Soap Opera is a form of fanfiction that someone was actually stupid enough to give the writer a budget to make it into a TV series. Like all fanfictions, it is full of Mary Sues and hunky bishounen for housewives and 16-year-old girls to drool over, so there's little room for a coherent plot despite all characters generally having at least 100 exes or evil-twins.
Comas: People who have key information to ending a long drawn out situation will frequently be put in comas to preserve the plot longer than necessary.
Back from the dead: But I decapitated you, raped your corpse, and dumped your body in a blizzard across the world. Well it didn't stick! This causes drama because while everyone is happy said person is alive, the asshole who tried to kill him ponders whether he should try to kill him again. Yeah, because if something doesn't work once, the best solution is to try again.
Amnesia: Ridiculous plot device numero uno, often result of "comas" and "back from the dead". Characters can develop it from almost anything, often by being hit in the head by a teddy bear.
Secrets: EVERYONE has a secret, if someone denies this they are about to be blown out of the fucking water. Drama can last for years.
Evil Twin or Look-Alike: "Honest, I didn't shoot your dog, seduce your wife, burn down your house and frame you for murder, it was someone who looked just like me!" The evil twin or look-alike is inevitably a wittier and more interesting than the put-upon original character.
Different families: A family of ungrateful rich whiteys + A family of poor but satisfied minorities with a pregnant daughter = Sixty episodes of adulterated garbage
Grass is Greener: Despite having a fantastic job, a hot and loving spouse, respect of friends and family, a main character will throw it away for the mysterious stranger or the bum. If they're lucky the stranger is secretly rich and not insane.
Who's the daddy: One pussy, two dicks. Nobody wants the brat.
Incest: Soap fans are often uncomfortable with interracial couples, but to their credit they've never had a problem with incest or gay storylines. Typically two siblings separated at birth hook up as adults, fuck like rabbits, find out they are related, puke, overcome being related and fuck some more, and conveniently find out they aren't related after all.
Cages: What do you do when you love someone who loves you not? Put them in a giant cage, of course! But life as a hamster isn't all that bad, despite living alongside their own shit, the caged love one will continue to look like they just stepped out of a salon.
Mysterious Strangers: They exist to fuck everything up. They will reluctantly steal someone's spouse, job, and house. No one can resist them.
Amnesiac: Someone with amnesia, will forget only plot related details.
Minorities: Not a big deal, they are there to show you how non-racist the show is. They are only lawyers, doctors, and cops. You won't see Negroes eating friend chicken or a Mexican enjoying a tasty taco, nor will either be a suspect for a crime like kidnapping or rape.
Shirtless Fag: His shirt's off, outside, in the winter. "Why", you ask? Because his lady friend was cold, a bug went up his shirt, or he wanted to show you a scar? Bullcrap! His sole reason for existing is to have a six-pack for women to have a reason to keep watching the series.
Evil rich asshole: Evil rich asshole whose entire character is that he's an evil rich asshole. That is until he goes through the single character development of a change of heart and becomes a good rich asshole.
The Bitch: Skanky rich white woman who'll fuck anything, may also be a batshit crazy stalker on passion who'll spend the entire series trying to marry the pretty boy going so far as to drugging and raping him for the purpose of having his kids. Whether her purpose is to keep a fortune or extreme jealousy, keep in mind that she's just a throwaway villain, so don't expect much character beyond "I'm evil because I have nothing better to do".
The Good Girl: Usually gets pwned by the slut but is so saintly she'll willingly raise the baby the slut had with the good girl's fiancee or husband.
The Matriarch: Former slut who now gets her kicks judging younger sluts. Alcoholism is her one redeeming quality.
Exaggerated male villain: Sociopath who not only lives as both a man and a woman, but also repeatedly raped his half-sister, framed said half-sister's lover for his crimes, murdered his black half-sister's lesbian lover, seduced his other black sister's husband into gay sex, proclaiming his desire to want to fuck his white male half-brother, fuck his father while his female alter-ego becomes pregnant with his dad's baby all, die like a bitch, and come back to life for shits and giggles. In short, a batshit insane faggot who instead of being your least favorite character (like the author planned), will be the only character whom you truly sympathize with for having to live in this crazy Mary Sue world.
Soap = Srs bzns!
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Phil and Peggy Mitchell
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