the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Life is Like a Soap Opera


Sophia stopped by my apartment today to watch "All My Children."  In the past, I’ve written about how she turned me on to this soap opera, and how I’ve been watching it every since.  Lately, the show has really sucked.  Bad stories and bad characters.  So, when a show gets stale, what can a TV producer do? 

How about a big explosion?

Here’s the recap.  Erica Kane (Susan Lucci) throws a big masquerade ball.   As everyone enjoys themselves, Janet, the deranged mother of Amanda, decides to blow up the mansion and everyone in it.  There’s a big explosion.  The mansion collapses.   But — what a coincidence! — the structure comes down in such an organized way that the guests are trapped and isolated under the rubble in neat groups of two.   And — get this — those stuck together just happen to be characters who have "issues" with each other.  It doesn’t matter if they were standing next to each before the explosion.  They still end up trapped with each other.

So, there’s Zach and Ethan together —  the father and son who hate each other.  There’s Kendall and Ryan, the ex-lovers who are having a baby together from sperm stolen from a fertility clinic.  There’s David, the brilliant ex-cardiologist and Palmer, his nemesis.  And then there Erica Kane with Josh, her young television producer, who she has she found out is really her son.  And so on.

Now imagine there’s gas leaking near you.   It is getting difficult to breathe.  Any false move could cause the walls to collapse around you.   What do you do?   Call for help? 

Of course not. 

You waste oxygen talking over your "issues."

Ethan and Zack:

Ethan:  "Did you ever really want to be a father to me?  Did you ever care?"

Zach:  "I love you, Son.  I always did."

Kendall and Ryan:

Kendall:  "Ryan, this is your baby!  But do you want me to be happy?  No!  Ever since you lost Greenlee, you’ve wanted me to suffer."

Ryan:  "That’s not true.  I care about you.  You and the baby.  My baby.  My baby that is inside you."

Erica and Josh:

Erica:  "Please, Josh.  Tell me more about your mother."

Josh:  "Why do you care so much about my mother?  Why do you ask so many questions?  Who are you to grill me?  The Great Erica Kane!  The woman who only cares about herself!  I’m nothing to you."

Erica:  "You are something to me, Josh.  More than you know.  It’s something we need to discuss.  Now.  Before it’s too late."

Of course, in typical soap opera fashion, this plotline is being stretched out so it takes up all week.  Today’s episode was especially ridiculous.  Sophia and I laughed up a storm over the show’s bad writing and corny plot gimmicks.

After the show, Sophia had an appointment, so we headed downstairs to the garage.  I live on the third floor of my apartment building, so we took the elevator down.  

As we were passing the second floor, we heard a rumble and the lights went out.

And then the cable snapped.

The elevator went careening down in a free-fall, at what seemed like 200 miles per hour.  Sophia and I held on for dear life,  each knowing that these were our final moments together.  But before it all ended, there was still one remaining issue between us that needed to be resolved:

"Did you ever install Photoshop on my computer?"  Sophia asked.

"Not yet."

"Well, when?  How many times do I have to ask you?"

"I’ve been busy."

"Blogging is not being busy."

"Look, I’m sorry."

"How many years has it been the same way.  You say you’re going to do things and then you don’t."

"Do you really want to bring this up now?  Right after Valentine’s Day?  We had such a nice time."

"Yeah, you love telling all your readers how wonderful and romantic you are.  Awwww, Neilochka… so sweet.  But do they know you promised me Photoshop a month ago?!"

"OK, so you’re right.  I’m bad.  I’m lousy.  But c’mon, Sophia, let’s not ruin our final moments we have here on Earth."

"OK, you make a good point.  At least we’re communicating here.  I’m sorry, too. "

"You don’t have to be sorry."

"I do.  I just blew up for no reason.  It’s just… PMS."

"Really… or are you just saying that?"


"OK, lets just start this falling to our death over again, so we’re nice to each other.  Let’s just talk about something else."

"Fine.  Like what?"

"I have a better idea.  Why don’t we have sex?"


"But sex like in the old days.  Before we got married."

"So, you mean bad sex?"

"Be nice."

"Just joking… come here, Neilochka.  Our last time together…"

Sophia pulled me over and we kissed.   Sophia pressed me against the wall.

"Goodbye, Neilochka."

"Goodbye, Sophia."

I paused.

"What is it?,"  Sophia asked.

"I really should say goodbye to all my blogging friends."

"And how are you going to do that?"

"I have my free Sprint Ambassador phone.  I can go online with it and write my last blog post."

"Right now?"

"Sure.  The others will get a real kick out of this post.  "Neil and Sophia:  The Final Moments."  Think of all the links on Technorati.  Especially if we post some photos."

