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29 March 22nd, 2013 PLANET 360: Back From The Dead, The Baby Switch: Should These Overused Soap Plot Devices Be Shown The Front Door?

Courtesy/HallmarkMovieChannel

In today’s latest installment of  the “Soap Dish” segment on The Hallmark MOVIE Channel’s weekly news entertainment Series Planet 360, Crystal Chappell (Venice, The Grove, The INN), Galen Gering (Days of our Lives) and Ignacio Serricchio (General Hospital) are back discussing this week’s topics:  overused soap opera plot devices.

The main point of discussion today was that of the obvious “back from the dead” storyline that is used to bring back characters, or actors, to their noted roles when they were “killed-off” in the first place! In addition, the often times long drawn out baby-switch plot device, and “Who’s the Daddy?” storylines,  which we have seen used over and over again, are bantered about!

Watch the segment after the jump. Then let us know if you think it’s time for returns from the dead and baby switches to be shown the front door at your favorite soap operas, in favor of a something less predictable and original?

 

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  1. Natalienicola@hotmail.com says:

    soaps could succeed with more realistic plots. we should deal with taboo subjects of politics, religion, class, race.

    Reply

    su0000 replied

    If soaps did that they would not be fantasy and believe, and that is the core true nature of soaps.. People watch soaps to getaway from the problems of the real world we need to live in..
    They do bring in those subjects in at times, but then still it is 50%BS and 50% soap story telling lol ..
    and I like that soaps are not real to life nor would I want them to be.
    But c’mon, bringing back the dead is a bit overkill ..
    All the jokes that were made about Dixie Martin and her 3 returns from dead, that a stake in her heart couldn’t keep her dead and much more LOL she was known as Dead Dixie and became joke..
    So, dead bringing back is not cool.. just simply don’t kill them send them away..

    Reply

    Matt replied

    They need to start writing soaps more like Revenge and Dallas! fans need more these days to keep them interested. This G rated soaps are not like the twisted tales and romps in the sack like they used to be! What happened to the knock down hair pulling cat fights! ZZZ We need more lots more! Love and sex and mystery in the afternoon! :)

    Reply

    Dmitri replied

    I agree with you 100%! Dallas intrigues me SO much, and Deception. I also saw Revenge’s pilot, which was good too. DOOL is very boring. They need better writers.

  2. su0000 says:

    I am OK with a ‘back from the dead’ IF only if it brings brings back a cherished/loved actor/character who is missed terribly, then cool with it..
    The most ridiculous and stupid bringing back the dead was Dixie Martin brought back 3 times or was it 4 times, anyways that was pure idiotic writing ..

    I do not think people should come from from the dead..
    If it is a fan fav person leaving then do responsible writing and send them to Timbuktu for whatever reasons.

    Baby switching is also stupid and way over used.. Hate waiting 15/20 yrs to find out who the father was because someone needs a kidney/whatever..

    The GH baby switch of Sams baby was OK, it had a purpose to bring GH and OLTL characters together, and it went very fast and ended quickly.. It accomplished what it written for to bring OL characters to GH, and then ended.. ..

    Reply

    Gillian replied

    I like bringing characters back from the dead when it fixes previous plot mistakes. AJ on GH is a perfect example of this. Previous regimes decimated the Q family, the main family on the show. AJ, Alan, Emily, Justice … all dead. The only Qs with a storyline were Jason (Morgan – mob) and Tracy via Luke. Huge mistake. I welcomed AJ back from the dead and honestly hope we can get an Emily return as well. Some characters shouldn’t be killed off, especially when it is for no purpose other than shock value as I believe Emily’s death was at the time. Bringing them back from the dead opens a character base and I’m all dormitory. As a fan, I want what’s best for my shows. ;)

    Reply

    Gillian replied

    not dormitory … supposes to be I’m all for that. Hate auto correct. Lol

  3. aria says:

    i feel the back from the dead plot device has been overused, especially at my fave show GH but at the same time if they didn’t do it it would prevent all these great comebacks they are currently doing. sometimes its needed to right the wrong of a previous regime, so hopefully the shows will learn not to kill off characters and instead find more logical ways to send them away. thats why i’m glad GH rencently instead of killing steve webber as everyone was speculating, he got send to jail, and i hope they send off jonny by just transfering him to a more secure prison and not use the plot device and kill him off. GH has overused it but for now they are getting a pass,i hope Claudia or actaully Sarah Brown returns, don’t care if she comes back as another character but in her case i would n’t mind it.

