The Soap Paternity Test Conundrum

by | January 31, 2011 at 2:54 PM | Deep Soap

Do Me A Little Favor: Alter Some Paternity Test Results

When “The Bold & the Beautiful’s” Tawny (Andrea Evans) needed to fake the results of a paternity test so that Liam, not Oliver, would appear to be the father of Amber’s baby, she easily found a willing lab tech on an online dating site.  (What did his profile say? “I am a lab tech who works in the lab that Bill Spencer’s physician uses.  I enjoy Italian food and long walks on the beach?”)  “One Life To Live’s” Clint (Jerry Ver Dorn) recruited his high-strung I.T. employee Vimmel (Nick Chocksi ) to execute multiple paternity test switches.  Soap towns are apparently teeming with people who are willing to forge paternity tests at the requests of casual acquaintances.  Sure, they have some vague motivations.  Vimmel was afraid of losing his job, and hoped that going above and beyond the call of duty would get him a promotion.  Tawny’s lab tech friend is hoping to get his hands on some of the child support money Amber will presumably get once she has convinced everyone that she is a Spencer Baby Mama.

Still, it is awfully far-fetched that so many people are willing to not only break the law but alter the course of so many lives despite having no personal stake in the outcome.  I cannot imagine anyone agreeing to do this in real life unless they were amoral jerks who were offered hundreds of thousands of dollars up front.  I am also disappointed in the lack of initiative on the part of the villains.  In the old days, characters sneaked into the hospital labs and altered  their own darn paternity tests.  Sure, that has become increasingly implausible in the DNA era, but I like bad guys who do their own dirty work.  Outsourcing your misdeeds is so lazy.  DIY test switching also prevents future blackmail attempts and exposure.  Clint’s reliance on Vimmel has already come back to bite him thanks to Vimmel’s scheming blabbermouth wife Rama (Shenaz Treasurywala), who told Aubrey (Teri Conn) all about it.  (By the way, Treasurywala just wrote an interesting article about her experiences on OLTL.  She is a celebrity in India who has appeared in movies and was an MTV VJ, but this is the first time she has been able to afford designer clothes.)   I am fine with the soap convention that it is really easy to alter the results of medical tests.  I just would like to see more clearly defined motives for the wacky supporting characters who are so easily persuaded to meddle in other people’s lives.

The Young & the Rushed

I swear, if “The Young & the Restless” makes one more couple decide to get married after a few weeks of dating I’ll… well, all I can do is blog about it.  But Jill (Jess Walton) agreeing to marry Colin (Tristan Rogers) after a few rolls in the hay is ridiculous.  Jill has been burned repeatedly over the past few years by men who are using her.  Yet, all he had to do was engage in some witty banter with her and insult Katherine (Jeanne Cooper) and Jill decided she was in love with him.  She is acting like a teenager, not a sophisticated business woman.  This warp speed courtship is happening for the same reason that every other supersonic marriage in recent Y&R history, from Sharon and Adam’s, to Billy and Victoria’s: to facilitate plot twists.  Jill needs to be engaged to Colin because Colin is Cane’s father and the larger storyline is about Cane’s (Daniel Goddard) criminal past being exposed.   But making Jill look like an idiot does lasting damage to her character.  It also strikes me as unnecessary.  Is there really no way to tell the story with Jill viewing Colin as a man she enjoys dating and hopes that they will eventually forge a long term relationship?  A large part of the depth of soap relationships is that they proceed at the speed of real relationships, with characters usually  taking a year or more to get engaged.  I wish Y&R would quit devaluing the institution of soap marriage by treating it as no more serious than someone updating their Facebook relationship status.

A Timely Social Issue Storyline

Last week “One Life to Live” launched what looks like it will be an old school social issue storyline, as viewers learned that Shane (Austin Williams) is cutting class because he is being bullied — and his tormentors are coming after him online.  Given that one of them has the online name “WhoDaMann,” I assume that the ringleader will turn out to be a SORASED Jack Manning.  This would be consistent with the funny but obnoxious and mean Tween Jack  that we have seen.  If done right, this could actually be a lot more than a heavyhanded after-school special.  It is certainly a timely topic, with numerous tragic stories of bullied teens who have been driven to suicide making the news.  This is an issue that is undoubtedly impacting viewers or viewers’ children.   Shane’s asthma and artistic streak are unfortunately the sort of things that would make him a target at school.  I want to make the poor kid an “It Gets Better” video telling him that one day he will be selling his comic books at Comic-con and everyone will admire his creativity.

Storywise, it also has the potential to pit Todd, who as a former bully I suspect will be far more tolerant of his son’s disgusting behavior than his mother Blair, against Shane’s parents Rex and Gigi.  Given that Charlie is working overtime to get involved with the boy he believes is his grandson’s life, and that the kid’s real grandfather Clint might just start to feel a little twinge of familial love when he learns that a Buchanan man is getting victimized.  Matthew, who knows that Shane is his cousin, might find himself sticking up for the freshman.  If OLTL is going to continue to be the teen soap, I would much rather see a potentially important topical storyline than a musical prom.