Soap Operas and The Fight For Survival Amidst Lowered Expectations



Have we as soap fans become so browbeaten by years of dissatisfaction with writers, producers and executives that we no longer expect for good things to happen? Have we become so disenchanted that when a soap throws us even the tiniest bone, we latch onto it like a starving dog? Have TPTB so successfully manipulated us by playing into our passions for our favorite couples that we now ignore the bigger picture as long as our couple is on the front burner? Are we giving TPTB a get-out-of-jail-free-card by not holding them up to a higher standard of excellence? These are just a few of the things I’ve found myself asking more and more as of late.

Soap opera fans have plenty of reasons to be downtrodden. The year 2008 was a terrible one for the daytime television industry, with only a few exceptions such as One Life to Live’s strong year, the resurgence of quality at The Young and Restless and almost everything related to General Hospital: Night Shift.

In an era when CBS is slashing licensing fees for their soaps; Deidre Hall and Drake Hogestyn have been fired from Days of Our Lives, which was only picked up for 18 months; Susan Lucci and the rest of ABC daytime’s stable of actors are being forced to take a pay cut; the 72-year-old Guiding Light allegedly needs a consistent 1.8 to survive; and the nation’s automakers, a primary daytime advertiser, are experiencing serious economic woes, things aren’t looking very good for the genre or its fans. The fact that the industry still lives and dies based on the screwed up calculations of the Nielsen ratings doesn’t help matters. It’s easy to understand why soap fans are so desperate to hang on to whatever scraps of history, dignity and romance we can manage to locate on our favorite soaps.

The past few weeks have provided a fascinating insight into how we as soap fans have become accustomed to reacting when something happens to one of our favorite couples, characters or actors. Luke (Van Hansis) and Noah (Jake Silbermann) finally had sex on As the World Turns. The long-awaited consumation lasted a measly 75 seconds. The blink-and-you-missed-it (Thank God for You Tube!) moment received zero promotion from CBS, Proctor and Gamble or TeleNext Media. The struggling soap seemed perfectly content to let the moment be swept under the rug, instead of using the opportunity to garner mainstream and/or alternative media exposure. A quick look across the web will tell you that diehard Nuke fans really didn’t care that their couple’s first time experience wasn’t promoted. They are just happy to know it happened at all, and understandably feel a sense of fulfillment.

Jamey often says that all that matters is good writing and in the purest sense this is true, however when a show is in the shape that As the World Turns finds itself in ratings-wise, and the writing desperately lacking in quality, the only thing that is left is to promote the few assets it has left. As the World Turns has no bigger asset than Nuke. While the soap opera’s veteran actors are beloved, it is believed by many industry insiders that the Nuke pairing is what kept As the World Turns stable in the ratings for much of 2007-08, not to mention the buzz factor the couple generated. TeleNext and CBS Daytime’s PR blew what could have been an incredible opportunity, and we the fans let them because we were so focused on instant gratification.

P&G’s other soap, Guiding Light, spent most of 2008 promoting a "revolutionary" new filming format instead of improving it’s writing and promoting it’s biggest strengths: Bill and Lizzie and Josh and Reva. They also denied rumors for months that Olivia and Natalia might end up being a couple. Instead of capitalizing on the LGBT audience’s hunger to see their stories told on their favorite soaps, Guiding Light waited until they had nothing else to lose and pulled a last ditch stunt to boost interest in the show.

All of a sudden, news of Otalia kissing popped up on the covers of soap magazines, and previews were available as embeddable promos. Why is it that a "lesbian" kiss gets promos and no one blinks an eye, yet at the same time, Nuke is marginalized? Why are we not holding As the World Turns and P&G accountable for not giving a long-term couple like Nuke the simplest of promotion, when GL’s Otalia is now all of the sudden being pimpedf? Do we really want to wait for As the World Turns to reach the precipice Guiding Light now finds itself on before we demand more from this soap?

Almost the exact opposite problem exists at ABC, which loves to promote anything and everything, except what is actually clicking with fans. When they do actually provide promotions about couples and storylines their maligned fans care about, it is usually timed with some Sweeps stunt.

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24 Responses

  1. Profile photo of DaytimeFan0001
    DaytimeFan0001

    Well written and true. How come people like you and me can see these problems with the neilsons, the promos, certain writing and giant mistakes, but these 3 major networks can’t realize it and do anything about it? Where are these TPTBs’? Don’t these networks hire professionals to research these ratings, and fix things?

