In memory of Stone's death, 17 years ago today, a look book at what one soap expert picked as an example of soaps at the top of their game.
Originally published 10/25/11:
In lieu of yesterday's General Hospital episode where whack-a-doodle Lisa attempted to inject Patrick with his wife, Robin's, HIV+ blood, opinions on my particular Twitter feed (@SoapOpera451) were split between those who thought the act was daringly and perfectly in character for a demented supervillain like Lisa and a pertinent nod to Robin's history, and those who were disgusted and offended at the misinformation such an act could trigger as well as the exploitation and the suggestion that threatening to infect anyone with AIDS could ever be considered entertainment.
For newer viewers, the history they refer to is Robin's original diagnosis in 1995, as recalled in my book, Soap Opera 451: A Time Capsule of Daytime Drama's Greatest Moments by Soap Opera Weekly's Mala Bhattacharjee, who wrote:
As a young girl growing up along with Robin (we're exactly the same age), I invested wholeheartedly in her first real love story. My heart fluttered right along with hers as she experienced the highs and lows of forbidden romance. But the pathos was taken to another level when, in the wake of a deadly mob hit, a wounded Stone revealed to Robin that he'd tested positive for HIV. Bloody, defeated and terrified, he begged her to go away, to leave him. Of course, viewers already knew they'd been having sex without a condom… and while Robin's eventual HIV diagnosis wasn't that much of a surprise, it absolutely gutted Stone, who had developed full-blown AIDS.
Equal parts personal, human tragedy and teaching moment, (Headwriter) Claire Labine's beautifully crafted story drew on the medical expertise of characters like Alan Quartermaine and Kevin Collins, who supported Stone and Robin and educated the audience about HIV and AIDS. Robin's uncle Mac, her guardian in the wake of her parents' presumed death, had to grapple with guilt and a sense of failure while trying to be strong for his niece. The entire community of Port Charles pulled together, with then-villain and supporting player Sonny Corinthos showing depths that would soon make Maurice Benard the show's lead.
Read more from Mala and dozens of other soap opera experts, actors, writers and producers at:
And catch her no-holds barred opinions on all things pop culture at: http://badnecklace.com/