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Saturday, September 6, 2008

Baby Therapy!

Baby Therapy!
Current mood: excited

Hey kids!

I'll make this quick and easy on the brain, since the last few blog entries have been pretty heavy. And really, who wants to ponder the difficult questions of life and love on the weekend?

Got up early to go down to Jersey... The Beau and I are visiting his cousin, and her twins (one year old in two weeks!!). They're adorable... the boy (Brendan) is that baby shown in my default MySpace photo for awhile there. Blond hair, big blue eyes... and his twin sister is dark hair, HUGE beautiful brown eyes... and they're just fantastic. I'm head over heels in love with both of them, and can't wait to spend the day playing "Uncle Tommy".

But it got me thinking today - between packing up all sorts of toys to bring to them, and the recent news that peri-menopausal Reva is about to have a baby on Guiding Light - when was the last time a baby brought tons of joy and hope to a couple on a soap opera?

You'll have to forgive me - I haven't showered or had my coffee yet, so I might forget somebody in all of this. But I was thinking about baby Sarah on GL, or twins Johnny and Allie on Days, or Katie and Nick's baby on B&B, or all the fights and tears over the ATWT baby switch (where ONE baby and the mother of the OTHER baby both ended up dead in the end), or Cane and Ka-loe's baby on Y&R, or Nash finding out about ten seconds before he kicked the bucket that he was going to be a father again on OLTL, or the never-ending saga of Tad and Dixie's daughter Kate on AMC, who's had, at last count, at least eighteen or nineteen different sets of parents since she was born to a dying woman. (I exaggerate... kind of)... Or even the saga of baby Tommy/Starr's baby on OLTL - all of these babies these last few years, and not a single one one of them conceived and/or born into love and hope - but instead, scandal, deceit and/or tragedy. Or any combination therein.

I remember growing up, there were plenty of juicy unplanned pregnancies on soaps. You need those on a soap opera. An unplanned pregnancy, or a baby born out of wedlock? Always good for a few decades of story. But at the same time, I also remember babies born into loving homes - nine months of nervous fathers, and expectant mothers, and then a beautiful child coming into the world and brightening up everyone's life. Sure, Stephanie was kidnapped about a second after she was born to Steve and Kayla on Days - but wow, that pregnancy was beautiful, and did wonderful things for the character of Steve Johnson. On Another World, the nine months leading up to Charlie's birth to Cass and Frankie Winthrop were adorable (which is good, since Frankie's first pregnancy was overflowing with tragedy). And who delivered the baby? Not the "other man fighting a husband for the wife's affection"... but the baby's uncle and his girlfriend. An adorable family affair... really sweet. Yeah, these pregnancies all carried their own inherent drama. It's a soap opera - it can't all be perfect and happy and wonderful. But what happened to showing us some happiness? Some hope? The joy a baby brings into the world?

It just occurred to me as I was typing (don't you love these stream-of-consciousness blogs? I told you I'd forget somebody) that the only pregnancy being told with any kind of uplifting message is the Scrubs baby on GH. Sure, there's been plenty of drama - between Patrick's fear of fatherhood, Robin's fear of Patrick's committment, and the whole HIV aspect, there's been plenty of drama. But that's the only example I can think of right now where where we're treated to human and relatable scenes of parents' hopes, their fears, their insecurities, and the joy that comes from the personification of two people loving each other. (Oh wait! I forgot about baby Finn on Y&R, who manages to show a softer side of Michael Baldwin I always enjoy seeing... just as long as he continues to show us the more devious side at the office. Who didn't crack up at the sight of shirtless shark Baldwin folding freshly washed onesies from a laundry basket. See? You can tell the caffeine's kicking in - my memory is returning. )

I love a good custody battle or a baby switch as much as the next soap fan. But sometimes, it's also really nice to believe in the future - to feel warm and mushy inside after an episode, rather than ripped up at watching families fall apart. I hope our shows can find ways to find a balance between the joys of parenthood, and the struggles. Because when it's all a struggle, it's just exhausting for the viewers. A baby should bring people together, not evoke more tears and tragedy than a viewer knows what to do with.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to play peek-a-boo for a good six hours straight. And I couldn't be happier about it.

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