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Which soap opera featured 2014's hottest Fourth of July fireworks?

Holiday episodes are a big deal on soaps. Sometimes, a single festive day can last an entire week (on Passions in 2003, one night lasted from August to November). Soap fans expect fireworks on their shows all year round (of the emotional, if not literal, variety), but they especially want to witness some dramatic explosions on the Fourth of July.

Did The Bold & the Beautiful, Days of Our Lives, General Hospital and The Young & the Restless deliver the goods on the big day?

We rank this year’s drama pyrotechnics below.

General Hospital: As fellow EW Community Contributor Karen Belgrad ably summarized, on Thursday, July 3 (the show ran a repeat on Friday), while Nina continued to play Silas, Nikolas allowed himself to be manipulated by Britt … and his elementary-school-age son. Patrick finally admitted to Emma just how unhappy he was with her otherwise saintly mother. And viewers were treated to a cliffhanger of the not-at-all-surprising “surprise” reveal that newly bad boy Rafe (you know he’s bad now because he wears an earring) was driving the car that ran Patrick and Sabrina off the road a few weeks ago and killed their baby. Rafe was about to reveal which villain put him up to the deed to Molly (who’d jumped into the speeding car of a guy she believed to be on drugs, proving that her common sense when it comes to men is exactly as vulnerable to hormones as her mobster-loving mom’s) … when both teens apparently careened into a roadblock, to the accompanying squeal of brakes and requisite shaky-cam.

It may have been a loud cliffhanger (add in Sam shrieking at Molly over the phone), but it wasn’t a particularly exciting one. Odds are the kids will be all right—though not until Rafe has spent weeks trying to get his secret out (only to be thwarted at the last moment), Alexis has dithered and blamed everyone (including her presumed dead ex-husband, since Ric is usually her go-to on that score), and the teens’ accident becomes all about Sam and Silas—as all things in Port Charles that aren’t about Sonny tend to be.

Our score: 2 Firecrackers (out of 5)

The Young & the Restless: Nick wore a red, white and blue Uncle Sam top hat and proposed that Sharon not marry him. This was after Sharon explained that they’d been married twice before and ended up hurting each other deeply. If they merely shack up now without the sacrament of marriage, it stands to reason that they will not cause each other pain in the future. This is presumably the sort of sterling logic that also led Sharon to marry her ex-husband’s former stepfather, and her own ex-father-in-law. And burn his house down.

Meanwhile, said former stepfather, Jack, was lecturing his own daughter, Summer (once thought to be Nick’s child, again due to some questionable logic on Sharon’s part), about the folly of marrying a young man most likely on his way to prison. Summer did not agree with his assessment, and ended the evening happily watching fireworks in the arms of said jailbird-to-be. Also, Victoria found out that Stitch (who may or may not be her unborn baby’s father) has been lying to her about the identity of his sister, Kelly (whom Victoria once tried to set Stitch up with—awkward!). Meanwhile, Billy (the other candidate in the Victoria baby-daddy sweepstakes) came close to figuring out that Chelsea (whose son with Billy is being raised by Victoria, since soap children are interchangeable) is being spied on by way of a secret camera in her apartment. He also told Chelsea she was wearing a very ugly dress. Which was true.

Our score: 3 Firecrackers (out of 5), mostly because anything Peter Bergman (Jack) says can sound compelling, even if you don’t really care about Summer or her new husband.

The Bold & the Beautiful: Quinn wanted to kill Liam because Liam is dating Hope. Quinn wishes Hope would date Quinn’s son, Wyatt. Quinn hand-welded herself a nifty sword (looking a bit like Jennifer Beals during the opening portion of Flashdance) and headed over to Liam’s. There, she kicked him in his sprained ankle, knocked his crutches out from under him (why Liam didn’t try to defend himself with the crutch is unclear) and held the pointy end of her sword to Liam’s throat. At the same time, Deacon whined about wanting to be a better father to Hope, Brooke whined about not wanting him to be a father to Hope, and Bill just tried to get Deacon out of his house quickly so that he and Brooke could have sex.

Our score: 4 Firecrackers (out of 5) for Quinn’s holiday-themed, mega-combustible version of crazy.

Days of Our Lives: Sami had EJ arrested on their wedding day and dragged out in handcuffs, then set it up to look like he’d been planning to flee the country as a long-con revenge for EJ sleeping with the nubile Abigail. Sami has also got EJ thinking that she is his only ally, and the sole person EJ can count on to represent him at the board meeting that she got him arrested to keep from attending in the first place. EJ seems to be buying it.

Eve revealed she was suing Jennifer, the mother of her daughter’s boyfriend (and Eve’s high school rival, not that the latter has anything to do with it whatsoever). And the entire young, ripped, male cast stripped down to Speedos and proceeded to get wet in a raucous (alas, off-screen) game of water basketball. Plus, cute baby alert! Arianna in a swimsuit!

Our score: 5 Firecrackers (out of 5) for 2014’s hottest Fourth of July episode.

Do you have a favorite soap Fourth of July episode? Let us know in the comments!

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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