Hollywood Soap: Are Fans Getting Their Fix From Real Life Supercouples?

The wildest soap town of the all, Hollyweird, is all abuzz about the break ups of A-list "supercouples" like Madonna and Guy Ritchie and Californication‘s David Duchovny and Tea Leoni (Lisa, Santa Barbara). Tabloids and gossip blogs on both sides of the pond can’t get enough of every soapy detail of Madge and her Brit director’s bust up. Was A-Rod involved? What’s going to happen to the kids? Was their a pre-nup? Can Guy keep the cone bra?

Duchovny and Leoni’s split is also causing tongues to wag and fingers to furiously type out speculation across cyberspace. Did Duchovny’s role as a sex addicted writer on Californication spill over into his real life? Is Leoni banging Angelina Jolie‘s ex-Billy Boby Thornton? Who knows? Who cares? Funny you should ask. Apparently everyone one.

As magazines fold daily and newspapers lay off thousands of employees across the nation, the celeb rags have managed to flourish or at the very least remain stable. I’ll tell you why, they have successful turned the lives of the rich and the wanton into real life soap operas.

In this day of civil, financial and political unrest, people craving a good dose of escapist melodrama, complete with affairs, sex, drugs, money and divorce, don’t need to tune in and watch Jack and Carly marry for the 18th time in front of a sparse field on As the World Turns when they can get their pot boiler fix during a five minute visit to Perez Hilton‘s website or by picking up a copy of Us Weekly.

For the life of me I can’t figure out why daytime isn’t capitalizing on America’s renewed thirst for seening wealthy, beautiful people with problems, primetime sure has. From Dirty Sexy Money to Entourage, to Gossip Girl and The Starter Wife, primetime serialized dramas about rich people behaving badly are proving quite popular with audiences and critics alike.

Sure daytime has made a few attempts at capitalizing on the country’s Bush-era fascination with wealth and debauchery. Tess on One Life to Live was supposedly inspired by Paris Hilton, as was a SORAS’ed Lizzie Spaulding on Guiding Light.

At first these characters lined up fairly closely with the images of the Hiltons, the Olsen Twins and the Lindsay Lohans who constantly make the Page Six headlines, Lizzie even had a yapping purse-pup!  But of course Tess has since descended into a stereotypical soap opera maniac, driven cuckoo by dick, meanwhile Lizzie isn’t doing sex tapes, she’s being a good, little soap opera heroine (read: victim) by being held captive by a man who will no doubt become her next true love.

The last time the country experienced eight years of gluttony and greed, daytime was right there with primetime when it came to creating fabulously-wealthy characters to satirize. Primetime had Dallas, Dynasty and Falcon Crest. Daytime had the Spauldings, the Buchanans and the Capwells. Granted, two of those families are still around, but instead of Alan Spaulding dealing with an insider trading scandal or trying to take down a Lewis alternative energy project, he’s spent the Bush years chasing after babies and killing blonde teenagers.

OLTL has been attempting to do a corporate takeover storyline, but instead of  a ruthless hedge fund managers trying to seize B.E. or Todd struggling to keep his tabloid afloat in the days of the web, it was Dorian—again, because of dick— who seized B.E. Meanwhile Todd is too busy psychologically re-raping the woman he already assaulted over a decade ago. Oh well, it’s time for me to go get my soapy fix from Perez, but first let me delete all of these Guiding Light eppys. Gotta make room for The Hills.


14 Responses

  1. Profile photo of siomonstuart2003

    Jamey, I with you about the real life drama of celebrities marriages going bust Like Madonna and Guy and Brad and Jen or cheating scandals or divorce drama like Christie Brinkley and Peter Cook because it plays like a soap opera that I just cant get enough of. I think daytime use to do it better than real life did, but I don’t know what the heck daytime is do to the genre of making me tune out. I guess it has to do with terrible writers and overdone plot points that has been done to death. I think that daytime feels that they can insult the viewers intelligence and think people are going to stick with it, but the way the ratings is going, that is not happening, many are tuning out and watching “Access Hollywood” and “Showbiz Tonight” instead of soaps. I also think that “Sex and t he City”, “Desperate Housewives” and other prime time shows are bringing in viewers because of they are showing strong, independent women being in charge of their lives and not dependent on a man to save them like you are seeing in daytime. In 2008, why is women on daytime still being portray as weak-minded simpleton that can’t do nothing or think for themselves without a man behind them is insulting not only to women, but to men who also watches soaps and like a strong women with a mind and intelligence. I don’t know what it will take for the soap industry to get it act together before we all will not have any soap to watch on tv anymore, they will be extinct.


  2. Profile photo of Jillian Bowe
    Jillian Bowe

    Fab post J. You asked the question why soaps haven’t decided to pimp the real life celeb drama its simple… Laziness! How else do you explain it? Some soap writers are really channeling the mantra,  "If it ain’t broke don’t try to fix it."  

  3. Profile photo of Jamey Giddens
    Jamey Giddens

    But honey, that’s the problem. It’s BROKEN! It’s so broken Beth Chamberlain and Crystal Chappell are having to share a bottle of Sure Deodorant betwixt themselves in Peapack and the actress who plays Melanie on Days is being asked for long term story projections! What do I have to do? Dress up in a little yellow chicken costume and go all around to the soap studios, and that field in New Jersey, and yell "THE SKY IS FALLING! THE SKY IS FALLING!"

  4. Profile photo of siomonstuart2003

    Yes, Jamey, the system is broken and the only thing to fix it is going to be fix when they are no soaps to watch, I sorry, but I don’t think the networks care about the daytime industry because they would hired qualified writers and eps and head bosses of daytime genre to fix the industry.


  5. Profile photo of Jillian Bowe
    Jillian Bowe

    J, your girl knows the system is broken…  You’d think with the decline in viewership soaps would take that as the much needed bitch slap. Except when you have people who just don’t want to admit defeat they keep on truckin’ with the same nonsense. Growing up soaps were a way for you to get a glimpse of how the glitteratie lives and to escape into their craziness. It gave you an hour to vacate from the insanity that is called life. Whether it was romance or family strife we all tuned into see our favs delimna to get away from ours. Not some grown man’s version of how they’d take on the mafia, or some chick’s take on real life drama by trying to gain examples from a faux reality show…. Maybe we should create our own soap to show those suckas how its really done?

  6. Profile photo of Jamey Giddens
    Jamey Giddens

    Madonna: "You punished me for telling you my fantasies. You held me down but couldn’t make break. Did I say something wrong? Oops! I didn’t know I couldn’t talk about sex—what was I thinking?—Did I say something true? Oops! I didn’t know I couldn’t speak my mind. And I’m not sorry. It’s human nature!"


  7. Profile photo of Jamey Giddens
    Jamey Giddens

    I love me some Madge, "Hey girls don’t be silly, put a rubber on his dealy!"

    That one chant during her Blonde Ambition tour taught me all I needed to know about sex education and life.

  8. Profile photo of season1217

    “Hey girls don’t be silly, put a rubber on his dealy!”


    WOW! That was Shakespearian! But, what do I know? The phrase, “why buy the cow, if you can get the milk for free?”, was my sex education!:D

    Anyway, get that money, Guy!


    //**It’s the writing, stupid!**\\

  9. Profile photo of Jillian Bowe
    Jillian Bowe

    Snatch was good. Wait that didn’t sound right well you know what I mean damnit THE MOVIE Snatch was good. Madge stole that little wrap it up diddy from a reggae artist. See even in real life they borrow from others so why can’t these writers do the same thing?

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