March 3, 2006
The Sonny and Emily Thing
Why not just jump right into it, right? I'll bet those of you who are regular readers of my column think you know what I'm going to say, but I think I might surprise you. My opinion is not likely to be a popular one, but (as usual) I am OK with that.
When I first started Eye on Soaps in 2000, I was a major Sonny fan. My favorite photo was the one of him by the pool. Let me see if I can find it. Ah, there it is. Those dimples made me squishy.
Of course, back then, Emily looked like Amber Tamblyn, who I'd seen in the role since she was about 12. She had just fallen in love with Zander at gunpoint and I quickly became a fan of Emily and Zander, mostly buoyed by the dynamic acting of both Chad Brannon and Amber Tamblyn. The Romeo and Juliet love story could in theory only be played out a few times on soaps before getting old, but we defy the odds and sit around like little babies, gobbling it down like pablum when it comes around again. Back then, it would be ludicrous (and likely prosecutable since Tamblyn turned 17 that year) to pair up Sonny and Emily.
Now, six years later, things have changed dramatically. Emily, minus SORAS, would be around 23 this year but given that she's been married twice, I would suspect they want us to bump her up to around 25-26 (sound reasonable?). Natalia Livingston, however, is 30. At 43, Maurice Benard is a year younger than am I. Both have birthdays in March when they will hit those aforementioned ages. I've heard Sonny referred to as a pedophile and a cradle robber for being with Emily and it causes me to raise an eyebrow because the span between Livingston and Benard is exactly two years less than the span between myself and my husband, to whom I have been married for 8 years. I think I mentioned in a previous column that I couldn't see Amber Tamblyn soul kissing Maurice Benard, but I do tend to forget that she isn't 12 any more and neither is Emily. Sometimes, we have a hard time letting characters grow up.
After giving it a lot of thought, I can definitely understand what Emily and Sonny see in one another. As I said before, I was quite a fan of Sonny's when I started the site, but over the years, the character was re-created by different writers to be someone I did not really enjoy watching. I also suffered from over exposure as we spent years watching the Sonny Corinthos Hour With Supporting Characters. I remember that I really enjoyed the beginnings of his rocky courtship with Carly, but some time after that, I lost my Sonny Buzz.
I did not enjoy the character of Emily when Tamblyn played her. Having teenagers in my home at the time, seeing bratty, bitchy, insolent, loud-mouthed, defiant ones on TV did nothing for me. By the time she was sent away to The Happy Therapy Home to learn to walk again, I was ready for Emily to be gone. I did like the character for about 27 seconds when she returned as Natalia Livingston, but somewhere around the 47th or so uh, um, uh in one episode,I started to lose interest. By the time she married Zander because she thought she was dying and cheated with him by giving Nikolas a tongue bath all over the gatehouse floor, I was done with her. Then she became St Emily the Perfect who walked on water and calmed the troubled seas of life and I was fast forwarding like mad. Forget about Zander being vilified and turned into target practice for the PCPD so she and Nikolas could cavort guilt free. It was over and I was actually kind of glad to see Zander put out of his misery. By then, the writers had screwed him up so entirely that anything short of a Manny Ruiz personality altering tumor would have been ineffective at redeeming the character. It takes a lot to make a guy who was blatantly cheated on the villain and the cheating wife the angelic victim, but they sure managed.
So in short, when looking at the Sonny and Emily pairing, (I do NOT do those combined couple names *shudder*) we are talking about two characters I do not particularly appreciate or enjoy. Still, I can see why it would make sense for them to be together.
Historically, Emily has always been drawn to the bad boys who are unattainable and Sonny definitely fits that bill. Sonny is at a time in his life when, much like superstar Luke before him by a couple of decades, everything in his life feels jaded and tarnished. I am sure that Emily represents to him all that is pure and fresh in the world. He has said as much in the sweet nothings he's purred to her onscreen. In most of his relationships, Sonny has been the one who pursues and it was likely quite flattering that a sweet little rich girl would go after him with such fervor.
If we wax Freudian, with Alan as the most prominent male figure in Emily's life, she would likely seek out partners who are powerful men. The Quartermaine men pretty much do whatever they want, whenever they want and get whatever they want, whenever they want. Sonny's life is very similar to that. All of the men Emily has been coupled with have been men of power. Zander had a gun and drugged women at parties. He kidnapped her at gunpoint, which is one of the strongest shows of power. Nikolas was a millionaire businessman; a prince no less. The question is less of "Why not a Godfather?" and more of "What took her so long to work her way over to him?" All of the men in her life have been unattainable. Zander was "bad" and was the forbidden fruit. Nikolas was "the other man" after she was married. Sonny is older and partner of which none of her family or friends approves.
Oh, I forgot Miguel. Funny how he just slipped my mind. He also is the exception that proves the rule, I guess as he was only minorly unattainable since it was just a bad case of parental distaste that held him at arm's length and I really don't see him as powerful. Back to the subject at hand.
Really, of the men available, Sonny makes the most sense. He can shelter her from the cold, cruel world. She can play mommy to his children, then send them back to Leticia or Carly when she is done. She can live in the style to which she has become accustomed from her upbringing and her life as a Cassadine princess.
We even have Jax and Lorenzo all queued up for when she and Sonny split to be the next Pez powerman out of the dispenser. (Of course, once Nikolas is struggling to take care of little John Cassadine, her heart will float back in that direction).
On Sonny's side, we have his extreme attachment to Adella and while Sonny sees her as pure and saintly, we know that she completely abandoned one child and allowed another to be beaten and emotionally abused with alarming regularity. After taking his turn with Carly, with Sam, with Reese, even with Alexis, all of whom are mature, worldly-type women, I can definitely see where he would gravitate toward a less-jaded and more pristine sort of woman who reflects the distorted view he has of his mother (and in my opinion, of Emily as well).
Of course, I am only guessing here. As far as I know, his only conscious rationale could have been, "Pfft, she's legal."
I do find it interesting the way he recanted on his own denouncement of Courtney's romances once it fit his own objectives to justify being with Emily. Now that people are opposing his forbidden relationship, it is suddenly wrong to try and tell people who they should and should not romance. I could hear Courtney's voice all the way from the morgue saying, "Oh please, you frickin hypocrite."
In summary, I do understand it. I still don't like either of them, but hey, I get it.