As a friend of mine pointed out, General Hospital is one step away from being a good soap. The potential is clear, but it’s often squandered with dropped story lines or unnecessary added drama. When an exciting storyline starts to emerge, one always needs to be cautiously optimistic that GH is up to the task of seeing it through.
One of the most head-scratching things about GH in recent years has been the lack of quality writing for its popular pairings. The show that gave the world Luke and Laura should not be treating existing and potential super couples as afterthoughts. That’s just downright un-General Hospital!
The stories currently playing for GH’s two major couples actually showcases the lazy writing. Carly and Sonny are expecting a baby and, to put it delicately, this pairing has outgrown procreating. While an argument can be made that watching a couple struggle and triumph through a difficult pregnancy might be an uplifting story, after years of Carly and Sonny grieving over Morgan, giving them yet another heavy story about a child feels emotionally repetitive.
Meanwhile, their BFF Jason has just saved Sam—again, holding her as she cried in her hospital bed—again! The writing for Jason and Sam has unfortunately become a predictable homage to The Perils of Pauline when it should be more Mr. and Mrs. Smith. I’m okay with Jason rescuing Sam occasionally. That’s not the problem. Seeing a hero’s protectiveness towards the woman he loves can be romantic—if written well. Unfortunately, Jason-to-the-rescue has become such a pattern for these two that what should be adventurous has become boring and mundane. The most recent rescues have taken place after Sam made really poor choices during investigations. In 2019, Jason and Sam should be written as equally street smart.
GH’s other pairings aren’t fairing much better in the story department. Valentin and Nina went through an unnecessary divorce over his involvement with Peter just to have her aid her wild Aunt Liesl in Peter’s kidnapping. Now he’s pulling a cruel fast one on his bride-to-be by lying to her about her “daughter”. Jax’s flirtation with Nina adds romantic stakes, but the writers may have pushed things a bit too far if they want fans to still root for Valentin in any way.
Nina’s pretend daughter Sasha has staying-power potential with her budding romance with Michael—but there hasn’t been enough character development to hook the viewers. We know very little about Sasha’s past or interests. What are her hopes and aspirations? Is she a money-hungry gold digger? Is she even interested in fashion or is her job at Crimson just merely part of the ruse? Does she actually care about Nina or Michael? We don’t know!
If Nina’s real daughter is Willow as many suspect, why aren’t we seeing Willow and Sasha interact? Their boyfriends are pals and they should be all hanging out together—having beers and playing pool at the bar or having dinner at someone’s apartment. It would make for a better story if either a rivalry or friendship was developed between the young women prior to any sort of reveal. Molly and TJ could even join the story as the smart friends who sense something is off. GH has some very cute pairings right now in its 20-something set but putting them all on an island is working against them.
Liz and Franco have been chilling out on an island too. Despite their continually-growing popularity, they spent a year fretting over Aiden in a storyline that should have only lasted a few months. Worse, the story had a weak resolution. The couple has established adult relationships and friendships—mostly offscreen. Franco and Drew’s brotherhood is touching yet hasn’t gotten a lot of screen time. Liz’s potential rivalry with Nina was never played. Liz and Franco’s romantic wedding reception on the Haunted Star and current high-stakes drama gives hope the focus is back on their romance. The story is strange and not based in reality but it’s playing some very real emotions. A couple fighting to find their way back to each other is super couple writing. Hopefully, that’s the story the writers want to tell.
“Julexis” fans haven’t had it easy for their ship, but perhaps the most frustrating aspect is the lack of story in general for both characters. This pairing not being together should not mean that Alexis doesn’t get a story. While she is now getting a new romance with handsome psychiatrist Neil, it took too long to be played and she was given very little to do in the meantime. When Alexis was gifted her mother’s watch, fans were expecting a Cassadine mystery—but then nothing happened. Alexis has a half-brother of questionable morality in Port Charles, yet they rarely share scenes together. “Nelexis” would have had a better starting point if Alexis had been kept occupied.
Julian and Kim are an okay pairing—in theory. He needed a neutral party after what happened with Alexis. However, they’ve written Kim so weirdly that it’s hard to get on board with her in any romantic situation. First, she lied to her son about his terminal illness and then she tried to rape her ex-lover in an attempt to recreate her son. Julian’s response to her odd behavior has been a mix of concern and passivity. Their story would have been better if it had focused on how Kim’s loss will impact her reaction once the truth about Julian’s part in Wiley’s baby switch story is revealed.
Lulu and Maxie are daughters of two of GH’s biggest super couples yet neither of them has much going on outside of their friendship. Maxie is currently in a relationship with Peter which has garnered very mixed reviews from the audience. It doesn’t help that Peter is indirectly responsible for the death of Maxie’s husband or that the foreplay for their first time together was playing board games and having “the talk” with Laura and Curtis. Maxie is a mom in her thirties. Her relationships should be more grownup. It would have been better storytelling to have her rekindle her relationship with Spinelli while she was drawn to a bad boy version of Peter.
Lulu sadly has just been waiting around for Dante to return to her. While I understand that Dante and Lulu are popular, it doesn’t do either character justice to not write for Lulu just because Dante is no longer on the show. Lulu is a messy mix of Spencer and Webber. She should be having a regretful affair or, at the very least, deciding to move on if Dante can’t be there. Dustin and Lulu sparked but it might be a good time to bring her dangerous old flame Johnny back.
The GH writers seem to be making more of an effort to give more characters more story. And yet, as I just said, something is still missing. There’s so much potential…I’m hoping they fulfill it soon.