I don't watch soap operas these days, but every now and then I hear about a particularly strange event in Salem or Port Charles. Amnesia, false marriages, faked deaths, mistaken identity - those things are so old hat. I'm talking really out-there plots, like the 10 below.
1. Luke and Laura save the world from being frozen. So, this evil Greek billionaire named Mikkos is looking for a diamond called The Ice Princess, and as luck would have it, so is Luke. It turns out that the only reason Mikkos wants the rock is to (insert Dr. Evil pinkie here) take over the world, and to show he means business, he uses a machine to make a blizzard randomly appear in Port Charles. If his demands aren't met, Mikkos plans on plunging the entire world into an ice age. Luckily, Luke and Laura manage to turn off the machine and kill Mikkos. However, Mikkos' widow - Elizabeth Taylor, of course - shows up at Luke and Laura's wedding and places a curse on them for killing her husband. Those crazy kids!
2. Marlena is possessed by the Devil. I remember this one, because I was in junior high and had all summer to immerse myself in the Days of our Lives town of Salem. Sad, I know. Marlena has been through all kinds of turmoil, but this is my favorite. Her constant and unwanted suitor, Stefano DiMera, drugged Marlena night after night so he could do as he pleased with her. This apparently left her open to demon possession, and before long, Marlena was levitating and threatening to kill her friends and family. Luckily, John Black "remembered" that he had been ordained as a priest, performed an exorcism, and sent the Devil back to the netherworld. Whew.
3. It was all a dream... a dog's dream. See, it's not just American soaps that are ridiculous. In the Australian soap Neighbours (very popular in the U.K.), camera time was actually dedicated to a segment where Bouncer, a lovable labrador retriever, fell asleep and had a dream that he married the dog next door. So... yeah.
4. Time travel to 1888. In 1988, Clint from One Life to Live had an accident in the desert. When he woke up, he found himself in the old West town of Buchanan City. Viki (Erika Slezak) had to follow his time-traveling footsteps to get him to make the leap home again. And thank God she did - he was just about to marry one of his ancestors. Ew.
5. Timmy, the doll that came to life. It's kind of hard to know where to start with Passions - the whole thing was a bit ridiculous - but Timmy the doll is a good start. Timmy, of course, is the companion of Tabitha the witch. He helped her sink the Titanic, among many other great disasters. One year, he wished upon a star to be a real boy, just like Pinocchio, but with somewhat different results. When his wish came true, Tabitha claimed the living doll was her nephew and the two of them continued to wreak havoc on the town of Harmony until one of their evil plots backfired, killing Timmy. Don't worry - he was replaced by another doll named Cracked Connie and her boyfriend, Demented Cecil. Totally everyday stuff, you know?
6. Precious, the obsessive orangutan nurse. Let's stay in the offbeat town of Harmony for a minute. This is a place where it's perfectly acceptable to hire an orangutan when you can't afford a human caregiver for your ailing mother. I guess you gotta do what you gotta do. Not only did Precious take care of the elderly, she also developed a crush on a human character named Luis. Alas, Luis didn't return Precious' love (I should hope not - bestiality is a line even Passions should probably avoid), and when Precious left town in 2005, she took a pictures of Luis with her and released it out the window of the train she was riding to prove that the Luis chapter of her life had closed. How dramatic! The Passions crew thought the performance was Emmy-worthy and tried to nominate the primate for an award; however, the Academy responded that the award was intended for humans only.
7. Killer clones. Reva on Guiding Light was cloned after her husband thought she died in a plane crash. It turned out that she hadn't died, though, and when Reva tried to return to her life, her clone tried to kill her. Sigh. Don't you hate when that happens?
8. A mystery island full of missing people presumed to be dead. We travel back to Salem for this crazy plot, which, of course, involves Marlena again. After Marlena is revealed to be the fearer Salem Stalker - a serial killer who had taken several victims - she "dies," but actually finds herself on an island that looks exactly like Salem, populated with all of the supposed Salem Stalker victims. Turns out that Tony DiMera faked everyone's deaths because he wanted to split up all of the great couples of Salem. That's a pretty elaborate scheme just to break some people up!
9. Gorilla Kidnapping. Apparently the appearance of apes and gorillas on soap operas is more common than you might think. On the now-defunct Ryan's Hope, Delia Reid Coleridge was once kidnapped by a horny gorilla. Man, if I had a nickel for every time that happened to me...
10. Death by Bear. Animal guest appearances aren't just limited to primates. On The Bold and the Beautiful, Pamela was just about to shoot her rival, Donna, in a remote cabin the the woods. Donna is all set to escape when she notices a bear lurking outside and decides her chances are better with Pamela. Pamela knocks Donna out, and when Donna comes to, she's covered in honey and tied to a chair: Pamela has decided to entice the bear into eating her. Unfortunately, the plan didn't work and the carnivorous Winnie-the-Pooh didn't get his snack.
I'm definitely aware that these are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the insanity on soap operas. What's the weirdest plotline you can remember? I'm also partial to the time Stefano held Marlena captive in a cage in the sewers of Paris, but I figured two Marlena moments were enough. Leave a comment and let us know your favorites!