He represents something real--something deep and painful inside us all. Yes, General Hospital's comic relief resonates loudly for me on a more dramatic scale.
Once, Spinelli told Maxie that they were similar because they were often (most unfairly) misunderstood. Just consider Spinelli for a moment. He is highly intelligent, fiercely loyal, loving, and kind. All of these positive attributes, however, do not seem to save him from being an outsider. Spinelli is still "The Jackal", computer hacker extrodinaire with a vocabulary rivaling that of Shakespeare and a deviant style of interacting with others. This causes him to be literally and figuratively misunderstood at times, throwing people off his wonderful characteristics at first glance.
So, if you have ever felt like no one understands you, that you're weird, that you are strange, or maybe just a little different from everyone else, Spinelli can appeal to you.
Why do I say these things? In the upcoming week (spoilers ahead, you have been warned), Spinelli will be presented with a character that mimics him in every way, almost to the point of identity theft, in the form of Winnifred. If and when she is revealed to be actually a federal agent trying to get information from Spinelli regarding the mob I dread the pain this character will go through. She won't be as similar to him as he thought, and I expect a moment of devestation. Within a short amount of time, Spinelli's definition of self will be in for some seriously painful times.
“How glorious it is – and also how painful – to be an exception.” ---Louis Charles Alfred de Musset, French author
I dread watching the pain of a young man briefly finding peace with the way he is only to have it shattered moments later as his trust and self image are challenged all at once. I dread the moment of pain that many will feel watching this slow realization fall over his face, as the audience connects his scene with a moment in their own lives when they were in his shoes. Every insecurity he has ever had will be pushed out into the direct light for examination and embarrassment.
I dread it, and I revel in it at the same time.
Soaps are known for having the hunkiest hunks and the hottest hotties, but there is nothing more beautiful to me than seeing a character that seems as flesh and blood as myself deal with real pain. It's in those moments that I don't see Spinelli; I see Lindsay--the quiet academic, the woman who will struggle to make something of herself in the boy's club of Hollywood, wearing her Converse tennis shoes. I also see my friends, my family, and my enemies, because we all know that feeling of being the outsider-- of wondering if everyone is in on the joke but YOU.
As a film student, this is the kind of stuff I live for, that I have shaped my future career around-- art immitating life. The scenes might not be longer than a few minutes, if that. They'll be quickly forgotten as the next dramatic scene takes precedence. Probably, even after such angst, Spinelli will return to doing a lot of comedic relief. But for a brief moment, Spinelli will be the most true to life character on the screen in a very long time.
For further reading, visit the Spinelli Live Journal here to see why Spinelli appeals to some fans.