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A ''General Hospital'' spoof

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This summer, Sally Field’s big-screen comedy Soapdish purports to parody the world of daytime television drama. But the making of a real soap can be just as outlandish as satire. Below, soap operas played straight and skewed.

SOAPDISH’s ‘THE SUN ALSO SETS’
vs.
ABC’s ‘GENERAL HOSPITAL’

SILLIEST NAMES
Soapdish · Bolt, Montana
General Hospital · Frisco, Scorpio

WRITING AN ACTOR IN
SD · Long-absent leading man (Kevin Kline) returns after surgery reverses his decapitation.
GH · Long-absent leading man (Tony Geary) returns after hair-dye and contact lenses turn him into cousin.

WRITING AN ACTOR OUT
SD · Character’s demise is planned to result from an emergency brain transplant in a restaurant.
GH · One character leaves fictional town of Port Charles, N.Y., to return to Lumina, his home planet.

BEHIND THE SCENES
SD · Producer is in a sexual thrall to an actress with a mysterious past.
GH · Producer is victim of alleged smear campaign by ex-employees.

FAMILY LIFE
SD · Actress’ new costars turn out to be her ex-lover and their daughter.
GH · Jack Wagner and Kristina Malandro fall in love while starring in the show.

MONEY
SD · Head of daytime (Garry Marshall) makes $1.5 million per year.
GH · Executive producer Gloria Monty’s salary was reportedly $2 million in 1986.

CAREER CHANGES
SD · Celeste Talbert (Sally Field) plays a jailbird-turned-soup kitchen volunteer.
GH · Jacklyn Zeman plays a hard-bitten hooker-turned-registered nurse.

RIVALRIES
SD · Actress goes behind writer’s back to get Celeste fired from the series.
GH · Monty accuses GH employee of sabotaging story lines.

CREATIVE CREDO
SD · From network executive: ”Cheap and peppy — those are words I like.”
GH · From network executive: ”We need to bring back that young audience.”