General Hospital

Rena Sofer & Ellen Travolta Talk Epidemic of Loneliness and Soap Families

ellen travolta and rena sofer talk soap familiesRena Sofer and Ellen Travolta are reunited on and off-screen.

Sure, soap operas are filled with romance, action, mystery, and conflict. But those stories are most often always rooted in the same thing — family — as General Hospital stars Rena Sofer and Ellen Travolta, who play daughter and mother duo Lois and Gloria Cerullo, can attest. The two actresses recently shared their insights into just how important soap opera families are to soap opera viewers.

Rena Sofer & Ellen Travolta: We Are Family

“There’s an epidemic of loneliness in this country,” Sofer said in a recent TV Insider interview. “It’s only gotten worse with social media, Zooms, and the pandemic. So often, soap operas get a bad rap, which is unfortunate. What not everyone may realize is that when people are lonely in this country, and they’ve grown up watching these shows with their parents and grandparents, they get to see these people every day, five days a week. They tap into something that literally alleviates their loneliness for one hour a day.”

And Brook Lynn Makes Three

GH reminded viewers just how important familial dynamics are when the show (at Sofer’s suggestion) invited Travolta to reprise her role as Lois’s mom. “I don’t think that this has even hit me just how important our job is,” Sofer says. “I’m not trying to pat myself on the back, but I think what soap operas give to people who’ve watched, in our show’s case, for over 60 years, is a sense of connection, community, and continuity — which we don’t have a lot of in this world anymore.

“Soaps get teased by a lot of people, but I think they’re incredibly necessary,” Sofer maintains. “You’ve seen [the importance of family] with Ellen’s return and also how seamless we are with Amanda [Setton, who plays Brook Lynn].”

“It brings to mind the old adage, does art imitate life or does life imitate art?” chimes in Travolta. “When you watch a soap opera, you see every problem a family has ever had. There’s a feeling of, ‘Oh, yeah, them, too!’ There’s a feeling of inclusion that doesn’t happen in a lot of other media that does happen in a soap operas. When people say [that situation] ‘sounds like a soap opera…’ Yes, that sounds like life.”

Rena Sofer: Helping Gloria

Given how tight Lois and her mom are, it was no surprise that Lois picked up that something was wrong with her mom, who made an enemy at Bingo with the Russian mob (read all about that here)! “They can smell it, and they know each other so well,” Travolta says of Cerullo family connections. “And now, that includes Brook Lynn. I know when I care about someone, there’s an intuitiveness. When you are part of someone’s life, you pick things up. It may be slight, but you do. You pick it up.”

Might Travolta stick around Port Charles for more family love and shenanigans? “You’ve got to talk to my agent — Rena!” Travolta says with a laugh. “She’s in charge. She tells me where to go and where to stay.”

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