  2. Profile photo of liason4real
    liason4real

    I dropped GH back in 2002 when they broke up Liason the first time due to Frons. I stopped watching GH again when Frons once again broke up Liason without giving the couple a storyline worthy of SBu and RH’s talent, what I have seen in the last 2 years has been horrible. A triangle between Jason/Liz/Sam, sure, as long as I ultimately get Liason in the end, I’ll take what I can get. I’m only watching OLTL since they use their entire cast and the storylines are balanced. GH recycles their stories too much for my taste, something is either Mob related, gun fight, passive women with abusive jerks for husbands (Lucky), WTD storylines, too much of the same 4 characters over and over and over again. I read Regan’s spoilers and a few of the other MB, Liason fanfic and Liason on Youtube, in order to get my Liason love.

  3. Profile photo of SoapSnob
    SoapSnob

    Great article, Luke. As I have posted before, I do hope that industry insiders are reading Daytime Confidential (and other reputable blogs) and really pondering what “Thinking Fans” are, well, thinking.

  4. Profile photo of bonobochick
    bonobochick

    All of a sudden, news of Otalia kissing popped up on the covers of soap magazines, and previews were available as embeddable promos. Why is it that a “lesbian” kiss gets promos and no one blinks an eye, yet at the same time, Nuke is marginalized? Why are we not holding As the World Turns and P&G accountable for not giving a long-term couple like Nuke the simplest of promotion, when GL’s Otalia is now all of the sudden being pimpedf? Do we really want to wait for As the World Turns to reach the precipice Guiding Light now finds itself on before we demand more from this soap?

    IMO, I still think there is more of a negative bias when it comes to gay men than lesbians. I see many more negative comments about two men kissing or being intimate than two women. There is still a greater stigma attached to two men getting it on than two women. I remember the AFA being all over Noah & Luke but Reese/Bianca and Otalia? Barely anything. I think the networks feel that promoting two women together will cause less backlash than two men and the AFA haven’t proven them wrong on that assumption.

    And maybe my standards are “lower”, but I like to think I had realistic expectations regarding Noah/Luke’s first time. Should it have been more so that it was equal to what is usually done in heterosexual love scenes? Yes but I knew it wasn’t going to happen. I wasn’t expecting QAF. Then again of all the soaps I watch with gay [male] couples, it’s hit or miss with the love scenes in general. Some are sexy and some are wham bam.

    I sometimes wonder when I read comments from folks about how disappointed they were in Noah & Luke’s first time what they thought TPTB would actually show onscreen. What did folks expect to see happen between them onscreen?

    I understand the anger and disappointment about the lack of promotion, though I was personally ok with being surprised. Obviously mileage varies on the topic. I firmly believe ATWT should totally consider promoting Noah/Luke as a supercouple to drum up viewers but will they…? Or will they continue to use the “lure” of a CarJack reunion or PEG’s craptacular whatever or Dusty The Douchebag Warrior as their frontburner mainstays?

    IMO the only good stuff on ATWT right now is Craig/Carly and Noah/Luke with Casey, Jade and Allison as a side order of friends. JL is killing it right now as Craig.

    ————————-

    Long live the revolution! Gay pairings in soap operas:

    http://gaydaytime.proboards52.com/index.cgi

    =D

  5. Profile photo of LuvSKate
    LuvSKate

    It really is messed up. From a fan point of view it is completely disheartening when you see something working and a great deal of people like it that way and they never see it through (ie Liason, SKate – I want my SKate back NOW!). The “love will conquer all” philosophy has been abandoned. The entire formula has been totally screwed up along the way. I like to say its like they are on a treadmill, constantly trying to attract new viewers while alienating existing ones. Going no where fast.

    John and Nat on OLTL were hugely popular together but again they were put to rest – there are very few anchor power couples left. Days is the only program that did have the true power couples with Kayla/Steve, Hope/Bo and of course Marlena/John.

  6. Profile photo of babyc
    babyc

    One of the things that really gets me is how they use and abuse Bianca. They get her, promote the hell out of her, get us all excited and then… she’s second to whatever new character the writer is trying to push or gets there to react to certain character how tptb wants us to react, Babe anyone?

