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.

Robert and Anna Scorpio

I admit, I wasn’t there from Day One.

I remember a little about Audrey & Steve Hardy, and I even remember Jesse Brewer.

Jessie Brewer and Steve Hardy

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.

Edward and Lila Quartermaine

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.

Jax and Carly Photo: ABC

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.

Michael (Chad Duell) and Jason (Steve Burton) in jail.

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?

Kristina, Molly and Alexis Davis

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.

Maurice Benard as Sonny (ABC/Michael Yarish)

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.

Chad Duell as Michael on GH. Photo: ABC

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.

By Michele Dargan

The KISS!!

Yessireee!

The best thing that’s happened on General Hospital in just about forever was Tuesday’s grand finale….

The IN-credibly IN-tense closing scene between Michael and Abby culminated in THAT KISS!

It made me look so forward to Wednesday’s eppy…..only to be totally disappointed when there was no Michael and Abby to be found.

Hence, Wednesday’s GH eppy for me was a whole lot of fast forwarding through Crazy Lisa’s scenes, through Nikolas and Elizabeth, always through Brenda….

But I digresss…..

Back to Michael and Abby….

Michael and Abby

Andrea Bogart as Abby and Chad Duell as Michael have been having some of the best scenes in the show.

Since he entered the show during that very high profile Michael-going to-jail storyline, Chad Duell has impressed me every step of the way.

Every emotion that he shows is so believable and real…it’s like he takes the viewer on this wonderful ride.

Whether Michael is experiencing joy or extreme pain, Duell has us, the viewers, experiencing it right alongside Michael.

He is truly incredibly in the role….I can’t say enough as to how impressed I’ve been with his acting.

As for Bogart, she is a real natural. All of her lines come from the heart.

Abby struggles to reconcile the fact she works as a stripper in order to put herself through school…and Bogart has made us feel that struggle within Abby.

Abby and Michael

Whether she’s having an earnest conversation with Michael or defending herself against Carly, Bogart makes me root for Abby at every turn.

I like the way their relationship has developed….two damaged souls seeking solace in each other.

I think the best way to fully show the impact of THAT KISS is to show it!

So….without further adieu…..

By Silas Kain

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.

There’s Carly.

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.

Michael.

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.