By Silas Kain
As a soap opera aficionado for the better part of my life I’ve seen many tales told over the years which I could take or leave.
You know the drill.
Stories get remade, retold, repeated or as I like to call them regurgitated.
In the last decade it seems there’s been a gradual decline in the appeal of General Hospital.
Absent from the canvas have been those compelling stories which began around nurses stations, in operating rooms or on exotic spy missions.
I admit, I wasn’t there from Day One.
I remember a little about Audrey & Steve Hardy, and I even remember Jesse Brewer.
But my time with GH really began in the days of Edward and Lila, Monica and Allan, ELQ, the Cassadine wars and the saga of the Scorpios.
On January 31, 2011, General Hospital came full circle and has been given an opportunity few, if any, soap operas have ever enjoyed.
When Dante said to Jason, “let him have the win” the first thought which popped into my mind was, “yes, Mr. Guza, let Michael have the win”.
Let’s take a quick trip down Memory Lane so you get where I’m coming from.
Over the years, Michael has been the focal point of so much drama.
His conception, the secrets of his paternity, battles for custody and his shooting all have been the axles in the story wheels we’ve watched turning. Michael is the one character who connects all characters. He’s the legacy character we dare not recognize by virtue of his birth.
When Michael finally ended up in prison and it was obvious the story line was about to take a very dark twist I was more than concerned. I had problems with how the writers would take this story and bring it to a satisfying conclusion – not only for us but for Michael.
Come on now. You and I both know we haven’t been overly thrilled with the lame story lines. Like it or not, this whole mob boss do gooder swill has reached the breaking point. The writers have brought us from the cradle to manhood with Michael and, as usual, they’ll blow it once again and deprive us of damn good soap opera. Think about it…
Carly & Jax – She may have been many things over the years but there’s one thing which is hard to dispute. Carly is the Mamma Grizzly Sarah Palin can only dream of being. She’s sacrificed plenty for Michael. Sure, Michael has been an unwilling victim in many of her schemes, but the bond this mother and child have shared since birth is undeniable.
Enter Jax. The love Jax has for Carly’s children is real on every level.
His arrogance as a tycoon is diminished by his genuine affection and loyalty to his step children. He’s even agreed to make Morgan his own son – not out of some mean spirited rebuke to Sonny. He did it because – for all intents and purposes – Jax knows that he is the father Morgan should have had in Sonny.
The fallout of Michael’s rape could serve to bring Carly and Jax together in such a way that it would take a thousand Brendas and a dozen Balkans to drive them apart. Their children are the fuel that fires their passion. General Hospital needs a solid, happily married couple on the canvas. Carly and Jax are that couple.
Jason – He’s had his share of drama over the years. Whether it be in the mansion wading his way through the miserable dynamics of a dysfunctional family or being a stoic enforcer for the romantic Sonny, there remain still waters which run very deep.
There is but one core character who breaks the ice of Jason Morgan – Michael.
He’s an uncle, a father figure, a friend and ultimate loyalist. Unlike the women in Jason’s life, there are no conditions with Michael. They love each other with no strings attached – no pretenses. It’s the purest love ever seen on this show.
And now Jason has faced Michael’s rape head on.
How will the writers handle it? Will this cause Jason to break? How will this affect his relationship to Sonny?
And how much guilt will Jason bear in the coming years for the cruel torture Michael has suffered? The Jason we know would seek revenge – or would he?
The writers, of course, will probably find a way to direct all our attention to punishing Franco but that’s the cheap way out. There are repercussions so far reaching that they could change the face of General Hospital for the next 20 years.
The Davis ladies – We all know how Sam fits in to the scenario with Jason. But what about Alexis, Kristina and Molly?
Though Alexis and Carly detest each other for the most part, their children provide them a connection. Alexis Davis, the lawyer, would want to seek legal revenge on the highest scale. She can’t. Who does she fight? Carter is dead.
She’s got to reach down into her Cassadine genes and find a way to protect her girls and help them each deal with the aftermath. There are dozens of compelling story lines which could be woven for them. The actors who play these roles have proven themselves especially Nancy Lee Grahn. She’s got the talent, the skill, the history to make the fallout for her girls something GH fans could discuss for months, if not years. And in keeping her own household in order, she’s got to be a source of comfort to Sam who will have to deal with the rage locked within Jason.
The Quartermaines – Edward Louis Quartermaine, the patriarch of a clan which has been the heart of GH for decades would not take the rape of his grandson lightly. Edward is a lot of things but when it comes to Michael the only other human being who has softened Edward as much as this boy is Lila.
