Passions soap opera image
(NBC )

Happy 25 Years to the Most Unhinged Soap Opera of All Time

Raise a MarTimmy to the greatest soap of all time

When the weight of the current state of the world is getting me down too much, I remind myself of a simple fact no one can take from any of us. Humanity can never be truly lost, as it is responsible for the perfection of Passions.

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The soap opera aired on NBC from 1999 until 2008 and just turned 25 years old. Yes, friends, it’s hard to believe that Passions premiered on July 5, 1999, a debut I remember well because it came mired in controversy. See, in the first episode, the newly-dead Princess Diana was portrayed to be besties with fictional Sheridan Crane. At one point, Sheridan laments to no one in particular: “Oh Diana! Why did you have to die?” Some people didn’t love that, for obvious reasons, but to me, it was Passions metaphorically telling us to hold their beer, while they set across an obstacle course of flaming closets to hell, dolls turned to life, and of course, orangutan-human love triangles.

If you don’t know Passions, then you don’t know the things I just listed were not absurd nonsensical words strung together but very real storylines on a show that somehow managed to run for eight years. Since I was in school for most of its run (high school and then college), it was a rare sick day that I got to stay home and watch Passions. There was an arrangement in my friend group that if you did get to catch an episode, it was your duty to fill everyone else in on what was happening, which wasn’t that hard because storylines tended to go on for months, like the storied Prom Boat Disaster of 2000—a mere hazy memory in my mind now, but you can see how awesome it was based on this promo from NBC alone:

Passions was not afraid of the supernatural. In fact, one could say it reveled in it from the start. Witches were constantly cursing people, bringing dolls to life (hold that thought), or getting trapped in a closet that was a portal to hell—you know, run of the mill things. Of course, out of all the Passions characters, one truly stands out, and that is, of course, the aforementioned doll/boy, Timmy (Josh Ryan Evans). In the early years, he was frequently dressed in what could only be described as cast-off-clown-doll-rags. It’s glorious:

Obviously Timmy, a living doll, falls in love with Charity Crane—Sheridan’s sister, and a member of one of the prominent families of Passions. There are other families but unfortunately we don’t have time to get into that.

Timmy also longs to be a real boy, like all dolls who come alive, and unfortunately that dream is short-lived after a zombified Charity attacks Timmy. He is granted his wish, but succumbs to his injuries. This is just a normal day on Passions. Timmy was also known for his “Martimmy,” a cocktail—mocktail?—of dubious origin that he would make for Tabitha, the witch who brought him to life.

Unfortunately, the actor who played Timmy died far too young, and because this is a deeply unserious show, there was a magical void that was lacking once Timmy had to be written out. What is an unhinged showrunner to do? Hire an orangutan to play a nurse and get involved in a love triangle, of course. Enter Nurse Precious:

Passions even had the gall to try to enter the orangutan who played Precious for consideration for a Daytime Emmy. They were denied the entry.

If I didn’t live through the original airing of Passions, I would not believe it ever existed. Somehow the show managed to create over 2,000 episodes of the trashiest, most creative, most entertaining mess I’ve ever seen. So raise a Martimmy to Passions, a show that stands alone in the genre. Now excuse me while I go to YouTube and spend hours watching clips of the greatest soap of all time.

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Image of Kate Hudson
Kate Hudson
Kate Hudson (no, not that one) has been writing about pop culture and reality TV in particular for six years, and is a Contributing Writer at The Mary Sue. With a deep and unwavering love of Twilight and Con Air, she absolutely understands her taste in pop culture is both wonderful and terrible at the same time. She is the co-host of the popular Bravo trivia podcast Bravo Replay, and her favorite Bravolebrity is Kate Chastain, and not because they have the same first name, but it helps.