By Patrick Erwin
I admit it — I’m feeling an awful lot like Ebenezer Scrooge this year. Even Saint Nick himself knows that soap fans have certainly had a lot of reasons to say “Bah humbug!”
I’ve had difficulty trying to embrace the spirit of Christmas. Things reached a crisis point when I was talking to Marlena and complaining, as usual, about some boneheaded storyline. It was then that Marlena channeled Cher in Moonstruck and said to me, “Snap out of it!” (Thankfully, without the slap!) I decided to let bygones be bygones, stop cursing Brian Frons in the street, and focus on the holidays.
Daytime has, over the years, had some wonderful holiday celebrations. No matter what was happening in, say, Oakdale (As the World Turns) or Henderson (Search for Tomorrow) or Bay City (Another World), everyone put aside their differences and their passions and came together for the holidays.
One welcome ritual that we saw for many years was the annual appearance of Nick (aka Santa Claus) on Guiding Light. He first came to town when Phillip, Beth, Rick and Mindy were entangled in each others’ lives. Over the years, he always dispensed sage advice when it was needed.
One of the most touching displays over the holidays has always been the Horton Christmas tree on Days if Our Lives. Even when it doesn’t seem like there are so many Hortons, decorating the tree is always a special time of year for people to come together. Often, the tree will be decorated with ornaments representing characters who, although they are missing from our screens, are still much loved.
I think perhaps the most powerful holiday storyline for me wasn’t specifically a holiday story, but played out in the weeks leading up to the holiday. This was the Frannie/Sabrina story on As the World Turns. Of head writer Douglas Marland’s many wonderful stories, this may have been my favorite. Marland took a well-known storyline point from years before (Kim’s “miscarriage” when she had an affair with Bob) and created a wonderful story that introduced Sabrina, Bob and Kim’s long-lost daughter (played by future Oscar nominee Julianne Moore). There were beautiful scenes that played out in Venice, as Bob and Kim came face to face, joyfully, with their daughter. Who wouldn’t want Oakdale’s first couple as their mom and dad?
A more recent Christmas miracle was All My Children‘s beloved Bianca reuniting with her daughter Miranda. You’d be hard pressed to find a dry eye when that reunion occurred — I’m a casual AMC viewer and even I was bawling! I understand that there may be another Christmas miracle this year — that is, if Adam Chandler develops a soul and decides to tell Tad that Kathy is actually Tad’s daughter Kate.
If I could hope for a miracle — after peace and good health for everyone, of course, and for the singularly magnificent Beverlee McKinsey (the original Alexandra, Guiding Light, and the original Iris, Another World) to come back to daytime — I’d hope that the writers’ strike ends soon (and fairly!) and that soap operas find a way to thrive and grow. It may seem like we do nothing but complain sometimes, but please remember, we do it out of great love and great hope for an art form that we hope never ends.
Happy Holidays, everyone!