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Oakdale Confidential:
An As The World Turns Novel

Monday, November 06, 2006


On Friday night, the Oxygen network was airing Beaches, while a few channels over, on WE, we had A Message from Holly.

Lest you think they're the same movie, let me clarify: Beaches is the theatrical release featuring Bette Midler as the free-spirited actress who has to raise her straight-laced best friend's (Barbara Hershey) child when said best-friend dies. A Message from Holly is the made-for-TV movie where straight-laced Shelly Long has to raise her free-spirited artist best-friend's (Lindsay Wagner) child when said best friend dies.

So they're totally different. Except for that whole dead best friend thing.

Despite its morbidity, the above seems to be a very popular sub-genre of women's fiction.

In books we've got My Best Friend's Girl, Talk Before Sleep, and, of course, the original Beaches and its sequel. Heck, even in Gone With The Wind, a dying Melanie asks Scarlett to look out for her little Beau.

Seeing how frequently Beaches makes the list of Top 10 chick flicks, I've always been surprised that soaps, the ultimate women's genre, haven't given the tale a whirl.

Sure, GH kind of tried when Monica adopted Paige's orphaned daughter, Emily. But Monica and Paige's friendship was rather forced (they met when Paige was already sick), not the lifelong saga these things usually require. (A more interesting dynamic might have been Lois and Brenda, who were actual friends before the dying kicked in). The same with Carly agreeing to help raise Courtney's baby recently. That story was more about baby John's/Spencer's paternity, then about the women friends involved.

Guiding Light
came closer when Rick, on his presumed death-bed, asked lifelong friend, Phillip, to look out for Jude. But Rick and Phillip are guys. And then Rick didn't die, after all.

As poor Jennifer expired over on As the World Turns, she had tear-jerking good-bys with her husband, her parents, siblings, and baby Johnny. But where was her best-friend? Oops, Jen didn't have one.

Considering how important friends are to most women's lives, and how these relationships often outlast romantic and family ties, I'm surprised by the short shrift they get on soaps.

Would a story focusing on female friendship -- culminating with death or not -- appeal to you as a viewer?


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