Is an outrageous tale better when a character acknowledges it? Check out what Digest columnist Carolyn Hinsey has to say about what’s happening across the daytime dial.
We’re used to the occasional farfetched story on our soaps (!) but someone has to be honest about the silliness for it to work.
In Bill’s case on B&B, that’s everyone. He “fell in love” with murderous psychopath Sheila literally overnight and the L.A. crowd cried foul.
Brooke (to Bill): “You need to see Sheila for who she is! She’s dangerous. She’s going to drag you down into her darkness.”
Too late! He stands there in silence looking pained and brainwashed while Sheila insists that shooting her son was an accident.
Brooke: “An accident? Did you call 911?”
No. She ran away and tried to kill Li, so Brooke has a point there.
Bill’s sons also confronted him, with similar results.
Liam: “You’re not even going to the office anymore.”
Wyatt: “That’s your happy place! You love money more than you think you love her.”
Liam: “People feel alone sometimes. We get it.”
But no one gets this, including most viewers. I saw one theory online that Sheila was drugging Bill through his sword necklace, which makes as much sense as Sheila prattling on about how “in love” they are.
Wyatt: “You’re crazier than I thought! Go away.”
Humor helps an implausible storyline, too, which is where Wyatt and Deacon balance out the breast-beating from Brooke, Katie, Steffy and Taylor.
Deacon: “I’m trying to wrap my head around Spencer having any emotions other than arrogance and chronic jackassery.”
Hope: “We keep underestimating Sheila.”
That’s the truest thing anyone has said in this head-scratching tale.
For another head-scratcher, check out Kate, Kayla and Marlena “dying” on DAYS.
John: “I know you’re going to be up there, Doc, looking out for all of us.”
Cue Marlena in a white pantsuit entering blurry cloudland asking, “Where am I?”
I was hoping ONE LIFE TO LIVE’s Viki would appear to explain heaven to Marlena, but no such luck — it was Susan with a clipboard of “dead” Salemites offering to transition Marlena to the other side. The flashbacks were awesome and a dying heroine always provides meaty material (Belle and Eric broke my heart) but watching three major matriarchs who we know are coming back die of an illness that could only be cured by an orchid was rough.
Give me a ridiculous story stopped short by someone just telling the truth every time! Stefan’s convoluted death, heart transplant and brainwashing was pretty out there, so it was a welcome surprise when EJ responded to Kristen and Li blackmailing him about it by simply ’fessing up to Stefan.
Li (re: his job): “I am going to remain your number two unless you want Stefan to find out about your role in his brainwashing.”
EJ: “He already knows.”
Li: “Excuse me?”
EJ: “Let this be a lesson: You don’t cross a DiMera and get away with it.”
We’re also used to farfetched dialogue, so this exchange between Y&R’s Lily and Daniel was refreshing:
Daniel: “Okay if I speak?”
Lily: “As long as you don’t say something like, ‘What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.’ ”
Daniel: “Billy failed you and Devon failed everyone.”
Ouch! I’m Team Devon in that sibling battle, but I see Lily’s point and their arguments are surprisingly riveting (especially for a corporate merger) so carry on.
Conversely, The Great Jeremy Stark Necklace Caper made no sense until Nikki weighed in.
Nikki: “There is something off about this scenario. Why would he steal one necklace from me? How does he even know we have an apartment in Chicago?”
Ask your ex-husband Jack. Please press charges against Jack and Diane, Nikki!
Recasts can be improbable, too, like when OLTL’s Blair morphed from a dark Asian beauty into a blonde with a Southern accent — but at least she remained appealing. Y&R’s Tucker McCall went from being age 70 to 50, which no one acknowledges (he was born the same day as Jill, remember?) and he’s being written as the most unlikable “new” character since DAYS’s Gwen. Tucker failed at wooing back Ashley, failed at getting close to Devon, failed at infiltrating Chancellor-Winters, slept with Audra while claiming to love Ashley, and won’t look anyone in the eye. Where is the rooting value?
Victoria: “He struck out personally and professionally.”
GH’s strained credulity is that everyone in town has found a sudden relative in recent years. Franco is Scotty’s son, Drew is Jason’s twin, Cyrus and Martin are Laura’s brothers, Austin is a Quartermaine, Esme is Ryan and Heather’s daughter, Cody is Mac’s son, Willow is Nina’s daughter … come on. It’s fine when it’s organic — like Portia lying about Trina’s paternity so we know Curtis is her dad — but not believable when that many core characters turn out to suddenly be long-lost relatives.
An exchange like this goes a long way toward fixing that:
Sasha: “When I first came to town I was pretending to be Nina’s daughter, which makes me your fake sister.”
Willow: “Finally, a little good news!”
See what I mean? I’m also a fan of characters acknowledging when they screw up (like Brook Lynn), are pushy (like Diane saying, “I’m going to be blunt because that’s part of my charm”) and lie, like Carly, who fibs as easily as she waters that moss in her kitchen.
Carly: “Do you ever wonder if we deserve Willow?”
Michael: “Every day.”
Carly’s mini-me didn’t deserve Cam either, sleeping with Dex behind his back and then breaking up with him without telling him why.
Joss (post-fight): “Where are you going?”
Cam: “To Kelly’s — my normal, boring, non-mafia job.”
Calling out recent virgin Joss on the torrid affair she’s having with a dangerous mobster in her college dorm room goes a long way toward making that story believable.
Farfetched + Honesty = Entertainment.
Hey. It’s only my opinion.