Just when we think the fall of formerly sweet schoolteacher Willow Tait on General Hospital is complete, she shocks and infuriates us once again with how hypocritical, judgemental, delusional, and bitter she can be.
Willow Tait: General Hospital Botched From Day 1
When the GH powers-that-be decided to give Willow (Katelyn MacMullen) cancer, we are sure they wanted us to feel an emotional attachment and sympathize with a character who had grown to become an unlikable shadow of her former self. Perhaps they wanted a way to bring some of her former fans back to her side. After all, a young mother learning she was pregnant and then learning she has cancer is the stuff sentimental and gut-wrenching soap stories are made of — IF the story didn’t turn out to be so tone-deaf and completely removed from reality.
One might think that presenting us with Willow’s decision to neglect to treat her cancer so the embryo she was carrying would have a better chance of developing right just at the time the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the 50-year precedent of Roe V. Wade was a sheer coincidence. After all, when the story was conceived of and put to paper, Roe was still the law of the land, but anyone who could read a reliable news story had to know that was coming to an end soon. Hence, the timing of Willow’s sympathy story was completely a case of not being able to read the room — or the country.
What would have made us feel for Willow after so many were turned off by her for looking like she wanted Chase (Josh Swickard) to die in 2021 and then cheating on him was Willow having to make the agonizing decision to either terminate her pregnancy or go ahead with cancer treatment knowing it had a chance of interfering with fetal development. We would have seen Willow choosing life — her life — and the continued happiness of the child she already had.
Once the Roe decision was handed down last June, GH had the chance to course-correct, especially after news stories emerged of pregnant women being denied chemotherapy in some states, but instead, the soap doubled down, angering more and more fans along the way.
Why Fans Are Rooting For Willow’s Cancer
At this point, GH is so far into the weeds with this insufferable, never-ending cancer story in which the woman who has received three weeks of treatment over the course of a year will live, that a large portion of the fandom is rooting for the cancer. Perhaps it’s the show’s portrayal of cancer that has done it, as this disease has touched everyone on Earth in some way, and it doesn’t play out as Willow’s has. Or maybe it’s the patient.
From day one, all we have seen is a woman who pretty much wants to die. From delaying treatment and keeping her cancer a secret to not even proactively looking for a bone marrow donor, Willow has pretty much decided that death becomes her, and maybe it does. After all, she was told she only had weeks to live in February, and in May, she was a stunning bride, walking down the aisle to greet her groom, Michael (Chad Duell). She was even standing up, walking around the living room holding a 15-pound baby like it was nothing. Isn’t cancer grand for Willow?
But maybe it’s more than just the way Willow’s cancer has been portrayed that has fans wishing she would have just gone to the light with Harmony (Inga Cadranel) months ago. Perhaps it is also her attitude. GH lost another soapy chance when Carly (Laura Wright) finally confessed that she had been keeping the fact that Nina (Cynthia Watros) was Willow’s mother to herself for months. After nearly a decade, Nina had finally found her daughter — or, in this case, a second daughter — and rather than watching her finally bond with her daughter when she was near death, we watched that daughter spew hate from day one.
It’s a soap trope for long-lost mothers and daughters to hate each other before the truth comes out. It’s even more of a trope to have the shocked parties bond while one is on her deathbed. That did not happen with Willow. Instead, we watched Willow praise the woman who lied to her and shun the one she was stolen from.
Nina didn’t even put Willow up for adoption as Bobbie (Jacklyn Zeman) did with Carly, and Alexis (Nancy Lee Grahn) did with Sam (Kelly Monaco). Both of her children were stolen from her by her mother while she lingered in a 20-year coma. As Willow wallowed in her own self-pity over a dying situation she brought on herself, she absolutely refused to ask herself how she and Nina got to this place, nor did she ever consider that Nina is a human being with feelings because apparently only Carly’s feelings count.
Willow Tait Doubles Down On Classless General Hospital Cruelty
Despite facing her own mortality in General Hospital and knowing that she was stolen from her mother at birth, Willow Tait is unable to show any grace to this woman. Yes, Willow and Nina got off on the wrong foot several years ago and could have even been considered enemies at one time, but they had made peace with one another. When Willow was still capable of thinking for herself and not only spewing out Michael and Carly’s thoughts, she would have been able to see the bigger picture and realize that when you don’t have much time left, you be kind to the people who love you and not intentionally cruel.
People do the wrong thing sometimes. Nina did that when she kept Sonny’s (Maurice Benard) alive status a secret in Nixon Falls. Willow even made a huge mistake when she married Chase while in love with Michael and then cheated on him. And Carly has made a million mistakes, one of which was actively allowing Willow to believe the birth mother she was searching for had died.
Yet, when Willow thinks she may only have days to live, what did she do? She called Nina into her room and asked her to be nice to Carly as a final dying wish of her mother. When Nina was taken aback by this and hesitated for a moment, dying Willow lashed out at her and started berating the woman whose aunt is going to save her life with bone marrow. Classless and cruel are the only two words that could be used to describe that moment.
And what of that marrow that is going to miraculously save the life of a woman who didn’t care to treat her own cancer? Well, that marrow comes from an actual person whose life was just in danger. But did Willow care? Did Michael care? Did Carly care? Did Josslyn (Eden McCoy) care? Heck no. Liesl is an afterthought because the only thing about her that counts to this selfish crew of self-righteous hypocrites is what Aunt Liesl could give them, not Liesl herself.
When characters are that self-centered, that un-self-aware, that self-absorbed, and that utterly selfish, yes, a soap’s fans are going to hope cancer does its thing. That is when you know whatever writers intended for a story has failed spectacularly.
General Hospital airs weekdays on ABC. Check your local listings for airtimes. For more about what’s coming up in Port Charles, check out all the latest GH spoilers, and for an in-depth look at the show’s history, click here.
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