It's the most controversial soap plot of the year but is it really what we think it is? General Hospital has sent teenager Michael Corinthos III (Chad Duell) to prison for the death of his stepmother and, while there, he's been repeatedly beaten and presumably raped by Carter (Joshua Wingate), an inmate who is in league with the psychotic artist Franco (James Franco). Though the soap is dropping all sorts of hints that Michael has been sexually violated, no one on screen is using the R word. Nor is anyone at ABC Daytime. In fact, last week a network rep told TV Guide Magazine that the show wants viewers to make up their own minds about what's happening to Michael. But now GH's Emmy-winning head writer Bob Guza is coughing up a bit more info.
TVGuide.com: Why the veil of secrecy over this story line? Has Michael been raped or not?
Guza: I have never confirmed that he was and I'm not about to. Our focus right now is on the horrific experience of an 18- or 19-year-old who is thrown into a terrible situation like this. I just didn't want to make the story more specific at this point. However, that's not to say that I won't be getting very specific in three or four or five months down the line. This situation is going to rear its ugly head in a big way and Michael is going to have to deal with it. This is a story that needs to be parceled out.
TVGuide.com: It's hard to imagine that a kid like Michael would be beaten up in prison but not raped. We've seen Oz! Given the way you've set this thing up, don't you pretty much have to go there? Otherwise, you're candycoating the prison experience.
Guza: Look, Michael is a very good-looking young man whose father is the John Gotti of Port Charles. He's not going to spend 10 minutes in prison, much less a month, without getting unwanted attention. It would be dishonorable—and at the very least candycoating—for us not to see that through. But that doesn't mean we have to do the entire story—bam!—all at once.
TVGuide.com: So how long will Michael stay in the slammer?
Guza: We will get him out of there in a very interesting way and relatively quickly. And then this thing [that happened to him] will fester and much, much more will be revealed.