Soaps Deliver A Trio of Potentially Great Love Stories

Spring has sprung — at least in California — and my thoughts have turned to soap romance. It is in regrettably short supply these days, with most couples too busy scheming and procreating to spend time on their actual relationships. But there are a few potential couples that I think could blossom into true love stories if only the writers take a few deep breaths and tread slowly and carefully.

Carly and Shawn “General Hospital”

It’s premature to call “General Hospital‘s” Carly (Laura Wright) and Shawn (Sean Blakemore) a couple. They have just met, under far from romantic circumstances.

Shawn is a mercenary with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome who was hired by the Balkan (Daniel Benzali) to kidnap Brenda (Vanessa Marcil Giovinazzo) from her wedding. Carly unwittingly thwarted his plans with her own attempt to stop the wedding. She ended up tending to his wound after he was shot — one of the better love story cliches.

Carly’s newly single and has a thing for criminals. Shawn’s kindness towards Molly (Haley Pullos) indicates he will get along well with Carly’s kids.  Blakemore is another one of casting director Mark Teschner’s amazing finds — even if he represents a continuation of GH’s annoying habit of naming characters after the actors who play them. It takes a strong presence to go toe-to-toe with Wright. They have combustible chemistry. The characters also have enough internal and external obstacles that their story practically writes itself. Shawn’s PTSD gives him anger issues — though after dealing with Sonny, Jason and Michael, Carly could probably teach a course in anger management. Shawn is currently at odds with the most important men in Carly’s life, Sonny and Jason. Shawn also brings some much needed ethnic diversity to GH, where people of color are usually relegated to the hospital — far from the center of the action.

Watch A “General Hospital” Sneak Peek:

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Nikki and Deacon “The Young & the Restless”

Listing people who have already been sleeping together for months as a new couple may seem odd, but “The Young and the Restless‘s'” Nikki (Melody Thomas Scott) and Deacon (Sean Kanan) get less airtime than the chubby loan sharks who are extorting Kevin (Greg Rikaart). Given that Nikki never seems to be allowed to stay with anyone but Victor for any length of time, this relationship needs some cheerleading. I don’t understand why Nikki (Melody Thomas Scott) is not the show’s frontburner, four episodes a week leading lady. The post-Victor, fresh out of rehab Nikki is the most interesting person in Genoa City. She’s snarky. She stands up for what she believes in, attempting to broker a ceasefire between Victor (Eric Braeden) and their children in their war over the trust funds, while making it clear that she believes Victor is in the wrong. She brushes off Victor’s constant rudeness, from acting like she is an unwelcome intruder every time she visits the home where she has spent most of her adult life, to implying she is a slut because she slept with Deacon while she erroneously believed that Victor had dumped her for another woman.

Her fling with Deacon is one of the best developed storylines on the show, which is ironically in part due to how little airtime they have had. While other couples have raced to the altar after only a handful of scenes, Nikki and Deacon are moving at a more natural pace. In addition to physical chemistry, they are both in recovery. Deep down, a part of Nikki is still the girl who grew up on the wrong side of the tracks and worked as a stripper. With bartender Deacon, she does not have to apologize for being rough around the edges; he is not looking to polish her into a diamond. They are following the classic soap storyline: con man falls in love with mark. Deacon originally became involved with Nikki because he was scheming with Meggie (Sean Young) to break up Victor and Nikki and get a piece of the Newman fortune. I was happy that Y&R included a scene last week of Deacon confessing to an A.A. meeting that he had sincere feelings for her. When the truth inevitably comes out, they have a large but not insurmountable obstacle to overcome. Given that Sharon (Sharon Case) forgave Adam (Michael Muhney) for kidnapping her baby and letting her think it was dead, encouraging a woman who had already been tricked into falling off the wagon to keep drinking seems about as serious as forgetting her birthday.  Why Y&R is barely showcasing this storyline is a mystery for the ages. I optimistically hope that it will be front and center as soon as the Newman lawsuit storyline concludes.

Ethan and Kristina “General Hospital”

I realize that GH is only revisiting this plotline because Annie Ilonzeh who plays Ethan’s (Nathan Parsons) new wife, Maya, is busy shooting the “Charlie’s Angels” pilot. I also realize that the age difference between high school senior Kristina (Lexi Ainsworth) and well into his twenties Ethan makes their relationship gross by real-life standards, particularly since petite Ainsworth could pass for a fourteen year old.  Then again, Michael’s (Chad Duell) only a year older and he’s dating a stripper. I enjoyed Kristina’s crush on the older semi-bad boy the first time around. It was a contemporary spin on the beginnings of Luke and Laura. I was disappointed when the show ruined it by having Kristina lie that Ethan, not her boyfriend Keifer, beat her. When Kristina persuaded Ethan to accompany her to Brenda’s wedding, then subsequently announced that one day she intended to marry him, I couldn’t help being charmed by her combination of spunk and naivete. It’s fitting that Alexis (Nancy Grahn) and Sonny’s (Maurice Benard) daughter would have spectacularly inappropriate taste in men. Ethan has demonstrated maturity and kindness by forgiving Kristina for temporarily destroying his reputation and nearly getting him killed. I am willing to board the Kethan/Ethina ship.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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