We all have our favorite characters, but when they become part of a pairing, nothing can rile up a fanbase or inspire the passions of a viewer more than defending their beloved duo as they extoll their virtues.
The first soap pairing that I fell in love with was Scott Baldwin and Laura Webber. I was an impressionable preteen, and in those days, it was either read or play outside when GH was on. My mom didn't care which, as long as we didn't interrupt her. Eventually, I started paying attention because Scotty and Laura were teens, and Scotty was Laura's first love.
As a child, I lived overseas for a time. When we returned to the US, my English wasn't the best. I credit my keen interest in wanting to understand what Scotty and Laura were saying to each other for my ability to quickly become fluent in English. It's for that reason that they will always hold a special place in my heart, but alas, they don't really belong on my list.
However, Laura Williams Vining Faulkner Webber Baldwin Spencer Cassadine Spencer Collins does.
You cannot talk about soap opera history without Luke Spencer and Laura Webber being at the forefront of that conversation. They are the original supercouple.
What is a supercouple? It's a wildly popular pairing that viewers love to the point of obsession. The term was coined in the early 1980s when interest in Luke and Laura's epic love story became a pop culture phenomenon and drew a record number of viewers to ABC to watch their spectacular wedding unfold.
There were popular couples in soaps prior to this, but not on the scale of Luke and Laura. When Luke and Laura were married, my mom stayed home from work -- and she let us skip school -- so we could watch. I recall the news that night showing images of dorms, common areas, and lunch rooms across the US filled with soap fans avidly watching their televisions sets like it was the royal wedding. In fact, it was for many soap fans that day.
I think I might have been the only person on the planet watching who was secretly hoping that Scotty would find a way to stop the nuptials. I wasn't really a fan of Luke and Laura, in large part because their love story began with a rape. Even as a preteen, I understood that, and it tainted my view of Luke.
I don't dispute that Laura had feelings for Luke prior to the rape, and I do believe that she would have eventually left Scott for Luke, but that doesn't negate or justify that awful night at the campus disco as Luke's dance with Laura to Herb Alpert's Rise turned ugly, and Laura repeatedly cried out for Luke to stop. The torn clothes, cuts, and bruises, as well as the way Laura flinched whenever anyone touched her, left absolutely no doubt in my mind that Luke had violated Laura in the most heinous way possible.
Ironically, the rape was supposed to have been one of Luke's final acts on the show before being killed off, but the unexpected popularity of the character forced Gloria Monty to spare his life at the very last moment. The rape was acknowledged, but Laura also gave him a free pass when she decided not to pursue charges then gave him a second chance.
Today, it would be unthinkable to start a love story with the hero raping the heroine, but in the 1970s and particularly the 1980s, it was actually a recurring theme for many romances, especially historical romance novels. In fact, it was known as the bodice-ripping era in romance because you'd often see paperback covers of a good-looking pirate/knight/king (famously portrayed by Fabio) in the act of ripping the heroine's frock as he made mad, passionate love to her.
Luke and Laura personified that type of romance on a soap opera, and Gloria Monty threw in exciting adventure and action by pitting them against Cassadines. It was a winning combination that continues to thrive to this very day with a new generation of Spencers and Cassadines (and in some cases, a combination of both) battling each other.
Despite my feelings for the groom, Luke and Laura's wedding was one of the best soap weddings I've seen. The grandeur, the suspense, the over-the-top celebration, and, of course, Helena's curse made it an unforgettable moment. Luke and Laura might not have lasted, but they did have two children and several grandchildren who carry on their legacy.
The 1990s gave rise to a hot-tempered bad boy with stormy dark eyes and a set of devastating dimples, named Sonny Corinthos. In those days, Sonny was bad to the bone. He owned a strip club, and he got minor Karen Wexler hooked on drugs, slept with her, and made her strip in his club. Some things only God can forgive, and such is the case with Sonny. He's a mobster, and there aren't any excuses that can justify some of the things that he has done.
However, it's a soap opera, so no real persons have been harmed, which means that viewers are able to look past some of Sonny's sins and see the heart of gold that lurks deep beneath the surface.
Sonny is charming and generous with those he loves, and one of the first women that he fell in love with in Port Charles was a beautiful ingenue named Brenda Barrett. I freely admit that I was equally swept away by Sonny's charms, and I rooted for Sonny and Brenda to make it, despite all the obstacles that were thrown their way and all the close calls that they had. Their love was passionate and exciting -- and utterly heartbreaking.
