Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Dear Daytime: No More Baby Switches

Three of the last four covers of Soap Opera Digest have been about baby switches which made me think about how truly sick of this overused plot twist I really am. Baby switches have happened in real life, usually due to some purely accidental set of circumstances, but not with the frequency with which they do on daytime soaps. The latest baby switch on DAYS OF OUR LIVES with Sami/Nicole has been going on for what seems like an eternity. I actually like stories that are played out over a longer period of time, but some of the plots twists here have not been engaging and I don't really care what happens at this point. And now THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS seems to be doing a switcheroo of their own with Adam arranging for Ashley to have Sharon's baby.

I know some fans did not like the GUIDING LIGHT realistic look and stories of the past year, but it sure made me long for the days when soaps were about character's relationships more than shootouts, explosions, tornadoes and baby switches. One of the annoying parts of the recent baby switch storylines on soaps is that they are telegraphed a mile away. Did anyone not think Ashley would eventually end up with Sharon's baby on Y&R? I'm sure we'll get some wonderful acting from everyone involved, but if the writers want us to invest in a five-day-a-week soap, it needs to be less predictable.

My suggestion to Soap Opera Digest is to stop featuring repetitive baby switch storylines on their cover, and especially three times in a month. Digest has the most prime real estate in super market checkout lines and lapsed fans that see this probably just roll their eyes and think to themselves, "I'm glad I gave up the soaps." Even ONE LIFE TO LIVE, which is lucky to even get an inset picture on the Digest cover twice a year got a partial cover when Starr got her baby back. How about promoting the indie soap movement with a Tristan Rogers, Martha Byrne and Crystal Chappel cover? Give people who love soaps, and there are many, something to look forward to and hope for the future.


  1. I couldn't agree more, Roger. If soaps are to survive they need to be about their strengths -- characters and time. Tell the stories about human beings that an hour of evening can't. The ones that take time to develop and play out -- the ones about love, identity, redemption, family. Tell them with heart and imagination.

    But just as the soaps themselves need to use their heart, brains and strengths -- so too does the soap press. If the industry continues on it's current path it's going to kill the already very sickly golden goose.

    Too much about the supermarket soap press is about recapping/rehashing all the ordinary, repetitive and cliched parts of soaps. Big hint - viewers and readers - have voted with their feet on those angles. Maybe highlighting the new, the exciting and the innovative in soaps might bring in a few of us who have basically given up.

  2. Amen Roger. I'm sick and tired of the baby switch storylines. It almost makes me yearn for the "who's the daddy" storylines.
    The Y&R one was so incredibly telegraphed, why even promote it?
    Now that GL is gone I have realized, not only that I miss it like crazy, but that it really wasn't as bad as many thought even at its' worst these last 2 years. In fact it was when GL tried to pull off stunts like the other soaps that the storylines tanked.

  3. I am loathing "Adam's Cruelest Plot EVER!" Not only because it was telegraphed quite a while ago, continued to be, and is now so ridiculous and contrived, but because we've seen this kind of junk before and Y&R should be above that kind of weak storytelling. If the shows want to do a story about a baby switch and make it about characters, feelings, and family connection, why not explore the idea of an innocent and accidental hospital switch? It need not be maudlin and tragic, but with a teen/young adult character it has interesting possibilities to explore what family means and what it means to be a parent. The trick with that kind of storyline would be to keep it from getting to "soapy"--but it certainly wouldn't be as ridiculous and tiresome as a baby switch done for nefarious reasons.

    Y&R is quickly becoming one of the worst soaps on TV--and I sincerely hate writing that, but it's sadly true. All of the most amazing performances in the TV world (and Y&R definitely has some phenomenal actors) will and do mean nothing when you have insipid, moronic storytelling that is mired in plot. That, folks, is what is happening to Y&R.

  4. I just realized that Y&R has done BOTH who's the daddy storyline and now the baby switch storyline with Sharon's baby. Overkill much?

  5. Marley, the next thing Y&R will probably do is a storyline where the doctor will tell Sharon she was never really pregnant (hysterical pregnancy) and then Nick, Phyllis, Jack, Noah and everyone else will think Sharon was a big fat liar about being pregnant and Sharon can cry and cry, profess to be a brave girl doing it on her own, and steal a few more things. Again. And Ashley will think "her" baby is wonderful until it's finally revealed that it's Sharon's baby and she'll go over the edge about a non-existent baby (wasn't her other dead child "Robert"?). Again. Y&R is rehashing not only tired soap plots, but it seems likely they will probably recycle their own plots. Blah. :-(

  6. Amen! I am considering a temporary boycott of Y&R until they resolve this ridiculous switcheroo storyline. The writing used to be better than this, but it's gone steadily downhill for the past while.
    This Ashley/Sharon/Dr Shady/Adam storyline I saw coming a mile away, and it's too pathetic to see how tired the writing--and the writers--clearly are.

  7. Amen to what everyone else thinks about the baby switching. This storyline with evil Adam has gone on long enough. It's time for it to come to some resolution. It's getting pretty sickening.

  8. Dan - couldn't agree with you more. I wish there was some way I, we, us could get to those Nielsen family members who are propping this show up and making it #1 and tell them just don't watch this crap. Do they not know it's crap. If the show continues with this kind of story telling, story lines, then I am going to bail but I know it won't make any difference if I did.

  9. Amen-

    First, why in terms of story is Sharon being punished? Nothing has happened to Nick or Jack and they cheated but Sharon has to face the repercussions.

    Second - the oldest baby switch story that I can recall is from OLTL - that story was compelling because the switched baby was brought up by the wrong mother (Jenny, Karen Woleck's sister) for years.

    Today, stories go so quickly that this old canard doesn't work. A baby in the wrong crib for 3 months is a tragedy but not a trauma.

    Third - It is just like the other old canard about the long lost child. When Vicki found out that Megan was her daughter - the soap needed the audacity of the Eterna story for us to believe that a woman could forget giving birth to a kid. Ten years later, Vicki learned it had happened to her twice and she hardly batted an eyelash.