Deep Soap: Waiting For The Inevitable

by | January 30, 2009 at 10:13 AM | Deep Soap

Baby Blues

The baby switch storyline has become a soap staple that’s almost as common as amnesia and adultery.  One Life To Live is using a baby switch to generate numerous storylines that impact most of the characters on the canvas. When Bess switched Starr’s baby Hope with Jessica’s dead baby, it created a chain reaction.  Dr. Joplin, believing she had failed to diagnose the baby’s health problems, committed suicide.  Cole, the baby’s Daddy, went into a downward spiral that led him to start using drugs.  Starr found herself drawn to her hot new teacher — Dr. Joplin’s son.   Nora wants to charge Todd with homicide because he paid a nurse to take the baby out of the delivery room.   From the start, Bess’s motivation was clear: keep Jessica from discovering that her baby died.
In contrast, on Days of Our Lives, Nicole’s decision to switch the baby she planned to pass off as her own with Sami’s made little sense.  Both babies were healthy.  It was enough of a stretch to believe that Nicole delivered what looked like a four month old baby at the same time that Sami was in labor.  After spending months dreaming of raising this baby, she suddenly, impulsively decided that EJ should raise his own child and made the switch.  If her motivation were to cover her tracks in case Stephano decided to perform a paternity test, or to hurt her nemesis Sami, I would understand.  But the show presented her decision to steal Sami’s child as based on her love for EJ.  It seems uncharacteristic for Nicole to choose to raise her enemy’s child, especially since she’s so jealous of Sami’s relationship with EJ.  DOOL seems to want viewers to sympathize with Nicole while condemning her actions.  Even if the show manages to craft some interesting complications into this story, I’m never going to buy it because Nicole’s decision made no sense.

The Five People You Meet Before Going To Heaven

The Young & The Restless’s Brad Carlton is performing a familiar ritual: the pre-soap death settling of scores.  Before long term characters go gently into the night, they have emotional conversations with the key people in their lives that gives the audience closure.  It can veer into obvious foreshadowing, but it’s a nice tradition.  Y&R has given Brad flashback-filled conversations with his past loves Sharon and Traci. Sharon made it clear she only wanted Brad’s friendship, while he and Traci reminisced about their early relationship.  I would have liked to have seen similar consideration given to Brad’s relationships with Victoria, Ashley, Nikki, and Lauren. But I appreciated the show bringing Traci back for the occasion.  That’s the sort of attention to detail that is often missing in soaps these days. (DOOL, I’m looking at you.  I’m still not over John and Marlena’s sloppy last day.)

I am disappointed that I won’t get to see Brad struggle to maintain his role in his daughter Abby’s life in the face of Victor’s attempts to buy her affection.  It had the potential to be a realistic, character and history driven storyline without any true villains.  But if Brad had to go, at least he’s leaving with dignity.  As I watched the flashbacks of a young Brad and Traci, I realized that I have “known” Brad since I was a child.  I enjoyed watching the cute, often shirtless guy romance the women of Genoa City.  Then I grew up and found myself putting words in his mouth.  He may just be a fictional character, but I’ve known him longer than most of my friends.  That’s why I appreciate the opportunity to say goodbye.