Soapdom's Very Own Ghost Haunting

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Is that a ghost or just your favorite actor or character back on set?

Genie Francis snagging the Emmy for her return as Laura

John Abbott is back in the flesh and as a ghost. Jonathan and Cassie are visited by the ghost of Tammy. I wonder if Jon knows his mom returned to Cross Creek some time ago to haunt Annie, the deranged nurse that Josh was in love with. How did Reva do that -- go from a mischievous ghost to the bigger than life Reva Shayne Lewis?

Guiding Light seems to be fond of the concept, using a ghost to resurrect a character or fan fav actor, but they aren’t the only ones who use the other side as an option for actors who return to a show after their character has met his or her demise.

In the complex world of soap operas, characters come and go just about as often as Brooke Logan (B&B) changes her “destiny.” Sometimes, we are glad to see these characters go and sometimes, it is thanks to the fans that a show feels obligated to bring back a character or actor. Luckily, there are a few options so being haunted isn’t overdone so much.

There is the simple return from the dead, no explanation or a very complex explanation. Macy and Taylor from B&B are good examples of this practice. Both characters have died tragically and dramatically multiple times. Currently, after a 20 year absence from the small screen Jesse, from All My Children, has returned to Pine Valley after his own wife declared him dead. Did she know all along? NO! That is the beauty of resurrecting characters, their co-stars get the chance to be delighted and surprised by the resurgence of their one-time on screen loves, family, friends, business partners, rivals, ect.

The serial killer that never really was, certainly turned out to be a real head scratcher when practically the entire town of Salem (Days of Our Lives) fell prey to the killer on the loose but suddenly everyone was alive and kicking with a little creative writing. The victims were just held hostage on some sequestered island, not really killed. Complete denial of a death is definitely another approach to take when a show is ready to bring someone --  real or fictional -- back from the dead.

Then there is the look-alike or identical twin. I think every soap out there has run with this storyline certainly a time or two. Young & the Restless currently has a hit storyline and popular character that after a stint as the stuffy, straight laced William Bardwell, his less than moral twin brother walked in during the memorial service, and has even married William’s widow. Ridge on Bold & the Beautiful has also seen double when a Caroline look-alike appeared not once but twice as two completely separate twins, well I guess that would make them triplets.

If it is the actor who must exit the show not the character, we of course see a re-cast. This can turn out exceptionally well, making one-time unlikable characters likeable, or the complete opposite and ruin a character. It’s a risky position for the show but if they didn’t take that risk, we could have missed out on some good actors and actresses over the years.

There is no way this article would be complete without the respectful mention of Laura from the legendary Luke and Laura storyline that has been ongoing captivating audiences for over 25 years, which brings up another great, yet plausible, explanation for the absence of a character or actor. The nut house! That can be scarier, more questionable, and suspenseful at times than death itself. Laura has miraculously drifted in and out of a catatonic state for the benefit of everyone except the fans who adored the super couple and can’t get enough of Luke and Laura. She was miraculously cured about 18 months ago in time to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Luke and Laura's wedding.  She may be back in the Looney Bin again now, but odds are, fans are certain to get another dose of Laura in the future.

What is your preferred reintroduction to a character or actor on a show?

As a ghost? Recast? Body Double/twin? Return with or without explanation? Mental hospital? Complete denial? Or would you like for them to just stay dead or gone once the show has gone in that direction?

Looking back what or who do you think the best come-backs have been ? And the worst? Is there an actor or character that you feel a show has slighted fans on by not bringing them back in any form?