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Knots Landing had a consistent stream of older and younger women, and of middle-aged men. The younger men came and went constantly. None of them ever stuck around.
Chip - died
Joshua - died
Eric/Michael - phased out as soon as they reached adulthood
Tom - left
Harold - left
Steve - died
Alex - left
Why did KL have such a problem keeping younger men around? Most of the men lasted 2 seasons at most. I know they tried to keep Tom around, but the actor didn't want to sign their contract length. But aside from him, they never really made a strong effort to sustain a young male character. Why were they unable to? Was it because many of the producers and writers were older men?
The only younger guy I wish had stayed around (aside from Eric) was Alex. In earlier, less budget-conscious years, he may have. When I think of him in those tight jeans...very happy memory.
Oh, I wish Steve had stayed around too. Don't you think the Rosa Barth story would've been more interesting with Steve around? Claudia having to choose between the enemy she knew (Steve) and the enemy she didn't know (Alex)? Or Alex/Steve working together and Steve turning on him eventually?
My mind is oatmeal this morning. I forgot about Jason. He could've stayed around, as long as he didn't keep being beaten and shot all the time.
What I liked was the younger man/older woman pair
Abby and Peter
Anne and Nick
Claudia and Alex
Valene and Ben
For some reason, the woman of Knots Had a thing for younger men.
"I am not saying that I am having an affair with him and I am not saying that I am not. I can have him anytime I want."
Abby to Val in 1982
"If I have to make a choice between love and money. Money is going to win everytime."
Abby to Greg in 1983
"He hurt me no one gets away with that"
Abby to Karen in 1981
Ben was not younger than Val! According to "published sources" (see my "characters' ages" reply) he was one year older than she. As for Sheehan and Van Ark, however....
And of the other three, only Anne and Nick could be classified as having truly had loving feelings for one another, though their love of money was obviously greater than their love of one another. Peter/Abby was a greed/power match, while Claudia/Alex was rivalry that devolved into sex.
My theory on the main topic, however, is that many actors in that 20-35 age bracket are not willing to settle down into a long-term gig the way older actors would. They're always moving back and forth between new roles, trying to break into movies, or something else that they could not do if tied down to a long-running soap. After hitting that "certain age", however, an older actor might be thrilled to get a regular gig that paid the bills and allowed them to stop chasing auditions.