Successful Characters with No Family or Ties to Canvas

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Posted · Report post

My girl Felicia Gallant. Like her best friend, Cass, who was aforementioned, Felicia stayed on the show for two decades driving story with her family only being there for awhile. She's truly a survivor.

I'd add Annie Dutton of GL on the list. Though she became the town pariah, she lasted longer than most soap characters could imagine.

Olivia Spencer on GL.

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Posted · Report post

Brenda actually came to the canvas as Julia's spoiled brat of a little sister. I'm not sure who was the first Barrett to hit the PC canvas, though: Julia or their father, Harlan.

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Posted · Report post

I think it was their father, then Julia came soon there after. Brenda showed up like two years after that.

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Posted · Report post

B&B

Darla Einstein

Connor Davis

Grant Chambers

Ashley Abbott

Owen Knight

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Posted (edited) · Report post

I would dispute that shows tie in too many characters to family these days. There are still many characters who are not tied to families. Many of the examples given above are recent. Another recent example would be ATWT's Reid Oliver. Another recent example is the OLTL characters who were moved to GH. They are not GH long-lost relatives as far as I know. A more past example that will always be a favorite of mine is Eddie Silva on ATWT. I agree with Cass and Felicia on AW mentioned above (and Wallingford) -- who became a "family not related by blood" all on their own. The good thing with Reid is they had him interact across the canvas. If you bring in a new character, regardless of whether they are family or not, they need to not be on a story island and need to interact with the characters who are already there -- but not in a "you can't get away from this new guy" way, rather with a natural buildup.

Also I would dispute that it is inadvisable to bring in many new characters as "long lost" or distant relatives. I don't feel it is overdone at all. Part of the appeal of the soaps is the family connections, particularly when there is history behind it and it isn't just made up on the spot. Even stuff that is made up, though, can be powerful. Thinking of the Ward family on GH and Justus being Edward's grandson, when he first came on. Thinking of the tragic story of Bradley Ward, who was never even a character on the show. Thinking of Mary Mae, played by Rosalind Cash, who made such an impact in two years. That was really compelling writing by Claire Labine and it in no way would have been as good without being tied intimately to Edward Quartermaine.

Also the revered Doug Marland is famous for bringing in relatives so it is ironic that soap writers are being bashed in this thread for bringing in relatives. Also it seems contradictory to say that the Bauers sustained GL, starting with Meta as a new character, and at the same time say they shouldn't be bringing in too many relatives. So their adding to the Bauers was a good thing but adding to other families is a bad thing?

The problem with soaps is if they go too far away from family in my opinion, not if they have too much family.

Edited by jfung79

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Also it seems contradictory to say that the Bauers sustained GL, starting with Meta as a new character, and at the same time say they shouldn't be bringing in too many relatives. So their adding to the Bauers was a good thing but adding to other families is a bad thing?

Yes. The Bauers were new at the time, and Meta was also new, or fairly new. They could build each other up.

Soaps that do ZOMG LOOK THIS IS A LONG LOST RELATIVE!! for no apparent reason rarely get any story out of this. The worst offender for me will always be the gimmicky garbage of David being Bo's son on OLTL.

Thinking of the Ward family on GH and Justus being Edward's grandson, when he first came on.

That was twenty years ago. In more recent years you've had Emily's long lost twin (was there any reason?), Ethan as Luke's son (why???), Sam as Alexis' daughter (does anyone care?), Sabrina as Juan's cousin, etc.

Edited by CarlD2

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Posted · Report post

I would dispute that shows tie in too many characters to family these days. There are still many characters who are not tied to families. Many of the examples given above are recent. Another recent example would be ATWT's Reid Oliver. Another recent example is the OLTL characters who were moved to GH. They are not GH long-lost relatives as far as I know. A more past example that will always be a favorite of mine is Eddie Silva on ATWT. I agree with Cass and Felicia on AW mentioned above (and Wallingford) -- who became a "family not related by blood" all on their own. The good thing with Reid is they had him interact across the canvas. If you bring in a new character, regardless of whether they are family or not, they need to not be on a story island and need to interact with the characters who are already there -- but not in a "you can't get away from this new guy" way, rather with a natural buildup.

Also I would dispute that it is inadvisable to bring in many new characters as "long lost" or distant relatives. I don't feel it is overdone at all. Part of the appeal of the soaps is the family connections, particularly when there is history behind it and it isn't just made up on the spot. Even stuff that is made up, though, can be powerful. Thinking of the Ward family on GH and Justus being Edward's grandson, when he first came on. Thinking of the tragic story of Bradley Ward, who was never even a character on the show. Thinking of Mary Mae, played by Rosalind Cash, who made such an impact in two years. That was really compelling writing by Claire Labine and it in no way would have been as good without being tied intimately to Edward Quartermaine.

