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Soap staples you miss the most


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I was watching a bunch of old clips, and it occurred to me that there isn’t really a Grande Dame type on soaps currently.  I used to love them!  They didn’t always start out that way either, some of them became more that way as time went on, or they aged.

 

They could be a nice character or a nasty one, or both, it all worked for me.

 

Of the soaps I watched the most, they all had at least one-

 

GH-Lila Quartermaine

OLTL-Dorian Lord

GL-Alexandra Spaulding

Y&R- Katherine Chancellor

AMC- Phoebe Wallingford

 

I don’t think anyone on DAYS really qualifies, although Kate could easily be there.

 

I loved the ones like Katherine and Dorian that could be incredibly self destructive and awful to some characters.  

 

There just isn’t anything like a Katherine befriending Jill and Nikki, or alone and drunk puttering around her large house decrying her lost loves.  Lila Q having a soft spot for scoundrels.  Phoebe being so classist.  Alexandra owning the social status of Springfield.

 

I know as soaps became so focused in youth, they stopped really writing for characters like this.  I miss it.

 

 

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Dina on Y&R could have been one of those characters but they chose to do a dementia story and kill her off.

 

Nikki has that potential but she's pretty much become a support character.

 

Gloria pops in for some comedy schtick.

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Had she returned in that role, could you see her taking up residence at theChancellor Estate?

 

My scenario is that she visits Esther upon her 2017 return, who is hostile at first because Dina did not attend Katherine's funeral.

Dina explains that Katherine visited her on that final trip and said their goodbyes at that time.

Dina shares some memories that prove to Esther that she is genuine.

Esther invites Dina to stay and when Jill pops in she is livid of course, thus setting the scene for a renewed rivalry ...

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They had the out with Dina, they could have had that guy causing her symptoms and made it into a story, allowing her to stay.

 

Another staple I miss is the representation of the lower income parts of town/characters.  It made the sense of community more rich and full.

 

I miss people working at Kelly’s and living above it, Charles Street on GH and 5th Street on GL.  The working class folks.  People like Bobbie and Luke fighting their way out of rough backgrounds.  Characters like the original Brady family- Roman was a cop, Kayla a nurse, Bo in the military, their parents ran the Fish Market- a sharp contrast to the professional and more glamorous Hortons.  Characters often striving for a better life like Drucilla and Nikki, or like Nina, fighting against Katherine and Jill for her own piece of the pie and her son.

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For me, it’s the sense of community we lost with budget cuts. The big events and parties in which several stories reach a fever pitch. Holiday parties where half the town shows up. Multiple sets that create a town feel and reflects the different personalities of the characters. The larger, multigenerational casts. The bustling workplaces and watering holes.

 

Someone mentioned that, in the past, Steffy’s pregnancy reveal on B&B would have happened at a big fashion show. Sure, some of that is due to COVID, but even before the pandemic, B&B felt small and claustrophobic. 

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I agree about showcasing the working class and different classes in town. It made it feel more real, especially when you have characters supposedly living in mansions versus others just scraping by. Nowadays no matter your economic status, you're all hanging out in the same restaurants, parks, etc. Back in the day, some characters would rarely if ever interact with one another because they were out of each other's orbit in life, which was realistic. 

 

And yes, I miss the usage of more sets, especially large, lavish ones. But more importantly, the variety of sets made things more realistic as well. We saw more homes of individual characters. Having so many characters living in interchangeable hotel rooms makes everything so generic. What's the drama in a couple breaking up? There's no broken home; no possessions to separate. Instead, you just pack up your one suitcase and move down the hall to another hotel room that's already furnished. And having more sets also meant you weren't suspending disbelief as often when it comes to people running into another, eavesdropping on one another, etc. by popping up in the same place at the same time. On DAYS, that damn park bench set seems to be the town crosswalk; everyone passes through to get from Point A to Point B. 

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I miss those continuous tracking shots that As The World Turns used to do during big group scenes like at The Mona Lisa or at a wedding. Usually, shot in one continuous take. No other soap did it that way, from what I've seen. That requires expert camera technique.

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Also, I miss the deep bench of recurring characters who added texture and realism to these shows. GH sort of still has that, but not with any consistency. Port Charles doesn’t feel very rich.

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I miss female scheming characters on soaps who were from a working class background who wanted more out of their typical lives no matter the cost. Now it seems everyone is either rich or no one wants any long-term personal and professional goals now. As well as troublemakers who add more to the canvas and not just said that they're because they might do something out of the ordinary too. The closest we have to that now on modern day soaps is Gwen from DAYS

 

Characters for example 

Rachel Davis - Another World 

Erica Kane - All My Children

Nola Reardon - Guiding Light 

Ava Rescott- Loving

Vicky Hudson - Another World

Kendall Hart - All My Children 

Dinah Marler - Guiding Light 

 

Edited by Forever8
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I miss the big soap events, set at a big party that half the town is invited too, or set at a location or around some kind of disaster, where storylines would all converge into all these big revelations and climaxes, ending storylines and setting up new ones for characters to play.

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1 hour ago, SteelCity said:

I really miss good old fashioned catfights. Especially when the tension is built up for a very long time.

The feminist in me hated when it was done so much.  But I also loved them.  When Lesley slapped Monica on GH, it had weight behind it.  Katherine and Jill had some of my all time favorites.  I especially loved that one in the courthouses that was really only like two slaps but they had such visceral energy with each other, with Rex trying to break it up.  Tracey and Lauren was a fun one too.

1 hour ago, Faulkner said:

For me, it’s the sense of community we lost with budget cuts. The big events and parties in which several stories reach a fever pitch. Holiday parties where half the town shows up. Multiple sets that create a town feel and reflects the different personalities of the characters. The larger, multigenerational casts. The bustling workplaces and watering holes. 

When you watch clips of the earlier part of Monty’s GH, say 1981. BN- you’ve got such a mix of characters coming through the hospital.  Bobbie, Lesley/Rick and Alan/Monica might have been the only ones in stories of their own, but we still saw more texture by having Ruby, Dan, Amy, Jessie, Steve and Audrey, Lee and Gail all milling about, talking to and about the characters.  And those were every day stories and scenes.  
 

I also loved those huge events when stories culminated or launched- would Alexandra’s takedown of Roger be anywhere near as good if that room hadn’t been filled with those people?  And Blake outside?  Erica’s infamous Woman of the Year award?  The Cruise of Deception was so much fun because it was like one of those parties lasted a couple of months.

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I miss the days when soaps tried to address real social problems. I'm not just talking about their reluctance to depict the current pandemic, but also the way that--aside from maybe DAYS' somewhat botched attempt to do a Black Lives Matter story--they steer totally clear of the 21st century's political or economic issues.

 

We're not getting stories about homelessness or immigrants being deported or characters getting sucked into right-wing hate groups or anything else that might meaningfully connect to our current moment. As far as I know, no one's even an environmentalist or a vegetarian on any of these shows.

 

I mean, I still enjoy the soap that I regularly watch (DAYS), but I feel like it's in its own bubble, dictated by the generic conventions of 60 years of soaps and not touched by the outside world. 

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