Do you remember the days back in the 1980s and early 90s when cable television was (and some of us still think) having issues and it seemed that every time you turned around, there would be some technical problem? Ok… at least one of my commenting readers does not Attempts made to correct the scrambled channels and finally you had to call the cable guy who seemed to take forever to arrive. This is a running gag in the deliriously ingenious comedy from the decade of excess aptly entitled Delirious.
The late great John Candy stars as Jack Gable, writer on a popular soap opera full of the stock characters, outrageous situations, big hair, shoulder pads, frequent plot twists, aaaaaand serious OVERACTING that frequent the suds. Everything I love to howl at while having the rare occasion to catch a glimpse of during a dull weekday afternoon is there. Through a fateful highway accident, Jack is transported into the world of the soap opera. At first, it is a nightmare until he discovers that he can control the action by simply creating scenes on his typewriter (yes, a few people still used them in 1991). So…. he writes himself into the role of the adventurous, handsome (?), rogue Jack Gates.
As I said, stock characters from every soap opera imaginable are present. We have Carter Hedison, the rich industrial head of the central household (played by Raymond Burr). His b-witchy daughter, Rachel (played by Dynasty’s Emma Samms). Plus the two sons vying for their father’s attention: the outcast with a patch and the terminally ill simpleton. On a side note, the outdoor facade of the Hedison mansion bears a striking similarity to Stately Wayne Manor (60s Batman series).
Also along for the ride are the hapless physician who is the fiancee of Rachel and the goody-two-shoes heroine, Janet (played by Mariel Hemingway). Twists and turns abound and some characters are not who or what they appear to be. One of my favorite bits is the old “Hungarian Rhapsody Number 2 in C-Sharp Minor” by Franz Liszt gag. Not familiar with the classical piece? Think Daffy and Donald and their piano duo from Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
I believe a similar movie from the time, Soapdish, got more press but if you love to laugh at the ridiculous nature of everyday sudsers, check out Delirious.