They say that slow and steady wins the race, and in soap world, it makes for a perfectly pristine and entertaining story. Jumping the gun after tripping from the very start is bound to end in disaster. And like most storylines on this show, Kristina’s dragged out over the last year, was never paid the appropriate amount of attention when it should have been.
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Since early last summer, viewers have watched Kristina’s dysfunctional relationship with Kiefer. We’ve seen Kiefer abuse her with his words and his hands, but it finally culminated a little over a week ago when he brutally attacked her. And once found and taken to the hospital, Kristina accused an innocent man, one who had supported and allowed her to lean on him the past few months.
They say that slow and steady wins the race, and in soap world, it makes for a perfectly pristine and entertaining story. Jumping the gun after tripping from the very start is bound to end in disaster. And like most storylines on this show, Kristina’s dragged out over the last year, was never paid the appropriate amount of attention when it should have been, and then suddenly went full throttle this week. It certainly isn’t the most contrived story I’ve ever seen on General Hospital, but it definitely makes the top ten.
I don’t have any problems with a soap opera tackling a socially relevant story, but I have problems when this show does because they rarely do them justice. Instead of using the show to tell a heartfelt compelling story, they often lose their way and make a mockery of the characters and the issues they are battling. The viewers of soap operas are real people, the majority real women, some who live the very socially relevant stories they try to tell. Robin’s postpartum depression resulted in her daughter being referred to as tree baby around the blogosphere, and her HIV pregnancy was wasted on a video blogging battle between her and Patrick. When Jax was raped, Carly considered it cheating. The past stories alone make me apprehensive about this one, but I’m trying to be open-minded and hope that they don’t make this story about everyone else when it should be about Kristina.
After all, she is the victim. She is the one who was attacked, and while I understand that this affects the rest of their family and is going to dredge up the past, I still don’t like that the focus is taken away from her. Is this story about shedding light on abusive relationships, especially teenage ones? Is it about giving Sonny a chance to step up as a father and relive his awful past to garner sympathy? Or is it about Sam finally getting a leg to stand on in regards to her own shady, abusive past? I understand that Sonny, Alexis, and Sam are on an emotional tailspin over what’s happened to their daughter and sister, but their reactions aren’t necessarily helping their characters.
Sonny’s mother was an abused woman. Those memories will always resonate with him and undoubtedly come to the surface after seeing this happen to his daughter, and while Maurice’s monologue delivery was pure perfection, that’s the only props I can give his scene with Kristina. Sonny is by no means a good and decent man. He’s a mobster, a ruthless businessman who just shot his own son, a police officer nonetheless, and his treatment of women hasn’t exactly been perfect either. In nearly every relationship he’s had, Sonny has emotionally abused the woman he’s been with, and in some cases he’s put his hands on women and pushed them, which is really just a step away from raising his fist. Why do the writers think that I would feel sorry for him after he’s been virtually non-existent in his daughter’s life?
Granted, Alexis asked him to step back a while ago, but she’s also come to Sonny in the last year and explained that Kristina wants to have some kind of relationship with him. Only every time they start to scratch the surface of a father-daughter relationship, Kristina sees Sonny do something awful like threaten Claudia in front of a room full of people or learn he’s shot her half-brother and nearly killed him. It’s only natural that Sonny’s first reaction, despite not knowing what exactly happened, is to fight violence with violence and go straight to Ethan, right? (And yes, I was rolling my eyes as I wrote that.)
Sam also chose to go that same route, garnering further empathy from the audience for Ethan, as she so bravely (yes, rolling my eyes again) confronted Kristina’s accused attacker. It also allowed her a chance to relive her own abuse filled past, and as much as I understand why the writers went there, why they are trying to connect the sisters, a small part of me finds it laughable. Again, no woman deserves to be hit, but Sam conned every man she was with until Jason. She basically whored herself out (and yeah, I know it was for the good of her brother, but seriously? Get a job at McDonalds or belly dance on the corner or something) and while she shouldn’t have been beaten for it, it’s hard to have sympathy for someone who knowingly put themselves in bad situations. Not to mention that it’s confusing to Sam’s characterization. Is she a bad-ass, gun toting, danger loving, mob moll or an abused victim? I don’t see how that’s supposed to work both ways, but that’s a whole other can of worms, isn’t it?
