Why do the longstanding rivalries matter so much to soaps? Check out what Digest columnist Carolyn Hinsey has to say about what’s happening across the daytime dial.
Let’s hear it for long-term enemies! The rooting value is built in because the players and the conflict are so delightfully familiar.
Bringing back a much-missed character to duke it out with an old foe is found money. There was Y&R’s sweet former housekeeper Mamie mixing it up with salty Jill Abbott after Jill crashed a Winters family shindig.
Mamie: “Who but you would show up at a private party to which you were not invited?”
Jill: “I had to see if it was you who bought into my company. And why.”
It was. Mamie claimed she wanted to be closer to family.
Jill: “That is such a crock. Why the hand grenade disguised as a happy surprise?”
To catch Jill off guard, of course. Mamie played it coy, sharp words were exchanged, and the guests tried to stay out of the line of fire.
Victoria: “This certainly is a room of … big personalities.”
Mamie vs. Jill, Phyllis vs. Christine, Phyllis vs. Diane, Nikki vs. Diane, all great rivalries with decades of rich history behind them.
Nikki: “If you do anything to hurt Jack I will make your life a living hell, and many others will help me.”
Diane: “I would expect nothing less.”
Manufactured rivalries are less effective. Where did Kyle vs. Billy come from? I was unaware Jack’s son had it out for his uncle, especially not when Kyle is the one who went to work for Victor Newman. But there was Kyle lobbying his parents for Billy’s job.
Jack: “I can’t cut Billy loose to put Kyle in his place. It would be mending one relationship by destroying another.”
Diane: “I’m not asking you to choose between our son and your brother.”
That’s exactly what she’s doing. And don’t get me started on Tucker vs. Everyone in Genoa City. He “loves” Ashley but sleeps with Audra, “respects” Devon but lies to him constantly, and lost his debt-ridden company to the Newmans but somehow thinks he and fellow backstabber Audra can steal Jabot from the Abbotts.
Tucker: “Keep your eye on the prize: Jabot. You are going to run it.”
When, in between drinking and bed-hopping? Tucker’s cockamamie plan involved crashing Jack and Diane’s wedding reception to beg forgiveness with the gift of a Bonsai tree sporting a hidden microphone.
Tucker (fake nice): “I’ve been searching my heart …”
Billy: “This is nauseating.”
Tucker: “I’m here to make peace.”
Beware of geeks bearing gifts. The Trojan Plant worked for one day until Phyllis clued Jack in and he set out to turn the tables.
Diane: “Peace, love and forgiveness my ass!”
Tucker vs. Diane? They did sleep together years ago … add them to the list.
I was all set for Maggie vs. Vivian on DAYS but unfortunately their office denouement happened off screen.
Vivian: “Now that Maggie kicked me out of Titan the only place for me to be is by my son’s side.”
Gabi: “Excuse me?”
Exactly. How did we not see those delicious scenes? Vivian vs. Gabi was entertaining, but the town is full of much richer enemies. Vivian buried Maggie alive, stole Kate’s embryo (Hi, Philip) and moved Isabella’s remains to a pet cemetery (!), making her universally hated. Bonus: She had the best lines in town.
Gabi: “I am not going to let you go down for your out-of-control, lunatic, gun-toting mother.”
Stefan: “My mother is not gun toting.”
Vivian (entering): “Has anybody seen my gun?”
She’s like a parody of a soap opera, but somehow it always works.
Sadly, the gun escapade meant Vivian violated parole so she had to leave town. Salem’s crack police officers didn’t catch her at the airport because she sported an ace disguise: sunglasses and a hat.
B&B’s Eric and Ridge are having a rough father/son moment but their rivalry is temporary. L.A.’s hatred of Sheila is forever.
Sheila (to Deacon): “Hope is going to be shocked to find out we’re in love, and it’s going to be worse when she finds out you’re going to be my husband.”
Ya think? No, Daddy marrying the local psychopath won’t exactly be cause for a giggly girls’ night dishing what shade of white the bride will wear from her lunatic head down to her nine toes.
Hope: “You and Sheila? No.”
Deacon: “Sheila and I are in love. She’s changed. People can change.”
Hope: “She terrorized Mom for years!”
Deacon: “I know this must be difficult for you. Sometimes love doesn’t make sense.”
Everyone in town should have something to say about this so I hope they go one by one from Brooke’s horror to Steffy exploding when she returns. And note to B&B: Li is Finn’s mother; she raised him. Sheila gave birth to him. Stop calling Sheila Finn’s mom.
Sheila: “I’ve learned. I’ve grown.”
Yes — into a better liar.
Wait until GH’s Robert Scorpio finds out longtime enemy Valentin Cassadine is lying to Anna. Val’s daughter is the one terrorizing her, yet here was his take:
Valentin (to Anna): “I promise when everything is right we’ll move in together.”
“Right” meaning when his Child of the Corn stops using voodoo cards to decide whether to burn down or vandalize Anna’s homes.
For much-missed characters, you can’t beat Tracy Quartermaine, whose return immediately resurrected Tracy vs. Lucy (over Deception), which led to Tracy vs. Lois (over Brook Lynn getting fired from Deception). We hadn’t seen this Lois since 1997, but she didn’t miss a beat.
Tracy: “Are those laugh lines or just lines?”
Lois (deep breath): “You’re looking great too, Tracy.”
Hey. It’s only my opinion.