People are complaining that Stargate Universe is becoming a soap opera, but don't worry — it's got a ways to go before it reaches the levels of science fiction/fantasy's most demented, silliest soap operas.
So here are the most insane SF soaps we could think of — but I bet we missed some good ones. What are your favorites? Pipe up in comments with the lurid details!
Top image by Dennys Ilic. Additional reporting by Josh C. Snyder.
You can pick any character from this show and get a headache trying to figure out all the story twists he or she has gone through. Take Matt Parkman: He's trying to keep his marriage together — No, wait! Now he's living with Mohinder and co-parenting Molly the mutant-detecting girl! — No, wait! Molly is out of the picture! And now Matt is becoming an African-esque shaman! — No, wait! Now Matt is in love with Daphne the speedster, who's the Love Of His Life! — No, wait! Now Matt is back with his wife, and will never think about Daphne again! — No, wait! Etc. etc. etc. My favorite, though, is probably Peter's girlfriend trapped in an alternate dystopian future — whom we will never mention again! Ha ha ha ha urk. (Matt Loves Daphne wallpaper from Fanpop.)
This show started off pretty coherent — but around the third brainwashing or the tenth revelation that Sidney's mother's cousin was really the spy behind brainwashing Sidney to think her half-sister was a chicken. I defy anybody to explain to me the tangled backstory of the Bristow family.
The Cat Who Walked Through Walls by Robert A. Heinlein:
I made a dreadful mistake: This was the first Heinlein book I ever read — and it may have ruined me for Heinlein forever. In the late Heinlein novels, every character ever shows up, and they mostly have sex together, interspersed with a lot of drama and philosophizing. It's a sequel to The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress as well as Number Of The Beast, and features characters from several other books — including Jubal Harshaw, Lazarus Long and Hazel Stone, and it turns out that all of Heinlein's characters have previously unsuspected connections to each other. As reviewer James W. Harris puts it:
Having all of his "good" guys sound like a convention of smarmy talking wife-swappers is just gross. I hate to sound like a teenage girl, but damn, Heinlein's kissy-kissy talk and innuendo just made me want to puke. And making his classic characters act out in this limp-dick porn flick is just tragic. Having them go on and on about how they were going to kill people for bad manners is just a little psycho to me. Evidently a lot of people and situations annoyed the hell out of Heinlein and he used this book to vent. Some people want to call this satire but I think that's whitewash.
Maybe Heinlein lost his mojo and these multiverse stories were the best he could do. Personally, I thought The Rolling Stones was a perfect novel, and bringing back Hazel Stone was a fictionally fuck-up of an idea, ditto for the cast of The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. Maybe I am a prude because I just don't want the Hazel Stone, grandmother of Castor and Pollux, joking about being stretched out of shape by giant 25 centimeter cock.
All of Heinlein's personally favorite characters get put into a fictional juicer and blended into weird rabble of sex obsessed mob that chirp a weird innuendo patter and are almost impossible to tell apart. When I read these multiverse stories I can't help but believe that horniness was driving Heinlein crazy. These later stories are preoccupied with sex, killing people, responding to annoying people, the reliability of witnesses, rude people deserving capital punishment, and so on.
At least this show is ridiculous on purpose — the ultra-demented story of the Venture clan has gotten more and more involved, with Sergeant Hatred's struggle against his pedophilic past taking center stage, and deformed clones and weird villain love affairs aplenty. Most of all, there are the labyrinthine family elements crossing over into everything, like the revelation that Dean was also the head of the Guild. The same characters and their families end up being connected in ever more improbable and weird ways, making our heads spin.
I have four (or possibly five) words for you: "Hotdog is the father." Whaaa? There's also the great way Baltar went from being a slimy scientist to being a slimy politician to being a slimy cult leader — and what happened to the baby that Baltar and Six were going to have together? Oh and while we're on the subject, what about Saul Tigh being crazy-chicken in love with Caprica Six — until she has a miscarriage, and then he never thinks about her again? It all makes you want to grip your television and scream (in a Krazy Starbuck voice) "You're going the wrong way!"
Sonic The Hedgehog (comics):
The Archie Comics Sonic The Hedgehog series twisted Sonic's love life into a Gordian Knot: Originally hooked up with Sally Acorn, she got stuck ruling the country and shoved the relationship to the side to focus on her new duties, prompting Sonic to fall in with Mina Mongoose, starting a rivalry between the two women for Sonic's affection. He then started seeing Fiona Fox on the side, which not only pissed off Mina and Sally, but Tails, as well, who had a crush on her due to falling in love with a robotic duplicate created by Robotnik several years earlier (don't ask). Eventually, Mina got her own boyfriend, Sally got Sonic once again, and Tails got tossed into a brick wall by Fiona, who gave them all the finger to have a relationship with Sonic's evil clone from another universe. And that's not even counting the mini-tangle between Antoine, Sally, Bunnie Rabbot, and Antoine's evil clone from the same universe Fiona's new beau comes from.
Got it? Great.
Okay, let's get this straight... Relena Darlian discovers she's really adopted, and her real name is Relena Peacecraft, one of the last survivors of the pacifistic (duh) Peacecraft tribe. And then it turns out that Zechs Marquise is her long lost older brother. Meanwhile, she gets obsessed with Heero, a young whackjob who keeps announcing he's going to kill her, not unlike the "I'm going to rape you" guy in Welcome To The Dollhouse. And that's just scratching the surface of the most confusing, tangly saga of all time, involving endless backstory and weird family crap.
I was going to do Charmed, Angel's fellow WB series which had the whole "my ex-husband is a half-demon" thing, but Angel is so much more ridiculous — mostly because of Cordy, who is in love with Groosalugg, until she's in love with Angel instead, but meanwhile she's turned into a half-demon and then she becomes a Higher Power, until she comes back and has sex with Angel's son — who, as someone points out, is practically her stepson since she helped care for him as a baby — and then becomes pregnant and evil — until she gives birth to an evil god. Nothing on parent show Buffy was as incestuous and ridiculous as Cordy's arc on Angel. Oh, actually, wait — Cordelia was pregnant twice on Angel.
Sure, it was supposedly about the giant mechas, but it was really all about the tragic loves and the tormented Rick-Minmei-Lisa love triangle. To quote Wikipedia,
In early 2013, while sitting at an outdoor cafe, [Lisa] contemplates the love triangle between the three of them when she overhears two men talking about how women were "dealt all the aces" when it comes to relationships, to which Lisa says to herself "that's all you know...here's one woman who would trade every ace in the deck for one Rick Hunter.
Sigh. Twoo Love. Here's a great fanvid featuring the music of White Town. Yay!
This, of course, is the most insane soap opera imaginable. At this point, the X-men have had illegitmate babies from the future, secret love affairs, doomed passions and multiple bad transcriptions of all sorts of accents, from Cajun to Scottish. My favorite ridiculous soap-opera twist might be Madrox's night of passion with two female members of X-Factor: Siryn and Monet, resulting in a pregnancy that isn't quite a normal pregnancy. But then there's also the whole insane Rogue/Gambit thing, the Scott/Jean/Wolverine/Emma love doodaddle, and of course Professor X turning out to be secretly in love with Jean Grey. That's just scratching the surface, really. If you want more info, check out the X-Men relationship map — which is probably already out of date!