We see it time and time again here at Soap Hub when we give soap opera fans the chance to play head writer and vote for how they want their favorite stories to go. Do you want to see this character cheat, this one scheme, another go off on their spouse for bad behavior? The results are often shocking.
Soap Opera 101: No Drama, No Viewers
It often leaves us scratching our collective heads. Viewers of the soaps The Bold and the Beautiful, Days of our Lives, General Hospital, and The Young and the Restless get a poll every day in their spoilers and recaps and each time we see the results, it feels like lovers of daytime dramas…don’t love drama.
How else to explain when we give options like…when Quinn Fuller Forrester (Rena Sofer) finds out about her cheating husband on B&B, she should…surprise all and have a mature response wins…huh?! Really? You do realize that ends the story and then there’s no other choice for all three characters but to send them to the backburner, right?
Drama is the essence of storytelling on soap operas. The same goes for fans of GH who want Sonny Corinthos (Maurice Benard) to come to his senses, kick Nina Reeves (Cynthia Watros) to the curb, and reunite with Carly Corinthos (Laura Wright) right away. You do realize that ends the story and where do the writers go from there? And when there’s a happy couple, how many times do think to yourself…boring!
Sure, some couples can be happy and deal with outside forces and Sonny and Carly did that for years. But sometimes you need to shake things up and the GH writers have done so in a beautiful way. Carson fans may be mad but the actors sure look happy to finally have some drama to sink their teeth into and it makes the show interesting.
You DAYS fans are no different, so don’t think you are! We saw the tons of complaints about the Devil and your desire for it to be over (okay, maybe it did go on a bit too long but still) was evident in every single poll we did on the subject. But you know what — we also saw the complaints on the one week in the last six months when the Devil wasn’t featured — and you found it boring. So be careful what you wish for.
As for Y&R, you want to see your favorites happy too. You know what, Sharon Rosales (Sharon Case) and Rey Rosales (Jordi Vilasuso) were happy! And you were bored by them. But every poll we threw at you, you still chose the safe choice that kept them happy and not any of the dramatic obstacles we offered up. It must be very challenging to be a head writer these days, know your audience shuns conflict, but you need to keep the show interesting.
So what are writers of soap operas supposed to do at this point? Perhaps it’s the lack of trust the audience has that makes things so difficult these days. Back in the 80s, you knew the people in charge were aware that Bo Brady (Peter Reckell) and Hope Williams (Kristian Alfonso) were endgame, so when they broke up, you had to go on that ride and wait for the eventual reunion — but you trusted it would happen.
Today, not so much. Look at poor Friz fans on GH. Franco Baldwin (Roger Howarth) and Elizabeth Webber (Rebecca Herbst) were the perfect couple, the perfect family along with her kids. They had plenty of drama baked into their union that they could face. What did the writers choose? They killed him. Did Howarth want to leave? Nah, he’s back as a new character. So what gives? Why do it? It broke the trust — the bond between viewer and show that you’ll put up with obstacles since you know your people will get a bit of happiness at the end of the rough road. So is it any wonder Carson fans are going nuts over their breakup? They know how these writers work.
So what’s a fan to do? Understand that without obstacles, without conflict, without someone cheating, without mystery or a villain, your favorite soap town will get boring super fast. Will you always get what you want? Probably not. But you may get it for a little while — and those are the soap moments we watch for. So when it happens, enjoy it…savor it…and realize it probably won’t last forever.
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