How General Hospital Ruined The Legacy of Robin's Groundbreaking HIV Saga in One Episode






Disgusting and depraved are generally not words you would ever think to use in a sentence concerning anything associated with beloved General Hospital heroine Robin Scorpio (Kimberly McCullough).Today's episode of GH, however, was quite possibly the most horrifying, unnerving hour of daytime television I've ever witnessed — and not in a good way. Viewers tuning in for a little love in the afternoon were instead treated to Robin and her husband Patrick (Jason Thompson) being terrorized by a psychotic Lisa (Brianna Brown), wielding a needle filled with Robin's HIV positive blood. 


We've seen a lot of groundbreaking soap stories pissed on over the years, but this disgusting sequence takes the cake. Who thought it would be a good idea to use Robin's HIV status as a weapon — a plot point in pre-Sweeps stunt? Does new head writer Garin Wolf really believe making a mockery of Claire Labine's classic, heart-wrenching tale of a woman who lost her first love to AIDS, only to be diagnosed with HIV herself, is the way to get more young women to watch this endangered soap? I find this plot twist appalling and tragic to say the least.

GH made a daring, game-changing decision when they decided to have "Little Robin," who millions of fans had watched grow up, contract HIV from her boyfriend Stone Cates (Michael Sutton) in 1995. The storyline was timely, provocative and relatable to the soap's millions of viewers, who were either petrified, uninformed or both, about what was still a very mysterious and lethal disease.

Through Robin, fans realized HIV didn't have to be a death sentence. Her story became one of hope and courage that kept in lockstep with the real-life advances in HIV and AIDS treatment. We watched Robin go on her drug cocktail, find love several times, become a doctor and ultimately have her viral load become so undetectable she was able to give birth to an HIV negative child. Yet in one episode, Wolf has threatened to wash all of that progress away.

Is this really the message soaps should be sending to the impressionable young viewers who still watch these programs? If you can't be with the one you love, kidnap, terrorize and try to infect them with a life-threatening ailment? Wasn't Wolf championed by actors and on magazine covers as being the savior of GH? Where is this "pro" women writer fans were promised? 

One of critics biggest complaints about Wolf's predecessor Bob Guza was that his writing was too dark, and to be quite honest, more times than not it was. Even as a fan of Guza, I thought he pushed the envelop too far when he allowed Lisa to even toy with Robin's HIV medication, but today's episode of GH just had to take things one vile step further. I think Garin Wolf, GH's executive producer Jill Farren Phelps and ABC Daytime President Brian Frons should be ashamed of themselves for today's episode of GH, but something tells me that isn't the case.

Photo credit: ABC


Comments

Ryan-Scott's picture
Member since:
4 May 2009
Last activity:
16 hours 1 min

Amen Jillian!

How this crap makes it to air blows my mind!

GHvetfan's picture
Member since:
26 October 2009
Last activity:
3 days 22 hours

Unbelievable!!!!

WickedThoughts's picture
Member since:
23 January 2010
Last activity:
1 year 6 weeks

It's so obvious that they are deliberating writing this show in the garbage.
GH's rating is sinking fast and I believe Frons and Sweeney want that to happen...Congratulations assholes....it looks like you're succeeding.

soapjunkie88's picture
Member since:
3 July 2008
Last activity:
1 day 20 hours

Amen to that!

I can't believe I really watched these scenes ... I was disgusted! How are we supposed to enjoy this hour of television anymore????

Soaps are dying, but they aren't dying because the genre is at the end of it's time. Daytime dramas are dying because of stupid people like Wolf, Phelps and Frons, who actually think we want to see this stupid shit!!!

Well these of us who are left anyway.

I'm at a point where I don't get this industry anymore. At a point where I don't know if they people in charge either have no brain or are really doing this intentionally and having fun over seeing fans getting angry and wish that their favorite soap gets canceled.

ABC does primetime soaps so well ... look at these eight years of DH or the best new show of this fall, "Revenge". Why do we have to put up with crap like that in Daytime and in the end of the day have to hear from these executives, who think they are experts, that the genre is dead ... that it's time to move on to awful shows like "The Chew".

