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Monday, May 6, 2013

GH: Goodbye Johnny Z

Last week marked the end of Brandon Barash's turn as Johnny Zacchara on General Hospital. The actor decided to move on with his career, and the character is serving time in Pentonville prison.

While in Port Charles, Johnny had to deal with being a member of a mob family. Johnny's family ties were extremely sticky as he found out that his sister Claudia (Sarah Brown) was actually his mother. He had been lied to for his entire life and his crazy "father" Anthony (Bruce Weitz) was really his grandfather.  This wasn't his first story, but that was the beginning of the end of the character.

During his relationship with Lulu (then played by Julie Marie Berman), he tried to be a better man. He loved Lulu enough to protect Lulu when she knifed Logan to death. With Claudia's (Sarah Brown) help, he dumped the body. Johnny got arrested for the crime and escaped with Lulu. They moved to NYC, but Lulu was dealing with serious emotional problems. Fearing for her wellbeing, Johnny brought Lulu back to PC and went on trial for Logan's murder. Thankfully, he was found not guilty due to machinations from his family.  After Lulu was released from the institution, they reunited, but eventually parted ways. Johnny did what Lulu always wished, which was leave the "business", but he couldn't find a legitimate career. There was a flirtation with Maxie (Kirsten Storms), but Johnny and Maxie never really dated even if he escorted her for pay.

After the breakup with Lulu, Johnny started a long term relationship with Olivia Falconeri (Lisa LoCicero) who was old enough to be his mother. This had started as a one-night stand, but they fell for each other. Olivia had a past with Claudia's husband Sonny (Maurice Benard). What happened with the Corinthos family changed Johnny's life forever as Sonny and Claudia's marriage was toxic. Claudia had a part in Sonny's son Michael being shot, and if Sonny knew that she would be dead. Claudia had a miscarriage and lost Sonny's baby. While Anthony continued to plot against Sonny, he held Johnny hostage to keep him safe. Once Sonny found out what Claudia had done, he held a party to berate her (in classic soap opera fashion.) Claudia then went missing, and it was later discovered she was killed by Michael.

For a short time, Kristina (then played by Lexi Ainsworth) tried to use Johnny to get back at her father Sonny. This nearly got him killed by a bomb. Later, Sonny tried to kill him with gunfire, and eventually Sonny shot Johnny in the chest. Johnny survived, but lost Olivia after he had been shot again though thankfully not by Sonny.

Johnny then got involved in a loveless relationship with Lisa Niles. They slept together just cause they could, and she was as crazy as Claudia. Her fixation on Patrick made it impossible for them to be anything more then sex partners.

Dante (Dominic Zamprogna) who was Olivia's son and close to age with Johnny had an interesting relationship. Dante was a cop and on the right side of the law. That said if things had been different they could have been friends. Dante nearly caught Johnny planting drugs on Sonny and was shot. Johnny felt awful about this as it was his fault that Dante was hurt.

Johnny's next girlfriend was another older woman Carly (Laura Wright), who was Sonny's former wife. They began as friends, and then legitimately fell in love with her. To get back at Sonny, Johnny though took it to the next level and slept with Sonny's love interest Connie (Kelly Sullivan).  Once Carly found out they nearly were through, but she began to forgive him until he messed up yet again.

Johnny began to spiral out of control, due to his grandfather. He did everything he could to get rid of him including hiring someone to attempt to kill him. This action caused Cole and Hope Thornhart to die in a car accident. He continued to lie with then girlfriend Carly about what he had done. This allowed him to be blackmailed by Connie and he was forced to marry her, so she would not be institutionalized. Eventually Johnny told the truth about Anthony's death and also about Cole and Hope's deaths.

Johnny was sent to Pentonville for the foreseeable future as he plead guilty. Connie went to visit him in prison as he had news about Carly's son Morgan who was indebted to a mob family for online gambling. In his last scenes, Olivia visited him. As she left, she said that she knew he was a good person deep down inside.

Considering how Johnny started on GH, was the scion of a mob family and not one of Sonny's children, I was surprised by the characters longevity. I enjoyed Johnny more often than not, but I understood he was written into a corner. I'm just glad that the character didn't die so he could possibly visit again one day depending on story needs.

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