Sometimes it seems like soap opera fans are masochists. We tune in daily to see murder, mayhem, amnesia, baby switches and returns from the dead. And that's just an average Tuesday. But what diehard devotees of daytime drama seem to love most is super couples in love. Romeo and Juliet stories, uptown girls and guys from the wrong side of the tracks. Of course, this being soap opera, we almost never get the happy ending we crave and the minute a super couple triumphs against the odds and gets together, something happens to drive a wedge between them and make the fans hurl random objects at their TV screens. This is certainly the case for the legions of diehard "Cin" fans.
Cin is the amalgam of Ciara and Ben, Days of our Lives, star-crossed lovers. Ciara Alice Brady (played by Victoria Konefal) is DOOL royalty. Her parents, Bo and Hope, were one of the all-time great super couples of soap history: Hope the beautiful good girl (not to be confused with Hope's evil lookalike Princess Gina) and Bo, the leather jacket wearing, motorcycle riding tough guy who won her heart. Ciara's grandparents are also a super couple, Doug and Julie, a con man gone straight who married spoiled girl Julie after first marrying her mother Addie, thus making Hope both Julie's stepdaughter AND half-sister. Doug and Julie made history appearing on the cover of Time in January 1976 with the cover line: Soap Operas, Sex and Suffering in the Afternoon.
Ciara and Ben were an unlikely couple at first. Ciara is descended from DOOL's founding family, the Hortons. Ben (portrayed by Robert Scott Wilson) was an abused child who grew up to be the "necktie killer" and strangling four people (one came back from the dead so he's really only killed 3). Years of treatment in an institution made him a new man. They fell in love against all odds (and the objections of her friends and family). Fans rejoiced. And then soap lovers worst nightmare happened. Konefal decided to leave the show. Ciara was kidnapped and blown up but her body was never found. Ben never gave up on Ciara and eventually (after Konefal agreed to return to the show) she was found but blown up again. This time her body was found but she had selective amnesia and only remembered Ben as the necktie killer, not the love of her life.
After a two-week break for NBC to cover the Tokyo Olympics, DOOL returned and so did Ciara's memory. In honor of this no-doubt temporary happy ending for Cin, we caught up with the fabulous Konefal and her costar Robert Scott Wilson to talk about the ups and downs of being a modern soap super couple. We even did a sexy shoot with them that pays homage to soap opera history.
When Cin first started, did you think fans would learn to embrace Ben despite his past?
Robert Scott Wilson: Ben's certainly had a wild past, but that's what makes him who he is. There was a legion of Benjamin fans prior, but this pairing gave this character the ability to show his humanity and love and redemption. I couldn't be more grateful for the pure embrace from fans right from the jump.
Why do you think Cin is so popular? Are they this generation's soap super couple?
Robert: Man, that title got tagged on us right from the start which was kind of wild, but it's an honor to be amongst some legendary pairings in such a short time. I think idea of pairing someone like Ben with the commissioner of the police department/ daytime icon's daughter was a bold move on the writer's behalf. It's the forbidden love. And I think it's paid off pretty well so far.
Victoria Konefal: There are many factors that I think played a role in Cin's popularity. First and foremost, I think it stems from my chemistry with Rob. He and I have forged such a genuine friendship and bond that translates onscreen. We are comfortable with each other, which is key in making an on-screen couple sell. I also think it has a lot to do with Ciara's family legacy. Cin almost mirrors Bo and Hope's relationship in many ways, and that pulls the audience's heartstrings. There's also the concept of "the bad boy falling for the good girl" which appeals to a lot of the fans.
In terms of Cin being this generations soap super couple: I'm not entirely sure. It seems strange to deem my own work something that is worthy of a title with that high of a caliber. I'm gonna leave it to the fans on this one, but as far as I've noticed I think they'd say yes.
Is it more fun to play when the couple is happily together or when there are obstacles?
Robert: I think the name of the game with this couple is making them fight for their forbidden love so the obstacles are what builds up this pair. And I love the challenge. It's easy to lay around lovey dovey and eat cookies, but I'd rather be in the deep end.
Victoria: It's more fun to play the obstacles for sure. It gives us room to play around as actors, and the storylines are usually so wild that we end up getting really fun action scenes with special effects.
What's been the wildest Cin storyline for you?
Robert: Lord knows there's been a few. Our writers are awesome and have written some wildly bad-ass stories for us in such a short amount of time, but I'd have to say the wildest would be being brainwashed and tortured after my wedding. I don't think I've ever screamed that loud in any facet of my life, haha. And Ciara saving Ben from the last shot of lethal injection was a close second. Not a lot of light days in the Salem office for this couple.
Victoria: The current storyline for sure. Ciara has no recollection of Ben whatsoever due to a recent head injury. It's agonizing for every character to witness Ciara aggressively rejecting the supposed love of her life. It was so strange to be in a place where Ciara hates Ben again, given that the love the two had for each other hasn't wavered in years. It also introduces an argumentative dynamic between us, which is unlike anything we've ever played before. It's uncharted territory but I'd be lying if I said we weren't having fun with this storyline.
Ben and Ciara recreate the legendary 1976 Time" cover of Ciara's grandparents Doug and Julie (Bill and Susan Seaforth Hayes)
Ben and Ciara remind me so much of Bo and Hope. Do you think so too?
Victoria: I do! I think it was written that way over time on purpose. They definitely mimic the romantic elements of the story in a way that pays homage to one of the most legendary super couples on the show. I'm very proud and honored to be a part of it.
What did you miss most about playing Ciara after you left the show?
Victoria: Truthfully, I missed being able to work in general. I left the show right before the pandemic hit so we were all out of a job, patiently waiting for production to start up again. The relationship I have now with the show is wonderful, and I am very happy with my recurring status. I am incredibly grateful for the shows willingness to work with me and my schedule. Getting to play Ciara every now and again has been a joy.
If Cin was going to become a love triangle, who from the show would you want to be the third?
Robert: Dangerous question... we have some passionate/ hardcore fans so... guess we'll have to wait and see (and take cover).
Victoria: Wow, a truly loaded question. At the very beginning we had a love triangle with Lucas Adams' character, Tripp. That was very wholesome because Tripp is such a loving and respectful man. The stakes were also low during that time because Ben and Ciara barely even started loving each other. It's different now. Realistically, I don't think there is a chance they would let someone come between them. Then again, anything can happen on a soap. I think it might present a juicy dynamic if Jake was involved somehow. He is Ben's best friend and boss. They are also both incredibly masculine characters, so a showdown between the two in efforts to gain Ciara's affection would be a messy one. I feel like they would throw motorcycle parts at each other at some point. Being familiar with their on-screen chemistry, I know they'd find a way to make it comical.