“There’s nothing new under the sun,” my sister used to always say. She was right. I gave up looking for wild innovation and originality a long time ago.
But the daytime soaps could at least make a decent stab at not recycling and reusing with such predictable regularity. Over the years, soaps have habitually given us repeat engagements with tried-and-true storylines — pregnant woman falls down the stairs, love triangles and quadrangles, who’s the daddy? — but lately, watching All My Children, One Life to Live, General Hospital and Days of Our Lives daily on YouTube makes me feel like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day.
In the space of one week, last week, two characters (Madeline on Days, Ryan on AMC) dropped like stones during heated confrontation, due to brain aneurysms. One suffered hers while falling down a flight of stairs (of course!). Ryan, a major AMC character, will die another day (after yet another round of memory issues). Madeline, a minor Days player, won’t. She leaves behind a son, a husband and a big secret. (Hint: Here comes more “Who’s the daddy?” story. Ugh!)
Then there’s poor Rex on One Life to Live (pictured above). In the past year or two, we’ve watched him get drugged three times. First, by his girlfriend Gigi’s sister, Stacey, whose goal was to prop him up in bed to make it look as if they’d gotten it on, just in time for Gigi to walk in (cue triangle storyline). Months later, he was put under by his aunt, who was working for that evil genius Mitch Laurence, who wanted to separate him from his sister Natalie, with whom he was trying to locate her missing husband. Are you still with me?
Most recently, this past week, his room-service food was drugged by Elijah Clark, who didn’t want the private investigator to discover that Elijah is, in fact, Bennett Thompson, and thus is the guy responsible for every bad thing that’s happened to every resident of Llanview in the past few months. Oh, and did I mention that poor Rex has had a big question mark hanging over his paternity for his entire decade or so on the show?
Meanwhile, his sister, Natalie, and her twin, Jessica, are both embroiled in their own “Who’s the daddy?” dramas (a mere six months or so after the death of Natalie’s aforementioned husband from a bullet in Mitch’s gun), and another character, Tea, has a pain in the head in the form of a deadly brain tumor, an ailment that plagued her best frenemy forever, Blair, years ago. (But one which the show’s writers have chosen not to acknowledge during Tea’s current misery.)
I groan and complain about all the repeat business, but I still tune in daily. Every now and then, though, I find myself wishing that Marlena Evans clones possessed by the devil would arrive via space ship on all four shows to launch murder rampages in Pine Valley, Llanview, Port Charles and Salem and leave their citizens on deserted islands. It would be about as believable as when Days previously did stories involving devil possession, a space ship, serial killing and a secret island (Guiding Light did the one with cloning), but then so is pretty much all the soap action I see on my computer screen every weeknight, beginning around 8pm.
Now excuse me while I stress out over that sudden pain in my head.