Friday, July 29, 2011


While soaps bill - and pride - themselves on being Love In the Afternoon, the medium has also been used to tell socially relevant, educational stories that genuinely enriched the lives of their viewers.

The granddaddy of them all is Bert Bauer's cervical cancer scare on Guiding Light in 1962, penned by Agnes Nixon.

Thirty years later, on an Agnes Nixon created show, writer Michael Malone spun the tale of Marty's gang-rape on One Life to Live.

Malone told Soap Opera 451: A Time Capsule of Daytime Drama's Greatest Moments, "It was a graphic, honest, intensely emotional, extensively researched portrayal of the too-often unreported crime of college rape, in this case a gang rape by three fraternity men. The victim was Marty, a fellow student who already knew them, who had previously had sex with one of them, and who was intoxicated at the time of the rape. The “message” of the story was that none of these circumstances mitigate against the fact that rape is rape and rape is a major crime."

What are your memories of this storyline? Please tell us in the Comments below or write me directly at

Also looking for feedback for possible publication on:

DARK SHADOWS: Barnabas/Maggie/Josette
PC: Kevin mourns Eve
AMC: Laura's death
OLTL: Bo and Nora's wedding
DOOL: "Roman" sees a presumed dead Marlena alive on the pier
Y&R: David's KILLER plastic surgery, the masquerade ball and death by garbage chute
DOOL: Eileen Davidson plays five different roles - and lives to tell about it!
GL: Olivia and Natalia's romance
Y&R: Dru/Neil/Malcolm and Lily's paternity reveal
EON: Draper's Great Train Escape

1 comment:

laroc said...

This storyline was absolutely riveting in so many ways. It was raw, emotional, violent, realistic, and treated rape as what it was - a crime of violence the was not acceptable - even if the victim was a "party girl" who'd previously had sex with one of her attackers.

But what followed was even more incredible, and unique. The totally unexpected emergence of Roger Howarth, originally signed to play a short term character, a college frat boy who leads a gang rape and is sent to prison for his crime, as a major star. The show and the actor never whitewashed the crime, turning it into a romantic mistake. Instead they chose to explore what made this young man into the monster that would commit such a crime and in the process made you understand that Todd was as much a victim as Marty. A young man who'd been abused all his childhood by his stepfather. A man who'd never had a lasting loving relationship with a woman since his mother had left him as a small boy. The abused who became an abuser. As he gained understanding of what he'd done and loathe himself for doing it, the audience couldn't help but root for the character, even as it hated the crime. The two characters, Todd and Marty, continued to be connected. Howarth and Haskell were tremendous working together throughout, showing a great chemistry that they never allowed to stray into the romantic. And now twenty years later, the writers have chosen to continue that connection with a grandchild. A fact that floored Hoawrth's Todd when he learned the fact after his return to the show.