Also the revered Doug Marland is famous for bringing in relatives so it is ironic that soap writers are being bashed in this thread for bringing in relatives. Also it seems contradictory to say that the Bauers sustained GL, starting with Meta as a new character, and at the same time say they shouldn't be bringing in too many relatives. So their adding to the Bauers was a good thing but adding to other families is a bad thing?

The problem with soaps is if they go too far away from family in my opinion, not if they have too much family.

Long lost relatives are fine if it makes sense. Like Melanie on DOOL if she had turned out to be Nicole's daughter, the way the story was set up and with everyone's past it would have made sense. Making Melanie turn it to be Carly and Daniel's was a plot device because it seemed like Carly and Daniel would be endgame. Then furthering it by finding out that Daniel was Maggie's egg baby was a stupid way to tie Daniel and Mel to the canvas which was un-needed.

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Posted · Report post

Mel is so annoying because she didnt need to be made into Maggies granddaughter, they had that relationship. They needed her and Maggie to help Daniel, truly for no reason. Ugh still mad about that.

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What this should tell someone who writes for a soap is that you don't need to be someone's fifth cousin twice removed to be able to have an impact on a show. Viewers don't care about that garbage. It's just a way for a writer to wink at their cleverness, not a way to integrate a new character. If anything, family ties can choke more than strengthen.

Yep and most of the time those contrived family connections flop or they are tied to nobodies, And it makes it harder to pair people off.

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Also the revered Doug Marland is famous for bringing in relatives so it is ironic that soap writers are being bashed in this thread for bringing in relatives. Also it seems contradictory to say that the Bauers sustained GL, starting with Meta as a new character, and at the same time say they shouldn't be bringing in too many relatives. So their adding to the Bauers was a good thing but adding to other families is a bad thing?

The problem with soaps is if they go too far away from family in my opinion, not if they have too much family.

There's nothing wrong with bringing on new family. That's a great way to build connections and hopefully show new layers for existing characters. I do think that current writers have used that tactic way too much in the recent past. They use family ties as a crutch to try to force us to care about characters instead of putting in the time to develop a backstory and motivation that matters.

Yes, soaps are about family but it's long past time for soaps to catch up with the rest of television and accept that the concept of family doesn't have to be limited to blood ties. For me the best ensembles shows are made up of families of choice but it take time and effort to create relationships that resonate and current writers don't feel like doing that so they just pull another sister/brother/cousin out of the box and throw them on the canvas. Or worse yet, they retcon somebody's parentage so we can shoehorn them into a position of importance they didn't earn and create quickie drama and conflict. *waves at Greenlee/Damon (AMC) and Natalie/Rex (OLTL)*.

Also sticking with cliche blood ties is a convenient way to limit real diversity of the canvas. I don't just mean racial/ethnic diversity either. It stifles the chance to branch out to characters of different economic and religious backgrounds or even just diversity of viewpoint. If everyone grew up together, then there's a degree of shared experience and the backstory writes itself until Lazy Writer decides to retcon it.

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Posted · Report post

I think it was their father, then Julia came soon there after. Brenda showed up like two years after that.

Thanks, Addie. I came in on the tail end of Julia's time so I never did meet their father.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

OLTL

Max Holden

Yes, his brother Steve and half-sister Andy were there at one point, too, but they came and went while Max survived for many years before being done in by ABC.

he's a perfect example

OLTL

Tea

I guess we'll pretend her cousin Roseanne didn't exist? wink.pnglaugh.png

Edited by MissLlanviewPA

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Posted · Report post

I guess we'll pretend her cousin Roseanne didn't exist? wink.pnglaugh.png

Or her brother Del.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

I guess we'll pretend her cousin Roseanne didn't exist? wink.pnglaugh.png

no but I don't think she matters. Tea came on the show with no family and even though they added a few, no one made an impact or had staying power besides her. Tea stands strong without any of her family connections to hold her up. Roseanne is fairly irrelevant in the grand scheme of things but Tea made her stamp on OLTL and I think even haters would have to admit she was fairly popular with a following. 14 years after debut she still has a place and hasn't faded off into obscurity. I think that's the sign of a successful character Edited by Cheap21

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If hanging over a show for over a decade like a fartcloud is a sign of a successful character, then one can consider Rex a successful character as well.

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