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What stories didn't work(ratings wise/creative wise) in soaps?


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Social issues. Sorry, but they are always a big turn-off for me. I remember ATWT's gay storylines. Anyone who objected was either a bigot (Kirk Anderson) or a homicidal maniac (Colonel Mayer). There was never a character who simply had moral objections, but no malice. But TPTB always treat the audience like reactionary stooges who "have to be taught".

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Ditto the art comment. I remember watching the stolen paintings story with Palmer on AMC circa 1998 and thinking "who cares?"

In terms of the transsexual story, Zarf was such a throwaway character. Why should we care that some random flamboyant new person adored by Babe and Bianca wants to be a woman? There was never any reason to care about him/her. Watching an established AMC character struggle with gender identity would have been FAR more interesting to watch.

Murder storylines generally annoy me. First there's a ridiculous build up with a bunch of people on a magazine cover and the tag line "One of these people will die!"... and you're looking at pics of major characters, and you KNOW they aren't REALLY going to do it. So they kill off Adam's twin Stuart for shock value, when he was the single most decent person in town. Then there's an absurdly long investigation and drama over who did it, and you already know that the killer will either be 1) a minor character no one cares about OR 2) a major character who did so under dire circumstances and will thus have an excuse for it and will miraculously avoid any jail time. I remember being fairly invested in AMC's "Who Killed Will" storyline until the murderer was revealed to be Janet. It was SUCH a cop out because she had the absolute weakest motive of all.

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Vanessa's involvement notwithstanding, "Who Killed Paolo Caselli?" on AMC would be a good example. (Paolo who? Exactly.)

Was Paolo that boring fool that Greenlee dated? The one we only understood about 7 words an episode from?

Or was that Juan Pablo?

I remember one was hunky, passable, and gone in a few months and the other was skinny, incommunicable, and there forever, but always forget which had which name.

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ATWT's "He Said/She Said" rape with Marshall and Jessica was an interesting concept IMO but it didn't work. It all seemed horribly sexist and this was also a time when the criminals were getting away with way too much way too often. Also I think they should have actually SHOWED the alleged rape in order to let the audience argue over it. It would have been a lot more creative/controversial that way.

Plus Marshall was a good character IMO and it absolutely ruined him.

It also shared a similar problem with SB's Dash/Julia rape scenario a decade before it- you can't do a He Said/She Said rape scenario with the most upstanding female lawyer in the town or on the canvas for that matter. Who's gonna buy that Julia or Jessica were so delusional and foolish (about "The Law") that they wouldn't know the difference between rape and consentual sex with a man? And not only that, but take it so far as to press charges for that matter?

He said, no matter who he is (in both cases, the male was a fairly new character and the female had been on the series the better part of a decade), doesn't stand a chance.

Those types of stories you give to characters like Linda Patterson, or Annie Douglas, or Carly Tenney, etc... Someone who's at least capable of it.

OLTL came closest to trying it with Marty, but the audience was in on it and it was a far more brutal scenario.

I think a "He Said/She Said" rape story could be PHENOMENAL, if done right. Maybe some of the posters that have seen the soaps in the 60s or 70s could think of an example of a similar story that worked better than I could.

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Was Paolo that boring fool that Greenlee dated? The one we only understood about 7 words an episode from?

Or was that Juan Pablo?

I remember one was hunky, passable, and gone in a few months and the other was skinny, incommunicable, and there forever, but always forget which had which name.

Greenlee dated Juan Pablo. Paolo was a drug dealer/gigolo/con artist.

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I dislike long lost children storylines when it involves a female character. I can buy a male character having a kid that he didn't know about. Anyway, all of a sudden we discover that X female character had a baby and gave it up for adoption, or the kid was taken from her or she believed that the kid died. No indication, no longing looks or tears at the sight of children. Nothing.

Or the retconned story where a woman gives birth on screen, but we discover years later that she was actually pregnant with twins and the other twin was taken by someone and put up for adoption. What I really hate is the big F U these stories give to adoption because we all know that these long lost children almost always forget the adopted parents.

Don't forget the women, too, who have babies and then forget they had them. I mean, it was bad enough when Viki couldn't recall being pregnant with Megan, but when she couldn't remember giving birth to Natalie either...?

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Social issues. Sorry, but they are always a big turn-off for me. I remember ATWT's gay storylines. Anyone who objected was either a bigot (Kirk Anderson) or a homicidal maniac (Colonel Mayer). There was never a character who simply had moral objections, but no malice. But TPTB always treat the audience like reactionary stooges who "have to be taught".

Let's put it this way: if you were questioning your sexuality at that time, watching Colonel Mayer lose his [[email protected]#$%^&*] and then try to kill Luke in the woods just made it harder for you to come out. Same might go for anyone who saw what happened after Jason Sheffield learned his kid brother, Kevin, was gay on AMC. (Poor Laurel.)

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Ditto the art comment. I remember watching the stolen paintings story with Palmer on AMC circa 1998 and thinking "who cares?"

I give Megan McTavish points for rooting it in Palmer's past as a soldier during WWII...and that's about it. Otherwise, it was an especially cruel way to torpedo Palmer and Opal's otherwise happy marriage.

In terms of the transsexual story, Zarf was such a throwaway character. Why should we care that some random flamboyant new person adored by Babe and Bianca wants to be a woman? There was never any reason to care about him/her. Watching an established AMC character struggle with gender identity would have been FAR more interesting to watch.

Exactly.

