Commentary GH

Why General Hospital’s Esme-Ryan ‘Pairing’ Is A Classic Soap Throwback

General Hospital Esme and RyanGeneral Hospital Esme and Ryan

General Hospital shocked fans this past week when we finally learned why Esme Prince (Avery Kristen Pohl) has been so obsessed with working at Spring Ridge and fascinated by its most famous inmate, Ryan Chamberlain, perhaps one of the most chilling soap villains of all time thanks to the genius of Jon Lindstrom. When Esme called Ryan “Daddy,” not too many people were shocked, but when she added in a creepy “You like when I call you that, don’t you?” our skin began to crawl because that was not expected at all.

General Hospital Ups The Creep Factor

As the scenes progressed and Esme started longingly and lovingly at Ryan and stroked his hand, we wondered if he was really her father or if they had an odd sexual relationship. Then, Ryan called her his daughter and it seemed they really are father and daughter.

While General Hospital is still leaving it vague as to whether Ryan and Esme really are father and daughter, many fans were immediately stunned that a soap would create such seemingly-incestuous scenes between a possible father-daughter duo, but longtime soap fans will remember this is not anything new at all.

All My Children’s Palmer and Nina

Who can ever forget how much Palmer Cortlandt (James Mitchell) absolutely adored his precious daughter, Nina (Taylor Miller), on All My Children? Before we learned his name was Pete Cooney and he hailed from the backwoods of West Virginia and before he married Opal Gardner (Jill Larson) and became a comic-relief character, Palmer was one of the most manipulative men in Pine Valley, and his relationship with his daughter Nina seemed off until he finally allowed her to marry Cliff Warner (Peter Bergman). And even then, he looked like he was giving away a lover when he walked her down the aisle.

Who can ever forget the long, loving looks that Palmer gave Nina in these intimate scenes that seemed way too intimate for a father and his daughter? The way he touched her hair or even sniffed her scent on her scarf was enough to make soap fans wonder what was really in Palmer’s mind and if Nina ever suffered in ways we never knew because of it. That is how Palmer and Nina were introduced to the show and many fans were thankful when their relationship evolved into something more normal and acceptable.

Another World’s Iris and Mac

When Iris (Beverlee McKinsey) and Mac Cory (Douglass Watson) first made their way to Bay City and onto Another World, there was nobody who loved her father more than Iris. In fact, she adored him so much, she seemed to be madly in love with him. Since they were father and daughter, that was a thought fans wanted to put out of their mind. Still, it was hard not to be reminded of how Iris looked at Mac all those decades ago, wanting to please her Daddy and make him adore her, just like Esme wants Ryan to worship the ground she walks on.

The jealousy Iris felt was palpable when Mac fell in love with Rachel Davis and married her. Of course, there was nothing truly incestuous going on because Iris eventually learned she had been adopted when Rachel gave birth to Amanda Cory. But the inappropriate type of love Iris felt for her father was there since long before she ever knew they weren’t related biologically.

While General Hospital is going to a place we never expected with Ryan and Esme, it’s not like soaps have never done this before, and we can’t wait to see what happens with this Port Charles’ newest inappropriate (possible) father-daughter pair.

General Hospital (GH) 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 that’s been posted on GH spoilers, and for an in-depth look at the show’s history, click here.

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