April 25, 2008By Mala Bhattacharjee Posted: Apr 25, 2008
Did anyone ever watch the short-lived Fox show ROAR? It starred a young Heath Ledger (RIP, Heath, RIP), and if you liked HERCULES or XENA or currently watch the BBC's new ROBIN HOOD, it was in a similar vein. Lots of leather, swords, and people from New Zealand pretending to be British. There was a really cool villain cursed with immortality since he pierced Jesus with his spear back during the Crucifixion, but I didn't really pay much attention to him. (I was 19 years old and HI, HEATH.) Fast forward 11 years and that really cool villain is now one of my favorite actors on GENERAL HOSPITAL. Yes, I'm talking about Sebastian Roché, whose pitch-perfect portrayal of Mr. Craig/Jerry has made me forsake any young, floppy-haired hunks with a penchant for leather who may be wandering Port Charles.
I'm one of those long-term GH watchers who will happily talk till I'm blue in the face about how my favorite period of the show was back when Sonny Corinthos was basically Coleman with less interesting shirts and the heroes were all cops, WSB agents, and doctors. But that doesn't mean I can't appreciate a good antihero or bad guy. It's a staple of soaps. For every Bo Buchanan, you need a Carlo Hesser. For every Lauren Fenmore, you need a Sheila Carter. And, for me, Roché's Jerry perfectly fills that übervillain slot. He's charming, just like ONE LIFE's Carlo, and he has the potential to be incredibly scary and nutty like Y&R's Sheila. The witty, urbane sociopath who shot Robin and let Alan suffer his heart attack without help during the Metro Court hostage crisis was badass.
But the problem is that he's still around, right? It's been over a year since that storyline and how do you take a guy that tormented half the town and let him keep breathing? That's where Roché's acting ability comes into play. Sometimes, an actor transcends the horrible act his character has committed. It's not an uncommon phenomenon. Anthony Geary pulled it off after Luke raped Laura. Rick Hearst's Ric is still around despite shoving Carly in the Panic Room and drugging his own wife. I'm not speaking for anyone else, just me, but Roché completely sells two things: 1)Jerry's devotion to Jax and 2)Jerry's hypnotic charm. Normally, I would scream for any female soap character worth her salt to give Jerry a wide berth, especially one as no-nonsense as Alexis, but how can you deny a duo that's so darned appealing together? They're hysterical. The one-liners fly back and forth, and there's a definite self-awareness that Jerry is a nutjob but Alexis is drawn to him anyway. One of my colleagues who shall remain nameless couldn't stand Alexis and is now a "J-Lex" fan. He/she admits that their recent smooch on the Haunted Star was the "one of the hottest soap kisses I've ever seen."
Right now, Jerry and Alexis are in a wonderful flirtatious period, where Jerry still gets to threaten people and be smarmy, but he can take a break to woo his fair lady under a roulette table if he wants — and I like it. But that doesn't mean I'd like to see Jerry whitewashed. If he and Alexis start holding hands and skipping through fields and gushing about how much they love each other, I will probably jab my eyes out with a fork. What I would like to see instead is Alexis going a little darker to match him. She's a Cassadine! They could easily be the new Secret Cabal in PC, fighting from the D.A.'s office and using the veil of being white knight Jax's brother as they thwart the Sonnys and Johnny Zaccharas of the world. They could use their combined powers of evil to actually serve the greater good.
Again, I'm not saying that Jerry should be lauded for it. If Monica and Robin want to walk up to Jerry every day for the rest of their lives and punch him in the face, they have every right. Just like Carly should be allowed to hit Ric every day because of the Panic Room. (Sort of like HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER and the infamous "slap bet.") Nobody has to forgive or forget the awful things Jerry did...but it doesn't mean we can't enjoy him anyway. Hey, it's not like he jabbed Jesus in the side, right?