Regan Reax: My Love Affair With Rebecca Herbst and Elizabeth Webber





Shocked, dismayed, sad, disappointed, angry, heartbroken — I’m experiencing a full body of emotions, all due to the ridiculous firing of Rebecca Herbst (Elizabeth Webber) from General Hospital. I know, some—maybe most—will jump to the conclusion that my dismay is due to my love of all things Liason, the unforgettable romantic pairing featuring Herbst’s Liz and Jason Morgan (Steve Burton), and I won’t lie, that definitely plays a part, but I have been having a love affair with the character of Elizabeth Webber since long before she fell for Jason. In fact, I've loved Liz and Herbst since they first popped up in Port Charles back in 1997.

Elizabeth’s storylines over the past 13 years have made her one of my all-time favorite soap opera characters, while Herbst's performances in those storylines resulted in her becoming one of my favorite daytime actresses. "Bad" Lizzie Webber was a force to be reckoned with when she first showed up at Audrey’s (Rachel Ames). You just couldn’t help but root for the underdog, little sister over the more “perfect” Sarah.

When GH scribe Michele Val Jean made the decision to write a brutal rape storyline for the character of Liz, Herbst’s acting choices —not to mention the elegant writing—transformed her into a fan favorite, which she’s been ever since. Who could ever forget a shattered and broken Elizabeth crawling out of those bushes, only to be found by Lucky (Jonathan Jackson)?

A teen love affair was created through pain and healing. Simply put, it was one of the best stories General Hospital has ever told, brilliantly acted by Herbst and Jackson. It also led to GH finally revisiting one of the most controversial arcs in the soap’s history, when Lucky learned his father, Luke Spencer (Anthony Geary) had raped his mother Laura (Genie Francis).

The tender care Lucky showed for Elizabeth as they both dealt with the scars sexual violence had left on them, made what could have been just another soap teen pairing a bonafide supercouple. Remember Lucky and Liz hiding out in the catacombs, or making a home out of an abandoned boxcar, with Elizabeth painting the walls? These two were destined to be together, until they weren’t.

With plans to move to New York City, Lucky and Elizabeth gave us one of their most memorable moments, exchanging vows in an empty church, just the two of them, promising their love and life to each other. That love ended in tragedy, when Lucky was thought to have died in a fire. Herbst rose up to the challenge again, giving yet another heart-wrenching performance, stopping fans in our tracks as a result.

Out of Lucky’s “death”, Liason was born. Yes, here is where my love of Jason and Elizabeth: The Couple began. The two started out as friends, helping one another in their own way. Elizabeth needed someone to help her mourn over lost love, Jason was reeling after seeing Sonny (Maurice Benard) with Carly (Sarah Brown). When Liz found him shot and bleeding in the snow, magic transpired. Liz was on to her second, epic love story in Port Charles, one born in friendship. It’s sad TPTB never seemed to realize how much this pairing came to mean to fans of General Hospital.

The winter Jason spent hiding out in Elizabeth’s studio gave fans some of the best moments in Liason’s history, a slew of Liason lovers, including me, were hooked, but Liason just couldn’t make it work. Whether it was Burton’s comings and goings, or the brass deciding to put Jason with one flashy, story hog newcomer or another, fans of Liason always got just close enough to forever before having the rug pulled out.

Then, after years apart, Liason fans finally got what we’d been waiting for. A drugged up and cheating Lucky (then played by Greg Vaughan) and Sam McCall (Kelly Monaco) rolling around on the floor with her own mother’s husband, caused the fates to align as Liz walked up those infamous stairs and into the arms of the one man she could never forget, mob lifestyle be damned!

Both in need of comfort, Liason exploded in a night of passion we fans will never forget. The blessing of a faulty Quartermaine-produced condom gave us baby Jake and at long last what felt like a real shot for Elizabeth and Jason, that is until a bullet ripped through Michael’s skull.

All along the way, Herbst rolled with the punches, not to mention the Lucky recasts and paycuts. From Jackson to Jacob Young to Greg Vaughan to ultimately Jackson again, Herbst never missed a beat, managing to preserve Liz’s integrity and spirit, even as one out-of-character plot point after another was written and executed to try to make fans dislike the character. Sorry, it didn’t work.

