The insane SOAP Trivia Quiz


By: Julie Medina

4 Min Quiz

Image: Youtube

About This Quiz

What happens when you push a satire of soap operas past sensible limits? You get the SOAP TV show with alien abduction, demonic possession, murder, kidnapping and more unbelievably comical situations. Enjoy the insanity! Take the quiz right now.

In the opening sequence of every show, what does the announcer say?

The answer is B. At the beginning of each episode, off-camera announcer Rod Roddy gives a brief description of the convoluted story line and remarks, "Confused? You won't be, after this week's episode of...Soap." Only in the very first episode does he start by introducing the two main characters of the soap opera.


What is the name of the actress who plays Jessica Tate?

Katherine Helmond played the sweet-natured, naïve and sheltered Jessica Tate. She also played a feisty mother, Mona Robinson on 'Who's the Boss?' opposite Tony Danza. She also played more mothers, Doris Sherman on 'Coach', and Lois Whelan on 'Everybody Loves Raymond'.


Who played Mary Campell?

Mary Campell portrayed by Cathryn Damon, is the sister of Jessica Tate and one of the two main characters of the show. Down-to-earth, sensual and much brighter than her sister, she provides a comic foil to her sister's spaced-out antics. Cathryn Damon made her start on Broadway, was known for her work on SOAP followed by her role of Cassie Parker on Webster from 1984-86.


What was the name of Jessica’s philandering husband?

The answer is Chester Tate, played by Robert Mandan. Chester played a wealthy stock broker and Jessica’s philandering husband. Robert Mandan is not a stranger to soap operas, he played businessman Sam Reynolds on Search for Tomorrow from 1965 to 1970.


What is the name of Mary Campbell’s husband?

Burt Campell, portrayed by Richard Mulligan, is the second husband of Mary Campbell. In contrast to Chester, Burt and Mary have a strong marriage. Burt is a high-strung building contractor who later becomes sheriff and is under consideration for a run as lieutenant governor. He began his acting career on Broadway and quickly gained fame from SOAP as well as playing Dr. Harry Weston in the NBC series Empty Nest.


Speaking of Burt, when he suffered from mental illness what interesting behavior did he develop?

In Season 1, Burt suffers from mental illness due to his guilt over accidentally killing Mary's first husband, and the murder of his son Peter. For a time, he believes he can make himself invisible by snapping his fingers. He snaps out of it soon enough.


One can’t talk about Burt without mentioning the out-of-this-world situation he was in, what was it?

Burt at one point is abducted by aliens and replaced with X-23, an alien Burt lookalike (also played by Mulligan). Only Mary knows that Burt's abduction was real. Here’s an example of the hilarity that came from this insane situation: Burt is informed that an alien replacement is going to be send down to live in his house. Burt: “He's not gonna, uh... umm... uh...” Space Alien: “Sleep with your wife? Of course! Why do you think he's jumping up and down? He has not had sex for 2,000 years.”


What is the name of Chester and Jessica’s son?

Billy Tate, played by Jimmy Bail, is the youngest child and only son of Jessica and Chester (according to Benson, "the only one in this family worth a damn."). He is the cousin of actor Scott Baio, of Happy Days fame.


What happened to Chester and Jessica’s daughter when she married an ex-priest?

One of the Tate’s daughter, Corinne, marries ex-priest Tim Flotsky and gives birth to a baby named Timmy who turns out to be demon-possessed (due to Tim's outraged mother, Flo, cursing the marriage). Eventually Tim leaves Corinne. Diana Canova played the daughter who slept with most of the male population of Dunn’s River.


The Tate’s other daughter, Eunice – what happens to her in SOAP?

Eunice dates a married congressman in Season 1 and then falls in love with convicted murderer Dutch Leitner and ultimately marries him. Jennifer Salt who plays Eunice is currently retired from acting, and became just as successful in her writing career, including writing episodes for Nip/Tuck and other programs. She is a co-writer of the script for the Julia Roberts film Eat Pray Love. In 2011, she joined the FX horror series American Horror Story as a writer and co-executive producer.


What was the name of everybody’s favorite wise-cracking butler?

Benson, played by Robert Guillaume is the Tates' wisecracking African-American cook/butler in the early seasons, who shows utter contempt for Chester. He is frequently the target of the Major's racist quips, but Benson has a soft spot for Jessica, Corinne, and most notably Billy. Guillaume was a favorite character on SOAP and continued the role in a spinoff series, Benson, from 1979 until 1986.


What is the nickname of the father of Jessica Tate and Mary Campbell?

Arthur Peterson, Jr portrayed The Major who suffers from dementia and believes he is in the midst of fighting World War II. The Major is always in uniform and often irritates Benson with his obliviously racist remarks. Peterson made his media debut in 1936 with a regular role on the radio serial The Guiding Light, and had acted sporadically on stage, film and TV.


Billy Crystal starred on SOAP, what was the name of his character?

