How can soaps keep viewers hooked in between big events? Check out what Digest columnist Carolyn Hinsey has to say about what’s happening across the daytime dial.

Soaps need to do more than tread water in between big events if they want to keep us hooked.

GH took a dip after Harmony’s boffo exit because they focused on people we haven’t known very long. The search for the guy who made the clarinet that could lead TJ et al to Curtis’s father … Gladys trying to get Sasha to admit she has a drug problem … Brando working on Sonny’s car in the garage. Some people thought Nina’s quest for visitation of Wiley wasn’t the most riveting, but I like how GH used the custody battle to crank up surrounding drama. Sonny debated whether he should testify (“This could cost you your son!” fretted Nina), Dante got in the middle of Sonny vs. Michael, and Brad stung Carly with how she kept Michael from the Quartermaines.

Brad: “What happened with Michael and A.J. could happen all over again with Wiley.”

And who doesn’t love a good catfight? Carly and Bobbie ran into Nina at Curtis’s club and Bobbie threw a drink.

Bobbie (to Carly): “I know I should have been the bigger person but I couldn’t help it.”

The court battle itself was full of A-listers trading fiery dialogue, but Sonny taking the stand for Nina upped the stakes to way more than who was going to be reading bedtime stories to Wiley in the future. Sonny siding firmly with Nina against his ex-wife and son changes things, regardless of the judge’s ruling — and that’s money.

I’m also enjoying the slow build to control of ELQ between Ned, Michael, Drew and Valentin. The Cassadine rogue only has voting shares because of Brook Lynn’s shenanigans, so it’s ironic that his support might put BLQ’s dad back in the top spot.

Ned (to Drew): “I need to get to the office since I’m the only Quartermaine that actually works at ELQ.”

Having Ned, Drew and Michael living in the same house gives us lots of angsty scenes in the run-up to the inevitable showdown.

Y&R could use a good Newman showdown because the action has been a little slow lately. What are they building to? Amanda and Imani’s off-screen mother needing more medication? Esther getting a second date with her online dating man? Billy’s next self-flagellating podcast? Sorry, but the amount of whipped cream Nick puts in Sharon’s coffee is not a story.

Nick (getting brownies): “I live to serve.”

Then serve up some drama! Adam’s secret quest to become CEO of Newman Enterprises shows promise but it’s taking too long, as the characters acknowledge.

Sally (to Adam): “We have to be patient. We knew this was going to be a slow and challenging scheme.”

Victor assigning Michael to nose around in Ashland’s business pushes the story forward and their repeated run-ins help keep us invested — but eventually we’re going to need more than sharp words in a coffeehouse.

Diane vs. Genoa City is proving to be the most effective way to tread water while we wait for a bigger clash.

Nikki: “I want you to disappear. Maybe this time you could do it without stealing a corpse and framing half the town for murder. Kyle was better off when you were dead.”

Diane: Slap!

Nikki: Slap!

Diane’s catfight game is strong. Paging Phyllis, Summer and Ashley to the ring….

All the DiMeras climbed into the ring on DAYS during the ouster of EJ and Chad from their own company, thanks to testimony against them from their sister, Kristen.

Jake: “I’ll walk you out.”

EJ: “You haven’t seen the last of us!”

Gabi: “Don’t let the door hit you on the ass on the way out.”

Classy. Those scenes could have used more oomph between the battlers, but the aftermath crackled as EJ drew closer to his new love interest.

EJ (drowning his sorrows with Belle): “Tonight we wallow.”

And here comes EJ’s ex Sami! DAYS does this amazing thing where they ship A-listers off the canvas for months at a time and then integrate them right back into the action, so Sami and Lucas’s latest return qualifies as a “big event” in my book.

The same goes for Eric. I didn’t realize a priest could get a call from the Vatican on his cell phone (!) telling him he’s fired for performing an exorcism, but his return does create a devil of a triangle.

Kate: “You’re no longer a priest, so maybe you can get back together with Nicole.”

Ha! I live for Kate.

And Finn lives! But I wish B&B had built to that reveal over a longer period of time. As it was, we got months of Steffy sobbing over her dead husband and then in one episode we got Steffy proposing a memorial service, Li’s return, and the revelation that Li was caring for a very-much-alive Finn.

Li (shutting down a memorial): “I will take care of everything when it comes to my son.”

Steffy (to Taylor): “Is it just me or is Li acting super-strange?”

Door No. 2.

Obviously B&B had this twist planned all along, so a bigger buildup would have worked better. It made no sense that Finn’s parents, Li and Jack, had no role in the decision-making after his death, or in mourning him. But Li’s contempt for the Forresters is a good wrinkle for future storytelling.

Li (to a comatose Finn): “You got caught up in Steffy’s world with the Forresters and all their baggage — and that brought Sheila.” 

Who could blame Li if she nurses her son back to health and then tries to keep him from his wife?

Steffy: “Finn’s gone and he’s never coming back.”

Don’t bet on it. Okay … I’m hooked!

Hey. It’s only my opinion.

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