    Reply

    su0000 replied

    The now GH is be more sensible and not killing the characters off but rather sending them away, leaving them alive to someday return, perhaps….
    Steve and Johnny sent to prison..
    Lulu kidnapped and whatever will follow..
    Jason is still missing and assumed dead, but not verified dead..
    Caleb was not killed off but walked out of the morgue in a different similar looking body wearing the/his ring.
    But poor Tray went forever bye bye but there was no connection to PC to keep him alive somewhere
    lol the short stay characters can die; I need the drama.. ..

    Reply

    jim replied

    Trey did have connections in PC: his two mothers…Kate and Connie! lol

  4. Matt says:

    Nothing should be off the table when it comes to writing any show, as long as it’s done well.

    Regarding this Planet 360 show– if you’re going to have a little content, you should step up the visual. The hosts look like they just ran out to the grocery store.

    Reply

  5. Patrick says:

    Diana Taylor, General Hospital, Merideth Lord, OLTL, and Jenny, AMC. I’ve been watching soaps for most of my life and I find I was far more committed to a dying character than I do now. Today every character who dies can always com back, you as the viewer invest less.

    Reply

  6. jim says:

    Days overused killing off Stephano and bringing him back from the dead so much iv grown sick of it just as much as when you see the same characters remarry more than twice like Victor and Nikki. I dont mind bringing characters back from the dead maybe just once(if to get a favorite back) or if no body was found. I also dont like it when characters have this ‘new’ face like when John claimed to be Roman yet he had a different height, different voice, different eyes, and the rest of his body is completely different than the original that no one seems no notice. Someone interupting a wedding is ok sometimes but it is very predictable when you know why b4 hand. Baby switches have happened in real life so that doesnt bug me too much. What bugs me is how most everyone in soaps are shown upper middle class…even those who seem poorer are shown living well. I would like to see characters with jobs other than in a big office,hospital(maybe a janitor instead of a doctor or nurse) police department and coffee shops and pubs. Would be nice seeing teens Molly, Rafe and T.J. working in a fast food burger joint or bagging groceries in a supermarket. Corantion Street has the most diverse characters with different ethnic and social backgrounds and different variety of jobs for them from factories, mailman, supermarkets and more. Its very realistic without loosing the feeling of escapism which is the reason we like to watch soaps. You dont see any of that campy stuff like some fans complain about on our soaps.

    Reply

    jim replied

    Time standing still in Salem is what currently bugs me just a little. The mantel clock on the fireplace in the Horton home is always set at 7:10 am or pm? And the glass on it looks deliberately frosted to cover it up so most viewers wouldnt see it. Is it suppose to be a working clock or just there for appearances…like Hope, Abe, and Kayla?

    Reply

    jim replied

    And thats another problem…when you have good actors like K.O, J.R. and M.B.E playing Hope, Abe, and Kayla and you treat them like background props! Whats the point?

    Reply

  7. DavidEvanSmith says:

    You watch soaps for the tangled lives of these characters. A baby switch can tie two couples or families together for YEARS. It can provide story for decades and create really layered and complicated relationships between characters.

    Back from the dead is more a result of course correcting bad choices of the past, which is the worse sin in my eyes, “killing off” a beloved vet or character and realizing too late that they should have come up with something else when that actor left. But these are ongoing shows, 52 weeks a year, that unique format causes writers to think in the here-and-now, and if someone is leaving, and leaving behind one half of a popular couple and is entangled deeply in the canvas, sometimes killing them off or having them mysteriously disappear and presumed dead is the only logical way that character would suddenly vanish and allow their on-screen loved ones to move on to other stories and romances. Then much later when you have the opportunity to get that star back, the “back from the dead” story creates months of complications. So much mileage comes out of these devices, there is no reason they should be retired in favor of more realism. Not gonna happen, and I think ANY soap writer would agree.

