General Hospital’s Sam Morgan (Kelly Monaco) has a bad romance problem, and I don’t want it, or the numerous problems that come as a result of it, any more. The drama and touch of the hands are great, but why focus solely on that when there are other options available?
I’ve seen some fans of General Hospital‘s Sam, in particular fans of her pairing with Jason, refer to her as a “ride or die bitch.” I suppose this term is meant to be a compliment to her fierce loyalty. When taken at its most literal, it’s not very complimentary, but it is unfortunately accurate. In the decade Sam has been in Port Charles, she’s most of her time either riding with a guy or sacrificing herself for him. She is the misogynistic ideal of what a woman should be. That’s not the kind of character real women should be relating to or striving to be. It’s not the type of girlfriend that men should want or think they deserve. This is not who I want Sam to be.
It doesn’t feel like Sam has really ever been fully given her own voice, falling victim to a disorder often seen in soaps, which often has the woman becoming defined by her relationships and lose her individuality. While I admire her intense devotion to the person she loves at the time, Sam comes across as de-clawed when in relationships. Time after time, her edginess and feistiness is toned down, reducing her to the supportive (occasionally adventurous) girlfriend and nothing else. I’m not advocating for Sam to be single, but I would love for her to be the lead in a storyline of her own. I would like to see her think more about why she wants to be with someone rather than just fall for them.
One of my favorite Sam scenes is from 2012 when she was in the hospital after losing her baby (later revealed to be alive). She unleashed months of pent-up frustration at husband Jason (Steve Burton), lashing out for not being the caring and supportive husband she wanted, needed and deserved during a trying time in their lives. At that moment I felt Sam had been given her own identity. She had become a tragic heroine. Two years later, I see her now and wonder what in the hell happened.
Originally, the idea of Sam and current beau Silas Clay (Michael Easton) intrigued me. Silas is a very different character than Jason. I liked the idea of her dating a man who saves lives as opposed to taking them. I thought it was a great way to show Sam’s maturity and growth since becoming a mother – a person striving to make more responsible life choices now that she has a child to think about. In some ways she’s done that; in others not so much. Let me be clear, I’m not saying that she needs to hang up her hooker boots, put away her weapon and become a soccer mom. It’s quite the opposite, really. But I wanted to see her learn from her past mistakes. Evaluate the consequences of dating someone new, the uneasiness of not knowing much about his past and how that past may affect her present.
Unfortunately, Sam has once again been reduced to the role of the loyal girlfriend; playing the supportive role in Silas’ story. Viewers were never shown Sam’s anguish over Silas’s complicated situation with his comatose-turned-presumed dead wife Nina (Michelle Stafford). We never saw Silas have to earn her trust back or see Sam struggle with whether or not continuing a relationship with Silas was worth putting up with his baggage. There was no conflict, no angst, and no debate. Instead of presenting internal conflict that could serve to make their relationship stronger, Sam fell into her pre-programmed role of “ride or die,” blindly supporting her boyfriend and being largely marginalized in a story that should have centered around how her life and their relationship was being impacted by Silas’ secrets.
It wouldn’t be a stretch to say Sam’s main story is being Silas’ girlfriend and mattress/table/stable tag-team partner. A majority of the limited screen time she actually has is spent with Silas. How is the audience supposed to care about this relationship when the show hasn’t established why she’s choosing to be with him in the first place? And no, saving her son isn’t a sufficient reason.