Never mind that most of our sympathy should be going to Kristina, who is yet again being portrayed as a liar. No woman deserves to be hit ever, but it’s hard to muster up sympathy when she’s hurting someone else. I understand it’s common for victims in these situations to point the finger at the wrong man and cover up the truth, but this isn’t the first time that Kristina told a lie with potential major consequences. She hit Claudia and caused her miscarriage and chose to lie about it for months, not even coming clean when her mother was one of the people being blamed. Her decision to blame Ethan is the most contrived part of this story. We’ve seen glimpses of their friendship, seen Ethan try to console her about Kiefer and tell her she deserves better, making it obvious that he would end up being at fault, and I still don’t understand why she’s doing it.
It’s because she doesn’t want Kiefer to die. She knows how completely insane her father is and that he’ll off the first person who hurts his children, which means that Ethan gets to bite the bullet and her beloved, asshole of a boyfriend gets to live. Are you sure I am supposed to feel sorry for her?
I want to like this story. I really do. It’s socially relevant and could facilitate great discussions about these types of horrible situations, but like most things on GH, it simply lacks. The fact that I cannot muster up any further empathy for Kristina is a telltale sign of a bad story from the start, so that’s why I wonder if it’s supposed to be about her.
Everyone else and their feelings aside, this story centers on two teenagers with a lot of issues. What’s made Kristina so interesting to me is that she’s struggling with wanting her father in her life while hating him and the things he does. She has daddy issues that run the length of Port Charles times ten and she’s searching for some kind of way to get past them. Insert Kiefer, the amazingly perfect boyfriend on the outside, but the psychotic abuser on the inside.
I find him kind of interesting, too, and hope that since they’ve brought his parents onscreen that they are going to delve into his character more. Chances are that this isn’t Kiefer’s first violent episode toward a girlfriend or even his parents. Has he done this to ex-girlfriends? Has he ever raised his fist to his parents? Are they aware of exactly what kind of person their son is, and have they chosen to ignore it?
There’s no doubt in my mind that Kiefer should pay for what he did. Is jail time going to be enough? Or is he going to be murdered at the hands of Sonny and company? (Dear God, please no. One long drawn murder in the form of Claudia Zacchara-Corinthos has been enough to last a few years on this show.) Still, my money’s on him dying, probably at the hands of a woman, and the men will scamper to cover it up, and the truth will come out in early 2011 about who actually killed him. And people wonder why this show makes me so bitter.
They’ve opened up various storyline opportunities they could explore, but the question is will they do it? How long will it take Kristina to come clean about who actually hurt her? Will the focus ever be on Kristina and why she stayed with someone like Kiefer? Why not showcase why Kiefer did this? He doesn’t have to be an inherently bad person. Does he come from an abusive home? What about getting him some kind of help as he spends time in jail?
With the foundation laid and the lies in motion, what’s going to happen next? Will Kristina have a single therapy session to help her deal with what happened? Will someone take a look at Kiefer’s knuckles? Will Jason be the grand hero in this and figure it out before Kristina chooses to come clean? Will anyone believe him? Will Sam apologize to Ethan for attacking him with her high heeled boots?
How the show chooses to handle the aftermath of this will show what their true intentions were for the story. If it’s going to turn into a bunch of characters dwelling on their past and how this affects them instead of focusing on Kristina, they could have saved themselves as well as us viewers plenty of time. If it focuses on Kristina and how she’s going to grow from this as a person and how it affects her next relationship, then more power to the writers for going there. And if all else fails, come next year Maurice Benard, Nancy Lee Grahn, and Lexi Ainsworth will have fantastic Emmy reels.
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