    Is not that hard to understand; if you can get an audience with Bianca then Bianca, and I know this may sound crazy, should have a frontburner storyline where she is a main player. See, crazy. I don’t know if the writers/tptb are too lazy to write for her (probably) or don’t understand her (probably) or don’t respect her (probably).

  7. Profile photo of n69n
    n69n

    AMEN & HALLELUJAH!

    ive felt like ive been in the twilight zone listening to everyone praise Chuck Pratt…its obvious to me that they are just clinging on to any little positive thing they can grasp…because i think AMC is worse than ever (except the story of BROT & TAYLOR, which truly does seem like an echo of classic AMC).

    …& it just seems even worse when you compare it to OLTL, where they are telling grown-up stories for adults.

    …but then, compared to AMC, even SESAME STREET seems to be for adults!

    http://www.nornsisland.com

  8. Profile photo of timepass
    timepass

    No matter what they do; change couple, think great sweep and killed characters and or bring new ones, at the core it is the same problematic: bad writing!

    ABC soaps are doom because Frons does not let the writers do their job, and even worst, he let a bad writer like Guza on board because he is a yes sir!

    That team is killing the genre and they forget how savvy the viewers are nowadays!

  9. Profile photo of caitlinp
    caitlinp

    I find a part of your statement contradictory; you say that we are interested in instant gratification, but isn’t promoting Nuke having sex at the end of a storyline where Noah was woefully underused an example of instant gratification? Why ignore the fact that the ATWT writers made Noah into a plot device during one of the shows most original storylines in years. Noah, was barely on during the past month or so, and when he was on his behavior and reactions towards Luke changed so much that it was hard to understand his motivations. Then what should have turned into a good few weeks of these two getting back on track, and the writers opening up Noah’s character more, turned into a 75 second “love scene.”

    Yes expectations for ATWT are low, how couldn’t they be with the way that the writers rush through stories, rely on plots instead of characters, and constantly re-use plots within a few weeks of each other. But, seriously, promoting Luke and Noah having sex is the least of ATWT’s problems, and would have been insulting on one level, because it would be “sweeping under the rug” the fact that in the weeks prior to having sex, the character of Noah was pretty pointless. I’d rather ATWT promoted the fact that they are going to make Noah more than an accessory for Luke.

    I’m more insulted by ABC promoting the heck out of Bianca and Reese being a couple and Bianca and Reese having sex, but then not having the guts to give us a story that centers around Bianca and Reese. That is giving people crumbs. And I’m insulted by soaps promoting big stunts or saving big events for sweeps, but not bothering to do a proper build-up to these stunts, showing the consquences of the stunts, or having characters behave like they normally would during these stunts.

  10. Profile photo of OldGHFan
    OldGHFan

    Daytime needs some fresh blood. Fire the people behind the scenes and bring in some newbies. They do it all the time in front of the camera, why not behind the camera as well!

  11. Profile photo of EricasEvilTwin
    EricasEvilTwin

    I think the problem with Bianca is that Eden’s returns (the last one and this one) have been short term. With Reese maybe staying in PV or maybe leaving with Biance – everything is up in the air, and I think that good story is hard to create when you dont know how you want the piece to end.

    *************************************************

    Ditch the bitch, Save the World….Exterminate the Lizard.
    Bag the Ho. Make her Go. Set the Timer on the Easy Bake Oven of PC.

  12. Profile photo of david46208
    david46208

    What seems to be the problem all around is that soaps have all but abandoned the African American audience. Well they really haven’t given a care to say the least for years. Most of the soaps flirt with African Americans characters for a year or two and then they are gone as soon as the next headwriter takes the reigns. But here is what each soap can do to turn things around:

    AMC: Re-Invest in the Hubbards and bring back the Fryes. Creating a rivalry between Derek and Jesse would be excellent and there would be so much to play between Livia and Angie and an older Dani and Frankie.

    ATWT: Hire the original Bonnie back, make Marshall have survived having been switched with a look-a-like who died and he having to prove who he is. Sarah returns as does Issac and Ben (Peter Parros) and actress Amelia Marshall is hired as a new love interest for Ben who turns out to be Sarah’s deceased mother and wants to keep the secret from everyone. Marshall when he figures it out will do anything he can to make her his again.

    B&B: Marcus’s father joins the show played by Rodney Van Johnson (Passions)and we discover that Donna’s divorce was never finalized. Down on his luck and in need of money he blackmails her and gets a plush job at Forrester Creations.

