Jules

Maura was fantastic!

The episode was not.

I enjoyed the Megan appearance though. That was surprising.

Rebecca1
Rebecca1

Couple of thoughts:

Maura was great. I really felt Ava’s self-entrapment…the house of horrors of her conscience.

It seems as if the writers are appeasing those of us who want someone, ANYONE, to put Sonny and Carly in their places but doing so only in Ava’s mind is frustrating for me as a viewer. She needs to take that knowledge and shove it in their faces when she’s awake. She needs to point out that what she did to Morgan’s meds was not with the intent of killing him but an attempt to protect her daughter from what she feared would be an unstable, troubled life. However, it was Carly and Sonny who tortured Monica’s son, AJ, who ripped his son from him, made him believe he’d fallen off the wagon…to protect Michael. And then they killed him. Both Sonny and Carly will go to any nefarious level to protect their kids…so how dare they accuse Ava of doing the same…etc, etc…it needs to be shouted!

Bryan Craig stepped right back into Morgan’s shoes without skipping a beat. Terrific actor; he deserves to come back.

Megan as Connie was a bit off for me…though I loved her in the role originally and am happy for her that they invited her to do the part. Seems like she was unjustifiably let go the first time. I preferred her over the too-tough Kelly Sullivan’s rendition.

Was disappointed they didn’t bring back Sean Kanan; seems like the bad blood was between him and Ron. He was a pivotal character who she helped destroy in the end.

All in all a good way to show that Ava Jerome is a conflicted, multi-faceted character. As is Julian..as opposed to the pure evil that was Helena, is Faison and seemingly Cassandra (who I believe we will see again at some point).

I think it won’t be long before Ava has to tackle with Griffin and Kiki’s growing attraction. Started out innocent but it seems they may be heading down that road eventually. Is that a good thing? Repeating the mother/daughter competition? With Ava and Kiki…could be. Perhaps Ava will fall back to the dark side and wind up with the shady land developer…

Oh. I can’t stand the disloyalty that Kiki shows to Ava and Julian (I have no recollection of Julian ever being anything by kind and helpful to Kiki…especially when Ava was in a coma) and yet she looks at him with disgust instead of pointing out his good points…but yet she has deep affection for Carly and Sonny. Same with Sam who rejects her own father but is besties with Carly and Sonny. Why is it Michael can forgive ALL that Sonny and Carly do but Sam, Kiki, Molly (whose dad, Rick, is no saint either…he did threaten to kill her dear Aunt Carly…) can’t seem to do the same for their family. Next time Ava takes a trip down the echos of her mind she needs to ask THAT!

Phyllis
Phyllis

I love GH. Any actor, any SL. Good to be reminded the misdeeds people do. At 60yo I sometimes forget. Hope GH is on forever.

cmp874
cmp874

I loved the episode! I knew of Maura West, but I did not watch the other soaps that she appeared on. It wasn’t until I saw her on General Hospital that I had gotten to see her practice her craft and she is spectacular! The wise GH viewers knew talent when they saw it and took to this fine actress very quickly, even if her character did some pretty vile things.

nancy dillingham
nancy dillingham

I didn’t see MW on any other soaps–but must say that I’m not enamored of her acting or craft–a bit histrionic for me–and I don’t feel anything for the character; she doesn’t engender any empathy or identification for me.

cmp874
cmp874

You must have missed her performance then, when Nina held Ava captive during which Ava went into labor. I think that performance was probably MW’s best while appearing on GH. Even though Ava is a vile character, I felt sorry for Ava while that was going on. However, to each his/her own. I am still glad you watch and support GH.

dmr
dmr

I feel that way about Carly..

rose
rose

I thought the “Ava show” was really well done. And Maura West was wonderful. Reminded me of Dicken’s Christmas Carol when the ghosts of Christmas past came to visit Scrooge. Is she redeemed? Don’t think she can completely get rid of some of her worse tendencies.

Glad to see Griffin is on her side…at least for now. He is also going through his own life change since he realized he could not fulfill the requirements of being a priest. At least he quit the priesthood, instead of others who had their own flaws that were covered up or not exposed.

