The documentary ‘The Story of Soaps’ aired last month on ABC. It featured former soap opera actors like Bryan Cranston (Doug, Loving), John Stamos (Blackie, General Hospital), and Alec Baldwin (Billy, The Doctors), alongside current stars like GH’s Genie Francis (Laura) and Finola Hughes (Anna), Days Of Our Lives’ Deidre Hall (Marlena), and Emmy winners, One Life To Live’s Erika Slezak (Viki) and All My Children’s Susan Lucci.
Soap Opera History
The show covered soaps’ beginnings on the radio, and its eclipse by the reality circus that began with OJ Simpson’s trial. They touched upon social issues dramatized by soaps, and of course, sex scenes. We can’t have a program about soaps without talking about those sex scenes! But they also left out quite a bit. Tell us which of these omissions mattered most to you!
Women’s Lib On Soaps
The Story of Soaps showed a grainy clip of Search for Tomorrow’s Jo (Mary Stuart) talking to her little daughter, Patti, from one of the earliest episodes, but they didn’t address how women on soaps have gone from wives and mothers who mostly pour coffee and listen to policewomen, doctors, CEOs and even evil villains (not only of the romantic kind)!
Guiding Light’s Bert (Charita Bauer) going for a pap smear is credited with sending thousands of women to their own doctors for the test. Loving actually did a story on father/daughter incest six months before the primetime movie, Something About Amelia, claimed to be the first.
Where were the black supercouples, Mariann Aalda (Didi, The Edge of Night) wondered on Facebook? Where were all the people of various colors, ethnicities, and religions?
What would soaps be without their trials? OLTL’s Karen breaking down on the stand, Another World allowing viewers to vote on Brittany’s (Sharon Gabet) verdict?
Dark Shadows made vampires into daytime fodder. Port Charles brought us Lucy (Lynn Herring) the Vampire Slayer. And Passions… where do we even begin with Passions?
Tell us which of the above oversights angered you the most – and what clips you’d have wanted to see!