ABC Daytime and General Hospital have made a huge error in judgment. Failing to see the potential and legacy Liz brings to the canvas (Hello, she's Dr. Steve Hardy's granddaughter!) only tells me what fans have been claiming all along is absolutely true — General Hospital has no respect for history, veterans or their viewers, and this “storyline dictated” exit proves it.

Photo Credit: ABC


Comments

Member since:
14 December 2008
Last activity:
19 weeks 4 days

Wonderful article, Reagan! I've not always been a regular viewer of GH but I've always known about Liz and Lucky and have always liked Liz, amlost by default. I honestly can't believe Fron is giving her the boot; he deseves the boot himself!

GHfan-4now's picture
Member since:
29 August 2010
Last activity:
2 weeks 1 day

This is for all the Liz/Becky fans. Heard about it on blogtalk radio and it's been posted all over twitter and various sites protesting this 'storyline dictated' travesty. I give credit to the creator of the vid. Bravo!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uu2NMljzi1o

Song: Carrie Underwood
Music: Lessons Learned

And once again, beautiful post, Regan.

Member since:
19 June 2009
Last activity:
22 hours 3 min

Excellent piece of writing. I think this is going to be one of those watershed moments that people may one day point to as something the show may never recover from such as the deaths of Maureen Bauer on GL or the death of Frankie Frame on AW. There were many years after Maureen was killed off but the show really wasn't ever the same after that.

When you cut out the heart of your show (not the main character but the character that represents the heart and what is good with the world), what do you have left?

Member since:
20 August 2008
Last activity:
2 years 30 weeks

Regan - i FLOVE you!!!

you pretty much said it all. i started watching GH about a year before lizzie/becky showed up and she is one of the main reasons i got sucked into GH. every scene you mentioned still hits an emotional note for me. liz crawling from the bushes will always be THE seminal GH scene for me. it was so powerful and raw and becky and jonathan just nailed it. L&L, then Liason... and like you said, it really just confirms that GH's current regime doesn't give a crap about the show's history. i sympathise with all the actors and crew working on the show as well as the fans who continue to watch it because the regime clearly doesn't give a crap about any of them.

Member since:
7 July 2008
Last activity:
44 weeks 6 days

Reagan, you say it best. Thank you. Please let GH preserve "Liz's integrity and spirit" in their exit story for her.

Member since:
20 January 2011
Last activity:
3 years 12 weeks

I registered on this site just to comment on this article, because I am heartbroken at GH's decision to let Rebecca Herbst go. Heartbroken and angry, disappointed and confused. Rebecca Herbst is one of the most compelling actresses on screen today, and why the GH executives decided to let her go is a decision that absolutely baffles me. Elizabeth is one of the most beloved characters on the show, she has fans across multiple pairings, to say nothing of all the half written and unfinished storylines (what was the point of bringing Aiden onto the canvas if they were just going to get rid of the actress who plays his mother??).

Needless to say, I'm immensely disappointed and for the first time in my life plan on writing a letter to ABC to complain about this decision (I've never written a letter on anyones behalf before, and I'm not the type of person who sends a million pencils or whatever to a tv executive when her favorite show gets cancelled). I am sure Rebecca will land on her feet (she and Jonathan Jackson were what got me watching this show back in the 90s when i was just a kid!). She's a marvelous actress and I wish her all the best in her future endeavours. I just hope the GH executives realize they're only injuring fan loyalty by letting this actress go.

mrsnoahdrake's picture
Member since:
2 January 2008
Last activity:
1 year 15 weeks

Regan,
Thanks for a lovely tribute.
I also remember when Lizzie Webber and made Audrey Hardy's life a lot more interesting.
L&L2 (with JJ) is one of my favorite all time love stories.
As a die-hard Liason fan, I long ago that the ABC wind was blowing in the Jasam direction.
I was willing to accept L&L2 again when JJ returned as they still have chemistry together (but not as great as Liason)
Why would GH kill off the 1 character who is a Hardy, a Webber, and has ties to the Spencers, Cassadines, Quartermaines and all important MOB family? Way before Liason, Emily & Liz were bffs. She also has a history with Jax (surrogate) and is friends with both Robin and Patrick.
She can also mix it up with Carly & Maxie at any given time.
So why get rid of the character who is tied to every major family and could be integrated in countless storylines?
What about bringing back her dad - McGyver himself Richard Dean Anderson?
And we still have the 2 big baby reveals - 1) Jake to the Quartermaines & to her bff Robin & the rest of PC
2) Aiden - which has tons of potential in terms of the whole Cassadine / Spencer feud and the interesting parallel that Jax first raised Spencer & not his bio dad Nik and now the same will happen with Lucky/ Nik.
I also consider Robin & Liz as the "heart and soul" characters of GH.
(Brenda not so much anymore)
RH gave her heart and soul to GH and she gets a slap in the face as a thank you.
Thank you Becky and the best to you and your family.
May someone who will truly appreciate you invite you to be part an integral part of their cast.

