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Soap-opera fans reveal their favorite Christmas memories

What’s better than one soap-opera fan? A quorum of soap-opera fans!

The end of the year always brings a flood of television experts and their Best Of/Worst Of lists. They’re fun to read, but in the end, the only opinions that really matter are those of the fans. (Just ask any TV show with a wheelbarrow of Emmys and low ratings; critical love will only save you from cancellation for so long.)

When I wrote my book, Soap Opera 451: A Time Capsule of Daytime Drama’s Greatest Moments, I turned to the fans, using Facebook, Twitter, blog posts, and email to crowd-source what viewers through were examples of daytime drama at the top of its game.

I’m doing the same thing this week. Instead of me listing what I think are some of soaps’ most memorable Christmases—and invoking familiar traditions like Days of Our Lives’ ceremonial hanging of ornaments with character names on them, or General Hospital’s children’s parade (often starring the actors’ real life children) and reading of the Christmas story—I’m going to let the fans speak up … in their own words:

All My Children

Joanne Leone Cecere: Father Clarence showing up with a Christmas miracle.

Victoria Chhith: Dixie and Tad wishing on their star every Christmas!

Days of Our Lives

Kris Raiman: My two favorites are Jack crashing through the Christmas tree to join the Horton party, and Bill Hayes and Patty Weaver singing “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” in front of the Horton fireplace. That is a moment I remember every single year, it was so beautiful.

BeLynda Smith: I’ve always loved the ornament hanging. So wonderfully sentimental.

General Hospital

@SmoaknArrow: Jason and Elizabeth when he was shot and hiding in her studio and they spent the holidays together. 1999, I think.

@caitlinchris: Maxie and Santa Spinelli, Alan, and Monica bickering like old times—Luke, Lucky, Lulu and the angel. It was all great.

Guiding Light

Keith Alvarez: I loved it when Philip and Beth met St. Nick.

Daniel Bullock: One that immediately springs to mind is from 1993, when Blake and Ross got engaged while they were locked inside the Towers during the holiday.

One Life to Live

Arthur F. Kraft: Jingle Bell Rock Video 2009.

Santa Barbara

Hope Breslauer Campbell: Mason’s Christmas-movie dreams.

Texas

Robb C. Sewell-Wolff: The best ever was the Christmas miracle when the angel Seth brought Ashley Marshall home just in time for her to give birth to Katherine Paige.

Thought the above is by no means a scientific or complete sampling, it’s interesting to note that the number-one- and number-two-rated soaps, The Young and the Restless and The Bold and the Beautiful, aren’t represented at all. Also, the majority of memories came from shows no longer on the air.

Steve Walles epitomized this spirit of nostalgia when he wrote about his favorite soap-opera holiday moments:

Search for Tomorrow‘s final week, Christmas 1986 with Hogan and Patti’s wedding; Edge of Night‘s final week with Miles and Beth’s wedding at Christmastime 1984; Santa Barbara in 1985 with Mason dressed as Santa Claus; and Generations‘ first Christmas in 1989: The Marshalls, a black family, attend a mass service with all white people, and Chantal (Sharon Brown) made everyone sit up and take notice with her powerful singing voice with “O Come All Ye Faithful” and “Joy to the World.” Everyone sang along except for bigoted Charles Mullin (Joseph Whipp), who muttered to his wife, Helen, “We’re leaving!” as Helen (Marla Adams) was holding hands with Ruth (Joan Pringle). It was very moving!

Could this skewed result be due to sentimentality running rampant during the holiday season, and viewers being more likely to remember shows they’ve lost (especially those with runs that culminated on Christmas). Or is something else at play here?

What do you think, and what are some of your favorite soap-opera Christmas memories? Let us know, and we’ll see you in 2015!

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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