Friday, September 14, 2018


For this week's Friday Hall of Famer, we're celebrating another soap opera character during this month's showcase - Dr. Monica Bard Quartermaine, a cardiologist and former Chief of Staff at General Hospital in Port Charles, New York.

On August 18th, Leslie Charleson celebrated her 41st year in the role of Monica, making her the longest-running actress on the series.

From Wikipedia:
Monica Quartermaine is a fictional character from 'General Hospital', an American soap opera on the ABC network, played continually since August 17, 1977 by longtime soap opera actress Leslie Charleson. She is a cardiologist at the eponymous hospital, and widow of physician Alan Quartermaine. The role was originated by Patsy Rahn in 1976, who played the role until showrunners replaced her with Charleson.  Charleson's tenure with the serial is one of the longest in American soap operas.

Monica becomes Chief of Staff at General Hospital following the death of her husband, Alan. Her various affairs, primarily with fellow doctors Jeff Webber and his older brother Rick Webber, as well as her quarrels with husband Dr. Alan Quartermaine and their dysfunctional family, were all major stories on the show throughout the late 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.

With the returns of Denise Alexander (Lesley Webber), Genie Francis (Laura Spencer), and Kin Shriner (Scott Baldwin), Monica remains the fourth oldest character on General Hospital and Charleson is the show's most tenured performer. 

As you might expect, being a part of 'General Hospital' for over forty years means that Dr. Monica Quartermaine has an incredibly rich history, too long to deal with it here.  But if you're interested in a summary of everything she has endured over the years, even from before she first showed up on the show,
click here.

You can also learn more about Monica at the 'General Hospital' wiki.

So we do have a recastaway dilemma with the fact that Patsy Rahn originated the role, but that lasted only a year.  Leslie Charleson is immortalized in the role after all this time.  Recastaways are common in the soap operas and there could be all sorts of reasons for that, even alien impersonation, but mostly plastic surgery is cited to keep the soaps relatively grounded in a form of reality.

I'm thinking that at some point following her divorce from Dr. Jeff Webber in 1977, Monica got a bit of a nip/tuck to refresh her look and give herself a new start in Life.  

However, in 2018 - after Leslie Charleson injured her leg and had to be sidelined for over two months and Patty McCormack assumed the role during the interim - I'm going with some sort of supernatural splainin for the change in appearance, which was not noticeable to those around her.  The late James E. Reilly can take the blame for that after shaking up 'Days Of Our Lives' with such storylines and then creating the soap opera 'Passions' to give his wild imagination free rein.

Here are the credits for Dr. Monica Quartermaine (as played by Ms. Charleson) which qualified her for membership in the Television Crossover Hall of Fame:

'General Hospital'
688 episodes (so far!)

'Port Charles'
- Episode #1.1

'Diagnosis Murder'
- "Physician, Murder Thyself"
... New Doctor

'General Hospital: Night Shift'
- Past and Presence: Part 2
- Truth and Consequences (2008)

You probably noticed that I included a 'Diagnosis Murder' episode which falls outside of the GH purview.  Here's the splainin as to why I included it:

In 1997, Dr. Monica Quartermaine was yet again on the outs with her husband Alan Quartermaine and for most of the year she wasn't even seen at General Hospital.  I think she went to Los Angeles to test the waters there but unfortunately she met another doctor at Community General by the name of Dr. Michael.  The problem was that he was the spitting image of her estranged husband.  (Here in the Trueniverse, both roles were played by Stuart Damon.)

Seeing it as a sign, Monica moved back to Port Charles where she resides to this day.

I also suggested that Dr. Quartermaine was possessed by a bad seed and looked like that demonic spirit to the Trueniverse audience.  And there's a reason why it happened to be found in her past.  Not her personal past, but that of one of her ancestors....

'Kung Fu'
- "One Step to Darkness" (1975) 
... Amy Starbuck

Kwai Chang Caine enters the spirit world to exorcise a demon and save a woman from the horrors of drug addiction.  

My splainin - It took nearly a century, but that demon returned to seek revenge on the Starbuck family.  After she was free of the demonic influence, Amy and her husband, Captain Roy Starbuck (who was the younger brother of the first mate on that ill-fated whaling voyage aboard the Pequod) had a child who began the lineage which led to Monica Bard.  And that DNA strain of Amy Starbuck repeated with Monica.

So there you have it, my salute to Dr. Monica Quartermaine which I feel more than ably qualifies her for membership in the TVXOHOF.

By the way, Monica Bard was born on May 4, 1950.  So I have no qualms in gracing her with "May the Fourth be with you, Monica!"

But I probably should be ashamed.....

Welcome to the Hall, Doctor!


Mike Doran said...

If you're riding a horse, and you want to see how fast he'll go, you loosen your hold on the reins - you give the horse free rein.
And if you want to slow him down, you tighten your hold - you rein him in.
Got that?

Toby O'B said...

Got it, Mike. Thanks.
I should get an editor....