"Oscar Wilde once defined a second marriage as 'the triumph of hope over experience,'" Lee Winfrey of 'Knight-Ridder Newspapers' noted. That aphorism was said would apply to Blake and Alexis Carrington on the prime time soap, 'Dynasty'. 'Dynasty' usually featured 3 plotlines at the same time. "The reason that soap operas run forever is that the story never comes to a complete stop. As soon as one plotline ends, another takes its place. So there are always 3 storylines to maintain your interest. The writers will try anything once," it was explained.
Stuart Bykofsky also of 'Knight-Ridder Newspapers' added, "Sometimes the press can be right (about the plotline), as when it learns the outcome of one of the season-ending cliffhangers that 'Dynasty' likes so much. When that happens, a damage control team swings into action. Storylines that can be changed are changed, other storylines are dropped. Linda Evans said the cast has never been sworn to secrecy."
'Dynasty' ended the 1981-82 season with a neurotic Claudia walking around the 48-room mansion "rolling and batting crazed eyes while muttering dark and disconnected sentences" as Farouk Ahmed was suspected of kidnapping Fallon's baby. In another plotline, Cecil suffered a heart attack while making love to Alexis with "the background music makes Muzak sound like Mozart."
Viewers were hinted in advance of how the scenario would play out when in the 25th episode of the 2nd season, the fortune-teller Adriana did a reading for Alexis in Rome. "Tell me about the future," Alexis enthused, "what do you see in the (crystal) ball?" Adriana interpreted from the Tarot cards that a powerful man (Cecil) who was attracted to Alexis was going to ask her to marry him. The premiere episode of the 1982-83 season ranked the 5th most popular program on prime time television.
As Cecil languished in a hospital bed, encased in an oxygen tent, and could not even raise his head off his pillow, Alexis was shown stepping up her campaign to marry Cecil in the hospital. On their wedding day, Alexis presented Cecil with a boutineer. He in return showed her the 2 wedding ring boxes. Linda Evans told 'Knight News Service' in 1982, "Aaron Spelling is willing to put the money up on the screen. He doesn't scrimp. The women's outfits begin at $2000. Tiffany's brings in the necklaces and earrings."
Of her character, Krystle, Linda remembered, "It was so bizarre. Nine-tenths of the pilot was done (when George Peppard decided he would be 'moving to a different drummer'). The wedding was so spectacular. They spent $100,000 on flowers alone. Then I came back in the same dress and married John Forsythe. I felt like one of those Hollywood women who's always getting married. Didn’t I just say 'I do'?"
In the episode called 'The Wedding' first shown in October 1982, Cecil rushed the Reverend, "Should we get this over with Reverend? I'm an anxious bridegroom so only do the essentials. Let's get on with it." Lasting just barely over one minute, the Reverend pronounced Cecil and Alexis man and wife after the couple exchanged rings. Romantic music could be heard in the background. The witnesses were the doctor and nurse.
"Were you for a moment frightened that I wasn't going to answer (I do) Alexis?' Cecil asked. "That I might have expired (as Adriana forewarned) before the grand and holy moment. How could I when my wedding gift, such that if I do, I can leap into my grave laughing knowing that I have left you with power and money and with you and Blake at each other's throats." During his diatribe, Cecil suffered another heart attack and flatline.
Robert Pollock explained, "If the story gets stuck, writing a character out is often the best solution. A good example was Cecil Colby, played by Lloyd Bochner. As long Alexis was married to him, her story really couldn't move forward. If he died, though, she could become the richest widow in Denver. So, with great sadness, we sent him to his reward. Cecil's death not only advanced the plot, it gave us a whole new level to operate on."
D.C. Denison of 'The Boston Pheonix' informed in 1983, "Generally, the writing out of television characters is executed more tidily, though it invariably presents considerable challenges to the creative staffs of long-running programs. Amended plotlines and unpredictable off-screen events - contract disputes, illness, death, pregnancy and the inevitable departures from the cast - are among the unavoidable contingencies in the production of a television series.
"As a result, the writers of these shows are continually forced, often on short notice, to devise plotlines that credibly explain a character's absence. The results are not always convincing. But the challenge remains: to convert exits based on real-life exigencies to the advantage of the overall storyline." Dan Wakefield made known, "Prime-time writers can be more cavalier about writing their characters out, but it's more difficult in daytime.
"For one thing, daytime programs are on every day of the year, so that writers have to take advantage of everything. On the soaps, one needs story and more story, so you can't afford to waste anything. Writing out is a very important part of the daytime writer's craft.'' D.C. Denison reported, "Traditionally, temporary absences of daytime television characters are excused with stock explanations: doctors go off to do research, children are enrolled in boarding school, and everyone pays frequent visits to out-of-town relations. When soap-opera actors decide to leave a show, for Broadway or Hollywood, the writers can be more decisive, although many are reluctant to devise anything too final."
Eileen Pollock emphasized, "Unless you are driven to the wall, you should never kill a character. That's rule one. What you try to do is write them out in such a way that when the story can use them again, somehow they're available.'' D.C. Denison continued, "By far the majority of characters on daytime television are put in storage in just such a fashion, allowing them to be brought back at a later date, frequently with a new actor in the role. Mysterious disappearances, kidnappings and job transfers are the norm on daytime. Yet, for many daytime writers, death is a dramatic option that is difficult to resist.
"On daytime television even death is by no means final. One way to bring back a popular actor, for example, is to recast the actor as the departed character's twin brother. Amnesia is another way to resurrect a character after a long, unexplained absence. Yet, despite the sheer volume of writing out that goes on, many soap-opera observers feel that the results are, for the most part, believable."
Dan Wakefield believed, ''Most of the departures are convincing. Usually, the writers know the plotline far enough in advance so that they can build you up to it. I think that dramatically, the writing out on daytime usually works.'' It was noted prime-time soap operas gradually borrowed many of the daytime techniques for dispensing of characters to prime-time audiences.
Linda Evans told 'Knight News Service' in 1984, "I really was not prepared for the amount of success all over the world that it has become. It has been amazing to experience it. To think it could be successful and to experience it is a totally different thing. I know that there are a lot of people who cannot live the way that the Carringtons live, but basically the major dramas in 'Dynasty' are all about relationships – homosexuality, mental illness, fathers and sons and daughters, husbands and wives, divorce, people who are divorced and their relationship with each other and in a way, in order to entertain, you can’t have it everyday life. You get everyday life at home."