Deep Soap: Robin’s Tragic Diagnosis on ‘General Hospital’

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Robin’s HIV Medication Stops Working

General Hospital” fans’ worst fears came true Tuesday when Robin (Kimberly McCullough) confided to her former love Jason (Steve Burton) that her medications stopped working and her HIV viral load had increased. She is possibly going to develop AIDS. One one hand, they were the most heartfelt, compelling scenes that the show has had in quite a while. They drew upon Robin and Jason’s history with each other as well as Robin’s memories of Stone’s struggle with AIDS. Both McCullough and Burton hit it out of the park. I came close to crying several times, and might have crossed the line had the writers not thrown in several minutes of Jason hulking out over thoughts of Franco (James Franco) and Sam (Kelly Monaco). The show might as well have given Jason a cartoon thought bubble: “Franco may have given my woman HIV ARRRGH!!! Jason Smash!!!”

On the other hand, this story is not only a slap in the face to fans who have watched Robin realistically overcome the obstacle of being HIV positive to become a doctor, wife and mother, but to anyone who cares about good storytelling. Though we never saw it on camera, Lisa (Brianna Brown) now allegedly switched out Robin’s HIV medicine for placebos for so long without her noticing that she developed a resistance to her medications. Holy ret con, Batman! How and when did this happen? Since Lisa attempted to meddle with Robin’s medication during her first reign of terror, Robin would presumably keep a close watch on her pills when she returned to wreak havoc. This is so obviously a last minute rewrite to accommodate McCullough’s exit.

The final insult to Robin's character, both in terms of continuity and the dictionary definition of the word, is Robin's desire to abandon her husband, child and everyone else who cares about her, so she can spare them the pain of watching her get sick and die. Robin treasures every moment she shared with Stone. Even though it was difficult for her to watch him go blind and lose his strength, it was far preferable to having him disappear without a word. Running away is cowardly, one thing Robin is not. Robin is also a great mother, who would want Emma to have as many memories of her mother as possible. As someone who spent much of her childhood separated from her parents, she would never leave her child. As a doctor, Robin would know that, even with a weakened immune system, she could still have years of decent health. AIDS is not a virus that quickly and gruesomely kills people like ebola. She might not have any symptoms for years. In the fifteen years since Stone died, dozens of new treatments have developed that greatly improve both the length and quality of life of people with AIDS. A new medication that would reduce Robin's viral load could be developed next month. To his credit, Jason set aside his refusal to pass moral judgment on any bad life choices and refused to help Robin disappear. He knows, even if the writers do not, that Robin Scorpio when the going gets tough, Robin fights back.

McCullough herself is giving fans the classy goodbye that GH is not. She is posting a series of farewell interviews with various people at GH who mean a great deal to her. The first segment features GH fan club president Debbie Morris. It's sweet, emotional, and Kimberly confesses that she was a bratty teen!

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Sean Kanan Is Leaving Y&R

Monday I wrote that I wanted to see the Nikki-Deacon marriage of inconvenience on “The Young & the Restless” blossom into a real romance. That will not happen. Sean Kanantweeted Tuesday, “Well it’s just two weeks before Xmas and the PTB have just let me know that I will be gone in GC in five more shows. Merry xmas.” Based on typical taping schedules, that means he should last air in late January or early February. Will Deacon turn out to be the person who killed Diane? Or will he simply leave town after the real killer is found and Nikki (Melody Thomas Scott) no longer is compelled to stay married to him? Whatever the scenario, it’s disappointing that the soap is ending such a promising storyline. Nikki and Victor’s (Eric Braeden) romance has lasted three decades because they were separated for years at a time, involved in fully developed, longterm relationships with other characters, while continuing to be drawn into each other’s orbit. It’s a shame that the current regime has not realized the story potential of keeping these characters apart.

Primetime Writers Who Love Daytime

This is the start of what I hope will become a regular feature in this column: primetime writers professing their love for daytime soaps. In the past, I have applauded “Vampire Diaries” co-creators Kevin Williamson and Julie Plec for discussing their love of soaps. Williamson even tweeted about “Dirty Soap.” This week the spotlight is on Liz Tigelaar, creator of “Life Unexpected” who is currently writing for primetime’s best soap, “Revenge.” Tuesday Tigelaar tweeted a shout out to classic “Days of Our Lives”: “did i possibly google a youtube video of bo and carly in the tunnel under alamain’s villa this morning? uh… no.?” Liz, if you write a scene of Emily and Jack in a tunnel under the Grayson mansion, we will all appreciate the homage. Who will acknowledge their love of daytime next? “True Blood” creator Alan Ball? “Grey’s Anatomy’sShonda Rhimes? “Revenge” creator Mike Kelly? Stay tuned.

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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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