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August 30, 2015

TV Squad Soap Report: Dead but not gone

by Allison Waldman, posted Jun 17th 2008 4:21PM
soap reportDeath on a daytime soap is kind of like death in science fiction: it may be the real thing, but then again, maybe not. Fans of One Life to Live were recently stunned by the death of Nash Brennan. His was truly a case of sudden death. One minute he was a vital part of the scene, negotiating to keep the land for his vineyard, the next he was taking a swing at Jared, falling through a skylight and fatally injured.

The chances that Nash's death is not the real thing seems remote. He was shown on his deathbed in the hospital, saying goodbye to his wife Jessica, making a heart with his finger to show her that he'll always love her. It was sad and poignant and final. At least, I think it was final. You can't always be sure on soaps, as I said.

On Days of Our Lives, for instance, one of the most popular characters on the show, John Black -- half of John and Marlena, a core romantic couple -- was hit by a speeding car and killed in 2007.

Again, he was shown dying on screen. The actor -- Drake Hogestyn -- did exit interviews and fans believed that this gorgeous hunk who'd been a stalwart star on the soap for over ten years was really gone. Well, no. See, Days found a way to make what we saw before our eyes a magic trick. You know, sleight of hand except with cameras and actors. But Days of Our Lives, much as I love it, has been known to do this a lot. In 2006, Matt Ashford was brought back from the dead for the third time. When the actor was asked about how to act without knowing if what you're doing is based in the reality of the show, he said, "It is hard because at a certain point it becomes too unreal...actors look at that and think, 'What is this - the Cartoon Network'?"

Then there was the Stuart Damon episode, as I like to call it. Stuart Damon, a 30-year veteran on General Hospital, a tent pole character -- Alan Quartermaine -- was the victim of a heart attack during the Metro Court hostage crisis. It was heartbreaking. Having been watching GH for years, I couldn't believe that Alan was dead. Off camera, the fans were up in arms. How could ABC treat an Emmy-winning, beloved daytime star like so much refuse?

Well, they could and they did and it stank. The reason they gave was storyline. They had nothing to write for Dr. Alan Quartermaine. It didn't matter that he had family ties to half a dozen characters. It didn't matter that he was chief of staff at General Hospital, the supposed-center piece of the soap. Alan was killed and we mourned along with the other characters.

As anyone who's been watching GH recently, Alan's back. No, he's not alive, but he's back. He gets more work now as Tracey's conscience, a manifestation like Jiminy Cricket, than he did as a flesh and blood character. Go figure! It must be something in the Bob Guza, Jr. writing department at GH, because the recent tragic murder of Emily Quartermaine also led to an afterlife incarnation. Emily wasn't a ghost, just like Alan's not a ghost. Emily was a figment of Nikolas's mind caused by a brain tumor. When the tumor was removed, Emily was gone.

You see how strange death is on soaps? And I haven't even mentioned Cady McClain's Dixie on All My Children or Stephanie Gatschet's Tammy on Guiding Light. Both these actresses played innocent, loved women whose deaths were key to the soaps' stories. It's very unnerving when characters like these suddenly begin making ghostly visitations. Soaps are fiction, I get it, but enough is enough. The very notion that death is finality just doesn't play realistically on soaps the way it once did.

So, One Life to Live fans, don't shed too many tears for Nash. Yes, he's dead, but that doesn't mean there isn't a big storyline in actor Forbes Marsh's future. After all, maybe Nash had a twin brother named Cash?

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Soap Operas are part of the television landscape too.

Just like Uwe Boll is allegedly part of the movie world.

June 18 2008 at 2:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

My favorite is when a character is killed off and then the actor returns as his identical twin.

June 18 2008 at 2:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ann B Martin

and let not forget about Emily Quartermaine, who died and than was brought back as a ghost/ she lasted almost 6 months as a manifestation of Nic's brain tumor!

June 18 2008 at 10:27 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Well you are half right TV Squad ...........Nash will be back for a little while as guess what............. a ghost.

June 18 2008 at 2:14 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Alison, how can you mention Days propensity for Fake deaths and NOT Mention the King of All dead/not dead Charecters , the one and ONLY Stefano Dimeara, last count I had his dead-not dead count was up to 10 times since 81.. not to mention that unfortunate storyline that literally killed ALL of The Cast... NOT! everyone on Days has "died" at least once! Tony, Andre, Marlena, Hope, Jack, Roman ( Wayne AND Josh's Roman), and of course let's not forget Billies Miscarriage that was BURIED on camera, and turned up ALIVE at 16/17 a few years back as Chelsea! lol (even tho the baby would have been about 7 in real time! God, I know too much ! time to stop watching Days, it sucks now anyway! LOL! yes, I am THAT Jimmy!

June 18 2008 at 12:11 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

You must not watch Y&R or else you would know that not only did they kill off John Abbott, but they proceded to bring him back as a ghost and then cast his portrayer Jerry Douglas as another character named Alistair..at the same time!

June 17 2008 at 9:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Ok...if you don't like soaps then DON"T READ THE REPORTS!! Some of us really enjoy them and frankly some of the very best acting is on the soaps. They just don't get the recognition they deserve. I'll put many of the soap stars ahead of nighttime folks anyday....and it sure as hell beats 99.9% of the so called "reality" crap!

June 17 2008 at 5:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

why all the reporting on soaps lately? Thankfully most people have jobs or other mildly productive activities to fill there time so they can avoid accidentally flipping onto this drab, losing many brain cells in the process.

June 17 2008 at 5:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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