By Silas Kain
I was holding off writing about this because I had more concerns about One Life to Live.
But after watching last week’s episodes of General Hospital I can’t hold back any longer. So, here goes. It’s not one of my more wordy pieces but it gets to the heart of my greatest frustration with GH these days.
So, what do we do about Sonny Corinthos? Mobster, serial husband, dad to a litter of flawed puppies?
Maurice Benard (Sonny) Photo:ABC
What do we do about Sonny now that the love of his life is returning to Port Charles?
Well, I say we do nothing.
In the early days, Sonny Corinthos (Maurice Benard) was a romantic pirate – a modern day Jean Lafitte. Sure, he’s a mob warlord. Yeah, he’s killed a few people along the way. And he’s been a romantic hero to so many for so long.
Maurice Benard as Sonny (ABC/Michael Yarish)
But just how did Sonny come to be? Just WHO is Sonny Corinthos?
Sonny was born into a pretty rough situation. Yes, he’s Mike’s son. But Mike abandoned him early on. And that was the first nick in his armor.
His Mom remarries and this time to an abusive cop who treated Sonny like dirt from the get-go.
So, I get Sonny’s issues. They’re all so damn Freudian.
Son loves Mom. Son hates stepfather. Son grows up to be rebellious. Sonny looked at every cop as being his stepfather. I get it. I understand how the character of Sonny came to be.
There’s one slight problem…we all have to grow up at some point and the writers have locked Sonny in a time warp from which there is no escape.
Let’s look at the canvas of Sonny’s life today.
Laura Wright as Carly. (ABC/Michael Yarish)
They still love each other – no question.
But Carly (Laura Wright) is beginning to open her eyes because if there’s one thing to be said for her – she is a lioness when it comes to her cubs. And that’s what I respect most about her.
Carly is a selfish, self- absorbed shrew in every way except one – her children. That’s her redemption.
There’s Olivia, mother of Sonny’s first-born son, Dante. She kept him away from his father for all the right reasons. I respect Olivia and her choices. I admire her tenacity and see her as Sonny’s first brush with Carly.
Laura Wright (Carly) and Lisa LoCicero (Olivia). (ABC/Rick Rowell)
Olivia and Carly are alike in more ways than not – the difference?
Olivia brings her Italo-Catholic Bensonhurst upbringing to the table in a splendid way.
And while she struggled through her adolescence and her 20’s raising her son to be everything his father was not, Olivia (Lisa LoCicero) now realizes she may have failed. Sonny’s genes dominate Dante. And now Dante has to confront his own demons about his “unknown” father. Dante has to face his own genetics and question who he is as a man. In doing her best to protect her son, Olivia failed Dante by shielding him from the truth for too long.
You know, we’ve had many a romantic journey with Sonny. Be it Brenda, Kate, Alexis, Carly, so on and so forth.
This current arc with federal prosecutor Claire Walsh is a complete joke and an insult to legal professionals everywhere.
Dahlia Salem (Claire) and Maurice Benard (Sonny) kiss. (ABC/Ron Tom)
And even with the prospect of Brenda coming back into Sonny’s life, it doesn’t let him off the hook – not by a long shot.
As an avid GH fan, I’m insulted by the direction Mr. Guza has taken. Whether you realize it or not, you can learn a lot about a head writer’s personal values by the direction in which they take their characters. And as bad as General Hospital is these days, there is room for redemption and learning a lesson.
It begins with acknowledging that Sonny Corinthos is no longer eligible for the redemptive process. He’s toast. He’s finished and he must go, period. And before your head explodes by what I just wrote, let me explain why I am so adamant on this course…
It all began on that fateful day when the shot fired by Sonny was heard around the soap world. With complete malice and forethought, Sonny Corinthos pointed a gun at Dante Falconeri’s heart and pulled the trigger.
Dominic Zamprogna (Dante) and Maurice Benard (Sonny). (ABC/Rick Rowell)
Yeah, Dante (Dominic Zamprogna) was a cop hell bent on talking Sonny down. And Sonny hates cops. I get it.
I also get the fact that Sonny was robbed of Dante’s childhood. And knowing Sonny’s fierce love for his spawn, I even understand his attempt to win his eldest son’s soul.
Notice I didn’t say heart. Why? Sonny no longer deserves to be recognized as even having a heart.
In that split second with the cold, heartless stare of a monster, Sonny fired the bullet than must change General Hospital forever.
