Soap opera rules

1. IN THE MAJORITY OF CASES, A DEAD PERSON IS NOT REALLY DEAD. If the body hasnít been found, the personís alive. If the body is unidentifiable without medical records, it belongs to someone else. If someone says, ďDonít worry, he/she/itís dead,Ē he/she/it is probably alive. Even if the body has been found, the person might still not be dead. The only people who are definitely dead (most likely) are Stone (because thereís no cure for AIDS), Paige (because thereís no cure for cancer), B.J. (because Maxie has her heart), and Lila and Edward (because this show hasnít gotten quite that sacrilegious, at least yet).

2. IF SOMEONE SAYS SOMETHING OPTIMISTIC, SUCH AS, ďTHEREíS NO WAY HE/SHE/IT COULD HAVE SURVIVEDĒ OR ďEVERYTHINGíS GOING TO BE FINE FROM NOW ON,Ē THAT PERSON HAS JUST JINXED EVERYTHING AND THE OPPOSITE OF WHAT HE/SHE SAID WILL OCCUR. Pretty much everything on soaps gets jinxed, especially relationships.

3. EVERYONE HAS AT LEAST ONE BIOLOGICAL RELATIVE IN TOWN. Current exceptions: Anna (her biological relatives used to be in town, though), Mac (ditto), Griffin, Hayden, and Finn. This could all change within a matter of minutes, though.

4. WRITERS LOVE TO HAVE CHARACTERS WHO CANíT HAVE CHILDREN. Sam, Lulu, Skye, and Courtney have all been told that they canít have children. Sam, Skye, and Courtney have all given birth since, and Lulu may be able to carry a child if the embryo is implanted. In other words, if your doctor tells you that you canít have a baby, he or she is probably wrong.

5. ABOUT ONE OUT OF EVERY THREE BABIES CONCEIVED WILL BE MISCARRIED OR STILLBORN. Chances go up if the baby is Sonnyís.

6. EVERYONE IS RICH. If not amazingly wealthy, at least rich enough to not have to worry about anything. Elizabeth is the only exception, but she has a rich best friend and a rich baby-daddy, so sheís good.

7. TIME AND SPACE ARE FLEXIBLE. You can fly from Port Charles to any location in the world while a couple has half a conversation at Kellyís. One day may stretch for upwards of a week. ďYesterdayĒ does not exist.

8. SOONER OR LATER, SORAS AFFECTS EVERYONE. SORAS is soap opera rapid aging syndrome. One day a kid may be 5, and the next he might be 15. Just go along with it. Maxie and Jake appear to carry immunity to this disease.

9. IF SOMEONE IS MURDERED, THERE MUST BE AT LEAST THREE SUSPECTS. The most hated characters are most susceptible to murder mystery storylines. Most of the time, though, the murderer will turn out to be an unimportant character (see Dr. Thomas, the Tin Man, and Angel, all of whom you have probably forgotten ever existed).

10. IF A WOMAN HAS SEX WITH MORE THAN ONE MAN WITHIN A CERTAIN TIME PERIOD, SHE WILL GET PREGNANT. And Sonny will probably be the father.

11. IF A REGULAR CHARACTER IS ARRESTED FOR A SERIOUS CRIME, HE/SHE WILL SOMEHOW BE EXONERATED, EVEN IF HE/SHE IS GUILTY. So maybe Alexis didnít have to fake Dissociative Identity Disorder after all. Exception: Sonny, who was pardoned by the governor.

12. YOU CAN NEVER HAVE TOO MANY LAWYERS. Currently we have Alexis, Scott, Diane, Paul, and Ric.

13. YOU DONíT NEED A REASON TO GO TO THE HOSPITAL. Apparently, itís the best place to run into people.

14. THE MOST INTERESTING CHARACTERS ARENíT ALLOWED TO DO ANYTHING. ALTERNATELY, THE MOST ANNOYING CHARACTERS ARE ALWAYS ON. Has anyone seen Ric lately?

15. NO MATTER HOW MANY CHARACTERS ARE BEING UNDERUTILIZED, APPARENTLY THEREíS ALWAYS ROOM FOR NEW PEOPLE. Who needs Lucas? Bring on Griffin!

16. THERE TEND TO BE THREE OR MORE CHARACTERS IN ANY LOCATION AT ONE TIME. If five or more characters are in one place at one time, something interesting is probably going to happen.

17. IF A CHARACTER IS DRIVING A CAR, THE CAR WILL PROBABLY CRASH. The odds seem to increase if Carly is involved.

18. NO ONE IS IMMUNE TO HAVING A SECRET CHILD. Looking at you, Alexis, Bobbie, and Laura.

19. NO MATTER HOW BADLY YOU WANT YOUR CHILDíS PATERNITY KEPT SECRET, EVENTUALLY THE TRUTH WILL COME OUT. The only exceptions so far are T.J., who still has no idea that Shawn is his birth father, and Nathan, whose fatherís identity is still unknown even to the audience.

20. MOST PEOPLE DONíT HAVE NORMAL NAMES. The best way to make a name abnormal is to change a C to a K. (Or, in Ricís case, just drop the K altogether.) Examples: Nikolas, Kristina, Hamilton, Kiki (at least itís a nickname), Franco (nickname/stage name).


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