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Scrambled Eggs: High-tech baby-napping on soaps

Last week on Days of Our Lives, Theresa was finally reunited with the baby boy Kristen had stolen from Theresa and Brady.

And how did Kristen steal him, exactly? Did she lay in wait for a moment when his parents were distracted and snatch the bald-headed little guy out of his stroller? Did she break into his bedroom in the middle of the night and swoop him right out of his crib? Did she lurk around the maternity ward dressed as a doctor and intercept him on his way to the nursery?

Nah, all of the above would be way, way too prosaic for our Kristen.

Instead, she drugged Theresa, had the embryo excavated from her uterus, implanted it into herself, carried the fetus to term, and gave birth to a bouncing baby kidnap victim.

‘Cause that’s how Kristen rolls.

Eileen Davidson, the actor who portrays Kristen, played another baby-napper before: Ashley on The Young and the Restless. Only this time, Ashley merely stole Victor’s stored sperm (not the whole baby) and used it to impregnate herself. Her rationalization was that Diane, Victor’s hated ex-wife, had actually been the one to steal the sperm in the first place. Ashley was just stealing it from Diane to protect Victor. Besides, Ashley had aborted Victor’s baby years ago, so he owed her one. Right?

Embryo-snatching is a pretty popular activity on soaps. On General Hospital, Britt needed a baby to hold on to Patrick. And when he didn’t get her pregnant the old-fashioned way, the crafty OB/GYN and her mother (Dr. Obrecht, whose evil makes Britt seem downright sympathetic by comparison) simply borrowed one of patient Lulu and Dante’s frozen specimens. Britt gave birth to Ben, whom she genuinely loved, but was ultimately forced to return him to his biological parents. Because the only time a secret stays a secret on a soap is when the writers forget about it.

Lulu and Dante renamed the baby Rocco. Which is a different kind of crime against humanity. (Don’t worry; little Ben/Rocco took the change of identity and family in stride. If there is one thing soaps have taught us, it’s that children have absolutely no attachment to the people who raised them for months, sometimes years, and are always ready to switch loyalties at the drop of a DNA test.)

Over on The Bold and the Beautiful, it was an egg mixup, not an outright theft, that led to Taylor giving birth to her nemesis Brooke’s son. Unlike roll-with-the-punches Rocco, Taylor couldn’t accept little Jack’s relationship to Brooke, and ultimately surrendered the child to Brooke and his father, Nick. Since then, the show seems to have misplaced the tot; no one is exactly sure where he is at the moment.

Oh, if only Taylor, like Kristen, had been aware of the high-tech reproductive technology that’s available in soap land … and nowhere else. She would have had so many more options!

This isn’t some newfangled development, either.

In 1984 on One Life to Live, when the Mob drowned a pregnant Samantha in a hot tub, her fetus was transplanted into Delilah, who carried the baby to term. Delilah then (since she was already there) married Samantha’s widower, Rafe.

At the time, viewers scoffed that such a sci-fi-tinged procedure wasn’t possible. How little we knew.

Turns out that not only was it possible, but it had already been tested back in 1973, on OLTL‘s sister show, All My Children.

Over 40 years ago, Erica made soap-opera history by becoming the first character to have a legal abortion. (Though, technically, since she was married to Jeff and hadn’t gotten his permission for the procedure, it still wasn’t quite legal … but why quibble?) At the time, Erica’s abortion was touted as a major step for women’s liberation, as Erica made her choice simply because she didn’t want a child (and, more specifically, didn’t want to get fat and ruin her burgeoning modeling career).

But was that really all there was to the story?

In 2006, we learned that Josh, who previously schemed to take over Erica’s talk show (like mother, like …), was actually the baby Erica had aborted. Seems her doctor, rather than discarding the embryo, merely relocated it into his wife (who must have had the gestation period of several elephants, as Josh wasn’t born until 1980). This prompted viewers to dub Josh the “unabortion.” He ultimately ended up becoming genetic fodder a second time, when his heart was harvested to save his dying sister, Kendall.

Interestingly enough, Kendall was the daughter Erica had given birth to prior to AMC‘s debut in 1970, then given up for adoption. Viewers only learned about that aspect of Erica’s past in 1993. Had they known about it earlier (i.e., had the writers thought of it earlier), it would have added layers to her decision to get an abortion in 1973, and made for a richer story.

As it was, Josh the unabortion seemed liked karma for the time Erica had stolen Maria’s daughter, Maddie, and passed her off as an orphan adopted from Russia. Erica’s rationalization was that Maria had slept with Erica’s husband, Dimitri, and the baby might have been his. So, by community property, that also made her Erica’s?

In any case, Erica didn’t so much kidnap baby Maddie as decline to inform Maria that her missing daughter had been found. And she was a fully developed baby. Not an embryo.

How retro of a soap kidnapping is that?

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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