One of the movies my kids and wife enjoy as much as I do is “The Princess Bride.” You smile throughout the movie following the escapades of the Dreaded Pirate Roberts, who is a cult-like anti-hero named Wesley who is smitten with the future Princess Buttercup.
One of the funnier scenes is when we think Wesley is dead, so his comrades take him to Miracle Max played by Billy Crystal, with his wife played by Carol Kane. We learn from Miracle Max, that Wesley is not ‘all dead’ he is only “mostly dead.” After checking him out, Max says “I have seen worse.”
Why am I bringing this up? Soap opera characters who have been killed off are never ‘all dead,’ they are only ‘mostly dead.’ My wife loves “General Hospital” and has watched it for years dating back to when her mom and aunt were alive.
On occasion, I assume when contract difficulties arise or an actor is moving to another show, he or she may be killed off. Sometimes, it will be a coma related incident, as you don’t know if the studio can re-sign the actor through negotiations and they might recover. Usually, it is some accident where they cannot find the body. But, once the actor leaves, it is fair game to kill his or her character off. The body is either discovered, or he or she is just gone.
The problem arises when the actor returns to the show a couple of years later. So, when you thought the actor was ‘all dead,’ they character was not really dead at all. They were only ‘mostly dead.’ I will watch a little every once in a while and ask I thought he was dead? The explanations are usually less than satisfying.
What gets more complicated is when they use another actor to play a character when someone leaves. Then, the old actor returns a couple of years later and plays another character altogether. This is quite confusing for the occasional viewer.
In one case, the new actor played what everyone thought was the old character, but he had been in an accident had facial surgery and loss of memory. So his wife re-fell in love with what she thought was her husband and actually had more children. Then, the real husband returned to the show playing the real husband and the wife realized the guy in her bed was not him. Oops.
I must confess I think these soap opera writers must get a kick out of the machinations they must go through. They also need a historian to keep tracks of the who’s and what’s and why’s.
So, don’t mourn a soap opera death too long. They just may be ‘mostly dead.’