    Reply

  8. Rose says:

    I love that characters can come back from the dead. It makes nothing final on soaps and I like that. Keeps the audience on their toes. The baby switches can get old. They are fine as long as they are used sparsely. Any show using any plot too often gets old and redundant.

    Reply

  9. su0000 says:

    weeell…
    I think they should bring ”the kitchen” back from the dead..
    In olden days the kitchen was the heart of the home, all were seen in the kitchens..

    Now there are no kitchens in the homes .. where do these people eat lol ..

    Reply

    jim replied

    They dont need kitchens…theyr always eating out which makes me wonder why they are not all overweight with all the recent headlines complaining about fattening restaurant food ect and no one working out except for in the bedroom. lol

    Reply

  10. Chaz says:

    The main problem with the baby switch stories, IMO, is that they get wrapped up too fast. Although it wasn’t a baby switch story, it took YEARS for the reveal that Mike Horton was not Mickey’s son but his brother Bill’s. That secret was always in the back of fan’s minds and when it finally did come out it had great impact for the characters and the fans.

    Back from the dead….only if it makes sense. As was said, Zombie Dixie was getting old. OLTL did it pretty well when it was assumed John McBain was dead but was really bandaged up and burned. (Though I could do with less traumatic body injuries such as burn victims miraculously restored to their former faces with no scars or heart transplant recipients having no scars.)

    Reply

    jim replied

    I think it took 8 or ten years b4 Mike Horton(they aged him of course) b4 he found out Bill was his father. It even took Julie and Doug like 6 years b4 they tied the knot. People had more patience back then, and i sure miss those slow paced character driven plots that seemed more believable than todays constant split them up, bedhopping, too faced paced storytelling.

    Reply

    jim replied

    I meant too fast paced…guess i was too fast paced writing this …dang it!

  11. bc says:

    Replace these back from the dead storylines w/ more storylines for leading characters who are African american and Latino american and Asian american. hollywood needs to create more soap operas w/ racial minority leading characters bec they can succeed. The 18-49 demo of american idol is only .1 higher than scandal. That’s how great scandal is doing. It could very well topple fox’s highest rated tv show! Yet hollywood still lacks a lot of racial diversity from their day and night and reality soaps.

    Compare racial diversity to the plethora of gay representations from hollywood. Yet only 1.7% of the american population is lgbt according to gay activist gary j. gates. It’s obviously very unrealistic for hollywood to have more lgbt chars than racial minority characters. But hollywood prioritizes lgbt chars while a lot of its storylines blatantly bash racial minorities. That’s hollywood’s kind of tolerance.

    Reply

    Dmitri replied

    You’re very right. I do like that soaps are moving forward with LGBT characters, but we need more racial diversity, especially on DOOL. However, I don’t see how the soaps bash minorities.

