Soapdish – Dishes Up A Hilarious Spoof of Soaps

I’m not a fan of spoofs, parodies, etc., for one reason. Hardly anyone can do them. The old Mad Magazine of days long gone was an exceptional exception. It was so witty it warped the fertile minds of my generation forever and made us throw tomatoes, if not rocks, at anything or anyone that didn’t measure up.

I know humor, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder, but come on — admit it. Most of the movies called spoofs are so silly they’d make you barf if you didn’t snap off the TV fast enough. Not so with Soapdish.

This movie has a star-spangled cast that delivers. It pokes some really funny fun at soap operas both in front of and behind the cameras. It doesn’t go over the top. Neither is a there one single boring moment. And though it is a parody of an amoral society, it depicts the amorality with a measure of restraint. Actually, better restraint than most TV shows and commercials.

Sally Field plays an aging ingenue, Celeste Talbert/Maggie, who still rules the show as “America’s Sweetheart”, but younger hopefuls are pressing hard on her heels. Whoopi Goldberg plays the lead writer, Rose, whose undying loyalty to Celeste puts her square in the star’s corner as friend and reality-check confidante.

But it doesn’t help that the show, the long-time daytime ratings giant “The Sun Also Sets”, is taking a plunge. As their network executive Edmund Edwards (Gary Marshall) said, they’d almost taken a backseat to a woman cooking sausages.

One of the soap’s supporting cast members, Montana Moorehead (Cathy Moriarty), who plays Nurse Nan, holds out feminine favors to Producer David Barnes (Robert Downey, Jr.), if he will help her sabotage Celeste’s career so she can get the lead part. Then comes starry-eyed college girl Lori Craven/Angelique (Elisabeth Shue), Celeste’s niece, wangling her way onto the show and gets what is meant to be a small part as a homeless person.

But the main villainous plot introduces the incomparable Kevin Kline as Jeffrey Anderson, who 20 years before played Celeste’s love interest, Dr. Rod Randall, both on and off-screen, until Celeste sabotaged his career for a personal reason. For years Anderson’s role has been relegated to the lead in “Death of A Salesman” — to tottering and mostly deaf retirees at a half-baked dinner theatre in Florida. And now, payback is a-comin’.

As the network gets more desperate for ratings, ancient history and egos collide. Then the dialogue both on and off-screen starts getting more personal — and more human — while Rose and the crew watch in wide-eyed wonder, with Rose bemoaning, “Why can’t I write #$%@ like that”.

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3 thoughts on “Soapdish – Dishes Up A Hilarious Spoof of Soaps

    • I had never heard of it either. I streamed it off Netflix or Amazon, can’t remember. It was released in 1991, so everyone is much younger. I had already watched it halfway through when Mike came home and I reset it to watch it with him. We loved it. I’ve sent a couple of emails to you. Sorry I missed yours before with Il Volo. Thank you again so much. That Idol performance is my favorite of all those wonderful favorites.

      • I have DVD-only service from Netflix, no streaming. I set it up that way because at the time, I didn’t have sufficient bandwith to watch anything streaming. Now I do….and I watch a ton of stuff on Hulu Plus ($7.99 a month) and Amazon (free because I’m a Prime member.) I just read on line today that Netflix is losing 2,000 streaming movies because MGM, Warner Bros. and Universal have all refused to license their movies to them. What a blow to Netflix.

        Yes, I got your emails about Il Volo and your shoulder and replied. You replied to my Il Volo videos email the day after I sent it so you weren’t late at all in replying. You seemed to think you’d had it for a week. I’m so glad you finally got their O Sole Mio from the 2/19/11 “American Idol” appearance.

        And speaking of Idol, It has been airing on Wed. and Thurs. nights and “The Voice” has been on Mon. and Tues. Next week The Voice is airing an extra show on Wed., but I’m going to stick with Idol. It’s too close to the final and The Voice’s final isn’t until several weeks later.

        I received “Best Kept Secret” today, the last Jeffrey Archer book about Harry Clifton. When you’ve read “Sins of the Father” from the library, see if they have this final book. If not, I’ll mail mine to you.

        I’m going to sign off and go watch Idol. I recorded it earlie so I could skip all the ads.

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