Soap operas have been one of the mainstays of daytime TV for the past four decades — some even longer. They’ve provided us with cliches, rising stars and, more recently, lesbian storylines. With so many gorgeous women of all ages featured on these shows, it was only right we reminisced about the ones we loved — or still love — for this week’s Huddle.
Team: Who is your soap opera crush? Break!
Karman Kregloe: I was never a huge soap fan, and then something happened and turned me into an As the World Turns freak when I was a pre-teen. I suspect it had something to do with Margaret Colin. Kids today might know her as Eleanor Waldorf on Gossip Girl, but she’ll always be “Margo Montgomery Hughes #1″ to me.
I started watching the show over one of my summer breaks. My family lived out in the country and it was the early ’80s, which meant no cable TV (so lousy reception) and no VCR. If I missed an episode it was just too bad. In the summer months, the public library sent a bookmobile to the areas outside of town limits. I loved the bookmobile like other kids love an ice cream truck, so I always hoped that it wouldn’t roll up outside of our house while my stories were on — especially the part of my stories that involved Margo, who was, naturally, a cop.
Margo had a hotter younger sister, Cricket (played by Lisa Loring, best know as Wednesday Addams on The Addams Family TV show), but I was all about the tough, sassy yet competent Officer Montgomery. (I liked Kate Jackson on Charlie’s Angels, too.) If the bookmobile came during ATWT, I would park my boom box in front of the television speaker and record the whole show on audio cassette, then listen to it later as I flipped through my new stack of library books. Now that’s devotion.
Margo Montgomery Hughes #1, chasing after the bookmobile.
The Linster: I used to watch Days of Our Lives every day. At least I think I did, although I’m not sure how I could’ve since I was in school when it came on and we didn’t have such fancy high-tech gadgets as VCRs. But I have vivid memories of Marie Horton. Marie had a lot of heartbreak and finally “found God” and went off to Africa to become a medical missionary — and a nun. I always had a thing for nuns. (Quelle surprise.)
The strangest thing about Marie being a nun was that the family wasn’t Catholic (they often went to church on the show). I’m sure that’s one reason I thought I could be a nun despite being Southern Baptist. I really, really wanted to be a nun. For strictly spiritual reasons of course, not because of all the single women living together in a continual spiritual slumber party.
Heather Hogan: I grew up on soaps — “watching my stories,” my Granny called it. Days of Our Lives was the real staple in my family. The day Bo and Hope got married, my mom let me stay home from school. Me and my sister and my mom and her sister and their mom crowded around a rabbit-antenna TV, and shrieked with joy when Bo rode to the church on a literal white horse to the tune of Bonnie Tyler‘s “Holding Out for a Hero.” (This is why it amuses me to no end when people think I don’t give Crystal Chappell her due. I watched Carly Manning rescue Bo’s kid from a abandoned mine, OK? I watched Vivian Alamain bury her alive and taunt her through a custom casket-installed sound system!) I even stayed with Day’s through the O.J. trial when Marlena got possessed by the devil. But it would be years later before I really fell in love with a soap star.
During the peak of my lesbian awakening, an actual hero wandered onto my TV, wearing a twin-set and riding her Scottish accent and grinning with her tongue tucked between her teeth. “Sit in that chair!” she barked. “Haven’t you worked out yet how to be a good girl,” she crooned. “Nice suit,” she said. Soooooot. Yes, Helen Stewart of the UK soap Bad Girls was one of my first, one of my truest, loves. I downloaded every episode of Bad Girls. I know every line by heart. I know that if you wear headphones and turn up the volume loud enough, you can hear Helen say, “Oh, Nicola.” and “I want you” during their first/only love scene. At some point, I even wrote like 100,000 words of fan fiction about Helen and Nikki.
I’m not really sure my Granny would have liked that story. Not because Helen and Nikki are raging homosexuals, but because she had a hard time understanding anyone who “talked funny.” Personally, listening to funny talkers is one of my biggest turn-ons. Especially funny Scottish talkers.
By the way, on Days of Our Lives, Mike Horton was played by Roark Critchlow, and his niece, Abby Deveraux, was played by Ashley Benson. You might recognize them like this:
Trish Bendix: My grandma, aunt and mom have been faithful watchers of the CBS soaps Young and the Restless and The Bold and the Beautiful. I’m more partial to the latter, because of Brooke Logan and Taylor “Doc” Hayes. While both women are strong, gorgeous and powerful, they are constantly fighting over a dude named Ridge whose hair hasn’t changed for 30 years. I guess I kind of ship the ladies, wishing they’d just stop taking turns marrying Ridge and realize that, this whole time, they’ve just wanted an excuse to be in the same room together. They didn’t want to fight over Ridge — they wanted to be together. Sexual tension has a weird way of working itself out. Also, please stop altering your face Hunter Tylo!
Emily Hartl: When I was in sixth grade I had a secret crush on Sami from Days of Our Lives and I felt really bad about it. Not because she was a girl, but because she was the “evil” one on the show.
OK guys: What soap star could you die (and come back to life) for?