Bobbie Spencer, R.N. Returns Today on General Hospital

When I began watching General Hospital in 1993, one of the first characters I gravitated to was Nurse Bobbie Jones played by Jackie Zeman. Utilizing my trusty Soap Opera Weekly subscription, I learned everything I could about Bobbie. Sorry, kiddos. There was no Wikipedia for the 80's and 90's era soap fans! 

Her real name was Barbara Jean. She was the little sister of Luke Spencer (Tony Geary), whom she summoned to Port Charles to help break up young marrieds Scotty (Kin Shriner) and Laura Baldwin (Genie Francis). She used to be a hooker. She bought a kid on the black market. What wasn't there to love about Our Ms. Bobbie?

I was glued to my television every afternoon, as Bobbie's marriage to Dr. Tony Jones (Brad Maule) strained to the breaking point. The tragic death of their daughter B.J., coupled with Bobbie's sinful connection to Damian Smith (Leigh McCloskey), proved too much for the couple to find their way back from.

I wanted to throw my remote at the wall in outrage, as Bobbie's secret, long-lost daughter Carly (Sarah Brown) dismantled her mother's life brick by brick. I cheered with pervy glee as Bobbie sweated up the sheets with Stefan Cassadine (Stephen Nichols) and Jerry Jacks (Julian Stone).  

Along the way, someone decided Bobbie was no longer needed in Port Charles. Carly—a character that went on to be recast multiple times, whereas Zeman made her singular, game-changing mark on Bobbie—usurped her mother's position as the soap's central flawed heroine. 

On today's episode of General Hospital, that grievous wrong will be righted, as Zeman reprises one of the most significant characters in the soap's history. It's about damn time. Welcome home, Barbara Jean. 

29 Responses

  1. Profile photo of lance_prentiss

    Jamey, I love Bobbie also. Loved her with Scotty and also the storyline involving the DL Brock murder. She was/is truly a gem and I am so glad that she is returning to our screens.

  2. Profile photo of Phoenix Tremayne
    Phoenix Tremayne

    I have to say it; I’m a GH fan; really loved Bobbie back in the day when she found out Carly was her daughter and all hell broke loose FYI- That’s the Carly I miss the on that gets into trouble and Jason, Sonny and Jax has to come running cause she creates so much kaos and they have to save her; but anyway just wanted to say, “They wrong for using that as a promo pic.” I’m sure there was a more flattering picture of Jackie Zeman :(

  3. Profile photo of alstonboy4315


    Based on all the other pictures that I’ve seen circulating of Ms. Zeman over the past year or so, this makes her look VERY flattering in comparison. And I won’t say much more, because I love Jackie Zeman and I love Bobbie Spencer as well, and I don’t want Jamey to yell at me…… :D

  4. Profile photo of engradypind

    Bobbi Spencer played into some very interesting stories on GH. It is really too bad that as the actress aged and was used less and less on the show that when she did appear she turned Bobbi’s actual voice into one of a patronizing twit. She sounded like she was talking to toddlers. I want the old Bobbi back, filled with piss and vinegar and able to carry on a conversation with an adult.

  5. Profile photo of Cornfed

    Would’ve loved JZ to get the Emmy that year she was nominated for Lead, if i believe. All the WRONG people won that award in the 90’s, and the right ones lost (Jensen Buchanan, Eileen, Jackie, etc).

  6. Profile photo of alstonboy4315


    No disrespect meant to you or Jaclyn, but Cynthia Watros was THE best actress on soaps back in 1997 and her Emmy win was definitely deserved. Jaclyn was simply out of her league, though she is certainly a good actress.

  7. Profile photo of Yoryla

    This is such a BIG thing. And it’s amazing because for some reason I thought this would be the one return we would not be seeing. Thank God I was wrong!

    Bobbie’s character was so integral to so many past and future storylines throughout the 80’s, 90’s and 00’s. Amazing to see her back. And it’s even better because instead of the original three episodes she was only supposed to do, her return is now open-ended, which means she might be able to stay on in a recurring capacity.