    DOOL: Lexie’s cousin comes to town and is a not so good guy whom gets arrested several times. Lexie hopes that she and Abe can turn this kid around, but to no avail he keeps getting into trouble. A chase incident happens and Bo and company take him down. While trying to handcuff him Bo’s gun accidentally goes off and shoots Lexie’s Cousin in the back. Lexie demands justice for her fallen family member and as it appears the law is working on Bo’s side she begins to devil back into Lexie Dimera with the help of her father in order to make him pay.

    GH: Toussiant enters the show and he and Epiphany start to plan for a wedding. Dr. Lainey Winters sees Toussiant and realizes he is her uncle. Kent acts nervous around afraid around him and soon recalls being molested as child and always believed he was the one who did it. Lainey searches her past and builds a strong case against him and exposes him as a child molester. Toussiant becomes the town pariah and fights to clear his name as he was not the one who did it. Yet, everything seems to point to him.

    GL: The Boudreau family is fully reintegrated into the show. When Felicia sees Phillip she shocked and is he as they remember their once long ago one night affair. Felicia becomes tortured with the fact that their one night stand might have produced Mel. She is determined to find out the truth, but faces a lot of hurdles in trying to get the DNA samples from everyone and keep this under wraps. Christina (re-casted with a better actress) discovers the truth and uses it to blackmail Felicia into getting the things she wants.

    OLTL: RJ re-emerges as the villain and enters into a romance with Lindsey. Together they plot to take over Asa’s oil company after RJ hits the lotto. Hank returns to help his brother manage his affairs and inadvertently is involved in the scheme. When he figures out the truth he is too deeply involved to risk losing his career to expose it. To keep his sanity Hank turns to the bottle and slowly descends into alcoholism. At the same time he finds questionable comfort with Layla whom has been tapped to go undercover by the LVPD to figure out what illegal schemes RJ might be up to.

  13. Profile photo of david46208
    david46208

    As for Y&R:
    Karen leaves town when she discovers that she is still married to a previous love.

    Olivia helps a devastated Neil to recover from the loss of Karen and they rekindle their friendship. Tyra becomes enamored by Neils power and plots to win his affection for the sake of money and a better life for Ana. Olivia quickly becomes suspicious of Trya and keeps it to herself. Trya begins start showing her materialistic side and Olivia catches her prancing around in one of Drus old gowns. Olivia confronts Tyra and threatens to tell Neil everything unless she leaves town. Tyra thinks Olivia is bluffing and Olivia shows Trya her cell phone camera that caught it all.

    Tyra makes a shocking decision to leave town and leaves a note for Neil and Devon. Tyra takes her daughter and leaves Genoa City for good.

    New Beginnings

    Neil, Olivia, Devon, and Lily bound to become a closer family.

    Neil and Olivia friendship continues to grow and they reminisce about their past together. Neil and Olivia discuss why they never quite made it together as lovers. Wanting to start a new Neil and Olivia decide to see each other. Both are relieved when both Lily and Devon are okay with them as a couple.

    Devon becomes suspicious of Billy when he overhears him talking to Chloe about the baby. Devon hears enough to figure out that somehow Billy has some plans for Lily and Billy and Chloe have a baby together.

    Meanwhile Olivia notices that Lily has not been the same since her relationship to Cane has ended. Olivia convinces Lily to give her and Cane another shot. Stoked, Lily heads over to the Chancellor Mansion to Tell Cane that she wants to be with him. Lily spies Cane and Chloe in a warm embrace and hears Cane declaring his love for her and their baby. Lily leaves distraught but doesn’t hear Cane state that he truly loves Lily and wishes he could be with her.

    At the coffee house Lily is in tears and runs into Billy. Billy takes Lilly out to a bar to help her cool down. Lily gets drunk with Billy and they head back to his place where they end of making love on the couch.

    The next day a distraught Lily rushes out after apologizing for sleeping with him. Later, Billy comes by to see Lily and tells her that it is okay. Billy thinks about confessing that he is the internet guy she has been talking to, but stops when he imagines her reaction. Billy offers to be her friend and Lily accepts. They kiss as Devon enters and spies them. After Billy leaves Devon warns Lily to be careful around Billy.

    Lily continues to talk to about her liking of Billy and Devon becoming concerned for her and concocts a plan to find out the truth. Devon gets a voice recorder and enlist Kevin’s help to set up a meeting between Billy and Chloe at the coffee house.

