Wednesday, March 10, 2010

In Defense of Soap Operas

How frustrated do you get while waiting an entire week for the next episode of your favorite shows to air?   Waiting for the week to pass is bad enough, but it's even worse now with shows taking months off at a time.  It used to be the only hiatus was the summer and then winter through spring we would have all new shows each week and just have to survive the seven days. 

Remember when the Sopranos took, what, a year and half before airing their final season?  The network honchos must think we, the viewing public, are really gullible and that their shows are sooooooo important that we will put up with this.  Well, okay, we do.  As much as I'd like to boycott shows that do this long-extended waiting period, I will be right there watching one of my favorites, The Closer when it resumes this summer. 

That's why I'm here defending the serial soap opera.  Soap operas, a mainstay of daytime television for decades, are on the verge of extinction.  Guiding Light went off the air for good recently, after an incredible, impressive 70-plus year run.  I think Another World is on the chopping block now.  I've never watched those shows.  Back in the seventies when I lived with my aunt I got hooked on The Young and the Restless.

That soap was my only adult exposure during the years I was a mom to babies and toddlers.  My friend, Patty and I would let the kids play while we watched each juicy performance.  We'd talk about it all weekend while we anxiously awaited Monday's episode. 

When I resumed my college education I tried to continue watching the soaps.  By this time my girls were all grown up and they would berate me for watching "that crap."  As I was getting more and more intelligent from the learning I was doing, I had to agree with them.  I stopped watching Y & R for years. 

Whether it was out of boredom and a longing for old "friends" I started recording the soap again.  I just wanted to see what was new, which is an oxymoron in the world of soaps as the same story line get redone over and over; they just use different people and tweak it slightly.  Still, after a few weeks I found myself hooked all over again.

Sometimes the storylines are so ridiculous that I find myself jumping ahead in the show.  Maybe my education has had some influence.  Yet, when a really good plot is being laid out I find I can't wait to watch the next day's episode.  And THAT is the beauty of soaps.  I don't have to wait a whole week for satisfaction; I only have to wait a day.  Sure, sometimes they draaaaaaaaaaaaaaggggggggggg the plotline out for weeks and months, making me, and others if the online chatrooms are indication, want to jump out of my skin.  But because the shows air daily, it isn't too long of a wait for the cliffhangers to be resolved.

So here's my plea to the producers of soaps - keep them on the air.  The Young and the Restless is my particular soap, so hopefully that's not ending soon.  For the sake of others who like General Hospital, Days of Our Lives, and what other ones are out there, leave 'em alone!  We need our daily fix while we wait for Flash Forward and LOST to return. 

So, here's a toast to you, Soap Operas!  Thanks for the memories and may you live on forever!


L.T. Elliot said...

My little sister was addicted to Guiding Light for a long time and my older sister loved the one with Sonny and Brenda back in the day. I can't remember what the soap was called though.

M S said...

A timely post. I am getting to be an addict of local soap opera :)

I used to be an addict of Knots Landing, and more recently, The Sopranos and Desperate Housewives. My hubby stopped watching them with me when the plot was streeeetched way out, it was ridiculous, but I am gullible :)

Vegas Linda Lou said...

Yes, God bless the soaps! I watched Guiding Light for 32 years and still have the final episodes on my DVR--unwatched. I can't bear for it to be over. How I love my friends in Springfield!

Another World was canceled years ago; it's As the World Turns that's on the chopping block now. Stay-at-home housewives are largely a thing of the past, sadly. I've never had a day at work that was better than a day at home!

ajgallion said...

Oh goodness, you brought back memories. I confess that in college, one semester I created a schedule that would accommodate "One Life to Live". Also, I don't know if "The Tudors" or "Californication" or Grey's Anatomy" are considered soaps but I definitely have some kind of addiction!

Lisa Gioia-Acres said...

ajgallion, I think they are all "soaps" in the sense that they have serial storylines going. I am the same way with many of the shows on TV. I just hate when they make us wait for the next episode. Remember the Dallas cliffhanger? We only had to wait the summer months to find out the resolution. Now these darn shows make us wait six months or more - and don't get me started on the Harry Potter movies - I am dying to see the last two!