The shirtless soap hunk, a glorious tradition.
Soaps have always been in part about sex, skin and fantasy. However the eighties seemed to usher in the gratuitous soap hunk that came to epitomize daytime for the decades to follow. Soaps.com decided to take a look back at the times when men, and sometimes even women, stripped down when there was no logical reason for them to do so. Not that we're complaining!
The hospital is a staple on soaps, and often where clothing tends to bed shed. While this is acceptable in the operating room, only on soaps can you find a well chiseled hunk recuperating in their hospital bed without a shirt. Have soap writers ever been in a hospital, because they are normally chilly. Then there is the gratuitous patient sponge bath, such as the one Robert Ford (David A. Gregory) received on One Life to Live. Only in fantasies or certain films do those ever happen. The General Hospital doctors’ locker-room, which not only is coed but free for the public to walk into, has seen its fair share of steamy shower scenes and uncomfortable discoveries. Who could forget when Brad (Parry Shen) was smacked on the bottom by the hunky doctor of the day played by Baby Daddy's Derek Theler in nothing but a towel?
From the Titan gym on Days of our Lives, to the Forrester steam room on The Bold and the Beautiful, gyms are always an excellent place to show off toned bodies. Then there is Sharon (Sharon Case) on The Young and the Restless jazzercising in her living room for no good reason, not to mention the late Nathan West (Ryan Peavey) on GH who was shirtless for every good reason the writers could come up with. It seemed the man was always coming out of the shower.
Sometimes soaps just need to come up with reasons to get hunks out of their clothes, such as Days' charity stripping event to raise money for Salem University Hospital, or The Nurses' Ball on GH which raises awareness for HIV and AIDS funding and research, and usually involves several hunks from Port Charles stripping down to their underwear during a performance.
Then there are those instances where soaps just go for the sex appeal with no reason needed. Such as when OLTL's Cutter Wentworth (Josh Kelly) strolled through the mansion in the tightest of swimsuits, much to butler Nigel's (Peter Bartlett) horror. And who can forget when Sami (Alison Sweeney) first met a shirtless and wet EJ DiMera (James Scott), which even featured a soundtrack that would make Barry White blush. Men on soaps often answer their doors just coming from a sweaty workout or hot shower.
However no soap probably had more shedding of shirts than NBC's Passions. Set in the New England town of Harmony, it didn't matter if it was the dead of winter, if a female character fell into the water the nearest male character would strip down to his boxers to jump in and save them. Should the town witch Tabitha destroy half your house, it was a requirement to remove your shirt when working on it or doing any other manual labor. Then there was Miguel (Adrian Bellani), whose sole purpose on the show was often to be half naked for no reason at all.
With summer around the corner, here's to looking forward to some fun and pointless scenes of human skin on display, such as the squirt gun fight between OLTL's Nate Salinger (Lenny Platt) and Deanna Forbes (Nafessa Williams).