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« At Laaaaaaaaaaaast... | Main | I'm Renewing My Vow of Irritation With This Show »

June 08, 2010

Carly and Sonny Caught In "Actually Being Watchable" Shocker!

What I love most about Awesome Writer, besides the fact that his/her all too infrequent scenes are truly the only things on General Hospital that can be described as entertaining and soapy, is that he/she is always up for a challenge. OF COURSE the union of, say, Awesome Writer and Jane Elliot is going to leave us delirious with glee, especially when it leads to Tracy getting in some much-needed, truth-filled jabs. And when Awesome Writer, Jonathan Jackson and the now iconic phrase "rutting like farm animals" came together, the only question was how many times I'd watch it on YouTube (answer: lots). The inevitability of the awesomeness does not detract from the awesomeness, but still...inevitable.

Markedly less expected is a scene with Sonny and Carly, in which Carly thoughtfully, honestly and firmly explains to Sonny that, yes, he is abusive. For Carly to be at all tolerable was surprising enough, since the past few weeks have seen her in snarling, scheming monster mode, but yesterday, she gave me goosebumps.

Carly: Can't you--can't you still hear us? I mean, I can. I can hear the yelling, and things breaking. I can hear you calling me a faithless whore, screaming at the top of your lings that I'm worthless. I've never seen anyone get as angry as you, and your rage, Sonny. Your rage is overwhelming. You zero in on what's weak in someone and you hammer away. You dismantle it, piece by piece, and I look back and I'm horrified at myself. Horrified that I put up with it, that I rationalized it, and that I participated in it. But that was my illness. I stayed with you and I let it happen over and over again, the vicious cycle, and you know what, Sonny? It's called abuse.

Carly: You know what, Sonny? You asked me a question: did you abuse me? And I'm trying to answer you with my truth, and my reality, and you're discounting it because it's something you don't want to believe about yourself. You can abuse someone without lifting a finger. It's not just about bruises and scars.
Sonny: You're splitting hairs.
Carly: No, you're in denial. Think about Kristina: she's lied, she's talked back, she's behaved badly. Would you want Kristina to be with someone who treats her the way you treated me?

Laura Wright was as excellent as we've come to expect from her--I feel like I am always gushing about what a great actress she is and how adorable her hair is, like today's ponytail

Carly

and I hope it's not creepy, but I do think that she always knocks it out of the park, even when (especially when?) Carly is acting vile--AND Awesome Writer snuck in shoutouts to not one, but two of the most criticized aspects of Sonny's history: the "faithless whore" mantra, as noted above, and the time he, you know, shot his wife in the head while she was giving birth to their son.

Carly: I told [Kristina] that our relationship was dysfunctional, and volatile. That we genuinely loved each other, but we were toxic together. And that, no, you never hit me.
Sonny: Thank god for that.
Carly: I mean, you shot me in the head once, but accidents happen.

What CAN'T Awesome Writer do1?

I absolutely loved slash loathed the face Sonny made when Carly reminded him of the time he shot her in the head while she was giving birth to their son.

Sonny

It was like, "Really, will we never let go of this?" But even that was so in character that it did nothing to detract from how much I enjoyed these scenes.

1Um, as it turns out, make Maurice Benard act. More on that in a bit.

Sonny's reaction to Carly's blatant honesty was also in character: whiny, unable to accept responsibility character. Every time she made a point about their sordid history, he turned around and tried to shift the blame to her because, hey, since she wasn't innocent, he wasn't abusive. That's...well, that's Corinthosian logic for you.

Sonny: All right. I can take that. But I want you to hear my side. I have a temper, a bad temper, and you've seen the worst of it, and I have yelled at you, screamed at you, called you names. I'll even take it a step further--I might have grabbed you at some point, but you by no means were innocent. You lied to me, you cheated on me, right? And you even set me up with the Feds.
Carly: I don't deny that. I didn't deny it to Kristina.
Sonny: Right. I'm just saying, it takes two to tango. We were equals, and you weren't the helpless type. How many times did you deliberately do something, knowing it was going to hurt me and set me off?
Carly: Many.
Sonny: You deliberately provoked me, and then you gave as good as you got.
Carly: Yes, I did.
Sonny: Right, and I never saw you cowering on the floor, sobbing, beaten. Because that's what I see as abuse. That's what my mother and I went through for years.

