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When real life gets in the way


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I can think of at least 3 types of "real life" issues that have interfered with soap story telling.

 

(1) Actors who quit, necessitating quick exits for their characters (e.g., Roscoe Born suddenly quit AMC and the odd recasting/resolution of his Jim Tomasen character, or Finola Hughes quitting GH the first time and the quick recast/death of Anna).

 

(2) Real life pregnancy - I don't wish to be misinterpreted as misogynist but many female characters have been ruined by either having to write in a pregnancy at an odd time for a character (Harley (GL) & Jenna(GL)) or needing to take leave during crucial plot developments.  Obviously, there have been amazing pregnancy storylines (the spa on ATWT) but, I would argue that just as often it has derailed plots.

 

(3) Avoiding controversy - this is the most intriguing for me - plots that were written and filmed but scrapped due to similar real life events.  Janet's aborted bombing on AMC came after the Oklahoma tragedy and Jonathan Groff's character of Henry on OLTL was supposed to be a school shooter, but an actual school shooting caused a re-shoot.  There was a kidnapping story on a UK soap that had to be re-shoot after a little girl's kidnapping became a big tabloid story.

 

I would be intrigued to learn of other remembrances of soaps needing to be re-written because of real world events.

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Why did Roscoe Born exit AMC?  Was it because he didn't like Jim being turned into a child molestor, or was it because he didn't like Jim being turned into a terrorist?  I've honestly forgotten which.

 

As unfortunate as the timing was for Janet Green's aborted bombing of Laurel and Trevor's wedding, one good thing that seemed to come out of it was that either ABC or Felicia Minei Behr had finally had enough of Megan McTavish's HW'ing antics and canned her.  (Unfortunately, they brought her back to the show anyway.)

 

Another AMC storyline that seemed to be derailed by real-life events: Pierce Riley.  Jim Fitzpatrick's real-life drinking problem caused him to be fired from the show after he sexually assaulted a woman at some charity benefit.  They recasted Pierce with Greg Wrangler, and later with Maxwell Caufield, but I think the setback torpedoed whatever plans the show had for Pierce/Brooke/Janet.

 

38 minutes ago, Faulkner said:

I was also thinking of untimely deaths, like Michael David Morrison or Benjamin Hendrickson on ATWT. I don’t remember if story had to be re-written.

 

They might have with Hendrickson's death, since they had Hal die suddenly off-screen.  With Morrison's death, though, I think the decision to recast with Graham Winton resulted in Caleb evolving into a far different character than how Doug Marland had envisioned him.

Edited by Khan
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7 minutes ago, Faulkner said:

I was also thinking of untimely deaths, like Michael David Morrison or Benjamin Hendrickson on ATWT or Michelle Thomas on Y&R. I don’t remember if story had to be re-written.

 

I recall that Michelle Thomas had taken a leave of absence for medical reasons, so the show had another actress play the character.. intending for the actress to be a temp.. so during that time, the character wasn't singing.. and then when Michelle Thomas ended up passing away, the show decided to stick with the actress and moved the character away from singing... I think the show had it that she had signed a non compete contract so she couldn't sing at Gina's anymore... Eventually, the character was written out.

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4 minutes ago, Khan said:

They might have with Hendrickson's death, since they had Hal die suddenly off-screen.  With Morrison's death, though, I think the decision to recast with Graham Winton resulted in Caleb evolving into a far different character than how Doug Marland had envisioned him.

It was so sad that BH/Hal’s final episode was at Jennifer’s funeral.

 

I wasn’t closely following ATWT when MDM died, but I remember it freaked me out. I didn’t like watching shows with actors who’d recently died when I was growing up. What was the major change with Caleb?

 

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20 minutes ago, Khan said:

Why did Roscoe Born exit AMC?  Was it because he didn't like Jim being turned into a child molestor, or was it because he didn't like Jim being turned into a terrorist?  I've honestly forgotten which.

I don't think he ever specified his reasons in the press although I recall speculation was regarding the child molestation story.  I was shocked when he was rehired years later at OLTL.  I would think he would have been blackballed from soaps.  Helen Lawson (VOD) taught us that "broadway doesn't go for booze or dope" but I guess soap producers are more forgiving (eg Sean Kanen).

