Celebrating the Ridiculous

For serious: Why are you not watching Cougartown?

We’re starting a new segment here on Soap Trope, “For serious,” in which we will tell you what you should absolutely be watching/reading/listening to right now. For serious, we’re serious about this. Hence the name. Obvs.

For serious, you need to be watching Cougartown. Not only is it a funny sitcom with some heart, it’s by the dudes that made Scrubs. I mean, honestly, I don’t think I should actually have to say anything more, because Scrubs was a delightful, whimsical work of genius. And even though those showrunners have moved on, there’s still a fair amount of awesomeness to behold. For example, the fashion.

Please look at this amazing cat sweatshirt that Busy Phillips is wearing (yes, your girl Busy is on this show! FOR SERIOUS).

The only problem with this sweatshirt is that I don't own it.

The only problem with this sweatshirt is that I don’t own it.

Also it’s exciting to see how they slut up Courteney Cox’s outfits. (Should I be proud or sad that I knew to add the extra e to CC’s first name?) For example, I own this gingham shirt. It’s from J. Crew (Cougartown is on TBS now, so the wardrobe budget has probably been downgraded a bit.)

What up, boobs?

What up, boobs?

I tried to take a picture of myself wearing this shirt, you know, with two more buttons fastened? But then it just seemed like I was taking pictures of my boobs to upload to the Internet, and that didn’t seem like the best idea.

The one place where the wardrobe does splurge is Courteney’s nightgowns. Girl wore like six different ones in a recent episode, her rack on full display. And I’ve got to say, if my boobs still looked that good, I’d unbutton a little bit more too.

She's making a weird face, but trust me, the nightgown works.

She’s making a weird face, but trust me, the nightgown works.


In conclusion, won’t you watch Cougartown with me, so we can discuss the outfits at length? It will be so much fun.

Say it with me: FOR SERIOUS.



Hairy Tropes

So, like, what is happening on General Hospital right now?

General Hospital was generally the soap that wasn’t really supernatural — I wasn’t around for when the Cassadines maybe froze the world in the ’80s. Non-soap fans always joke about the ridiculous plots, but for GH, they were always semi-rooted in reality. Like, sure, AJ came back from the dead, but they made an attempt at an explanation.

But all of the sudden there’s all these worlds converging/vampire nonsense, and I’m flummoxed. I thought it was a tongue-in-cheek, ha ha joke on how actors soap hop, but now I think it’s an actual thing that is happening! And so we must talk about John McBain’s hair.

Honestly, I am so fickle. When John first came on the show and was all smoking up the screen with Sam I was like, yay! New guy! But now I’m kind of over him. His T-shirts are always weirdly baggy, and his hair … terrible. He flounces it. Not a hero-like move at all.

But please, tell me. When Caleb first emerged on the scene, he had long hair, and John had semi-short hair, so you could tell them apart. It was like when Connie/Kate were still flipping back and forth and Connie would hilariously rip out whatever ‘sophisticated’ ‘do Kate was rocking, even when it included her awkwardly grappling with bobby pins. Snaps to Kelly Sullivan for making that work. Kind of.

So when “Caleb” started killing people, I was like: why can no one tell them apart?! They have different hair! But I went to the tapes yesterday — meaning I stood in front of my TV with my iPhone and took pictures of John and Caleb, we are nothing if not fancy here at Soap Trope — and I’ll be darned if Caleb didn’t get a hair cut in the midst of killing people/taunting my girl Lucy.

Let’s go to the evidence!

Here is Caleb, being all gross, licking blood.

Hair brushed forward, definitely past shoulders.

Hair brushed forward, definitely past shoulders.

And here is John, looking flummoxed. (He looks like this a lot for being an amazing police detective, huh?)

Hair brushed back?

Hair brushed back?

Upon close examination, it looks like they took out Caleb’s ridiculous extensions (so sad) and are just brushing his hair forward and back. Which is hilarious. I mean, what is happening?! Does he have split personalities (how many DID plotlines is too many?) or is Caleb really a vampire?

I’m cool with either, but here’s what: if vampires are a thing on GH, then I see no reason Alan Quartermaine can’t rise from the dead. Maybe the relish is a lifeblood elixir? Call me, Ron! We’ll talk.

New Adult: New Trope?

In early December, a friend and I were joking via Twitter that New Adult, the hot new subgenre starring protagonists ages 18 to 25, should be renamed more evocatively. My buddy, a new adult herself, noted, “I prefer Adult 2.0 or Au Courant Adult.” But after discussing the steamier nature of some of the books, we settled on “Sleazy YA.”

It seems U.K. newspaper The Independent feels similarly about New Adult, because they’re attempting to rechristen the subgenre “Steamies.” In a recent article they published, the paper cited the blushworthy works of Abbi Glines and Liz Bankes, up-and-comers in the genre, as evidence that YA had gone 50 Shades.

Now Twitter joking and trend pieces aside, do New Adult books have that much sex in them? I’ve read quite a few, and I’d say that like most books out there, there’s a range. Are they as hot as 50 Shades, or any other erotica out on the market? Oh my no, though I know that Glines’ work has made some of my fellow publishing friends blush quite deeply. In some ways, 50 Shades has become such a cultural touchstone that sometimes, in more general publications, the title seems to stand in for “any romance novel ever.”

