EW Community TV Show Episode Guides and Recaps from EW's Community

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Top 10 soap opera final episodes

For my final EW Community post, I thought I’d stick with a theme and review the top 10 soap-opera final episodes, the good and the bad:

10) Santa Barbara
The Good: An extra-long final-credit sequence that not only acknowledged every cast member, but nearly all crew members on camera, as well.
The Bad: Executive Producer Paul Rauch stomping his cigar butt out on the soundstage because … symbolism?

9) Texas
The Good: Justin’s final euphoric toast, “To Texas!” as the in-show television station faces closure.
The Bad: Presumed-dead Ashley arriving out of a snowstorm in a flowing peasant outfit to give birth … on Christmas. Just a wee bit heavy-handed, though I guess there is that implicit promise of resurrection. (We don’t have a clip of Texas’ final episode but, fun fact, Pamela K. Long (who played Ashley) was Santa Barbara and Texas’ head writer for a time. She also created Guiding Light’s Reva, who can be seen in the clip below.)

8) Another World
The Good: Bette Midler’s In This Life plays over Rachel looking at photos of characters no longer on the canvas. (Watch it, here.)
The Bad: The cast serenades a gorilla.

7) As the World Turns
The Good: Kim and Bob with a globe (that suddenly showed up on his desk and started hogging closeups like it was an original cast member).
The Bad: Not all scenes shot for the finale made air … but they were available online!

6) All My Children
The Good: Tad’s tear-jerking, inside-baseball good-bye speech, and Erica’s Scarlett O’Hara moment with Jack.
The Bad: When the show returned online, there was no Tad, no Erica, and no Jack.

5) Guiding Light
The Good: A time jump one year forward to confirm that the promised happy endings stuck.
The Bad: If you were a fan of Reva with any other man but Josh … nope, not going to happen. (No matter who may or may not still be alive and out chasing bad guys.) Same goes for those who would have liked to see a few more Bauers.

4) One Life to Live
The Good: An inside Between Heaven and Hell joke for longtime viewers, a quick history recap voiceover, and Jessica’s paternity gets changed yet again … this time to someone who fans actually want.
The Bad: A great setup for the online reboot is derailed when some characters are moved to General Hospital … then written off there due to the Prospect Park/ABC lawsuit.

3) Capitol
The Good: One of the top cliffhanger soap endings of all time, as Sloane faces a firing squad (though the prime-time spoof, Soap, did get there first), plus Marj Dusay (as Myrna) swearing revenge and demanding her children choose sides is always a good thing.
The Bad: Where is a scandalous soap-opera set in Washington, D.C., when we need it now???

2) The Edge of Night
The Good: As the theme music plays a haunting instrumental, characters gather together to deal with yet another classic mystery, and a helpful street sign reminds, “You are now leaving Monticello …..”
The Bad: We never get to find out how the mystery ends!

1) Ryan’s Hope
The Good: As Jack weds Leigh (after getting a ghostly blessing from his late wife, Mary), viewers realize that what they thought was the story of the Ryan family has actually all along been the tale of little, bitter orphan Jack learning to trust in the love of a woman — and his surrogate family, the Ryans. (Kind of like Lord of the Rings, at the last minute, turns out to be about Sam’s heroics, not Frodo’s, and Star Wars is Anakin’s redemption, not Luke’s.) Plus, Maeve (Broadway vet Helen Gallagher) sings Danny Boy. And it’s not even St. Patrick’s Day!
The Bad: Sure we could nitpick (did we really need the out-of-nowhere subplot about Faith’s daughter maybe being Patrick’s child?), but it’s just about perfect.

So what’s your favorite soap-opera final episode? (If one can ever really be happy about a soap coming to an end.) 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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