Coming up with something new and different can oftentimes seem like an insurmountable task for soap operas and their scribes and producers. Every story’s been told a thousand times, right?
But two soaps pushed the envelope this year, and not only delivered something innovative, but also the boldest, wildest plots of 2020. Which soaps were they, and what were the two stories? Read on…
Days of our Lives: “The Phoenix” Rises
Joseph Mascolo was an irreplaceable entity as Days of our Lives’ Stefano DiMera. So following his 2016 death, recasting anyone else in the role would have been impossible, if not downright blasphemous. That is unless you weren’t really recasting Stefano, per se.
Instead, whether you loved or loathed the story, the soap pulled off an ingenious stunt; putting the essence of Stefano into someone else. With the use of a unique chip, the mad Dr. Rolf (Will Utay) implanted the DiMera kingpin’s thoughts and spirit into Steve Johnson’s brain.
Yes, it was outrageous and out there, but DAYS should also be commended for taking a chance and delving into something different. Using Stephen Nichols as the vessel to carry the plot was key, as the talented actor embraced his new “role” and portrayed it with gusto.
When Steve returned to Salem, he wasn’t the man viewers had come to love and know. Aside from his patch being gone, courtesy of plastic surgery and a glass eye, he was calculating, domineering, and obsessed with Marlena (Deidre Hall), while rejecting Kayla (Mary Beth Evans). The twist provided months of unconventional storytelling.
The Bold and the Beautiful: Thomas and the Real Live Hope Doll
Using mannequins to occasionally sub for actors during the days of COVID-19 production, sparked The Bold and the Beautiful’s most outrageous storyline of the year – if not ever. Thomas, who had long been obsessed with Hope (Annika Noelle), took the mannequin designed in her likeness from the Forrester fashion house and brought it home. That’s when the fun and bizarreness started.
Upon assembling the Hope doll, she suddenly began “talking” to Thomas. His initial attempts to shake it off were met with the doll arguing with him and begging him not to put her back in the box. “I want to stay here with you,” she cooed.
Viewers had to wonder if Thomas was descending into madness or something was seriously wrong and causing these hallucinations. Actor Matthew Atkinson was magnificent as the tormented Thomas, trembling over what was happening to him. Then, as the doll suddenly “came to life,” he quickly opened and closed his eyes trying to make her disappear. He grew desperate to ignore the doll’s growing power over him and demands that he “kill Liam” and claim Hope as his own.
It all came to a head when Thomas collapsed while being confronted by the real Hope. He was rushed to the hospital, where he was diagnosed with brain trauma, but not before he’d professed his love to and shared a passionate kiss with her plastic lookalike.
Unfortunately, the moment was witnessed and misconstrued by Liam (Scott Clifton), who believed his wife was cheating on him and rebounded by sleeping with Steffy (Jacqueline MacInnes Wood). The plot was absolutely nutty and wild, but sheer brilliance at the same time.