Soapdish TV Series Needs to Leave Film's Transphobia in the Past

Soapdish is a 1991 theatrical comedy with what's now considered a stellar cast that not many people talk about anymore. It is now in development for a TV series at Paramount+. Soapdish is also infamous for being extremely transphobic in its final 15 minutes in the most awful way possible. Here's hoping the TV series will leave those transphobic aspects in the past.

Soapdish: TV Series Coming, Hopefully Without Transphobia
Still from "Soapdish", Paramount Studios

The original Soapdish starred Whoopi Goldberg, Kevin Kline, Sally Field, Elizabeth Shue, Robert Downey Jr., Teri Hatcher, Cathy Moriarty with Kathy Najimy, Carrie Fisher, and Garry Marshall. It was a comedy set on a popular soap opera production with Field as the star and America's sweetheart who's confronted with the appearance of the daughter (Shue) she had out of wedlock with co-star Kline that she gave up for adoption. The plot then involves the production trying to head off the scandal's potential impact on the show's popularity with Moriarty, who plays Field's bitchy co-star and rival, plotting to oust her from the show so she can become the star. Goldberg plays the head writer of the show and Field's best friend who tries to help her and the show through the crisis while Moriarty seduces the show's producer, played by Downey, to destroy Field's reputation.

The script tries to mirror the manic plot twists of a soap opera with the behind-the-scenes shenanigans of the production. The results are a fun enough comedy with farcical situations and some pretty good jokes with very good performances from the cast  – until the climax where Goldberg defeats Moriarty by outing her as secretly transgender, ruining her career, and life. Moriarty runs from the set screaming in horror and the moment is played as a triumphant laugh.

TV Line reported that Goldberg set to reprise her role in the Soapdish TV series as Rose Schwartz, the head writer for the daytime drama The Sun Also Sets, as well as serve as an exec producer. Fellow EPs Jennie Snyder Urman (Jane the Virgin) and Asha Michelle Wilson (American Horror Story) will pen the "juicy, soapy, and twisty dramedy ensemble." This does not bode well considering the original movie was an outright farcical comedy rather than a dramedy.

Considering that Goldberg's character previously outed a trans woman without her consent and destroyed her life and is now the heroine of the new TV series is not a good look. You could say it was a different time then, but outing someone without their consent has never, ever been right or decent. A TV series from that movie might be tainted by that, and the new producers and showrunners might have to say something about that before they convince the public that this show is a good idea at all.

If Paramount+ wanted to develop a new show for Goldberg, why not give her a Star Trek: Guinan show? At least that character is a fan favourite and never did something monstrous like out a trans woman against her will.

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About Adi Tantimedh

Adi Tantimedh is a filmmaker, screenwriter and novelist. He wrote radio plays for the BBC Radio, “JLA: Age of Wonder” for DC Comics, “Blackshirt” for Moonstone Books, and “La Muse” for Big Head Press. Most recently, he wrote “Her Nightly Embrace”, “Her Beautiful Monster” and “Her Fugitive Heart”, a trilogy of novels featuring a British-Indian private eye published by Atria Books, a division Simon & Schuster.
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