Even when Sonny oh-so-magnanimously admits to being wrong, there is always someone else who is even more wrong, so why aren't you all blaming that even more wrong person instead of piling up on Sonny who has, like, the hardest life ever because of DEEEEEEKE?!

While I may have disliked the substance of what he was saying here, at least Maurice Benard said it believably, which is more than I can say for the rest of the episode/rest of the year. He was mostly good with Laura Wright, aside from the bizarre

Sonny: So, in other words, you you you you you do believed that I abused you?

It was like something out of a bad 80s song.

When Sonny talked to Kristina, though...whoa, did Lexi Ainsworth have her work cut out for her. For starters, she had to deliver some pretty heavy, albeit awesome, lines today:

Kristina: I don't care. I'll explain it's pointless. You don't think you do anything wrong, and you know what? That's fine. Be right. Be whatever you need to be, because I know what I know. You're a screamer, and you bully people, and you probably do a lot worse. And you're not going to change.
Sonny: What does that mean, that you're just gonna write your dad off? Is that what that means?
Kristina: I'm not Michael, I don't think you're this misunderstood guy. I don't make excuses for you and I'm not going to let you use my therapy to make yourself feel better.

(How amazing, right? Not that this will actually sink in for Sonny, but it was so right on.)

And secondly, she would have had a more engaged scene partner had she been acting opposite a defective Teddy Ruxpin, who would probably exhibit less stuttering and odd pausing.

Sonny: I'm not proud of that, and I get angry and I say things and do things that I regret, but I know where to draw the line because youknowIlivedwithabuse and I know how it can accelerate, words to fists. But you need to understand that I would never cross the line. I'm not a perfect man at all and um....

.....

.....

I don't hit women and I don't want you to think that I do, and I don't want you to be in an abusive relationship because you think it's okay because.....

....

of...

....

.....

our relationship. I know this is a very complicated situation and I don't...I don't, I'm not really equipped...to understandthenuances of what you're going through. But I just want you to know that I'm your dad, and I love you, and all I want to do is help you.

I AM NOT EVEN EXAGGERATING. What the hell is wrong with this man? It started off as something deliciously fun to mock, but now I am getting concerned! I don't like the thought of kicking someone when they are down and stammering.

Also in Port Charles...

  • If I never have to hear "hilarious" and "zany" Bensonhurst stories again, it will be too soon. I feel like Brooklyn should look into filing a lawsuit against GH and ABC, because the repeated and obnoxious references to this neighborhood have surely turned the stomachs of a lot of potential visitors.
  • Michael is still in Pentonville (which, as he told Jax, is a bad place to be. Prison is bad? Who knew!) and Jason is protecting him, and Carter has it out for both of them. The intrigue, it's...non-existent.
  • Johnny sweeping in to save Kristina from two mean girls, and carrying her pink backpack, was probably the cutest thing I have ever seen.

Johnny

 
Oh, Brandon Barash, why so dreamy and back-burnered?

Comments

The substance of what Sonny was saying:

I actually liked the content of that in and of itself because it's very true to real life. Abusers who were abused but grown up to be abusers of a different kind so totally do that. On the flip side, of course, it will somehow be used to make Sonny's actions someone else's fault. Lame.

My whole worldview was out of whack for a few minutes there -- it was generous of them to give us a scheming-Carly scene at the end so we wouldn't be too confused that she'd turned all wise and mature. Whew!

A surprisingly wonderful episode.

MB must have gotten advance word about VM's return, so he decided to show up.

Too bad his 'I'm sure it's rather sizeable' paycheck doesn't seem to be enough of an incentive the rest of the time.

My Brenda. I rejoice and I weep at the same time. Sigh.