"OK, just hurry up.  Before I’m not in the mood anymore."

I pulled my phone from my pocket.  I started to dial.

"Menu.  Click.  Type.   Go to URL.   W.W.W.C – I – T – I – X.  Shit,  that’s not a Z.  These keys are so small!  And who can read this without a magnifying glass?  Shit, another mistake.   How do you do a backspace?"

"Neil, is this REALLY that important?   Believe me, the other bloggers are just going to move on to someone new.  You’re really not that important to them."

"Maybe you’re right.  They’re not like you and me, are they  — living through the good and the bad?!  Screw those selfish bloggers who cross you off their blogroll just because you wrote one bad post!  Let’s make these final moments about you and me!"

I kissed Sophia.   Passions rose.  Suddenly, the elevator crashed down on the garage level.  Actually, it wasn’t really a crash.  It was actually a soft landing.  Just our luck — the superintendent had stored some leftover rolls of plush carpeting at the bottom of the elevator shaft, cushioning the landing.  

What a coincidence!   We survived!  Maybe those soap operas aren’t so unrealistic after all!

The elevator door opened, revealing Sophia’s car right in front of us.  Sophia headed for her car.

"What about our sex?"  I asked her.

"Sorry," answered Sophia .  "Now I have a headache.   Maybe after you install Photoshop."


  1. Pearl

    PHOTOSHOP installation = sex? Hmmm, interesting theory.

    And I’ve got to say, Neil, that your life…with or without Sophia…certainly has its ups & downs. [gro….o….o….a….n]

  2. Daisy Mae

    I don’t know which was more disturbing – the fact that you didn’t install Photoshop on Sophia’s computer or the fact that you ultimately chose sex over blogging in your final moments.

    If I have nightmares tonight I am will have to blame you! (checking to make sure Photoshop is still installed on my baby… whew…safe again)

  3. mariemm3

    Palmer is still alive? He was a billzion when I watched this show in high school. Gotta love soaps.

    By the way, brilliant elevator dialogue.

  4. Jaclyn

    I used to love All My Children. I stopped watching about 3 years ago…sorry to hear the writing’s taken even more of a nose dive. Anyway, great post. I love your blog and would most certainly miss you if you perished in a freak elevator accident, but I hope it would involve a big explosion.

  5. claire

    I loved this one, Neil, so your spot is safe on my blogroll… for now. 😉

  6. helen

    I love you!! Thank God you’re still here…. .. you’re my favourite blogger!

    Ipray your ratings stay high so you won’t have to undergo another life threatening situation to boost the ratings.

    …..and neil live happily ever after…..until the next plot.

  7. sammy

    I’m suprised that Sophia didn’t make use of the opportunity to tell you that she is, in fact, your mother.

  8. He's Dead, Jim!

    Pretty much everything on TV nowadays is some kind of soap opera. During “24” the characters call one another to discuss relationship issues in the midst of a national crisis; on “Grey’s Anatomy” they make eyes over the OR table during the critical parts of the surgery. Even the “Star Trek” sequels became soaps in the end….

    What’s happened?

  9. i ended up here... how?

    nope, nothing that’s going to want to make someone hate you here… not like my blog, huh? 🙂

    great post! your blog has definitely become a daily distraction for me… so,
    do you mind if i link to you on the list on my blog?

  10. Needra

    Neil… you’re amazing! How you just think up this stuff…. is just mind boggling. You’re very funny… thanks for the giggles.
    I hope Sophia gets her photoshop soon.

  11. akaky

    Why doesnt Sophia just download Picasa? That’s Google’s photo program and it let’s you most of the same stuff as Photoshop does and best of all, it’s free and you can just download it off the Net. If she has broadband it’ll take a minute or so to download.

  12. The Retropolitan

    Good work, Neil! Although I think you could have “sexed it up” a bit more if you’d added some kind of threatening laser or raygun.

  13. networkchic

    I’m not sure which is scarier, the fact that you watch All My Children or that you can quote it verbatum.

  14. Alissa

    I can’t believe you haven’t installed photoshop for her yet! Shame shame…

    By the Way – General Hospital is SO much better than All My Children – they just had to quarantine all of St. Charles!

  15. M.A.

    Terrifically funny post. Love it!

  16. The Moviequill

    Dixie is back though and she is one hot mama.. she even has her own blog now

  17. Jill

    I can’t think of a comment witty enough for this post.

  18. amanda

    oh, neil…

  19. Kevin

    That’s a helluva long elevator shaft. Which translates to… this would be the perfect soap opera scene. Not that I would know for certain, of course.

  20. maribeth

    How did Janet get evil again? Didn’t she and Trevor fall in love, even after he figured out she had thrown Natalie in the well? These are the kinds of shenanigans I would expect from Billy Clyde, not Janet!

