Let's take total departure from reality and spend a few minutes talking about daytime soap operas.

MONTY RETURNS: Soap-opera legend Gloria Monty will return as as executive producer of "General Hospital" on Dec. 3.Monty took over the then-struggling soaper in 1978 and made the show the most successful daytime series in history. She's the one behind the Luke-and-Laura mania, the highest ratings ever in daytime and 11 Emmys.

Current executive producer Joe Hardy, who's only been on the job a year, is out. And don't be surprised if several cast members are shown the door in the coming months as the show is revamped.CAST CHANGES: Gordon Thomson, who you may remember as that nasty Adam Carrington on "Dynasty," joins the cast of "Santa Barbara" on Tuesday as "devious and manipulative" Mason Capwell . . . . Former teen idol Rex Smith turns up on "As the World Turns" as Darryl Crawford, Margo's former school chum . . . . Butch Hartman joins "Generations as Sean Masters, the brother of police Lt. Kyle Masters.OPAL AND PALMER: Some press releases just cry out to be run verbatim, if for no other reason than Mr. Spud letting his fellow couch potatoes know what kind of stuff he reads every day:

"Romeo and Juliet. Napoleon and Josephine. King Edward and Mrs. Simpson. On (Friday), add Opal and Palmer Cortlandt to the list of great lovers who overcame obstacles to be together, when this couple recites wedding vows on . . . `All My Children.'

"There was a time when the thought of a union between the flamboyant Opal and the staid, upper-crust Palmer Cortlandt would have been considered crazy. But the man to whom Opal once referred as a `lowdown, hateful, Machiavellian reptile' and the woman Palmer once called a `fishwife and a screeching shrew' will tie the knot in an elegant wedding at the Cortlandt mansion."

Kind of makes you want to tune in . . . or throw up.CORD AND TINA: Opal and Palmer aren't the only ones getting married next week. Friday is also the day of Cord and Tina's third wedding on "One Life to Live."

Of course, the twice-married-and-twice-divorced pair may not make it to the altar - Tina may or may not be carrying Cord's baby, psycho gangster Johnny Dee is out there somewhere and Gabrielle knows more than she should.

This could be the most explosive ceremony since a bomb went off inside the wedding cake at Cord and Tina's last wedding.