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Wendy Riche on "If the AIDS story on GH originally was told through A.J. Quartermaine!

What if the character of A.J. Quartermaine would have been the main character that  drove the thrust of  the AIDS story that ended up being told through the love story of Robin and Stone on General Hospital back in the early 90’s? That is something that is discussed in part two of Wendy Riche’s interview at We Love Soaps.

Riche, the former executive producer of General Hospital, who was at the epicenter of many of the fantastic socially relevant stories in GH’s deep history, admitted that their originally was a bit of a dispute between then GH, head writer, Claire Labine, and Riche, as to what character would lead the AIDS story.   Here are some compelling excerpts!

Riche: “I wanted to do a story about AIDS when I first got to GH.  AIDS was on the rise, a non-discriminating disease that didn’t care who it attacked.  I felt it was an issue of great importance and wanted to find a way to interface many of the characters of Port Charles with the hospital.  At first, I thought it could be a story for A.J. Quartermaine.  I thought, what would happen if A.J. had another drunken night in college, one of many, and explore what would happen when a friend, a male friend, from college shows up at the Quartermaine mansion wanting A.J.’s help since his family threw him out because he had AIDS.  And A.J. doesn’t remember who had sex with who, and what he did during so many drunken orgies.  They could have both had sex with a woman who was a drug addict. The intention was not to make them gay, but the implication might have stirred up a lot.  We could have asked, “Why does everyone care so much if he was gay? Why does he care? How would Edward Quatermaine react and what would Lila do to bring the family back together?”  We could have looked at it all.  But it wasn’t about being gay, I didn’t want to be, “Oh those gay people, of course they screw around so much…” of some B.S. like that.   AIDS is a non-discriminating disease, it doesn’t care who you are are or what your sexuality is.  If you do stupid things, have unprotected sex, you risk getting it.  If we had done it with a gay character we would not have gotten the message of urgency across.  So the intention was to have a smart person who was not gay but made stupid choices get AIDS.  I didn’t have Claire at the time, and I don’t know if Claire would have even wanted to do it that way, but the network did not want to do that story. They didn’t want A.J. to be in question of having AIDS, or maybe not being 100% heterosexual, they just didn’t want to go there because he was a Quartermaine, which of course, is exactly why I wanted to go there.

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I talked to Claire about this, and she came up with Robin and Stone.  She was not ready to do this story at the beginning of her run on GH.  But one day, a year later, we were at a company retreat dinner and she looked at me with that twinkle in her eye, learned over, and whispered, “I think I’ve got it.”  She told me the story in two lines and I loved it.  It was everything I hoped for.  We were so excited, we told Pat [Fili-Krushel] right then and there and she said to go with it.  Claire and I had driven up to Connecticut together for the retreat and what was wonderful is that we had the long trip to talk about it.”

So what do you think if the story had gone to A.J. instead of Robin and Stone?

General Hospital

GH’s Steve Burton and Maurice Benard Deliver “The Power Performance of the Week”

Last week, as General Hospital aired the final episodes they had in the can, prior to the coronavirus TV production shutdown, viewers of the series were left with a one-two punch of gut-wrenching performances from Daytime Emmy winners, Steve Burton (Jason) and Maurice Benard (Sonny)

Burton, also received great news last week, when he found out he was again Emmy-nominated in the Lead Actor in a Drama Series category, while Benard, told fans he did not submit himself in the competition this year, when they were wondering where his name was in the list of the finalists in the category.  However, Maurice won last year for the second time in his career, for Outstanding Lead Actor.

Courtesy/ABC

Now on last Tuesday and Wednesday’s episode of the ABC daytime drama series, Jason was trying his best to break it to Sonny that Sonny’s dad, Mike (Max Gail) is not going to get any better as he continues to decline from Alzheimer’s disease, and that Mike is waiting for Sonny to let him go.  Sonny is devastated sitting with Mike watching him being completely unresponsive.  He tell Mike he will be back to see him tomorrow, as he leaves Mike reaches out his hand slowly.

