Saturday, October 6, 2012

GENERAL HOSPITAL: The ruination of Johnny Zacchara

When he came to Port Charles in September 2007, Johnny Zacchara was one of those characters that captured the imagination of viewers right from the start.

It didn’t hurt that he was played by the ultra-charismatic Brandon Barash – or that Johnny appeared at a time when fans were desperately searching for an anti-hero (instead of a thug in a leather jacket).

Now, five years later, the writers have taken a beloved character and completely decimated him.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed watching Barash chew the scenery the past two weeks. Still, I’m left with a troubling question: How, exactly, are they going to redeem Johnny?

The denizens of Port Charles have done some rotten things over the years. There are baby nappers (too many to count), women who have purposely seduced their stepfathers as payback, a gang rapist, a mob hitman and even a little mob kingpin that pouts like a 12-year-old girl.

Still, I can’t help feeling they’re backing Johnny into a corner he cannot crawl out of it.

I know people will say that if Todd Manning – a gang rapist and attempted murderer – can redeem himself, than anyone can. The problem is, Todd Manning was redeemed in the 1990s and I’m not sure these writers have the motivation to redeem Johnny.

This week, Johnny Zacchara married a mentally ill woman. I know, it doesn’t sound that bad on the surface. It really was, though.

Connie is one of two personalities that resident fashion maven Kate is running around with (I guarantee she gets a third personality soon --Bonnie anyone?). Anyway, Johnny marrying Connie probably seems tame by soap standards. It’s why he did it that concerns me.

Months ago, a young man and his toddler daughter were ran off the road by a crazy mobster who was being shot at. At the time, people thought Connie was going after the crazy mobster. Instead, we found out it was Johnny and he was hell bent on taking down his father. Instead he killed two innocent people.

Since that time, Johnny has tried to pin the crime on several different people – all the while showing about three minutes of remorse.

See, Connie blackmailed Johnny into marrying her this week by threatening to out his little secret. Why did she want to marry Johnny? To protect herself from being committed.

I know this is all very convoluted, but the fact remains that Johnny just keeps devolving.

Personally, I think the writers should have left Kate as the killer. Since she was mentally ill, you could forgive her. Instead, they slapped together some flashbacks that didn’t seem to make a lot of sense.

Now, not only is Johnny a baby killer but he’s also the kind of man that would use a woman’s mental illness to his own advantage. After Kate got over her last bout of DID, Johnny acted all contrite. He fell all over himself to regain the trust of girlfriend Carly – only to throw it all out of the window.

Now Johnny is withholding psychiatric attention from a woman that desperately needs it.

Oh, and let’s not forget the fact that he knows that Todd switched out Sam’s baby with a dead one months ago. That also seems out-of-character.

Johnny was never perfect. He had mood swings and he made stupid decisions. Still, he was grounded in reality and likeable.

I think the biggest misstep the writers took with Johnny was pairing him with Carly. Forget the age difference. I don’t even care about that. Olivia was older than him and she sizzled with him. So it’s not the age difference.

Essentially, Carly and Johnny just don’t click.

They lack chemistry. There’s no real passion behind the romance. Carly’s heart clearly still belongs with Jax (please bring him back full time now that Jason is leaving).

And Johnny? For a second there, I thought they were going to throw him in a triangle with Lulu and Dante. I actually wouldn’t have minded that. Now? I’m hopeful that they’ll somehow make an effort to redeem Johnny and pair him with Maxie. These could be two people trying to make themselves better -- and find they have a better shot if they do it together.

I don’t think that Johnny is a lost cause. But if they don’t right the Good Ship Zacchara soon – he will be.

What do you think? Do you like the direction they’re taking Johnny in?


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