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Monday, September 26, 2005
‘Soap Talk’ filming
'Soap Talk'On TV: 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Mondays to Thursdays on SOAPnet, Oceanic Channel 67
"Soap Talk in Paradise": Four shows taped in Honolulu will air beginning Oct. 10
We love them even as we hate them -- for jerking us around with tired old plots, breaking up our favorite couples, feeding us moronic storylines.
We care. We care deeply.
This was evidenced last week when 500 people showed up to sit on the sand behind the Hilton Hawaiian Village, to watch the taping -- not of a soap opera -- of a talk show about soap operas.
"Soap Talk" taped four episodes at the Hilton on Thursday and Friday that will air as the debut episodes of the show's new season, beginning Oct. 10.
The show airs on SOAPnet -- a network devoted to soaps, to the point of repeating all the ABC soaps every night (with marathons on Sundays that recap the week).
"Soap Talk" hosts Ty Treadway and Lisa Rinna are soap veterans who now chat up other stars and track the issues of "daytime."
The day before their Waikiki tapings, the two hosts acclimated to Hawaii by chatting up reporters, in a half-dozen interviews with local and national press, proving again the draw of the genre.
"The fans are just so dedicated to the characters that they love," Treadway said.
Well, yes, but that's kinda sappy. How about we talk about the stuff they love to hate?
Treadway and Rinna were perfectly willing to delve into the clichés of the soap world, especially since they once wallowed in them as soap stars themselves.
MacIver was really supposed to be gone. Treadway had no contract for continued work. "It was because of the fans that I did return from the dead."
Viewers petitioned and within two weeks he'd been called back. But not as his original character, which leads us to ...
The twin no one knew about: Treadway returned as Colin's twin, Troy, who had been a missionary in Africa, "because that's where evil twins hang out."
At least when Treadway left in 2002 to join "Soap Talk," Troy didn't die. "I just went crazy. I survived, but I'm in an insane asylum."
The redemption: Evil characters can be among a show's most intriguing, and often writers will eventually give them a good side.
"Viewers like, I think, evolution," Treadway said. His Colin MacIver was "a bad guy turned good guy turned good guy gone bad."
Rinna's Billie Reed on "Days of Our Lives" was a drug addict and a porn star. "She was always fighting her badness. I think people can relate."
Split personalities: On Treadway's old show resides "the grand dame of split personalities," Erica Slezak, who plays the oft-troubled Victoria, a beloved middle-aged mom who once split off into a teenage boy, among other personalities. Her brother has been similarly afflicted and her daughter is currently so.
"Mental illness runs in that town," Treadway said.
Why do viewers accept so much of this so often? "We love to see the actors that we love playing different characters."
Never a happy ending: The aforementioned Victoria, for example, has had seven marriages, four of them to two of the same men -- if you follow (remarriages being another soap cliché).
"If you're happy on a soap, you're not working," Treadway said. "Happy couples are couples on hiatus."
There are more, of course -- amnesia, baby-switching, fraudulent medical tests (especially DNA, which enables baby-switching), extreme plastic surgery that allows a "dead" person to return, played by another actor, and usually with amnesia. "It's amazing how people accept that," Rinna said.
Perhaps that's because an individual story doesn't matter so much as the long-term relationship between character and viewer.
"It's not about the cliché as much as the emotions these characters feel," Treadway said. "Love, hate and romances are what they're there for."
Added Rinna in a circular way: "The fantasy aspect -- it's reality -- it's real fantasy."