The star-crossed pair of General Hospital‘s Jason & Elizabeth (Liason) recently took the top spot for “Favorite Couple” two weeks in a row in the recent issue of ABC Soaps In Depth (SID) as well as been polled as “Favorite Couple” in the recent Soap Opera Digest (SOD) issue.
Over the past decade, GH has been attacked for being the daytime clone of The Godfather and The Sopranos due to its heavy focus on the mob, where Sonny and Jason became “the good guys” while the police were either corrupt, “connected,” clueless, or incapable in doing their job of solving crimes and saving people. Jason Morgan has gone from good rich kid Jason Quartermaine with dreams of following his parents’ steps in medicine to being the top hit man as well as the dark knight anti-hero of Port Charles, New York.
Garrett Godwin: Team Liason (Jason & Elizabeth) or Team JaSam (Jason & Sam), and why?
Alison McCann: Team Liason, 100%. Must say though, I was a fan of Jasam the first time around, but had no clue that there even WAS a Liason at that point. As soon as the story started to turn, I was already over the character of Sam and was actually enjoying that character turning more b***hy. Now they’ve turned Sam and Jasam right back to what it was. She’s winey and serves little purpose. It makes me cringe as a woman. I simply cannot respect that relationship. He never considers her and she’s all too happy to take it. He has to constantly reassure her but he doesn’t change. She claims to be strong and independent, but the writers don’t write her that way.
GG: Billy the Kid, Jesse James, Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid, Bonnie & Clyde, and John Dillinger have been hailed by the press and the people as folk heroes and modern-day Robin Hoods — despite the fact that they robbed banks, killed people, and never gave to the poor and oppressed. And, yes, they were heavily wanted by the law! Why is it that the GH writers continue to make Jason and Sonny “heroic” — despite running the biggest crime syndicate in Port Charles?
AC: Because they are the most popular characters. And in the past, the two characters WERE heroic. Their “crime syndicate” was only a plot-to-continue story. We didn’t SEE bulk of the ugliness. We watched Sonny give orders and then we watched Jason walk back in a scene or two later and say, “I handled it.” Also, the writers were very careful to make sure we, the viewers, felt that the opposing force was the bad guy. Sorel, Faith, Alcazar, even AJ Quartermaine: they were the bad guys targeting loved ones or kids. They were the ones moving in on Sonny and Jason’s territory. They were the ones bringing drugs onto the streets of Port Charles, not Sonny and Jason. They did this unknown, unnamed illegal thing under the heading of “The Mob.” but they cleaned up the streets from these “bad guys” that gave drugs to Emily, terrorized or kidnapped children, or drunkenly being a scourge on society all the while dressing up in tuxes once a year to give millions of dollars to GH and AIDS Awareness; all the while showing us daily scenes with their loved ones that they are sensitive. The mob was only paraded out during sweeps to get one or the other, or a family member shot, a bomb explode or a fire break out. Those were the only reminders that inherently, we should not idolize these characters.
Yet, in the past two or three years, they first started with Sonny’s demise and now with Jason. It truly is hard to remember that these guys are our “heroes.” I mean, especially in this world following 9/11, shooting an unarmed cop is detrimental to the character. To help the child you put directly in line for a horrible life, you go to jail and kill a man with no qualms and no thought for actually doing the right thing. You go back to a woman who endangered your own son. You marry a woman who you clearly suspect to have shot your son (or arranged it). Nothing has been background and nothing has been incidental. And we haven’t seen either of them heroic lately.
I realize that Guza is trying to tell a story that all along these guys had it easy and were living the life without repercussions. Yet, if that’s the story you’re telling, then go for it. To try to then white-wash them with ridiculous storylines and plots (Jason goes to jail, gets out of jail; Sonny shoots an unarmed cop, but is forgiven because he didn’t know the cop was his son.). They should have played out the full extent of the story and let them be bad guys that we hate and move up Johnny, Michael, Ethan, etc…to be our newest “heroes” that tip-toed over to the wrong side of the law on occasion.
OR, better yet, think that story through and simply let Maurice Benard &/or Steve Burton go to jail, etc. for their crimes, but let Diane get them pled out on a lesser charge and come back a year later free and clear with new heads on their shoulders. (Great time to SORAS kids so it seems like longer that they were in jail.) They could have still had story with them in jail during that time too. (The Kiefer storyline comes to mind.) It’s not unheard of or unthinkable. Besides, the writers have treated the viewers like we have no brains in our heads. I don’t particularly appreciate that.
