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We have entered the soap opera season of blockbuster summer storylines, also known as the ‘teen storylines’. This is the time the networks specifically focus storylines around the younger adult actors and actresses in the hopes of drawing in a new teen audience during school recess. I understand the need to create a new soap opera generation and I don’t have anything against teenagers. But recently, I have begun to wonder who these teens are that networks are trying to lure? I don’t know any, although I assume there must be some. With cable TV offering hundreds of channels, new DVD movies being released every day, video on demand and the ability to download music or a movie from your computer or to your cell phone, I just can’t imagine teens rushing to tune in to a TV genre started in the 1950’s. If you are a teen tuning in to check out the soaps for the first time over your summer break, please comment on the board and let me know. But for the sake of this article, let’s assume I am totally wrong and teens are tuning in by the droves. Welcome to Soapdom!
But, I ask viewers, do you enjoy the summer/teen storylines? Are they entertaining? Do they keep you tuning in as with any other storyline shown during February or May sweeps or the Fall Season? Are they valuable? Or should the producers scrap this old idea and think of something new?
As a long time soap viewer, I don’t particularly enjoy the summer storylines. I think they are of no value and usually there is no message or at best, it sends mixed messages. Soaps were created for adults, during the days of stay at home moms and predominately single family incomes. Times have changed and moms are working and recording their daily episodes, but primarily soaps are for the grown-ups. And the so-called teens are involved in very adult situations. Let’s take look at what a couple of the soaps are offering us during the summer….
Last year on ATWT, teens were being slashed in a 1960’s Psycho Norman Bates fashion. So if you are into bad B-rated slasher movies then this storyline was enjoyable. 2007 was the year of the crazy doppelganger that planned to kill her “twin” and take her husband. At least the planned killing took the form of a “Dudley-Do-Right of the Mounties” cartoon from the Bullwinkle Show of the 1960’s. Gwen and Jade were tied to the train tracks waiting to be run over by a locomotive. And the value of this cartoonish storyline was to showcase the location shoot in Branson, Missouri.
On Y&R, the hot summer story has former internet porn sex kitten, Amber, introducing the married dimwitted college freshman Daniel to internet porn. Amber’s ex-lover, Plum/Garrett comes to town and later dies mysteriously. And the three young adults drive a dead body around to bury. Transporting dead bodies and Internet porn, now those are catchy subjects I want my teen to tune in to. But, this storyline has not completed, maybe some good will come out of it. Summer 2005, teenagers Daniel (same above mentioned dimwit) and then girlfriend-but now wife Lily, ran off together. Daniel was a fugitive from the law and was thought to be responsible for vehicular homicide. Daniel had been drinking and couldn’t remember the night of the accident. Y&R did follow through with numerous public service announcements on drunk driving. So if a story had to be done on drunk driving, teenager lovers running from the law, then Y&R did a good job. But my point is this is a story about teenagers breaking some serious laws.
Soaps tackle adult material in a fictionalized world. It’s not the place to find your moral compass or to teach you what’s right or wrong. So why promote these adult situations as summer storylines for teens? What message are we sending to them? Leave the romance, duplicity and mayhem for the adults that are trying to escape for some love in the afternoon!
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