What is that????? Are they doing a fucking joke on us? What's going on? What do these people do all day? Who do they justify this crap???
Why do writers don't talk to us anymore? Why are we keep hearing promises that they never keep?
I would really like to do an interview with people like Garin Wolf or Maria Arena Bell these days and ask them if they know what SHIT is airing on our screen. How they defend themselves when they hear that they are screwing with the show's history and making them unbearable to watch.

I remember a time in 2008, when everyone was praising MAB, she went on interviews twice a months. You could read exclusives with her everywhere, where she said how deeply she cares about the viewer's opinion and wants to live up to her late father-in-law's legacy.

Well where are these interviews now??? TPTB are shutting us out completely. Making decisions nobody understands and are telling stories that should questioning our intelligence...

This industry is a huge disappointment and I think it currently represents EVERYTHING that is WRONG in this BUSINESS!!!!!!

"GENERAL HOSPITAL" - shame on you! "THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS" - shame on you!

These two shows deserve to be CANCELED, because at that point it's a bloody shame that crap like that gets THE HONOR of being called a soap opera.

soapbaby's picture
Member since:
7 April 2011
Last activity:
1 day 5 hours

Word! It's a travesty that Claire Labine's beatifully-crafted work is dismantled by this writer. Not only is it disgusting, it's terribly incorrect. Injecting Patrick with Robin's blood would likely send Patrick into shock as their blood types are probably incompatible. Also, Patrick could receive post-exposure prophylaxis and prevent an infection so soon after receiving Robin's blood. As a doctor Lisa should know these things. But of course Lisa did come out of a coma with enough strength to overpower half dozen people, including tossing Liz off a boat and incompacitating 6'3 Patrick.

Reality aside, GH continues to dishonor its rich legacy. Robin is a beloved character we watched grow up and fall in love, marry and give birth. She being a woman living with HIV for nearly twenty years is an important story. Under Guza, and now Wolf, Robin's HIV status is only mentioned as her source of shame and now, a weapon. It's disgusting and a slap in the face of the audience and those who live with the disease. I hope the larger media grabs hold of GH's role in spreading HIV stigmas and is held accountable.

daisychains7's picture
Member since:
27 January 2010
Last activity:
2 years 23 weeks

The story is insulting beyond belief. I am so disappointed and ashamed of what this show has become. Do they not have a medical consultant, fans, actors... Hell, an intern who could have said what a terrible idea this was?!

My heart breaks for any HIV-positive fan who may have been watching today. Garin Wolf has done a great job of alienating them.

harlee490's picture
Member since:
6 December 2009
Last activity:
9 hours 2 min

Oh my God, Jillian!! I don't watch GH but read the passionate posts by GH's long-standing fans to know enough (I thought Y&R had problems) and can't believe how irresponsible the HW, EP and everyone at Disney plus ABC could make a mockery of this dreaded disease, not to mention the story history you spoke of in your piece. That is disgusting and repulsive and find this very offensive to many of my family & friends that have pasted or still living with HIV daily. Fans unite and call ABC express your displeasure of being morally bankrupt and not caring about young kids home from school watching the episode. This comes across to me to further push the prejudices and stereotype of HIV. There is no regard for history and story on soaps today, all they go for is pure shock value and no substance. At least DOOL is trying to put substance back in soap opera story telling and they were the one soap that went for SHOCK value. Loyalty is so hard to continue to watch soaps today for this reason, there isn't good build to story telling, so we get this type of crap no thanks, my loyalty to soaps is over.

mipeony's picture
Member since:
23 September 2010
Last activity:
16 weeks 6 days

It breaks my heart to see my beloved GH reduced to this drivel. It's as if they can't drive it into the ground fast enough. Sigh.

GHvetfan's picture
Member since:
26 October 2009
Last activity:
3 days 22 hours

No wonder Kimberly spoke out about Lexi, she was probably as disgusted with this story as her loyal fans if not 100 times more. If I were her, I would want to take a swing at the show too.

