Fun in the Afternoon: Best of Sonny and Brenda

Best Family Moments” won the poll and will be coming soon. In the meantime, I’m flying solo while my co-blogger deals with some computer problems. So we’re going to try something a little different this week.

I’m sure this will come as a huge surprise to anyone who’s been reading here a while, but I was really, really crazy about Sonny and Brenda back in the day. My continuing fondness for them is a little difficult to reconcile with my current deep and abiding hatred of Sonny, but somehow I make do.

If there’s a magical formula pretty much guaranteed to make me fall in love with a couple, it’s probably this:

banter + adventure + pining + chemistry

Sonny and Brenda had it all — they were tumultuous, passionate, and at times, co-dependent and unhealthy as hell. They were also (along with Jax) one of the greatest love triangles in soap history, and General Hospital’s last true Supercouple. In my deepest heart of hearts, I will always cherish the hope of them finding each other again some day when they’re old and gray.

And now, on with the retrospective!

despair-divider

THE EARLY, FLIRTY PERIOD

It took me a while to warm up to Sonny and Brenda as a couple — mostly because both characters carried the baggage of having been introduced as foils for my previous favorites, Karen and Jagger. Brenda’s bad girl sins were fairly easy to forgive, but Sonny had been an outright villain, and he was still full of self-righteous self pity at how badly he’d been wronged by Karen — you know, that teenage molestation victim he’d hooked on pills and turned into his personal stripper sex toy. ::eye roll::

Yeah. Needless to say, he needed some serious redemption.

Looking back now, what strikes me most is how much patience the writers had. This was not an instant romance. Sonny and Brenda were attracted and intrigued by each other from the start, but they didn’t leap into anything. They flirted. They bantered. They ran into each other all over town. They went on several dates, had a lot of “getting to know you” conversations. Brenda gave him her blood and nursed him back to health after he was shot, and even after that, they were still unsure and testing the waters. They didn’t actually sleep together until there had been several months of build up. It was — dare I say it — an actual, honest to God romance, with wooing and everything!

At the Car Dealership

Fantasies

(Part Two)

Washington Trip

(Parts Two, Three and Four)

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THE CRAZY IN LOVE PERIOD

As their relationship heated up, everything got more serious. Sonny and Brenda were trying to build a life together, but they had very different ideas about what that meant. For Sonny, keeping Brenda ignorant of the seedier side of his business was the only way to keep her safe. For Brenda, being kept in the dark meant she was neither trusted nor respected, and it drove her to desperate lengths.

Mutual jealousy and obsession abounded on both sides. Meanwhile, they became partners at L&B, moved in together, and had lots of steamy sex.

Good times.

Jealousy

Shower Sex

Puerto Rico Escape

Sonny Opens Up About Deke

Suspicion and Lies

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THE BREAK UP PERIOD

I mentioned I enjoyed pining, right?

At the time, the two years Sonny and Brenda spent apart were pure, delicious torture. In retrospect, the way the writers managed to keep it fresh for so long was really impressive. Every single time they were ready to get past one obstacle (Brenda’s betrayal, Sonny’s marriage of convenience to Lily) there was another one just waiting to takes its place (Lily’s pregnancy, Brenda’s marriage to Jax).

Some, okay, a lot of the stuff from this period really makes me cringe now. Brenda’s incessant groveling and begging for Sonny to take her back is uncomfortable, to say the least. (Even if the fifteen year old girl in me still eats it up with a spoon.)

The thing that saves it, as always, is their chemistry with each other, and the fact that even when he’s pushing her away, Sonny’s just as crazy about her as she is about him. The writers were also smart enough to switch it around and make Sonny the pursuer once Brenda took up with Jax, which was a welcome change of pace.

(I wasn’t able to find any clips of Sonny bringing Miranda to interrupt Jax and Brenda’s wedding, which seems weird. Or of Sonny and Brenda trapped in the catacombs before their rescuers showed up, which I distinctly remember being the greatest thing ever at the time. Hey, nothing says true love like dirty, disgusting, we’re-about-to-die cave sex! If any of you savvy YouTubers has a link to either of those, I’d love to see them again.)*

*[Thanks to a little birdie in the comments, we now have a link to download the catacombs scenes. As with anything on the internet, please download at your own risk.]

