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« Our Latest Soap Opera Digest Column | Main | How To Lose Friends and Alienate Viewers »

January 08, 2009

Vintage Suds: The Robin's Diary Book Club

During our General Hospital: 2008 in Review, Becca was still gleeful over the fact that I outed myself as a former soap crazy last summer, admitting that I own a copy of Robin's Diary, the companion piece to the Stone/Robin saga in 1995 and have, for some reason, held onto said copy.

IN MY DEFENSE, (a) I was twelve (b) I am not the only one who still has my copy (Reader KLe and, I am sure, other Serial Drama readers, shares my shame) and (c) it is awesome.

Looking through this book instantly transported me back to middle school, when GH was awesome, and I survived long, boring bus rides anticipating the soapy goodness that was in store for me. My friend Jill and I, being preteen girls, spent loads of time in and out of school writing notes back and forth. However, we were exceedingly paranoid and never used our real names, or the actual names of anybody we knew, instead opting for code names based on a certain obsession of the time; we also changed the code names every once in a while just in case someone caught on (we were like the effing CIA with our top secret communications). During the GH obsession era, we were Brenda and Robin.

This time also makes me think of mixtapes and, while not specifically GH related, I must take a minute to share my jealousy over this generation and how they can just download songs to burn CDs. I used to have a blank tape ready at all times just in case I heard a good song in the radio to record. Those song were invariably ruined by the DJs yammering at the end of the song. It took me, like, six weeks to finally get a good version of TLC's "Waterfalls". The moral of this pointless digression is that I love technology.

So, Robin's Diary: the book is, as you might guess, a novelization of Robin and Stone's love story, starting in January of 1994 to Stone's death in November of 1995. It also has adorable pictures.

I will be posting excerpts of this work of literary genius over the next few weeks so that we can reminisce about the golden era of GH and cry a little bit about what once was. Like, for example, the list of Robin's Friends and Acquaintances that is at the beginning of the book as a primer for non-GH readers...

  • Ruby Anderson
  • Ned Ashton
  • Brenda Barrett
  • Katherine Bell
  • Emily Bowen
  • Gina Cates
  • Jagger Cates
  • Stone Cates
  • Lois Cerullo
  • Ryan Chamberlain
  • Lucy Coe
  • Kevin Collins
  • Mike Corbin
  • Sonny Corinthos
  • Sean Donely
  • Jenny Eckert
  • Jon Hanley
  • Audrey Hardy
  • Simone Hardy
  • Steve Hardy
  • Tom Hardy
  • Tiffany Hill
  • Paul Hornsby
  • Bobbie Jones
  • Felicia Jones
  • Frisco Jones
  • Tony Jones
  • Duke Lavery
  • Miguel Morez
  • Alan Quartermaine
  • AJ Quartermaine
  • Edward Quartermaine
  • Jason Quartermaine
  • Monica Quartermaine
  • Lily Rivera
  • Mac Scorpio
  • Robert and Anna Scorpio
  • Joe Scully
  • Sigmund
  • Harry Silver
  • Damian Smith
  • Filomena Soltini
  • Laura Spencer
  • Luke Spencer
  • Justus Ward
  • Keesha Ward
  • Mary Mae Ward

Of that list: fifteen have since died (Ruby, Katherine, Emily, Stone, Ryan, Steve, Tony, Alan, AJ, Lily, Damian, Harry Silver, Joe Scully, Justus, Mary Mae); eighteen are MIA (Ned, Brenda, Gina, Jagger, Lois, Lucy, Kevin, Sean, Jenny, Simone, Tom, Tiffany, Paul, Felicia, Frisco, Miguel, Laura, Keesha); two were staggeringly, hilarious pointless (Jenny, Keesha); one no longer exists (Jason Quartermaine), one appeared on a recently aired episode of The Golden Girls, playing the older woman marrying Dorothy's son (Rosalind Cash, who played Mary Mae); two, in a shocking departure for this particular show, are actually alive after all (Robert and Anna); one is now a sassy, tracksuit wearing ghost (Alan); one is my favorite soap opera character of all time, whose portrayer was treated so shabbily by the GH powers-that-be that it actually makes my head hurt (Brenda); five are glorified extras (Mike, Bobbie, Edward, Monica, Mac); one is an offscreen babysitter (Audrey); one is married to Jay Mohr and exhibiting horrendous fashion choices (Gina); one has evolved into a master thespian (Jagger).

The canvas was pretty much torched like Port Charles was a stop on Sherman's March to the Sea. So much history ruined, so many opportunities wasted, so many people murdered. This effing show.

To get the party started, here is Robin's entry from January 23, 1994:

I'm going to write this down so I can rid my brain of it and get on to the important elements in my life, i.e., advanced logarithms, transcribing my notes on the metaphysical poets, and figuring out a wedding gift for Uncle Mac and Felicia. Oh, and the greatest excitement of the evening: ten new French verbs, two irregular. Big whoop.

The problem is I seem to have Michael Cates on the brain again, and it's not only distracting, it is starting to embarrass me, even in front of myself. The question is, why? Okay, he is not unattractive (okay, he is very attractive), but he is somewhat rude, fairly arrogant, anything but intellectual (a high school drop-out?!) with a questionable past, not to mention present, probably no morals or values...Right. Like mine are so fine. Sure, I've got them, but have they ever been tested. How do I know they aren't just language?

