Common Storylines In Soap Operas

I been rewatching an Australian soap opera “Prisoner” (“Prisoner: Cell Block H”) and I got to thinking about soap operas in general. This is the only soap opera I’ve ever got hooked on.

Anyway I was wondering what “typical” storylines “Prisoner” had used.

For instance, in the show

[li]Someone has multiple personalities[/li][li]Someone get’s kidnapped[/li][li]A major character gets raped[/li][li]Homosexuality[/li][li]Amnesia Storyline[/li][/ul]

What other storylines can you think of that are very common in soap operas?

drug abuse
wife beating
kids being bullied
crooked business
someone dies
house on fire
bitchy woman in business
illegimate children

A very common plotline is having someone die and later return from the dead. Usually this happens when someone is presumed dead but their body was never found or if a body is found it’s usually unrscognizable but identified as that person in some other way. Later when they return we learn that either they were misidentified or it was some sort of cover-up. This is especially popular to do with villians.

I’m pregnant and I don’t know who the daddy is.
I’m pregnant and I’m lying about how the daddy is.
I’m pregnant but I lost it so I’m now faking a pregnancy.
I’m not pregnant but I’m faking a pregancy and I’m buying a baby.

“No really, he’s fine!”

Twins! I swear, every major soap character has a twin. And one must be evil. But it’s always the nice one who accidentally kills someone in a “plot twist.”

Pregnant woman + stairs = fall and miscarriage (usually). Although General Hospital recently had a twist where two prenant women fell downs the stairs together and neither miscarried. One of those women had fallen down stairs and miscarried in the past. I guess she learned how to properly fall downstairs since then.

Mama gives birth.

About six weeks later, the kids are teenagers, sleeping with their half-brother/sister (Daddy had an affair) unknowingly.

There’s an acronym for rapidly aging kids, SORAS, Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome. But that’s not as bad as the kid that went upstairs and disappeared forever and never mentioned again. At least that soap poked fun at itself many years later when a character was in the attic and found a skeleton wearing a baseball cap with that kids name on it.

I’m a waitress, but next week, I’ll be a nurse.
In a month I’ll be a surgeon.

Most soap characters will meet family members as adults they never knew they had, and/or discover that people they thought were their relatives, aren’t really.

Characters leave town and nobody mentions them for years. Then they are mentioned three times in one week and the next week they return.

Well, these things need practice.

Don’t forget:
[li]hostage-taking (not the same as “someone gets kidnapped”, since it doesn’t require an extra set for the hide-out)[/li][li]“X is in a coma!” X will then either die (especially if the actor’s contract just lapsed), wake up instantly and completely mentally intact, or wake up with “soap opera amnesia”, in which characters remember how to dress themselves, drive cars etc. but can’t remember their names. [/li][li]“X is innocent!” in which a character is cleared of whatever horrid crime they were sent to prison for. The soap in the OP used this one a lot, for obvious reasons.[/li][/ul]

A few of my favorites:

[li]Paralysis[/li][li]Blindness[/li][li]Castaways on a deserted island (maybe not so much on Prisoner: Cell Block H, though)[/li][li]Interrupted wedding (bride kidnapped, dead husband returns, bride gives birth, etc.)[/li][li]Murder mystery (often the victim was hated by every single other character on the show)[/li][li]Eavesdropping and its consequences[/li]

It’s fascinating that you include homosexuality. When I started watching soap operas in the U.S. in 1982, there was no such thing as a homosexual character on soaps. It took the AIDS crisis to make even very chaste homosexual characters acceptable.

Speaking of eavesdropping … characters always spill secrets where they can easily be overheard. They will pray out loud or they will talk with a co-conspirator where they completely recap everything they did even though it’s unnecessary because the other person knows full well what they did. This is solely so someone can overhear them.

A nasty person comes to town, threatens businesses/gets people falsely accused of everything from having affairs to murder/breaks up established couples. Then they are unmasked for the disruptive influence they are leaves and everything returns to normal, apart from the places they have burned down, people they have murdered etc.

A variation on everyone suddenly mentioning the old character who is about to return is the series of closeups on that character’s photograph. Strangely they don’t look anything like you remember – cue new actor in the role (aka head transplant).

Before doing anything to foil a villain the good characters make sure to boast about it in said villain’s hearing resulting in the foiling being foiled.

This is a good one, “Prisoner” used that one a lot of times