Happy 34th Anniversary, ‘Soap’

Never mind 34 years of discussing one of the most important television series in American TV history, who would’ve thought that 34 years ago we would be able to share our appreciation for this program across continents? (Sorry, that should be “programme” for our British and Canadian friends.) It is a testament to its quality (and yes, a real mixed blessing) that Soap has outlived many of the people who made it possible.

I shan’t go on about it; I think we all know how we feel. But let me leave you with a scene from Episode 2.9 that calls to mind the best of Vaudeville and old time radio humor. Poor Tim Flotsky, convinced that he’s cursed, has tried to put in a good day’s work on his first day at Campbell & Sons construction. He will end his employment there with a hastily scrawled resignation…on an empty baloney package. (To get the full impact, you have to go back and watch the inimitable Sal Viscuso’s delivery of these lines covered in what is meant to be cement!)

Danny: How did you get the blood on your nose?

Tim: From falling. I think from falling.

Burt: You fell?

Tim: In the cement.

Burt: How did you fall?

Tim: When the guy yelled help.

Danny: What guy yelled help?

Tim: The guy who fell first.

Burt: How did he fall?

Tim: He slipped.

Danny: How did he slip, Tim?

Tim: When the baloney dropped out of my lunch pail.

Burt: You reached out to grab him, then you fell.

Tim [amazed]: Did you see it happen?

Burt: No. I’ve been in this business a long time, Tim.


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