‘Soap’ and the ‘Step Brothers’

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).


7 comments on “‘Soap’ and the ‘Step Brothers’

  1. The other wonderful line, right before Donohue’s is Jessica’s: “I’m sorry, Benson. I didn’t realize you were entertaining.”

    • Ha! Definitely, Lee. And The Major’s impassioned address to everybody about his military experience when he’s trying to organize Billy’s rescue. “Now I know you think I’m a foolish old man, and sometimes I am but that’s my grandson in there. I got all these [medals] because I was a good soldier, I still am. I can get him out, I can do it. So you all had better listen to this old fool, because that’s our little boy.”

    • That’s true. I think this is the first episode you get a chance to see what Arthur Peterson was capable of. Such a shame that they couldn’t find a better way to use him.

  2. Another great scene.

    I also liked The Major getting serious when Jessica was in the hospital. it’s also too bad we didn’t get more scenes with him and Mary- I only recall her maybe speaking to him on two or three occasions. One was when he stormed the courtroom and she said, “Daddy, please don’t do this.” Just seemed like she let Jessica deal with him and didn’t show much interest in him.

  3. He was definitely an under-used talent. My wife and I were watching a ’70s disaster movie last month, I believe it was called Roller Coaster, and he popped up there for a few minutes as an amusement park owner.

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