And then there is Monica. She’s lost so much – her husband, A.J., Jason and her beloved Emily. All she has ever wanted was to be a grandmother with a place in Michael’s life. What’s so bad about that? And, doesn’t it make complete sense to see Jason turn to Monica at this time? Michael is AJ’s offspring. From the hour of his birth, Jason took it upon himself to be Michael’s protector. In the end, Jason failed. Who else can he turn to but his mother?
There are the fringe Quartermaines as well. There’s Tracy, wife of Luke who just happens to share DNA with Michael. There’s Brooke Lynn, Maya and her Spencer-husband Ethan. Connect the dots. Have you ever seen a character in the history of daytime with the tentacles of Michael Corinthos?
The Spencers – In the aftermath, where is Barbara Jean? She’s had her share of tragedy with her children. If there was ever a time when Carly’s situation demanded the presence of her mother it is now.
There’s Luke the reluctant uncle and a Quartermaine by marriage. There’s Lucky, who valiantly rescued Elizabeth so long ago after another brutal rape. But there’s another layer for Lucky as the cop who urged his cousin Michael to “do the right thing”. In other words, there has to be some level of guilt there.
As I indicated for Ethan there’s the Quartermaine connection but there’s also the mob connection. He could have his hands full juggling all the dynamics of the fallout from the mansion to the casino to Johnny’s penthouse.
And then there’s Lulu. It hasn’t been easy for her considering her childhood. She finds this guy she’s attracted to who turns out to be Sonny’s long lost son. She falls in love and stands by his side as Dante dispatches Michael’s fate to a judge. Now that she’s discovered Dante’s deception, will her love override her ego so that she can be there to help hold the pieces together not only for the man she loves but for her family?
Sonny – I didn’t save the best for last. Quite the contrary. In many ways the mob story lines escalated with the birth of Michael. Sonny’s so called love of Michael has allegedly been his driving force in most of his adult life.
But in the end, Sonny failed miserably – more so than Jason ever could.
It should have been Sonny who went to prison to protect his son. It should have been Sonny who took the bullet that changed Michael’s life forever. It should be Sonny who suffers as much as Michael when he learns of the brutality imposed upon his son.
Instead Sonny is all gaga over Brenda and can’t see the chick peas in his pasta fagioli. This is a watershed moment not only for Michael and Sonny but for the entire General Hospital universe. Out of the darkness can come such light and renewal where preoccupation with Mario Puzo plot lines revert to solid daytime drama which incorporates inter-generational family dynamics.
THAT is soap opera.
THIS is what fans long for.
For the time being, Sonny must go. It has nothing to do with actor. It has to do with character – no, not Sonny the character – the character of a long running soap opera.
The Remainder – Perhaps you finally get where I’ve headed here. There are others as well who share a history with Michael or with his situation. There’s Robin, she’s been there from Michael’s birth. There’s Elizabeth a fellow rape victim who could really serve to help Michael heal unlike anyone else on the canvas. There’s Max and Milo – Sonny’s enforcers but softer than a roll of Cottonelle. This would devastate them both. There’s Mike, the grandfather who has never had an opportunity to unconditionally prove himself to his son and grandchildren. Sonny needs a father whether he likes it or not. And Sonny’s children need the constant unequivocal love and support that Mike has always provided when called upon. And for a new character in the mix, Abby is becoming a lightning rod. She is the one who can shield Michael from his self doubt. She can identify with the demons and help Michael heal in concert with Elizabeth.
The Moral of the Story – First of all, props and accolades to Chad Duell who has taken on the daunting role of Michael Corinthos and executed his profession brilliantly.
If this young man is an indication of what we have to look forward to in this new generation of actors we are blessed. His performance is worthy of awards from a host of organizations.
Beyond young Mr. Duell’s stellar performance is the sense that Michael has brought General Hospital full circle.
The mob wars stories of days gone by are eclipsed by Pentonville.
Michael has been the glue which has held more than one family together.
Michael’s life has touched 95% of the lives of Port Charles residents. The writers have provided themselves with an opportunity which rarely occurs. They can take this story line and apply it in such a way they can bring old viewers back and create a new generation of General Hospital enthusiasts.
After watching Monday’s episode, I am reminded of David Hasselhoff’s performance in Jekyll & Hyde. As Dr. Jekyll takes that flask in his hand he sees this as his pivotal moment. Henry Jekyll passionately sings, “Give me this moment – This precious chance – I’ll gather up my past; And make some sense at last!”
This is Bob Guza’s Henry Jekyll moment and what he spins from the violation of Michael will be his legacy.
Let’s hope he doesn’t allow this moment to slip through his hands.