By Marlena De Lacroix a.k.a. Connie Passalacqua Hayman
Oh how I miss soap Christmases the way they used to be. Today, all soaps have been scrubbed of religion. This year only two of the four soaps — Days of Our Lives and The Bold and the Beautiful — continued with at least some of the traditions that made the holiday a really special time to watch daytime drama.
On the soaps of old (actually, not even so old), every soap gathered its central families together at a family party. On cue, a leading cast member broke the fourth wall at the end of the holiday show to wish the cherished viewers: “From our family to your family … Merry Christmas.” Thus viewers felt particularly bonded with their other “family” — their soap family.Plus, I really missed those Christmas traditions particular to each soap! Remember all those years Dr. Steve Hardy told the Christmas story to all the kids at the hospital on General Hospital? When Mike Bauer sang Christmas carols in the Bauer living room on Guiding Light? When all the characters of Passions, religious or not, turned out for one of Jim Reilly’s crazy midnight Christmas Eve masses?
Well, it was mostly “Bah Humbug” to Christmas on half of our surviving soaps in 2012 – a most peculiar choice, given the medium’s on-going race to stay in business. Instead of a gathering together en famille on Christmas week The Young and the Restless, Jack’s son Kyle and business associates Phyllis and Neil staged an intervention for pill-popping Jack. Peter Bergman brilliantly fired all rockets in these scenes in which obstinate Jack managed to give in to no one. On General Hospital on Christmas Eve, surrogate mother Maxie had cramps and found out that she was indeed pregnant with Dante and Lulu’s baby. Please oh please, tell me this wasn’t supposed to be symbolic of another Christmas pregnancy.
Thankfully, Days and B&B celebrated Christmas the old fashion way. Days offered warm family gathering, and as they do every year, rolled out the Horton family ornaments engraved with character names. B&B assembled the Forresters in a lovely tribute to the recently deceased Stephanie, as Eric (the talented John McCook) beautifully played the piano. And indeed B&B honored the old soap tradition as executive producer Bradley Bell broke the fourth wall to wish the audience a good holiday at the end of the Christmas episode. It made me feel extra good. Happy holidays right back to everyone at B&B from Marlena!
The Young and the Restless: On an up note, however, how unexpected is it that mega-popular Steve Burton (formerly Jason on GH) is joining Y&R? He’ll certainly bring many of his fans with him. I think the kind of role that’s written for him (as yet undisclosed) should have a lot to do with the actor’s success. Wouldn’t it be interesting if his new character is on the right side of the law, unlike his unrepentant hitman Jason (nicknamed “The Borg” by the audience) on GH?