Saher89's picture
Member since:
31 October 2010
Last activity:
2 years 51 weeks

beautiful article!! u said everything that i've wanted to say, or spent time calling GH trying to tell them about it. thanks!Smile

timepass's picture
Member since:
20 November 2007
Last activity:
5 days 7 hours

Great one Reagan very eloquent!

A great lost!

Member since:
4 January 2009
Last activity:
1 year 16 weeks

I love your article and you sum up exactly how I feel about Rebecca/Liz/Liason.. I saw where some say they won't watch GH and I totally agree Will not watch you further destroy such a wonderful character and actress.

GH stopped being a must watch show a few years ago and has went steadily down hill at a rapid pace since then. Frons and his agenda driven BS are the reason I will NEVER watch GH again.

I'm a 30+ former fan and I've watched a lot of CRAP throughtout the years but this was the Final Straw that broke me from ever "wanting" to watch this crap fest of a show again. My only wish would be that Sbu would 'retire' and leave all of those jerks in a real pickle. Now THAT would make me LMAO. IF Frons couldn't have his 'it' couple, the one that is tanking by the way, I would LOVE it. It would serve him right if Sbu walked!

Hope frons and his obsession with that pairing that IS NOT WORKING go straight to hades! They've ruined a legacy soap and for what? A pairing that sux the life out of his leading man? Right.. that makes so much sense.. oh and if you think fans will just 'forget' Liz and what she meant to Jason your deluded... fans don't forget.. and that is your biggest mistake, in thinking that your whitewash of Sam would EVER be bought by most fans! Won't happen. All you've done is give the fans who were on the 'fence' about returning to watching a real reason to NEVER watch again.

Screw you Frons and I hope GH is not around much longer for you to F up anymore characters, of course you've pretty much done that already...

Proud to say I am now a Y&R fan and won't ever look back to ABC again. Sure hope they Pick Up Rebecca and she can SHINE on there...

GHfan-4now's picture
Member since:
29 August 2010
Last activity:
2 weeks 1 day

^^^ I have to say, I loved your post! And I'm hoping she might get picked up by Grey's--since the Head D*ck in Charge has nothing to do with Primetime. I've wanted her on there for a long time, and I think Meredith could use another sister! Tongue Or she could be snatched up by another hot gig like Castle, or practically ANYTHING on CBS. Honestly, I'd follow her anywhere, and I don't say that about many actresses or actors. I followed VMG to Las Vegas and Shemar to Criminal Minds.

That being said, I no longer give ABCD my ratings. DOOL is my new best friend in that timeslot because GH has been dunzo for me since all this went down. I hung on for as long as I could, hoping it would get better, for Liz in particular, but this was the nail in the coffin for me. I watch clips of OLTL on YouTube since they can't track it because I REFUSE to give anything to ABCD online. They can suck on it. Stare Choke on that, HDIC.

Member since:
17 October 2009
Last activity:
1 year 19 weeks

Regan,

Next time anyone wonders what gives with soap operas, and why I'm a longtime fan of General Hospital, all I'll have to do is point them to this column supporting Rebecca Herbst. THANK YOU for your eloquent analysis.

I gave up watching All My Children last year - just couldn't take it any more - and I'm wondering about the path for GH. I'm not picky and don't hate any of the couples, past or present. I could even go with Elizabeth giving in to her passions with Nicholas. All because the essence of her character, and her experiences, enriched the show in a way that was distinctly her own.

I wish the best for Rebecca, and maybe in the long run that means heading to other opportunities. But I hope that the show will hear from lots of people, change its mind, and ask her back, and write an exciting, engaging story for her many fans.

Love the website. Adore the podcasts. Keep on keeping on!

terrifictam's picture
Member since:
27 December 2007
Last activity:
1 week 6 days

Regan that was beautiful!

Becky has ALWAYS been a favourite! I dont feel like it is....but I'm really hoping it's a 'soap hoax'!