it’s no secret that soap opera’s are a dying breed these days. it makes me sad. soaps have been a tradition since before there was TV. it can’t be blamed on the working woman or all the technology we have now because if nothing else that has made being a soap viewer even easier. i have been watching the ABC Soaps for at least 20 years now (wow!). first, i had VCR tapes i’d record on, then i got craftier and had 5 tapes labeled by day and i’d switch them out each day. since the invention of the DVR my life has become significantly easier and it made soap watching THAT much easier.
i started writing this post yesterday with the intention of posting it today, and before i even got the chance, it was announced that ALL MY CHILDREN and ONE LIFE TO LIVE have both been cancelled and will be off the air starting in Sept for AMC and Jan ’12 for OLTL. irony, as always is following me. what a tragedy for the genre. for the viewers, the actors, producers and crews and the all the blood, sweat and tears that have kept them each on the tv all these years. it’s as if a part of my youth is being erased. while i haven’t watched AMC & OLTL for a while, just knowing that any time i wanted i could tune in and catch up was comforting. my entire life, 12 noon came the AMC theme song. in fact, i leave ABC on all day for riley when I don’t take her with me. what is SHE going to think?? 😉
soaps are a legacy. something handed down from mom’s to daughters for generations. in my case it wasn’t so much handed down as stolen from my mom! i became more of a soap fan than she had ever been. to me, they’re my escape. escape from reality. escape from my own turmoil. for a couple of hours per day i could watch my “friends” and escape. when i’d miss a few days and then catch up on the weekend, its like a visit with an old friend you haven’t seen in a while. there are several characters on general hospital (my personal favorite) that actually started on the show as small children and are now leading actors and characters. we’ve grown up together. no matter what has changed in my life, if i turn ABC on at 12pm PST i’m going to be able to catch up with any number of my “friends”. when times seem tough for me, escaping to port charles (or pine valley or llanview) has always been my solution. when i was in an abusive relationship years ago, each day i’d escape for my 2-3 hours watching the abc soaps and for that little while, all would be okay in my world.
some people are movie watchers and that’s how they escape. for me, dramas and soaps have always been my escape because i’m invested in the characters. the relationships. and the history. i knew this was an emotional topic for me, but not to the extent it’s affecting me today. i can’t seem to stop weeping. i find it so sad, so reprehensible that an entire genre is being eliminated piece by piece and replaced with crap tv. my children will never know the AMC theme song that i looked forward to all summer long being the sign that it was lunchtime as a kid. my children will never see erica kane and see the resemblance she bears to MY mom. marty’s rape storyline in 1992 affected me so profoundly i began to volunteer with abused teens. stone’s death in 1993 opened my eyes to aids. these shows have always been more than just an hour of tv to me and so many people. they taught lessons, they opened up our eyes to growing trends and lifestyles. they were on the forefront of so many hot button topics like rape, abortion, homosexuality and mental disease.
i personally blame reality tv for the downfall of soaps. they’re cheaper to make for the studios. and, the younger generation sees no difference in watching a soap for drama versus “real life” drama on a reality show. trust me, there’s a HUGE difference. starting off with actors vs just regular joes. i understand the studio’s position, it’s all a business and money is money. soaps cost A LOT to make and it’s just not fiscally responsible anymore.
i mourn the loss of the genre. i mourn the loss today knowing that less than a year from now i won’t be able to visit my “friends” anymore. they’ll fade away into oblivion . i will mourn again in the fall and in january when i can’t see them anymore. please general hospital don’t go away too, i cannot face life without you. sadly, in my heart of hearts, i know it’s going to be gone too eventually. and that makes me sadder than i’ve been in a long time, and in a way i cannot properly articulate to a non soap viewer.