How General Hospital's infamous rape scene between Luke and Laura unwittingly gave us TV's 'super couple'
Luke Spencer and Laura Webber of 'General Hospital' have been a fan-favorite couple since time memorable. The couple has been fondly dubbed as the "super couple" of soap operas for decades. But did you know the dark and shady beginning to their epic love story? Unfortunately, it all started with a rape scene. Here's how it all unfolded.
Laura played by Genie Francis was introduced on the show as the daughter of Lesley Webber. When we were first introduced to Laura, she wasn’t in a relationship with Luke and nor did she know him. She was, in fact, dating a boy named Scott Baldwin. Although Laura loved Scott, she develops feelings for a much older man called David Hamilton. Laura later finds out that David was using her to get back at her mother, Lesley. Laura then accidentally kills him and flees to New York. When Laura ditches Scott for David, he teams up with ex-prostitute-turned-nurse, Bobbie Spencer, to get back at Laura.
Eventually, Scott finds Laura and the couple rekindle their romance. This leaves Bobbie fuming at the couple and she makes it her mission to break them apart. This is when we are introduced to Luke (Anthony Geary). Bobbie enlists her brother Luke to help her split Laura and Scott. In the process, Luke ends up falling for Laura. Although Bobbie and Luke fail to split Laura and Scott, they manage to get her probation for killing David extended. The probation would end when Laura turns 18 or gets married. So, she begins pressurizing Scott to marry her.
Scott and Laura end up getting married. At the time of their marriage, Scott is juggling between his work and law school. Laura gets bored at home alone all day, so she manages to get a job at Campus Disco. The Disco happens to be managed by Luke, who is more than happy to offer her the job. The two get close while she works for him. One day, Laura decides to gift her husband Scott some of the law textbooks he needed.
When Scott realizes that his wife exceeded their credit card limit, he gets furious and the couple gets into a huge fight. Laura storms off in the middle of the argument and goes to the Disco to work. On the same day, Luke too is under a lot of frustration after being ordered to kill someone by his mob boss. Luke is in a dilemma as he knows that if he doesn't follow his boss’s orders he would be killed, but if he followed the orders then the security team of his victim would kill him. Unable to decide what to do, Luke turns to alcohol for respite.
When Luke sees Laura waiting for Scott to pick her up at the Disco, he goes up to her and tells her he would have her in his arms before he died. He then leads Laura onto the dance floor, where he rapes her, while still under the influence of alcohol. The rape scene between Luke and Laura created quite a stir. Eventually, Laura falls in love with Luke and marries him.
It all began when the producer of 'General Hospital', Gloria Monte, was given just two weeks to save the show after it experienced a significant dip in ratings. According to Abigail De Kosnik, author of 'The Survival of Soap Opera', the producer immediately saw potential in the blooming love story between Luke and Laura. So she made "things happen that shouldn't have happened" between the couple, which quickly captured the attention of the audience and saved the show.
In the documentary 'The Story of Soaps', Genie spoke about how despite finding the falling in love with your rapist premise problematic, she had to defend it. She said, "It was such a big deal in the media and it took the country by storm. I’ve had to justify it for so many years and I have to say, it feels good to sit here and say I won’t justify it. It’s awful. They shouldn’t have done it." The producer of the show, Gloria Monte, and the writers tried to deal with the situation by calling it "rape-seduction", and explaining that Luke did it for love. Despite the rape scene, Laura and Luke remain television’s golden couple.