I have never been a Morgan fan, but I thought Morgan/Bryan coming back was very effective. Wonder if this is a one episode appearance for him only?

But wish they had Kelly Sullivan playing Connie, and AJ/Sean back to back up Ava when Sonny and Carly played their usual holier-than-thou attitudes.

dmr
dmr

I agree with you, about Morgan. I was never a fan of the actor or the character; however, I think for the one episode, the appearance worked well. I wish that Ava mentioned how The Dimpled Don murdered AJ, too.

elm1951
elm1951

all i want to know is why tptb/writers felt that the character of ava deserved a stand alone episode?? there are other characters that deserve that honor – i mean who in the world is she besides an unredeemable villain which is jmo – i have been watching gh since the beginning and all i could do was smh………………………..wow

Alan
Alan

Maura West was amazing as usual.

As for the writing, not so much. The episode was choppy and clearly a dream so any sense that it might have been happening in real time (and therefore any subsequent suspense) was gone minutes into the episode. I would have preferred for Ava to have gone into surgery at the end of Wednesday’s episode and have her wake up at the start of Thursday’s show to create the illusion that the events occurring were real. And who didn’t see that “twist” at the end with the bartender being the Avery in Ava’s dream? For me, the whole thing felt like the show’s attempt to create an Emmy reel.

And of course what would a GH episode be without the show propping up Saint Sonny — this time with him preaching that Ava was worse than him because he is honest about his crimes. If he’s so honest and forthright maybe he needs to honestly tell Jason that he killed his brother…

Timmm
Timmm

Not a fan of the character of Ava BUT Maura was great, Bryan was actually tolerable, LOVED Connie, the original resurfacing AND the actress who played Avery was amazing! Find her a role! It reminds me of GH50 when they found Chloe Lanier [NELLE] who played young Patricia Spencer so well!

nancy dillingham
nancy dillingham

Looks like TPTB are doing to Nelle’s character what they did to Ava–making her amoral and one-dimensional. Too bad. Would have been much more interesting if they had made her more complex. The young actress has much potential in the right hands with the right writing and direction. Sheer evil is never interesting or engaging.

nancy dillingham
nancy dillingham

Well, here’s a novel idea indeed: They could have given Genie Francis a stand-alone episode before sending her off to the black hole–taking care of Spencer for 6 weeks with his two (huh!?!?) broken legs! Say what??????????????

K/kay
K/kay

She is on recurring which means she is gone

K/kay
K/kay

A nice lady but they treat Tristan Rogers the same way good luck SB can’t save this show no matter how much he thinks he can. By the war he was released from his contract from y & r Sally had the good sense to show him the door

nancy dillingham
nancy dillingham

There goes the last reason for watching GH! So wrong! So long!

Satan
Satan

Good to see Morgan Corinthos and the REAL ConKate again.

Aside from that, the episode was exactly the steaming pile of dragonshit I predicted it would be.

Nik
Nik

Did not like it because it had no conclusion, did she get her face fixed? GH used the wrong “Connie” to haunt Ava. They use the first actress who played Connie not the one Ava killed. They should’ve brought back Ava momma, I am sure Ava dogged her too.

Kevin O.
Kevin O.

This episode was incredible, one of the best “GH” has done in a long time. Great acting by Maura West and great writing by the staff. It’s the first episode that I watched bits of for a second time in years, if not decades.

Satan
Satan

Nothing character Ava gets her own episode. Two days later a true GH legend gets kicked out the door.

Tell me what’s wrong with this picture.

Time to fire Frank, and purge all the interlopers from this show and make it fucking General Hospital again.

Shay
Shay

From your fiery lips to the Soap God’s ears, Satan! The Ava-centric episode was a complete waste of time which could have been better dedicated to the real stars of GH…i.e, those who made it great in its heyday, not the force-fed newbies the current showrunners insist upon shoving at us with every possible scenario they can seemingly cook up!