Anyway, how do you relate to someone who prefers to be called "Stone" when his name is really Michael? This alone should be a clue that we don't inhabit the same wavelength. (Then why did it feel like we do?) It's so obviously a part of his tough-guy, street-kid, macho-cool image. And I told him so.

 Maybe this is why he hasn't called.

So, who am I to knock it? I have an image to uphold myself: Robin Devane Scorpio, Thoroughly Excellent. Brilliant student, all-around awfully good girl, dutiful niece, truthful, brave, faithful and boring. Not ugly, but nothing great. I've been told different, but I know what I see. Five feet one inch tall; A-cup that doesn't promise much more. Long dark hair like my mother's. Eyes like hers, too, but without the flash. At least so far.

I have been told I have my father's smile, which wasn't exactly a smile but was about half a grin, with something under it that looked like a secret. Uncle Mac has it, too. I guess it's a Scorpio thing. Unfortunately, I have the look, but not the secret.

At least not yet. Maybe it will be "revealed to me", but somehow I doubt it, at least the way things are going.

Why am I wasting my time when I have a French test tomorrow babbling on paper about my personal appearance, insecurities, and other trivial issues? Get real, Robin--the only issue on your mind is Michael Cates. Michael "Stone" Cates, who keeps sauntering around in my head, with that put-on cynical look and those deep eyes that look right into you as though he knows you probably don't have any answers either.

Later, Verbs Digested

What's really bothering me is my ego, I suppose. After that day in Kelly's, when he specifically said, "Maybe we should do it again, on purpose. When you're not in such a hurry.:

He meant a conversation. My stomach flip-flopped. I guess I expected a call or something. Now I realize he didn't mean it. Stupid me.

Oh, well, we probably wouldn't have enough material for a next conversation. He said he liked my directness. Ha. Candor may be a fine quality, but it spells death to any male-female relationship. See? It already did.

Stay tuned for more!


I am loving that you guys are enjoying this trip down memory lane!

Dawn, I would LOVE a Sigmund cameo. I loved that little duck.

I did not have the Music of General Hospital CD or the scrapbook! Now I feel like an outcast. I DID have the General Hospital Trivia Book. There is a big chance that my mother threw it out, but I will take a look and see if it is still around.

i was about 8 years old at the time when stone and robin's love story was unfolding on-screen and soo i never really got the chance to watch it on tv. Luckily, there is youtube for me to watch Stone and Robin's love story.

So just want to say that i love that you girls are posting Robin's diary!! I love this trip down memory lane a lot!! Please keep it up :)

They used to have Card Decks, with trivia on them too. I had them at one time, but I think I got rid of them.

If the GH Scrapbook is the book that went year by year up to the end of 1994 or part of 95 then yeah I have that. I love looking at the pictures.

I never owned Robin's Diary, but the segment you posted is better than the writing on the show now.

I DO own the GH scrapbook. :)

I got the biggest laugh, Mallory, when you talked about having to wait by the radio to tape your favorite song. I SO remember those days! Freaking kids have it so easy now.....

Aside from Robin's Diary and the CD, I also have the General Hospital Complete Scrapbook and The General Hospital Trivia Book.

And then there are the non-GH soap books I own: The Soap Opera Encyclopedia, The Soap Opera Book of Lists, The Ultimate Soap Opera Guide, and Soap Dish- Daytime Drama's Zingiest, Diggiest Digs, and Most Connivingly Clever Comebacks. I know everything there is to know about the soaps- up to around 1997!

These books live in a storage bin in my storage closet (strangely enough, I happened to know exactly which one because I was recently reorganizing). I also have a bin or two full of Soap Opera Digests from the 90s- I may never look at them again, but they were not cheap, so I'm not throwing them out.

Still have my copy from when I was 12. I just re-read it after your vintage suds recap of the episode when Stone died. It makes me miss old GH so much. I couldn't miss an episode back then and would RUN home from school to see it. Ahh, the good old days.

Oh, a Serial Drama shoutout! Based on my status as a former soap crazy! Nothing could make me more, um, proud?

It says something about a soap opera when a fictional diary from the mid-1990s based on one of its most popular, yet inexplicably underused, legacy characters is more profound, insightful and soapy (not to mention entertaining) than the actual show.

You can still buy Robin's Diary and the GH scrapbooks...just check out ebay (both are up for auction)

I've got the scrapbook! Love it! I still regret that I never bought Robin's Diary. May have to look it up in an online used bookstore. Except the pain of remembering when basically ALL of GH was good -- instead of just fragments of it -- may be too much for me...

I had never heard of Robin's Diary so I'm looking forward to reading these blog entries.

I do have the GH Complete Scrapbook. I bought it on one of those clearance tables at one of those chain bookstores years ago.

I have had the diary since I was 12. Those were the days when you ran home from GH to watch because you couldn't miss it!

I re-read it when you posted the Vintage Suds episode of Stone's death. Love this idea! Can't wait for more!

I didn't have the book, so thank you for this. Aww, the good old days. Jr. High memories all over again. I swear this generation don't know how lucky they are. LOVE IT!!

Something I rarely see on GH sadly for us all. She is more self aware, funny, and mature here in those few paragraphs at 16 then she is on air anymore.

The posting is incredibly marvelous. You analyse in your round.I will go on to interest your other marvelous posts. I like this form of post quite a great deal.

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