Friday, June 10, everything changed for me on
HOSPITAL. And, turned upside down. I still don’t care about
Charlotte vs. Caroline. But somehow, some way, they got me to
care about the most unlikely pairing, Sonny and Emily.
You instinctively knew to come here, where you felt warm and safe. You can stay here. I have plenty of rooms. –Sonny to Emily, GH, June 15, 2005, paraphrase
Forgive me. I’d normally catch GENERAL HOSPITAL’s Sonny’s quote verbatim, but he and Emily just mesmerized me too much – and I forgot to grab a pen and paper. I just sat on the edge of my bed, literally, and watched like a giddy schoolgirl.
I must’ve forgotten how much I loathed Emily, and Sonny too lately. Because, there I was, loving them both, together.
Somehow, together, they work. He brings out her strength and vulnerability, a feat Nikolas has failed time and time again to accomplish despite NEm’s portrayers’ real-life boyfriend/girlfriend bond (they realized each other’s affection during the filmed wedding ceremony, btw).
And she brings out his.
With Soily, I also forget her annoying mannerisms, the repeating of the other person’s name in every other line of conversation, the heaving, gulping, huffing and puffing, breathy laughing, which are still there but not so obvious with Sonny around to take the rest of her underrated self in.
In turn, Sonny ceases to obsess about minor mob matters and lust magnets, and becomes human again, just a conflicted guy with serious mommy issues, always on the look-out for a true damsel in distress he can inform and enrich.
Accidental or purposeful, I don’t know, THE POWERS THAT BE [TPTB] are supposedly testing chemistry across the board. Natalia Livingston (Emily) told attending fans in a recent SOAPNET chat online that not even she and Maurice Benard (Sonny) know what will happen with their characters in the near-future.
Amidst startlingly genuine-sounding rumors (an oxymoron if there ever was one) of the exodus of the current regime, as well as the planned psycho-ization and murder of a much-hated new female character, Reese, Soily seems to be a refreshing change of pace that feels more like an accident than the capitalization of two Emmy winners.
Some of their bonding scenes smack of set-up, however. A little too convenient. Revisionist history for a manufactured sense of heightened melodrama.
Take the scene the other week where Nikolas suddenly turns into a pre-rapist Connor, pushing and yelling, belittling and demanding, then finally grabbing Emily – just in time for Sonny to enter his own house and experience deja vu, with a noticeable wince, back to his abusive childhood, the bruised and battered mother, the unrepentant brute of a stepfather. But! To associate Nikolas with Deke, in any manner whatsoever, is the depths of stretching the bounds of common sense, truth and everything in the young man’s history that led up to this point.
Alas, the point is to give Sonny a reason to care about Emily more than as Jason’s little sister and Michael’s godmother, to care about her as a man would a woman he least expected to turn him around – not to make sense or do the characters any justice.
(Notice another similarity in how both Nikolas and Sonny have noticed the little girl they’d originally dismissed, turned into a babe? But Sonny does it better.)
Not on this show. (Remember how the original Carly and Sonny first hooked up? The on-/off-again manic episode, a prelude to their flirtatious, tormented dance, an excuse to pair up two acting powerhouses, desire preordained in quotes for soap mags a beat before scripted scenes…)
Emily certainly turns Sonny around as no woman before has, not Alexis, Carly, Sam or Reese. Everybody who knows Sonny knows that when he says no, loudly, he means no, and do not broach the subject again, especially when it involves refusing therapy, therapy already being a touchy subject with the mentally troubled mobster.
Yet, Emily being Emily, a headstrong, obtuse, often obliviously self-centered spoiled brat, goes ahead and challenges Sonny without threatening his manhood to rethink letting his son Michael continue to seek therapy, regardless of the initial difficulty, because it’s important.
She needed only share a priceless secret – her own therapy as a rape survivor – and gaze unflinchingly back at Sonny, to have successfully put her points across. Even though I knew of the spoilers ahead of time and I knew Emily could out-argue the devil himself, Sonny’s gentle acquiescence still stunned me.
I have not seen this Sonny since Brenda first turned his head, and began to turn his life around, at a car dealership.
If TPTB can ease up on the forced maneuvers, designed to pit Soily against the world and dramatically connect their mutually damaged psyches, and just let Benard react off Livingston, as an equally stunned, enchanted, albeit weary veteran discovering a true, unexpected hidden talent in one so young and so fresh – except for the age thing, similar to Tony Geary’s (Luke) reaction to Robin Christopher (Skye) – this match may just be as close to perfect as I could hope for.
Thought I would always pan Natalia Livingston’s underwhelming acting and her underwhelming character Emily?
Am I a turncoat now, losing credibility, for noticing what I assumed was non-existent – a smidgeon of acting ability?
Y’all should know me better than that.
I rarely, if ever, take these soaps personally, or that far.
Emily hasn’t annoyed me in several weeks. Perhaps it’s because she’s been avoiding Nikolas like the rapist look-alike he is, and allowed to think about someone besides him.
I like her around Sonny’s kin, especially playing video games with Michael, while subtly encouraging him to join her in therapeutic recovery. Her reasons for therapy are sound, sane and sensible in an often unsound, insane and insensible GH world.
I marvel at her facing off with Carly, without a cowering bone in her body (Sam and Reese might want to take notes), out-Carlying Carly sometimes. One could suppose that having survived a brutal rape, Emily wouldn’t cower at another living soul, Carly, Helena, or the entire KKK.
Most especially, after every gentle encounter with Sonny, touched with subdued compassion, understated wisdom, I am stunned to find my eyes filling up with tears, eager for what next awaits this unlikely couple.
Other rumors promise the first buds of spring, love perchance, Emily daydreaming about Sonny in that way, a reunion with Nikolas – after he fancies another woman – a long way in coming.
Impossible to fathom but true: I am sitting on the edge of my bed, I can’t wait.