I hated Sonny when he cruelly left Brenda at the altar and she had a complete nervous breakdown. I don't care what his reasons were; it was cowardly to send Jason to do his dirty work. However, Sonny and Brenda would find their way back to each other time and again over the next two decades until they finally married on February 18, 2011, which featured their official song Home Again by Daena Jay.
Whether you liked Sonny and Brenda or not, they were popular with a huge fan following that will argue with any Carson (Carly and Sonny) fan that Brenda is the true love of Sonny's life, but more on that later.
Yes, there are three names listed here, and for good reason: the Jasam (Jason and Sam) versus Liaison (Liz and Jason) fanbases, each intensely passionate about their couple, and each with a litany of reasons to dislike the other. At the center is golden boy turned ruthless mob enforcer, Jason (Quartermaine) Morgan. Tall, chiseled, piercing blue eyes, and a dark knight along the lines of Batman himself, Jason was like the last Twinkie at a Sugars Anonymous meeting to all the single girls in town.
Sam McCall and Liz Webber were no exception, and each did horrible things in the name of love for Jason.
Sam hired armed thugs to terrorize Liz and her children in the park, she remained silent as a crazed woman kidnapped Liz's newborn son Jake, and Sam seduced her mother's husband to punish Alexis for driving Jason away. Those are just the highlights.
Liz lied to Jason about the paternity of their son then guilt-tripped him into relinquishing custody to Lucky -- by not making a legal claim on Jake -- because she didn't want to hurt Lucky (get busted for cheating and lying) and because Jason refused to give up his life of crime. Liz also tampered with Danny's paternity results to keep Jason from his son. This was after the poor child had been separated from his parents since birth because of a baby switch.
You couldn't visit a message board during all of this without seeing heated and impassioned arguments between the feuding fanbases. Each would engage in campaigns writing into soap opera magazines, crashing polls, and inundating the network with all kinds of feedback to promote their favorite. It was pretty crazy, and to this day, most Liaison fans don't like Sam, while most Jasam fans continue to despise Liz.
I don't think any other pairing, let alone triangle, inspired that kind of dedication and enthusiasm.
For the record, I think that we can all agree that Jason's true love is Sonny.
Oh, that Sonny. He sure does get around.
I have always believed that Sonny was written to have two soul mates. Brenda saw the man that Sonny had always aspired to be, and what might have been if his father had stuck around and Deke hadn't sent Sonny running into Joe Scully's waiting arms. Brenda understood Sonny's desire to be a better man and the potential in him in a way that Carly never could because Carly doesn't believe in redemption.
Carly sees Sonny for who he is and accepts him, warts and all. Carly takes the good with the bad, and she believes that you can learn from your past, but what's done is done. Carly is not just the mother of most of Sonny's children, but she has stood by his side during some of his darkest moments as he battled with bipolar disorder and when he grieved the loss of their beloved son, Morgan. Recently, they welcomed a daughter named Donna who was born with spina bifida.
Things haven't always been difficult for Sonny and Carly. They are the Richard Burton and Liz Taylor of Port Charles, and they have been married and divorced so many times that most have lost count. For those wondering, Sonny and Carly were married September 18, 2000, to November 2001; June 28, 2002, to May 2005; January 16, 2007, to April 2007; and October 14, 2015, to present. There were a few recommitment ceremonies because Carly loves nothing more than for Sonny to declare his undying love for her and shower her with attention and extravagant gifts.
Also, it's important to note that Carly has been portrayed by three other actresses prior to Laura Wright taking over on November 4, 2005. Sarah Joy Brown originated the role in 1996, followed by Tamara Braun, who played Carly starting in 2001 until Jennifer Bransford briefly stepped into the role in April 2005.
It's quite the testament to Maurice that he had wonderful chemistry with each of the ladies, which accounts for all those weddings and vow renewals.
In a full circle moment, Luke and Laura's son's first love starts with a rape when Lucky finds a traumatized and battered teenage Liz in the park one snowy night after their school's Valentine's Day dance. Liz had been dragged into the bushes and violently raped by a stranger.
Liz was a troubled teenager who was essentially abandoned by her parents when she ran away to live with her grandmother Audrey Hardy. Liz acted up at school, and she had a contentious relationship with her perfect elder sister, Sarah, but she was very much a kid and a virgin when Tom Baker attacked her.
