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Last week on all the soaps: Nothing happened

Exactly a year ago, I wrote a post wondering Whatever Happened to Classic Summer Love Stories? I name-checked the classics, like General Hospital’s Luke and Laura on the run from the mob and, later, stopping an evil maniac set on freezing the world (and saving us all from global warning, but nobody realized it at the time).

There was Days of Our Lives’ Bo and Hope and Kayla and Patch (that’s Steve, to you new viewers) and Kim and Shane and Roman and Marlena and location shoots and prisms buried in ice and Phil Collins music (yes, I realize I’ve compressed several summers and stories into one, but doesn’t it all seem like just one glorious season?).

We had All My Children’s Erica facing down a bear and breaking her lover out of jail, and One Life to Live’s Vicky going to heaven and traveling through time to rescue her husband from the Old West.

Guiding Light featured young love via the same rich girl/middle-class boy/poor-girl-from-a-big-salt-of-the-earth-fatherless-household triangle writer Douglas Marland would later recreate on As the World Turns, while Santa Barbara contrasted the angst of Cruz and Eden against Mason and Julia’s banter, and Another World threw an Electra complex into its triangle for some very different results.

Let’s all take a moment to recall the ’70s, ’80s (and some of the ’90s).

Now it’s summer of 2016. Time for fun and travel and adventure and romance, right? Right?

Well, let’s see, according to Karen Belgrad’s always entertaining GH recaps, Sonny and Ava’s endless haggling over baby Avery ended in an anticlimactic draw, Alexis was (how many times is it now?) shocked to find out yet again that the mobster she’s sleeping with hasn’t cut ties to his past life and is responsible for a host of bad things. Nikolas might be faking his death, prompting two women to have a catfight, because, in an allegedly women’s medium, that is totally classy, and there is an (albeit entertaining) German woman stomping around the hospital, threatening to wreak vague mayhem instead of taking over the world or chasing after Moose and Squirrel like any respectable cartoon of a villain should be. At least Jason and Sam are kind of on the run to kind of prove that he kind of didn’t kill Nikolas (see: death-faking, above).

Meanwhile, Casey Gale catches us up on The Young & the Restless: Sharon is freaking out about how she freaked out when she thought Nick and Dylan had figured out Sully’s true parentage (not that she knows his true, true parentage), Phyllis is freaking out because if Jack finds out she rode on the back of Billy’s motorcycle he’ll also figure out that they slept together (how does that follow, exactly?). Vicky’s salt of the earth (I wonder if he also comes from a fatherless household) one-(okay, it was a couple of times)-night-stand found out she was rich (and this is a bad thing?). Victor is still rather obviously playing the prison doctor who acts like biology wasn’t something they covered in medical school, and Adam is pretty sure that his dad is trying to frame him for murder — from behind bars.

As for Days of Our Lives, the town has just recovered from a deadly plague that — it’s a miracle! — only proved fatal for day players. Joe ran away to join a commune apparently still stuck in the ’60s and his mom and dad went looking for him — though not together, like fans wanted. Hope’s ex, father of the boy who raped Hope’s daughter is back in town (from the presumed-dead, killed by Hope). Said daughter is growing closer to the son of another man Hope killed (like that ever sticks where Stefano is concerned), whose wife is in a mental institution. Also, Nicole has some plot to bring down Victor’s much, much, much younger brother, and Maggie’s supposed daughter has some secret with another new character who is somehow related to that new family in town where his dad was a teenage assassin with John. Oh, and John is the one helping Steve find Joe, instead of Kayla. Again, probably not the road trip fans had in mind.

Over on The Bold and the Beautiful, everyone is either talking about Sasha pretending to be pregnant to keep Zende from Nicole: Nicole gets pregnant as a surrogate for Rick and Maya and temporarily losing Zende; Caroline gets pregnant from a one-night stand with Thomas only to marry his father, Ridge, and acquiesces to Ridge’s demands that baby Douglas be brought up as their child; and Katie finds out about said pregnancy and tells her husband, who told his (and Ridge’s) ex, Brooke, which infuriated Katie. For a half-hour show, it is also a very fertile one. The only ones not talking babies are Wyatt and Steffy, who got married when they thought Steffy’s ex, Liam, had dumped her. But he actually had amnesia and was being held hostage by Wyatt’s mom, Quinn, who fell in love with the imaginary “Adam” she’d concocted. Who wants to bet there’s a baby on the way for this story, too: Either Steffy will be playing “who’s the daddy” between her two suitors, or Quinn will end up with a souvenir from her sham marriage?

Are any of these your idea of a sizzling summer story? Tell us if they are in the comments. Otherwise, let us know what you wish you could watch instead.

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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