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The Death Of Daytime -- Part Three
No Character Integrity
When all is said and done it's the character that a viewer gets attached to and keeps them watching. Since these characters come into your house five days a week, you get to know them as well as you know members of your own family. In some cases you even begin to think of them as members of your family. So when they start acting in ways that you know they wouldn't, it upsets you and makes you mad.
Of all the soaps still on the air, General Hospital is probably the worst case of destroying a character's integrity. They've made me pretty much loathe every character I used to love by making them into something ugly that I no longer even recognized. I swore they could never turn me against the character of Sonny, but I don't really care for him anymore and sometimes find him downright sleazy.
Sonny Corinthos is probably a good character to show what I mean by destroying a character's integrity. His father abandoned him as a child and he never got over it and he vowed to never do that to a child of his. And he watched his best friend, Stone Cate, die slowly of Aids, because he didn't use protection when he was with his girlfriend who was a drug user who shared needles. I think I even remember him lecturing Stone about using protection. So for the show to have him get several women pregnant because he wasn't using protection is very damaging to the essence of who this character is. It's gotten so bad the character has become a bad joke. And that's just one of the ways the writers have ruined this character.
There are two types of character destruction. Sonny is a case of direct character destruction, because of some stupid plot twist a writer wanted to do without taking into consideration who this character is and for him to do it went directly against that. But he's also been a victim of indirect character destruction. Indirect character destruction is when other characters are destroyed to make another character look good. A good example of that is any character unlucky enough to be in the orbit of Jason Morgan, which Sonny is but one.
I don't know what it is about the character of Jason Morgan that fascinates headwriter Bob Guza so much, but there isn't any character he won't throw under the bus to make Jason Morgan look good. He's like a stage mother when it comes to Jason, determined his little boy be the big star of the show. He shoves him in stories he doesn't belong in and makes him the focus of the story. He wrecks characters and relationships so Jason can be told no matter what he does he's right.
Sonny always believed a father had a right to know his child, until Jason started keeping his brother's child away from his brother, and that was thrown out the window so Sonny could support Jason and tell him he was right in what he was doing. Emily Quartermaine had this great relationship with Jason's brother, AJ, and suddenly that friendship was given to Jason, as Emily told AJ he was wrong to try and take his son away from Jason, because Jason was his real father, not AJ. AJ's mother Monica was always supportive and protective of AJ, but suddenly she became all about Jason and supported him against AJ, when AJ was trying to get custody of his child away from Jason. And on and on it went.
The entire Quartermaine family has been destroyed as they act like Jason is some rock star and their his groupies. They used to be one of the best families and characters on the show, and the few Q's that still remain have been decimated to Jason cheerleaders who think he can do no wrong. To this day they blame everyone else for the bad things he does and they still worship him as their own little tin god.
Robin and Sonny had this great friendship formed when they both took care of Stone as he laid dying from Aids. However, when Robin told AJ that the child Jason was passing off as his son was really AJ's, Sonny turned on her to support Jason. Recently, they've finally renewed the Sonny/Robin friendship that got sacrificed on the Altar of Jason. But theirs was but one of the many relationships destroyed for Jason, and theirs is one of the few that have been repaired in the aftermath. Most of the others were permanently destroyed for him.
According to Guza, and he makes all the characters sing this mantra, Jason never lies, even when he does. Jason is the good guy, even though he's a cold-blooded killer. Jason is always right even when he's wrong. And if you're not for Jason, then you're the bad guy.
The sad thing is for all the characters and relationships Guza has ruined to make General Hospital the Jason Show, he's ruined the Jason character just as much. At one time the Jason character used to be an interesting character. He was brain damaged and had to relearn human emotions. He didn't understand concepts such as lying. But as Guza ruined characters to sing his praises no matter what he did and took relationships from other characters and gave them to Jason and shoved Jason into stories he didn't belong in and never had Jason face any consequences for the bad things he did, Guza ruined the character.
Currently, what with all the focus being on Sonny and Brenda, and not on his golden child, Guza came up with some half-baked story to make Jason the focus of and have everyone around Jason feeling sorry for him. Jason had a child with Liz Webber, but he stayed out of its life to protect him. The child, Jake, was killed. The mother, Liz, was treated like an after thought as it become all about Jason losing the son he never knew. Then Jason groupie, Carly, went to Jason needing a kidney transplant for her kid, and even though Jason had no legal right to give her one, and it was actually Liz who gave her child the kidney, Carly has credited Jason as the soul reason her daughter is alive.
Guza's obsession with Jason is never-ending. Once this story winds down, Jason will either be given another story that's all about him or he'll be shoved into someone else's story and have it made all about him. That's what finally made me stop watching this show.
For months, when Brenda was returning, the show played up the Sonny and Brenda angle. When Brenda finally came back, they quickly shoved Sonny out of the story and made it all about Jason. That was pretty much the last straw for me. After that I gave Jason the moniker of The Borg that Ate Port Charles.
While the other soaps don't have the mass character destruction that General Hospital has, it's there in one form or another. When Port Charles was cancelled, Brian Frons moved Michael Easton on to One Life To Live as John McBain and he quickly began dominating the show the way Jason dominates General Hospital. Characters have been ruined and relationships have been destroyed for him. And over on sister soap, All My Children, Frons seems to have a thang for Rebecca Budig and Cameron Mathieson who play Greenlee and Ryan. And in the case of Jason and John, characters have been ruined and relationships destroyed.
It's sad that these people in charge don't understand that characters and relationships are the lifeblood of these shows. When you ruin them for whatever flavor of the month you're trying to push front and center above all else, you end up ruining the show. You also end up ruining the thing you are so desperate to push on everyone and make everyone think is the greatest thing since sliced bread.