End of an era they say. "He's not really dead, they comment"... "Luke was a rapist"... "Luke saved GH"... "Luke and Laura were the 'IT' couple" ..."Luke and Laura were the perfect example of a horribly toxic relationship". And the beat goes on. With all the headlines and bickering, hindsight is 20.20.
I was THE target audience General Hospital was trying to pull in when Genie came on the show in 1977. Teen, female.. the perfect demo. When she came on, the canvas shifted a bit because she was very much a 'teen of the era" right down to carrying her 3 ring binder hugged to her chest. There was an actress before her yes, but Genie just fit into Laura Vining like a glove. We were very very free in the late 70's. As teens we just cruised around and did what we wanted; the drinking age in NY was 18. Sex was everywhere. Laura was a teen and was also the woman we thought we wanted to be. Laura went to Monica for birth control pills so she could sleep with Scotty. Did you ever ask your mother about that? Hell no. Did anyone question the age difference between Scotty and Laura? Well, yeah, just for a bit so they could make Laura wait until she was 18 to marry him. Back then falling for an older guy was the norm; we saw them as the prize. Laura and Scotty were the lovers who were kept apart by the mean law and older folk. She saved for his law books and we ate it up.
Of course that brings us to one Luke Spencer. Unless you lived it, you will never know what this meant. I was so ready for that story. I was fed bodice rippers and saw Scarlet O'Hara carried up the steps by Rhett (beaming with love in the morning). "Rape" was the buzz word because honestly, it wasn't really talked about let alone on TV. Gloria was raped on All In The Family and it became a national discussion. By the time soaps got to it, it was a plot point to shock and get the viewers to tune in. Throw in a Campus Disco, cool clothes and music PLUS the fact it was a person she knew? Welp. It wrote itself.
What Gloria Monty didn't count on was the popularity of Tony and Genie together. When he was in agony apologizing after the rape, the chemistry oozed off the two of them. I see many people say now they couldn't stand him or their relationship but getting your photo on the cover of People and Newsweek was no small feat. Millions of us saw them as something new in the vein of the old 40's banter movies. Then there was back tracking, there was Genie leaving...coming back and then the two of them going away. 1993 locked them in as the "cool family" still on the run from the bad guys.
GH went from a boring, stale old daytime drama to something new. Couple on the run and James Bond type spy stuff. Did Laura go to college? HELL NO..she ran with the big kids and saved the world!! Did her mom and dad stop her? Um.. NO.. because at 17-18 back then, you were grown. Does that excuse the whole rape story? Surely it doesn't. Did I buy the redemption? Hook, line and sinker because I wanted to see where the story went.
The years crept by and after the revisit of the rape with Lucky and Elizabeth's story, L&L lost some luster due to us being more "woke" and seeing what a troubling story it all was. As Luke would say, once they settled down and were 'domestic" it was just dull. We had all grown up and our POV changed. Then Genie left the show, came back...left and they just fell apart. Tony Geary continued on and although his acting was always top-notch Luke became the troubled old guy we thought nothing could touch. Sometimes it's best to leave heroes buried.
I did enjoy Tracy and Luke. His second act had some charm but it ran too long. Not going to get into the whole TG exit interviews but let's just say I was glad when he went. Laura is in a much better place without him. Now that even is specter is gone, maybe it can all be put on a shelf.
Well...until we hear "Rise" again.
Killed by a Cassadine. Isn't that a kicker?