Dr. Simone Revelle-Hardy
ABC Breaks Ground with Dr. Simone Hardy- In More Than One Way
By the late 80s, Black America was on full display all over primetime television. While viewers had come to know and love series like ‘Good Times’ and ‘The Jeffersons’ in the 70s, both had been spun-off from shows with a predominately white cast. ABC’s highly rated miniseries, ’Roots’, was only a risk across a few nights of television, and a small investment of time on the part of the viewer. Over at NBC, th show boldly launched multiple hits with predominately Black casts, beginning in 1984 with ‘The Cosby Show’.
The series presented an upper-middle-class Black family for the first time on television and would dominate television for much of the decade. With the launch of church-centric ‘’Amen’, sitcom ’227’ set in an apartment building with Marla Gibbs and a ’Cosby Show’ spin-off starring Lisa Bonet entitled a ‘A Different World’, NBC proved that Black perspectives and voices were appealing to all audiences.
Daytime in color
ABC had struck gold with Angie and Jessie on All My Children- their love story told step-by-step in a manner unseen on television. In 1989, NBC would launch a new series called ”Generations”, breaking new ground with a core Black family and equal representation of black and white characyers. NBC would even poach Debbi Morgan, after she left as a recast of a key role on the series. By the end of the decade, groundbreaking soap opera featuring a core Black family as half its main cast
Elsewhere on ABC, ‘GH’ had various the milestones with Black characters. Unfortunately, creating a character did not guarantee their would be storylines centered on them. Outside of major life events, any front burner storylines were non existent. Most existed simply to support the white characters in their stortlines. These characters were not integrated into the canvas of the show as deeply as white characters.This was a handicap for people of color on the show, especially in a genre where a family connections mean longevity for a character’s legacy
A Black Character With A Storyline
A Daytime Wedding First
Dr. Simone Revelle was introduced to the soap in 1987, as the second Black female doctor in the show’s history after Kim Hamilton’s groundbreaking role of Dr. Tracy Adams almost twenty years earlier. By pairing her with the son of Dr. Steve Hardy, Dr. Tom Hardy, a member of the show’s core family was now in an interracial romance. This progressive storyline would take ‘GH’ further than ever in showing viewers the perspective of a woman of color.
Dr. Simone Revelle was introduced as the hospital’s newest pediatrician just as Tom Hardy returned to Port Charles from med school. Their romance would move quickly. In 1988, Tom and Simone’s wedding became the first interracial wedding in daytime television history. Soon after, Simone would learn she was expecting a child, and the couple looked forward to a bright future.
Racism and Consequences
Tragedy struck when a racist patient who took issue with their relationship got into an altercation with Tom resulting in Simone’s miscarriage. The loss of the baby put pressure on their still young marriage. A grief-stricken Simone had an affair with another doctor, which she confessed to Tom, and the two worked out their differences.
However, Simone became pregnant again, and questions over the paternity were warranted. Tom embraced the baby and welcomed Tommy Hardy into his life with open arms despite not being the father biologically. The couple would successfully keep full custody of the child when his birth father took them to court.
A Strained Marriage
Their happiness was once again short-lived. Tom wanted to take on a position in Africa and saw no issue uprooting his family. Simone refused to give up the life she had made in Port Charles, and Tom left his wife and child behind. Simone would meet Justus Ward shortly after and found romance with the lawyer.
Tom later returned to Port Charles, hoping to rekindle a romance with Simone despite her moving on. Simone and Justus eventually got engaged, although her young son had trouble adjusting to the new man in her life. The problems with Tommy frustrated Justus, and he was impatient with the child, much SimSimone’s dismay. Simone chose to break off the engagement and leave Port Charles.
A new romance, a hasty exit
Dr. Simone Revelle-Hardy was featured on GH from 1987 through 1997, the longest for any Black character in the soap opera’s history through that point in time. This record-long run remained unbroken until the introduction of Epiphanny Johnson in 2006