“Dirty Soap,” which premieres Sunday night on E! (10/9c), is a slickly produced docusoap chronicling the social lives of a group of daytime soap stars. The show portrays its cast as familiar reality show types. “Days of Our Lives” star Nadia Bjorlin and her boyfriend, “The Bold & the Beautiful’s” Brandon Beemer are the loving, supportive couple. Farah Fath and her boyfriend, “One Life to Live’s” John Paul Lavoisier, are the unhappy couple who argue all the time. “General Hospital’s” Kelly Monaco and her co-star Kristen Storms are the single ladies. DOOL’s Galen Gering and his wife are the married couple.
It’s heavily produced, with some storylines and moments that seem less than authentic (Gering’s wife being insecure about her husband’s occasional, relatively tame sex scenes, Monaco burning her prom dress), but there are glimpses of how daytime really works behind-the-scenes that make it worth watching. Eagle eyed viewers will note that GH’s Maurice Benard wears track pants and a fedora to rehearsal, and that B&B’s Ronn Moss was making out with his wife at Bjorlin’s party. OLTL fans will be intrigued when Fath tells a friend that she is only making sporadic appearances on the show as the ghost of her former character Gigi, but was originally supposed to take over the role of Gigi’s evil sister Stacey before the show got canceled.
Catch Up On “General Hospital”:
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Monaco, Gering, Beemer and Bjorlin shared why they decided to do a reality series and what they hope “Dirty Soap” will do for the soap genre, and revealed a few secrets about those not-so-dirty soap sex scenes.
Why did you want to do this show?
Gering: Because it’s awesome.
Beemer: It’s something interesting. We love the fans so much. This is also a way to give back to them and help support the genre of daytime. It’s so different than what we’re used to. I think for me it’s a challenge to just try and get past wanting to close the doors and shut the world off and now these cameras are in our lives and you get to that point where you just kind of forget about them and it’s fun.
How intrusive were the cameras? Were any of the scenes staged or produced?
Bjorlin: It’s not staged or produced at all. It’s just following us around our real lives, behind the scenes of us going to work and behind the scenes of us at home being regular people. It was incredibly intrusive, but you get used to the cameras eventually.
Beemer: Once you get used to them and you forget about them, you never know what’s going to happen. Stuff starts happening, crazy things. Anybody who’s been to our house, they’re like, “I forgot that the cameras were on… I started to go off on this tangent.”
Nadia and Brandon, you are portrayed as the perfect, happy couple. Is that accurate?
Beemer: It’s not 100 percent accurate.
Bjorlin: In what way?
Beemer: Things will escalate. There’s a little bit of drama in our relationship. But when people use a word like fight, I’m like, “We don’t really fight.” We just kind of bicker and go back and forth. It never really escalates to anything that’s super crazy, but it’s super entertaining afterwards. We kiss and make up 30 minutes later and it wasn’t anything big, but sometimes it’s fun.
Bjorlin: I wouldn’t say we’re perfect.
Beemer: I would.
Bjorlin: But we’re best friends and we get along. We have fun and fight about normal, stupid stuff.
Was it difficult letting the cameras follow you on your last day at “Days of Our Lives?”
Bjorlin: Absolutely, because I usually try to take the stoic route and use my humor to mask my feelings. So it was really hard for them to be there on my last day, documenting it because it felt really personal and I was grieving. It was sad for me to have to work and say goodbye to everybody and to have them there while I was going through it definitely felt very vulnerable.
Kristen Storms persuaded you to burn your prom dress because it was a reminder of your past relationship. Do you regret that now?
Monaco: I regretted doing it before I even pulled it out of the closet to do it. I’m hoping there’s a bigger, powerful meeting somewhere down the line.
It was just announced that Kristen is going to take a leave of absence from GH. Is she going to be okay?
Monaco: She’s going to be fine. Just say your prayers and wish her a speedy recovery.
Galen, your wife is shown being upset about your sex scenes with Alison Sweeney. Is that a sincere issue or something you play up for the cameras?
Gering: I think it’s an issue that it’s normal to feel a certain way… I think you forget about it at times then sometimes you see it and you’re like, “I don’t know if I’m cool with that.” But no, it’s not an issue that we’re dealing with on a day to day basis. I don’t think she’s upset with me right now. She understands. I’ve been on the opposite side of it, seeing her have to make out with people and do weird stuff and it’s uncomfortable. It’s what we do. We’re actors and you’re put in this imaginary set of circumstances. Hopefully that’s where it begins and ends.
Beemer: It’s not sexy. It’s not romantic. You have an entire crew staring at you. You have a loudspeaker going, “Kiss her neck. Right there. Do it one more time. Now move your arm up her thigh.”
Bjorlin: You make it sound like glorified porn.
Gering: I’m sorry. Don’t you ever feel like you are in a porno sometimes?
Monaco: My partner doesn’t do love scenes so for the past five years, I’m off the hook.
Monaco: Steve (Burton) my co-star has refused to do love scenes. So I’ve been let off the hook.
The fans have been driven insane by his decision.
Monaco: We do make love on our honeymoon.That’s the first love scene we’ ve had in five or six years.
Gering: How do you feel about that?
Monaco: I love it. No PG-porn.
Gering: How does that work? On what grounds?
Monaco: I think something with his belief system, his stance in life. I just don’t think it’s necessary. And we have remained a very high rated couple without having to have a love scene.
Does “Dirty Soap” cover any fun behind the scenes moments on your soaps?
Monaco: Yep. We have the wedding, Steve being a total goofball on set. I think it will be really cool for people to see he’s got a sense of humor and he’s not this dead-eyed killer.
Bjorlin: We have a lot of fun. That’s the most important thing. We don’t choose to stay her for 10, 15, 40 years because we don’t have fun. You’ll see it’s a really family oriented set. We love each other like family. We fight like family. And we do go home to our own lives where we have our own problems.
Do you think this show can help put soaps back on the cultural map?
Bjorlin: I think that’s the goal. I think we’ve all agreed… we’re trying to get another demographic in, another generation interested in daytime, entice a new audience to want to see the kind of characters that we play, as well as getting to know us as real people.
Beemer: We make great shows and hopefully people will discover that.
Gering: If you go to a studio, they have set tours. Basically, this is inviting the audience in: how long it takes to go through hair and make up, what the sets look like in relation to the person, etc. I think the fans in this day and age totally have an appetite for what’s going on not only in front of the camera but also behind it.