Member since:
5 January 2009
Last activity:
2 years 25 weeks

I totally agree with everyone here it is a disgusting story line and crappy writing. Also, I don't know if it is just me, but I didn't feel the actors involved really gave it there all. Sure there was emotions and everything, but I just felt like something was missing from there performances. ( please be kind, this is my first time posting Smile )

Member since:
5 July 2008
Last activity:
1 day 8 hours

Id quit If I were Kim McCullough. There are fans on boards saying they liked it and if Patrick is affected he will taake the anti viral meds and be fine. Some like it cause it puts Robin where Stone was when he learned Robin was HIV+ SICK

http://boards.soapcentral.com/showthread.php?752294-Using-Robin-s-HIVInf...

Member since:
13 December 2009
Last activity:
1 year 14 weeks

Not shocking. This is the same network that crapped all over Agnes Nixons groundbreaking abortion story for Erica with that assinine unaborted fetus storyline.

But honestly this is sickening. But we should all be screaming at these shows for continuing to not only piss all over the legacies of these shows but writing women as tolerant of men who continue to abuse them. Why is it we glorify sick characters like Adam Newman, Puke SPencer who celebrates running over a toddler, EJ DiMera, serial killer Jason Morgan yet the real heroes are "boring", I loved the old Luke, Bo Brady, yes even John Black.

soapbaby's picture
Member since:
7 April 2011
Last activity:
1 day 5 hours

Welcome jenn28! I did not pay much attention to the GH while it played in the background, but, I'd likely agree wih you that the performers were probably very flat. They know it's garbage. Several of the actors seem checked out of their scenes/stories lately.

@ appleridge: Nothing that gets said over at that message board surprises me. Sad

soapbaby's picture
Member since:
7 April 2011
Last activity:
1 day 5 hours

jphelps wrote:
Not shocking. This is the same network that crapped all over Agnes Nixons groundbreaking abortion story for Erica with that assinine unaborted fetus.

Excellent point.

blake3b's picture
Member since:
3 March 2009
Last activity:
4 days 53 min

Like Harlee I don't watch GH either (watched a little around the early 90's with Antonio Sabato Jr's character, Karen, Brenda and Stone) but that is horrible and insulting to the viewers/fans!
My first thought was that the powers that be are trying to drive the viewers away just like the others did with Guiding Light and All My Children before cancelling them (but of course try to make it up by making it better after it's cancelled).
I would advise the GH fans to tell everyone at the show and the media what they think about this story and everything else. It's so sad that the networks aren't respecting these shows and see them as non profitable anymore, when in fact shows like One Life To Live have been rising greatly in the ratings lately.

SoapArmageddon's picture
Member since:
22 January 2011
Last activity:
3 hours 15 min

I watched this episode at broadcast time as I have with quite a few GH episodes since I quit Y&R. I am simply furious about the way they trivialized a groundbreaking storyline. And more than trivializing a horrific disease, they are sending the message that every HIV+ individual is a threat to the health of others, thereby cancelling out each and every PSA that Kimberly McCullough has ever done.

Outrageous! Nobody can tell me now that they aren't intentionally trying to tank this show.

Member since:
24 October 2011
Last activity:
2 years 25 weeks

Sorry but I read this article and can't help but think this is being completely overblown.

"Is this really the message soaps should be sending to the impressionable young viewers who still watch these programs? If you can't be with the one you love, kidnap, terrorize and try to infect them with a life-threatening ailment?"

The paragraph above is kind of ridiculous. This is a soap opera where people kill on a normal basis. People lie, cheat, steal and rape. If someone takes what they've seen on a soap and use it for everyday life then they have problems on a whole other level.

Lisa is a villain..a PSYCHO villain so coming up with a plan as horrible as this one is in character for her.

Ms 45's picture
Member since:
22 June 2011
Last activity:
8 weeks 3 days

Honestly, I'd have to say that OLTL's "rapemance" saga was just as bad. In fact, all the times the show tried to "bond" Marty and Todd post-rape were hideous.

blake3b's picture
Member since:
3 March 2009
Last activity:
4 days 53 min

stepherz, see the post above yours. The story is disgusting and insulting.