    Billy prepares to spend time with Lily. When Billy goes to the meeting spot in the back of Crimson Lights he sees Devon. Devon suggest that he is waiting on a woman there whom he has been talking too and Billy suggest that he is waiting to meet a someone for business. Devon leaves the patio and has hidden the voice recorder when Chloe arrives. He gets some damning information all on the recorder.

    As he is leaving he heads up and orders something to go. Devon starts to put two and two together through a series of flashbacks. He figures out that Billy is the is the father of Chloe’s baby and goes to confront him. Things get heated and Kevin tries to calm them down from fighting. Jana calls Lily to come get her brother immediately.

    Upon arriving Lily berates Devon for his behavior and he confesses to Lily what he did and who Billy really is. Lily doesn’t believe him and Devon tells her to ask the man herself. Lily drags Devon out of there and at home tells him to stay out of her love life.

    Later, Lily visits Billy and apologizes for Devon’s behavior. Billy admits that Devon was right and Lily slaps him feeling like she was played and used for his enjoyment. Lily gives Billy a tongue lashing and punches him in the face before leaving.

    Lily, cries on Olivia’s shoulder and decides she needs to get away from it all. Olivia sets her up with some volunteer work at a homeless shelter in Chicago. Lily leaves unbeknown to anyone but Olivia.

    Mama Mia

    Lily settles in to her work as a volunteer counselor at the New Hope Mission shelter for men and women. Lily is finding the work a little daunting but is working with Mrs. Thomas to get more comfortable with the problems of the homeless.

    After Lily finished her first day of work and heads home and Mrs. Thomas confronted by the nasty on again and off again client named Linda. Linda as the audience figures out turns out to be Drucilla whom has lost her memory and doesnt remember who she is and where she is from. Linda complains that one of the clients in the mess hall took her food and that she is about whoop her ass. Mrs. Thomas ask Linda to settle down or she will have to leave. Linda knocks over some dinner trays and exits the shelter.

    Lily learns about this Linda character is immediately somewhat scared and wonders if she chooses the right place to volunteer. Mrs. Thomas gives her the low down and asks her to make a decision. Lily seeing no reason to return home decides to stay.

    Meanwhile, Linda meets Ray Lopez as she searches for food in the dumpster which she claims is hers and if he tries to get in it she will cut him. Ray Calms Lindas fears and is immediately smitten with her. Although Linda tries to ditch him Ray wont leave her side and becomes her protector when a few men try to attack her. Linda makes nice with him and they become fast friends.

    Ray tells Linda about his past as a prison inmate and how his record has enabled him from getting a job so he just gave up. Ray tries to convince Linda to go back to the shelter with him but she refuses. Ray promises to change his life around so that he can help Linda and him get off the streets. Linda lets him know she is not going to sleep with him. That it aint that kind of party. Yet, Ray informs her he is only her friend and wants nothing more than help her out as he helps himself.

    Ray goes to the shelter and meets with Lily. Lily promises to help him and his woman so that they can get their lives back on track. Lily asked to come see where they stay at on the streets and see if she can talk some sense into Linda.

    Ray doesnt tell Linda that Lily is coming. But as the Shelter van approaches Linda runs and hides putting two and two together. Ray tries to get Linda to come out, but she says nothing. Lily gives ray some papers to fill out with Linda so that she can get them on the fast track into public housing.

    Linda hearing Lilys voice notices that it sounds familiar, but cant place it. She later warns Ray if pulls a stunt like that again she will leave him. Linda warns him that she does not want to see no social workers or anything like that.

    Lily realizes that she felt the presence of someone nearby but cant figure out why.

    Ray and Linda settle into their government owned Single Room Occupancy (SRO) at the Litmus Hotel. Lily drops by to see Ray while Linda is gone. Lily drops off some food and promises to stop by and see them once a week until they are fully settled in. Lily again feels the presence of someone but cant figure it out.

    All aboard

    Olivia and Neil settle on a house that has plenty of room for guest and family to stay. Neil and Olivia discuss having a baby and Olivia tells Neil that she is not adverse to it. Neil proposes marriage to Olivia whom gladly accepts. They both deduce not to rush into a marriage and plan to set a date for the wedding in due time.