Ricky
Ricky

It is amazing to me how these so called GH “fans” are always bashing this show. I enjoyed the episode with Ava. I had no idea that “Connie” and “Morgan” were coming back in the episode. Great secret. I enjoy all of the episodes. GH is on fire. I don’t see myself fast fowarding thru scenes anymore. We need to be like sports fans: Stick and root for your team whether they win or lose. That what real fans do. You can’t please everyone all of the time. I’m sticking with GH.

dmr
dmr

I love Maura West; therefore, I love Ava Jerome. Maura just owns the room when she enters it and I loved the episode. I thought it was really interesting and I loved how it involved so many characters, and the young girl who played Avery really spooked me at the end!

Max Daddee
Max Daddee

Unimpressed with how the writers crafted this one. Seemed like filler that could be shown on a holiday. Poor writing seems to lead the way at GH these days. Writing out Genie Francis is a huge mistake.

Breaking News

Brandon Barash Replaces Tyler Christopher At DAYS

According to reports from Soap Opera Digest and Daytime Confidential, former General Hospital favorite Brandon Barash has temporarily replaced Tyler Christopher, in the role of Stefan DiMera at Days of our Lives.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Brandon played mobster Johnny Zacchara on GH from 2007-2016.

Because DAYS tapes well in advance; look for Barash to hit the air sometime in early 2019.

What are your thoughts on Brandon as temp replacement for Tyler as Stefan O? Comment below.

Continue Reading

Breaking News

GH’s Maurice Benard Takes On Role Of John Gotti In Upcoming Lifetime Movie

Who better to use their mobster experience playing the iconic role of Sonny Corinthos on General Hospital, and put it to good use, when taking on the role of a real-life mobster than Daytime Emmy winner, Maurice Benard?

As revealed over the past weekend, Maurice Benard is hard at work filming a Lifetime Movie based on the life of Victoria Gotti called “The Victoria Gotti Story”.

Sharing the news via his social media, Benard expressed: “Thank you lifetime and everyone involved 4 a Beautiful opportunity.”

Recently, John Travolta played the notorious New York mobster in the movie Gotti released earlier this year.

The infamous Gotti, had a wife and a daughter both named Victoria.  So as to which point of view the film is focusing on is yet to be released.

So what do you think of the casting of Maurice as John Gotti? Intrigued to see the Lifetime Movie when it debuts? Comment below

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General Hospital

General Hospital’s Max Gail Opens Up On Portraying Mike’s Battle With Alzheimer’s & Making A Difference In People’s Lives

“What happens the day I wake up, and you guys are the strangers,” says Mike to his son, Sonny and his wife Carly (Laura Wright). “I left you before to my everlasting regret, but it’s going to happen. I’d do anything if I didn’t have to do it again, but it’s going to happen – one way or the other.  At least this way I could leave some good feelings, instead of disappearing before your eyes.”  Those words were said during a gut-wrenching scene on Friday’s episode of General Hospital, as Mike tries to come to terms with his deteriorating mental state in his battle with Alzheimer’s, and the hard realization that he may be better off in a care facility, instead of at his son’s home.  These scenes, as all the scenes in this storyline, have been exquisitely played by Max Gail (Mike) and Maurice Benard (Sonny).

When Max Gail arrived on the GH canvas as the recast Mike Corbin in a role made soap-famous by Ron Hale, viewers did not know what to initially expect.  What they did know was that Max is an accomplished actor with a body of work from primetime dramas and comedies, film, and the stage, and that if he is coming to GH, he must be coming on board for something major.  Before GH, suffice to say, Gail is most remembered for his role as “Wojo” on the ABC sitcom Barney Miller that aired from 1975-1982.

In story on GH, Mike, who abandoned Sonny as a child, once again re-enters his son’s life, but soon we learn that he is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and that the soap is tackling a story that is an important medical, social, and familial issue of our time.

Gail has been a revelation in this role.  A clear frontrunner for an Emmy, playing the facets, the levels, the characteristics, and the heartbreak of a person who is slowly losing everything they know near and dear to them, as in the end they are ultimately stripped of their dignity from this most horrific of diseases.

On a personal note, and as part of this conversation with Max, it was important for him and for me to share, that I lost my mother at the end of April of this year to Alzheimer’s.  So his work hits close to home, this story hits close to home, as it has also resonated for many viewers who have shared their stories on social media and when Max makes personal appearances.

Here now is this very special interview for Michael Fairman TV with an actor whom we can all agree is touching all of our lives.