For parents wondering if their kids should read New Adult, I’d liken the sex scenes in most to what a contemporary romance features. Because, after all, that’s what many of these New Adult titles are, contemporary romances starring characters who still attend frat parties (though I had a friend who hit the frat scene late into her 20s … ) and worry about grades and finding their place in the world. Were you reading Danielle Steel and la Nora in high school? I was, too.

When talking with YA authors recently, I asked, are these books really any steamier than many young adult books out there? For the most part, the resounding answer was “Um … no.”

The thing that makes New Adult so addictive, assisting in its meteoric rise in popularity, is the passion that these characters feel for each other. And I don’t necessarily mean in a graphic way. They’re obsessed with each other, just the way you were with that frat boy freshman year, remember? It’s the depth of feeling that works, that makes any romance in any genre work, for that matter.

And for me, a journalist and aspiring author, that’s the real story here, that self-publishing has allowed authors to prove that there is a huge market longing for books about dramatic, early twentysomethings, who, yes, sometimes have sex, sometimes on the page, sometimes off.

So call them what you will, Steamies, Sleazy YA, Adult 2.0 or New Adult, these books are fun and sexy. Only you can decide if your kid is old enough to read them, and if you’re really curious, why not pick up a title yourself? Who couldn’t use a trip back in time, to remember how much fun college could be? (It’s especially fun if you can close the book and remember you’re not actually in college anymore.)

I’m going to keep watching this new genre with interest, as I do with all publishing happenings. In the meantime, I just remembered that we need to send an email to request those new Glines titles …



Wacky Soap Wedding Trope

Is it any wonder that Lucy Coe is one of my favorite all time General Hospital characters ever?

ImageFrom the General Hospital tumblr.

What the trope?!

Here’s the thing, soap operas are filled with predictable, cliché-ridden plots. This is why we love them! We knew the instant Teá and Sam went into labor on the same night that there was going to be a baby switch. Once Duke tossed Jason into the river it was obvious he couldn’t really be Anna’s Duke. We all know Sabrina’s going to get an amazing makeover for the Nurse’s Ball and Patrick’s going to profess his love for her juuuuust as Robin returns/proof that she’s alive resurfaces, depending on Kimberly McCullough’s directorial career. 

I used to think my grandma was a GENIUS because she always knew what would happen next. (Now she gets pissed that I know more than her, thanks to “The Facebook.” My grandma is 93, she doesn’t really get the Internet, she just knows she doesn’t like it.

But this crazy storyline right now, with Spinelli knocking Maxie up after she lost Lulu and Danté’s baby?! I do not even know what is happening right now. I seriously don’t know what’s going to happen. I mean, I figured Maxie would try to pass of the baby as Lulu’s, but iw. (Also iw, having sex, like, one hour after you have a miscarriage? Is that even possible? Why are you making me think about these terrible things, Carlivati?) I saw on Serial Drama that one commenter said maybe Brit, worst doctor in the world, messed up the results, and maybe Maxie hadn’t lost the baby after all. And I thought oh! That sounds good. And I realized I totally have no idea where they’re going with this. 

It’s an unusual feeling for someone who’s been watching the same show for the past 20 years. I’m not sure I like it. You’d better come up with something good, Carlivati.

Cut (it) Out!

I should probably learn how to crop in WordPress.

The profile is helping no one.

… because nothing says ‘Believe me, I’m totally sane!’ like thinking a shirt with SHOULDER CUT OUTS is appropriate court room attire. You’re never going to convince people vampires exist this way, Lucy!

We missed you something awful, Lucy!

We missed you something awful, Lucy!

(How great was it to see Lucy, Mac, Felicia, and Alexis in a scene together?! I think I’m obviously going to have to send Frank Valentini and Ron Carlivati a valentine.)


Haven’t we met before?

Soap opera actors often hop from soap to soap. In rare instances they play the same character, a la Skye Chandler Quartermaine, hopping amidst the ABC daytime dramas, but more often than not, they take on an entirely new persona. I remember when I discovered that my beloved Lucky No. 2 had hopped to another soap, thanks to a commercial. I felt downright betrayed! But it is the right of the actor to flip-flop amongst daytime dramas, and we all pretend that it’s totally normal that Jason Morgan, hitman, is now going to be Dylan McAvoy, veteran.

But on General Hospital as of late, new-ish head writer Ron Carlivati is having an awful lot of fun with this little proclivity. He’s doing something quite revolutionary in the soap world: He’s making the characters notice, really notice when faces are familiar from all of  this soap hopping. He’s having so much fun that yesterday he had my beloved Lucy Coe full-on stab John McBain because she was convinced he was Caleb, king (or prince?!) of the vampires, from the erstwhile GH-spin off, Port Charles.

Carlivati spun another storyline where Carly and Skye realized that Alcazar was Blair’s beloved Tomas (Carly even did a google image search, which was delightful because no one on soaps ever seems to really know about the Internet), and off the women went on a wild goose chase for answers. I’m not quite sure where Carlivati’s going with all of this, but it’s very tongue-in-cheek and rewarding for long-time viewers, those who are reviving soaps with ever-increasing viewership, so I say, keep it up, friend! (In my mind, we’re totally friends. The Secret, baby.)