I am thrilled to bits that finally this show is realizing there is more to abuse than hitting and that apparenlty they did hear the often repeated observations that Sonny has done the same things Keifer did to great praise. However it surprised me exactly none that it didn't seem to sink with Sonny. Nor am I naive enough to think this means change since every few months now they have characters tell us what worthless people Sonny and Jason are and yet nothing ever changes.

Johnny swooping in to save Kristina was adorable and I'm loving her talking to him more and more about her issues with her dad. At least we see them onscreen together working their issues out...unlike her and Ethan who apparenlty just magic wand waved them away?

Though there were some awesome lines in yesterday's episode, I couldn't help but think of it as the "Sonny Takes a Census of the Women in Port Charles" episode. It was as if he had gone door to door asking "Hey, ddddid I abuse yyyou?"

I am starting to think of "Simple Jack" from "Tropic Thunder" whenever I see Sonny onscreen ("I ain't got a g-g-good brain")

Don't forget that Sonny had to throw a "manipleeate" in there today when talking to Olivia. He actually drug it out, too, like he KNOWS he's saying it wrong and was trying very, very hard to say it correctly.

Except it was even worse - he had to say "manipulative," so he really had his work cut out for him, poor little guy.

"Claudia was mani...pleee...ative..you know that!!"

Like a small child trying to say "aluminum." It would be cute if he wasn't 45 and supposedly a professional actor.

I love your disdain for Maurice Bernard's acting. Makes reading these so much fun. And I'm so glad I don't watch this show anymore, I'd probably want to blow my brains out or something.

I might be more impressed with the goings on in this episode if it weren't for the fact that they do this every now and then. They have a couple of characters give voice to the many complaints and criticisms that people have about the show, as if to say "SEEEEE??? We TOTALLY get it!"

And then go right back to the same dynamic.

Just once, I want them to have to take the "or death" option instead of having cake and eating it, too.

I blundered into watching this episode (I was hungry, needed something to do while eating. PBS was having a fund raiser and thus no British comedy). I literally said out loud, when Kristina started in on Sonny, "Hey! Awesome writer's in the house." Shame he's/she's not there all of the time.

Johnny and Kristina: Too cute.

"Corinthosian logic" - it truly is its own brand.

So, how soon will we see a scene where Lucky is called an abusive jerk? After all, he called Elizabeth a whore when she was only friends with Patty boy back during the drug story line, he caused her to fall twice while pregnant with Jake, almost shot her in an alley while trying to frame Jason with drugs, he dreamed about killing Elizabeth while she slept in their bed, he's yelled in her face, he accused her of doing something to Jake when he was kidnapped, we just saw his rabid eye teary comments about farm animals, whores and sluts. Sonny and Lucky are no different and if GH is going to point their fingers at one punk, they need to go find patches and point out his abuse over the years.

I must have missed the storyline where Lucky shot Elizabeth in the head while she was giving birth. Hmm... maybe it's on the net. Yep, that Lucky. Just like an abusive, unrepentant gangster who uses sex as a method of control, kidnaps people, and shoots a cop in the chest.

However, I will agree that a number of characters on GH deserve to be called out for their jerky to abusive ways (thank you, Guza, for "redefining" romance), but then I remembered what show I was watching and Awesome Writer probably got locked up in the basement again.

The dialogue on GH is pretty good for a soap; at least much better than the other soaps.
I don't care if Sonny is abusive; if the character is a flawed bad guy or even an evil bastard whatever, the important thing is that he is aware of it and the other characters call him out for it. It makes the characters interesting and somewhat complex (ah and a little less hypocritical). I don't want cookie cuter cheesy romances with simplistic do gooder heroes; i want complex characters who own their evil, twisted, tortured faults.
But of course to each his own, i know lot's of soap viewers love cheesy stuff..it is maybe why i am so much more a prime time tv viewer (HBO thanks to be here).

Janaynay, between the post and your comment, I nearly died laughing. Rene's comment was just the icing on the cake.

