Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Rape and romance

Thought I'd post a few clips from the 1979-1980 story of Luke's rape of Laura from the daytime soap opera, General Hospital. The story drew on romance novel conventions, such as those Radway discusses. This story is particularly well known because Luke and Laura go on to fall in love and, about 2 years after the rape, get married in the highest rated daytime soap episode ever. They were a massively popular couple. Once they officially got together, the rape was sort of hushed up, and never discussed until the mid-'90s, when their teenage son finds out. The original rape story, however, was more complex than the aftermath leads one to think. I can fill in the story gaps and details in class, but here is the general scenario. Laura is married to a guy named Scotty. She goes to work as a waitress in a disco run by Luke Spencer. Luke falls in love with Laura and they become friends. One night, convinced he is going to be killed for his involvement with the mafia, this happens:

Laura admits she has been raped to Scotty and her family but says she doesn't know who raped her. Luke and Laura talk about the rape--endlessly!--for about 9 months, debating whether it was really rape or not. Here's a scene in which he admits he raped her to his sister, Bobbie:

Throughout this period, Luke is tortured by his memories of what he did to Laura. Meanwhile, Laura continues to protect Luke (for multiple, convoluted reasons related back to the mob)and in conversations between them and between each of them and others they discuss what rape really is. Ultimately, Scotty finds out that Luke was the rapist, as this scene shows (note: there is another scene in the middle that you need not watch if you don't want):

We can talk more about this in class if we have time, but thought it might be useful to see a moving image version of a story somewhat like those Radway discusses.

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