Aired: ABC, 1977-1981
What more could you want from a primetime satire of daytime soaps? The comedy, centered around the extended family circus of the wealthy Tates and the middle-class Campbells, hit all the soapy plot points and then some extramarital affairs, major crimes, spells of amnesia, a guy abducted by aliens and cloned, another guy who talks only through his puppet, transvestitism, incest, asexuality, homosexuality, a demon spawn, and the butler who had to put up with all the shenanigans. Pre-debut, the bawdiness made some ABC affiliates red-faced, but the series was the highest rated new comedy of the 1977-78 season. Soap also established the highly fruitful partnership between creator Susan Harris and producers Paul Junger Witt and Tony Thomas, whose production mantle, Witt/Thomas/Harris, turned out a steady diet of sitcoms throughout the 1980s and into the '90s, from the Soap spinoff Benson to It's a Living, Empty Nest, and Golden Girls.