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Beware the dangerous soap-opera widower!

Days of Our Lives’ Hope isn’t the first character in history to come face-to-face (-to-axe-to-knife) with the pitfalls of falling in love with a mysterious, grieving widower.

Back in 1847, Jane Eyre taught aspiring young governesses to always check the attic, in case your beloved’s insane “dead” first wife just might be living there. And in 1938, Rebecca added to the cannon the reminder that when your aloof, aristocratic new husband looks like he is desperately missing his first wife, it could very well be that he’s instead feeling guilty over killing her. (This revelation brings great joy to the narrator, who clearly hasn’t taken a moment to ponder what might happen to her should she displease the man in similar fashion.)

But let’s assume Hope never read either novel. In the early 1980s, she went from 10-year-old to high-schooler in the space of a few months, so obviously, key English literature classes were skipped.

That’s probably how she found herself in her current predicament. To whit, is dreamy Aiden:

  • A sad, single dad whose wife tragically died?
  • A sad, single dad being framed for his wife’s murder?
  • An evil, single dad who killed his wife?
  • An evil, single dad who killed his wife and now wants to do the same to Hope?

Days of Our Lives is promising answers this week, but it’s a soap—so, you know, don’t write anything down in stone.

But even if Hope hadn’t read Jane Eyre and Rebecca, what about Gone Girl? And if books aren’t her thing, couldn’t she have at least bought a clue from the following soap-opera stories?

All My Children

When poor Natalie was stuck at the bottom of well (imprisoned there by the lookalike sister who’d taken over her life), she surely never dreamed that her rescuer would be the tall, dark, and brooding Dimitri. AMC creator Agnes Nixon, in fact, said specifically that she’d based Dimitri on Jane Eyre’s Rochester and Rebecca’s Maxim. Like those two men, Dimitri lives in a castle (albeit just outside a small town in Pennsylvania, where many a royal Hungarian castle is to be found, natch). The rescued Natalie reminds Dimitri of his “dead” wife, Angelique, and he becomes obsessed with her. Turns out Angelique isn’t dead—just hidden away in a coma by her mother, Helga the housekeeper (shades of Rebecca’s Mrs. Danvers). Angelique wakes up in time to interrupt Dimitri and Natalie’s engagement party. Much brooding ensues.

Guiding Light

Old movie buff Nola should have been more prepared when she took a job at archeologist Quint’s mysterious mansion (this time located somewhere in Middle America), complete with his own mysterious housekeeper, Mrs. Renfield. She fell for his brooding, tortured routine (and his money, let’s not forget his money), but was absolutely shocked—shocked!—when the pregnant ex-fiancée Quint believed he’d pushed off a cliff turned out to be alive. She wasn’t nearly as injured as she’d led Quint to believe. Oh, yeah, and she was still in love with him. A fan of gothic love stories like Nola should have totally seen it coming.

As the World Turns

ATWT went to the mysterious widower well twice in the span of a few years. First, in 1985, Kim was being stalked and dead bodies were piling up around her. Practically everyone was a suspect. Well, except for that nice young man dating Kim’s stepdaughter. Doug was sweet and shy and a tragic widower and, really, he wouldn’t hurt a fly. Three guesses who turned out to be Kim’s stalker … and the first two don’t count. (At least Kim’s stepdaughter, Frannie, was able to use her experience with Doug when she later accused her husband, Daryl, of having killed his first wife. Somebody learned something!)

Then, in 1986, there was Scotsman Duncan, who had his family castle moved, brick by brick, secret passageway by secret passageway, to Oakdale. Duncan didn’t bother sharing with his new wife, Shannon, that his old wife, Lilith, had stabbed him in the back on their wedding night and subsequently been institutionalized. Or that she was newly out. Or that she was the jealous type. This story ended with Lilith sending Shannon’s shrunken head to Duncan, in one of soaps’ most bizarre deaths ever.

(For those playing along at home, head writer Douglas Marland was responsible for both GL’s Quint/Nola story, and the ATWT tales. He even named Doug after himself.)

Another World

Sometime in the 18th century, Jordan’s love, Amelie, threw herself off a cliff when her father forbade them to marry. In 1998, Jordan, who’d figured out the secret to immortality and/or time travel, showed up in Bay City and became obsessed with Amanda, convinced that Amelie’s soul resided within her. He then brainwashed and killed a few people before being sucked into a tear in the space/time continuum, located in the heroine’s garden. The show was canceled soon after.

Are you a fan of the dark and brooding type? Who’s your favorite mysterious soap widower—and would you risk getting too close?

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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