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« Night Shift Episode 3: Fallen From the Sky | Main | Does It Count As "Soul Searching" If You Don't Actually Have a Soul? »

August 11, 2008

Passions Nostalgia: How Many Morons Does it Take To Open an Envelope?

Are you still in mourning over Passions' curtain call last week?  Are you struggling with how you will cope with yet another hole in your soap-viewing schedule?  Or do you just want to feel better about the fact that you sit through the dreck masquerading as All My Children and General Hospital these days?  Then read on, as Ryan Mason recaps a classically crappy episode of the now-late Passions.


Oh man. You can see firsthand in this one just what I mean about things happen in theory on this show, but nothing ever actually happens.

The envelope in question contains the results of the DNA test that will prove if John is really Grace’s son. Of course, in reality he’s not, and the tests show this, but Ivy is blackmailing Eve to lie and say he is or she’ll expose Eve’s SECRETS. It wound up taking TWO FREAKING WEEKS to open that damned envelope, because Kay decided to set a small fire outside to stop Zombie Charity from making love to Miguel, and it wound up getting out of control and burning down the entire Lopez-Fitzgerald home.  I think Eve had managed to get the envelope opened about a quarter of the way more when word broke of the fire and everyone raced over there, and then we had to deal with all that before we got back to the envelope. This also illustrates another Passions hallmark—the Catholic Church has the Stations of the Cross; Passions has the Stations of Stupidity. All the characters will be standing around one location waiting for something to not happen, like they are here in the Bennett living room, then something else will happen, like the fire, and everyone will shuffle over there to mill about and gape and talk to themselves. Lather, rinse, repeat. You could also look upon it as a never-ending Progressive Dinner with no actual progress involved (a Regressive Dinner, perhaps?).

The big deal with Zombie Charity potentially making love to Miguel is that it turns out she’s a succubus and if she has sex with him it will kill him. It happens.

As you can see, it’s now months later and Dipshit “Diana,” aka Sheridan, still hasn’t gotten any closer to finding out about her past. I think in this episode she and Brian/Antonio and Beth and Luis are all in Bermuda, but I forget exactly why Beth and Luis went down there or why Sheridan and Brian made the trek there from nearby St. Lisa's, where they live.  Anyway, the previous episode had ended in such a manner that you were led to think that Luis had approached Sheridan from behind.  Hilariously, shortly after this, it turns out that Luis and Beth have the hotel room right next to Sheridan and Brian/Antonio. Sheridan hears Luis out on his balcony (I think there was a shrub or something blocking the sightline between the two balconies) and his voice strikes a chord. So does she introduce herself, like you or I or any sane human being would? Oh hell no! She races back into her hotel room and spends the rest of the episode telling herself things like, “That voice! Why does that voice sound so familiar? Could that person know MY DEAD LOVER?” (Sheridan is convinced that Luis must have died for some reason.)  OY.

Sitting here with my DVR and DVD recorder, it's so quaint to think about VCRs.  Hard to believe this was only six years ago.


PASSIONS Thursday, April 4, 2002: How Many Morons Does It Take To Open An Envelope?

Answer: None!  They won't shut the hell up long enough to do it!

Today's episode managed to defy logic in every way, shape and form.  I'm starting to think they should rename this show The Sisyphus Chronicles, after the guy who was condemned for all eternity to roll a huge boulder up a hill, only to have it roll down to the bottom again when he reached the top.  Every episode of this show is like that to a certain extent, but today really took the cake.

Let's start off with the opening of the envelope that contains the DNA test results that will show if John really is Grace’s son. We're right back where we left off yesterday, with Eve starting to gently pick at the edge of one of the corners of the envelope.  "This is it, Tim-Tim!" whispers Tabitha urgently.  "Once these results are read, everything's going to BLOW SKY HIGH!!!!1111!!!!"

Yeah, the key being once these results are read. That sure as hell doesn't happen in this episode.

