Summer Soaps

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Dear Suds Buds,

It’s that time of year again.  You know what I’m referring to. Summertime -- when soaps focus on the younger characters and the vets become wall paper.  Yet this year, it appears to be a little more well-rounded.  Although there are a fair amount of front burner stories concentrating on the younger bunch right now (Philip’s plight on Days; the Casey/Zach/Will/Celia/Gwen quadrangle on ATWT;  Amanda Dillion’s return to cause havoc on AMC; the Thomas/Caitlin/Gaby triangle on B&B; Mac and JT, and Lily/Daniel/Cassie on Y&R, Dillon/Georgie/Maxie/Diego on GH, for example) there are still a fair amount of front burner stories that involve the more, um, how shall I put this – vintage characters on a lot of the soaps. 

Take B&B.  From out of the blue, Taylor re-emerges to stir things up for Brooke, Ridge, Nick and Bridget.  On AMC, Tad is engaged in solving the mystery of mystery woman Di.  Is she really Dixie? Is she just pretending to not be – even with David? 

One of my favorite storylines right now has to do with the Harley and Gus situation on Guiding Light.  Wait till you see what’s in store for these two this month!  Great stuff.  And on Days of our Lives, Marlena is in for a shocker.  Watch for her storyline to develop over the next few weeks. 

I suppose that the writers and producers of soaps walk a fine line at this time of year.  Kids are out of school for summer break.  Kids are the upcoming audience for soap operas.  Kids like to see and can relate to other kids on their TV.  Soaps focus on teen storylines in the summer simply to “hook” the younger viewers.  After all, the younger viewers of yesterday are the veteran viewers of today. The young viewers of today will be the veteran viewers of tomorrow.  And so the cycle goes. 

But the storytelling can’t and shouldn’t focus entirely on the younger set -- even at this time of year.  And it’s the wise soap that realizes and addresses this.  There still are those loyal, veteran fans who are vested in the veteran characters and their stories. Which is why I really do think the industry has it right this year.  Give us the kids, but keep the veteran characters in the forefront, too.  Makes for a happy medium. Makes for a happy audience. Makes for good soaps.

Share Your Thoughts:

How have soaps impacted your life?  Do you have a fond memory to share about growing up with soaps?  What would you like to see happen on your favorite soap? Why do you think viewers are leaving the genre in droves?  Tell me on the Criticize the Critic Message Board.

Til the top of next week,

Linda Marshall-Smith
CEO, Soapdom, Inc.

What do YOU think?  Share your thoughts in the "Criticize the Critic" forum  on the Message Boards