The Women of General Hospital
Carolyn Ridder Aspenson

They come and they go. Only the strong survive. To know me is to love me. All of these phrases we can associate with one, if not several General Hospital women. Hannah, Felicia, Lucy Coe; they all came and went. Carly, Alexis, Bobbie; the strong survivors. Faith, Tracy; after getting to know them we all love them. Each female character fits into a specific typecast, something that is a necessity for a successful soap.

Take for example Courtney. At times she’s like a bad commercial. We hate to see it but continue to talk about it, over and over. Kung Fu Courtney. Butt-kickin’ Courtney. Great examples of how a character catches us, envelopes us into her web and keeps us there. Sure, some of us don’t like her, even border on the ever nasty word hate, but we watch. We wonder what she’s going to do next, anticipating who she’s going to beat into mashed potatoes or kick to the other side of PC. We even talk about her. Remember the saying, “Bad press is better than no press at all.” Well, maybe that’s not the actual saying, but I think you get the point! Courtney is excellent conversation and whether we realize it or not, it’s not what you say about the character, but the fact that you say anything about that character at all that makes a difference. Courtney works. If she didn’t, she’d be on the same boat out of town that carried Gia, Lydia, Hannah and Angel. Courtney is a surivivor.

Gia, on the otherhand, didn’t survive. She came and went and no one even knew she was gone. Kudos to Andrea C. Pearson for doing a great job with a character that was lost to the writers. She had no identity and their investment in her was minimal at best. If they’d given the character more, than perhaps Gia would have survived but once Marissa Rameriz left they let the character go flat. But Gia did serve a purpose for quite some time and even though she’s gone, the character was an excellent addition to a great cast of female character. Unfortunately Gia as a recast now joins the ranks of others who’ve come and gone; Angel, Hannah, Lydia, Chole, to name a few.

Faith is in my opinion, the best female character on the show. Spirited, angry, bossy, bitchy, nasty, sensitive, desirable, sexy, smart, impulsive, insecure - all personality characteristics gracefully portrayed by the amazing Cynthia Preston. Faith can fit into any storyline because the writers have given her emotions and traits that are versitale and explorable. We love her because she takes on Sonny. We hate her because she poisoned her grandmother. We feel for her because she had a terrible childhood and it’s shaped her into who she is today. Secretly we all relate to Faith on one level or another. Some of us are more insecure than others and we like the vulnerability Faith lets sneak out every now and then. Others truly want to explore the bitch in ourselves and delight in Faith when she’s threatening someone or getting physical with Skye. And some of us just want to look that good in black. Faith is like Skye. Once we got to know her, we couldn’t help but love her.

Generally speaking, a soap opera needs only a few female character types: the bitch; the psycho; the sex kitten/man stealer; the successful business woman; the mother of all mothers; the teen; the good girl; the bad girl; the weak and pathetic woman and the one that has chemistry with everyone and everything, including the set itself. Throw in a prosititute and a few thieves and you’ve got every female necessary for a successful soap.

Though we may not like what happens to our females on the soaps we watch, they all serve a purpose and fit somewhere, albeit roughly, into the general character types mentioned above. Some soaps, General Hospital for one, tend to create their female characters weaker than shows like All My Children. We all can assume the reasons for this but the fact is each show in some way, has all of the same characters. Different actors and different storylines, but generally speaking, sometimes watching Faith on General Hospital is almost like watching Erica Kane on All My Children, sans the mob thing, of course.


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