The term ‘soap opera name’ has always had a pejorative connotation, suggesting over-the-top, strong, silent Ridge-Thorne-Trent type names. But the truth of the matter is that the scripters of daytime dramas have actually been a lot more imaginative–and prescient–than those of, say, sitcoms or nighttime dramas.
The classic example–as Abby Sandel mentioned in her guest blog the other day–is Kayla. When the character of Kayla Brady was introduced on Days of Our Lives in 1982, her name had hardly been heard of–much less used. But not long after that, Kayla began an unprecedented leap up the lists, and stayed there for well over a decade.
Soaps also anticipated the trend of using place names for people–there were Egypts and Indias, Sierras and Friscos years before it was a baby-naming trend and they were in the forefront of using last names as firsts. And there were too many individual names that were ahead of their time: Cameron, Kyle and Kylie, Logan, Hunter, Holden, Colton, Cooper, Roman, Jagger, Harley for a girl…. all of them appeared on the soaps from the 70s to the 90s.
Now, as one of the stalwarts of soap operadom, The Guiding Light, is about to bite the dust after 72 years on radio and TV, this seems like a good moment to celebrate some of the more original sudsy names of the past and present (but sorry, I draw the line at Chardonnay):