|Jinny has been very ill and is currently undergoing rehabilitation in a Bangor facility so she will not be writing her article for awhile. She is making excellent progress and hopes to be able to return to writing her column in the near future... Adele.
I don't recall my mother ever being much of a soap opera fan but there is one that she has watched on and off for years that she now watches every day and hates to miss. On occasion over the years she has decided that she needs to fill me in on all the doings on the show and I have watched it with her now and then when I happened to be visiting when the show was being aired. Every time she launches into an update on what is happening it is a little like entering a portal into another dimension, and the dimension is utterly bizarre.
Over the years characters have come and go, some have gone on to what I am certain they thought were far better things, only to return later. The writers generally deal with this coming and going by killing them off and resurrecting them later or having them kidnapped and held on some uncharted island for reasons that are at best, vague. There are actors who have been on this show for more than 20 or 30 years and some who have gone from virtual childhood to middle age as their characters. Most of them are pretty well preserved, thanks to Botox and massive amounts of plastic surgery, but there is something mannequin-like about them. Their skin is stretched over the bone structure of their faces and they have that stiff look of someone who has is wearing a dried facial mask and is trying very hard not to move anything too much in fear of it cracking. Some of them have a constantly surprised look because their eyes and foreheads have been lifted up to their hairlines. It's kind of weird, like how actors looked when they were playing human looking robots on old Twilight Zone episodes. One actress seems to have lost the ability to smile; mostly she just smirks.
Recently my mother decided to fill me in on the latest plot lines on her soap opera while we were watching it. I noticed a character who has come and gone over the years, a major villainous guy who should have been jailed for life about two decades ago, and has seemingly died about a dozen times, but has somehow managed to remain alive, free, loose, and incredibly wealthy. Soap opera justice is more unfathomable than actual justice.
"Hey," I said, "shouldn't he be in jail or dead or something? Isn't he wanted by every law enforcement agency in the world, including Interpol?"
"They all thought he was dead for the 5th or 6th time," she informed me, "but another character had just given him a drug that made him appear dead even though he could see and hear and was totally aware of everything going on around him."
I assumed that he had somehow come out of it since he was currently leaning against a mantel in his mansion wearing an Italian silk suit and oozing evil charm. "So who are all those other people?"
"Those are all his children," she told me.
"Wait a minute. One guy has an Australian accent, one has a kind of European accent, and one has an American accent, and those are only the ones I have heard speak. What does this guy do, just run around the world plotting evil and creating offspring?" I asked.
"I guess so," she answered. "These aren't even all of them."
I decided to move on to a robust looking blond who had just entered the room. "Who's she?" I asked.
"Oh, she is the daughter of the psychiatrist and the police detective," my mother informed me. "She is currently living with the evil guy because she recently had twins and one of them was fathered by the guy with the Australian accent and the other is the child of some other guy."
OK, this is where my brain starts to hurt every single time. There is always at least 4 crazy plot lines that require such a suspension of belief that my brain revolts and wants to shut down.
"She's pregnant again," said my mother casually, "and it is impossible to say who the father is."
"What's she going to do this time, have triplets and there will be 3 fathers?" I asked.
"Anything is possible," she shrugged.
The scene switched to a local restaurant where a lot of the action takes place. No one seems to work on this show, mostly they hang around this place dressed to the nines, eating, drinking, getting in fights and having emotional meltdowns.
"What's going on with this bunch?" I asked.
"Well, the mother of the 2 police detectives has been arrested for stabbing another bad guy and killing him." she said.
"What? She must be 75 if she's a day!" I exclaimed. "She overpowered some guy 20 years younger than she is? That Botox must be more powerful than I thought. Who really did it?"
"Oh, it could be one of all sorts of people, his son who hates him, his daughter who he sold to a gangster to pay his debts, his ex-wife, one of two or three people he wronged, some gangster he owes money," she told me.
"But the old lady is going down for it?" I asked incredulously. "And who's that guy in the expensive suit with all the silver hair?"
"He's a kind of good, kind of bad guy who once had an affair with the old lady. One of the detectives is his son by her."
That's it, I was done. I didn't want to know any more. You know that old parable that if you put a bunch of chimpanzees in a room with a typewriter long enough they will eventually write Hamlet? Forget about Hamlet, they are obviously in a room with a word processor writing this nonsense, which is kind of like Hamlet filled with Botox injections and on serious medication. It must be a big cost saver paying your writers in bananas.