Bored with Soaps

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Bummers in the summer & Soaps at work

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Hi Suds Buds:

I am not sure if it’s because the summer has finally hit southern California (we are smack dab in the middle of a heat wave here), or if I am sorely in need of a vacation (I’ve been working pretty much 5-7 days a week for several years, with hardly a break), or if the tried and true scenarios of soap opera writing are just not kicking up my enthusiasm for the genre right now. 

Case in point:  All My Children.  Last week Bianca, Erica’s lesbian daughter, was accosted by Michael, in a similar manner to the way in which Erica was accosted by her attacker years ago, which resulted in Kendall’s birth.  Heavy stuff.  Although this storyline is rife with intriguing plot tie-ins, excellent material for the actors to sink their teeth into, well written and exhibits a socially responsible side – especially with the public service announcements where Eden Riegel (Bianca) tells fans to seek help from others and not hold such trauma inside to deal with it yourself…) – it’s the summertime, for gosh sakes! This storyline is a major downer, in my humble opinion.  It deals with a socially relevant topic, yes, but I see so much of this in the newspaper and on the evening news, that during my daytime viewing, I want to be swept away to romantic dalliances, harmless manipulating, evil twins!  I don’t want to be faced with a storyline that brings me down. There are enough things in real life to have to deal with. I don’t want to deal with that kind of tragedy on my daytime TV.  Especially in the summertime!

General Hospital’s breast cancer story is another one.  Yes, it is important to spread the word to viewers to get regular mammograms. To confide and trust in loved ones.  But cancer is a downer, plain and simple. 

However, soap operas are an amazing voice.  They can and do prove effective in getting the word out there on a number of socially relevant and important topics.  They have brought help and closure to many fans suffering from same issues in real-life.  But some of this stuff is just hard for me to watch. So, I tune out. 

For someone who covers the daytime industry, that’s not a good sign.  If I didn’t have to watch, or write sneak peeks or a newsletter, or interview an actor of soaps, because it’s my job, I probably wouldn’t be watching or even thinking about the genre at all right now.  Is that cynical?  Maybe.  But like I said earlier, it could just be that I need a vacation.  :o)

On the other side of things, some of the material currently airing on this summer’s soaps, even though dealing with difficult issues, is well written and well performed. It’s just not want I want to see. I want to be uplifted, this stuff brings me down. 

Then, there are the fun stories like Passions Hot LA Passions, where a group of kids from Harmony will take Los Angeles by storm. And for what?  Seeking fame and fortune, of course. It’s why everyone with any kind of entertainment bent eventually ends up in Los Angeles, if even for a time.  This is one dose of reality in soaps that is fun, I think, and can’t wait to see how it plays out.

Of course there are the ever prevalent, but always engaging, baby paternity stories like Jack, Carly, and Mike on As the World Turns, and the weddings on Guiding Light.  There is all the intrigue on B&B with Jackie, Nick, Brooke, Ridge, and Massimo – with a little comic relief in the form of Phyllis Diller! 

That’s what I prefer to see on my soaps.  Outlandish plots that are rooted in reality (like don’t have a character have a heart attack, get him to the hospital and not put the oxygen in his nose.  But do have the heart attack the result of some new wonder drug invented by some unscrupulous doctor who now has to be sought out and prosecuted before he injects another patient!)

What we are seeing a little more of recently is soap characters at their jobs, doing their job.  Not seeing characters at work is another of my other pet peeves about soaps, and I like that we are being treated to more if it right now.  Take the hospital case on Guiding Light, for example, and the ladies of Fusion on All My Children. But I also want more of The Banner on One Life to Live.  I want to see Lindsay in a questionable art deal – like is it a real Picasso and if so, did Lindsay steal it? – instead of all this crazy-woman stuff.  Although we did see Rae counsel Antonio recently at her office, but wasn’t she exposed as a fraud about a year ago? How can she be counseling again? Or maybe I just missed the explanation, cos I tend to tune out soaps more than I watch nowadays.  Sad, isn’t it? 

Wow, I have gone on a tad long about this topic today, and the word rambling comes to mind. Guess it’s the heat here in LA. Guess it’s my dire need of a little R&R, or maybe, just maybe, I am bored with soaps. 

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Til the top of next week,

Linda Marshall-Smith
CEO, Soapdom, Inc.

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