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Soap-opera miscarriages of justice

On The Young & the Restless, Victor is out of prison. Well, that was a stressful ten minutes. Okay, fine, it was a couple of weeks … months, tops. Definitely not the decade-long sentence he was originally saddled with.

We all know that, in the real world, justice is rarely blind — or fair. Some people get the book thrown at them, while others escape with a slap on the wrist for the same crime. In the real world, your race, gender, religion, and socioeconomic class play a big part in how Lady Justice feels like treating you. This would be true on soaps, too, if there were enough racial and/or religious diversity to accumulate multiple data points. As for social class, when even the so-called “poor people” can jet off to Europe at a moment’s notice, one starts to suspect, “I do not think (that word) means what you think it means.”

Still, different people are treated differently when it comes to crime and time served. Check out the most egregious examples from the four soap operas still left on the air:

The Young & the Restless
Let’s get back to Victor. His crimes include kidnapping, blackmail, bribery, and attempted murder. But that’s not what he was sent to jail for. Well, at least not that previous kidnapping (his wife Julia’s lover, Michael), blackmail (a different Michael), bribery (got away with community service for this one), and attempted murder (Jack).

This time around, Victor was sent to the slammer for kidnapping the aforementioned Jack (that’s why it was only attempted murder, before), holding Jack prisoner, replacing him with a double and, as a side gig, basically getting Jack’s wife raped (since she was sleeping with a man she thought was her husband).

For all of the above, Victor was sentenced to 10 years in a state prison. He served less than six months (and half of that felt like it was in and out of hospitals for a variety of boo-boos). Earlier this week, a judge lowered it to time served and two years of probation with community service. The judge said it was because incarceration was supposed to be rehabilitative, and Victor proved that all his past bad deeds deserved to be wiped away because he’d performed one good one: keeping his can’t-live-with-her-can’t-live-without-her-wife from being killed. So Victor is free to go, take back his company, and return to his regular life like nothing had happened.

Compare that the case of Michael Baldwin. In 1991, Michael sexually harassed Christine (back in the day, she used to go by the name “Cricket,” which was just so cute, you wanted to step on her like a bug). He lost his job at the law firm where they both worked. Later, he tried to rape Christine and shot now–Police Chief Paul. Michael was sent to prison, where he served four years before being released on parole. Once out, he couldn’t find a job as a lawyer because he lost his license to practice (unlike Victor, Michael didn’t have a handy corporation to step back into). To get that back, he literally had to donate a kidney to Christine’s ex, Danny, before a court decided he’d learned his lesson and granted him the right to practice law again. (Victor remains in possession of all his organs, including a heart that he got from Colleen, whom Victor inadvertently caused to die.)

Granted, both Victor and Michael are currently (front-burner) pillars of the Genoa City community. But it sure does seem like one of them had an easier time getting there, doesn’t it?

General Hospital
Sonny is a mobster who has killed literally dozens of people and been responsible for the death/kidnapping/destruction of dozens more. He was sentenced to prison in November of 2014 for the murder of his adopted son’s biological father. He was out by February of 2015, granted a Governor’s pardon because he threw a bomb overboard that could have killed some of Port Charles’ most prominent contract-players … er … citizens and saved their lives. Yup, Sonny had definitely learned his lesson and reformed. Heck, even the adopted son who, for a few minutes there, actually considered being angry at his dad for having killed his … other dad, eventually came around and all was well again.

Now let’s talk about Blackie (played by current Fuller House star and producer, John Stamos). In 1984, thug-with-a-heart-of-gold-turned-upstanding-rock-singer Blackie had a case of writer’s block, and stole a song from his hotel’s bell-boy. This inadvertently got Blackie’s girlfriend, Lou, killed (hey, things happen, music is a stressful business). Even though Blackie wasn’t directly responsible, he felt so guilty that he insisted on being punished for the crime and went to prison. For presumably almost 30 years! It wasn’t until the show’s anniversary in 2013 that Lucy mentioned Blackie not being able to perform at the Nurse’s Ball, which suggested he’d finally been released. (Though maybe not, maybe it’s why he couldn’t perform. Of course, the offhand remark also opened a can of worms about whether Stamos had or hadn’t been invited to reprise his role. Read about the whole brouhaha, here.)

But, honestly, what kind of a world is it where Blackie Parrish serves more jail time than Sonny Corinthos?

Days of Our Lives
Gabi shot her (admittedly mentally unstable) husband in cold blood. She was sentenced to 10 years in jail. She served a little over one year.

Sami was convicted of shooting her husband-to-be, Franco (she didn’t even do it!). She was sentenced to death. (She was rescued at the last minute). Who the hell sets the minimums in this town?

Bold and Beautiful
Finally, a classic example of how where you commit a crime matters even more than what the crime was. When he was in Genoa City (aka on Y&R) Deacon did hard time for both kidnapping and as an accessory to murder, and, separately, for stealing evidence and obstructing justice. Meanwhile, in Los Angeles (aka on B&B), Quinn shoved Deacon off a cliff to cover up her own kidnapping of a helpless amnesiac … and got off scot-free. Guess the big city is just a lot more forgiving than those small-minded, small-town folks.

What soap-opera miscarriage of justice still makes you see red? Tell us in the comments!

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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