The son of Mary Campbell and her first husband Johnny Dallas. Jodie Dallas plays an openly gay man, with a quick wit and pleasant temperament. Jodie Dallas is portrayed by Billy Crystal, an American actor, writer, producer, director, comedian and television host. He gained prominence in this sitcom and appeared in the critical and box office successes When Harry Met Sally... (1989), City Slickers (1991), and Analyze This (1999). He has also hosted the Academy Awards nine time.


The series ends with Jodie believing himself to be who - due to a failed hypnotherapy session?

The series ends with Jodie believing himself to be an old Jewish man named Julius Kassendorf due to a failed hypnotherapy session. What’s interesting about Billy Crystal’s character is how much controversy surrounded it. Soap was among the earliest American prime time series to include an openly gay character who was a major part of the series. Social conservatives opposed the character on religious grounds, while some gay rights activists were also upset with the character of Jodie, arguing that certain story developments reinforced negative stereotypes, e.g. his desire to have a sex change operation, or represented a desire to change or downplay his sexual orientation.


Ted Wass played Mary Campbell’s eldest son. Sweet-natured, good-looking but not particularly bright. What is the character’s name?

Sweet-natured, good-looking but not particularly bright, Danny Dallas is a low-level gangster due to his late father's membership, not due to any aptitude or desire of his own. He is given the task of killing his stepfather Burt, but can't bring himself to, and as a result spends most of Season 1 on the run, popping up in ludicrous disguises.


We can’t talk about SOAP without mentioning the ventriloquist, what was the name of the character and the dummy?

Mary's stepson Chuck (Jay Johnson) is a ventriloquist whose hostilities are expressed through his alter ego, a quick-witted dummy named Bob. Early in production, there were problems recording sound for Bob, Chuck's ventriloquist dummy. It was soon discovered that Jay Johnson's schizophrenic performance was so convincing that the sound man was pointing the microphone at the dummy whenever it had a line!


There were so many memorable characters on the show. Although his time on SOAP was short lived, who did Robert Urich portray?

Peter Campbell, played by Robert Urich is Burt Campbell's sleazy tennis pro son by his first marriage. Peter is carrying on affairs with both Jessica and Corinne, as well as numerous other women around town. His murder in Season 1 leads to the first-season cliffhanger: the question of who killed Peter Campbell. Robert Urich is well known for his role of Dan Tanna in the crime drama series Vega$ and Spenser for Hire.


The plot twists got right to the heart of satirizing soap operas. Which of these is NOT one of SOAP's plot twists?

The answer is that all of these are plot twists on SOAP. But it’s just the tip of the iceberg. Do you remember Jessica's love affairs with several men, including Donahue, a private investigator hired to find the missing presumed-dead Chester, her psychiatrist, and a Latin American revolutionary known as "El Puerco" ("The Pig"; his friends just call him "El").? The plot twists go on and on!


Casey Kasem was the narrator on the pilot episode, but left shortly afterwards, why?

Casey Kasem was the narrator on the pilot episode, but left shortly afterwards due to the adult themes of the show and his concern that the show would hurt his family-friendly image. Rod Roddy took his place and rerecorded the narration of the pilot. He continued with the show until the end. After that, Roddy had a long career on the game show, The Price Is Right.


In a recap of season three, Jessica pleads with her guardian angel to allow her to rejoin her family on Earth. What is that episode called?

The answer is Jessica’s Wonderful Life. In the episode, Jessica, who had just died in the hospital, found herself in heaven speaking to her guardian angel (played by Bea Arthur). Jessica explained via the flashback clips why she was not ready to die and had to return to earth to help her family. That episode was used to recap all the shenanigans in Season three and get the audience up to speed for Season four. With the numerous plot twists, it was important to have this type of recap. Susan Harris created these recaps for the start of season two, three as well.


When Eunice mistakenly has sex with a burglar, thinking he is Dutch, how does she try to lure back the burglar?

Eunice has sex with a burglar, mistaking him as Dutch trying out some sexual role play. Though the burglar didn't intend to sleep with Eunice when he was robbing the house, he did take advantage of the misunderstanding. Eunice, upon realizing it wasn't Dutch, waves some jewelry outside the window and shouts for the burglar to come back.


What is the running gag that happens at Burt’s construction sites?

Accidents are known to happen at the construction sites, such as when Burt and Danny are up on the high iron talking and accidentally knock over a bucket full of rivets. Then there was the time when Danny accidentally drops an apple. The cop (and his horse) were okay. And in another episode, one of Burt's co-workers falls off a girder after seeing Burt sitting next to the alien that has been transformed to look exactly like him.


What is Jodie’s reply to the Child Protective Services worker who becomes instantly hostile on learning Jodie is gay. Worker: Are you a practicing homosexual?

The correct answer is “A”. Jodie always has a witty comeback when defending his lifestyle. Although he’s extremely funny even when his lifestyle is not the subject, for example: Chief Tinkler: “What can assume from the fact that he was stabbed, strangled, shot, suffocated, and bludgeoned?” Jodie: “That he didn't commit suicide?”