You’re portraying a person suffering from Alzheimer’s and play the progression of the disease.  Do you feel pressure as an actor to get it right for those who have loved ones, or person’s afflicted with it?

Courtesy/ABC

MAX:  It’s more like an urge, or a calling to find some kind of truth in it that I can connect with.  One of the things I’m inclined towards showing is someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia often just drifts off somewhere else.  “Where am I going?”  This has happened to me many times in life.  For instance, when I was a youngster, I can remember getting in my car, and I’d driven a long way from some party or something like that, and I’d been drinking, and I didn’t remember it.  I knew I’d gotten home somehow.  So, it’s not out of my realm.  I’ve learned that there are no set behaviors really… other than that it usually ends up being really difficult for caretakers, and seemingly really painful for many, if not most people suffering with Alzheimer’s, and losing connection and losing the ability to just function.  We are kind of on the cusp of that in story at GH.  I think it was originally proposed that I would play the part for just a few months, and to give me an out if it wasn’t working.  Maybe, there was a placeholder idea to ship Mike off to a home or something, but the storyline has touched so many people that it has been continuing.

The story has been so effective.  You’ve done such an amazing job, and the fans love Mike and what you’re doing with the character, and they’re on board on this journey.  It’ll be interesting to see how far they will take this with Mike.  Will we actually see him not being able to communicate anymore?  How far will the writers go to show the horrific aspects of Alzheimer’s? 

MAX:  I’m not sure.  You know, I’ve had times where I’ve got the scene, I get the writers, and I get the heart of it.  Other times, I find where that transition is from where Mike is lucid and clear, and other times what that state of mind is and that switch is, and what that is in behaviors and energy level.  I think there’s an ongoing downturn for Mike, and for me as an actor finding something in the moment and finding how it works with things that he does remember.  They’re trying to find a place for Mike within all of the interwoven drama of General Hospital.  I, frankly, had no idea how complex the range of storylines was.  Mike doesn’t really have control over his story.  I don’t want that as an actor.  Mike has some intentions that are really important to him.  I’m trying to find that balance where there are times when he has a pathetic, very sad remorse about what he has missed.  I think that underlies his feelings for his son, who he never could quite reach, because of his own failings as a father.  Sonny’s formative experiences growing up were then with his abusive stepdad.  Finding all of that is really important to do in a way that doesn’t make Mike just this sweet older man with Alzheimer’s.   It’s a wonderful challenge to be presented with.

Courtesy/CBS

You brought up that Mike is seemingly very sweet in his demeanor now.  My mother, who I shared with you died a few months ago from Alzheimer’s was a strong-willed, feisty woman.  As the disease took hold of her, she became very sweet.   She became almost childlike.  The fire had gone out of her eyes.  You knew she didn’t know who you were, and so, all of that, as you know is so tough to witness as her son.  In terms of Mike and his ultimate care, everyone says they love him and want what is best for him, but that he needs to be taken care of because he gets confused, doesn’t know where he is sometimes. etc.  Sonny has been grappling with putting him in a care facility to be looked after, or to keep him with the Corinthos family under their roof.  However, Mike has come to a realization that he may need to be in facility all on his own, and doesn’t want to burden his son by living with him anymore.  That was a poignant moment, and another one of the best scenes has been when Mike couldn’t remember that Sonny was his own son. 

MAX:  Right and he doesn’t know if he’s around friends or around enemies.  This can be true of Alzheimer’s patients.

I had that happen with my mother when she came out to Los Angeles to see me for the last time.  She was out of her element, she was confused, and she broke down and cried in the hotel room.  She asked my father, “Why did you bring me here?” and he told her, “We came to see our son.”  It was heartbreaking.   Later, she had a moment of clarity and realized more of what was going on.  I think it’s those in-and -out moments that you portray so well on-screen.  I feel that they are very realistic to what I, and others, have experienced.

