I planned on doing a “Pier 52” with my commentary on some postings from GHsecrets.tumblr.com about JaSam (the coupling of Jason Morgan & Samantha McCall), but now that SiAm (Dr. Silas Clay & Sam) has been initiated (they kissed on 9/5), I decided that in addition to my original idea, I’d give my thoughts on the new pairing & the writing of Sam’s post-Jason life (if some portions of this article look familiar, it’s because I pulled some lines I thought were important from previous pieces where I mentioned Sam’s storyline). As a Sam fan, I’m only partially happy with what I’ve been seeing currently. 2013 has been the year of familial bonds and friendships for Sam McCall-Morgan (portrayed by Kelly Monaco) as she’s been coping with the loss of her husband (Jason), gained an adoptive son (Rafe Kovich), faced the man who’s tormented her (Franco) and watched her infant son (Danny) battle cancer. As if things couldn’t be any tenser, she doesn’t know that her biological father is mobster Julian Jerome, who’s planning to take-over the territory of Sonny Corinthos, a dear friend of hers, and that her potential new love is linked to his sister, Ava. I love that family is now at the center of Sam’s arch and that her father is a part of “General Hospital” history, but there’s a massive elephant in the room that the writers have momentously neglected to thoroughly address and that elephant is Jason.
Yes, we saw Sam be in denial, shed a few tears and feverishly hunt for her husband, but there was so much surrounding Jason’s death, from how he died to the aftermath, that was not worthy of a 20-year veteran character and a decade long romance. Doing justice and paying respect to the magnitude of Jason & Sam’s union is going to be elemental in creating a “moving forward” trajectory that key viewers (i.e. the core fan-base, which in Sam’s case, are mostly JaSammers) will be content with and want to watch. Constantly in a place of individual emotional isolation and internalized pain, Jason and Sam understood each other (it never seemed right to me that Carly would sometimes get Jason right before Sam did). The gun-toting, butt-kicking and motorcycle riding JaSam were an outlawed version of Anna and Duke, to a degree, and were a major super-couple in the 2000's. As Ryan White-Nobles of TVSourceMagazine.com tweeted, “People come into your life for a season, a reason and a lifetime. Jason is Sam’s lifetime.” Unlike most characters, all of Sam’s other romantic connections were superficially based (she was a con-artist in her beginnings). Jason (Steve Burton) was the only person whom she found a place and a sense of belonging.
Turmoil is part of super-couple territory, but it seemed to find JaSam at an alarming rate. Most soap-lovers get married, divorced, remarried and have a couple of kids; JaSam could never quite get there. Then, in 2011, fans thought they were finally going to have their way when Sam and Jason wed, but it wasn’t a month before the honeymoon was literally over. Franco (then played by James Franco) kidnapped Jason and made him watch as he led Jason to believe he raped Sam (it was later re-written that Sam wasn’t raped and the scene was staged). When Sam turned up pregnant, a DVD left by Franco and a manipulated paternity test left the couple to conclude that Sam was having Franco’s child. Being that Sam had previous miscarriages, abortion or adoption wasn’t an option for her. The script had Jason rejecting the unborn child, becoming an insensitive butthole and leaving Sam to fend for herself. This series of events was a colossal mistake inherited by the upcoming writing team (“One Life to Live’s” Ron Carlivati became head-writer in 2012) that would cause a whole domino effect of mistakes. JaSam’s problems were exacerbated by Sam’s bubbling feelings for John McBain (an OLTL carry-on), who would help deliver her son. Another crazy string of events resulted in other OLTL carry-ons raising Sam’s son while she thought he was dead and she and Jason remained estranged. Feeling guilty, Jason teamed up with his rival, McBain (Michael Easton), to find the truth about Sam’s son and bring him home. Eventually, Jason asked for Sam’s forgiveness and embraced Danny. Viewers got just a glimpse of the Morgan family reunion and JaSammer jubilance was again short-lived. As crafty of a hit-man Jason was, he was unsuspectingly shot in the back by Cesar Faison (disguised as Duke Lavery) and kicked over into the harbor like a dog. Although his body being in the harbor and never found by police left an opportunity for the character to resurface at least, Jason’s exit was harsh and hurried. It was like being in a car where the driver suddenly slams on the brakes and you crash into a wall.
