Passions is quite possibly the weirdest Daytime Soap Opera since Dark Shadows.The show follows the lives of several families in the town of Harmony: The rich Crane family (headed by the evil Alistair Crane), the Lopez-Fitzgeralds (many of whom fell in love with Crane family members), the Bennetts (who were connected to the Cranes through Alistair's grandson Ethan being patriarch Sam's kid), the Russells (who got what has to be one of the oddest Brother-Sister Incest stories on record), the Winthrops (who get involved in an impressive romantic three-way plot), the Hotchkiss family (involved with the Winthrops), and at least one member of the Standish family (who is related to the Bennets).The show premiered as a fairly standard daytime soap opera, but quickly established elements of the paranormal. What threw the show completely off the wall wasn't that the soap factor was amped up to eleven, but rather that the show included a witch Tabitha and her doll Timmy as part of the main cast. Often, typical soap stories would be mixed with plots involving zombies, magic dolls (most famously Timmy), The Wizard of Oz and, in one seriously memorable arc, a faked death involving some serious stealth work.
This show contains examples of:
Abusive Parents: Julian and Sheridan's father Alistair, Beth's mother Edna.
Accidental Marriage: Theresa and Julian, both drunk, get married in Bermuda. Also, in the series finale, Gwen discovers that when she and Rebecca went to Vegas, she got drunk and married some guy by an Elvis impersonator, therefore nullifying her marriage to Ethan.
It should be pointed out that this is averted because much of what was in Hidden Passions was contradicted in the series; two good examples are Eve Russell's and Katherine Crane's back story. What was aired on the screen was completely different than what was in Hidden Passions
Not an ax, but after Gwen is told by Ethan that he wants to cancel the wedding (and he says this the night before the ceremony), she realizes his and Theresa's secret relationship and goes after Theresa in her home with a baseball bat.
Beth used an ax to destroy a closet door in order to force her mother out of hiding.
Cannot Spit It Out: Basically all the men on the show when they're involved with love triangles. Ethan can't ever decide who he loves more; Gwen or Theresa. Chad couldn't bring himself to curb Simone's delusions of them being a couple and tell her he was dating Whitney. Miguel kept sending mixed signals to Kay when he was in love with Charity.
Luis though is probably the biggest man guilty of this. It took him a long time to admit he loved Sheridan, and then took another long time to choose between Sheridan and Beth (and then later Sheridan and Fancy). Even while knowing how psychotic Beth was, he could never stand up to her, or even stop her from running off with Marty.
Can't Have Sex, Ever: Tabitha feels this way about Miguel and Charity, for if the two ever consumate their relationship, Charity would awaken to her full powers and eliminate all evil from the universe, including Tabitha herself.
Cat Fight: Mainly between Gwen and Theresa. Also between their mothers Rebecca and Pilar.
There were a few good ones between Beth, Sheridan, and/or Fancy, too.
Character Exaggeration: In the DirecTV episodes, Theresa was turned into the full-scale heroine while Gwen got the full villianess treatment. However, in the previous NBC episodes, their roles were neutral.
This actually happened to Gwen twice; the first time occurred after Ethan called off their engagement and Gwen went after Theresa with the baseball bat. Before, Gwen had been a relatively good and kind character, but after losing Ethan she became determined to get him back, ultimately despite whatever consequences her actions had on other people. The move to DirecTV later turned her villainy Up to Eleven and removed virtually every redeeming quality that she possessed.
Despite her situation with Ethan, Gwen still had her good qualities and said valid points in the NBC episodes before the DirecTV transition. Also after the transition, all of Theresa's bad deeds were practically pushed aside, giving her the heroine status.
Character Outlives Actor: Josh Ryan Evans, who played Timmy, died on the same day that his character died on the show. This still counts, though, as it's Passions and trips to the afterlife are plausible (in fact, Timmy was set to return as an angel). Timmy reappeared as a Fake Shemp at the show's end.
Daddy's Girl: Kay adores her father and is at odds with her mother until shortly before the latter's death. Sam is also reluctant to believe Grace when she comes to believe that Kay has made dealings with evil.
