What Makes a Super-Couple? A Study of Soap Opera Characters

Hi. My name is Michelle and I am a soap opera addict.

Well, I’m addicted to one soap in particular. Days of Our Lives. My mom watched it when I was a toddler playing in the living room with blocks and baby dolls. I took a brief hiatus during elementary school (although I did enjoy it when I was sick), and then the advent of the VCR and then the DVR allowed me to become re-addicted. Nowadays, I watch it on Hulu while I’m on the treadmill. I almost never miss an episode.

It’s exciting times in soap opera world. You’re either fixing your formula so you can compete with the talk show hosts or you’re getting cancelled. Days, or DOOL as my fellow addicts and I affectionately refer to it, has chosen the first, and far more preferable, route. After years of sub-par plots, untalented (and very young) actors and a startling preference for violence over romance, the Powers-That-Be seem to be listening to the fans. They’ve pared down the cast to the most talented, and now they’re bringing back some old fan favorites and giving some others more meaty storylines.

This all got me thinking. Soap operas, at least since the eighties, have been known for creating “super-couples”. These are the couples in soaps who are truly together “until death do they part.” If you’re a fan of soaps, you know these couples are never going to be torn apart, no matter what. Well, sometimes they get divorced or accidentally fall in love with somebody else for a while, but only if they think the other one is dead while they’ve really only been kidnapped. Or maybe they did die but were brought back to life for nefarious purposes by an evil genius. Either way, love will conquer all in the end.

But what makes these couples so indestructible? How do they have such powers for forgiveness and love that they can overcome finding someone else in their spouse’s bed after they’ve fought their way out of a dungeon to get home? I’ve come up with a (sort of) formula for this, just in case anybody out there would like to attempt to replicate this heaven on earth in real life.

First, they must both be incredibly attractive, but probably in different ways. For instance, the woman is a debutante or a professional while the man is sort of a diamond in the rough. A nice scruffy beard is a plus, but just a permanent five o’clock shadow will do. And while the woman is absolutely clueless (at least at first) as to the effect she has on the man, the man should definitely believe he is God’s gift to women. (If there are any guys out there reading this, this attitude most definitely does not work in real life. Trust me, you won’t be able to pull it off like an outwardly alpha/hidden beta male can.)

Second, the man must be an alpha male, but with a tender side that the woman uncovers by accident. He’s often brusque and rude, especially in her presence, but if given the opportunity, he will save little children and kittens (accidentally in her presence).

Third, our couple must experience an element of danger. Life-threatening (mostly for her) danger is best, and if it can be brought about by him, all the better.

Finally, the woman must be so attracted to the man, she will never, ever give up on him. Even when he’s rude and endangers her life, she will turn a blind eye and a deaf ear. After all, she knows there is more to this guy. She’s witnessed his bravery when small children and kittens are at stake. And besides, the five o’clock shadow is too sexy to leave.

On second thought, I don’t think I would recommend reproducing these characteristics in real life. However, if you’d care to live in a fantasy for a while, try reading a romance or two. Like these:

Josie let him take her hand. “No, I guess not. How do you know for sure when somebody can’t hurt you anymore?”

Dan’s thumb moved gently over the backs of her fingers in an absent but comforting gesture. “I suppose it’s when you no longer feel like they have the ability to reach into your chest and grab hold of your heart.”

“I’m not sure I ever felt that way about Eric.”

“You’re lucky.” He was still looking at her hand.

“Then you have?” She was surprised, she had to admit. She hadn’t thought he ever let women get that close to him.

Dan dropped her hand abruptly. “Only once. We should go before I get a parking ticket.”

Startled, Josie watched as he pulled on a sweatshirt and headed to the door.


“Sure, yeah.” She picked up her bag. “Sorry.” She followed him, wondering which of his many conquests had elicited such intensity of feeling from him and if that woman fully appreciated
what she’d left behind.

“Has anyone ever told you you’re very sexy when you’re feeling guilty?” John asked.

Becky looked up to find him smiling. With a rush of violence, she wanted to hit him. In fact, she did raise her hand to strike him, but he forestalled that by stepping forward, one arm sliding around her waist, the other hand behind her head, pulling her to him, his lips first gentle on hers, then more demanding. As she relaxed in his arms, he drew her even closer, the hand behind her head sliding down to the nape of her neck in the lightest of caresses.

It was the first time they’d kissed in nearly two weeks. It felt incredible to be in his arms again. She realized how much she had missed being with him and reveled in the heat between them, wanting more, but knowing this embrace would have to end.

He released her with obvious reluctance, tapering off the one long passionate kiss to several slow and deliberate kisses, finally stopping completely.

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