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Video Digest: May 1, 2006

"Her midget pal Timmy is gone, but replacing him is Endora, an adorable little girl whose lines are written in air bubbles over her head. All I can say is, please don't let her learn to talk."

I’m lost when it comes to Lost. I don’t know who’s on the island, what’s in the jungle, or why Michelle Rodriguez keeps getting busted for DUIs. I’m sure it’s a good show, but it demands so much… attention. Most of the time, I take my TV in distracting spurts, which I can vaguely pay attention to as I work, cook, clean—VH1’s endless nostalgia countdowns are ideal for this, as is my recent discovery, the soap opera Passions. As a general rule, I haven’t watched soap operas since I hairsprayed my bangs. But Passions isn’t just any soap—it’s a soap opera to the max, with witches and mysterious monks and babies casting spells. Apparently, Passions peaked a few years ago when Precious the orangutan and Timmy the magic midget were on the show. What can I say? I worked in an office then.

Passions takes place in the imaginary town of Harmony, which is ruled over by a witch named Tabitha. She’s centuries old, and looks it. Her midget pal Timmy is gone, but replacing him is Endora, an adorable little girl whose lines are written in air bubbles over her head. These appear with a satisfying sound familiar to viewers of Pop-Up Video, and all I can say is, please don’t let her learn to talk. There are normal things going on in Harmony, too—marriages crumbling, siblings sleeping together—but I have little patience for this. Every time they switch back to Sheridan, and whether she’s married to Chris or Luis, who turns out not to be dead, I flip over to VH1 to see if Michael Ian Black might be goofing on Strawberry Shortcake. I want my soap opera heavy on the opera. And hey, if an orangutan shows up, I won’t complain. Apparently, that’s not true for everyone.

Passions is written by James E. Reilly, the man responsible for the best Days of Our Lives season ever, in which Marlena was possessed by the devil. (If you missed that in 1995, apparently you weren’t a 15-year-old girl.) The show is one of the lowest-rated soaps on daytime, and there’s currently an online petition, signed by over a thousand people, to yank Reilly from the show “due to his lack of innovation in the creation of storylines.” I don’t know what soaps these guys are watching, but just today, a mermaid turned into a woman and a nun used a virtual reality mask to break into the Vatican. Come on. What more do they want?

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