Deadpan Snarker: Fox Crane when played by Justin Hartley. Also Noah Bennett to an extent.
Death Is Cheap: Owing to the show's supernatural plotlines, it was quite plausible for the show to have characters return from the dead. Or, in the case of Sheridan Crane, surviving just about any attempt on her life. Also, Julian was revealed to have once faked his own death.
This is really only the half of it. To count: Alistair and Marty supposedly died in a train crash in Rome with Beth (who may or may not have actually died); Katherine and Rachel both turned out to be alive after having had their deaths faked by Alistair pre-series; Julian supposedly died when he was shot and fell into a vat of boiling tuna; Sheridan came back from the dead at least twice (buried alive and blown up in Bermuda); Vincent turned out not to be dead after falling off a cliff; Antonio sadly did not die in a plane explosion; Luis didn't really die in Morocco while searching for Marty; and Theresa fake-died twice (once by lethal injection and once by shark).
Disappeared Dad: Gwen's father Jonathan never appeared in the show and was only mentioned by name. Martin Fitzgerald also used to fit into this, but he appeared five years into the show.
Double Standard: Rape—Female on Male: Theresa raped Ethan three times, once by disguising herself as Gwen and drugging his drink, once in the Crane jet, and once towards the end of the DirecTV run: Theresa was living as the Winthrop children's frumpy nanny, Gertrude, because her whole family would somehow die if she were revealed to be alive, and wanted to be with Ethan, so she drugged Gwen to keep the other woman out of the way and then drugged and had sex with Ethan so that he would think that he had been dreaming. While Theresa's actions were reprimanded all three times and she was once labeled a rapist, the show largely presented her actions as justified acts of desperation and upheld the trope—in fact, the incident where she disguised herself as Gwen was retconned into Ethan knowing that it was Teresa all along.
Kay raped Miguel, which conceived Maria. However, this is never known to anyone other than Kay and Tabitha, and Miguel is treated like a monster by the rest of the cast (and later on by the show itself) when he doesn't stand by Kay's side. This being after Kay repeatedly rubbed her pregnancy in Charity's face (with nobody calling her on her behavior other than Grace) and Kay knowing that she only got Miguel into bed through deception.
The Faceless: Alastair Crane with his first actor (voice of Alan Oppenheimer). It got taken to ridiculous extremes when he'd be in a room with other characters, and the camera would constantly show a view of his chest. Later actors in the role did in fact show their faces for the camera.
The Blackmailer also remained faceless for a good portion of the storyline. Then it was revealed who it was (note: We're not using "it" as gender neutral).
Face Heel Turn: Sheridan in the last two seasons. When the show first started she was arguably The Woobie and the Big Good of the Crane family, but during the last two years of the show she became very manipulative.
See also: Julian (after a Heel Face Turn following Timmy's death), Beth (she started out as Luis's long-suffering high school sweetheart and quite literally went crazy when he dumped her for a second time), and Fox (he went from something of an Anti-Hero to a straight-up manipulative bastard).
And when the Lopez-Fitzgerald family shrunk significantly circa 2005-06, the Cranes took up a soon-forgotten feud with the Bennetts.
Flat "What.": Alastair Crane (the shows Big Bad) created a borderline Rube Goldberg Gambit Roulette involving elaborate and (at times) interconnected forms of cruel revenge upon nearly every resident of Harmony, which the writers milked the mystery as to why he was doing this for all it was worth. Finally the real reason was revealed which was... his wife died there, so he felt that literally the entire town (including his relatives who only happened to live there and people who only recently moved there who he never met before) should suffer as much as he. ...What
Filler: It's amazing that so little can happen in the space of one hour of TV. Conversations that should take at least ten minutes in real life were often stretched out for days on end, just so the screenwriters would have time to wring out plotlines. They really needed a lesson from non-US soapies.
First Girl Wins: Theresa and Ethan discover a photo of themselves as children showing a young Ethan giving a young Theresa a teddy bear. A few years later, he and Gwen, both twelve years old, first meet at a mixer their boarding schools held.