Lucky found Liz, and he proved pivotal in her slow recovery from the harrowing experience. It also opened up old wounds for Laura and forced Luke to answer to his son about Luke's own actions that fateful night in the campus disco.
Lucky and Liz's friendship blossomed into love, and their story was beautiful. Liz would save Lucky countless times from Helena's evil machinations, and Lucky would encourage Liz to follow her passion for art. As the years passed, they weathered many storms, including addiction, infidelity, and even a few faked deaths. They married, had a child together, and even though the marriage didn't last, Lucky and Liz will always be that one couple most viewers rank among their top three.
Steve Hardy (John Beradino) and Audrey March (Rachel Ames)
The very first scene of General Hospital's April 1, 1963, premiere episode featured a young doctor named Steve Hardy. That was before my time, but Dr. Hardy remained a fixture on the show until July 1996 when the beloved character died. The actor had passed a few months earlier on May 19, 1996, after appearing in over 4,200 episodes of GH. I loved Steve, and his devotion to his wife Audrey was unquestionable. They were the soul of the show, and I can't help but tear up whenever I get a glimpse of the memory wall and Steve/John's smiling face.
Edward Quartermaine (John Ingle) and Lila Quartermaine (Anna Lee)
If Steve and Audrey Hardy were the soul of GH then Edward and Lila were the heart -- Lila far more than Edward, but her unflinching love for Edward was in many ways his salvation. Lila was a living saint on the show, and I don't know a single fan who didn't adore her. Lila was pure goodness.
Stone Cates (Michael Sutton) and Robin Scorpio (Kimberly McCullough)
Star-crossed lovers, Stone and Robin were fated to end in heartbreak when Stone was diagnosed with AIDS shortly after falling in love with the teenage daughter of international spies Robert Scorpio and Anna Devane. Stone was Robin's first love, and she stood by his side as he succumbed to the ravages of the dreaded virus that he had unknowingly passed to Robin. This bittersweet story was beautifully written and had such a lasting impact on the show that we continue to celebrate the annual Nurses Ball that was established in Stone's honor.
Finally, with reports that GH will be returning with new episodes on August 3, 2020 (Hallelujah!), I can't help but wonder if there are any new couples who have the potential to be the next generation supercouple. Michael Corinthos (Chad Duell) and Det. Harrison Chase (Josh Swickard) certainly have what it takes to be great leading men in a hot romance, and both Willow Corinthos (Katelyn McMullen) and Sasha Gilmore (Sofia Mattsson) are stunning heroine material, but so far, that spark that takes an ordinary pairing and propels them to supercoupledom has been absent.
To be fair, Michael and Willow were just married, and their relationship currently remains in the friend zone. They haven't really had an opportunity to be a couple yet.
I thought that Cameron Webber (William Lipton) and Josslyn Jacks (Eden McCoy) had definite sparks, and there is no question that both teens are incredibly talented actors and are up to the task of walking in the shoes of couples like Nikolas Cassadine and Emily Quartermaine as well as Dillon Quartermaine and Georgie Jones, but the writers decided to go in another direction, and at this point, I think that ship has sailed.
The tumor excuse for Franco just did not fly with lots of viewers. Specially after witnessing the original unleash his terror! FV and his writers have jumped thru impossible hoops, to make this character now played by a fan favorite RH, acceptable! Shoving him down our throats on many occasions as the Hero! Which like me just made me hate the character even more! Grrr...?? -- marlene
"Back from the dead" and "revising history that we all watched" are my top two "never again" of soap tropes. I'm even OK with everything thinking that the character is dead, but we the viewers see them escape whatever happened with amnesia or something (I'm OK with amnesia btw). I will also place my vote for removing the Mob from Port Charles. I've wanted that for 25 years. Not gonna happen, I know. But a guy can dream. -- Andrew
Well, I guess I am an exception when it comes to the Ice Princess storyline. I loved it, craziness and all because at the time it was a daytime first and then everyone rushed to copy it. However, to me it was a big ratings grabber (and it was the hit of the summer) because it involved Luke and Laura and Robert Scorpio. I remember all the great characters and the aspect of fun and adventure about the whole thing. I remember I had just bought my first VCR and because I had it taped every day friends were dropping by on the weekends so we could have binge parties! I miss those days! -- Eileen
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