Parry Shen, who began playing Brad Cooper on GH back in May 2013, is back on the canvas, with his character having recently secured parole with an assist from his new on-camera relative, Lydia Look’s Selina Wu.
Brad’s connection to the Wu family, who were introduced as part of the Asian Quarter storyline in 1985, was revealed back in 2014, but was not further explored. “I’ve been waiting for this for a while!” enthuses Shen. “I think they were planting the seeds of this when Ron [Carlivati] was head writer, still. And then Lydia, who I know personally, came on to the scene, and so I was like, ‘Oh, I wonder, are we going to cross paths?’ When Ron left I think they switched gears and never revisited that, but I was always curious, like, ‘Was she my mom?’ I knew she was some relation to Brad, but I didn’t know what.” So he was thrilled to get confirmation that Brad is Selina’s nephew. “I was like, ‘Finally! Let’s see what’s going on!’ I’ve literally been so curious. When I saw her coming back with all the Sonny stuff and the mob families getting together, I was like, ‘Oh, cool, she’s back in the loop!’ But I thought it would be a separate journey. I didn’t think that our paths would cross. I’ve never had a family member on the show to see what kind of dynamic that might bring, and especially with the legacy and history of the Asian Quarter, I hope some of that will be folded in. That would be really cool.”
After Brad was sent to prison in March 2020 for his role in the Wiley/Jonah baby swap, Shen has made sporadic appearances as the convict. Being asked back to GH “was a nice surprise because I honestly was not expecting it. Honestly, I was so busy that I didn’t get a chance to actually miss being on the show, you know? But there would be times when there was a pause in what I was doing that I’d be like, ‘Oh, I wonder what’s going on,’ and then later, miraculously, like kismet, I would get an email saying, ‘Hey, we would like to hold you for a little cameo thing for Britt visiting you, or you getting stabbed.’ So, it was nice to come in every three or four months or so.”
Now that his character is a free man, though, it seems that Brad will be more of an on-screen presence, and Shen says, “It has been really fun to see people’s reactions. I think that absence makes the heart grow fonder. People who are not necessarily really popular get more popular as they’re off the page, I guess, because I follow the message boards; I troll myself on things and comment. So I kind of have a good pulse of the positives and the negatives and I started noticing halfway through the prison sentence that the positive started to outweigh the negative with the Brad fans. So I guess there is something to be said with the intimacy of seeing someone in your home on a daily basis for years and you may think that you don’t like them but they just sort of seep in! I have a very thick skin and I love hearing both opinions about the character, but it’s getting harder and harder to find people who despise me, or the Brad character, I should say. It’s been a pleasant surprise that the fans are excited [to be seeing more of Brad]. It’s pretty cool.”