How “General Hospital” Decided to Explore Kristina’s Sexuality

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General Hospital‘s current Sapphic storyline is one we’ve been watching with curiosity and growing excitement. This past spring, Kristina Corinthos-Davis (Lexi Ainsworth) returned from college revealing that she’d had a crush on her older professor, Parker Forsythe. And over time, she clued family members into the fact Parker was a woman (Ashley Jones).

Episode # 13602

Kristina had been kicked out of school after an attempt to seduce Parker for a passing grade, and Parker turned her in. But it wasn’t done maliciously—Parker genuinely cares for Kristina but couldn’t cross ethical lines, because not only was Kristina her much younger student, but Parker was married. 

The storyline has picked back up in the last few weeks, bringing Parker to Port Charles for a conference, and Kristina stops by her hotel room for a conversation that reveals Parker has separated from her wife. Kristina and Parker then make love for the first time—Kristina’s first time with a woman.

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The following day, Parker wanted to make sure Kristina was OK, but Kristina was happier than she’d ever been. She even came out to her dad, Sonny, and was well-received. However, her mom, Alexis, sabotaged their relationship by asking Parker to leave Kristina alone—not because she’s a woman, but because she’s older, still married and her former teacher. 

At ABC’s TCA party, we spoke with General Hospital EP Frank Valentini about the storyline and any hints as to where it’s going in the near future.

 

AfterEllen.com: Can you tell me a little bit about the decision to explore this relationship and how it’s developed?

Frank Valentini: You know it’s interesting because the character of Kristina had been on the show for a while and she had been in some really bad relationships with men. We were talking about the character and the writers said, “Well, why is that?” And one of them said, “I think she’s making bad choices, not because she’s dumb or naive or because she’s a woman.” That’s what we wanted to get away from—we didn’t want it to be she was making bad choices because she was a woman. So she’s making bad choices because she was trying to force herself to be with someone—and we haven’t revealed the full story yet as to whether she’s bisexual or fluid or whatever—we don’t know yet. And we thought “Wouldn’t it be interesting if she explored that or the side of her and it shed a little bit of light on this character?”

So as much as we’re terribly excited and really proud that we’re doing an LGBT story, it really came out of the character—like why does this character do this? She was in a relationship with a guy who beat her and we thought, “She’s not a dumb character; she’s not a naive character. She comes from a good family and a loving family” so there wasn’t a lot of basis and we couldn’t really move on with her until we addressed what happened. Because also the actress and the character hadn’t been on the show in a while so we brought her back—we brought back the original actress. And I’ve always loved the actress who played Parker. She was on The Bold and the Beautiful and she’s a tremendously strong actress and when we first started telling this story, we saw the initial chemistry so we just kept going with it.

 

AE: With Kristina using words like “queer” or “bisexual” on daytime soaps, it’s still kind of revolutionary.

FV: Do you think so? Not for me because when I was on One Life to Live, we did a big story with Fish and Kyle and we just don’t think of it in those terms, myself and the writers. We tackled the issue of gay marriage before gay marriage was legalized on that show and we got a lot of flack for it. But we didn’t care because we thought “This is who these characters are.” Fish evolved out of being this really quirky character that we really loved and we thought, “What’s his backstory?” And it just made sense for who he was, who the actor was, and how it fit into the show.

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AE: Kristina’s whole family is supportive of her, which, a lot of times, you might assume on daytime TV that her parents or someone in her life might not be.

FV: Well we had done that with Lucas so we felt that wasn’t the right way to go because it would have been redundant. And certainly, familial acceptance runs the gamut from totally embracing you to throwing you out the door, and Julian, who is Lucas’s father, gave him a really hard time and was really uncomfortable with it and eventually came around. So we felt that it was interesting that Kristina, who thought her father, this sort of underworld outside the law kind of figure, very macho, would immediately reject her. And he’s like, “I don’t care.” He just wants her to be happy. 

But I think also it made sense for him because he grew up in Brooklyn and he grew up in a place that was a little bit more progressive; he grew up in a big city where he had exposure to lot’s of LGBT people and it didn’t freak him out. First and foremost, he loves his daughter and if she’s happy, he’s happy. And I think it’s really important to do that with those characters for dramatic reasons, certainly, because you make the assumption he will be against it, and then when he’s accepting, it’s surprising to the audience, but it’s also really life-affirming, because this girl’s just trying to figure out who she is. She’s not trying to hurt anybody; she’s not doing anything wrong. It’s one of the first times that you see her be really happy, even though she’s conflicted. It’s a happy confliction.

 

AE: On AfterEllen, fans love this storyline. Have fans of the show been taking to this?

FV: You know, it’s really interesting because we just had the fan club luncheon out in Burbank this past weekend and the fans were great and I stayed for like five hours and talked to people and no one said, “We don’t like it; we don’t want to see it.” I’m sure there’s some people who don’t like it because people don’t like lot’s of things for whatever reason, but I feel like it’s been super positive. I think it’s also a testament to how strong the actors are, that they’re portraying a relationship that’s very complicated. I mean this woman Parker is married and this girl is younger and what does that mean, and how does someone who is still figuring out who they are evolve into a relationship with someone who is much more experienced. I thought that was another important aspect of it.

 

AE: Can you give us any teases on where it’s going?

FV: It’s very challenging. I don’t really want to tease it too much because it’s not—again, it’s not one of those stories where it’s like a big thing, like someone blows up in a car. It’s not like that. It’s a much more emotionally based story and I think—the only thing I’ll say is it involves all of Kristina’s family members. Because that’s how we have to keep it centered because a soap is all about families and the multi-generational nature of the show has to keep it somewhat insular in that way.

General Hospital airs Monday through Friday on ABC.

 

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