I was never a soap opera person growing up, but I was a Passions person. The supernatural soap ran for nine seasons, airing on NBC from 1999 to 2007 and on DirecTV from 2007 to 2008, and I remember trying to catch episodes whenever I could. Days home from school were always extra special because I knew I could check in on the latest happenings in Harmony, and entire summers off were a dream. There was just something about how committed Passions was to all-out insanity that made it feel far cooler than what I perceived as dusty, traditional soaps like Days of Our Lives or All My Children.
Did those other shows have a main character who was an evil witch? And did this witch have a sidekick who was a sentient doll named Timmy? And did she once survive a tsunami by surfing on a door? Then again, did Passions even have any of these things? I do vaguely remember all of the above, but I haven't actually been able to check if these are real memories or if I'm stuck in some sort of fever dream since the iconic soap isn't currently available to stream anywhere.
That's why today, on July 5, 2019, the 20th anniversary of Passions' premiere, I'm putting this demand into the universe: Let Passions stream! Because how else will I be able to know with all certainty whether there really was a character played by an orangutan who was also... a nurse? And was maybe sexually obsessed with a hot cop whose last name was Lopez-Fitzgerald? I truly don't think I'm making this up, and Wikipedia confirms most of these foggy memories, but how can I really know without being able to watch it again? This musical montage on YouTube just doesn't cut it!
And let's not forget about all the joy I could feel rewatching the show knowing the careers that some of its stars have gone on to have. At the time, I had no idea who Justin Hartley, Natalie Zea, Jesse Metcalfe, or Mary Elizabeth Winstead were. But now? Now I would absolutely kill to see Justin Hartley drug a couple's surrogate and implant his girlfriend with the couple's embryo. Or watch Natalie Zea tell a bride-to-be that her groom's dad wasn't wealthy but was only — gasp! — middle class. Or watch Jesse Metcalfe impregnate his best friend because he was under her literal spell. Or watch Mary Elizabeth Winstead do... whatever the hell her character did. I honestly don't remember, which is why we need Passions available to stream.
This show has all the makings of a cult classic that modern viewers would still obsess over: a closet that transports you to Hell, dancing demons you can only keep away from you by having sex in front of them, the ghost of Princess Diana, someone trying to take over the world by stealing a magical chalice from the Pope, and — I cannot bring this up enough — an orangutan that the show submitted for Emmys consideration. The New York Times once called Passions the "Twin Peaks of daytime," so it truly seems criminal that the good people with the decision-making power continue to keep this art from us today.
It doesn't even make any sense to me that I can't watch Passions today, because the series used to be a trailblazer when it came to streaming. In 2006, it became the first daytime drama to make full episodes available to watch online. But at some point between then and now, NBC took down the episodes and never found another home for them. You can't even buy DVDs of Passions. Trust me, I've looked (several times). It's because of all this that at least once a year I find myself trying to google something along the lines of "Passions monkey fantasy" or "Passions incest romance" to fact-check my own memory when I would much rather relive all the craziness firsthand.
And then there are all the episodes of Passions that I missed or storylines I've simply forgotten that I need to know more about. According to the internet, one character was trapped in a pit for six months, someone was apparently replaced by a zombie doppelgänger, and what in god's name was "the Prom Boat Disaster storyline"? These are the questions that keep me up all night, and I know I'm not the only one who feels this way.
So maybe, just maybe, this is our lucky year and we'll get the gift we've waited over a decade for, because let's be real: Riverdale wishes it could be half as crazy, and half as fun, as Passions, truly the wildest show ever made.