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Figure-of-Eight shaped soap opera

Endlessly repeating soap opera whose time line intersects with itself
  [vote for,

Cyclical soap opera is an idea widely known to exist. In such a production, a character might give birth to a child who is her own great-grandmother due to the length of the soap opera. This is not that idea.

The plot of the soap opera i have in mind could begin at any point. I choose to open with the story of a character called Anna. She has a child called Bernard, who marries a woman called Felicity. They have twins called George and Diana and divorce. Each gets custody of the child of the opposite gender. Diana goes on to have a child called Edward, who in turn goes on to have a child called Felicity. This is the same Felicity whom Bernard met, and she indeed meets Bernard and they have twin children, divorce and gain custody of the relevant twin. George then has a child called Anna, who is the original Anna who is the mother of Bernard.

The story is depicted from the viewpoint of the following characters: Anna, Bernard, Diana, Edward, Felicity, George and begins to repeat with Anna. The story needn't begin with Anna, i've just chosen that as somewhere to start it.

The Oedipal plot is not essential, just an illustration of how the timeline runs. Other events could also occur. For instance, the court in which the divorce hearing takes place could be demolished by a car driven by a drunk driver who has a drink problem due to the trauma of his mother's legal career being cut short by becoming disabled as a result of a car crashing into the court in which she was representing Felicity, as a result of which she was frustrated at being a stay at home mum and took it out on her child or something. In the meantime, the motorist loses his licence and his job as a taxi driver, and as a result his son turns to a life of crime and becomes a gangster whose daughter reacts against him and becomes a lawyer who represents Bernard in the divorce case, and so on.

Various subplots intersect at the figure-of-eight crossing position which only make complete sense once every episode has been watched, and possibly not even then, and the points of view shift seamlessly due to the connections between the characters.

So, the crucial thing is, this is not merely a linear or cyclical soap opera but a self-intersecting one. There is no time travel incidentally: the setting is entirely non-science fictional.

It would obviously be set in Iceland.

nineteenthly, Oct 09 2011

//I have a little difficulty understanding what this means though// http://xkcd.com/381/
[mouseposture, Oct 09 2011]


       Möbius frippery. [+]
Alterother, Oct 09 2011

       Moebius strips open up another set of possibilities. In that situation, the timelines could actually branch as in 'Sliding Doors', cross over and then reunify but having appeared to swap or something. I have a little difficulty understanding what this means though, and it also makes me wonder about a Klein Bottle based soap opera.
nineteenthly, Oct 09 2011

       It's like you read my...   

       Wait, are you reading my mind?!   

       Am I typing this, or just thinking it?
Alterother, Oct 09 2011

       Maybe i'm a future version of you mindmelding with a past version of you, [Alterother].
nineteenthly, Oct 09 2011

       That would explain how you already know my username, but why are you dating my evil twin half-sister?
Alterother, Oct 09 2011

       Like sands through the looking glass... so are the Days Of Our Lives.   

       I lost the plot half way through reading! (that's a good sign +)
xenzag, Oct 09 2011

       Don't worry, you'll pick it up again the next time around.
Alterother, Oct 09 2011

Ah Supp, Oct 10 2011

       "Was that a pang I felt?" "Anna!"
reensure, Oct 10 2011

       What [Alterother] said.
Voice, Oct 10 2011

       Please be more specific. I say a lot, and almost all of it is total garbage.
Alterother, Oct 10 2011

       The spin-offs would be endless.
4whom, Oct 10 2011

       Well, i also envisage a sort of plaited version: a single, closed strand which crosses over with itself in three different ways several times in the middle. And also a version where the timeline is topologically equivalent to the name of the soap written cursively, so for example 'Eastenders' starts at the top of the E, crosses over with itself in the middle of the E, then goes on to the A, where the timeline just barely touches itself before looping round and up again. Crossing t's and dotting i's would then be subplots and single- episode specials respectively.
nineteenthly, Oct 10 2011

       Well, [mouseposture], I think the xkcd joke is that, in the linear strip, we make sense of the narrative by identifying one combatant on the left and one on the right. Where would that get us in the Moebius version? Well, I *think* the idea is that it would imply a stick-figure fighting himself - so, if you started with one combatant and followed him vertically through all the frames of the story then, by the time you'd been round the loop twice, both the combatants in every frame would be identifiable as "him".
pertinax, Oct 10 2011

       Coincidentally, I have been giving diagrammatic story constructs a fair old think about lately, after trying to explain to sneery, indolent nephews the plots of non bat-based Nolan (Christopher) films. This led me to consider taking the structures of well kent tales and pumping them full of steroids to produce, for example, a Jason Statham movie where JS lives in the third fortress in some shrivelled railtown, his feckless brothers bringing insane criminal harm to the Stath's reinforced door after their own boltholes prove insufficient to withstand the assaults of the massed ranks of a somewhat incongruous band of heavily armed undead Tonton Macoutes.
calum, Oct 10 2011

       [pertinax] Yes, that's right. You really have to print it (on translucent paper), cut out the strip, give it a half-twist, and tape the ends together.
mouseposture, Oct 10 2011

       An actual original idea on the HB. [+]
sqeaketh the wheel, Oct 11 2011

       [+] I don't watch soaps, but this sounds interesting!!
xandram, Oct 11 2011

       //Anna, Bernard, Diana, Edward, Felicity, George//
Whatever happened to Charlie? (Or some other name beginning with C...)
neutrinos_shadow, Oct 12 2011

       A kind of civilian extension of "Allo Allo" then? Absolutely first class idea. It could run instead of ad breaks between all the other soaps to form a seamless soap. Should blend in perfectly.
Ah Supp, Oct 12 2011

       [Neutrinos], what happened was, i drew an infinity symbol on a piece of paper and put the letters A, B, C...and so on on it with arrows. Once i worked out a rudimentary plot, i realised C was superfluous so i edited it out and couldn't be bothered to change the names.
nineteenthly, Oct 12 2011

       If only we could apply this to any of our favorite shows-- the ones we wish would never end (including 'Allo 'Allo which is perfect for a recursive plotline since it has only the loose semblance of a plot from which to hang as many jokes as possible).
Alterother, Oct 12 2011

       [19thly], I think you just spurred me to enlightenment.
MikeD, Oct 13 2011

       For all we know, there could be actual little swirly bits like this in our own timelines.
nineteenthly, Oct 13 2011

       You mean, like an attack virus worming around gathering weak plots from other soaps? How Devilishly cunning.
Ah Supp, Oct 13 2011

       // For all we know, there could be actual little swirly bits like this in our own timelines. //   

       There are. Has speculative science fiction taught you nothing?
Alterother, Oct 13 2011

       We'll all be there, [bigsleep].
nineteenthly, Oct 13 2011

       Actually, i've toyed with the idea that everyone is in fact one person, sort of threaded through time. Early in history, some person dies, is reincarnated as someone born shortly after and so on until the end of history, then they go back and are reincarnated as a second series of people and so on, until they have been everyone who has ever lived.
nineteenthly, Oct 13 2011

       "I can't believe I'm reading this!"
gnomethang, Oct 13 2011

       // Did you ever get the feeling that everyone who has ever existed is in fact you in some cycle of reincarnation ? //   

       No. In fact, nobody else feels that way. It's just you, you wierdo.
Alterother, Oct 13 2011

       //the idea that everyone is in fact one person, sort of threaded through time// No matter how bad the headache, on no account take a headache powder.   

       ("All You Zombies," Robert A. Heinlein.)
mouseposture, Oct 14 2011

       Like sands through the Klein Bottle, so are the Days of Our Lives...
RayfordSteele, Oct 14 2011


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