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The Old and the Pregnant: Soaps' top 5 late-in-life babies

Last week on The Young and the Restless, due to some convoluted blood-test switching, Ashley, played by Eileen Davidson, was pronounced pregnant. Everyone was shocked. But not for the reason you’d think. Ashley’s family was shocked by the news because they didn’t know she was seeing anyone romantically. And not because, having been first spotted in Genoa City in 1982 as a newly minted college graduate, Ashley is presumably 56 (okay, let’s assume she was a great student—55, 54 tops) years old!

Yeah, yeah, yeah, age is nothing but a number, and you’re as young as you feel and as restless as you look (and no one is saying Davidson doesn’t look fantastic). But that doesn’t apply to the ovaries of women over 50! (To underline the point, it is, in fact, Ashley’s grown daughter, Abby, who’s pregnant, not Ashley.)

Of course, in soap land, even if she were pregnant for real, Ashley still wouldn’t rate in the Top 5 Late-in-Life Pregnancies. Those would be:

All My Children

It’s quaint now to think that back in 1979, when Ruth discovered she was pregnant in her late 40s, she worried about being too old, and that the baby might have Down syndrome. She even had an amniocentesis test, which was a groundbreaking on-air story at the time. Baby Joey was born healthy, but his mother’s age was never glossed over. Though, of course, thanks to the wonders of Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome, by the time AMC went off the air, the renamed Jake’s age had been pushed up almost 15 years, which made you wonder what in the world Ruth had been worried about in the first place.

Another World

Rachel, then played by Robin Strasser, gave birth to her first child in 1969, as part of a classic triangle that drove AW to the top of the ratings. In 1997, Rachel, played by the 52-year-old Victoria Wyndham, became pregnant with twins. But that wasn’t all. She also had a tumor growing in her uterus. Rachel refused to let doctors operate and insisted on going on with her pregnancy. She then fell (soap-opera gravity is particularly tough on pregnant women) and delivered her children on the floor of her husband’s beach house via an emergency C-section by a doctor who hadn’t practiced in years (and was also the recipient of a cornea transplant, so who knew how good his vision was?). But everything turned out fine. Except the show was canceled two years later.

The Bold and the Beautiful

It was surprising enough when rough-around-the-edges, bawdy, good ol’ girl Sally revealed she had a daughter. Sally had never seemed like the maternal type. But at least the surprisingly low-key, elegant Macy was fully grown. When Sally announced in 1991 that she was pregnant by the boy toy she’d married (said boy toy was in it for half her company and proceeded to sleep around), that proved an even bigger bombshell. Going by her portrayer Darlene Conley’s age (Sally would never reveal her age—it’s just a number, after all), the mom-to-be was a few years short of 60! Son CJ was born prematurely, but pulled through, by the end of the decade, to celebrate his 16th birthday.

Santa Barbara

When viewers first met Minx during the show’s premiere in 1984, she was the mother of an adult son and the grandmother of a teen and and 20-something. She was also played by the great Dame Judith Anderson. Who was born toward the tail end of the 19th century. In the 1990s (granted, now played by a different actress), Minx went looking for the daughter she’d given up for adoption. The missing child turned out to be Cassandra, played by Karen Moncrieff. Who was born in 1963. Minx kept going on about the youthful indiscretion that produced Cassie. But viewers with the ability to do math thought a woman in her late 60s should have known better. (Then again, can you blame her for thinking she couldn’t get pregnant?) The best thing to come out of the Cassandra/Minx story was a flashback to Cassie’s childhood where she was taunted by a spoiled rich boy … played by a 12-year-old Leonardo DiCaprio. For those curious, yes, he was quite a good actor even then.

Guiding Light

Reva may not have been the oldest soap-opera woman to give birth. Actress Kim Zimmer was only in her early 50s when her character got pregnant—practically an ingénue in daytime gestational terms. She wasn’t even the only one to have come back from the dead—twice. Heck, that’s a soap staple. But she was the only one who had been through radiation, chemotherapy, and a bone-marrow transplant to battle breast cancer. According to her doctor, unlike most every other cancer treatment on earth, Reva’s had acted like a fertility drug! It also apparently didn’t do much to defeat her cancer, as a pregnant Reva came down with leukemia. This time, she received medication that did not harm her baby. With these kind of miraculous healing powers, Reva might have gone on to even beat Minx’s record. But the show was canceled first.

Got a favorite unlikely soap-opera pregnancy tale? Share it with us below!

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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