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Soap Operas Today: Confessions of a Returned Viewer


Many people who covered soap operas through the years would tell you that few in our industry knew soaps as well as myself. My co-workers at one soap magazine refused to crack open a soap book–they just yelled to me across the newsroom for the answer. I was a researcher on 10 Daytime Emmy Award Shows for Dick Clark Productions, and an associate producer on SoapNet’s ‘Soapography”. This is to say, I was not a casual viewer.

A Welcome Back to the Soap World
I’d been watching since I was about 12-years-old–so knowing soap history came easy to me. But the soap landscape changed and I went where I could find work. Last week, I was asked to give soaps another try and it’s hard for me to admit that it’s not easy jumping back in. So, here are my thoughts on returning to the soap fold.

Days of Our ‘D’ Names?
First off, I have to learn who all the new characters are. “Days of Our Lives” has too many “new” (to me at least) male characters with weird sounding ‘D’ names. I can’t keep track of which one is Deimos (Vincent Irizarry) and which one is Dario (Jordi Vilasuso)? A friend tried to explain it to me” “Nicole grew close to Deimos and Dario after Daniel died, but she still obsesses over Daniel.” What?!

It’s All About the Characters
Years ago, I thought it was silly that “The Young and the Restless” used actor names in their opening, but now it actually bothers me. If they used character names, it would make it a lot easier to get up to speed. The mother of soap operas, Irna Philips (at one point she had five soaps on the air), never learned the actors’ names. It bugged many, especially the legendary Eileen Fulton (Lisa, “As the World Turns”). But, I can see her point–she needed to keep her characters straight, and there’s just so much memory in the brain’s database.

What do you think? Post a comment!

Intelligence for Your Life
“General Hospital” still uses a lot of their vets, and I love seeing Nancy Lee Grahn (Alexis) front-and-center. It’s nice to see characters outsmarting each other–not out-dumbing each other, which was happening when I stopped watching.

The More Things Change…
I see that on “The Bold and the Beautiful,” Brooke (Katherine Kelly Lang) still can’t keep a thought in her head for more than five seconds. She told Ridge she would end it with Brad Carlton, I mean Bill Spencer (Don Diamont), so she went to tell him (NO!). Of course, in less time than it takes to yell “Boo,” Bill had Brooke in a lip lock. There’s something to be said for consistency. Don’t ever change, Brooke.

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