Daytime Soap Operas and The Theory of Opposite Thinking

While sitting on the toilet reading Tan Lines by jj Salem (Really raunchy, soapy storyteller that Salem. Think if Jackie Collins and Sidney Sheldon had an illegitimate son who was adopted by Candace Bushnell! ), I had quite the epiphany.
It finally donned on me that since it’s blatantly obvious TPTB at most of of the eight soaps still on the dial don’t give a squirrel’s nut what we fans want. You know, like good, properly-paced, character-driven, organic, drama, romance, love, lust and betrayal, featuring the veteran characters/stars we know and love, along with next generation characters tied firmly to the previous ones, soap fans should start practicing The Theory of Opposite Thinking.

What is The Theory of Opposite Thinking, you ask? Here’s how it works. Basically, since Frons, Bloom and Corday are so cancellation-bent on not giving us what we scream out for on blogs, message boards, in our therapist’s offices, etc. then we should start demanding the exact opposite of what we want from the soaps. For example, since I am pissed off that General Hospital unceremoniously aborted Liason before the couple actually received a proper storyline, in practing The Theory of Opposite Thinking, I would say: "I totally agree with Brian Frons and his data. Most of the fans want Jason to be with Sam. GH needs to make this happen," instead of "Frons can take his focus group drivel and stick it where not even the crew of The Enterprise will go to rescue it!) See how it works? Here are some more examples:

1.) I really love it when people of color on daytime are written as boring, stock characters to provide sounding boards and/or Greek Choruses. Not many people of color watch soaps, so why should we be featured in well-written storylines?

2.) I don’t know why ABC thinks we want to see all these old people on our screens. Seriously, do I have to see Jackie Zeman or Leslie Charleson on my screen once or twice every three months? That is entirely too much airtime! Do they not realize every time Bobbie brings Carly a donut, that is precious screentime that should be afforded Ethan or Rebecca? By the way, it is so rude to call Natalia Livingston‘s wonderful, carefully-crafted, thoroughly-original, well-acted new character "NotEmily". You all ought to just be ashamed of yourselves.

3.) Speaking of the Golden Oldies. When are these soaps going to realize what a complete waste of time and money it is to keep them around? No one tunes in for Susan Lucci, Robin Strasser, or Erika Slezak. Give me a break! Look at The Young and the Restless, they generally tend to tell good stories for old timers and they have been dead last in the Nielsens for over 20 years. The smart bet would be refocusing the shows around much more fascinating soap stars like Crystal Hunt and Jamie Luner,  the latter of whom was the biggest star to come out of Melrose Place. Before Luner joined, Heather Locklear, Marcia Cross and Laura Leighton were barely drawing a crowd around TVs on Monday nights. MP was the House that Luner built and don’t you forget it! Chuck Pratt certainly hasn’t.

4.) I really don’t understand why people get so caught up in trying to develop believable characters. This really is not how this industry works! All you need is an amazing plot, and the characters will come together. Look at One Life to Live’s Stacy. This character premiered with zero character development, sans plausible motivation or drive and she is a breakout hit. Crystal Hunt should really thank Brian Frons for handing her the keys to Llanview. Guiding Light did Hunt such a disservice by showing the audience why her character Lizzie behaved so badly on that show. In developing Lizzie into a popular teen vixen, GL, over the course of weeks, months and years, carefully explored the character’s complex mommy/daddy/granddaddy issues. Yeah, I know. BOR-ING. OLTL is proving with with Stacy that it is much more effective to quickly explain character motivation in a single, solitary scene before having the character dismantle arguably the soap’s most popular young adult coupling in years. Hunt went from being a wildly popular GL star, to playing out the most loathed current storyline in soaps, helping tank OLTL’s ratings in the process. She and fellow GL alum Beth Ehlers really oughta go in together to buy Frons a really nice gift from Barney’s for all he’s done for their careers.

5.) Chris Goutman was absolutely dead on when he said no one wanted to watch soaps more than three-days-a-week anymore. Although As The World Turns hasn’t officially gone this route, the fact that they now only show three decent days of soap opera a week, makes it so much easier for me not to get hooked on their storylines, or feel the need to "tune in tomorrow for the continuing adventures of As The World Turns". Whoever thought up the concept of cliffhangers and making the shows so addictive each day that obsessed fans simply had to tune in five-days-a-week was a complete tool. If more soaps go to Goutman’s model, then soap fans will actually have our lives back. After seven plus decades of craving these programs we can finally put down the bon bons and step away from the Curtis Mathes. We will be so grateful that we we won’t even notice when the last soap is cancelled. We’ll all be much too busy kayaking, hunting wild game, attending Discos with Princess Stephanie of Monaco or volunteering at homeless shelters, to so much as shed a menthol tear over some silly old daytime drama’s passing.  

21 Responses

  1. Profile photo of SoapSnob

    The Daytime Emmy nominations had me on the edge of my seat this morning. But, WOW, I was so happy with all the nominations. Especially in the Outstanding Drama Series category. I am so pleased that the academy got it right and nominated only the very best shows of 2008 for Outstanding Drama Series. This industry is great! ;-)

  2. Profile photo of banterlove

    I see our opposite thinking is already working in another area, too. I continue praying to the soap gods that we reward those who muster up a showy, dramatic performance twice a year. It’s much more important to have one seemingly good day than a year’s worth of solid, heart wrenching work. Here’s hoping Tony Geary takes home his 20th award and that Crystal Chappell watches the Emmys in her pajamas every year from now on. Please, gods, make it so.

    Brilliant post, Jamey!

