Fans of General Hospital have a lot to be thankful for right now. In comparison to the CBS soaps, GH has for the most part recouped the ratings it had prior to lockdown thanks to story movement and maintaining a more familiar production look while following COVID19 guidelines. GH is arguably the most watchable of the daytime dramas at the moment. But it needs to show its supercouples and popular pairings a lot more love.
GH has been struggling in the romance department for quite some time. While one could argue that every story has centered around a relationship, those relationships haven’t necessarily been the ones that viewers want to see. Fans are completely repulsed by the “Paxie” baby story no matter how much the writers try to spin it as romantic comedy. Nobody finds Jax and Nina’s shallow relationship particularly charming. Viewers were more interested in the dead guy in Alexis’ bed than Michael and Willow’s first kiss.
The audience reactions aren’t top secret. Thanks to the internet and social media, they’re there for everyone to see. If a pairing is universally disliked, it needs to be dropped. It seems like common sense and yet nearly every promo starts with Jax and Nina doing a twirl. The truly frustrating part of this is that GH has plenty of popular pairings; they are just choosing not to write for them.
Long time GH fan @PopCultureBlitz commented, “I just wish that they would write things that the fans are screaming for. Yes there are couples that we as fans like but if they are not written well then it doesn’t matter! It just feels like they get a couple together and then push them aside. There are so many stories that can be told besides surprise relatives and fake deaths.” It does feel like GH’s writers are operating on the notion that a pairing doesn’t need their attention once they become fan favorites rather than capitalizing on a couple’s popularity with fun adventures and quality romance.
There is a petition currently on Change.org to get better writing for the fictional couple Jason and Sam. There are a lot more important things going on in the real world that do need our attention and the circulation of this petition has gotten a few chuckles. In defense of the fan who started it, Jason and Sam do need better writing.
Prior to Jason recently moving back into the penthouse he has long shared with Sam, the couple was stuck in a state of non-coupledom. They were neither together nor apart; they were just…there. It’s been that way for quite some time and much to their fans’ frustration. The moments of high romance that should be happening between Jason and Sam are being played between Jason and Carly instead. There are zero plans to pair up “Jarly” so what possible purpose does this serve other than to make the characters look like jerks and annoy the audience?
In the September 14, 2020 issue of Soap Opera Digest, a concerned viewer wrote “The constant focus on Jason and Carly is nauseating. A one-time acceptable friendship has taken over since Steve Burton’s latest return. All of the important and significant conversations Jason and Sam should be having are somehow written for ‘Jarly’. The emotional beats are written for ‘Jarly’. The declarations of love are written for ‘Jarly’. Meanwhile, Jason and Sam get short, empty scenes.” I’m not a “Jasamer”, I think Steve Burton and Laura Wright have great chemistry, and this is even annoying to me. It makes no sense to tout “Jasam” as one of GH’s top couples while writing them in such a manner.
From Carly’s side of things, her reliance on the other men in her life doesn’t add much spark to her marriage. “Carson” are together and staying that way. That doesn’t mean that they have to be written as settled. Carly is currently sharing the secret of what happened to Nelle with the three most important men in her life – Jason, Jax and Sonny. When the truth inevitably comes to light rather than making this another moment for one of her blond white knights to come to the rescue, I hope that the writers allow Sonny to protect his wife. “Carson” fans want Sonny to be Carly’s main man and they want to see him work to stay that way.
Franco and Elizabeth are another happily committed popular pairing that GH doesn’t seem to understand. The writing choices for “Friz” have been perplexing as their last few stories focused on weird versions of non-cheating and played them as the victims of not-so-great friends. While the light-hearted and loving moments that the actors bring to the stories are always a joy to watch, it’s not fun to see them so downtrodden all the time. Their fans need to see them have a win for a change.
The current story does have potential. I am enjoying watching Franco and Liz get some payback against Nik and Ava but, as jaded as I’ve become, remain skeptical that this won’t somehow end with them paying a bigger price than their so-called friends. Preserving other (and often lesser) characters tends to end up much more important to the writers in the end than the earned moment of triumph for the heroes. Fans weren’t rooting for Kim to leave Port Charles unscathed or for Jordan’s illegal police actions to go unpunished after she harmed Franco and Liz’s family. The writers need to do a much better job of providing payoffs that reward who the viewers are invested in rather than excuse the characters the viewers don’t care about.
There has a been a recent shift in GH’s focus that has balanced the overuse of their bad romances with some of their more classically soapy pairings. Ned and Olivia’s marriage drama is providing fans with plenty of Quartermaine dysfunction while making good use of actor chemistry. Finn and Anna are dealing with plenty of family secrets while planning their wedding. Ava and Nik are finally dancing around their feelings for each other after giving into their lust. If GH can write exciting stories for these couples, they can do the same for others.