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Gray Bunny

When Did Your Soap's History Stop Mattering... To You?

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I know I find myself picking and choosing what my shows' "real history" is versus the garbage they're just throwing on the air to full up an hour. Sometimes it's to preserve the memories of yesteryear, other times it's because you've stopped trying to decipher the messiness of all the rewrites and character assassinations and strange intertwinings that just don't make sense or just muck up what used to be. 

 

For example... Anything that's happening with Kristen DiMera as played by Stacy Haiduk on DAYS does not count in my book. We last saw Kristen falling out a window and down a cliff in some European DiMera hideout. 

 

Tony DiMera/Andre DiMera... the biggest mindfukkery of them all. Tony DiMera was the one in town in 1993-1995. I don't care who was around afterwards. If the real Tony was stuck on an island since the 80's, then there must be at least 3 characters cursed with Thaao's face. 

 

And Lord knows the soap writers pick and choose their history. Catching up on DAYS recently, I was legit surprised when JJ referred to his mom and dad's days hiding out in the circus, as most anything Jack & Jennifer related that involved Mark Valley, Stephanie Cameron, or Steve Wilder in the roles (not to mention the era of Peter Blake...) is completely ignored. 

 

I think plot points in the later years of most soaps are kind of ignored by fans, at least I know I do. Does anyone really want to recall on GL when a newly recast Dylan with dirty ol' Brian Gaskill was suddenly pining for Harley in 2007?  Did Leah Bauer need to be SORASed at all? Matt and Dinah never hooked up, etc. 

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Somewhere along the line all soaps entered a bizzaro alternate timeline. I would say this started around the mid 90's thru late 90's. I like to think that in the regular timeline. All our soaps are timely and in the midst of a golden ages. For example everything that happen on GL after 94 took place in the bizzaro alternate timeline. 

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Y&R - When Jill and Kay become mother/daughter. That changed everything for me. Once it was done, I was willing to just accept it, though I hated it, but then they had to make more mess by trying to retcon it. Bell himself said he made mistakes in the past, changing Ashley's paternity and killing off Phillip III, but he just copped it and moved on. They should have just left the mistake they made and did the best they could with it. It was at this point that the history of the show/characters took a back seat to story. I feel this is also when Alden started losing control of the show, someone mentioned it was Jack Smith that made this mistake and the more Alden got pushed aside the more the show suffered.

 

B&B - I said before but Brooke's character was so pivotal to this show by the late 90's and her goal was always clear. She believed she and Ridge were meant for each other, her manipulation and schemes were all because she felt the means justified the end. Then all of a sudden it was Thorne that was the love of her life, then Deacon and the "Slut from the Valley" was born. This was not Brooke, sleeping with her daughter's husband and getting pregnant and rejecting Ridge for Deacon, her entire motive from the past 10+ years went out the door. This then affected so much around her, it really ruined the history of the show. By this time there was zero growth for any of the characters, in fact they regressed in some instances.

 

Days - As much as I loved and watched JER's Days and could not get enough of it at the time, I now realise how much damage it did. Marlena became such an idiot during this time, John was never the brightest bulb, but even he took an IQ beating, Laura was a zombie and didn't even seem like the same character anymore, Jack was a dumbbell under Steve Wilder and Kristen went from a devout, compassionate Christian to an evil super villian. Then after JER left, the show could never really return to what it once was, so it got crazier and more outlandish. It was not even the same show anymore, the history of the show was  fading by 1994/95 and absolutely done by 1998 - 2002

 

I think by the 90's/early 00's most soaps disregarded character history and became story driven, ignoring the past and ignoring character development for short term thrills. I feel like they were all trying to be Melrose Place or JER's Days and the individual identities of the soaps were being erroded and the rating went with it.

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There was a chunk of time between Laura losing her mind and Lulu’s SORAS that I pretty much ignored GH.  Minus that first Brenda return.  Everything that happened then didn’t matter to me and it was the first real break I had taken from the show since the late 1980’s.  Too much Carly/Sonny/Jason and lip service to the other characters.  I have no idea what happened and I don’t care to figure it out.  I also checked out for a bit when Brenda did.  I have no memory of any part of Sam’s first 6 months on the show.  Not her with Sonny or Jax.  And I am happier for it.

 

I know later I would see scenes with Luke and Skye and they acted like they had history and I was blissfully unaware of them.  I know Heather came back during this time and I didn't see it or care.

 

I dropped out again after the text message killer.  Wrong characters killed, horrible ending, and the show was kind of limping along in my opinion.

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Yep all the time. 

 

Y&R - It ebbs and flows. There is a lot of nonsensical crap that happened on that show after 2005 that I just flat out ignore. 

