SHOWS

Opinion Piece: General Hospital Has a Problem

Afeera.com

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General Hospital has been on the air for sixty-one years and has given us one of the most watched episodes in soap opera history; the wedding of Luke and Laura in 1981. Fast forward to forty-three years later and showrunners have captured that magic again with daytime’s most talked about young couple, Spencer and Trina, affectionately known to their fans as “Sprina”. 

Legacy character Spencer Cassadine played by newcomer and Daytime Emmy winner Nicholas Alexander Chavez has been a fan favorite since bursting on the screen in July 2021. His character was specifically brought on as a love interest for Trina Robinson, then played by Sydney Mikayla, also a fan favorite. Sydney decided to leave the show and focus on college. Tabyana Ali took over the role in 2022 and made the pairing even more popular.

Ali and Chavez exude chemistry that sets screens on fire, which was made evident in their first scenes together. Fans immediately took to social media to campaign for the couple. With hashtags like “#Fall4Sprina” the fans were begging the showrunner and writers to pen their first kiss. Fans even sent a plane with a banner displaying the hashtag and a message saying that they loved the actors. 

What made this moment even more special, Ali and Chavez were there to witness it all with big smiles and full hearts. Alas, it still took the onscreen couple months before they had their first kiss on February 20, 2023 but on the show it was still Valentine’s Day. Could not get any more romantic than that. The kiss sent fans into a frenzy.

It’s not like the powers that be were unaware of the couple’s growing popularity. They graced the cover of Soap Opera Digest multiple times. People Magazine put them on the cover while calling them the “Next Generation”. The couple trends on social media app X (formerly Twitter) daily and not just in Soap Operas but in the United States reaching the top ten spot on numerous occasions. The actors are not only popular online; as made evident by the sold out crowds wherever the actors participated in a meet and greet organized by Coastal Entertainment. 

Spencer and Trina and their portrayers are so beloved, fans gifted them a billboard in Times Square to celebrate the 60th anniversary of General Hospital and to once again show the showrunner and writers how much fans want this couple to be together. How did the showrunner and the writers thank the fans? By giving the couple a nonsensical storyline of Spencer raising his baby brother with the child’s mother who happens to be his ex-girlfriend. His ex-girlfriend seduced his father and also framed Trina for a crime she did not commit when she filmed Trina’s best friends having sex for the first time and uploaded it to the internet in a dumb, racially biased revenge porn storyline. 

I get it; soaps are supposed to be full of drama but in what world would the writers and showrunner think it was a good idea to watch a young innocent black woman go through the justice system in this way? Then to have the man she loves co-parent with her abuser for months was just a slap in the face to the couple’s mostly women of color fanbase. Fans were justifiably upset over this. We got zero romance with the couple but all the unnecessary drama. There are other ways to tell a story. The show missed out by not banking on all the free publicity the couple was getting. Not to mention the new fans they brought in. People who never watched the show before wanted to know who “sprina” were. 

 

It was not all bad. Spencer and Trina did go on a crazy Cassadine adventure where they had to save the world from Spencer’s evil great uncle who wanted to wipe out half the population. This adventure gave us a reunion of epic proportion when Spencer was presumed dead but washed ashore and Trina quite literally jumped into his arms. The “leap” as it is known on soap Twitter caused quite the buzz. So much so that seasoned vet actors were impressed. Even more impressive is that the leap was not scripted. Ali thought of doing it on the spot in the emotion of the scene. 

Instead of using this hype, the characters were stuck in the baby storyline from hell. When they were together they fought, or Spencer would leave early to babysit. Fans again took to Twitter to campaign for better writing for the popular couple. As we entered the writer’s strike, the temporary writers for the show took over and Sprina fans finally got what they campaigned for..

Spencer and Trina took a weekend trip to NYC, confessed their love for one another and made love for the first time to an original song recorded just for the couple.

Sprina fans were on cloud nine. After fighting for movement for the couple for two and a half years things were looking up. Spencer left his baby brother to be raised by his father and started putting his relationship with Trina first. As things started to pick up, fans learned that Chavez would be taking a leave of absence from the show to film a new project with Netflix. The news came as a surprise to no one as he is a very talented actor and carried the young adults on set. 

 

However, fans feared what that would mean for their beloved couple. The answer came in the form of another adventure. This time the lovebirds would be heading to Paris as Trina would be studying abroad for a semester. Unfortunately, their nemesis, Spencer’s ex followed them. Before all hell breaks loose, fans were treated to some tender romantic moments.

Just when it looks like Sprina are getting their happily ever after (I mean Spencer is a Prince after all) his ex attacks them which results in her and Spencer going overboard on a private cruise leaving a grieving Trina to pick up the pieces. I mean we have to assume she was grieving because we did not see her for three weeks after Spencer was presumed dead. This is the leading young adult actor who just had a huge “death” storyline and the audience does not see her for almost a month. 

Chavez taking a leave of absence does not bother me. Had I known that Trina’s story would not continue without him, I would have preferred to have a temporary recast play the role of Spencer until Chavez became available again. Speaking of, fans recently learned that Chavez is no longer on contract with the show when his name did not appear in the closing credits on a recent episode; so his return is up in the air. His new show is still filming and Chavez’s contract expires this summer. No official statement has been released regarding his status with the show. 

Fans are left wondering the fate of a couple they have invested in so hard over the last three years. What will happen with Trina? Will Spencer return and will Chavez be in the role? 

It seems the show has wasted their next supercouple with no clear answer to these burning questions while fans wait for an answer on a daily basis. What is clear is that the fans deserve better and so do the actors. What do you think Sprina fans? Has General Hospital wasted their only popular couple they have left on the show? Chat with me on Twitter and leave a comment!


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