Understood. It is fair. I agree a better choice long-term would have been to have him presumed dead or a prolonged coma. Writers overuse deaths that can't be reversed; they are so short-sighted sometimes. But considering how many long-term characters ended up written out carelessly afterwards, I think all things considered they got good story out of his exit.
I am pretty certain he wasn't fired. The story I had had always heard - and I am not putting my own credibility on the line for it but I heard it often enough including on here - was that he was thinking of leaving for a variety of reasons but got really pissed off when Christine Tucci, who he was dating at the time, got fired and that sealed the deal and he decided to walk.
As for his soon-afterwards temporary return, he wouldn't be the first guy to make an important decision on an impulse and once faced with the phone not ringing and the bills coming due, be a bit "Oh s**t" about it.
Laurie (Stephanie Braxton) had been married to Ken (Joel Crothers), and I don't recall how Ken exited the show. Braxton and Crothers were both excellent in a storyline about two people who really weren't in love but were trying to make the best of their marriage, with it even being possible that they might eventually fall in love. Some subtle writing and acting there.
Toward the end of the SS run, a new HW dragged out the old girl-who-falls-for-a-priest storyline. David Gale played the priest, Gary Sandy was his younger brother, and Frances Sternhagen was the woman who had raised them. IIRC, Gary Sandy tries to attack Laurie; it's in a barn, so the priest grabs a pitchfork; Frances Sternhagen rushes in to try to separate the two men and accidentally gets fatally stabbed by the pitchfork. Stephanie Braxton and David Gale played this material well. I believe the couple separated at the end of the show and he went back to being a priest.
They also used the priest for the old "I Confess" storyline, as handyman Riley (Joe Ponazecki), previously a good guy and a source of comic relief, kidnaps a baby (? this may not be right) and confesses to the priest, knowing the priest will be obligated not to tell.
I was not too fond of the show at this time. Some of the actors who had kept me interested when I first started watching--Terry Kiser, Jada Rowland, Joel Crothers, Barbara Rodell, Judy Lewis, Linden Chiles among them--were gone. Marla Adams as Belle was still making trouble, always a good thing, and I did like new additions to the cast Bernard Barrow, Dan Hamilton, David Ackroyd, Jeff Pomerantz, and Betsy von Furstenberg.
From a Washington Post article about Valley in 2005, when he returned to American University to complete his undergraduate degree. He noted that he left American for Julliard, and then booked Another World as his program ended and he needed money to fund his theater career.
After a few years of bad choices and good, he felt "tired -- used." He asked for a hiatus, but the producer "was kind of nice about it" and offered to let him out of the show entirely.
I still absolutely cannot get over that GH wants us to believe that this man lost in a love triangle to Mayo Mikey! Beyond unrealistic.
Not that I wanted Chase stuck in Wallow hell, but I'm still going to complain about it.
I know I rag on Alan sometimes (mainly due to his dubious interviewing), but kudos to him for bringing together such a large group of GL actors for such a worthy cause. Autism is an issue close to my heart. Thanks to all of them for doing this.