Love! Pain! Outrage!A guide to the hottest triangles on daytime soaps
(edited to just include part of article of interest to Stephen & Mary Beth fans)
On Days of Our Lives, all eyes are on Kayla, Patch, and Jack. Kayla (Mary Beth Evans), a registered nurse, and Patch (Stephen Nichols), a troubled man with a difficult childhood he can’t seem to put behind him, care deeply for each other. But Patch, blinded in one eye, just can’t accept the reality that Kayla loves him, and keeps shoving her away. Jack, meanwhile, the suave, wee-to-do son of a senator, has come to town and is hot for Kayla. Until recently, what added to the tension was the audience’s painful awareness that Kayla and Patch couldn’t manage to consummate their relationship. Every time they tried, something intervened. A while ago, for instance, Patch was unzipping Kayla’s dress, when someone knocked on the door, delivering secret documents that reveled that Patch once was hired to do surveillance on Kayla. Kayla got angry and wouldn’t have anything to do with him for several weeks. Another time, they were together when the building they were in exploded and collapsed on top of them, trapping them together in the rubble for three days. Unfortunately, Kayla became unconscious.
Finally, last month, Kayla and Patch’s (as well as the audience’s) fondest hopes were realized, when the script called for a torrid love scene on the roof of Kayla’s apartment building.
What makes some “triangular” couples, like Patch and Kayla, hotter than others? There are all kinds of elaborate theories and strategies concerning how to make a television romance sizzle, but it all begins with that ineffable concept that applies to real-life romances as well: chemistry. When starting out with any triangle, first the writers must establish a primary couple who simply, unequivocally, have the right chemistry together.
“A year ago, we tried Evans and Nichols out as a couple, and the chemistry between them immediately was picked up by the audience,” says Rabin.
It helps even further to heighten the tension between the amorous couple, and as everyone over the age of 13 knows, nothing creates sexual tension better than resistance. Thus, a good writer will always throw plenty of roadblocks in the couple’s path. In the case of Kayla and Patch, the major obstacle is their differing backgrounds. He is a man from the wrong side of the tracks, a hired thug, and she is a nurse from a nice family. Her family was violently opposed to their union, but the couple prevailed. It’s as if the romance developed a life of its own.
“We gave it nine months,” says Rabin. “We just kept nurturing it. And now the audience very much wants them to be together. So the first problem, establishing them as a couple, was solved. And once you reach that plateau, it’s time to introduce the other part of the triangle.” In this case, Jack (played by Joseph Adams; he has since been replaced by James Achson), an old boy friend of Kayla’s, who happens to have Hodgkins disease. Kayla became his nurse, and Jack fell in love with her. “We will play this story out for another four months,” says Rabin, “and then we’ll see what happens.”
And that, soap fans, could be just about anything.