    Neil gets chocked up as he and Devon pack things up at the apartment. Neil makes a decision that he cant leave. Devon helps Neil to see that he has to move on, but that doesnt mean he will forget Dru.

    Olivia and Neil have a house warming party at their new home. Everyone gets a surprise when Mamie shows up and says she is back in town. Neil offers sublease the apartment to Mamie and she agrees.

    Neil and Olivia make plans to start working on a child and Olivia gets checked out and is medically cleared to have a baby.

    Jabot Oh

    A secret board meeting is called with the Jabot shareholders, Jill, Billy, Cane, and others. Mamie shows up and reveals that she has secretly owned a sizable interest in Jabot given to her by John secretly. Because he was worried what might happen to the company should he pass away. And his trust level for Jack with his ever going vendetta against Victor was not strong enough ensure that he would always do the right thing. She goes on to tell them that john hired two people to take her place on board so that no one would know she owned stock.

    Jill rather nervously welcomes Mamie into the company fold. Mamie informs Jill that she has no interest in working for the company anymore then she has before. Cane convinces Mamie that she would be much needed to head up a re-launch of Tuvia. Mamie is sold and gladly accepts.

    Jill tells Cane they need to figure out a ways to buy the stock back from Mamie. She promises to allow him controlling interest if they can pull it off.

    Meanwhile, Billy informs Jack about Mamie. Jack and Billy decide to plot to get the stock from Mamie as well. Jack thinks Billy can play off her sympathy and love for John to achieve this goal. Little do they know Gloria has heard part of the conversation.

    Glorian informs Jeff about Mamie and Jeff forces Gloria to make friends with Mamie in order to try and get the stock away from her.

  14. Profile photo of daisyclover1938
    daisyclover1938

    Really interesting piece! I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the sadomasochistic relationship soap fans have with their shows and this blog has touched on a lot of things I’ve been considering.

    *I have to say that if a show is really good, then people wouldn’t be so hung up on one character or couple. The fact that a lot of us FF only to watch the scenes our faves are in, or the fact that people will quit a show because a couple is broken up says something about the quality (or lack of quality) of a show.

    * ITA about the Nielsen Ratings. I think it’s an archaic system and can’t possibly be an accurate count of viewership. I have no idea what it would take to implement a new system, but I wish they would do it.

    * Nuke: I’ve always felt they should’ve promoted the heck out of them. They should have pushed them as the first Gay SuperCouple, gotten as much press as possible, played the couple front burner (w/ every soap couple plot thrown at them), and after a few years throw a big splashy wedding for them, etc… Sure it would have been “controversial” & they may have lost *some* viewers, but it would have been nothing compared to the viewers (and free publicity) they would have gained. Not to mention the reputation of being a soap that’s with the times…

    *Bianca: The issues you bring up with her character are vaild and I think the same can be said for a lot of the female characters on soaps. Many are just reactionary and usually end up as victims. Women just don’t drive stories the way they used to and a lot of times come across as props. GH is one of the worst offenders, IMO. I don’t think it’s ever going to change with Bianca, particularly because of the type of character she is (ie goody-goody).

    *There’s a lot of talk about What Fans Want and Luke you certainly touched on it in your piece. In general terms, I think there are some things we can agree on. The writing for our shows is inconsistent at best. I’d love to see intricately plotted, well paced stories. I think fans would love true romance, interesting 3 dimensional characters, a good mix of humor/tragedy/action/drama. And I think audiences don’t want their intelligence insulted. Not to mention *Diversity*. I’d agree that this is what fans want and for the most part aren’t getting.

    However, when we start getting into specific stories, characters and couples – that’s when things get tricky. Everyone wants different things. Using GH as an example: You talked about a Sam/Jason/Liz triangle as being in the best interest of the show, etc…well I’ve got no interest in seeing that and I don’t think 1)that it would be a good story or 2)that it would help the ratings. Likewise, there are other GH fans that couldn’t give a (bleep) about Liz/Sam/Jason/Lucky and would gladly exchange all of them to have some Q’s back – and then again, there are those that couldn’t care less about Q’s and don’t want any of them back. My point is that there’s usually no general consensus that can be reached when talking about specific characters or couples. My feeling is that if a show is well written, we’ll accept what they give us even if it’s not necessarily what we want.