I just love how Scummy asks Carly a question and when she answers him truthfully, he turns around and starts in on her faults. I guess he expected her to say, "Why NO, Sonny, you're not abusive at all! You treated me like a queen, what with you calling me a whore. And if you were abusive, well, it's my fault, as I committed the cardinal sin of turning you over to the Feds."

Sonny and Lucky are no different???? Sorry, I don't even know where to go with that one.

Sonny and Lucky are different yes, but Lucky (before the return of halo-wearing JJ) was a completely abusive jerk. No, he did not shoot Liz in the head while giving birth, but he did toss a pregnant Liz on the floor and almost shot a pregnant Liz while trying to frame Jason. I love how as soon as JJ came back we were all supposed to forget the way Lucky was written when played by JY and GV.

I think the primary difference between Sonny and Lucky is how others on the show treated them when they acted like a-holes. Lucky was written as a jerk and the viewer was SUPPOSED to think he was being a jerk. I did not watch JY era Lucky, but fans were not supposed to be supporting GV's Lucky. I always thought that was pretty clear. Meanwhile, Sonny is held up as the hero of the show. I agree with @Sally said above:

"I don't care if Sonny is abusive; if the character is a flawed bad guy or even an evil bastard whatever, the important thing is that he is aware of it and the other characters call him out for it."

Lucky was called out on it. And his character changed, improved. At the GV's tenure, Lucky was a pretty nice guy, if a bit dim. Sonny gets called out on it three times a year but he NEVER CHANGES and, worse, none of the characters hold him responsible for that in any way.

@Sally: I can't speak for other commentors, but I too prefer my entertainment with a darker edge. And I prefer my soap opera characters morally ambiguous. I kind of liked the mobster element of the show when I first started watching -- it was something that made this show a little different than other soaps. But Sonny is irredeemable at this point. (He's also unwatchable but that's neither here nor there.) Nonetheless the show refuses to acknowledge that he is a bad person. The minute the show (consistently) started to do that, I'd consider watching again.

Also, Lucky was going through an addiction to pills. I think he has always been the first to admit his behavior was wrong and that he wasn't in his right mind.

Also...when Pregnant Liz got thrown to the ground and almost shot..Lucky didn't know she was pregnant. She hadn't told him yet and told him right after it happened. And he was appropriately horrified for what he did, checked into rehab and then was forced to eat hot coals every day for three years by the same characters who were running around blatantly lying to him. And the raking of said coals was for every transgression real or imagined. I think Lucky apologized roughly 90 million times to the point GV often joked his least favorite line during his entire run was "anything involving the phrase I'm sorry" since he had said it so much.

sanen85 is totally correct in that Lucky recognized his mistake and as such...we've not seen him use drugs again. The vitriolic speech he gave to Nik and Liz was in part fueled by alcohol and he was also immediately regretful after he said it.

World of difference from Sonny shooting into a room where he knew his pregnant wife was being held.

I don't mind a character having edge...I just want them to be held accountable for what they do. Sonny (and Jason to a lesser extent) gets called out roughly three times a year and then everything goes back to normal. He got similar treatment when Michael got shot in the head...nothing really changed. He gets called out for shooting Dante in the chest...nothing really changes. He gets called out for his habitually horrific treatment of women....and most likely nothing will change. It's hard to root for a character that's had a sum zero character growth since the turn of the century at least.

Beth R., I said I didn't know where to go with the Sonny = Lucky statement - YOU said exactly what I was thinking, so you went there for me. LOL! I completely agree with everything you said.

I think I might have pointed this out before, but I saw an interview with MB, and he talks the same way in real life! Since he stammers himself, how could Sonny NOT stammer? (Not that I'm defending it, it annoys the hell out of me. Just sayin...)

Amiejayne, I saw MB on Dr. Oz not too long ago, and you're right...he stammers like that all the time!!

I really loved that episode. If they never again acknowledge that Sonny treats women like crap, I'll still feel a little satisfied. Everyone told him he hurts women. For everyone except him, it was a matter of fact response. No real analysis needed from anyone but Sonny. Now when Sonny tells the next person his story of abuse, he'll realize he has caused others to have their own. This is the way Kristina's abuse storyline should be written.

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