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Soap operas exiting stage right

July 14, 2011 - Jodelle Greiner
By now I’m sure everyone who cares knows that two more soap operas will cease to be aired in the next few months. When “One Life to Live” and “All My Children” (both ABC) go off the air, that will leave just four soap operas: “The Young and the Restless”, “The Bold and the Beautiful” (both CBS), “Days of Our Lives” (NBC) and “General Hospital” (ABC). I remember the day when each channel had four soaps.

Soaps being canceled are nothing new: remember “Capitol”, “Another World”, “Search for Tomorrow”, and “The Edge of Night”, just to name a few?

There have been a rash of soap cancellations recently — in addition to OLTL and AMC, CBS’ “Guiding Light” and “As the World Turns” have been the most recent casualties — which has hit the industry hard and made people wonder if the age of soap operas is over.

I know the reasons they are giving: years ago, more women stayed home and had the opportunity to watch TV every afternoon; now, more of them are working and soap operas are not drawing the viewership they once did.

I still think we can learn a lot by watching these stories play out. Yes, some of the storylines are on the ridiculous side, but what soap operas do best is show us human nature, and not always the best of human nature. The conflict and differing view points of characters make for good drama, but they also ring true to life. How many times have you done something you felt totally justified in doing, only to have someone you were close to think it was the craziest thing you could have done? How do you work out those differences?

One of the things I like about soap operas is you don’t get an easy answer in an hour. Storylines play out for months, sometimes for years, just like in real life. Sometimes you thought the characters had worked things out, only to have the problem rear its ugly head down the road and cause more trouble. Isn’t that just like real life?

 
 

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