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Soap opera truth: I hate you, so we must be related

If Luke Skywalker had been a soap-opera watcher (did they have soaps a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away?), he’d have had some inkling that the guy he hated most in the world was likely his long-lost daddy. It’s kind of a soap-opera given. And yet the characters involved still appear to be surprised. Every. Single. Time.

This week, it was Days of Our Lives’ John’s turn. Hey, John, remember Paul? The guy you chewed out for seducing your married step-grandson, Will? Well, surprise—Paul’s your son! Congratulations! What dad doesn’t want a son who’s a professional baseball player?

And their little squabble over Will isn’t all that bad. It’s not like when upstanding (with just enough beard scruff to keep him “edgy”) cop Bo found out that Victor, the criminal mastermind he’d been trying to bring down and who’d tried to kill him on numerous occasions, was his biological father. Victor wasn’t too thrilled about it either. Especially when Bo pretended to be warming up to newfound Daddy Dearest. But it was only so he could dig up evidence to put Victor behind bars for good.

On General Hospital, upstanding (with just enough hairstyle scruff to keep him “edgy”) cop Dante was also determined to see mob kingpin Sonny rot in prison. He went undercover, did his homework, and got a warrant and everything. He told Sonny he was under arrest. At which point, the mobster whom half of Port Charles swears is really the most noble and decent man in town shot him in the chest. Dante’s mother, Olivia, freaked and blurted out that Sonny was Dante’s father. Sonny then promptly declared his love for the boy. Because that’s what noble and decent men who shoot cops in the chest apparently do.

Like Bo and Dante, who both found out they were really part-Greek (maybe that explains the sexy scruff), The Bold and the Beautiful’s Ridge also acquired a new ethnicity when his mother’s old friend, the vaguely shady Massimo, turned out to be Ridge’s biological father. Unlike the other two, Ridge didn’t necessarily want Massimo to go to jail. He just wanted Massimo to stop butting into Ridge’s relationship with Brooke. Later, once the two had gotten to know each other a little better, Ridge wanted Massimo to keep his other son, Nick, away from Brooke. (The fact that Brooke herself chose Nick was of no relevance to Ridge.) Ridge threw the mother of all hissy fits, blamed Massimo for his screwed-up love life, and went back to being a full-time Forrester. These days, he’s fighting his stepbrother for control of the family empire, with nary a mention of his Italian blood ties.

Of course, lest you think that soap-opera parent/child feuds are limited to newly discovered fathers and sons, rest assured: There are plenty of mothers and daughters in the mix too.

On The Young and the Restless, Kay and Jill first fought over Kay’s husband, Phillip, whom Jill was having an affair with. Then, when he died, they fought over Jill and Phillip’s son, Little Phillip, along with an assortment of men, including the slimy Derek and con man Rex (neither woman ever had particularly good judgment). In 2003, when Jill learned that she was adopted at around the same time that Kay suddenly began recalling the baby she’d given away some unnamed number of years before, viewers were quick to put two and two together. However, when I mentioned offhandedly in a Sony (which produces Y&R) meeting that making Kay and Jill mother and daughter would put a crimp in the romance of Jill’s son, Billy, and Kay’s granddaughter, Mac, the Y&R people looked at me in shock, wondering who’d leaked their big reveal. All I had to say was, “I’ve been in this business a long time.” (Of course, that plot twist was undone several years down the road. Turned out Kay had given birth to a boy, not a girl. Oops. Said boy ultimately seized control of Kay’s company. She wasn’t too crazy about him at the start either.)

The reason I (and most soap fans) could so easily predict the story was because I’d already seen One Life to Live‘s Viki learn that prima donna actress Megan was the daughter she gave birth to (and was hypnotized to forget about) in high school. And I’d seen Another World‘s Felicia deal with the fact that Lorna (the bitch who’d made it look like Felicia’s adopted daughter, Jenna, had made a porno tape) was the baby Felicia believed was stillborn. Felicia wasn’t convinced until she realized that Lorna wore a ring made from the same Mercury dime Felicia’s teen love, Luke, had made into a necklace for her. At first Viki wasn’t sure which of her ex-lover’s grown daughters, Megan or Sarah, was her own child. Wouldn’t asking each woman their year of birth have been a good place to start?

DOOL‘s John and Paul should take heart, though. Felicia and Lorna went on to have a good—albeit periodically testy; they were way too much alike—relationship. And Viki and Megan developed a solid mother/daughter bond (though Megan also continued to call the woman who’d raised her “mom”), before Megan’s early death. Heck, even Dante forgave Sonny for that little shoot-to-kill unpleasantness. And another Port Charles family, Alexis and her long-lost daughter, Sam, were able to move past the argument that caused Sam to go into premature labor and her baby to be stillborn—not to mention Sam blaming Alexis for not turning down an encephalitis antidote that might have saved Sam’s adoptive brother, Danny.

Compared to all of the above, what’s a little argument about who exactly is more responsible: the guy who cheated with a married man, or the married man who did the actual cheating? John and Paul should reconcile eventually. That is, until someone else they hate on sight comes to town … and you know what that means!

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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