The Wire Aftermath

“I won’t see you go to prison.”

Sonny’s Deal With the Devil

Brenda’s Hit and Run

What Happens in Canada, Stays in Canada

“You’re my drug, Brenda.”

Docks Reunion

(Parts Two and Three)

Lily’s Pregnant

(Part Two)

Brenda Comforts Sonny

(Parts One and Three)

Santa’s Little Helper

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THE REUNION PERIOD

After all that torture, Sonny and Brenda’s reunion was fairly short lived because Maurice Bernard was leaving the show. But it still had one hell of a punch.

If I had my druthers, Sonny leaving Brenda at the altar — the most selfless act he’s ever made — would have been the end of the character: a natural and fitting conclusion for the relationship, and for the man who had fought his way to the top, only to discover the power and money he thought he wanted were the very things keeping him from the life and family that would have made him most happy.

Everything since has been a long, slow descent into selfishness and megalomaniacal douchebaggery. But that’s a post for another day.

Escape from the Cops

On the Run

(Parts Two and Three)

Marriage Proposal

Private Party


(Parts Two and Three)

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BRENDA’S RETURN

This was such a mixed bag. On the one hand, we got stuff like the Amazing Grace montage and Brenda and Jason’s Las Vegas wedding hijinks. On the other hand, the writers really threw Jax under the bus, the Alcazar/Sonny/Roy DiLucca mob shenanigans never really made much sense to me, and Frons’ hard on for Courtney meant the end of Liz and Jason’s brief romance and the beginning of the era of the Drab Four. All in all, it was a mess.

I am grateful that at least Sonny and Brenda’s legacy was handled with more respect than Brenda and Jax’s — I was never a fan of that couple, but even I think it was character assassination to have Jax leave Brenda at all, much less in such a cruel manner (especially since he, of all people, knew what it had done to her the last time she was left at the altar by a man she trusted).

Sonny and Brenda’s final good bye was affectionate and bittersweet. Brenda finally forgave him for leaving her all those years ago, Sonny admitted he would always love her, and we all got one last smoldering kiss. It wasn’t perfect, but with Vanessa Marcil leaving once again and the writers not about to break up the Sonny and Carly show, it was probably the best that could have been hoped for.

Crazy Love Reprise

Stranded in the Jungle

Last Kiss

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I honestly don’t think GH has the patience to write couples like this anymore. The only long term pairing they’ve really stuck with recently has been Patrick and Robin, but the writing for them is all over the place, and they tend to disappear off onto the backburner for months at a time when Guza’s attention wanders.

Sonny/Carly/Jax is also fairly long-running, although it’s always felt like a pale imitation of the original Triangle to End All Triangles. Most of the current couples form insta-connections, face a series of whirlwind, implausible obstacles, declare themselves to be the loves of one another’s lives, and then — after an anti-climactic breakup — never appear to speak or think of each other ever again. Why should we care about relationships that will go nowhere and barely be remembered in a year’s time?

The obstacles Sonny and Brenda faced flowed organically from the story and the differences in their individual characters. Their love for each other was undiminished by numerous misunderstandings, break ups, betrayals, marriages to other people, and even death. I have no doubt that were Brenda to return to the show today, none of the other members of Sonny’s harem would stand a chance.

(If anyone can get Sonny not to suck again, it’s Brenda. And man, would I love to see Claudia’s reaction to that.)

That kind of all-consuming passion can’t be forced or faked. That kind of connection, where two characters know one another inside and out, has to be carefully built over time — something the current writers seem to have forgotten.

Thank God for YouTube!

