Today’s cuppa: Barry’s Gold Blend tea (that my Mom sent to me — Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!)

Not long ago, I made a rare foray into daytime drama with a set visit to ABC’s “General Hospital,” and this syndicated story, out in print this week, was the result. …

On the
long-running ABC daytime drama General
Nancy Lee
Grahn (left) plays
General_Hospital_Nancy_Lee_Grahn.jpgattorney Alexis Davis, mother of teenager Kristina (Lexi
Ainsworth, below), whose father is the mobster Sonny Corinthos (Maurice Benard), who
didn’t know about his daughter for a long time.


In real
life, Ainsworth is a mostly home-schooled teen taking online college courses,
and Grahn is the single mother of a tween daughter, Katherine.


Over the
course of this year, the two have been playing out a storyline that’s all too
real for too many mothers and daughters. Kristina’s charismatic boyfriend,
Kiefer Bauer (Christian Alexander), while appealing and polite in front of
adults, secretly beat his girlfriend.

(HCTV: Kiefer Bauer? Really? Was the writer a “24” fan?)


At first,
fearing her mobster father’s wrath, Kristina lied about the assault, saying it
was (slightly) older man Ethan Lovett (Nathan Parsons). But after a second
beating from Kiefer, the truth came out. In an episode that aired in early
April, Alexis, who witnessed the second assault, struck and killed Kiefer with
her car.


While that
last bit may not happen to all families, the fears mothers have for their
daughters are very real.


“What I’ve
done,” Grahn says, “naturally, is research teen violence, because it now
interests me, and also because I have a just-turned-12-year-old. I ended up
talking to a few different organizations. I was curious about it in a general
way and curious how Alexis, being an intelligent, seemingly devoted mother – at
least when I read my script, I’m devoted.


“But that
being said, how can somebody like Alexis or any of you who are parents, how
could this happen to you?”


visiting an organization that deals with abusive teen relationships, Grahn ran
into a “General Hospital” fan.


recalls, “She goes, ‘This could happen to somebody like you, and it does, in
fact happen a lot more than any of us would think.’ … This does indeed happen,
and parents don’t see it. There’s truth to it as well.”


Thumbnail image for General_Hospital_Lexi_Ainsworth.jpg“I’ve
gotten tweets,” Ainsworth says, “from people who have shared their stories
about being abused. It’s scary that so many people can relate to this. I
personally have never been in an abusive relationship. I don’t know any of my
friends that have.”


Of course,
being a mother, Grahn couldn’t be entirely detached when seeing her TV daughter
made up to look as if she had been beaten.


“You can’t
help but see your kid like that. I don’t use my personal life in acting. I
learned that you can’t count on that all the time. Also, I don’t want to imagine
my daughter getting beaten up. But you can’t help but have flashes of that,
just thinking, ‘What would you do?’ “


And the TV
mom wound up discussing the topic in her role of real-life mom.


“We had a
conversation,” Grahn says, “because (Katherine) saw me on the Internet,
researching it, and said, ‘What are you doing?’ She has a general sense of what
goes on (at ‘General Hospital’), and this is an interesting topic of
conversation right now, with what these kids are exposed to, with the media and
violence on television and all that.


“What young
women are accepting from boys or young men right now is unthinkable to me. I’m
discussing this with other parents, and I’m saying, ‘What happened, that girls
are feeling that they need to be so highly sexualized, that they have to do so
many things, that violence is cool, and arbitrary, random sex is cool. Where
did this come from?’


“I honestly
think it’s raising a really interesting conversation for parents to start
having with their kids.”