Monday, March 22, 2010

Anatomy of a Character: Sonny Corinthos

I have been a long time viewer of General Hospital although over the years the character of Sonny Corinthos has slowly taken over the show until there is hardly enough time for storylines for anyone else. Sonny was first introduced in 1993, as the owner of a strip club, who introduced Karen to drugs. He then became involved with Brenda Barrett and his character took off. Over the years Sonny has been involved and impregnated it seems like every single female character on the show apart from Monica and Epiphany. Over the years, his back story has slowly been revealed. His father Mike Corbin, a compulsive gambler, deserted the family. Sonny and his mother were abused by his stepfather Deke, who was a cop, leading to his hatred of law enforcement and his life of crime. Since he's been on the show, he's slept with a mother and a daugher (at different times and they didn't know they were mother and daughter) and impregnated them both. He had hate sex with his second wife Carly Benson (apparently Sonny feels that he is immune to any veneral disease and never wears a condom, despite witnessing the death of Stone Cates from AIDS). He deserted the so-called love of his life twice, once on their wedding day.

Now Sonny's daughter Kristina Davis has been beaten up by her boyfriend Kiefer and she has blamed someone else for it. Her daughter's abuse has brought up memories of his mother's and his own abuse by his stepfather Deke. The story of Deke's abuse has been used to excuse why Sonny can't go to prison, because his stepfather locked him in a closet while his mother has been abused. What kills me is how many of the characters go along with his claiming that he would never survive prison because he's claustrophobic, as if that's a good excuse not to imprison someone.

What the show hasn't addressed is how someone has been abused, can turn into an abuser. In Sonny's case, while he may not use his fists to abuse women, he certainly is verbally and emotionally abusive to them. In Sonny's world, women are either saints (his mother, his late wife Lily) or whores (pretty much every woman including the mothers of his children). Over the years, viewers have been treated to Sonny treating every woman in his life pretty much like dirt. He's called them whores, bitches, he's thrown them out into the street, he's forced them to marry him. When a woman 'betrays' him like Olivia, Carly, Hannah, Sam, Claudia, he unleashes a string of verbal abuse. Oh, and he shot Carly while she was giving birth to their son Morgan. Yes, it was an accident but still. Before he unleashes his verbal attacks, he usually has consumed a great deal of alcohol. As well as being verbal abusive, he's unfaithful (usually choosing to sleep with his women in the bed he shares with his wife), he even changed the name of the child he lost while the mother was in a coma.

Yet his verbal abuse has never been addressed by the writers. They've made him bi-polar to reflect his portrayer Maurice Bernard's own illness, but that storyline has been completely dropped apart from a few remarks occasionally about how he's taking his medication. Sonny's daughter Kristina witnessed his verbal attack on Claudia at a birthday party which he had thrown for her. Her mother, Alexis has made bad choices in men, but it's her relationship with her father and how he treats women which probably led her to stay with Kiefer despite the fact that this was not the first time that he's abused her.

The show holds Sonny up as a good father, despite the fact that he's a career criminal, which is absurd. He may love his kids but he is not a good father. Over the past 17 years, his children have been kidnapped by various psychos, they've been shot and put in a year long coma, and they have almost no idea of right and wrong. Kristina ran from a hit and run accident (which claimed the life of Sonny's most recent unborn child) and never took responsiblity for her actions. His son Michael has already shot one woman by accident and killed another. Sonny is taking the blame for the murder his son committed, which the audience is supposed to see as a father sacrificing himself for his child, but Sonny is convinced that he will get off, so how is this a sacrifice?

Now Kristina has been the victim of abuse and lied about her abuser. When she told her father who beat her, Sonny's immediate response was to threaten to kill the guy! No wonder his children are screwed up. My fervent wish would be for the show to really examine how Sonny's choices and the way he treats women has affected his daughter, but that's probably a lost cause, since Sonny is considered a hero by the show's writers.

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