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Soap fans reveal what they really want for Christmas on their shows

Last Christmas, I asked soap fans for their favorite holiday memories, and received many responses. They ranged from All My Children’s Father Clarence visits to Days of Our Lives’ ritual hanging of the named ornaments to Guiding Light‘s Phillip and Beth meeting St. Nick to the final episode of Texas and Ashley’s miraculous return home. (Read the entire list, as well as the fans’ reasons for their selections, here.)

This year, once again, just as I did for my book, Soap Opera 451: A Time Capsule of Daytime Drama’s Greatest Moments, I returned to the Internet and social media to crowd-source fan opinions on what gift (or lump of coal) they’d give various soap-opera characters, both past and future.

Some feedback was razor-sharp in its specificity.

@tniwalker tweeted:

  • Nicole (#DAYS) a baby
  • Victor (#YR) life in prison
  • Michael (#GH) his daddy AJ back
  • #BoldandBeautiful needs the Spectras back

Guy416 wrote:

#GH Sam: A new apartment, the return of Danny 1.0, and some paying detective work to keep her busy and Jason-free.

#GH Quartermaines: the return of Brooklyn, Ned, Justus (everyone comes back from the dead), and a STORYLINE worthy of the Q greatness.

#GH Jason Quartermaine Morgan: A fudgin’ brain and his BS detector instincts back.

#YR Sharon: A job, brain, worthy storyline, and a home OFF the Newman ranch.

#YR Kevin: Get him off the bench. Play him or release him.

#YR May New Billy and Current Adam be SHIRTLESS all year long. **Okay, that one is for the fans …

#Days: Brady, JJ, Abby, Eric: a brain!!

#Days: Nicole: a storyline that doesn’t revolve around getting, keeping, having, losing A MAN!

#Days: The return of some Hortons: Scotty, Melissa, Sarah, David, and especially Marie.

#Days: A new, new Phillip

#BoldandBeautiful: Storylines that don’t involve the same 6 people SLEEPING WITH EACH OTHER like a revolving door. It’s gross.

While Scoma60 suggested, in reference to the canceled Another World:

The Snowflake Ball just ended and everyone is left except Cass and Felicia. Cass is wearing his tux but unties his tie. Felicia is dressed to the nines with her matching boa. They are dancing and laughing. They spend the evening recollecting all the people who’ve come and gone from Bay City: Wall, Frankie, Mac, Iris, Lucas, Cecile. Their emotions range from laughter to joy to sorrow. Their gift to each other remains the same: utter devotion and support. Best friends forever.

For more on a crowd-sourced soap opera, check out Another World Today, which began as an officially sanctioned continuation, but with the twist of having fans vote on what happens next.

However, the majority of feedback was less specific about characters and presents, and more about themes viewers wished to see in the new year.

For General Hospital, there was a groundswell of support for seeing more Quartermaines and less Sonny. (There is also a very vocal group that wants Duke back from the dead, and him and Anna reunited, pronto.) Opinions were split on Jason and Sam versus Jason and Elizabeth, as well as on whether Liz is the worst liar who ever lied, or merely an understandably conflicted one. Some people want Jason to get his memory back and become Jason Morgan—monosyllabic, all-black wearing hitman with a heart of gold—once again. Others are rooting for him to revert to Jason (there’s that family name again!) Quartermaine (although presumably sans the much maligned reindeer Christmas sweater.)

For Days of Our Lives, some fans are making a Christmas wish for an Abigail and Chad reunion (with her 15-pound, premature baby boy turning out to be his, to boot), while others are urging that, if the rumors are true and Kate Mansi (Abigail) is, indeed, leaving her role, the door shouldn’t hit her on the way out. In addition, a group of fans is looking forward to watching John-Paul Lavoisier assume the part of Phillip, while another contingent wants to know why he is flirting so inappropriately with Kate … his mother. Finally, in a majority vote, while not everyone is missing the newly dead Bo, pretty much all think Rafe telling Hope that he loves her (a few weeks after not only the death of Bo, but also Aiden, the mysterious widower Hope married after having her fears about his past assuaged—only to have him try to strangle her on their wedding night), is waaay too soon, dude.

For The Young and the Restless, fans are wondering why they should care about Marissa and Marco, wishing Lauren and Michael a happy tenth anniversary (and asking if it’s some kind of soap-opera record), while noting that Sharon shouldn’t be planning a honeymoon so soon after (allegedly) giving birth.

Finally, on The Bold and the Beautiful, there is near unanimous agreement on Thomas’ newly acquired smarminess (though Ridge’s superior and judgy attitude is getting called out too, considering his own behavior at Thomas’ age). The consensus is that even if they are accidental, Steffy should really stop killing (or almost killing) her cousins, and that Sasha is here to take Zende away from Nicole, isn’t she? (@dramacjc tweeted: I don’t want Sasha going after Zende because I love him and Nicole together!)

Seems that the most important takeaway for soap-opera writers and producers this holiday season (and beyond) is that there are still fans who are passionate about the genre in general, and their favorite show and characters in particular.

The tricky part is going to be figuring out a way to make every viewer feel like they got a long-awaited gift this Christmas.

What do you think TPTB should do to ensure that happening?

Tell us below, and we’ll see you in 2016!

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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