  3. Profile photo of nolanspice

    Like Ms. Mckinsey above me stated, I, too, was riveted to the noms this morning. And after a moment of pondering, it makes all the sense in the world to me why Alicia Minshew and Bree Williamson were put in the supporting actress category. Despite the fact that they both had storylines that they were front and center in and drove their respective stories, it’s the fact that they “supported” their respective shows on their backs for the bulk of 2008 is WHY they got the supporting nominations. Thank you Jamey for allowing me to sip the Kool-Aid, too. :)

  4. Profile photo of butahfly

    Jamey, that would be the biblical equivalent of agreeing with your adversary. And for all of the bible scholars out there, you can find it in Luke 5:25.

  5. Profile photo of Jamey Giddens
    Jamey Giddens

    LOL, I think Jamey has a not so secret crush on Ms. Hunt.

    You always run that picture of her, Jamey!!
    Oh it is a fascinating image! Much like a distraught Julie Olsen on the cover of Time, showcased the love of soaps, the above picture signifies the current scorn the genre is inspiring among fans.

  6. Profile photo of Coffee_Junkie

    Why wasn’t Y&R nominated in the Best Drama category??

    I’m still reeling from shock that the rumors about Thom Bierdz returning to Y&R are apparently TRUE! He turns up at the end of tomorrow’s show. He was the person on the other end of Cane’s mysterious phone call from 1 1/2 years ago.

    Kudos to Y&R for managing to keep this under wraps! I don’t know how they did it!

  7. Profile photo of GossipGirl

    I want more Stacy, Dammit!!!

    And why is everyone complaining about the nominations? The 3 best shows on tv are nominated! I just have fingers crossed that Molly Burnett and Jacqueline MacInnes Woods are nominated this evening for Younger Actress!

  8. Profile photo of KingTV

    Soap Snob: You are too funny. Love that you are taking Jamey’s new philosophy to the comments section. Brilliant. You are so right. Marcy Rylan, Kathy Brier, Ted Shackleford and the other “so-called actors that critics and fans consider to be the most beloved, amazing talent who always bring it,” surely do not deserve to be in the same company as the rest of these highly qualified noms. And the Best Drama Noms are absolutely perfect. I could not have asked for a better, reduced amount of noms, that actually give us consistent, daily, superb helpings of what great soap opera storytelling is day after day. How could horribly uncreative minds like Irma P, Agnes, N, Bill Bell, Harding LeMay, Douglas Marland or Claire Labine even compare to the current crop of lead story writers such as Goutman/Passante, the GL “team” Kreizman and Hurst, Higley, Pratt or Brad Bell and his wonderfully effective team who write such well-focused, paced, plotted and long-term producing stories for a multi-generational cast of characters? I am waiting on pins and neddles for this year’s telecast.

    PS – In all honesty, my annual Daytime Emmy Awards dinner/viewing party which this year was going to be a big juicy, delicious clam and lobster bake in our backyard garden where we happened to have a lovely 37″ LCD flat screen to begin the red-carpet show while we feast has BEEN OFFICALLY CANCELED AS OF THIS AM’S NOMINATIONS or maybe I will have it just so me and my die-hard soap fan friends (90% gay men) – usually a group of around 20 or so – can laugh and laugh and tell wise-ass jokes about the most ridiculous, seemingly rigged awards sicne this years People’s Choice Awards where the winners know in advance so none of the losers ever attend. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

  9. Profile photo of LuvSonny

    I hope Michael wakes up and fights with Morgan over who gets control of Sonny’s empire. Morgan will think that at 12 years old, because he’s Sonny’s biological son, he should have control. Morgan and Maxie will then start dating. I hope Jason and Kristina have mad passionate love scenes that make Sam AND Elizabeth so angry they become Edward Quartermaine’s lovers. I hope Lulu and Ethan end up being brother and sister and then decide to be together anyway since Frons and Guza would never stoop to the level of having an incest storyline. I hope Spinelli takes Jason’s place as Sonny’s right hand man and that Alexis, Max and Diane never get any screen time ever again. Oh, and Lucky and Tracy together would be a great coupling, typical of GH, and a great way to make Luke jealous.

  10. Profile photo of Maura227

    In light of today’s marvelous events I’d like to add that the pre-nominee list was dead on as well. Trevor St. John should NEVER be nominated for an emmy, ever again! What a terrible actor.

    The same holds for Laura wright.. no emmy’s for that terrible actress either!! Of course Tony Geary should have one every single year.. even when he’s 95, in a wheelchair, pretending to knock back shots.. EMMY AWARD WINNING WORK!
    Brandon buddy and Kristen Alderson just did not work hard enough this year.. end of story.. they only had a baby, baby switch, dead baby… mama back from the dead, memory loss, dad’s playing house w/ the memory loss chick, drug addicted storyline.. I mean really.. give them some more work would you please?! Until then.. no nominations for them either..
    Bradford and Kirsten Storms are the worst actors on tv.. I hope they lose!!!


  11. Profile photo of katclaws

    Jamey, I counted the name FRONS mentioned at least six times………(starting to see a pattern here) except that TOILET should have been mentioned six times as well. That would just about sum up the state of affairs & the reason for abcd “SUCK-sess” of late. (my use of opposite thinking)

    Brilliant blog, Jamey!!!

  12. Profile photo of Dariclone

    I relize this is a day late but I just wanted to say how much I *love* Charles Pratt’s murder mystery storyline and how much I loved that they killed off Adam Chandler. I couldn’t think of a better sendoff for both character and actor. Charles Pratt just made my day and I wasn’t at all sitting in my living room screaming at the t.v. in disgust.
    Seriously though, is anybody worried that someone will read all these comments and take them seriously? Frons and Co. probably aren’t smart enough to understand sarcasem.

Leave a Reply