 

B&B - I don't pay attention to anything that happened after 2001/2002. Once Bill Bell got sick and was no longer involved in the show, the show went to hell. It was an obvious and rapid decline. I'm not really concerned about any plot points that happened after that. I just kind of pretend it was cancelled after Sheila went to jail. Shrugs.

 

GL - Was the show still on the air after 2007? I like to pretend it wasn't. I also don't acknowledge any of the San Cristohell mess 

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11 minutes ago, Vizion said:

Yep all the time. 

 

Y&R - It ebbs and flows. There is a lot of nonsensical crap that happened on that show after 2005 that I just flat out ignore. 

 

B&B - I don't pay attention to anything that happened after 2001/2002. Once Bill Bell got sick and was no longer involved in the show, the show went to hell. It was an obvious and rapid decline. I'm not really concerned about any plot points that happened after that. I just kind of pretend it was cancelled after Sheila went to jail. Shrugs.

 

GL - Was the show still on the air after 2007? I like to pretend it wasn't. I also don't acknowledge any of the San Cristohell mess 

 I tend to want to ignore any Y&R/B&B post 2005 history. 

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As far as I'm concerned, every single episode of AMC from 1970 through 2013 and every single episode of ATWT from 1956 to 2010 is canon. Very glad to say that my soaps never strayed so far away from the right path so as to just stop mattering completely.

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3 hours ago, YRfan23 said:

 I tend to want to ignore any Y&R/B&B post 2005 history. 

 

Same tbh. I really think those two shows saw the sharpest declines in quality around the early and mid 00's and it felt so drastic.

 

Other shows had already cycled through various writers and regimes - people with different visions for the show - but the Bell soaps had such a clear and steady creative vision for such a long time under Bill. When that changed you immediately felt it. Like you spent 15-20 years eating filet mignon at the best restaurant in town and then all of a sudden you go to that same restaurant and someone is trying to shove spam down your throat. 

Edited by Vizion

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I don't really ignore years of any of the soaps that I watch or have watched. For me, it's the individual b.s rewrites of characters and stories in order to get a current story going or to redeem a character who's irredeemable, that I tend to ignore. When you change characters or previous stories in order to justify your own story without a good reason or motivation, you fail. For example,

 

On GH, Franco raped Sam and was responsible for Michael being raped in prison. I will never believe that he only made look like he was going to rape Sam, or that he intended for Michael's rapist to protect him.

 

On AW, Carl did not have an obsession with Rachel solely because she looked like Justine.

 

I'm sure there are tons of other examples on all soaps.

12 hours ago, victoria foxton said:

Somewhere along the line all soaps entered a bizzaro alternate timeline. I would say this started around the mid 90's thru late 90's.

I think what happened there was the same thing that happened in the late 70's and early 80's. Soaps faced a stiff competition from another soap or another medium, and the producers, writers and network execs. just panicked and went with whatever came to mind, not giving enough thought as to whether or not viewers would enjoy it. In the 70's, it was GH. In the 90's, it was the reality, talk and legal drama shows.

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Sure, it's easy to dismiss this-or-that storyline or era.  You have to remember, though, that somebody, somewhere, loved it; and as a writer or producer, I think you have to respect that.

 

Also, I'm a firm believer in playing fair with your audience.  If we saw it on-screen, then it happened.  Even if you were to retcon it out of existence, like Y&R has done with Dylan, that doesn't negate the fact that people at home still witnessed it.  Otherwise, how can you ask the audience to invest in anything you do on your show?

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1 hour ago, Khan said:

Sure, it's easy to dismiss this-or-that storyline or era.  You have to remember, though, that somebody, somewhere, loved it; and as a writer or producer, I think you have to respect that.

 

Also, I'm a firm believer in playing fair with your audience.  If we saw it on-screen, then it happened.  Even if you were to retcon it out of existence, like Y&R has done with Dylan, that doesn't negate the fact that people at home still witnessed it.  Otherwise, how can you ask the audience to invest in anything you do on your show?

 

I agree. But the lack of respect of show history and character integrity is so blatant nowadays, that years from now when Days of Our Lives is cancelled and I recall the good ol' DAYS, I'm not gonna think about the ups and downs Hope Williams Brady had with Aiden or Rafe or Ted. I'm going to remember the years with Bo. 

 

At some point in more recent years, I've detached and am just like "whatever, I'll watch it if I like it but it doesn't really reflect on my recollections of the character's timeline."  You could decapitate and dismember Tony/Andre DiMera one week and have him pop up next week in one piece and it's just like "meh. sure." As long as they can crank out 8 episodes per week under budget, TPTB don't really care if anything makes sense. 

 

We've been desensitized to expecting valid answers, so we just go with it now. The existence of Stefan DiMera, long-lost love child of Vivian and Stefano (then known as Rudolpho Meradi to her?) makes ZERO sense given their history and timeline. 

 

 

Edited by Gray Bunny

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