  8. Profile photo of SoapyBitch

    I started watching during all those stories cited and I had forgotten that Bobbie was a centerpiece of a great many of the ones I truly enjoyed watching.

    As far as that pic, oy, talk about red snapper. That (that will not be mentioned) is still so distracting now as it was back in ’99. I hoped that it would be a cautionary tale, but some actresses seem to be doing it in their 20’s now.

  9. Profile photo of Cornfed

    @alstonboy – I wrote an earlier post but do not see it here. :(

    I stand corrected, Watros deserved the Emmy that year as train wreck/psycho Annie. I was a hard core GL fan during those days! But I just remember being absolutely thrilled JZ was recognized.

    I so do want to love LW as Carly…the main thing is that there is very little subtlety in LW’s work, it’s usually one-note, and sometimes it’s good tv. SJB rarely had to raise her voice for you to be riveted, PLUS you can’t compare Claire Labine’s writing during that rich period to the subsequent writing staffs.

  10. Profile photo of soapbaby

    [quote=IOWAHAWKEYE]you can’t compare Claire Labine’s writing during that rich period to the subsequent writing staffs.[/quote]

    ^^ This bears REPEATING!!! Labine’s inter-generational and socially relevant storytelling married to romance and humor. Wendy Riche’s production and the “Faces of the Heart” opening. Those were the days!

  11. Profile photo of Ravennite613

    I fell in love with Bobbie when she fell for Noah…it’s when I learned to hate Tiffany

    She was one of those really good characters and for me it wasn’t the plastic surgery that kept her off the TV it was Frons thinking the only viable actress was one under 30

  12. Profile photo of dutchess

    I remember watching GH with my grandmother as a kid. The young Bobbie was a sexy, wicked, cold-blooded villainess as she schemed to take Scotty away from Laura. The grown-up Bobbie became one of my favorite soap characters of all time. I’m happy to see her back!

  13. Profile photo of alstonboy4315


    Perhaps my comment about Zeman being “out of her league” was a bit insensitive and harsh. I do enjoy Zeman’s work and find her to be a good actress. However, I just feel that Watros and Zimmer, both of whom were nominated that same year, did stronger work in 1997. And Watros and Zimmer are two of my favorite soap actresses of all time, so I am a bit biased.

    My opinion simply comes down to my personal preferences, so if they offend anyone, it’s not meant to be personal.

  14. Profile photo of MysteryStory

    I live in the DC area and I didn’t see Bobbie today. I saw Luke and Laura get to LuLu’s and find that she’d been kidnapped. The previews for the next day showed Elizabeth and Sabrina. Am I one or two days behind?

  15. Profile photo of pumpkin

    Cynthia Watros rocked. She was awesome with Josh(RN) also. I knew when Reva came back and I heard Bud she was dust.

    Don’t like LW as Carly either.

    Will have to see her tomorrow.

  16. Profile photo of akbad806


    Where have you been hiding, sir????[/quote]

    Honey, I been out of the country. You don’t even wanna know…it reads better than a Sistah Soulja novel LOL! But I’m good and I am back in the US to catch my stories on the regular. How you durin???

  17. Profile photo of Cornfed

    Watros usually had one speed, and it was bit of a manic one, OR a Jonathan Jackson type of slobbery. BUT it was friggin great — buggy eyed GREAT ;) Watros was one of those few newbies that came along and got awarded pretty quickly, right at the end of her run, like Anne Heche on AW, IIRC.

    I’ve learned after chatting with fellow soap friends on blogs and on Facebook that everyone admires a different style of acting, as alstonboy also stated. The glossy sobbers like Deidre Hall, they are one kind of great but not everyone’s cup of tea. And then you have really subtle acting that is so good, you never quite know they are acting. I can enjoy both, or at least i try to! It’s usually the flashier work that gets all the accolades.

    LOL to pumpkin!

    Nothing beats a red headed villianess! Can’t wait to see JZ.

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