Member since:
5 July 2008
Last activity:
1 day 8 hours

Ellen Dolan Of ATWT Said That If We In Daytime have the opporunity to educate we must. GH did that in 1995 with Robin and Stone. 16 years later that Story is crapped on.
They used HIV Blood like its something thats no big deal. Oh Patty can just take the antiviral or if that doesnt work, he will get on the cocktail. Well Anti Virals and cocktails dont work for everyone and even if the Cocktail is the option is that the message we want out there. U get HIV, U take the cocktail U will live a regular life. Yeah but do u want to be taking a set of pills daily til u die?

This whole plot will just add to the ignorance that some have that HIV is no longer an issue

Its disgusting. GH should be canned for this

soapbaby's picture
Member since:
7 April 2011
Last activity:
1 day 5 hours

@stepherz - You certainly have a point. It is a soap opera and this medium tends to make a mockery of many social ills. But there was a time when socially conscious story was told as well and GH excelled at telling both types of stories simultaneously. Robin becoming HIV positive was a groundbreaking s/l and it's now played for shock factor. The problem is that HIV is still heavily stigmatized and examples like the one displayed on 10/24's GH further perpetuates the stigma against HIV positive people. I applaud Jillian for taking a stand against some thing as extreme and disgusting. Jillian also reminded us of GH's legacy and where Robin's story once lived and where it lives now. There's a stark contrast in the writing that bore the pieces of the story told now, a real divergence from the fine storytelling there once was. It's much bigger than Lisa being written in-character.I think it's an indictment on the extreme and disgusting storytelling and I support that.

Member since:
5 July 2008
Last activity:
1 day 8 hours

Lisa Was Done Months ago & In a coma. She did not need 2 return to do this and get Killed so we can endure a 3 month murder mystery. No thanks. Not Needed at all. Its just poor writing & planning. GW is no better that Guxa. In fact he may be worse.

Guza would not do this. When Anna was on AMC and left in 03, McTavish wanted her exit to be Robin Dying from Full Blown Aids But Guza said that was stupid

Member since:
3 July 2011
Last activity:
1 year 6 weeks

I can't remember the last time I got so angry about a storyline. To make a mockery of HIV the way Wolf, Frons and that c**t Jill Farren Phelps did today was a total disgrace!!! Yes, I know it's a soap and shouldn't be taken seriously, but HIV/AIDS is a real horrible disease and it should NOT be used for shock value shit THE WAY IT WAS TODAY!!

And to make matters worse, this episode was also written by show killer David Kreizman. That awful man does get around, doesn't he? GL, ATWT, AMC and now GH? If this isn't evidence enough that GH is purposely being run into the ground, then I don't know what is.

It pains me to say this considering that I used to be a hardcore GH fan, but there's no hope for GH. GH is gonna get canceled, whether we're watching or not. Anyone who believes otherwise is either playing stupid, or it's not an act.

Congratulations, you SACK OF SHIT Brian Frons!! You accomplished what you set out to do, which is to run the soaps into the ground and to get them canceled. I hope Karma bites you in the ass one day, and may it bite you very hard.

Rant over.

Member since:
18 December 2009
Last activity:
2 years 22 weeks

I was chilled to the bone and have a different take on this. I am HIV positive and had a sociopath as a roommate. He actually called police to say that I was trying to inject him with my blood. (One of the officers who answered the call had dealings with him in the past. While he couldn't tell me what this person had done, he told me to "get the hell away from him, he is crazy"). I don't know, if it was on a nighttime show, say CSI, would it be as disgusting. But my jaw dropped considering what I went through. I thought it was an interesting twist but I can see your point. Sad thing is, this show is not what it used to be. There is a lot wrong with it. LIsa should have been gone after the first attempt on Robin but I think Guza had no idea what to do with the character and brought her back. Lazy writing. i do think Brianna is a great actress considering what she has to work with.

Member since:
18 December 2009
Last activity:
2 years 22 weeks

I was chilled to the bone and have a different take on this. I am HIV positive and had a sociopath as a roommate. He actually called police to say that I was trying to inject him with my blood. (One of the officers who answered the call had dealings with him in the past. While he couldn't tell me what this person had done, he told me to "get the hell away from him, he is crazy"). I don't know, if it was on a nighttime show, say CSI, would it be as disgusting. But my jaw dropped considering what I went through. I thought it was an interesting twist but I can see your point. Sad thing is, this show is not what it used to be. There is a lot wrong with it. LIsa should have been gone after the first attempt on Robin but I think Guza had no idea what to do with the character and brought her back. Lazy writing. i do think Brianna is a great actress considering what she has to work with.