Courtesy/ABC

MAX:  I appreciate that and sharing that with me, because you never know as an actor.  That place of “Where am I?  What is this?” makes me think of that “Summer Wind” moment from the Nurses’ Ball when it wasn’t just, “I’m embarrassed.  I don’t remember the words.”  It was, “I don’t know where the f**k I am.  I thought there was a band there, but there’s not.”  So, in a way, I just had to be there on this big soundstage and just feel this big space around me.  I could barely see that there were people out there.  It’s kind of a terrifying thing to a lot of people, but I think Mike has something in him that makes him want to be okay with all of this.  He doesn’t have to freak out and get accusatory.

Courtesy/ABC

What has it been like working with Maurice Benard as your on-screen son?  Do you watch back your scenes together and ever go, “Oh, that was great!?”

MAX:  Yes, there have been a lot of those!  There are some scenes that are so emotionally focused, and we get a lot of delight in each other.  He has been playing this character in this situation for so long, so it’s just kind of in him.  Maurice has presence.  I think when I went in to read for the part of Mike, I had gone through pilot season and had gone in for some interesting pilots.  I didn’t feel like I was really connecting in the readings, because most things are by tape these days, anyway.  When this part came up, a soap hadn’t really been on my radar.  I knew I’d be going in to read with the actor, so I said, “Okay,” and I looked at the material, and then I checked out Maurice on IMDB.  One of the things that got my interest was that he has been diagnosed and takes medication to deal with bipolar disorder, and that’s become a part of his life, and it’s become part of his character.  I thought, “Wow, that’s really interesting.  This is a survivor, and he’s risen to something that takes a certain kind of balance and courage.”  I watched some clips, and when I went in for the reading of this kind of an amalgamation scene of what the story elements were going to be, I felt like we connected before we’d even started the dialogue.

Well, Maurice certainly loves working with you! He has been very supportive and vocal about that.

MAX:  It’s mutual.  We can take really little simple moments, and we can find something deeper in it, and it doesn’t have to be an, ‘I’m going to start crying now’ moment.  Although, I would love for Mike to have a moment of self-observation where he goes, “Gee.  I cry a lot more than I used to.”  I think there are people who are like that, and it’s okay for certain people to cry, and for other people it is not.

Courtesy/ABC

There was a part of my mom that knew something was wrong.  She’d go, “Why am I crying?  I don’t know why I’m crying.”  She got confused as to why she was feeling that.  She couldn’t connect it all, and at times she kept saying, “I don’t understand.  I don’t understand.”  Those were the things she would try to express.

MAX:  I have a feeling that Mike has those moments too, but he finds a way for it to be okay.  There may be a point where someone with Alzheimer’s can’t pull it off anymore, but how we find those and those specifics, I don’t know.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Working on a classic sitcom such as Barney Miller is vastly different than working on a daytime soap opera.  While now being at GH, have you found any commonality within the experience?

MAX:  If I can take a moment and reflect on Barney Miller, because it was a great experience and one that I found was not so easy to find again over the years.  One of the things that really resonates is that when we started shooting the studio audience laughed too easily.  We would end up retaking the scenes.  Sometimes, we didn’t have the end of the show written, because they tended to let certain things start to show up in the earlier parts of the script.  Danny Arnold who was the writer, creator and producer of Barney Miller would always take over the way Frank Valentini (executive producer, GH) does in a way … looking to be respectful of the director, but still seeing things on his own.  Frank has a really wonderful eye.  He’s much more connected into the overall storylines, the motivations that went into the writing, and what he sees in the moment.  I always welcome him on the set because the directors, who have a range of talents and sensibilities, are tasked with coming up with a whole lot of shots to cover, a whole lot of tricky angles, and all of that.

Courtesy/ABC

Vernee Watson has been amazing as Stella, who is also Mike’s social worker.  Does Mike have romantic feelings toward Stella?

MAX:  Vernee is wonderful.  I didn’t know Vernee had been on the show when I came on board.  She won an Emmy, and I’m not surprised.   She is so present and so specific, and she’s very bright and gets what all of these elements are, and so, I think they have a connection.  For whatever ways Mike has lived in his like, there isn’t some strange, exotic draw that she is black, and Mike is white.  I like that because both my first and late wife, and my second wife, with whom I’ve had children (and we’ve been separated for awhile, but have a great relationship) are African-American.  So, in my world that is not a big deal.   I think there’s an affinity there between Mike and Stella.  You know, he’s alive.  He’s old, but he’s not dead.  There’s an ease with women he likes.  I think there are a whole lot of reasons for them to not get involved.  One is just professional, and she’s a social worker.  We just shot something where I say something to somebody else about, “back when I still had all my marbles,” you know, he’s in another stage of life, which many people go into gracefully, while many don’t.

