Weekly News Comment #4

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Emily on 24-09-2011

Yesterday (Friday, September 23rd, 2011) was All My Children’s last day on the air after 41 years. It began on January 5, 1970 and veteran soap actress Susan Lucci portrayed soap diva Erica Kane right from the beginning.

I have been watching soap operas for almost 10 years. I am a soap junky! General Hospital (GH) got me hooked. I became addicted to the tumultuous relationship between Carly and Sonny Corinthos. I rooted for Jason and Courtney to stay together, even though I knew they probably wouldn’t. After getting bored with GH, I started watching Passions, a show on NBC that always seemed to have hot, hunky, shirtless guys every time I turned on the tv. Passions acknowledged that its viewers had and appreciated a sense of humor. Tabitha, played by Juliet Mills, was a witch who casted spells on some of the other characters. I loved the relationship triangle between Ethan, Theresa, and Gwen, and I had to tune in to see who Ethan would pick.  After Passions was moved to a station on DirectTV (I was devastated!), I stopped watching soaps for a while.

 Then I discovered the Young and the Restless, which is on CBS, a station famous for its soaps winning boatloads of Emmys. I started watching and I didn’t like the evil characters. I thought they were too evil, and that the good characters were not getting any justice. I also thought the storylines were becoming contrived and silly. Having the same actress play two opposing characters is not always the best idea. It made me mad that the character Nick was still very attracted to his ex-wife Sharon, even though Nick’s wife Phyllis was kind, beautiful, funny and loyal.

Since I started watching the soaps, five have been canceled: All My Children, As the World Turns, Guiding Light, Passions and Port Charles.  Soap operas are losing viewers, mostly because the target audience, women, are more likely today to have employment outside the home than they were 20 or 30 years ago. The rise of watching tv on the internet also had a negative impact on traditionally formated soaps. Apparently, ABC is going to have an online version of All My Children on their website. It is unknown if Susan Lucci will continue with her role as Erica. Hopefully, viewers will enjoy watching their favorite soap online.

To those of you who don’t give a mouse’s behind about soaps, you are probably wondering, “Why is she writing about something so superficial and unimportant?”

Well, I think soaps are important, and they have had a significant impact on the culture and constant change in the world of Mass Comm. For American housewives in the 1950s, soaps united women who were at home doing laundry, cooking, and taking care of children. The soaps were a way for women to escape the real world and get swept up in someone else’s problems. The advertisements at the time were for soap, detergent, food, and products that were useful in the home. In the 1970s, the soaps started to change just as the real world was changing. Women in the world wanted to be liberated, and the soaps reflected that societal change. Female characters wanted jobs, to be treated as equals to their husbands, and were tired of being solely responsible for the home and the children. Today, soap operas have gay characters, characters who have been affected by 9/11, and characters who use cell phones and computers.

2 Comments Already, Leave Yours Too

fuglsang on 26 September, 2011 at 8:18 pm #

Yes, soaps have a storied past. But at the same time they’ve always been considered “trash” TV. Maybe the original. But as you note, they have changed with the times. They finally met their match in the internet age. How about a link to Soap Digest, or the AMC complaint site?

Hannah on 17 November, 2011 at 6:17 pm #

Same old repetitive stories. You already know the ending if you watch it a few times. I wonder how will they look in the future?