Soap 1.10: ‘Someday, I guarantee you’re going to hear somebody laughing…’

On Jan. 24, I started rewatching Soap from the very first episode as I begin to flesh out the episode guide portion of Soap! The Inside Story… I thought I would share some of the key moments of the series with everyone along the way.

This is from today’s session: Season 1, episode 10 (1.10).

Though Soap is mostly remembered today for its daring humor, many forget that it also managed to address life’s challenges and absurdities with great sympathy for what it is to be human.

Take the heartfelt pep talk Jodie’s hospital mate, Barney Gerber (Harold Gould), gives him after his breakup with Dennis Phillips. (Gerber has no idea that Jodie has just taken an overdose of pills.)

Barney Gerber [to Jodie, about his first wife]: One day she wakes up, a little lump. Six months later, bing bing, the light goes out on my life. Oh boy. I’ll tell you, I walked around for months, I was doubled over, like somebody slugged me. I went through the normal routine of daily living – I ate, I slept, I went to the bathroom. And in between these three major activities, Jodie, there was a lot of pain. I thought I’m never going to fall in love again.

But a few years later, I met a redhead. Not like my wife, no, entirely different. So I ate, I slept, I went to the bathroom. One day I laughed, and one day I noticed I laughed. Then another day I hummed. Then soon after, I sang. I married her. Oh Jodie, if we weren’t happy… in an entirely different way. It wasn’t better, it wasn’t worse, it was different.

There I was, miserable Barney Gerber, happy again. You see, Jodie, you see how smart I was? I thought I’ll never love again. I thought I’ll never be happy again. I also thought I’ll never have to say goodbye again. Ten years we were happy, Jodie. and then one day some maniac with bourbon in his blood and something on his mind runs through a red light, and stops Barney Gerber right in mid-song.

That was 16 months ago. Since then, I have eaten, I have slept, occasionally I went to the bathroom. And I had a heart attack. So I said ‘Gerber, that’s all, you’re finished, forget it. It’s never going to happen again. Once was wonderful. Twice was incredible. A third time? What, you’re kidding yourself. C’mon, a third time would be asking for a miracle.’

But you know something, Jodie? I don’t really believe that. If I believed that, I wouldn’t be here in this hotel letting them sew Dacron into my heart to hold it together. I wouldn’t be here begging my blood to visit my heart at least a few times a day. I wouldn’t be here at all, Jodie, if I didn’t believe there could be a third time. Listen, I know you don’t feel so terrific right now, but wait, Jodie, wait. Someday, I guarantee you’re going to hear somebody laughing, and you’ll turn around…and it’ll be you.


2 comments on “Soap 1.10: ‘Someday, I guarantee you’re going to hear somebody laughing…’

  1. I found your blog as I’m looking for information abut a “Newsweek Article” that gave the show’s launch some trouble. As I’ve read through your blog I was thinking of how wonderful Barney Gerber’s character was and how I was moved as I watched his interaction with Jodi. As a youngster SOAP was a guilty pleasure. As a grown up, I love it for it’s depth of character and how it really is about people and family.

    • Thanks for writing, John. Barney Gerber was indeed one of those illuminating characters that Susan wrote so well. I’ve learned recently that some of the lines from that episode were cut due to time, which probably isn’t too surprising considering how much remains in the final cut. What I come back to over and over is the fact that despite all of the abuse heaped on Soap in its heyday by its critics, it was, and remains, a very gentle show. There is not a mean bone in its body.

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