General Hospital Heartbreak: Why It May Be Time to End the Nurses Ball for Good — Wait, Hear Us Out!
Image: ABC Screenshot
Is it time for the annual event, like all good things, to come to an end?
Let’s get this out of the way right up front: We love the idea of the General Hospital Nurses Ball. During the years that it wasn’t airing, we missed seeing everybody all dressed up and puttin’ on a show. Some of our all-time favorite soap memories involve classic moments from the extravaganza. (Just try and picture Jason carrying Robin off stage back in 1996 without weeping. What’s that? You need us to pass the tissues? Thought so.)
These days, however, the event almost can’t help but feel like a shadow of its former self. To be clear, what executive producer Frank Valentini and company have pulled off this year is nothing short of a miracle. We can’t begin to wrap our heads around the fact that while other shows have characters awkwardly standing on opposite sides of the screen, the residents of Port Charles are doing more social gathering than distancing.
But here’s the thing: The Nurses Ball has lost much of what made it so special in the past. With Robin off the canvas, we no longer have that personal connection which tugged at our heartstrings. Much of what unfolds now — from the red-carpet interviews to Lucy’s backstage antics — has a “been there, seen that” feel because… well, we’ve been there and seen that.
Of course, it’s still thrilling to watch some of our favorite actors singing and dancing, showing sides of themselves we wouldn’t ordinarily see otherwise. But often, those performances don’t really make sense in the larger context of the show. For example, in what world would Nelle be allowed to perform when she’s currently suing the hospital? Then there’s the fact that, unlike the early years of the event, few of the performers are actually affiliated with the hospital in anything but the most tangential of ways.
Rather than shoehorn performances into one annual event, we’d rather see them spread out over the course of the year and incorporated in organic ways. Why not have James Patrick Stuart’s Valentin rent out the Haunted Star and then lure Nina there (on false pretenses, of course!) for a swoon-worthy private performance? And viewers pretty universally loved (and still miss) the occasional karaoke night at The Floating Rib.
We know that some fans are going to be up in arms at the very thought of the Nurses Ball being put in mothballs. Truthfully, the idea pains us on a certain level as well. But there’s an argument to be made that doing so would actually help preserve the legacy of this great event.
If, however, the Nurses Ball is going to continue, it might be wise to find ways in which to make itself relevant again. Imagine the mainstream publicity General Hospital could have generated if it had not only dedicated the Nurses Ball to front-line workers (a nice, subtle acknowledgement of our current health crisis) but provided a way for viewers to actually donate money to the cause.
In between musical numbers and dance/drama breaks, hit the comments to tell us whether you think this year’s Nurses Ball should perhaps be the last. Then hit the gallery below to relive some of the highlights of last year’s ball, which featured not only more glitz and glamour than this year’s more down-to-earth offering but a special appearance by one of Grey’s Anatomy‘s most popular stars!