Jason Morgan was a popular character and the heart of his social circle, but you couldn’t tell by watching the episodes that followed his departure. Scenes where Jason’s loved ones heard of or discussed his death were written in a very emotionally muted and forgettable way that wouldn’t provide anything Emmy-reel suitable for the talented cast. There was barely a tremor where there should’ve been an earthquake. There was no memory montage, Jason’s memorial was off-screen (I was personally kind of thankful for this; it would’ve worsened my agony, but I could see why some fans would want it) and Jason’s supreme antagonists came back from the dead and made friends with those closest to him (Carly’s been coddling and celebrating birthdays with Franco, who got off for all of his crimes and AJ started relationships with Michael and Liz, Jason’s baby-mama. Even Sam had a heart-to-heart with AJ). The arrival of Franco (now Roger Howarth) and AJ (Sean Kanan) would’ve been the perfect time to re-cast Jason, as the dynamics would’ve been soap-tasty, but that’s not what happened (I’ll come back to my theories on why they didn’t re-cast). Jason’s presence apparently wasn’t due any honors, but it was good enough to use as ratings bait. Time and time again, there was dialogue hinting he might be alive to keep viewers locked. The most extravagant instance was when Franco returned and corralled Jason’s troops to the Haunted Star using a party invite with Jason’s face and played a creepy video of stills. Franco pretended to know Jason’s whereabouts to keep Sonny from killing him. The latest were the 9/12 and 9/13 episodes were the Morgan clique observed Jason’s birthday and an unidentified peeping figure lurked. Tweets from the official GH page threw speculating gas onto the fire, especially when randomly, a tweet from Steve Burton saying “much love peeps” was re-posted followed by “Sam gets a surprise visitor on the pier today…”
Aside from ratings gimmicks, Jason, and any remnants of him, were just put away like that of an exiting minor character and why? To craft the new “General Hospital.” Jason Morgan and Sonny Corinthos (Maurice Bernard) were the face of GH’s 10-year “mob era;” an initially liked period that began to wear itself out. 2 fellow ABC network soaps were cancelled and GH’s numbers were low, so a change was definitely needed, but the writing tilted to another extreme and significant storylines for characters associated with the mob slowly diminished. The writing team also seemed to have the goal of propping their former OLTL co-workers, as actors from the soap were pushed front row and center on GH. That’s why Jason has yet to be re-casted and JaSam was dismissed like they never existed: it was all about changing GH’s landscape. It became clear the entity of JaSam was a pawn in the new writing agenda as we had to deal with McBain (and any other characters portrayed by Easton) interference since before Jason died and throughout Sam’s grieving process. There was the kiss Jason witnessed between Sam and McBain. McBain was present for Danny’s birth, Jason was not (Jason died not knowing Danny was his biological son after all, by the way). On the GH Facebook page, the question of “Who would be a better father to Danny, Jason or John?” was posted. When Sam finally accepted the reality that Jason was gone, it was McBain’s words that got her there and it was his arms she fell into, not her mother, sisters or close friends (Spinelli would’ve even been suitable for that scene). Sam lamented a missed opportunity to hook-up with McBain before he left town and talked about Jason to Carly like he was an obstruction to it. Ugh, and let’s not forget the entire month where a psychopath who looked like McBain posed as a vampire and obsessively stalked Sam; quite naturally McBain saved her from him. Now, the psychopath’s twin (Clay) has feelings for her and was vital in curing Danny’s cancer. Sam hasn’t had a romantic-inclination free moment since Jason died. She had feelings for McBain (so much so, she almost had sex with him beforehand) and she’s fighting whatever interest she has in Silas.
Thoughts? What would you guys like to see in Sam’s future? What kind of guy would you like to see Sam with and when?