I remember being fairly invested in AMC's "Who Killed Will" storyline until the murderer was revealed to be Janet. It was SUCH a cop out because she had the absolute weakest motive of all.

To this day, I think Dixie should have been unmasked as the killer. Even if she had killed him in a rage and then forgot about it, the twist would have had a HUGE impact on the show. Much more, I think, than Janet From Another Planet.

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I think a "He Said/She Said" rape story could be PHENOMENAL, if done right. Maybe some of the posters that have seen the soaps in the 60s or 70s could think of an example of a similar story that worked than I could.

Frankly, I don't think rape storylines could be any more phenomenal than one I've only heard about and have been dying to see for years -- and that's when George Curtis (Anthony Geary, of ALL people, lol) raped young Chris Brooks on Y&R. There, you had a situation where it was clear, apparently, that he did, indeed, assault the girl. However, in a twist that I don't think soaps would dare try even today, he was acquitted of the charges in court; and even worse, the trauma had a major impact on her and Snapper's sexual relationship for some time afterward.

Damn, Bill Bell, I am so sorry I didn't love your work when you still were alive. :(

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I think it worked on EON, too, when they killed off faux Sky Whitney (aka Jefferson Brown) and brought back Larkin Malloy as the real Sky Whitney, whose identity the former had stolen. Not only that, but they basically repeated the relationship with Raven, since LM and SG had great chemistry. But there you had the buildup of Sky #1 turning out to be an imposter (making him an imposter was the surprise, up until that storyline he'd been Sky Whitney) so having him ultimately killed off and bringing LM back as the real Sky wasn't so sudden (I think between LM's popularity and the real Sky taking his rightful place, the audience was pretty happy...I know I sure was!)

Also, OLTL brought back Lee Patterson (aka the long-dead Joe Riley) as Tom Denison, Joe's long lost twin that nobody ever heard of. I wouldn't say it was a disaster, I mean I think it worked but I also think Clint and Viki were so hugely popular then (and I loved them, too) that a Viki/Tom relationship was never going to go very far.

I'm also thinking Ryan Chamberlain/Kevin Collins on GH, although I can't remember if Ryan was presumed dead when Kevin was first introduced or if he was just locked up somewhere.

Ryan was still alive at that time.

I wouldn't say Tom was a disaster, but there was no purpose for the character.

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It also shared a similar problem with the Dash/Julia rape scenario a decade before it- you can't do a He Said/She Said rape scenario with the most upstanding female lawyer in the town or on the canvas for that matter. Who's gonna buy that Julia or Jessica were so delusional and foolish (about "The Law") that they wouldn't know the difference between rape and consentual sex with a man? And not only that, but take it so far as to press charges for that matter?

I loved that storyline. Julia was so sure and everyone had doubts, including Augusta. I think the only places where they messed up was having Augusta fall for Dash, Julia kidnapping Dash, and finally having Dash own up to the rape. It would have been better to just leave it ambiguous.

Frankly, I don't think rape storylines could be any more phenomenal than one I've only heard about and have been dying to see for years -- and that's when George Curtis (Anthony Geary, of ALL people, lol) raped young Chris Brooks on Y&R. There, you had a situation where it was clear, apparently, that he did, indeed, assault the girl. However, in a twist that I don't think soaps would dare try even today, he was acquitted of the charges in court; and even worse, the trauma had a major impact on her and Snapper's sexual relationship for some time afterward.

Damn, Bill Bell, I am so sorry I didn't love your work when you still were alive. sad.png

If you're close to NYC or LA, go to the Paley Center. They have that episode, or they used to have it. It was very good. What is with Geary playing rapists?

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What is with Geary playing rapists?

It's not quite as bad as James Rebhorn playing both Bradley Raines, a character who raped his stepdaughter Beth on GL, and Henry Lange, a character who raped his biological daughter Angel, getting her pregnant and resulting in her getting a backalley abortion on ATWT, but it's still pretty unfortunate.

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I thought the whole Julia/Dash rape story was awful because it just wasn't believable that this upstanding lawyer and feminist would not know the difference between rape and consensual sex, or that she'd deliberately falsely accuse someone of rape because she regretted sleeping with him. I could see a scared teenager having sex, regretting it, and crying rape as Kendall did on AMC (although she accused Dimitri and not Anton, who she'd really slept with), but it didn't make sense that Julia of all people would do that.

As far as "Who Killed Will" goes, I would have LOVED for Dixie to be the killer. Oh that would have been SO awesome! Of course in typical soap fashion there would have been some twist that kept her out of jail.

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I hate major "wuv" stories where the whole town tells that one character is in love with another because everyone can see that there in love except me the viewer. OLTL annoyed the heck out of me with that.

I really am not a fan of the reformed rapist especially when played by a good actor. I seem to be able to fall in love with good acting to the point where the actor might make me empathize with the character and I just don't like empathizing with rapists or any extremely immoral characters.

I take issue at being beaten over the head with the goodness of a specific character. Don't tell me who to like, show me the reasons I should like whoever it is. Seriously, write a proper story and let me judge for myself.

I also want to chime in on women with long lost children. GL gave Reva two of them, if I recall correctly: Dylan and the royal son. Plus she married every man in the same family which I also find distasteful and all that was missing was her giving birth to old HB's son and everyone was supposed to just going on rooting for her and Josh to be together. And to level the scum factor, he got her sister. Maybe I ought to throw in all those darned near incestuous relationships because all these characters live in the hills where potential mates are in such short supply that they need to be passed around and around.

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