Stephen A. Smith’s performance on General Hospital, reviewed


Stephen A. Smith is, for better and worse, an icon of the sports broadcasting world. His unquestionable love of the Knicks, nuclear hot takes, and passionate rants have made him a staple of television for almost two decades. But, there’s a not-so-hidden secret life to Stephen A. Smith you might not know, or appreciate — his recurring role on General Hospital.

Smith has played the recurring role of “Brick” on the show since 2016. In, quite possibly, the greatest piece of irony in pop culture, Brick is a “computer and surveillance expert.” Which, if you don’t know why that’s funny, you haven’t seen this tweet.

Brick serves the Corinthos-Morgan mob family as an advisor, helping criminals avoid detection by the feds, and making them aware when the heat is on. He’s also involved in some of the most incredible plot descriptions I have ever read, courtesy of the General Hospital wiki.

“Sonny catches Brick up on how Julian bombed the Floating Rib because he was working with Cyrus. Brick says he can find Julian using facial recognition software. Later he discovers Julian is in Secaucus, New Jersey where he is waiting for a bus to Montreal, Canada. Sonny and Jason head over to catch him.”

January of 2021 marked Brick’s triumphant return to General Hospital, and with it Stephen A. Smith. I thought it was the perfect time to take a stroll through history and appreciate the acting prowess of one of America’s best-known sports personalities.

Episode #1.13526 (3/31/16)

The only scene with Brick opens with him checking his phone and saying “Damn, they lost … whoa I didn’t see that happening,” which is obviously a nod to his sports background. But, what’s the context here? By the lighting it looks to be mid-afternoon. Did Brick wait all day to check the score of a game that happened the night before? It can’t be a Saturday college game, because they’re talking about meeting with the district attorney, which I can’t imagine would happen on a Saturday.

Opening writing aside, SAS is pretty okay here. It’s still hilarious that he’s a computer expert, but he seems comfortable in the role.

Episode #1.13623 (8/16/16)

Sonny Corinthos meets Brick in what appears to be a hotel room. They’ve barely said hello before Brick starts asking Sonny if his wife, Carly Corinthos has been talking about him. Now look, I get the whole “shoot your shot” thing — but this is the wife of a mob boss. Stephen A. Smith basically insinuated that he’s having a relationship with a mob boss’ wife, TO THE MOB BOSS.

The thrust of this scene is Sonny asking Brick if he has a discreet, loyal team who can keep tabs on Julian Jerome. Another mobster.

SAS does a fine job being a smoldering, intense computer expert whose ability is beyond question.

Episode #1.13738 (2/3/17)

This is the tour de force performance of Stephen A on GH. He gets two scenes, the first is a simple meet and greet with Jason Morgan and Curtis Ashford, who needed help with a problem.

The second is where things get spicy. Brick shows off a watch he created that has a voice recorder in it, but also some sort of “alert” system that lets you know where there are wire taps and wireless cameras. He doesn’t explain how this system works. Brick says you just need to “wave it around” and it will pick up RF transmitters and recorders. Curtis says “that’s alright, where’d you get something like that?” and Brick loses it.

Tense music enters. Stephen A. Smith furrows his brow and begins needling Curtis with questions about why he’s asking. Clearly he thinks Curtis is an undercover agent. Things are smoothed over before they come to blows, and Brick shows off a comically large camera.

Brick insinuates you can use the tiny shotgun mic on the top to hear a conversation taking place blocks away, through glass. He calls it a “laser mic,” which to be fair exist … but they don’t look like a microphone.

Curtis says “almost everything” repeating back Brick’s assertion of what the microphone can hear, and Brick is furious again for being questioned. He cools down, Sonny thanks him for the gear. Brick tells Sonny “don’t thank me, just get the person who killed your son.”

And scene.

Episode #1.13920 (9/26/17)

Brick makes a short appearance with Sonny to discuss a mysterious Russian phone call the mob boss received. Brick tells Sonny he was given a name of who made the call, Piotr Boronsky, a man related to a mysterious “Patient 6,” who is a man with no face … or something.

Episode #1.13927 (10/5/17)

Another short appearance to offer an update on his findings about the call. Stephen A. Smith is just given tiny bit parts during all this to just offer updates. However, Carly (who remember, Brick thinks has a crush on him) asks Brick to follow her son’s girlfriend.

Episode #1.13934 (10/16/17)

Brick is back baby, and this time he has a lot more to say. Brick arrives at Sonny’s house to tell him his phones have been tapped with sophisticated software so good that not even Brick can crack.

Also he flirts with Carly … again, in front of the mob boss himself. Brick is fearless.

