It’s been a long road for that romantic pairing of Lucas Spencer (Ryan Carnes) and Brad Cooper (Parry Shen) on ABC’s “General Hospital” but, in true soap opera fashion, just when we thought they were finally going to wed at the altar (during the annual Nurse’s Ball, no less!), obstacles got in the way and Lucas never showed up for his own wedding.
It didn't take long for Brad to catch up with what viewers already knew - Lucas had to take Bobbi to the hospital after she passed out backstage at the Ball. Later, when he went in to check on her in her hospital room, a mystery person was about to inject her with something we can assume was not good. Instead, the assailant gave Lucas the injection and got away. Now, Brad is at his lover's side as he fights for his life.
I talked to Shen earlier this week to get his take on what's to come next as well as how it's been being one of the few gay characters on daytime TV these days. Of course, I also had to ask about shooting the sexy "Magic Mike"-esque number where several of our "GH" hunks danced down to their athletic boxer shorts.
Tell me about shooting the Nurse’s Ball episodes since it was probably a little different than a normal day.
Parry Shen: Once we hit the Nurse’s Ball week, everything, as you can probably guess, gets amped up considerably because there’s so many logistical things that we don’t have to deal with. We don’t really get rehearsal besides maybe an hour or two to run through the blocking. But the choreography, we had four days of rehearsal just for our opening number. And that was just our number. Everyone else has their own rehearsal schedule so scheduling everyone’s availability and we came in on weekends to do rehearsals so we worked really hard. And learning the lyrics because it was an original song so that was a new curve ball. But it’s exciting and lifts it up from the normal “day-to-day.” It’s kind of cool because you got to see different talents that people have that don’t usually get showcased in the show. I really like that we get to have this to stir things up every year.
Do you have a background in singing and dance?
PS: No! Absolutely not! But I love to do it and I think why they let me keep doing it is because I do it with unabandoned recklessness and I just dance the way I would in my own bedroom. The good thing is that people have to cheer for us [on camera] so that makes it even better. It’s fun and I also get to work with professional dancers and, of course, people who are dancing well around you always make you look better so I’m grateful for being surrounded and letting me dabble in their expertise. No one would ever pay for me to do those things.
When the "Magic Mike" number was happening, were there suddenly more people around that day to watch the taping? I mean, a lot of hot guys in their underwear!
PS: There were definitely a lot more people. It was like ‘Hey, who are you guys?’ I mean, people who are normally working in the offices and who normally I don’t see. I guess word of mouth started spreading so it was amazing to me that the usual number of people watching on the sidelines was quadrupled!
I love that the show has embraced having gay characters but how does it feel to be a part of this storyline?
PS: I’m very proud to be a part of a historic show but also the storyline, which is mirroring what’s going on in the real world so that’s always something that’s very exciting to do. I had no idea…I think they probably had no idea and you just put things out there and see what people gravitate towards and for the most part people do enjoy the pairing and since Brad proposed to Lucas a year ago, they’ve been always asking and wanting to see a happy ending of these two guys.
I'm glad they still put in a little bit of people not understanding like Lucas's father (William DeVry). In the real world, not every person accepts the LGBT community.
PS: It would be very untruthful if that part of the discussion wasn’t there and it sort of helps foster some sort of dialogue of the different views. I thought it was great and then seeing Julian come to his own terms of accepting Lucas as he is and loving him for who he is.
Here’s a promo for the Nurse’s Ball episode from last week:
What are seeing moving forward? Who is Brad leaning on?
PS: Pretty much all of Lucas’s family, Bobbi and Julian, who is supposed to be his new family and were ready to accept him to be a part of the clan. Essentially, he’s going to be trying to connect with them as we figure all this out.
What do you hear on social media in terms of the storyline and the characters being gay?
PS: I try to read everything that's out there so I can get a read on things and try to see what people's reactions are but for the most part it's very positive. But, at the same time, then I hear people say on the "General Hospital" Facebook (page), and there are too many comments to scroll through, but there is more negative chatter. I'm mostly on Twitter so I'm always seeing what's out there. For the most part, they really seem to enjoy the dynamic between Brad and Lucas.
They are really upset about the upcoming rumors about Lucas. They prefer that if someone has to die it be Brad and not Lucas. [laughs] If I had a nickel for every time someone said they’d rather see Brad die, I wouldn’t be a rich man but I’d have a hefty satchel of coins.
Even though we’re not the most heavy hitters on the show, we do have a niche group that cares about these guys and wants to see what’s going on and what the future holds for them.
"General Hospital" airs weekdays on ABC. Check local listings for times in your area.