 

What do you think about how Mike knows about who was buried at Charlie’s Pub?  He was trying to keep the truth about Charlie Delaney from coming out, which turned into a gas leak that blew up the bar!  This storyline ties in to Sonny’s mobster dealings as well.

MAX:  Well, this is where they put this effort in the storytelling to connect Mike in some way and be intertwined with Sonny.  Of course, it reveals certain things about Mike that he’s never revealed to anybody before.  So, that’s kind of cool.  I think when he knows what and how much sometimes is not clear.  That’s why I started talking about Barney Miller because the other thing was a lot of times when we go together for the table reads, they didn’t have the end of the story.  They had a first draft, maybe. Dan would talk about it, and they’d say, “Next week, the main story is going to be this man in his fifties who is coming to terms with the fact that he is gay,” or whatever those underlying themes may be with the different characters reactions.  So, we knew elements going into it and that sometimes I  didn’t know what the writers are really intending.  In terms of Mike, he’s kind of back and forth in certain moments.  I have to resist the idea that they trap me by just being careless.  I’ve learned that just trying to fix the script often gets you into a place where you “rehearse yourself out of it,” as they say.

Courtesy/GoodDayLA

You appeared on the morning show Good Day LA  a few months back with Laura Wright (Carly), and Maria Shriver, who has founded the Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement.  What was that like meeting Maria, and helping get the word out about the effects of this disease and the work Maria is doing?

MAX:  It was great to do.  Maria had sent out a tweet that is was wonderful what was going on, on General Hospital.  On Good Day LA, she talked about her work, particularly focusing on the fact that more women are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s than men.  So, then Laura and I sat down and did an interview alongside Maria.  We actually had a nice conversation before.  They did a web interview also as a follow-up.  That was very cool, because Maria is very smart, and I’d never met her, but it was great to see what she was doing.  Whatever we are dealing with in the show is sort of my opportunity in the real world to bring awareness and shed light on the subject.  I’d love to see an ongoing conversation online amongst people who can share their stories with each other.  That’s a lot of what they’re doing.  They’re raising money for research, but people need to be able to talk to each other when you’re a caregiver.  Coming out of the early sixties and early seventies when I was playing a cop on TV, I never was a fanatic activist.  I certainly got the behavior of the Chicago police at a certain time in terms of the energy and conflicts of the time.  There was something to think about, but at the same time, I had opportunities to kind of share that all cops aren’t bad, just look at the show, Barney Miller.

Courtesy/ABC

You were my favorite character on Barney Miller as Detective Wojciehowicz!  I think for many who watched the show you were, too!

MAX:  I think “Wojo” ended up being the heart of the show.

Max, you’re helping people through your beautiful performances including me.  Congratulations on that.   I’ll continue have to have a box of Kleenex handy as I watch how it all unfolds for Mike.

Photo: IMDB

MAX:  Well, I really appreciate your questions.  I’m just planting that seed.  That is really what I would like to do after talking to you and so many people.  That’s something I’d like to put out there.   We each have our own domains and responsibilities and all of it overlaps, and you can kind of get in touch with that; if you just go around the circle and share it, and then go around again.  I’m looking to help people out there in the world who are watching and are looking to share in the conversation.

So, what did you think about the heartbreaking scenes on Friday’s episode of GH between Mike and Sonny?  What have you thought of Max Gail’s performance throughout his GH run?  Have you experienced the loss, or are watching someone you love, or care about slip away from Alzheimer’s?  Share your thoughts via the comment below.

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Video du Jour

This weekend we mourn the loss of General Hospital’s beloved Susan Brown who played Gail Baldwin. Here is her final scene from 2004 when Gail and her husband Lee (the late Peter Hansen) showed up at Lila’s funeral and had an exchange with Alan and Monica. Share your thoughts on Susan’s passing via the link below. Leave A Comment

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