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Taking Things Seriously: Should Soaps Tackle Social Issues?

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As long as there have been soaps, there have been social issues. Back in the day, Agnes Nixon got more women to take control of their health by sending Guiding Light’s Bert for a pap smear.

Soaps have dealt with marital rape, surrogacy, war veterans (and war protesters), AIDS/HIV, homosexuality, interracial relationships, drunk driving, elder abuse, and much, much more.

Alas, just because soaps have tackled them head-on, has not made critical social issues go away. Should they keep on pulling stories from the headlines, or stick to fantasy love in the afternoon? Almost 3,000 viewers cast their ballots!

If You’re Going To Do It, Do It Right
That depends, hedge 41% of you. If the story feels organic to the characters, and if it’s handled sensitively — you don’t want to be preached at or told how you should feel (not to mention chastised for not feeling the way the show thinks you should feel) — then you are open to the possibility.

But if a show is just making a political statement, you’ll pass, thank you very much.

What do you think? Post a comment!

Teach Me Something
Soaps can be entertaining as well as educational, venture 31% of the audience. Every story has a moral at its core, even if it’s: Don’t date too many members of the same family, it makes for a very awkward Thanksgiving.

Right The Bold and the Beautiful’s (BB), Brooke (Katherine Kelly Lang)? On the other hand, if the story is as riveting and enlightening as Maya’s (Karla Mosley) tale of transitioning, then let’s have more of the same!

Entertain Me
And then there are the 26% who are tired of Very Special Episodes, where an issue is introduced just for the heck of it. Like General Hospital’s (GH) opiate addiction tale with a guy nobody cares about, or The Young and the Restless suddenly wanting you to know that Sex Trafficking Is a Thing. You’ll take a pass.

Video Credit: TED

Video Credit: campgalore

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