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4 soaps, 4 only-on-a-soap decisions

My good friend, the novelist Kyra Davis, once explained, “You know it’s a soap opera if whatever choice a normal person would make, they make the opposite.”

Nothing illustrates her observation better than the goings-on on all four of the remaining network daytime dramas last week.

First place definitely goes to The Bold and the Beautiful. Now, Bill Spencer has never been the most moral of men. He’s one of those rich guys who loves to say shocking and obnoxious things just to see what will happen, then he hides behind this defense: “I’m just articulating what everyone is secretly thinking.” (Any resemblance to aspiring politicians, living or dead …) But, for the past few years, Bill has seemed genuinely in love with his wife, Katie, and happy in the family they’d built with their toddler son, Will.

Granted, over the last couple of months, Katie has been a royal drag. Between the drinking and the sticking her nose into other people’s business, I’ve been annoyed watching her, so I can imagine how annoying Bill finds living with her. But: 1) She’s doing it for a good cause — Daytime Emmys love drunk stories and 2) Bill hasn’t exactly been helping Katie feel secure in their marriage.

Why is Katie insecure in her marriage? It’s because she thinks Bill is in love with Katie’s sister, Brooke. Why does Katie think he’s in love with Brooke? Because Bill used to be. And because Katie keeps finding them in compromising situations. Like the time Bill and Katie were about to have sex … and Brooke popped up from under their bed. (That’s a tricky one to explain away, even if Brooke did have a perfectly reasonable explanation … in soap-opera terms: See above.)

Brooke has been doggedly fighting her attraction to her sister’s husband. Because she loves her sister and wants her to be happy. So last week, Bill had a proposal for Brooke. If Brooke will resume their affair, Bill will stay with Katie and play the devoted husband and father, thus making Katie happy. If Brooke does not resume their affair, Bill will leave Katie, making her sad. The choice is up to Brooke.

For real.

General Hospital’s pseudo-triangle wasn’t nearly as convoluted, but still outside the realm of what normal people would consider sensible. The very pretty Jordan and the even prettier Andre have been dating. Last week, however, Andre confessed to (his former patient) Anna, that he is attracted to her.

My husband, wandering at that precise moment through the living room, observed, “Of course he’s attracted to her! She’s Anna Devane!”

This is true.

Andre goes on to explain that his feelings for Anna aren’t as deep as his feelings for Jordan, but he’s afraid that, if he continues to hang around her, he won’t be able to stop himself from acting on them, so he and Anna can’t even be friends anymore. The fact that Anna doesn’t reciprocate Andre’s romantic longings and — being a top-notch secret agent — is probably capable of resisting Andre’s advances should this trained psychiatrist not be able to control himself, does not come into play, and Andre slinks off. To tell Jordan that he loves her.

Meanwhile, over on The Young & the Restless, another allegedly intelligent medical professional, Dr. Meredith Gates, has fallen for her patient, Victor Newman. The fact that he is in prison (suggesting a less than stellar character) and her father is a judge in his case, rings no bells for Meredith to hint that the guy might — just might — be using her for his own nefarious purposes. Neither does that fact that everyone, and I mean everyone, in town, from Victor’s children to his exes to the chief of police and the district attorney and even Victor’s former lawyer have warned Meredith that he is bad, bad news.

“You don’t know him the way I do,” she continues to insist in the face of all evidence to the contrary.

There is a Russian saying: If one person tells you you’re drunk, ignore them. If two people tell you you’re drunk, ignore them. If three people tell you you’re drunk, take a nap.

Take a nap, Meredith.

Finally, our last irrational decision/action of the week award goes to Days of Our Lives. But, in their case, it’s actually one for acting rationally!

In the real world, a person being presumed dead would lead law enforcement to commence looking for their killer, especially since various people are shoving each other out of the way to insist they know whodunit.

But, in Salem, even though Deimos is nowhere to be found and there are plenty of people who wanted him dead, cops Roman and Abe — based on past history — are actually entertaining the notion that he might not be dead, after all!

I know! On soaps, where practically every single character has come back from the dead at one time or another, and is definitely related to somebody who has, every case of mortality is treated as if it could never be anything but final.

At long last, someone is using logic. Soap logic.

But, since they’re on a soap …

What’s the most ridiculous decision you’ve ever seen a soap character make? Tell us in the comments 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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