Do you know what I remember most about young Elizabeth Webber? I remember two things.
1. I remember what a hellion she was when she first arrived. Like so many of daytime’s bad girls, Liz’s bark was far worse than her bite. For her rough exterior, she was just one more sad and lonely kid who desperately wanted to fit in, but had no idea how to do it. It’s what made her so likable and worth rooting for. Despite her awful behavior – it was hard to avoid rooting for her happiness. If anyone deserved happiness, she did. Enter, Lucky Spencer.
Lucky was smitten with Liz’s sister, Sarah Webber, and didn’t know that Liz, who was equally smitten with him, was alive. He couldn’t see past Sarah’s bright and shiny face. Sarah was the image of perfection. Elizabeth grew tired of being considered the Webber sister in need of perfecting. It made sense that she would want Lucky, who was as sad and lonely and as imperfect as she was.
2. I also remember Liz and Lucky after her rape. I know that for some fans the rape scene was Liz’s defining moment, but not for me. Having never been a fan of storylines in which bad girls are raped and then ‘go good’, I hated this one even more because clearly Rebecca Herbst had the range to transform Liz to an openly likable character without the manipulation of using sexual violence against the character to bring fans to her side. Liz and Lucky, after the rape, were about as endearing as any soap couple has ever been. Lucky was there to stand WITH (not just ‘by’) her as she figured out who she wanted to become, and what her life would mean to her after the assault. They defied anyone who would try to tear them apart, and they stood against the world together. It was one of the few teen storylines I’ve ever been able to watch or enjoy.
I remember Eilzabeth Webber as a far more complete character THEN, than the character she’s become now. For whatever reason, almost from the day Liz found Jason bleeding in the boxcar (post his finding Sonny and his beloved Carly together), the writers have decided that Liz would become that self-destructive teen again. This time they created a more subtle version of “teen Liz”, but this one is far more self-destructive and is taking everything and everyone around her down with her. She has repeatedly turned her world upside down, trying to find happiness where there isn’t necessarily any happiness to be had.
The irony is that during Lucky’ s addiction storyline, we learned that Liz felt betrayed by his addiction to painkillers. It felt, to her, like a rejection of their lives and their love together.
The soap reality is that Liz has been nursing a looming addiction of her own, one that keeps tearing her family apart and hurting everyone who dares to love or trust her. Elizabeth’s addiction is to impossible love affairs. Zander Smith. Ric Lansing. Jason Morgan. And now her obsession turns to Prince Nikolas Cassadine – her fiance’s brother. Why is she with Nik? Because as much as she ‘loves’ Lucky, she believes that she’s ‘in love’ with Nik. For now, given the fact that we get little more than ‘happy happy hump hump’ scenes from them, it feels more as if Liz is in LUST with Nik. Short of him leaving money on the table for her, or her leaving money on the table for him, it’s hard to tell their relationship apart from any other ‘transaction’. It’s just one more opportunity for Liz to hurt Lucky, and to remind him that he’ll never be enough for her. No one will.
If she was really looking for love, she’d look for someone whose life wouldn’t put her and her children’s lives at risk. (Isn’t ti time to cue Helena Cassadine?) She wouldn’t keep falling for men who encourage her penchant for infidelity and who treat her as if she’s only as good as the sex she gives them. They’d respect her and her conflicted feelings more than that. If she truly loved Lucky, she wouldn’t ask him to continue to sit back and watch her self-destruct when she clearly has no intention of changing her behavior. Liz’s idea of love is the equivalent of an extended hand over an open flame – unlike teen Liz, adult Liz keeps asking Lucky to put his hand in the flame with hers.
Many fans, myself included, want to see Lucky confront Liz, and tell her where to stick her ‘love’. Each new self-destructive relationship steals away more and more of what was once likable about this character – in part because she continues to steal a bit of Lucky’s soul along the way. ALL characters enter into relationships that exist on borrowed time. She’s hardly new at it. Liz just happens to be among the worst of GH characters who not only makes the jump to ‘new love’ more frequently than others, but she just can’t seem to end her former relationship before starting a new one. She’s one of the few GH characters who drags the victim of the former relationship (typically Lucky Spencer) kicking and screaming into the new one.
This time, Lucky was willing to walk away and leave her to find her ‘happiness’. Liz wouldn’t let him. She decided that she had to propose and lead him to believe that she wanted to share the rest of her life with him. For fans like me? We’ve had it to HERE with her constant justifications and rationalizations for her behavior. Is Liz worse than any other woman (or man) on this show? YES! Not because of her actions – because her actions are somewhat the same as others. What makes her worse is her inability to enage in serial monogamy and because of the lies she tells to cover her behavior.
There was a ‘good enough’ lie for each of her paternity ‘mishaps’.
There was a ‘good enough’ lie for her affair with Zander.
There was a ‘good enough’ lie for the first affair with Jason.
There is now a ‘good enough’ lie for sleeping around with Nik.
She’s doing this FOR Lucky, don’t you know?
She owes him! (Apparenly she owes him everything but the truth about not loving him.)
She wants to give him the family he never had. (Not realizing that she’s treating him as bad as his father has treated both him and his mother over the last several years). I’ve made that point earlier HERE.
She wants to make him happy. (Sleeping with your fiance’s brother brings him all kinds of kicks and giggles. She’s so right).
I remember the Elizabeth Spencer who couldn’t stop herself from telling Carly Corinthos what a bad mother she was to date a man who could put her children in danger, as well as telling Carly what a horrible human being she is. Liz is quickly headed into Carly Corinthos Jacks territory… and at this rate, the writers may end up offereing us Carly 2.0 mothering a teenaged Cam or Jake rebelling against the latest family upheaval, the newest stepdad, and the mom whose love life wrecks every bit of stability they’ve ever known. Liz is starting to make Carly, and every other woman she’s ever condemned, look a hell of a lot better.