23 January 2010

Remembering Why I Used to Like Soaps

Today I stumbled across a Guiding Light tribute site that had a timeline of one of the show's power couples of the 1980s, Quint and Nola. Reading through the site and watching a couple YouTube videos reminded me of why I was hooked on soap operas back then.

Many people think of soaps as being hokey, but there was a period of time when there was serious drama going on in them. Even though I criticized soaps in my last post for dragging out storylines, the flip side is that meaty stories were given a generous amount of time to develop because the writers had five hours a week to fill. Soaps don't have seasons, so writers didn't have to worry about wrapping something up in 22 episodes or about keeping actors from spoiling the cliffhanger over the summer.

Everything on TV has to be real these days. A lack of realism or believability is considered a big criticism. For me, though, I enjoy a good bit of melodrama and scenery chewing. Companies and their dirty dealings, manipulative mothers, women begging their men to stay -- I think there is still room for that sort of storytelling in the TV schedule alongside overly tanned men sitting in a house talking about how great they are.
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