Sunday, November 21, 2010
Sunday Surgery: Soap Opera Genetics
With Thanksgiving around the corner, I thought I'd talk about the families on soaps and how important they are for the storytelling aspect of the show. Most soaps are built around a central family (or two) and then branch off from there. Even if newbies are introduced, they either are a long-lost something, a distant cousin or come in with their own brood pretty quickly. (ie: Ford Brothers, OLTL) Rarely do you get a character not related somehow to someone...either from the past or present.
General Hospital are full of them right now. After wiping out the Quartermaines, Cassadines and most of the Scorpios on GH, we saw an influx of characters that just didn't have much to do but hook up with Sonny or chase Sonny or fill the world with toxic balls. Here's a list of characters that have no family in Port Chuck right now:
and, although Matt has a brother Pat, we all know how that's been going. While it's true that soaps do need a few floater characters, GH seems to just have a glut of them. Why they haven't written some of these people as being related is beyond me. Abby could be Coleman's sister. Claire and Diane could have been related. Jason who is actually a Q, hardly interacts with them, even after making some kind of peace with Monica. We were so happy when Luke finally shared a scene with Carly people were tweeting about it for the whole day! Hell, that shouldn't be something that's unusual--that should be he norm!!! Of course, this all contributes to the disjointed feel of GH--- Brenda's back in town and doesn't mention Emily or Alan's death. Isn't she Brooke Lyn's godmother?? Steven moves back home but has little to do with his sister (maybe if Audrey were around still that would help?) Carly not only never sees her mother, she never mentions her anymore. Poor Cousin Lucas evaporated long ago.
The Davis clan started to gel and then...disappeared. They'll be on again for Turkey Day, but it's been a noticeable absence for Kristina. I guess Michael has Abby to talk with now. Perhaps she'll turn out to be related to the patient Theo Hoffman coming in December? I'd love it.
So, as we watch the Thanksgiving show this week and get all happy about the group scenes, remember this is how it always should be. Not once or twice a year. If they continue to break the family chains it's going to become even less of a shell than it already is.
I know you're waiting for me to talk about Sonny, who's now the head of the main "Familia" in town. Problem is? Rarely are their true family scenes. He has so many baby mamas, they can't all seem to get together at the same time. Sonny also lost his sister and brother..and hardly ever sees his father. Ergo, Sonny doesn't even have an orbit of his own.
I guess having a lot of unattached characters makes it easy to insert and not have to connect the scenes. You can write day after day of 1-3 characters just talking to each other.
Have a turkey leg, eat some stuffing and if you are so inclined, watch the Oct 5th repeat that is on Thursday. No GH Friday due to football I believe... Tues/Wed should be the best days to catch some good old soapy stuff. At least we know our Q's will do the traditional pizza day.