In the aftermath of Dante’s shooting, we’ve painfully watched Kristina be brutally beaten within an inch of her life. Though the scenes between Sonny and his daughter were gut wrenching due to his own history, it just isn’t enough.
Kristina (Lexi Ainsworth) recognizes her father’s flaws. Kristina has had to grow up in her father’s shadow, keeping him at arm’s length because she knows him all too well.
Maurice Benard (Sonny) and Lexi Ainsworth (Kristina). (ABC/Rick Rowell)
Kristina is more like Sonny than anyone realizes. She has his stubborn streak. She sees most of the world in terms of black and white.
Without the love and guidance of Alexis, Kristina could have very easily become the reincarnation of Claudia without even a blink of an eye. For Kristina there is hope and the prospect of a good life – after her father is taken out of her life permanently.
I saved the best for last.
First of all I had low expectations for Chad Duell and I admit I was completely wrong. This kid has presence.
He’s taken Michael into manhood brilliantly and is handling a very sensitive story line with the professionalism of a seasoned thespian.
Michael is a casualty of mob war.
And as much as Sonny genuinely loves Michael, Sonny loves himself more.
When Michael went to jail it was Jason who stepped up to the plate. Jason, the ever present subservient Sonny bitch, has come into his own. Sorry for being so graphic but I’m calling this spade what it is, a spade.
For too many years Jason (Steve Burton) has also been in Sonny’s shadow being ever loyal and a wee bit blind to Sonny’s flaws.
When Michael went to jail we got to see some emotion.
Chad Duell (Michael) and Steve Burton (Jason) behind bars. (ABC/Patrick Wymore)
Let’s face it; through all of Jason’s trials and tribulations, he is the father Michael should have had. Jason has been the nurturer, the father figure the source of unconditional paternal love.
While Michael was in jail, he was brutally raped.
That’s right – Michael was raped.
And while the writers are slowly exposing what happened I am furious at how nonchalant Guza and his team have been and continue to be. Anyone who has suffered through such an ordeal knows what I’m saying is Gospel truth.
And, in the end, it all goes back to Sonny Corinthos.
The writers have opened Pandora’s Box this time.
This isn’t Luke rapes Laura. This isn’t glamour. This is cold, hard reality.
An adolescent boy on the verge of manhood has been violated in a horrific way in a place where he never would have been were it not for his “father”.
Jason knows it. Dante knows it. Carly is beginning to realize it.
Sonny, as usual, is oblivious because it wasn’t Sonny who got raped.
There is an opportunity to take Michael’s journey of healing in the right direction. The writers gave us the story; it’s time for them to deliver the consequences.
We need to recognize, understand and identify with Michael’s pain. We need to share the agonies of Jason and Carly as they come to terms with what’s happened. We need to experience the horror when Alexis has to comfort her daughter not only for the violation of Kristina but for the aftermath Kristina will experience when she discovers her brother – her hero – was violated just as brutally and worse.
The manner in which the writers have handled Michael’s trauma is nonchalant, too cavalier. And that speaks more to the values of Guza nd Frons than it does to the cast, crew and fans.
This is a painful story. At the basest level it has to be explored. Like I said, they opened Pandora’s Box.
In the end, it all comes back to Sonny Corinthos. It started the day he shot Dante. That did it for me. There was no room for redemption.
When Michael went to jail, Sonny remained the typical coward while Jason took responsibility. Sonny uses mob power, sexual prowess and his own sense of justice to his advantage and no one else. As touching as his scenes were with Kristina, they don’t begin to redeem him.
Enter Brenda. Oh boy.
Vanessa Marcil Giovinazzo (Brenda) and Maurice Benard (Sonny). (ABC/Patrick Wymore)
ABC management seems to think they can undo all the damage by bringing back a beloved character with a rich history. It just doesn’t wipe away the consequences which must be delivered.
There is only one logical conclusion to the decades of Sonny – he’s got to go, period. Inasmuch as I would love to see Sonny Corinthos cut down in a hail of gunfire as a result of his own actions I propose a better alternative.
Let him be charged with shooting Johnny. Let him be tried, convicted and sent to Pentonville.
And as the jail cell door locks behind him, let the last words he hears be from Carly with Jason and Michael standing there, “Sonny, while you were protecting your own ass, Michael gave up his for you.”
Slam the door. See Sonny go mad.
And let him fade way from the Port Charles landscape while the rest of us pick up Sonny’s miserable pieces.