For the longest time, Miguel and Kay appeared to be set to be an inversion of this since they'd been best friends since childhood and Miguel seemed far more interested in Charity, but eventually the two ended up together—a later conversation revealed that Miguel had had a crush on Kay as well (meaning that her feelings were NOT unrequited, as she'd thought).
Gambit Roulette: Alistair Crane appeared to be quite the master of this. At one point, he staged Theresa's execution by using sedatives and an open coffin. Theresa woke up briefly, threatened Ivy and Rebecca, then returned to sleep just long enough for Pilar to notice that her body had moved. She then snuck out of the coffin, but was taken back by an unseen person, and then the coffin caught on fire. The body burned, but Alistair then revealed that the "body" in the coffin was actually a lifelike wax dummy, and the real Theresa was alive and well.
Gratuitous Rape: Cranked Up to Eleven. Within one calendar year, so many characters were raped that it was referred to as the "Year of the Rapes", diluting the seriousness of such a crime. Adding insult to injury, only ONE of these stories was handled even remotely seriously, with the victim in question (who was reacting to having been raped a second time) fearing intimacy and dressing shabbily, etc. All other victims went on with their lives within days as though nothing even remotely traumatic had happened, while their attackers went free, or in at least one case, attacked his victim multiple times during the course of an abusive marriage.
Grey and Gray Morality: Theresa and Gwen. Until Theresa's sudden sainthood and Gwen's sudden full villainess treatment after the jump to Dish, they both were equally good and evil and their good traits were easily defined. Theresa loved her family and was supportive of them, and Gwen supported her own circle of friends and nurtured the family she wanted to build with Ethan. In fact, before they went to war over Ethan, they were pretty good friends. But when both women decided to have Ethan at all costs, their obsessive behavior came out in full-swing.
And ironically, both dealt each other physical and emotional blows over time, but the reactions from other characters was different. People forget that before Gwen stabbed Theresa in a drug-induced state in the hospital, Theresa first stabbed Gwen when her pregnancy hormones got out of control. People excused Theresa's actions because of her risky pregnancy, but Gwen was denounced as evil even though she'd just been put through an emotional ringer and conflicted medication in her body triggered her episode. When Gwen allowed Rebecca to call CPS on Theresa, Gwen and Rebecca were unfeeling villains, yet when Theresa posed as their surrogate and later raped a drugged Ethan— and it was found that baby Jane wasn't Gwen's—everyone excused her actions as being a desperate mother who was wronged and needed justice.
Hide Your Pregnancy: Liza Huber (Gwen) and Daphnée Duplaix Samuel (Valerie). Samuel was largely kept off screen during her pregnancy, though, while Huber graduated from holding bags and files in front of her stomach and wearing all black to sitting on a bed with a humidifier in front of her obviously pregnant belly and being filmed (often unsuccessfully) from the chest up only. Ironically, it was later explained within the series that during Gwen's time off screen while Huber was on maternity leave Gwen had actually found out that she was pregnant and given birth to her son Jonathan.
Eventually subverted with Lindsay Hartley (Theresa) and McKenzie Westmore's (Sheridan) respective pregnancies. While some attempt was initially made to hide both actresses' pregnancies, the characters were both eventually made to be pregnant.
Make a Wish: Theresa says the "Star Light, Star Bright" rhyme and makes a wish about Ethan while in LA.
Mind Screw: Plenty in the series, but none so much as the entire saga of The Blackmailer. It's the hermaphrodite/bisexual lovechild of Julian Crane and Eve Johnson/Russell, secretly raised and abused by Alistair and returned to Harmony to carry out his and his grandad's revenge. What does it looks like? BEHOLD◊!
Missing Mom: Katherine Crane, but then appeared five years into the show's run.
Monochrome Casting: Averted, Passions boasted one of the most diverse casts on daytime, and furthermore, actually made frequent use of their minority characters rather then relegating them to the background.
