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Welcome To The Unreal World

October 23, 1994|NANCY M. REICHARDT

Luke Spencer finally has a job. Until recently on "General Hospital," Luke's pre-adolescent son, Lucky (Jonathan Jackson), was the only working member of his household.

Viewers were left to wonder if Lucky's fledgling worm-farming business paid all the bills while his parents, Luke and Laura (Tony Geary and Genie Francis), selflessly fought for truth, justice and the American way.

This is hardly the only example of a soap playing with reality. On "The Young and the Restless," Drucilla (Victoria Rowell), a former street kid who somehow became a promising ballerina although she failed to practice, was repeatedly accepted back by her stern instructor with only a few reprimands.

And why is the town of Oakdale on "As the World Turns" a breeding ground for corporate management firms? Not only does Walsh Inc. and Montgomery Inc. (now merged) and Worldwide each vie for and win the same global accounts, they leave the big city firms to question how they did it. All the executives in these firms have worked for the competition so that who works where or has which account is just a blur.

To this show's credit, the police on "As the World Turns" are quite credible, shown performing their daily duties so often that the police station is almost a character instead of a set.

But on some of the soaps the job description for police commissioner should read "no experience needed." Bo Buchanan (Robert S. Woods) on "One Life to Live" had never been on the force, but having a fiancee who is a defense lawyer and whose ex-husband is the district attorney were enough to qualify him for the job.

Back on "General Hospital," ex-Port Charles police commissioners Robert and Anna Scorpio (the departed Tristan Rogers and Finola Hughes) and current commissioner Sean Donely (John Reilly) all have shady and sometimes criminal pasts. Ironically, when Port Charles had a commissioner who did come up through the ranks--commish Burt Ramsey--he turned out to be "Mr. Big," a crime boss.

"Young and Restless" has even created a new occupation. Brad Carlton (Don Diamont), who was a gardener before he became an executive, and Jack Abbott (Peter Bergman) both competed for the job of "heir apparent," used interchangeably with "right-hand man," to Victor Newman (Eric Braeden). Newman even had legal documents drawn up to deal with this job's disposition in case of his death. Would heir apparent be preferable to vice president on a business card? We don't think so.

Surprising career changes are nothing new to soaps. Do we remember how the beautiful social climber and sometime executive Lucy Coe started out as a mousy librarian? Such flights of fancy are nothing new. Almost 20 years ago on "Somerset" the character of Julian Cannell started out as a concert pianist but was soon shifted into the career of newspaper editor.

But the show's writers weren't completely out of touch: They had Julian keep his journalism degree in his piano bench.

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