How can you make suicide funny? Leave it to SOAP. After Jodie tries to commit suicide what happens?

The answer is A & B. Jessica always adds some levity to the situation. For instance, when Jodie and Jessica are discussing his lifestyle... Jodie: “Plato was gay.” Jessica: “Mickey Mouse's DOG was gay?” Jodie: “Goofy was his lover. “


What got in the way of Chester completing his suicide note?

Chester attempts to write a suicide note at the end of Season 1, which he decides to write on a paper towel as there's no paper in the kitchen. After he fails to remember the correct spelling of "suicide", he realizes that it doesn't matter what it says as everybody will understand what happened when they find him dead over a note. Attempted suicide was a common theme on Soap with Chester, Jodie and Leslie all attempting it. Although Leslie, the high school teacher, Leslie Walker makes multiple failed (and laughable) attempts to kill himself, then Billy and/or his family.


One of the things you could count on was laughs when The Major was on the show. Which one of these quotes came from The Major?

The answer is “A”. The Major is all about military protocol, synchronizing watches, and keeping an eye on the enemy. Since he believes he is in the midst of fighting World War II he is always wearing his uniform. Did you know Arthur Peterson, Jr who portrays The Major had a similar role in real life? During World War II, Peterson fought within General Patton's Third Army.


What did Susan Harris do for the series?

Not only did Susan Harris create, write and produce the series, she appeared in two episodes as "Babette," a hooker. Harris created numerous TV series: Fay, Soap, Loves Me, Loves Me Not, Benson, It Takes Two, The Golden Girls, Empty Nest, Nurses, Good & Evil, The Golden Palace and The Secret Lives of Men. Her chronic fatigue syndrome affected he ability to participate in the production of The Golden Girls.


SOAP was perhaps one of the first Sitcoms to have story arcs spanning multiple episodes or even whole seasons. Which of these characters did you see the most change and growth?

Although everyone but The Major had some growth, Jessica has the most. If you recall, in the first season she is in denial of her husband's blatant infidelities making increasingly absurd excuses. In Season 2 when she is accused of murder, she has no concept of the seriousness of her trial, flirting and making jokes with the judge. Later seasons show Jessica as still very sweet, but also a bit stronger and a lot less naïve in that she finally throws Chester out of her life.


There was a lot of controversy around the show, both in and out of the studio, why?

The answer is all of the above. Aside from the external protests, SOAP was also subject to heavy internal revisions from ABC's Broadcast Standards & Practices department, which monitors the content of programs. "The Soap Memo" which came from this department was leaked to the press before the show premiered and was printed in its entirety in the Los Angeles Times on June 27, 1977. The specific details in the memo further fueled the growing debate regarding censorship.


After all that, what was the reception for the show at its premier?

Much of Soap's controversy, among liberals and conservatives alike, ironically actually helped to sell the series to the general public. Fueled by six months of pre-show controversy, the first episode swept its time slot with a 25.6 rating and 39 percent share (39% of the national audience). Also further research by the University of Richmond found the majority of people survey felt it was not offensive. The critics, swayed by the public controversy had mixed reviews.


It’s interesting to note what happened years after the controversy. Which of the following is true?

The answer is all of the above. In fact, the Huffington Post went on to say "Rarely does a show come along with such a unique voice and vision from the first episode, but Susan Harris, who wrote every episode, absolutely nailed her vision." Once the controversy died, critics could see the show for what it was, a well-written, well-directed, night-time parody of daytime soap operas.


How did the series do in the Nielsen Ratings?

According to the network, the show did well, but not well enough. Although Susan Harris had planned for five seasons of Soap, the program was abruptly canceled by ABC after its fourth season. Therefore, the final one-hour episode, which originally aired on April 20, 1981, did not serve as a series finale and instead ended with several unresolved cliffhangers.


How many Emmy Awards did the series win?

Soap was nominated for a total 17 Emmy Awards. It won 4 Emmy Awards which included Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series (Richard Mulligan), Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series (Cathryn Damon) Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series (Robert Guillaume) and Outstanding Art Direction in a Comedy Series.


The series was also recognized by the Golden Globe Awards; what award category did it win in?

Katherine Helmond won Best Performance by an Actress in a TV-Series – Musical/Comedy. That same year, the program was also nominated for Best TV Series – Musical/Comedy, although they did not win that category. Other recognition included Directo Jay Sandrich who was nominated for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Comedy Series' at the DGA Awards in 1978 and 1979.


After all the initial controversy it was nice to see in 2007 that the series was listed in Time Magazine; what was the honor?

Although Time Magazine initially panned the series, in 2007 it listed the series as one of the 100 Best TV Shows of All Time. Prior to their first season and all the controversy surrounding the series, it’s hard to imagine the staff and cast believing the series would earn such a distinguished honor 30 years later - or that it would take so long to gain the well-deserved recognition.


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