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34 thoughts on “Fun in the Afternoon: Best of Sonny and Brenda

  1. Thank You. Thank You. Thank You. *HUGS & KISSES* LOL!!!

    Your wonderful, in-depth article of the great S&B is fantastic. YouTube is just magical with all its’ memories of a couple that made me addicted to GH, at the time. I love your clip pics, by the way. Sonny was drowning in Brenda’s love , in that “You’re my drug, Brenda” clip. He tilted the head back and everything. HOTNESS!!!. LOL!! Like you, I was in high school, during the S&B years. So, going down memory lane is a treat and bittersweet. I also agree that Patrick/Robin are the only pairing that the writers have been really committed to when it comes to developing a couple, over time. Today, my hatred of Sonny burns bright but you took me back to a time when my Sonny love could cure anything. Boy, how can pun into words that S&B chemistry??!! It was simply intoxicating. Good times, indeed.

  2. I meant “boy, how can one put into words that S&B chemistry…”

    I would blame that on the typo devil but I’m just gonna blame Guza. LOL!!!

    • Intoxicating is a good word for Sonny and Brenda! Glad you enjoyed the clips as much as I did. I had a really hard time whittling down the list, as you might have noticed. :)

  3. I bet you did have a hard time. LOL!! There were just so many great S&B moments. The clips you picked really showcased the kind of couple they were. Plus, the clips totally supported your reasoning behind why you loved them. I haven’t seen that Washington clip, since it aired. I remember the soap mags/soap critics went wild when that scene premiered. A scene where characters are having a convo but you also hear their “inner thoughts”, at the same time. Classic!!! It was so unique. I swear Claire Labine was a genius. Remember they re-created that with Patrick/Robin, during the Couch Wars? Another great Scrubs moment, IMO. LOL!!

    • Choosing clips was such torture, OMG! I had originally intended to do just three for every section, but…it kind of got away from me. Heh. So thanks for the feedback, really. It makes me feel less self-indulgent about the whole thing. :)

      One of the things I’ve noticed looking through all these old clips is how lighthearted and playful GH used to me. There was so much humor! Characters really seemed to like each other. It wasn’t all gloom and doom all the time. And yeah, so innovative with all the dreams and fantasy sequences, and stuff like the thought bubbles on the plane.

  4. Yeah, YouTube can be a double-edged sword. LOL!!! On one hand, you appreciate that you are able to watch vintage clips. On the other hand, you *shakes fist* because it makes you pissed and yearn for the good old days. I don’t know why GH is so doom and gloom these days. What’s even more sad is that the show is drowning in plot-points and backstage politics, which affected couples with major potential (i.e. Liason, LuSam, Skate, etc.).

  5. Thank you and I totally agree with what you wrote! Your humor and sarcasm was amusing! I stopped watching after sonny left her because I was so mad at them for how they handled it. If he was leaving couldn’t they have done a good old fake death scene. Let there be a wedding and Brenda could’ve mourned and gone crazy etc etc the same way. At least a wedding would have done them justice after all that. The thing about them was that you could feel them. You just knew Sonny loved her even when he said he didn’t. That is different then just writing a couple to love each other like Sonny and Carly or whoever else must be. I shudder at those thoughts. How could he just fall in love with twenty other people after a life changing intense well written romance like that. I will never believe that he could love anyone else like Brenda no matter what they wrote him to say and I don’t believe they wrote another couple who’s story, dynamics, and chemistry blended so well. I still love watching the clips and would love more if anyone knows where to get more. at least I can pretend they reunited in my head!

  6. If anyone is interested, I FINALLY found the clips of S&B in the catacombs as well as when Sonny proposes to Brenda (2nd time) with his mother’s engagement ring and a few others that aren’t on youtube. Just shoot me a quick email at aprillynnbryant@aol.com or reply to this post if you want me to send you the links to where I found the videos.

  7. Since U R just as big of a S&B fan as I am, here is a link to one of my fav videos. It’s set to “I Could Fall In Love With You” by Selena and it is beautiful. Hope U Enjoy.

