Bring on the LaughsBy Marc Wilkofsky Posted: Mar 18, 2011
John's old friend, Pete Braust, recently returned to ONE LIFE TO LIVE and remarked to John: "You're looking for ways not to be happy." But this is a soap...that's what the characters do! Yes, we love the drama, but we need ways to make us happy, and distract us from our own drama. That's why comedy's so important.
A question: Would YOUNG AND RESTLESS viewers rather see Kevin and Chloe's wild, romantic antics and lively, funny conversations, or Abby and Victoria battling Victor in a boardroom amid a lot of intricate legal speak? Michael making Lauren laugh (and swoon) with wacky comments or Tucker saying the words (as he recently did), "Item 14, paragraph 2"? Of course, some DAYS OF OUR
For now, it's fitting that Y&R's funniest, most heartwarming couple has a daughter named Lucy (see the next paragraph). Victoria pushing aside her current boulders of family drama to dress up as a "bunny" for the very appreciative Billy was proof that the scribes know a light scene still works wonders.
Soaps need to stay funny, and get funnier. Sitcoms have been popular for decades, from I LOVE LUCY and THE HONEYMOONERS to ALL IN THE FAMILY and THE JEFFERSONS, and from FAMILY TIES and MAMA'S FAMILY to FRIENDS and SEINFELD. Current successes include THE BIG BANG THEORY, 30 ROCK, THE MIDDLE and MODERN FAMILY. It's interesting that FAMILY has been in the titles of several hit sitcoms over the years, just as families are a major cornerstone of daytime soaps, with BOLD AND BEAUTIFUL's multifaceted Forresters being just one fun example.
B&B is the closest thing soaps have to a sitcom: half an hour and often humorous, sometimes hysterical. It regularly hits the humor target, in both over-the-top and quiet ways. Bill (Don Diamont; ex-Brad, Y&R) meeting Olivia at Donna and Justin's wedding, and thinking he recognized her, was hilarious. I still smile about that, and got an extra chuckle or three out of it when I remembered that Y&R's Brad and Olivia once slept together. Donna and Pam's highly amusing history is a foundation for so much more wildness from that duo, especially if Pam does become Donna's stepmom by marrying Stephen. Actually, Stephanie vs. Stephen should be another regular event to watch, whenever Patrick Duffy is on a break from portraying Bobby on TNT's upcoming, new DALLAS series.
Speaking of prime-time shows, I'll briefly note here that Allison Janney (who played GUIDING LIGHT's nutty Spaulding maid Ginger and achieved movie stardom) is a riot as Crystal in MR. SUNSHINE, which stars Matthew Perry as Ben, a cynical, stressed but secretly sensitive guy who's in charge of a sports arena. There are often several laughs within one scene, and sometimes within one ridiculous sentence. Just watch Ben trying to please the far-outspoken Crystal or deal with the difficult singer Eli Cutler (Nick Jonas). Let me add that I'm honestly thankful that this ABC show is only a half hour (just like B&B, and Perry's FRIENDS), with the literally hundreds of TV shows to choose from these nights.
With all that's going on as the world keeps turning, we need a few laughs to bring some joy to our daily lives. Thankfully, the daytime soap writers know this. Well, I believe they do. Let's hope for a hearty laugh on each show now and then, and see what happens...any hour now.