While Jason & Sam and Lucky & Liz reconnect with this summer, Jason (Steve Burton) & Elizabeth (Rebecca Herbst) are still in the middle ground as General Hospital fans continue to vote them once again as “Favorite Couple” in the latest issue from ABC Soaps In Depth. Michelle Carlson’s 95-year-old grandmother Irma has loved soap operas ever since Guiding Light’s days in radio. Like her granddaughter, Irma is a fan of both GH and Liason, and she emailed her “Words of Wisdom” to me:
Being a supercouple on a soap is all about the romance and the connection. It’s not about sex or even the I-Love-You’s. It’s about how they treat each other when they’re together, and the passion and tenderness the couple has toward one another. It’s about what passes between them when they’re not saying a word. It’s about respecting and accepting each other’s choices and decisions, even when you don’t agree. It’s about support, emotional and physical, to see each other through the bad times.
Jason and Liz have this, as did Luke and Laura. Liz accepts Jason as he is and for what he does. She accepts the importance of his work, even though she doesn’t agree with it. She accepts that the secrets he keeps aren’t because he wants to lie to her but to protect her. Jason, on the other hand, respects and accepts Liz for her fears and worries because she’s honest about them and doesn’t judge him for the choices he has made.
Jason and Liz have also been each other’s emotional support. Anyone can save someone else’s life, but not everyone can save someone emotionally. They instinctively know how to calm and assuage each other’s fears, while never belittling or disrepsecting what the other is feeling.
This is also a friendship that’s lasted a lot of years which means that they’ve had plenty of time to really get to know each other, their personalities, their likes and dislikes, all those little quirks that make up who a person is.
“With supercouples you watch their body language, you don’t go by the words coming out of their mouths. If there was no sound, and I grew up in an era before there was sound in movies, everything they’re feeling will come across to us. Watch them with the sound off and you’ll know what I mean. In fact, watch them kiss each other. I’ve always said that if a kiss would look good in black and white then it’s a really good kiss. Jason and Liz would kiss really good in black and white.”
There’s also trust, and that is the clincher. A relationship cannot work without the trust. This is why Liz and Jason’s friendship has lasted so many years. There’s never been a betrayal of trust. The trust between Liz and Lucky, and Jason and Sam has already been broken. You can forgive but you can never forget and you’ll always be waiting for the other shoe to drop. So the show might put the original pairs together again but we’ll never buy it, and we’ll also be waiting for the other shoe to drop.
Jason and Liz are actually better than Luke and Laura, mainly because what Luke did to her all those years ago and that’s been an albatross that’s been hanging over everyone’s head, even today. Jason and Liz don’t have that issue and never will because Jason could never, and would never, physically harm her.
I’ve always been told that you can tell a lot about a man by the way he treats a woman and a child. Everything else is irrelevant, including his job. Yes, Jason’s mob thing is an issue but it’s only as big as they make it.
Jason and Liz’s relationship could very well be the closest thing to a real-live relationship that I’ve ever seen in my eighty-some years of listening and then watching soaps. This means that their relationship is realistic. They have the same fears, worries, joys, and sorrows real relationships have. The storyline can be as outlandish as they want to make it, but it’s the emotion and reactions to each other that makes it believeable.
A supercouple is never about chemistry. Everyone on soaps have chemistry with everyone else or you wouldn’t have a successful show with so many character interactions. What matters, is that the couple has that extra something that makes it click and sizzle, that makes us care about them and root for them. The fact is, there is no word for what makes Jason and Liz work. Jason and Liz are like a couple in a good romance novel. You just never want their story to end.
Liason fans continues to hit the “Campaign Trail” of Soap Opera Digest — sending in a green light bulb to give the couple a go, and Pop Rocks with the message “Let’s get things popping with Jason & Elizabeth because they rock!”
“In all honesty,” said C Davies, “I don’t know why they won’t write for them. What I find the most fascinating about it is that for 10 years the writers have pushed and pulled Jason and Elizabeth, taking them right to the brink of getting together, only to pull them apart.