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Elizabeth (Rebecca Herbst) has just told Jason that she believes the signs are all there that Mike is on his final decline and battle with Alzheimers. Mike is unresponsive, not eating. and slipping away quickly. She believes he wants to let go, but is holding on for Sonny’s sake, something that tears through Jason.  Knowing Jason was told something by Elizabeth, Sonny asks what it is.  That is when Jason tells Sonny he thinks Mike is waiting for Sonny to let him go.

An overcome Sonny tells Jason that he worries that Mike might still want to fight, but for what? He is a shell of himself and has no memories.  It is then that Burton as Jason, in a touching performance, tells Sonny what he’d want if he were in Mike’s place. Jason reflect that he wouldn’t want machines keeping him alive or his kids having to go through what Sonny is having to deal with right now   Jason goes on to say that even when Sonny put walls up between himself and Mike through the years, that Mike never stopped trying to break them down.

Photo:ABC

Once Jason leaves, with tears running down his cheeks, Sonny sits with Mike trying to come to terms with what he must do now.  Will Sonny let Mike die and spare his father any further misery … or will he try to prolong whatever time Mike has left?

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These scenes for anyone who has endured or lived through losing a loved one battling through Alzheimer’s and having to make a life and death decision, and the emotional turmoil and sadness it causes a family, could feel the pain and heartbreak played  by Burton and Benard. That is why Michael Fairman TV gives Steve and Maurice the honors of The Power Performance of the Week.

Watch a few scenes from part of Steve and Maurice’s ‘Power Performance’ below

Then let us know, what did you think of Steve and Maurice’s performances in the Alzheimer’s storyline? Comment below.

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Breaking News

‘Studio City’s’ Sean Kanan to Host Indie Series Awards Virtual Ceremony

Coming up, another award show will transition during the coronavirus pandemic to a virtual presentation when the 11th Annual Indie Series Awards reveals its winners in a ceremony w=on Thursday, June 18, starting at 9:00 p. m. EST.

This year, the host with the most will be Sean Kanan, known for his roles on General Hospital (Ex-AJ) and The Bold and the Beautiful and The Young and the Restless (Ex-Deacon), and this year for his Daytime Emmy-nominated work from his digital series, Studio City,

“I am honored and excited to be a part of the digital community and ISA family,” added Kanan. “This is the future of entertainment.”

Since 2oo9, the ISAs have honored some of the best of independent web series.

Tickets are said to be going on sale, so you can watch the virtual ceremony beginning at home starting on June 1st.

For more on the Indie Series Awards visit their site here.

So, will you be checking out Sean and the Indie Series Awards next month? Comment below.

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General Hospital

TODAY: General Hospital Rebroadcasts Masterful 52nd Anniversary Episode

Fans are in for a treat today (Friday, May 22nd) when ABC’s General Hospital airs an encore presentation of one of the finest hours of soap opera in the history of the genre, with its 52nd anniversary episode from April 1, 2015.

In the episode, viewers finally learned what turned Luke (Tony Geary) into Fluke, which has been the on-going story for months; but it all lead up to the shocking reveal, when Luke revisited his past in his broken down childhood home and the demons that haunted him.

Photo: ABC

The episode goes from black and white to color, as Geary plays two roles: Luke and his abusive father, Tim, in one of the greatest performances of his career.

It is there we finally see Luke’s mother, Lena, played to perfection by Laura Wright (Carly).  And, it is in these scenes we meet for the first time Chloe Lanier as a young Patricia Spencer, who was so good, she was later cast as Nelle.  Playing the young Luke in another powerful performance was Joey Luthman,

Throughout the twists and turns, viewers learn that Luke not only killed his father, but accidentally killed his own mother who he loved.  It was a harrowing moment of deeply repressed memories.  The ending in the present time also features the Spencer family rallying around a distraught Luke in the hankie-inducing final scenes.

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The Triumphant Return of Kelly Thiebaud As GH's Dr. Britt Westbourne

From the performances, to the script, to the direction, to the writing his one had it all.

So, will  you be watching today’s 52nd anniversary episode of GH?  Do you agree it was one of the finest episodes of the series? Comment below

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It’s “Villains Week” on Y&R an that means some Sheila Carter, David Kimball, and Isabella Brana, Check out the promo from CBS Daytime here.  Leave A Comment

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Power Performance

Steve Burton as Jason & Maurice Benard as Sonny

General Hospital

Airdate: 5-19/20-2020

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