Class is Dismissed
Watching both the new "Passions" episodes and the classic ones (on the Sci-Fi) channel is a big pain, since now the show sucks up twice as much of my day. But it does give us a rare view of where "Passions" was and how it's changed.
Class differences were huge in the beginning. The Cranes were untouchables and didn't even mingle with the townsfolks. Gwen had to insist that Ethan go to the carnival just so he'd meet a few locals. The Lopez-Fitzgeralds were clearly the lowest on the Harmony social spectrum, and much was made of the poverty they had to endure. There was a huge gulf between the Cranes and everyone else.
In the current episodes, there might be a difference in income, but there's no class difference at all. The Cranes mingle with townspeople all the time. They even romance them. Julian and Eve. Noah and Fancy. Ivy and Sam. Fox and Kay. And Ethan spends more time with his stalker than he does his wife.
The writers gave away a powerful theme when they dismissed class from the show. They could have used it to make some interesting points, here in the George W. years, when the gulf between rich and poor is widening and social programs are being cut dramatically. I wonder what the show would be like if the Cranes had stayed on their hill, overlooking the town, but never being a part of it.