Tuesday, March 17, 2009

simply getting together with the five families

i have a confession to make. i watched the godfather trilogy for the first time this weekend. (ok, well, i'd seen pieces of it before on television, but it was re-edited for tv and aired the saga chronologically, which funnily enough was pretty confusing and completely off-topic.) i really enjoyed the movies, and i now understand why so many people rate at least the godfather or the godfather: part ii in their top ten movies of all time lists, and perhaps because i had been warned that the third one was terrible, i even enjoyed that one.

watching the story of a family that is built on and then ultimately destroyed by the mob, could only bring into relief how pathetic "general hospital"'s attempts to portray the mob have always been. i caught up with gh yesterday and could only chuckle at claudia and sonny's plan to have a cocktail party with the five families (why are there always five families in mob stories on television and movies? i don't understand. i suspect that they are all influenced by the godfather.)

but it got me thinking about the way the mob story is told in port charles. clearly we are meant to see the parallels between michael "sonny" corinthos and the corleone family leaders: vito corleone, santino "sonny" corleone, and michael corleone. obviously, sonny is in some way meant to be an amalgam of the three. i personally think sonny is most like sonny--irrational, misogynistic, volatile, concerned with power and preserving the family's place in the world. jason, i think, is most like michael--more deliberate, more tortured. and based on the movies, the guy you really want in charge is the michael character.

in the godfather trilogy, being the godfather, having that power, came at great cost. in some ways michael and vito had to sacrifice some of their humanity to take on the role of mob boss. sure they were the movie's heroes, but that didn't mean that every decision they made was to be applauded. the fact was they couldn't escape the mob. it was encoded in their dna. gh's greatest flaw in this whole mob storyline is that the characters lack the depth of feeling to pull it off in a believable way.

jason and sonny have talked about the cost of their choices to their loved ones, but they never really internalize those costs. coming back to the mob could have been a powerful storyline for sonny, imagine this...sonny is in love with a woman who refuses to have anything to do with the mob, his son is shot in a mob hit gone bad and left in a permanent coma, he leaves his position as mob boss to protect the rest of his family and his new love, sonny struggles in keeping his distance from his old life, he visits michael regularly and is reminded and resolved on his path to go legit, another "botched" mob hit guns down his prospective bride and he goes on a warpath, however this time he has no power base to rely on and must rebuild things from the ground up, marrying into another mob family putting him at odds with everyone from his former life, he gains the revenge he seeks and continues on his path to power, making enemies of old friends...

i mean, i'm not deviating too wildly from the actual events as they happened. i just think that there could be more heft to his motivations, and i think that jason giving sonny back everything he had given up is such a cheat. that after all this time, and all these things, we end up back at square one is such a waste. if jason were to give things back to sonny, have it happen for better reasons. for example, the fbi storyline forces him to work on the right side of the law and he finds he has a knack for it and wants a chance at a normal life where he can kill the bad guys without prejudice and in doing so sonny wrangles control of the business. or, while trying to work both sides of the law he suffers another head injury--this one wiping out his memories of jason morgan. adjusting to life as jason quartermaine, he struggles with the knowledge that he did some very bad things when he was jason morgan, he can't bear to even speak with sonny or anyone from his life as jason morgan, giving sonny back control of what was once his.

i don't know. i think these things would actually be interesting. but sadly, i'm just a tortured viewer and have no sway with the writing staff. especially since no matter how i complain, i can't seem to stop myself from watching.

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