Edited by j swift
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On Y&R in 1980, Julia Newman's story was rewritten when Beau Kayser left the show. Julia was supposed to end up with Brock, but they had to bring on the character of Michael Scott. I wonder if Bill Bell intended to have Brock be the one locked in the basement at the ranch ?

 

Melody Thomas Scott got pregnant in real life in 1981. Bill Bell had to quickly write Nikki meeting Victor and getting pregnant on the show. It turned out to be a hit with viewers. Now we have been paying for it nearly 40 years.....LOL

 

On Days Of Our Lives Brends Benet committed suicide and her character Lee had to be written out quickly.

 

 

 

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2 minutes ago, SoapDope said:

On Days Of Our Lives Brends Benet committed suicide and her character Lee had to be written out quickly.

I wonder how Lee's unplanned exit affected the planning for and writing of Renee?

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9 minutes ago, Faulkner said:

What was the major change with Caleb?

 

 

I'm not sure he was written differently, but GW just didn't have the "chip on his shoulder" quality that MDM did. I guess Caleb did become less hotheaded in general though.

 

Re:pregnancies....I think they only "derailed" things when producers unadvisedly wrote them in. 

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22 minutes ago, j swift said:

Helen Lawson (VOD) taught us that "broadway doesn't go for booze or dope" but I guess soap producers are more forgiving (eg Sean Kanen).

 

The industry is always willing to give actors who are recovering addicts another chance.  It's the pedophiles (who are outed publicly) who end up locked out of the business.  (See: Kevin Spacey, Scott Bairstow.)

 

15 minutes ago, P.J. said:

I'm not sure he was written differently, but GW just didn't have the "chip on his shoulder" quality that MDM did. I guess Caleb did become less hotheaded in general though.

 

Exactly.

 

Did Caleb become a cop before or after Graham Winton assumed the role?  Now that I think about it, it might have been before.  Regardless, though, I couldn't see Caleb remaining as a cop with MDM still in that part.

 

22 minutes ago, SoapDope said:

On Days Of Our Lives Brends Benet committed suicide and her character Lee had to be written out quickly.

 

Didn't I read somewhere that the writers had Lee reveal in a letter what she was supposed to reveal in person (had Benet not committed suicide)?

 

I have to respect TPTB, though, for choosing never to recast Lee.  If they had, even years down the road (before Renee herself was murdered), I feel like Benet's replacement would have had a tough(er) time than usual winning over the audience.

 

32 minutes ago, Paul Raven said:

Douglass Watson on AW.

Mac had to be killed off also and whatever plans they had were altered...

 

Alice Barrett (ex-Frankie) once said that before DW left for vacation, he told her how much he looked forward to working with her.  I have to wonder what sort of story they had in mind that would have included Mac and Frankie.

Edited by Khan
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5 minutes ago, Khan said:

 

Did Caleb become a cop before or after Graham Winton assumed the role?  Now that I think about it, it might have been before.  Regardless, though, I couldn't see Caleb remaining as a cop with MDM still in that part

 

I believe Caleb started down that road as a result of being accused of Henry Lange's murder. So I'm going to assume before. 

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Would you consider abrupt departures like SJB's as Carly or VM's exit as Brenda in 2003? It seemed like the show thought both actresses would re-sign and didn't. Enter TB as Carly (who was supposed to be temp to wrap things up) and KeMo who spent 2 years playing out what I assume was a take off of the planned Brenda story. Sonny/Jax, the baby, Jason romance. 

 

It feels like contract negotiations or departures that are unexpected play a huge course in changing story.  It seems like shows just assume some stars are staying.

 

But it's not like Missy Reeves quitting on the spot.  Or Roscoe Born or Finola Hughes, I think-who quit more on the spot too.

Edited by carolineg
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I forgot to include the 2001 Stavros Casadine plot that was rewritten after 9/11.  Stavros and Helena were supposed to bomb GH but it seemed inappropriate for the time and it was rewritten so that Stavros fell into a hole in the basement of GH; that hole was never seen again although Stavros some how survived and returned.

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1 minute ago, j swift said:

I forgot to include the 2001 Stavros Casadine plot that was rewritten after 9/11.  Stavros and Helena were supposed to bomb GH but it seemed inappropriate for the time and it was rewritten so that Stavros fell into a hole in the basement of GH; that hole was never seen again although Stavros some how survived and returned.

Was that the whole "endgame" plot that Tony Geary wrote or help write?  Because that was just dumb all around re-write or not.

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