Sonny Corinthos is easily the most controversial character on General Hospital at the moment. As of the day I write this article (February 11, 2015) he has just been pardoned for the cold blooded murder of AJ Quartermaine because he saved the lives of some people on the Haunted Star, including the sitting governor’s daughter.
Let’s ignore the fact it would be career suicide for a governor to pardon a man with known ties to criminal organizations who freely admitted to murder and then broke out of prison simply because he saved a few lives–Sonny has become a lightning rod for GH watchers. Many feel as I do — Sonny has eaten the show and there’s nothing enjoyable about watching a man with no remorse for any of his crimes while others have a love for him that seems, at times, unfathomable.
I think that for some, they can’t let go of the Sonny Corinthos they fell in love with two decades ago, which is a sentiment I whole-heartedly endorse. The level of disgust and hatred I have at the moment for Sonny and Carly are in no way reflected in any of my stories, particularly Sonny. It’s because when I choose to write this character, I always try to tie his motivations and personality back to his original characterization. There are a thousand ways GH writers could have dealt with Sonny in the last decade or so that would not have alienated many viewers, but they’ve chosen to forget his roots and who he is at his core.
So that’s why Sonny is my first entry in my Characterization Bible articles (and why Carly and Jason will likely be my second).
My Love For Sonny Corinthos (With Clips!)
The first time I ever watched Sonny (my first real memory) was twenty years ago this coming November, when Stone Cates passed away from AIDs. Most of us know the story: Stone was his adopted brother, the first character on the show that really softened Sonny from being a mobster. Stone died in the old Harborview Towers penthouse, with Robin and Sonny looking on. And that’s my everlasting memory of that man–the death of his friend.
In the 1990s, during Sonny’s first run on the show before he left in September 1997, he was a lot closer to the AJ character. He could be happy for brief periods but it never lasted. He had Stone, but then he died. He had Brenda, but she wore that wire. He had committed himself to Lily and their child, but both died in a car bomb. He thought he could have Brenda back, but then his rivals threatened her life if he didn’t walk away. Sonny was a character who was in a dangerous world and wanted to do the right thing by the people who mattered–he didn’t always know how, but his heart was in the right place.
That changed around the time Bob Guza came into the picture in 2002. Sonny had returned in 1999, and he’d had those moments we think of as Liason writers: When Lucky is believed dead, and Sonny catches Elizabeth as she falls. It’s an iconic image for those of us who love Elizabeth’s character and it was a gorgeous moment. Their relationship, their friendship, was so beautiful once.
God, I still can’t watch those clips and not lose it. GH was so powerful once when it gave a damn about characters and not plot twists.
Even the stuff with Carly later that year made sense. Sonny did things that were awful, but no one hated himself more than he did. If you can, go back and rewatch those scenes following the Sonny/Carly hate sex in December 1999–this is a man who knew who Carly was and wanted Jason to see it, too even if it mean Jason would never forgive him. It worked–Jason has never looked at Carly romantically again.
There’s a specific clip I can’t find on Youtube for this moment, so I’ll have to clip it from my Liason DVDs.
So when I write Sonny, I’m always thinking of him in this pivotal time, because for me, that’s who he is as a character. The Sonny of later years — self-righteous, omnipotent — that’s the Sonny I dislike. I can usually explain pieces of it by working in the bipolar diagnosis, but since 2009, I just can’t. It’s why you rarely see a story from after that time period. What they’ve done to this character breaks my heart.
Bible: Sonny Corinthos
Sonny grew up in Bensonhurst, New York. Childhood friends: Connie and Olivia Falconeri, Lois Cerullo. Son of Michael Corinthos, Sr. (Mike Corbin) and Adela. Stepson of Deke. Abused by Deke, a police officer, locked in closets. Mother killed by abuse. Used to own strip clubs, took over for Frank Smith in the mid 1990s with Luke Spencer’s help. Took in Stone Cates and Jason Morgan.
Sonny is obsessed with power and control because he had none growing up, and dislikes authority particularly the police because of his stepfather and his profession. His worst fear is losing power. His greatest strength is his capacity for generosity and love, but it’s tempered by the way he tries to control the people around him, which tends to drive them away. Other family: Courtney Matthews, Ric Lansing (half-siblings), unborn child with Lily, unborn son with Carly, miscarriage with Claudia. Adopted son Michael (Carly), sons Morgan (Carly) and Dante (Olivia). Daughters Kristina (Alexis) and Avery (Ava).
Would you like to read more about the way I write Sonny? Specific characterizations? A Few Words, Daughters, The Best Thing, All We Are? Let me know 🙂