“Quite honestly, their story has to be told. GH history demands it, their history demands it, and the thing that made me fall in love with them in the first place is their undeniable connection that is rooted in friendship, loyalty, trust, and love. They have made this vow to stay away from each other before and they simply can’t make it work, and that was when it was just the two of them, but now there is their family. Again, this is all under the guise that we have writers that understand the history of GH, of these two characters and respects that history, and will not write these two characters out of character, like they have been in the past and are being right now.
“You have in Jason and Elizabeth: two characters that have been portrayed by the same actors since their inception, two characters that are from legacy families (the Quartermaines, Hardys and the Webbers), along with their son who is now part of all three families. And you have the two elements of the show: the hospital and the mob (a nurse and an enforcer). These two characters alone have the ingredients you need to begin to turn GH around. Not to mention three very large and loyal fan bases: Liason, Jason separately and Elizabeth separately.
“[If I was one of the head writers or producers,] I would put Jason and Elizabeth back together — I would bring their relationship and Jake’s paternity out in the open. I would show the struggles that Jason and Elizabeth would go through ensuring they remain a family. Show Jason struggling with the fact that he can actually have his heart’s desire: Elizabeth, Cam, and Jake (a family), a life outside of the mob – not out of it, but away from it, separate from it. It would give his character so much growth, and change and added dimension. Show Elizabeth helping him deal with the contradictions his life brings to hers, helping him understand that what he does as a profession, does not define who he is as a man, a husband and father. And that the choices he made so long ago does not have to haunt him and rule his life now.
“Show Elizabeth struggle with the opinions of those around her in making this choice to be with Jason, and to raise their children in his “lifestyle.” Show how she struggles with her inner need to please everyone and make them happy, versus her need and love to be with Jason and their family.”
Most recently, fans completed the second part of the “I’m Sick of My Soap!” boycott of only GH, but also All My Children and One Life to Live as May Sweeps came to an end. “[General Hospital should] definietly follow in Y&R [Young & Restless]’s footsteps: family, love, romance, using their vets on canvas — just writing more balance storylines for all the actors and not just a select few” said Denise Hutchins. “They have awesome talent on their canvas and I can’t for the life of me understand why they’re not writing for Alexis & Diane. [These women] are awesome but yet we barely see them anymore.”
Besides GH being centered on the mob, other reasons behind this includes unrealistic and unpopular storylines such as killing off Pine Valley saint Dixie Cooney Martin (Cady McClain), who died in 2007 from poisoned pancakes (the case has currently been reopened); Zach Slater (Thorsten Kaye) being the father of Bianca Montgomery (Eden Riegel) and Reese Williams (Tamara Braun)’ daughter Gabrielle, and the way the lesbian couple’s storyline has been written with Zach in the middle of it.
“I do think daytime TV has changed for the worse in regards to love in the afternoon — relationships and couples are too disposable in today’s soaps” C states. “There are no more power couples that stay together for the long haul, and story lines that revolve around their struggles to stay together as a couple and a family. It’s too easy in today’s soaps to break a couple up and move them on to the next person.
“I really miss the couples sticking it out. In soaps in the past, they kept their couples together — granted it wasn’t all lollipops and roses, but at least you knew they were going to come out together in the end. You could root for them, invest in their relationship and quite honestly identify with them. Today, there really isn’t any reason to invest in a couple because you know in weeks, months, maybe even a few years they are going to get broken up and moved on to a different pairing, so why put the effort in? To me that is extremely sad, and I think also telling as to why the ratings of most of the shows that follow that format are declining.
“While I do think that soaps should address topical issues and provide a medium for addressing certain social commentaries, I don’t want my soap to be filled with that. I get enough doom and gloom in my daily life; I want to escape that when I watch my soap.
“I am passionate about General Hospital and really want it to return to its glory days. I truly believe they [the writers and producers] have the right cast, characters and storyline potential if they would only acknowledge the error of their ways, and take a chance on what many of the fans have been asking for.”