    *Luke you talked about fans holding TPTB to a higher standard of excellence and asked if we deserve better… Well there’s not much we can do is there? I mean, soap fans already criticize soaps (some more constructively than others) online and/or through mail/comment lines, so what else can we do? You folks at DC have a platform which is apparently influential. So you can use it to critique/applaud a show, or to promote pairings you like (Nuke, Liason), but as a “regular” soap fan, I can’t really do anything. I guess I can just keep watching and hope for the best.

    **With the whole “DC is biased” (not exactly how I would characterize it, btw), I won’t get into it except to say that your comment Luke *seemed* to imply that JaSam fans are just pissed because DC bloggers like Liason more than JaSam, but I don’t think that’s what it is…

  15. Profile photo of katclaws
    katclaws

    Standing & applauding! Very well written, Luke, & sadly so true! I’ve been watching (abc)soaps for a very long time. I starting watching GH as a kid since 1963…back in the days of black & white, one-half hour episodes. You know, even back before the days of VCR’s, DVD’s & tivo. I remember cutting classes in H.S. & getting friends to watch GH for me in college to give me recaps–until they found themselves hooked as well, And, I remember when both AMC & OLTL premiered. It’s hard to explain to someone who hasn’t watched soaps that long how bad they’ve gotten. They have nothing to compare GREAT writing with, when all you get now is VERY POOR writing & story-telling. I remember the “glory” days of GH & for a very long time I kept watching & hoping it would get better. I was married the year before Luke & Laura (and look how they botched that up) The very last straw for me, personally, was when they broke LIASON up. After being a fan of theirs for 10 years (especially the last 3 years), I just got fed up with being caught up in the “politics” of Guza & Frons. They just screwed over one fanbase one time too many for me. LIASON was just the tip of the iceburg for me. The horrible writing, the ageism, sexism, writing women as trash, shooting children, no multi-cultural/generational families, the killing off of vets & legacy characters/families, dropped s/l’s, character assassinations, no balance in general and on and on!

    So, I quit watching GH in early November. It was a hard habit to break. Until the backstage power struggle is over & Guza and Frons are out, I seriously doubt that GH will return as the superior soap it once was. I realize that the economy is playing a big part in what is happening to soaps as part of the trickle down factor in a depressed economy, but the first thing they can & should do is get rid of the high paid Doofus 1 & Doofus 2. Guza & Frons are single-handedly ruining this show. How I wish Sri Rao would become headwriter! JMHO

  16. Profile photo of Axl4ever
    Axl4ever

    Yes, soaps haven’t had a good year or past couple of years to be honest and most fans are disappointed with what’s been shown, but becaues the Nielsen’s are so out of date, I think the producers are pushing for what they feel are they’re strong points and some of the writers. Alot of complaints I read on the message boards about one soap (GH) and ones I have myself are that storylines are based on the mob and history is being erased (The Q’s for one), but when they look at the “Nielsen” ratings, they see a surge when they do certain things. So they keep doing the same things over and over again. Not to mention that the networks they air one are telling them they need these numbers. The Nielsen’s have been out of date for years and the TV industry needs to see this. The one thing that kills me is that certain cable shows show have the same numbers as soaps and they’re considered hits. I personally don’t want myself put in the same group as The Hills watchers (LOL). The industry as a whole needs to wake up and find another way to account for viewers. I was on another blog where someone actually had one of these mysterious Nielson boxes and maybe watched 4 to 6 hours of television a day. You have to wonder who’s getting these boxes. I know that’s not the norm but it does raises questions. I watch hours of TV a week and have tried getting one and been denied over and over again. Who is really watching TV?

  17. Profile photo of Soap_Stud
    Soap_Stud

    Good stories. Good acting. Balancing the airtime of Characters we love and feel are part of our extended family. That is what daytime should be about! Many soaps have forgotten one or two of these things and that is why the genre is in the place it is in today. Some soaps, in my opinion, have bounced back over the last couple of years (OLTL and Y & R), some are showing improvement in recent weeks(GL, B & B, GH), while others (AMC, DOOL, ATWT) are still struggling to pull things together. Soaps need passionate daytime writers who respect and utilize history to tell rich and entertaining stories that incorporate characters of all ages and races. I still believe in daytime television, continue to be an advocate for the genre, and yes, still enjoy watching the soaps.