GG: “What If” Jason decided to get out of the mob and becomes the Robin Hood of Port Charles? How would you make him from mob hit man to hero– like Mark Valley’s Christopher Chance on FOX’s Human Target and a team of the hitter (Elliott), the grifter (Sophie), the hacker (Hardison), the thief (Parker), and the brains (Nathan) on TNT’s Leverage, where bad guys makes the best good guys?
AC: Well, I don’t know the reference of the shows so I won’t comment to that, per se. However, it would be very easy to move Jason to that category. Bring back the Quartermaines and ELQ. Make Jason be the one that finally says, “I cannot do this anymore. I know it was my decision but I probably should have given more value to the Quartermaines when they were trying to tell me not to work for Sonny so long ago.” He could even still have that aura of the “danger” surrounding him. He could still have to defend himself on occasions as plot points and sweeps drama. However, he could merge more of his business with ELQ. He could even go into it at the request of his grandfather because there is a threat they can’t discover. It could turn out to be Jax, Tracy, AJ (because I would love for him to actually be alive), or Rebecca. She could have hooked up wit Zander (also not dead), to take over ELQ to get what she feels is rightfully hers. Jason could then move into running that company and all that goes with it. He could be charitible, thus making his grandfather grumble. He could be the good guy that saves the hospital from AJ who turns out to be the counterfeit drug supplier from that dropped storyline. He could continue to be who Sonny, Carly and kids all go to for help. And Spinelli could be right there with him.
And I know you didn’t ask about Sonny, but he could truly be the retired mob don that sits while his son and daughters’ husband run the organization. He’s an advisor, just like Jason. He runs the legitimate aspects of the business. He finds love and settles down. Then finally when Maurice Benard says he’s done, they have him killed execution style jumping in front of the bullet meant for Michael, Kristina, Dante, etc…
My point is that it’s all very doable but they need to move the bad aspects of their mob life back to where it used to reside –in the background and for plot/sweeps purposes ONLY. Don’t show us their ugly side anymore.
GG: If you were one of GH‘s head writers, how would you write the Liason/JaSam/L&L/Niz rivalries, the mob, the hospital, and law enforcement in terms of character-centric, family-focused, socially aware storylines?
AC: Well, honestly, I would have left Sam a bad girl. No offense but the actress, Kelly Monaco, is not very good at sweet and innocent. They’ve changed her character so drastically from how they originally developed her and the actress is not good enough to pull the change off. But that’s my opinion. I tend to wonder what I would think if they were to change the actress to a better actress. Maybe my opinion of the change in Sam would change as well.
First and foremost, I think that Liason could happen but at this point, but I would want that storyline to wait until they age Cameron and Jake. The storyline of Jake finding out Jason Morgan is really his father is such a fabulous storyline, especially if Jason were to get out of the mob. But he and Elizabeth have become friends, and maybe starting to move toward more but still secretly from the world because of Jason still being “connected” in some way and them feeling its still safer to keep that a secret. Of course Sam, Lucky, Nik, Sonny and Carly know, but they keep quiet for their own purposes — be it selfish or not. The story to be told would be Jake finding out and then Jason and Elizabeth coming together and out in the open BECAUSE of their united front with a really mixed-up and hate-filled kid. He could totally be Jason after waking up from the coma. Even to the extent of fighting with Cameron. It could really be that story: obviously different, but the premise all the same.
L&L and Niz? Well, I liked Niz but now I like Nik & Brook Lynn (Nookie). Nikolas is much, much better as the brooding Prince of Darkness who finds someone that makes him soft in some ways. L&L? Well, Jonathan Jackson, to me, looks too young for that pairing anymore. I liked him with Kirsten Storms (Maxie) and could see him as a romantic lead with a younger actress better. It just makes Elizabeth look like a cougar. Besides, I think L&L have run its course. They could have been the next Luke & Laura, but only if Lucky had been the bad guy in the relationship and Elizabeth always been the victim. However, Elizabeth has hurt Lucky just as much. They’ve run the course of that couple.