Two weeks ago, KFC's official Twitter account -- which is written in the voice of its mascot Colonel Sanders, a fictionalized version of the fast food chain's founder -- began tweeting a lot about the soap opera General Hospital.
Apparently, it's KFC canon that Colonel Sanders is a GH fan and the fake Colonel Sanders dreamed of appearing on the venerable soap when he was a kid (in reality, the show premiered when the real Colonel Harland Sanders was in his 70s). The tweets were building to the reveal that George Hamilton's version of Colonel Sanders would be making an appearance in Port Charles on July 6, which is National Fried Chicken Day (if you don't know, now you know).
Well, that day is today, and the Colonel's sponsored cameo was as weird and awkward and goofy as you'd expect.
It started with Maxie Jones (Kirsten Storms) and Lulu Falconeri (Emme Rylan) hanging out and splitting a bucket of chicken while talking about how her friend the Colonel was really good at texting. "He's so witty it's almost exhausting," she said. (KFC paid handsomely for that phony praise, I'm sure.)
"Wait, are we talking about the Colonel?" Lulu asked.
"Colonel Harland Sanders?" Maxie replied. "He's a friend!" And he was on his way over. Maxie opened the door and standing there, in all his golden glory, was Colonel Sanders. (Whenever I see George Hamilton, I think about how Robert Duvall refused to be in The Godfather, Part III and Hamilton replaced him as consigliere, which makes me think about how much better a movie about a schism between Micheal Corleone and Tom Hagen would be than whatever Part III actually was and I get mad, and even though it's not George Hamilton's fault the movie didn't meet its potential, I can't help how I feel when I see his orange visage. Anyways...)
"Maxie, my dear," the Colonel drawled. "It's wonderful to see you again." The music cue was very sincere, signaling that this was an emotional reunion
Maxie introduced him to Lulu as if he was a real person. He beamed at her like a kindly old gentleman. I couldn't tell how much of a joke it was supposed to be. The show played it straight.
Maxie gave him a glass of iced tea as they sat down to chat. "Your chicken is so..." Maxie said, searching for the word.
"Crispy?" he asked with a grin. (He's the Extra Crispy Colonel, as the commercials that aired during the episode made clear. He's very tan, you see. He's been out in the sun so he's as crispy as KFC's extra crispy chicken.)
"And easy!" she answered. Life gets so crazy, it's nice to just get some easy, tasty food sometimes, you know?
Maxie the told the Colonel that Lulu is a journalist.
"Journalism is a noble profession," he noted.
"Not everyone thinks so," Lulu answered. (This seems like a reference to President Trump. KFC mascot Colonel Sanders defended the free press on General Hospital. Extraordinary times.)
Lulu asked to know the story of how Maxie and the Colonel met, but they made her swear to keep it off the record. Here's what apparently happened: The Syndicate tried to hack into KFC's mainframe to steal his famous secret recipe and Maxie's ex-fiancé Spinelli helped him. We also learned that the Colonel was once cursed by a warlock and now has the ability to see into people's souls. Lulu's is pure.
The Colonel then revealed the real reason why he was there: the Syndicate wasn't done looking for the secret recipe yet, and he needed a safe hiding place for it. So Maxie hid it the hard copy inside a hollowed-out book on her bookcase. Seems very secure!
He signed off on a line that I will steal for my own life: "Stay crispy and stay humble." He was supposed to be like the Most Interesting Man in the World from the Dos Equis commercials, whose catchphrase was "stay thirsty, my friends."
The whole sponsored content shenanigan was the closest General Hospital has gotten to performance art since James Franco was a recurring cast member. It was genuinely weird and silly. It committed to being completely nonsensical. It really went for it.
I wonder if the hidden secret recipe will come back as a plot point. Chekov's Secret Recipe, you know?
General Hospital airs weekdays on ABC.