    Always soaptacular-

    Soap_Stud/Salem_stud

  18. Profile photo of rebecca
    rebecca

    I agree with everyone here.
    The one thing that i can add is i think if the daytime industry cared about the fans the way that primetime/cable does then maybe things will change.
    I don’t know if anyone here goes on the message boards for any primetime shows but i do.
    The big difference in those MBs and daytime MBs is that the writers of some of the primetime MBs actually come on the boards to respond to the fans.
    I have been a fan of Burn Notice since the beginning of the show and have been on that MB alot. Matt Nix the creator of that show comes on sometimes and thanks the fans for watching.He also tries to answer our questions about the show.
    I’m also a FAN of the TNT show “Leverage”. I go on their MB too and John Rogers(one of the writers) does the same thing that Matt Nix does.The point i’m trying to make is the fans of those shows know we can’t control a story and we do not want to.It is just nice to know THOSE writers respect and appreciate the fans enough to listen and answer our questions.
    I know that daytime writers don’t always have the time to do that but it would be great if they could at try to treat us with some respect.

  19. Profile photo of EricasEvilTwin
    EricasEvilTwin

    Leverage – OT here – but such a good show

    *************************************************

    Ditch the bitch, Save the World….Exterminate the Lizard.
    Bag the Ho. Make her Go. Set the Timer on the Easy Bake Oven of PC.
    Make the Buzzard fly the coop. Turn her into Toxic Soup!!

  20. Profile photo of bonobochick
    bonobochick

    I meant to ask, but does anyone have on record JP and CG’s thoughts on Paul & Meg? :? Outside of a few fans on one site that I have been to, this pairing seems to be generally hated, yet they’re on very often with their storyline on ‘rinse. later, repeat’.

    Is there any chance you can either do a post about this pairing or mention in the podcast the state of ATWT with haveing PEG as a frontburner” “romance”? Looking at spoilers for them, I continue to shake my head about this show. Throw Dusty in there and I need to drink while watching the show.

    ————————-

    Long live the revolution! Gay pairings in soap operas: http://gaydaytime.proboards52.com/index.cgi

    =D

  21. Profile photo of Pure_Diva
    Pure_Diva

    My biggest complaint about daytime TV is when the characters do things out-of-character and without explanation. I became an Ex-viewer of ATWT some years ago because I felt that the HW at the time (*cough*Hogan*cough) did not respect the show’s history enough to refer to it.

    My 2nd biggest complaint is the lack of continuity. Don’t have the character say something one day, and then say the opposite next week. I’m starting to see this more and more on Y&R.

    Finally, I friggin’ HATE Quads! I love a good love triangle, but a quad is way to close to Swinging or Wife-Swapping and I don’t get down like that. IRL, I wouldn’t be hanging out with my Ex, much less hanging out with my Ex who is now sleeping with my sister, BFF, mother, daughter, etc. etc.

  22. Profile photo of At50
    At50

    I’m getting tired of GH’s obsession with sweeps stunts. A good sweeps stunt can’t make up for all the other things wrong with the show.

    I agree about Bianca Luke. You could argue that to some extent the rape and Cambias murder mystery were about her. The baby switch was about her until the Babe propping got out of control. But her two returns were all about Zarf and Reese/Zach. It’s turning into a bad pattern. Reese is a new character who we have little investment in but if you just tuned in you would think she’s the one who has been on the show since she was born, not Bianca.

  23. Profile photo of EricasEvilTwin
    EricasEvilTwin

    I agree with everything Daisy said.

    The only thing I would add is that shows need some continuity in terms of having one or two couples at least that seem destined to be together – kind of like anchor stores at the mall LOL Every show has that couple that when you mention the show, they immediately come to mind. Unfortunately for GH, none of those couples that you think of are currently on the canvas. Now that doesnt mean those pairings never break up, just that they always come back together in some form or fashion. I thought CarSon would sort of be that in a modern context and then as it seemed the show was being passed from MB to SB, I thought that couple would be JaSam. Now neither are together. Triangles are fine, but you also need SuperCouples in the mix too.

    AMC still has Jerica to fill the bill and could have the next generation in Zendall but OLTL suffers from the same problem. At one point I thought it might be T&B, but after Tarty sex, I dont know that I look at Todd the same way (bad enough that he hurt Marty once, but to do it again shows nothing has changed with him.)

    *************************************************

    Ditch the bitch, Save the World….Exterminate the Lizard.
    Bag the Ho. Make her Go. Set the Timer on the Easy Bake Oven of PC.

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