How did soap operas/sitcoms deal with 9/11

Some series try to keep themselves topical and occasionally add in bits of recent news to story lines. Did any soap operas/sitcoms mention September 11th or the aftermath? I’m sure there must be some set in New York city. Don’t know why I was thinking about it, just wondering. I don’t follow any myself and I certainly wasn’t watching any around that time.

I think Friends did some subtle patriotic things, like Joey wearing a FDNY shirt and drawing something on the Magnadoodle board in his apartment.

Law and Order has referred to the events several times. The 2001 season was dedicated to the men and women who died in the attacks.

I don’t know about soap operas.

That’s because Law & Order filmed near the area.

I don’t think I even watched sit-coms for a while near that time, so I can’t really help.

Soap operas film well in advance, and were pre-empted for a while after 9/11, so they didn’t really have an opportunity to incorporate the events into their storylines until November, 2001. The first thing to happen was that, just as in real life, American flags appeared everywhere. Most soap opera sets that showed the entrance to a house added flags, many characters wore flag lapel pins, and younger characters wore T-shirts and sweaters featuring the flag or other patriotic symbolism. On General Hospital, which is set in upstate New York, characters wore clothing from the NYPD and Fire Dept. as well. In December, 2001, GH did an episode which featured a 9/11 memorial. Earlier this year, One Life To Live, Days of Our Lives, and All My Children, all of which feature prominent characters who are police officers, did various episodes in which characters made speeches referencing 9/11 and paying tribute to the heroes of that day. I also recall hearing about a similar tribute on Guiding Light. There has also been the occasional reference to airport security issues when characters are traveling.

No soap opera is currently set in New York City (although two cancelled soaps, Ryan’s Hope and The City were both set there). All current soaps are set in fictional cities, with the exception of The Bold and the Beautiful, which is set in Los Angeles.

Frasier didn’t make mention of it during any episodes, but I do believe they had a short memorial either before or after the first new episode to appear after 9/11. David Angell, who was a writer/producer for Frasier, and his wife Lynn, were on one of the hijacked flights.

Third Watch (prime time drama) is a (fictional) show about NYC firefighters, EMTs, and police officers. They had an entire storyline around it for a while. I’m not sure how long it went on, but I remember seeing previews for a couple of episodes at least that were centered around the attacks. After all, that’s what NYC officers, EMTs, and firefighters were centered on for so long. I suppose they were trying to be realistic and therefore couldn’t avoid the issue.

There was an episode of Boston Public, a drama set in an inner-city Boston high school, that dealt with a boy who was generally being a menace.

The principal was discussing the boy’s behavior with his parents, trying to get to the bottom of his behavior, and an exchange similar to this took place:

PRINCIPAL: Did anything traumatic happen in his life recently?
DAD: (Sarcastcially) Yeah, a couple of buildings got knocked down.
PRINCIPAL: That happened to all of us.

That’s been the most direct mention of the 9-11 attacks I’ve seen on any show, but then again I don’t watch a lot of drama.

“Law & Order” did an episode revolving around a woman who was not killed in the terrorist attack, but the killer threw a part of her body into the rubble of the towers to make it look like she was. The best part about this episode was that it dealt with the terrorist attack without seeming like HEY EVERYONE, IT’S A VERY SPECIAL EPISODE OF LAW AND ORDER WHERE WE TALK ABOUT THE TERRORISTS. Know what I mean? It didn’t seem unnatural or forced.