    Reply

    bc replied

    Racial minorities are bashed through hollywood’s portrayals. Practically every soap opera only has rich families who are white while the racial minorities are portrayed as lower class. All the help of victoria on “revenge” season1 were women of color. The only woman of color was ashley from season1 of that horrid soap. She was of a lower economic status compared to all the white chars. The only Asian american char was takeda on season1 of horrid revenge. He never had any romantic storylines while padma had to be paired w/ nolan. The only Asian american female char had to be paired w/ a white char of course. No romantic storylines for the only Asian american male char on “revenge” bec hollywood’s racist. glaad and entertainment press and even manhattan media would be screaming homophobia if the only lgbt char nolan had no physical relationships. Yet soaps are primarily abt relationships. This is how hollywood bashes Asian americans. hollywood asexualizes Asian americans. hollywood hypersexualizes latino americans and African americans w/ high pregnancy rates and other unflattering portrayals. whiteness then is portrayed by tolerant hollywood as the ideal. It’s the same thing w/ films. scorcese is producing “revenge of the green dragons” w/c is abt chinese american gang members. That’s typical racism from tolerant hollywood. Chars who are chinese americans are seldom portrayed by hollywood as romantic leading men. While blacks and latinos are often portrayed as members of gangs. Now hollywood’s doing the same thing w/ chinese american chars. hollywood only tackles racial issues if it’s a “white savior” movie where the white char helps racial minorities. There’s a new fox drama pilot abt gang related violence. The speciality of the char of Asian american actor sung kang’s is w/ asian american gang related violence. This is what hollywood does. It has to bash asian americans thru these kind of portrayals. No Asian american romantic leading male and female chars on soap operas bec hollywood’s racist. Tolerant hollywood portrays a lof of black and latino chars as gang members. Now hollywood is portraying asian americans as gang members. It’s bec whiteness is the “cultural ideal” for tolerant hollywood. All the day soaps are really old. Yet those day soaps still don’t have Asian american and Latin american core chars. Some day soaps don’t even have core African american families!

    Yet “reality” and night and day soaps have gay and lesbian chars that are majority white of course. hollywood creates a lot of white chars who are gay and lesbian compared to very little racially diverse chars. And yet there are a lot more African americans and Latino americans and Asian americans than people who are lgbt. It’s obviously bec hollywood is pushing for same gender marriage. Yet 50% of 10000 lgbt respondents to a survey don’t agree with marriage on principle. While only 27% of these surveyed with a partner would think of marrying that specific partner. hollywood creates all these lgbt chars bec it advocates same gender marriage. And yet tolerant hollywood blatantly bashes racial minorities thru the lack of racial minority chars and the kinds of racial minority portrayals. lgbt chars are the only kind of diversity tolerant hollywood prefers.

  12. Mary SF says:

    I think it depends on the why the writers are killing off the character and character whether or not I mind the character coming back. When an actor is leaving the show, and they are a highly associated with the character then having them “die” but not find the body, leaves room for the beloved character to come back- that is okay. And I’m okay with a character like Stefano on Days, dying and coming back, because it is part of his character. It is part of the fun figuring out how Stefano is going come back and when, that is cool with me.
    But what I hate, what gets my blood boiling is when they kill a character during sweeps, but then we find out later that week or month, they didn’t die, it was all a mistake, or a rouse, or the death was faked for some reason. I hate that. I hate watching people mourn and go through a funeral when as a viewer I know full well the person they are mourning is alive– that kind of thing drives me nuts.
    Prime example, Victor on Y&R, how many “fake funerals” did we have to watch over the years? The last one was this past September. Those kind of deaths, the ones written for fake drama, to grab quick ratings are the ones I wish there was some form of soap law that would banned those.

    Reply

  13. jim says:

    I actually wouldve liked hearing the opinions of the soap writers on this subject who write this stuff instead of the soap actors who play it.

    Reply

  14. Dmitri says:

    I’m tired of characters being “brought back” after they die. Stefano is a good example. Either let him die or keep him alive. As for baby swaps, I hated the whole thing going on now with Parker being Daniel’s kid on DOOL. Too confusing and doesn’t make any sense. These storylines are good only if barely used, but it seems like that’s all that happens now, so it gets boring.

    Reply

  15. SnapeGirl says:

    Over the past 30 years, I have seen every soap cliche used, and they don’t bother me if they are done well with good writing and acting. But I’ve never been more viscerally disgusted than by what is currently happening on DAYS with Chloe moving Parker to Brazil and putting Jennifer in the position to break up with Daniel so he can see his son again. I’m shaking with anger that this storyline was even approved, let alone that it’s actually playing out on my TV screen. I actually know someone that this happened to, and his life, and his family’s lives were painful and miserable for years until it was rectified.

    If you have the ear of the show runners at DAYS, you might want to let them know how disparaging it is to see them be so cavalier about something so horrific to so many parents and children.

    I don’t know if I can continue to watch this show.

    Reply

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