Member since:
25 October 2011
Last activity:
2 years 25 weeks

I believe now that the writers are trying to get this show wrapped up or cancelled. I, like a lot of you, thought the new writer was going to lighten the show up and bring back some solid vets.
Taking a benchmark story line that has set a standard for the better part of the last 20 years and turned into an ugly display of cruelty in one fell swoop... has got to be the worst thing on TV that I've witnessed.
The violence on GH has become the standard (Sonny city) and the good keep losing. It's funny, because when the ratings were through the roof, the good guys, the WSB and all our vets were the heroes, and they came through for each other and sometimes bad one, but were shocked because then... the good guys mostly prevailed.
It's time to end the soap... or end the darkness.

JasonMorganIsAHottie's picture
Member since:
9 October 2008
Last activity:
1 year 6 weeks

Disgusting. I hope their comment line breaks from all the sickened viewers. After they killed Jake, I thought they sunk to an all time low, but this? WTF! Lisa shoulda been off GH a LONG time ago!

maxsmom's picture
Member since:
20 February 2009
Last activity:
1 day 35 min

I've always felt cheated by the lack of information and some clear misinformation regarding HIV when I was a teenager in the 80s. The distance we have travelled in 30 years is a miracle which only a cure will complete. Today you would have to be completely uninterested in the subject of HIV and anyone living with HIV to write this story this way, which is completely devoid of fact and to write it for 3 doctors...I know it's a soap opera but it was a soap opera that saved countless lives when a suburban white heterosexual teen girl contracted a disease that is still too often associated with...well not surburban white heterosexual teen girls. There is still so much ignorance out there and still too many dying.
It's insane that someone had this idea, said it out loud, someone else agreed, someone put pen to paper, someone approved this script, Jason, Brianna, and my beloved Kim acted and were directed by someone in this scene which was then edited and finally allowed to hit the airwaves.

Member since:
20 March 2011
Last activity:
1 year 3 weeks

Another thing in a long list JFP and Brian Frons should be ashamed of. The sad part is that they are not. ABC/Disney are not fooling anyone- they are purposely tanking this show through the writing while begging the fans to watch the crapfest at the same time.

Brian Frons is micro-managing this show- the same way he did AMC. Brian Frons is calling the shots. Brian Frons is responsible for the deplorable ratings. Brian Frons will be responsible for the show's cancellation in the coming months. Brian Frons will be responsible for the backlash from the fans that will effect ABC for a very long time...and deservedly so.

Member since:
26 June 2009
Last activity:
1 year 21 weeks

This was bad. It was definitely uncool and the tone wasn't sinister enough to make this feel truly horrifying--BB is a terrific actress, but GH has never known how to produce this Lisa character . . . she's either fun or annoying, never menacing (and I think it's a production thing, not writing). Considering this just came off offensive and didn't even possess simple shock value, this line didn't need to be crossed.

However, I totally disagree that this episode trashed Robin's journey as an HIV-positive person. This has been so harrowingly mishandled through Robin's second run--it's either disrespected with nonsense like Lisa's various plots or it's treated very irresponsibly as a non-issue (not from a health standpoint by any means, but from a character/storytelling one). It's inconvenient for TPTB to really "go there" with Robin and I think they should more often--the emotional resonance is so moving every time they actually do. I'm thinking about Carly's disgusting fight with her early in LW's assumption of the role and KMc's return, the panic surrounding her and the viral epidemic, and even Lulu being ignorantly scared to death about handling her blood during the hostage crisis. So many key, key, key beats during the pregnancy and now raising Emma have been missed because TPTB are chicken--Robin is one of the most inquisitive characters on the show and to see her without a POV about her virus is so unrealistic. This is what I think has ruined the groundbreaking revelation from the mid 90's.

And even though his pacing sucks, I don't understand the extreme negativity surrounding GW. He plays almost all the right beats and the characters interact so meaningfully with each other now . . .

All JMO and I hope I didn't offend anyone Smile