Everyone stares at Eve looking constipated and holding the envelope.  Timmy notes to Tabitha that Dr. Russell's hands are shaking.  Off we go into Recap Land!  Tabitha spends a full three and a half minutes rehashing the entire plot history of first Eve and then David and John to Timmy, who must have the worst memory retention in the world if Tabitha has to keep retelling him everything constantly.  I'm not kidding. A full three and a half minutes.  I checked the VCR counter.  During that three and a half minutes, everyone else is still silently staring at Eve staring at the envelope.

When we come back from commercial, Timmy notes that Tabitha cackling over the pain and suffering the results will cause reminds him of that mean old Zombie Charity!  And awaaaaaaaaaaaay we go—er, make that stand still in one place—with a minute and a half recap of Zombie Charity's plot to kill Miguel.  This now brings us up to FIVE FULL MINUTES of everyone staring at Eve staring at the envelope without anyone screaming, "Open it already!"

Timmy hates it that Tabitha rejoices in suffering, but she tells him that that's what witches are supposed to do and starts cackling madly.  The show's only moment of realism occurs then when everyone snaps out of their staring stupor and looks at Tabitha like she's on crack.  She explains it away as Timmy telling her a joke—what a witty lad he is!—and tells Eve to carry on.

So she opens it now, right?  Wrong!  TC notes that Eve's hand is shaking.  Oh, why yes, this is an important moment, she explains.  Yes it is, TC agrees. Very important.  OK, well now that that's settled, can we GET ON WITH IT ALREADY?

Nope!  Eve suddenly decides to morph the Bennett living room into a lecture hall!  "Before I begin, I'd like to talk a little bit about the accuracy of this test," she announces, and proceeds to spew some scientific mumbo jumbo about how it's 99.9% accurate, blah blah. Tabitha, master of the obvious, notes, "There's not much margin for error, is there?" No, none, agrees Eve, who apparently is remembering what she was taught in third grade about rounding up to the nearest whole number.  Furthermore, Eve informs the class, the test is not open to interpretation or speculation and has been carefully guarded by the good employees of Price Waterhouse.  Lovely!  It's now a FULL HALF HOUR into the episode.  Can we hear the freaking accurate results?

Nope!  Now David has something he wants to say!  Annnnnnnnnd....fade to commercial!  When we come back he yaks about Grace's good qualities and apologizes for disrupting her life, prompting Grace to yak about how glad she is that John's in her life and the test is just a formality.  Fade to another commercial.  Forty minutes into the episode, folks.

Uh-oh!  Ivy's yanked Eve aside and launches into one of her patented speeches about how she's going to RUIN HER LIFE!!!!111!!! Eve looks constipated.  ANOTHER COMMERCIAL!

Well, Eve's going to tell the truth, consequences be damned! HASN'T THIS ALREADY BEEN SETTLED TEN MILLION TIMES?  TC gets Eve away from Ivy's clutches. Eve loves TC.  TC loves her.  WE KNOW!!!  WE KNOW!!! GET ON WITH IT ALFREAKINGREADY!!!!

Sam comes close to providing a second moment of realism when he semi-snaps, "Eve, why don't you tell us the DNA results and get this whole thing over with once and for all?"  I say “comes close” because it is now a full FIFTY-FIVE MINUTES into the episode and any normal human being at this point would be bellowing at the top of their lungs, "Eve, shit or get off the pot!"

"Get ready, Tim-Tim!" advises Tabitha. "All hell is about to break loose!"  Oh, it SO is not so cram it. We're left exactly where we started...everyone staring at Eve looking constipated and staring at the envelope.  Sisyphus strikes again!

Not that there's any forward movement in any of the other plots either, mind you.  Kay spends the first twenty-five minutes of the episode fretting to herself outside Miguel’s window that maybe it wasn't such a good idea to conjure up a demon from hell to take the place of Charity. Gee, YA THINK?