    (You can tell how long it has been since I’ve seen AMC…)

  21. Hope

    The only thing more stereotypical would have been if you’d gotten trapped in the elevator with a woman going into labor.

    And I really think you should have had a little dialogue with your penis. I’m sure he would have had some interesting things to say about you chosing blogging over sex.

  22. Tatyana

    Let it be a lesson to you: walk the stairs!

  23. AWE

    Where was the penis when you needed him? He should have stepped up to the plate.

  24. cruisin-mom

    Good story, Neil. But you sir, are no Erica Kane

  25. Neil

    Mariemm2 — It’s unbelievable that Palmer is still there. I think he had a stroke, has Parkinson’s — but he’s still acting. Good for him. Although it is interesting how they dump all the women characters when they turn 45, but keep the men until they’re 90.

    Sammy — Now that would be a good plotline!

    HDJ — They even make The Olympics into a soap opera.

    Akaky — Picasa vs. Photoshop is like comparing Staten Island vs. Manhattan.

    Moviequill — I thought you were joking until I googled it. Dixie has a blog! How stupid!

    Maribeth — Janet is much more evil now, and the actress has gotten even worse, if that is possible.

    Hope/Awe — Penises never make an appearance in a soap opera. A real writer keeps true to the genre.

  26. LeftyGrrrl

    That’s it – you’re a genius. I have never seen this soap, but they’re all the same really. Ever seen Passions? That is one wacked out show, a soap on LSD. Wack.

  27. better safe than sorry

    i watched amc for a year back in 1984, right after the birth of my oldest but haven’t watched it since. i can’t believe erica is still alive, how old is she? and she has a son? when i watched, she was just finding out about kendall, the actress was sarah michelle kellar. talk about a back in the day moment.

  28. Wendy

    I would have missed your posts! But this was a sign — put Photoshop on Sophia’s computer!

  29. akaky

    Neil, at $649 I will have to stay in Staten Island; I’m sure Photoshop will do everything except take my pictures for me, but Picasa is free, and no matter how much I might like Photoshop, free is better. I think it’s because I’m careful with my money, which, I hasten to add, is not the same as being a cheap bastard, no matter what my mother says about me.

  30. akaky

    And stop futzing around, dammit; put the thing on Sophia’s computer and get it over with!

  31. cherchezlafemme

    “Awwww, Neilochka… so sweet. But do they know you promised me Photoshop a month ago?!”

    I am going to cry. This post had me laughing aloud (and sammy’s comment too). Now, excuse me, I have to go cry.

  32. Bre

    Pfft! All My Children is ridiculous! You should clearly be watching General Hospital where they tackle important issues, like the possibility of turning off the sun.

  33. Spirit Of Owl

    Te-le-vi-sion you say? Hmmm. Interesting concept. I will have to take a look at this thing you speak of, as soon as the current blog episode has finished.

  34. anne arkham

    How is Sophia capable of so many things but not installing her own Photoshop?

  35. Tatyana

    No, Anne, the question should be: what does she needs the Photoshop for if she doesn’t blog?

  36. Danny

    My sister got me addicted to “All My Children” years ago and I dip in and out. Erica Kane should be about 55 by now but still makes occasional references to having another baby. I’m hot for Babe and Amanda and Krystal is one sexy mama. But I was hoping that Jackson and Ryan would get crushed to death in that ridiculous explosion. You are so right about those insane pockets of air that just happened to trap feuding groups of characters, if only real-life disasters worked that way. Oy, I cannot believe Dixie has a blog. I’d rather read one from Janet from Another Planet. The best AMC storyline was when Tad was boinking Liza and her mother Marian at the same time. Now that’s television! Hey, I just realized that I spoke to a former AMC star on the phone today. Guess who?

    Now back to those football games…

  37. 3rdtimesacharm( 3T )

    I LOVE the Sophia and Neil soap opera far more than any of the soaps on TV. One notch above Young and the Restless, which is really saying something! 😉


  38. Laura

    Hmm…maybe we’ll get lucky and everyone will work out their differences and live happily ever, the END…OR everyone dies, the END.

    Either way.

  39. Janet

    This brings back memories to my soap opera loving days. In fact, I did love Days, as I did Another World and Guiding Light. Never an AMC watcher myself. Too much Susan Lucci for my taste.

  40. Denise

    I, too, am shocked that Palmer’s still around. What about Phoebe? Wasn’t she like 100 back in the 80s???

  41. Rachel

    I LMAO and then read this entire post to my mother – who is a huge AMC fan. Very funny read – one I will be back for when I need a pick-me up.

  42. ixgames

    How about ?!

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