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Top 5 unforgettable soap opera crossovers

A soap-opera crossover involves a character from one show dropping in on another show.

This is not to be confused with actors from one show playing different characters on another show. Or, as was the case with General Hospital in 2013, actors from another show first playing characters from their original show, then disappearing courtesy of a lawsuit for a few months—only to reappear as completely different characters. With no one noticing.

Last week on GH, Ava got a little (admittedly botched) help from her long-lost mother, who turned out to be Delia Reid, a character from a long-lost soap, Ryan’s Hope (1975–1989), played by the original actress, Ilene Kristen.

Delia being revealed as Ava’s mother did leave many fans scratching their heads about when exactly that might have happened, as Delia was rarely off the canvas long enough to bear the child of a random mob boss. Yet the same fans likely got a kick out of in-jokes like Delia claiming to be Jillian Coleridge (her RH romantic rival), and marveling over how much Sonny’s father looked like Delia’s’s ex-husband (both played by the same actor).

Did the above get you nostalgic for some classic soap-on-soap action? Check out our look back at five of the most memorable daytime crossovers ever:

First Soap Opera Crossover

Daytime’s first crossover came in 1966, when Irna Phillips, head writer of The Guiding Light on CBS, picked up lawyer Mike Bauer and his preteen daughter, Hope, and sent them to Another World on NBC, where Phillips also happened to be the head writer. Widower Mike spent an entire year in Bay City, during which time he managed to romance both Pat and her stepdaughter, Lee, all while working for Pat’s (paralyzed) husband, John. (In 1999, when AW was cancelled, a handful of character migrated to another Phillips-created show, As the World Turns. When ATWT itself was cancelled in 2010, they made a reference to Bay City.)

Scariest Crossover

No one is ever, ever safe from Shelia Carter. Not even when you leave the show. Because she’ll follow you. In 1992, after stealing her rival Lauren’s baby and passing him off as her own on The Young and the Restless, Shelia was presumed dead in a fire. In reality, she simply moved to L.A. to work as a nurse for The Bold & the Beautifuls Forrester family. There, she blackmailed, kidnapped, cheated, killed and married (despite a now-clued-in Lauren’s attempts to stop her). Then, after 10 years on the lam, Sheila returned to Y&R, messing with Lauren’s now-grown son and trying to convince the other woman to commit suicide. Figuring no prison can hold Sheila, top cop Paul imprisoned her in a cage.

Guess what happened? After yet more kidnappings and gunplay, Sheila was declared dead from a bullet wound. So who, then, was the “Sheila Carter” who signed Sheila’s daughter, Daisy, out of a mental institution in 2012? We might have to go to another show to find out.

The Mother of All Crossovers

Three mothers, two babies, several possible dads (it is a soap, after all), a helicopter crash, and so many lies you needed two shows to contain them all: In 2004, One Life to Live’s Paul delivered the baby (it might also have been his) of his ex-wife, Babe, on All My Children. He then switched that baby boy with Bianca’s newborn girl, staged a helicopter crash to make it look like Bianca’s baby had died, gave Bianca’s baby to Babe, and gave Babe’s baby to Paul’s sister, Kelly, whose own child was stillborn the day before (on OLTL). Kelly needed a substitute in order to save her own marriage.

Everyone eventually learned the truth, and the children were returned to their respective biological parents (AMC: 2, OLTL: 0). After all, as we learned last week, soap kids are interchangeable and never, ever suffer any trauma from being bounced around from home to home, parent to parent, or even name to name. (The little girl went from being called Bess to Miranda. The little boy went from Asa to Ace to Adam III to AJ. Eh, what’s in a name?)

Most Pointless Soap Opera Crossover

Almost immediately following AW’s cancellation (see above), ABC snatched up one of the show’s biggest stars, Linda Dano, and put her to work on not one, not two, but three of its shows. In a rather blatant ratings ploy, viewers were supposed to follow Rae from soap town to soap town as she found her long-lost mother (on AMC), daughter (on OLTL) and daughter’s father (on GH). It later turned out he really wasn’t her father, but then he adopted her anyway and … Raise your hand if you believe Adam Chandler and his obsession with bloodlines would have ever consented to adopt a child in the first place?

The problem was, while viewers cared about Rae’s mother, daughter and ex (they even cared about Rae’s daughter’s adoptive father)—all long-running ABC daytime characters—nobody really cared about Rae. Eventually, Rae left town to go on a cruise. And the ratings didn’t go up either.

Most Original Soap Opera Crossover

When is a soap-opera crossover not a crossover? When only half of it is a soap opera, and the other is a Marvel comic book (which, granted, my husband points out is exactly the same as a soap opera). In 2006, Guiding Light’s Harley was zapped by electricity and acquired superpowers, which prompted her to don Spandex, pick out a superhero name (The Guiding Light, natch), and go forth to protect all the citizens of Springfield from … an evil blogger. Harley’s reign only lasted a single episode. But Marvel commemorated the event with an eight-page comic book, featuring special guest appearances by Iron Man and Spider-Man.

Naturally, we’ve only scratched the surface here. What’s your favorite soap-opera crossover? Tell us 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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