Meanwhile, inside, Miguel is continuing his ongoing audition for the title role in The Virgin Queen. No, they can't have sex because it's not romantic enough right now. Zombie Charity is practically ready to throttle the guy and scream at the top of her lungs, "WHO THE HELL CARES?  LET'S GET IT ON!", but manages to express it in a more Charity-like manner. She decides to switch tactics and talk about how insecure she's been feeling because of her premonitions...no, not that Miguel is gay, which any normal girl would be wondering at this point with all his carrying on, but that he'd rather be with Kay. Miguel tells her he could never think of Kay as his girlfriend; he sees her as "one of the guys." Now, if I heard that I'd be feeling even more threatened by Kay at this point, but this is Zombie Charity who really doesn't give a crap.  "Then prove to me you love me!" she cries, and leaps back on the bed.  No, wait, it's still not special enough. Chastity—er, Miguel—trots out of the room to go get something.

Zombie Charity's spotted Kay lurking and they go at it.  Kay won't let Zombie Charity kill Miguel; Zombie Charity snaps that not only is there nothing she can do about it, but she'll have to live with being responsible for his death because she conjured Zombie Charity up for the rest of her life.  With that she slams the window shut as Miguel comes back in the room with a flower he picked just for Charity!  Aww.

So once again, we're left right back where we started...Kay's outside the window fretting she needs to stop Zombie Charity, who's inside trying to seduce the lead of I Was a Teenage Virgin.  Sisyphus rides again!

But wait!  There's more!  We haven't even gotten to the further nonadventures of Screwy Louie and Dipshit "Diana"!

Well, it goes without saying that the hands on Sheridan's back were Brian's, who's come to check on her.  "You know, I feel a STRONG CONNECTION to this place!" chirps Sheridan.  Oh please. You'd feel a strong connection to an empty gum wrapper at this point, so zip it.

Meanwhile, Beth finds Luis mooning over the plaque he had put on a palm tree to remember Sheridan according to the local custom. Well, that local custom must specify all tributes are to remain anonymous, because the plaque reads "IN MEMORY OF THE LOVE I LOST."  This whole storyline gives new meaning to the phrase "the love that dare not speak its name."

Beth and Luis head back to their room and along come Brian and "Diana," who notices the plaque and starts yakking away about it.  Then she touches it and—you guessed it—SHE FEELS A CONNECTION TO THIS PLAQUE!  She takes a step and winds up in Luis's footprint and—I swear I am not making this up; I can't afford the drugs—SHE FEELS A CONNECTION TO THIS FOOTPRINT!  Brian says of course she does; it's probably his own footprint.  Great.  Now I'm having visions of Luis and Brian arguing over who has the bigger "feet."

So they go back to the hotel, Brian turns on the stereo, and "Stardust" comes on.  Sheridan, out on the terrace, hears the song, and--you guessed it--remembers dancing to that song with HER DEAD LOVER! Luis has similar flashbacks on his terrace when he hears the song. "What are the odds that I'd have danced to that same song with THE MAN I LOVED?" wonders Sheridan.  Well, given that "Stardust" was the most-played song of the twentieth century, I'd say they're pretty damned good.

"I have to let go of this!  I don't even know how you can stand being around me when all I can do is think or talk about this LOST LOVE!"  Sheridan snaps at Brian in a rare moment of self-clarity.  Brian tells THE biggest bald-faced lie in Passions history when he reassures her, "That is not all you do!"  On second thought, he's right. She also yaks about CONNECTIONS and the KEY TO HER PAST!   Oy.

So let's review.  Three plots.  Zero movement. Tune in tomorrow for more nonaction on The Sisyphus Chronicles!

Today's show didn't even have a sponsor.  I'm not surprised—who on earth would want to give their seal of approval to this crap?


I never watched a day of Passions in my life and I won't pretend to be upset about that. But these recaps are hilarious, so thanks for sharing them with us.

oh the memories. I feel bad when it is called bad names.I really liked Passions because it was the first soap I ever watched and I didnt know any better. I thought that all u.s. soaps were like that but now I know better.

God, so many bad memories are coming back to me while reading this recap. :) That is a perfect example of why the show never became a huge hit and was eventually cancelled.

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