One of the most interesting aspects of Soap is the gentle nature of its humor. While rewatching the series recently, I was reminded of just how expertly the “Step Brothers” bit was crafted in 3.2. [See clip above.]
Doubtless seeing white people “blacked up” will always carry with it a negative charge, regardless of its context. Yet the humor in this scene comes more from the insanity of the situation and the intelligence (and exasperation) of Benson than from any cheap racial gags. (Though John Byner has a line in 3.1 when they’re setting up the plan to rescue Billy that sails pretty close to the wind, saved only by the gentility of his character and his puckish delivery.)
And thanks to the glory that is YouTube, we can actually compare the performances of Benson, Chester, Donohue and The Major with the real Step Brothers (see clip below).