No Celebrities Were Harmed: Grace Nancier is a transparent stand-in for Nancy Grace. Reportedly, Nancy Grace herself (a fan of the show) was approached to play the character, but didn't have the time to do so.
No Fourth Wall: At the very least, it's as flimsy as hell. At one point, characters are watching Passions on their TV, and frequent cracks are made at the plot and some of the more absurd plot elements.
Offing the Offspring: Alistair killed Chad and unsuccessfully attempted to kill Sheridan at least a dozen times.
Our Zombies Are Different: Zombie Charity. She's actually a magical clone (empowered by Tabitha's "friends in the basement") whose "zombie" status refers to the fact that the original Charity was placed in a very large block of ice. However, it didn't stop those in the know from referring to her as "Zombie".
Portmanteau Couple Name: ET or Therethan (Ethan/Theresa), Shuis (Sheridan/Luis), Charguel (Charity/Miguel), Chadney (Chad/Whitney), Gram (Grace/Sam), Savy (Sam/Ivy), Juvy (Julian/Ivy), Evian (Eve/Julian), Therox (Theresa/Fox), Gwank (Gwen/Hank, but although they were never a couple, fans liked the idea of the two together).
Preppy Name: The Crane family, the Hotchkiss family, Gwen's sorority sisters.
Ripped from the Headlines: Many aspects of Passions story arcs are influenced by actual events... taken Up to Eleven. In one case, the Tsunami that hit Southeast Asia influenced a fictional Tsunami that hit Harmony... which is in New England.
The first episode mentioned that Sheridan was BFFs with Lady Di. The episode aired in late 1997.
Marty is another example, going from two to seven-ish in the span of a year. Maria, interestingly, did the opposite; she was still a baby even four years after her birth.
Spoiled Sweet: Fancy is characterized during her first year as a somewhat selfish, spoiled young woman who nonetheless cares about other people and is only ever rude or cruel out of ignorance and not malice.
Villainous Incest: Vincent not only rapes his half-sister (twice!) and has an affair with his uncle, but also has sex with his unwitting father while dressed in drag and later gives birth to his baby.
What Could Have Been: When Charity initially came back recasted, she was scripted to have a final showdown with Tabitha with the ghosts of Grace and Faith to help her. But her recast was so unpopular with fans that the final battle was cancelled and this Charity was rewritten as a copycat.
Word Of God has also gone on record regarding the Luis/Sheridan/Antonio/Fancy storyline. Apparently if the show hadn't ended, Fancy was going to lose her child and then Luis and Sheridan would have an affair with each other, setting up a reunion and Antonio becoming a villain again.
Apparently, the writers had an alternate idea with Sheridan after she turned evil that they never went with. the idea was that "evil" Sheridan had actually been Beth all along, and the real Sheridan was once again being held captive.
Who's Your Mommy?: After Theresa secretly had Gwen and Ethan's embryos implanted in her womb to get her son back from them, she later saw blood spottings and thought she had a miscarriage. In order to get her bargaining chip back, she disguises herself as Gwen, drugs Ethan's drink, and rapes him to get pregnant again. However, she discovers that she did not have a miscarriage after all and is pregnant with two babies (twins). Unfortunately, her uterus is unable to carry both and is told that one of them must be aborted. At first, she wants to abort Gwen's baby, but in the end, she decides to abort the weakest baby. Later, a baby girl was born. Theresa then tells Gwen the news that Gwen may not be the mother of the baby and Theresa does not plan to give the baby to her whether she is the biological mother or not. A DNA test is performed, and after some time, it is revealed that Theresa is the biological mother, devastating Gwen.
Beth pulls this with Sheridan and Luis's child Marty, though Sheridan knows Marty is her child. Not only does Beth kidnap Sheridan for the duration of her pregnancy, but she pretends to be pregnant to the entire town. So when Marty is born, Beth steals the baby and successfully passes him off as her own, and tries to kill Sheridan. Sheridan survives, but by the time she returns to town, nobody believes that Marty is her son. She's even institutionalized over the debacle.