      • This article is awesome, and all the clips rock!! I just heard the great news of VM’s return today, and found this gem while searching for the S&Believers forum. Thanks so much for this! Everything you stated was the truth… granted, I didn’t fall in love with the couple until much later, when they were finding their way back together, so I missed the whole flirty/banter/adventure stage. But I caught up later. And you’re right, they don’t write soap couples like this anymore. They’re all thrown together, married off, and divorced in the space of a year. Why even care, when the writers themselves don’t care enough to invest time into writing a couple? Even though the buildups for couples like this always drove you CRAZY, it always made the end that much sweeter when they did get together. just like the promo ABC did years back for S&B, “Good things come to those who wait. I have waited, and good things are coming.”
        I too, do not enjoy the character of Sonny anymore. Douchebaggery is the perfect word for the state of his character today. And I think the only thing that can make him right again might be Miss Barrett. I CAN’T WAIT for her return!

        • Thanks!

          Build up used to be what soaps did best. Somehow, they’ve lost that in the last decade. It’s a shame.

          Very excited about Brenda’s return, although I’m half dreading it at the same time. Guess we’ll just have to cross our fingers that the current regime doesn’t screw it up too badly…

  8. I’m so excited about Vanessa’s return that I have been watching old clips for the last two days. I knew you would appreciate this one. In it Sonny tells Brenda that Robin is HIV positive.

  9. I agree with u and I truly love this couple. There was a lot of love with them but a lot of sadness too. Sonny made Brenda cry a lot which made me teary. She was very young when she met Sonny and he had so much baggage. Together they learned what true love is and she is Sonnys soulmate without a doubt. Leaving her at the altar twice was only to save her from his violent world. Brenda is the only woman could save Sonny and get him to change his life for the better. Now she is back and they’re both are mature and very must still love each other. The writing is very absurd and unnecessary with Dante, crazy Carly and this alleged baby! Rumors are spreadin that Vanessa is leaving in February. That’s gonna break my heart if she does and why did she come back. The question is will she leave Sonny at the altar? I don’t think I’m fully invested because the writers are going to break my heart. I will just enjoy their memories. They just fit so well and could have been a real life couple

  10. I agree with you davonna. The current writing is absurd and unnecessary. What happened to the strong Brenda who would stand up for herself? Why would she ask these young girls to be bridesmaids, what happened to robin, lois and brooklynn? For a matter of fact, why is there going to be a big wedding, why not just the 2 of them in Puerto Rico?
    I want Brenda to be strong and bring back Lois!!!! Why hasn’t Brooklynn told Brenda about Carly?
    Both of them can run circles around Carly!!!!
    I can do so much better than the current writing.
    I am very disappointed with the writing. I love Vanessa Marcil, but I don’t like the writing and her waredrobe. She’s not 12 years old. Make her look the part, she is a beautiful actress. I watch old clips on you tube, because I miss the old S &B acting/chemistry.
    Vanessa Marcil is a good actress look at the old clips, but now she appears to be doing this character differently. I don’t like it.

    I don’t like the old Sonny who was emotionally distructive towards Brenda. The writers made Sonny nice to Claire, which made me very upset. She used a wire and he stayed with her, please????? He needs to put Carly in her place, and make up with Brenda. Treat her well after everything he did to her in the past!

  11. literally in love with this article THANK YOU. of course, since it was written we had VMG’s 2010-11 return which left me wanting, to say the least! you put into words everything i feel so deeply about these two since 1993!

  12. They were smoking hot back in the day, a YT friernd of mine often spoke of them, they were among her favourite couples. So I looked them up. I LOVE classic SnB, but Guza thoroughly GUZAIFIED Brenda last year. I was so disappointed. Thanks for a big fat NOTHING, Guz! Glad I have these clips! I’d like to see Brenda return with RC and FV, they are way better at writing for women.

    • Ah, thank you! Fixing the broken links in this post was just the distraction I needed from election anxiety.

      Brenda was a total pod person during her last return and so was Sonny, for that matter. I would hate to think of anyone judging their whole history based on that hot mess. The really annoying part is the Guza actually wrote some of their awesome material in the 90s. He used to be good! I would give a lot to see what RC would have done with her return instead. Ah, well. At least we’ll always have memories.

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