Tuesday, January 05, 2016


There is a reason why I can write so many theme posts, be it about surrogacy that goes tragically wrong, how near-death erases sins, and murder mysteries where the non-contract player did it. It’s because soaps tell the same story over and over again.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing (and it’s hardly exclusive to the genre). There are, after all, only so many stories to be told, and spinning the same tale with different characters often leads to different plot twists and denouements.

There’s also the fact that needing to keep the story going while keeping fan favorites on the front burner leads to an inevitable lack of Happily Ever After. All four of the soap-operas still left on the air spent their summer and fall trying to lure back lapsed viewers by bringing back fan favorites from the 1980s and 90s.

Days of Our Lives reunited super-couples Bo and Hope, Patch and Kayla, and Adrienne and Justin, General Hospital brought back Laura so she and Luke could have one last grand adventure before Luke’s portrayer, Anthony Geary, left the show for good… again. Meanwhile, The Young and the Restless stole Eileen Davidson from DOOL (a back-and-forth game the two Sony shows have been playing for decades, which sometimes results in the actress airing and competing against herself in certain markets), and dredged up the Victor/Jack feud well for the umpteenth time. Only The Bold and the Beautiful, which premiered in 1987, didn’t have as deep of a nostalgia vein to tap. So they pivoted in the opposite direction and went with killing off young legacy characters. Which was odd.

Unfortunately, bringing back characters who’d either sailed off into the sunset together or at least went out heroes meant either breaking up the celebrated couples (though death or infidelity), or undoing their heroism. For instance, GH’s Duke, who’d “died” trying to extricate himself from the mob so he and love of his life, Anna, could have a future together, inexplicably returned to the criminal lifestyle, which broke the pair up (again)… then died (again) for his trouble. At the very least, characters had changed from the folks fans fondly remembered, if only because all memories are covered in a golden haze. As opposed to the harsh Technicolor of reality.

This summer’s Star Wars sequel, The Force Awakens, faced a very soap-opera like challenge. How to reconcile golden haze memories of the past with characters inevitably moving forward from the happy ending we’d left them at in 1983 (complete with the Ewoks singing the original Ewok song!)?

How did they do compared to the soaps? Find out at Entertainment Weekly: http://community.ew.com/2016/01/05/soap-operas-like-star-wars/

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