Why Are Soap Legal Storylines So Ridiculous?

by | January 17, 2011 at 12:00 PM | Deep Soap

Soap Law

Last Friday, on “One Life To Live’s” Tea (Florencia Lozano) managed to prove her client innocent — at a sentencing hearing after he confessed.  New evidence was also submitted — by private citizen Todd (Trevor St. John), who just barged into open court and announced that Nate’s (Lenny Platt) fingerprints had been found on the cufflink that belonged to Todd that was found at the crime scene.  Meanwhile, on “The Young & the Restless,” Adam (Michael Muhney), who was being held without bail on murder charges even though no body had been found, was freed after a bottle of the same brand of perfume worn by the victim, Skye, was found in Hawaii.

Soap law has always been based on something other than the U.S. Constitution, but it has been particularly ludicrous lately — and it’s unnecessary.   All that bottle of perfume proved was that someone on the island wore the same obscure, discontinued brand as Skye.  (Why Skye continued to wear her signature fragrance while she was faking her own death will remain unanswered until it is inevitably revealed that she did not really fall into a volcano and burn to death.)   There is no way that a judge would allow an attorney to mount a defense at a sentencing hearing.  But there was a plausible way to verify that Skye was alive.  Koa, the proprietor of the Hawaiian convenience store spoke with her on numerous occasions.  He could have been subpoenaed to testify that she was alive.  If Nate had not pleaded guilty, a trial would have been an appropriate legal venue for Tea to introduce testimony that Inez (Jessica Leccia) was the killer.

Watch a Sneak Peek of “The Young and the Restless:”

Alternately, we could have watched soap lawyers struggle to find a way to prove a truth, figuring out a way to get the evidence admitted in the face of legal rules that made it virtually impossible for justice to prevail. Primetime shows like “The Good Wife” regularly find great drama in similar situations. The law can be fascinating. Numerous daytime fans are graduates of  “Law & Order” U., whose stock in trade is accurate representation of the legal process. It makes for an eye rolling viewing experience.  Believe it or not, soaps have legal consultants that writers and producers can phone for advice.  OLTL’s head writer Ron Carlivati is a law school graduate and could use his training to construct great legal storylines. They just often opt to go for what makes for an exciting scene, rather than some semblance of realism. Given the continuous struggle to make daytime more relevant to the audience, how about some courtroom accuracy?

Eye Cancer: The Plot Twist So Nice, “Days” Needs to Do It Twice

Hey, remember how poor little Johnny got eye cancer at Christmas?  That was so much fun that “Days of Our Lives” decided to do it again three weeks later, this time with the possibility that the kid could go completely blind.  That sure is a lot of retina blastoma in a short amount of time.  The twist this time is that it turns out that Johnny’s grandfather, Stefano (Joseph Mascalo) is behind the prison organ theft ring.  This is good, if anything about a cheesy storyline involving stealing organs from dead prisoners can be said to be good, because it means Stefano is actually super evil again.  Seeing Stefano worrying about his grandson, attempting to forge a relationship with his latest long lost son, and living with his diabetes has diluted his menace.  Now he’s the guy who dumped Hope into a vat of acid again.  Despite the claims that Johnny is not a potential organ recipient, I suspect it’s only a matter of time until the little boy ends up being given a  tiny prisoner’s tiny criminal eyes.   That seems more like the set up for a creepy horror movie than a miracle cure.   I’m glad that Hope’s investigation of prison corruption turned out to be more than a way to keep Kristian Alfonso and Peter Reckell occupied for a few months, but I hope the pay off involves more than the continued suffering of a child.

The Baby Swap Delivers

The OLTL paternity test-o-rama continues to be more entertaining than it should be.  Despite its heavyhanded moments, like Roxie (Ilene Kristen) insisting that Natalie’s (Melissa Archer) baby looked like Brody (Mark Lawson), not John, it is just goofy fun.  Marty’s (Susan Haskell) convenient nervous breakdown, and insistence that she is the one who had a baby with John (Michael Easton),  means that she can tell everyone that Natalie is lying about her baby’s paternity and nobody will believe her.  I have gotten a kick out of Brody’s sheer joy at finally being a Dad, Clint’s paternity test altering lackey Vimmel getting into the spirit by buying celebratory balloons then finally realizing that he might have altered the wrong daughter’s test, and Roxie asking if Natalie and Jessica got any good drugs while they were in labor.   Even John has managed to smile a little bit, which makes him so much more pleasant.  It was a week of crackling good soap, marred only by Nate’s preposterous sentencing hearing.  In other words, OLTL, please don’t mess up a good thing by making Robert the father of Jessica’s baby.