News broke last week that former General Hospital star Steve Burton will be making a return to daytime- but not in the role that made him famous. Burton won’t be coming back to the ABC soap he spent decades on as Jason Morgan- he’ll be appearing on the upcoming second season of the Days Of Our Lives spin-off Beyond Salem.
DAYS fans wanted more Bo and Hope, not Steve Burton.
I’m sure some fans of both shows are incredibly upset right now. I feel sorry for DAYS fans since the casting of Steve Burton simply means less screentime for both Bo (Peter Reckell) and Hope (Kristin Alfonso). The legendary super-couple are the stars of the limited series set to air on the streaming service, Peacock, this July- and Steve Burton is simply an unnecessary distraction. Viewers of the NBC soap opera were excited about the upcoming return and reunion of Bo and Hope- not another soap’s former star making an appearance nobody asked for.
As for fans of General Hospital who wanted Steve Burton back? The man is the absolute last person that anybody should want back on the show, save for Ingo Rademacher.
Since Steve Burton’s exit as Jason Morgan has freed many of the soap’s leading ladies from his orbit- but that’s not to say Jason is out of sight and out of mind. While I for one can do without the post-humous deification of Mr. Morgan, his death has been the jumping-off point for the women in his life- simply because they are free of the man. Example number one: Carly Corinthos.
Without Jason, Carly can show some independent growth
For the first time in eons, Carly Corinthos (Laua Wright) isn’t attached romantically to a man on canvas. And she hasn’t been in months! This is a really big deal- and not just for the droves of Carly-haters out there. Few characters on GH have been so singularly focused on either having, keeping, taking, scamming, screwing, getting back with, or cheating on men like Carly Corinthos. While that scheming vixen behavior has led to some of the greatest moments on the show (I stand by that statement even though Carly post-2001 has often polarized the audience, everybody can agree with Sarah Brown’s run as Carly offered up some of GH‘s best scenes during her run), that type of writing has stunted the character, depriving Carly of the necessary growth she should have had over the past two decades.
The type of singularly man-focused behavior by Carly made sense upon her arrival in PC, seeking to make her mother Bobbie pay for giving her up as an infant by stealing her husband Tony Jones. Carly’s sex-only relationship turned into feelings that fueled her one-night stand with AJ- which turned into a huge mess with all three men. But the behavior tracked for the character at the time and made for organic story development. Even the sleazy hate sex with Sonny eventually became a way for the characters to develop past their more destructive instincts.
Carly’s been in a holding pattern for decades- but now she’s free
Unfortunately, since then Carly has been stuck in a holding pattern, being cheated on by Sonny, falling for Jax, cheating on Jax with Sonny, being cheated on by Sonny- or some variation of that formula for over a decade. All the while Carly would run to Jason who would put her before everything in his life whether it was Robin, Courtney, Elizabeth, Sam, the Quartermaines, his health and safety, and above all his children.
Then Sonny died. Carly leaned on Jason- but something wonderful happened- Carly didn’t immediately seek to fill the hole in her life with another man. For about seven months in 2021, Carly was committed to keeping her family safe from Cyrus Renault- and on her terms. Carly stepped up as a mob boss and started calling the shots.
Carly’s shortlived single life last year made her a dynamic and compelling character
Carly’s first initial move against Cyrus- interrupting the shootout with Jason on the docks gave me chills. The decision to take Florence Gray hostage- and use her mother Bobbie to do it was signature Carly and in a whole new way. showing up at the meeting of the 5 families, after just giving Jason a blood transfusion no less, and dominating the situation entirely- was epic. We got to see Laura Wright play her character in situations we’ve never seen before, and it’s been some of her best work. The fact that she earned an Emmy nomination in a year that neither Maurice Bernard nor Steve Burton is a testament to just how good Laura Wright was as Carly this year/
Making Carly and Jason a couple was a bad choice
Carly was at her best when the focus wasn’t on her being in a relationship- and it was a long time coming. Unfortunately, the writers decided to throw Carly into a romantic relationship with Jason- kind of out of nowhere and present it as the culmination of two decades of will they or won’t they. The problem is that it wasn’t ever that way. Yes, Carly and Jason being together could have been a moment but one that should have been handled with care. Instead, it was slapped together to ensure Sonny’s return to Port Charles was a moment of shock and awe.
Steve Burton’s unexpected exit saved us from more of the same on GH
The fact that Sonny neither interrupted their ceremony nor did he arrive mid-thrust as Jason had all those years earlier during the CarSon hate-sex made the whole set-up completely moot. Even if that had not been the case, Steve Burton’s exit from the show robbed the complex love triangle (quadrangle if you count Nina) of any emotional heft in the long term.
Carly’s shown some actual maturity and growth- and it is refreshing
Sonny’s reunion with Carly was short-lived, as was any character growth from his time as an amnesiac Mike in Nixon Falls. When push came to shove, Sonny reverted to his old behavior and bedded Nina Reeves the moment he felt unattended to by Carly. Carly on the other hand has stood her ground and surprisingly avoided her usual fallback behavior. She hasn’t fallen for Sonny’s apologies nor has she made any overtures for a reunion. Carly didn’t even take an aggressive stance during her divorce proceedings, even when she rightfully should have -the woman simply wants Sonny to ensure her family remains safe. Carly hasn’t even actively attacked Nina- even the decision to keep Nina from having visitation rights with their grandson Wiley has primarily been between Michael/Wilow and Nina. All of this represents huge growth for the character of Carly- and it wouldn’t be happening if Steve Burton were still on the show.
Carly is at a crossroads right now- and she’s not between two men. While the writers are going to have to give her something compelling to do- and not just keeping another secret child from Nina- it’s a positive place for Carly to be in. Carly Corinthos is more than the men in her life and she should be driven by something other than Sonny or Jason. Thanks to Steve Burton’s exit that is finally a reality-and personally, I hope it stays that way.
What do you think? IS Carly better off single? Is GH better off without Jason Morgan and Steve Burton?