Are There Still Supercouples?

A recent podcast took on the topic “Are There Still Soap Supercouples?” I didn’t get a chance to talk on air, but I did give it serious thought.

First, here is a definition for Supercouple:

And a definition of Fan Wars:

Second, just so I’m plain. I don’t mean my answer to be a criticism of couples of any time period. My answer is not reflective of any difference of talent of actors or chemistry between couples of any time period. It has to do with the structure and the writing of the soaps.

I say there are Supercouples that remain are kind of like the last few remaining Mastodons at the tail end of the Ice Age. There are a few survivors, but the world has changed. It used to be the soaps used to focus story in terms of families and of individuals. With the creation of the concept of a supercouple, soap writing structure changed to accommodate them. Now that soap writing structure has changed again.

Stories have a certain structure. These structures are described as shapes. Most movies, TV shows etc. have a straight line narrative structure. When they were writing for individual characters soaps stories were written as a straight line.

A Supercouple story is different. In structure it isn’t a straight line, it’s a circle or if they are very lucky a 3-D circle or spiral. The couple starts out together is faced with an obstacle that either breaks them up or that they face together, they conquer and ultimately end up in the same place together. In the case of the spiral, they end up in the same place with an improvement so they are together and they’ve gotten approval of someone they didn’t before (Holden and Lily when he returns to the show with his memory restored), they are together and they have made a business accomplishment (Lucy and Alan-Michael take over Spaulding), they are together and they have a child and know it’s theirs (Josh and Reva once Marah’s true paternity is revealed), and finally, rarest, and the best stories they are together and there is actual character growth (Danny and Michelle when he realizes he has to send his crime family to jail to move on). But the stories always circle around to the same point. While there were triangles they were eventually resolved and 99% of the time the original supercouple remained standing.

However, as ratings continued to drop and shows began to be canceled and not replaced with other soaps, writers or the TPTB took fright and they decided the best way to get fans to keep watching and showing support was to pit fans against each other in Fan Wars. We saw the formation of permanent triangles, such as Sharon-Nick-Phyllis on The Young and the Restless, Brooke-Ridge-Taylor on The Bold and the Beautiful, and Sam-Jason-Liz on General Hospital. The structures of soap stories suddenly became a pendulum swing. Whoever was the pivot (strangely on a female driven medium the pivot is almost always a man) went back and forth perpetually between the two end points. This prevents a true supercouple from forming because the basic building block of the story is now a triangle instead of a couple. On The Bold and the Beautiful when Hope-Liam-Steffy was hobbled by Steffy leaving, they immediately had to form a new triangle with Liam-Hope-Wyatt  because they were afraid of telling either a straight line or circle story. While story structures remain this way, there isn’t a chance for a Supercouple to form because they aren’t writing Supercouples. This helps explain the lack of story for remaining couples like John and Marlena on Days of Our Lives and the strange and unprecedented out of character behavior of Nikki and Victor on The Young and the Restless as they try to force  a supercouple into a pendulum storyline.

For other people’s opinions listen to “Tune Into Tomorrow” on this special episode:

Updated September 19, 2015: I corrected 1 typo, deleted one phrase and added my signature block.

Robansuefarm is the handle of one of Manny and Guiding Light‘s biggest fans following in her family’s footsteps of Guiding Light fandom since 1939. This blog is an effort to make it easy to find Guiding Light and especially Manny online. Check back here for her blog, find fanfic previews and fake WSPR newscasts on her YouTube, find podcasts that look back to old shows and audios of her fanfics on Blog Talk Radio, and finally follow her on Twitter and Facebook.


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One Response to “Are There Still Supercouples?”

  1. glmanny Says:

    Reblogged this on Glmanny's Blog and commented:

    Are there still supercouples? Why or why not?

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