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Who's Your Daddy? Hard To Tell On A Soap!

Updated on July 26, 2010

Who’s Your Daddy Can Sometimes Even Be Who’s Your Mommy?

Paternity, the (biological and genetic) determination of (male) offspring – it’s simple right? Well, not so much in the world of Daytime soaps! If you are a male character who is involved with a female “player” or you are in a love triangle, you might get a girl pregnant who doesn’t know you got them pregnant. Or perhaps they want to keep this information from you. And knowing who your children are isn’t necessarily just a male problem anymore. Now, some of the female characters don’t seem to know if they gave birth or not and/or what sex the baby was if they did I kid you not.

Take Katherine Chancellor (Jeanne Cooper) from The Young and The Restless, for a recent example. She’s already struggling with the back and forth of whether or not Jill (Jess Walton) is her child. She is. She isn’t? The matter was eventually settled after Katherine was in a car crash and thought she was someone else, Marge. Then she started to remember she was actually Katherine. But this didn’t seem to be supported by DNA testing when Katherine didn’t match with Jill – but since Jill wasn’t her child it couldn’t have matched. Making matters more complicated, Katherine’s “girl” turned out to be a boy. That boy was now a man, Tucker McCall (Stephen Nichols) who came back to steal Katherine’s company. This does seem to be an incredible parenting lapse to not know who your kids are but Jill can hardly be upset with Katherine. Jill thought Phillip (Thom Bierdz) was her son for all those years before finding out that Cane (Danielle Goddard) was. Oh wait, Cane wasn’t really her son. Oh and by the way, Phillip isn’t really dead – are soap opera character’s ever really dead? But he is Jill’s son. Isn’t he? I’m not even sure anymore but thankfully, there are bios right here at that can help you sort this stuff out.

I do have to wonder, ‘Is it really this difficult to know who your kids are or how many you might have?’ On General Hospital, Luke Spencer (Anthony Geary) found out he had another child, a son, with Holly (Emma Samms). I don’t blame Luke for not knowing about the baby though; he didn’t carry it for 9 months and then forget. And on GH you never ever really know whether or not your child is biologically yours because that hospital has the most lax DNA testing process of any hospital that has ever existed. Almost anyone it seems can alter those tests. After my first child was born, I could tell immediately my son was my son as he has my dimples – doesn’t anyone on Daytime soaps pay attention to features that show their kid looks just like them?

To make matters even worse, some people think they are pregnant when they aren’t; they have hysterical pregnancies or fake their pregnancies. This doesn’t help an already confusing situation. Sticking to GH we have had Maxie (Kirsten Storms) faking her pregnancy in an attempt to keep Lucky (Jonathan Jackson) as well as Claudia (Sarah Brown) faking hers to keep Sonny (Maurice Bernard). Claudia was so desperate she even tried to sleep with Sonny’s brother thinking she could fool a DNA test by doing so. Back over on Y&R, Ashley Abbott (Eileen Davidson) was pregnant but somehow managed to not remember her miscarriage thanks to evil Adam (Michael Muhney). Adam had been tormenting Ashley because he hates his father and during this time Ashley took a fall and miscarried – which unbelievably Adam managed to cover up. Poor Ashley then believed she carried to term and delivered a baby but the baby was really Sharon’s (Sharon Case) baby with Nick (Joshua Morrow) – a baby Sharon thought might have been Nick’s or Jack’s (Peter Bergman) or maybe even Billie Abbots (Billy Miller). Just imagine if that hadn’t been discovered for 20 years? Adam wrangled out of the miscarriage dilemma by stealing the baby Sharon had and giving it to Ashley. He paid off the doctor who delivered Sharon’s baby and the matter for a short time was resolved. Until the doctor died in an “accident” that is.

I think it is more important than ever though, to know who your offspring are when you exist on a Daytime soap. It’s hard enough to raise the kids you know about without having to add children you didn’t keep track of. Sooner or later those kids will come and find you and ask why you don’t know about them. You’ll miss out on those children’s lives and regret it. No self-respecting soap character wants that. Plus, kids grow up fast enough in real life but on soaps… kids can go away for a summer to soccer camp and return ready for college? Check out the article on SORAS - Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome . And I’m not sure what soap writers have against kids in the age range of around 7-14 either, but they don’t seem fond of that age grouping – you never see kids who are that age on the air. What a shock for soap parents, it’s bad enough your kid has aged five years but since he is now being played by a new, older actor – he doesn’t even match up with the family photos anymore. That’s sad.

I don’t really follow Days of our Lives but I would like to draw attention to the DOOL character Sami Brady (Alison Sweeney). Although Ms. Brady more than fits within the confines of this topic; reading about this woman has made my brain turn into mush. Sami Brady for a short time didn’t even realize she was a woman and thought she was a man named Stan; a very bad, bad man named Stan. Before she thought she was Stan she had a child Will (Chandler Massey) that she said was Austin’s (Austin Reed) because she was jealous of her half-sister’s relationship with that guy. The baby’s father turns out to be Lucas (Bryan Dattilo), the poor sap who seems to have loved this girl throughout all her sordid plotlines. I still can’t tell if Lucas is the father to both Will and these twins she later had because this other guy EJ (James Scott) made her sleep with him in order to go rescue Lucas when he had been trapped by an avalanche and shortly thereafter she was pregnant with twins. Even the kids’ names changed around as they tried to sort out who the actual parents were. I still don’t know – please someone tell me in the comments section! After that, near as I can tell Sami actually has a child with EJ, named Sydney but for some reason this guy Rafe (Galen Garing) tells everyone the child was adopted. What a mess.

So, to say the least, paternity is confusing on Daytime and it’s definitely good to know who your kids are lest they come back to haunt you, taunt you or maybe even steal your corporation like Tucker did to Chancellor. Occasionally, it might reflect an actual story in the real world but I don’t think in the real world half of us live uncertain who our parents or children are, unless we were adopted perhaps? And at least, when the time is right, most adopted kids know they were adopted if that is the case. Their dad doesn’t *actually* turn out to be the mailman! Who your father or even mother is on a Daytime soap is never certain. It is a sorry situation. The person I feel the most sorry for is the “uncle character” who is responsible for keeping track of the family genealogy tree!


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    • trusouldj profile image

      trusouldj 6 years ago from Indiana

      Soap opera paternity can be very funny. It's amazing that with all of the husbands and love affairs that Erica Kane has had, she isn't the world's most famous baby mama. But i think for years and years they tried to make it seem as if she couldn't have kids, then you start hearing about how she had an unknown child in her teens and then miracle semen in her later years .... Amazing.

    • JBeadle profile image

      JBeadle 7 years ago from Midwest

      I need more comments from the soap opera viewers... C'mon!

    • JBeadle profile image

      JBeadle 7 years ago from Midwest

      Well, thank-you SF - coming from a Soap Fan that is a nice comment to receive!

    • profile image

      soap fan 7 years ago

      This was very funny and very true.

    • profile image

      Rasta 7 years ago

      Interesting, but more than I really needed - or wanted - to know!