Episode #1.14158 (9/6/18)

In perhaps the biggest demotion in soap opera history, Brick returns to fix Sonny’s dad’s cell phone. He also flirted with Carly again.

Episode #1.14257 (2/1/19)

Months after fixing a cell phone, Brick returns in the opening scene of the show. Major step up for Stephen A. Smith. Meeting with Sonny, he is a confidant as Sonny explains the difficulties of putting his father in a nursing home.

A big screen time day, Brick has more scenes — this time getting to business. Sonny wants Brick to find his missing son, which you’d think might be how you start the conversation. Everyone is very calm about it all, like child vanishings are common.

Brick says Sonny doesn’t just need a worker, he needs a friend. Just a powerhouse performance.

Episode #1.14366 (7/5/19)

Now a master of the soap opera “smoldering eyes,” Brick meets with Sonny, despite his busy schedule, to talk about something very important. Sonny wants Brick to forge documents so it looked like an orphan from Turkey was really his long lost cousin.

The best part of this is EASILY when Stephen A. Smith hears the last name “Cerci” and immediately knows this is a Turkish name.

At this point I’m wondering what skills Brick doesn’t have. He can supply surveillance equipment, has a crew of guys on call to handle wet work, he can make someone a U.S. citizen with the snap of his fingers, AND he can fix your elderly father’s cell phone. Everyone needs someone in their life like Brick.

Episode #1.14369 (7/10/19)

Brick brings the forged documents back to Sonny. He’s done it all. Brick has made a fake birth certificate, social security card, driver’s license — what a guy. Jason is there for a meeting with Sonny, and casually asks “So, who’s getting a new identity?” Brick hits him with one of these.

Episode #58.54 (9/3/20)

This is the moment every soap opera actor dreams of. Stephen A. Smith gets to drop the big reveal of the episode. An older man is hiding out at a nursing home, doing puzzles with the elderly and generally being a nice guy. Just as Sonny starts talking to him Brick enters and hits him with the big line.

“From you Mr. Renault … it’s impossible to believe.”

HELL YEAH BRICK GET HIM! That’s not a kindly old man, it’s notorious drug dealer Cyrus Renault!

Episode #58.57 (9/9/20)

Brick turns up at a bar where Carly is having a drink. He once again flirts with the wife of the dangerous mob boss who he works for. At this point Brick and Carly have been flirting on and off for four years.

Episode #1.14690 (12/16/20)

Brick meets Sonny in Brooklyn and offers his condolences for Dev’s death. Dev is the orphan he forged documents for 18 months earlier. So, to condense the timeline a little, a 16-year-old orphan survived perfectly on the streets of Turkey, was brought to the U.S. and died just over a year later.

This kid wasn’t just killed, he was BLOWN UP IN A BAR EXPLOSION. AN EXPLOSION THAT WAS CAUSED BY A BOMB. Yet, the feds have no involvement in a bombing. Instead it’s on Brick.

Brick has a plan, because he always has a plan. He’ll use facial recognition software to find the bomber using social media photos.

Episode #1.14709 (1/14/21)

Well, now Sonny is dead. There’s a lot of murder in this show. Brick turns up at a bar to talk about Sonny’s death with Jason. It’s at this point Jason asks Brick for a favor, which he’ll do gladly because Sonny was his BFF.

Brick is tasked with learning everything he can about the Novaks, a dangerous rival crime family. Brick is a step ahead, and tells Jason that the Novaks are bringing product into Port Charles! GASP!

Brick enters the warehouse with Jason and it’s full of bodies! The pair retreat to the bar before drug dealer Cyrus Renault shows up.

Episode #1.14710 (1/15/21)

The scene with Jason, Cyrus and Brick continues. Cyrus says they need to work together to fill the void left by Sonny. In what are supposed to be real-time minutes, Brick moves from telling Jason they need to lay low, to telling Cyrus they went into the Novak’s warehouse and found a bunch of bodies — because he is very bad at laying low, despite being an all-time brilliant fixer.

I don’t know much about soap operas, but I know Brick is the greatest character of all time.

Soap opera acting is what it is. In order to find all the scenes with Brick I had to watch a sickening amount of General Hospital, and to his credit, Stephen A. Smith holds his own with everyone else on camera.

Where he really shines is the material though. Brick is both the best, and worst character in history — which makes him the best. He’s an expert at discretion, except when it matters most. A master of computers and technology, who is so important to a crime family that he will brazenly flirt with the mob boss’ wife in front of her husband without any repercussion.

You know you’re in too deep when you become invested in a soap opera storyline. All I need in this world is for Brick and Carly to hook up, because they genuinely seem to like each other. Now that Sonny is dead that window is open, and I’ll keep watching to find out.

God help me.





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